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What suspension route do I need for my Mountain Bike?

What suspension route do I need for my Mountain Bike?

100 millimeters for XC, 120 for marathon or Down Country, 130 mm for trail ... It is possible that if you are evaluating the purchase of a Andes mountain bike lost with so much tour data, modalities and labels. Even more if you have not been informed about new models. That is why we have prepared this updated guide on the appropriate suspension route for each type of use you are going to make with your mountain bike. We emphasized the updated because the routes that a few seasons ago were worth for a certain type of mountain cycling (XC, trail, enduro) have now varied slightly. Everything is due to the evolution of paintings, geometries and fork standards or rear suspension. Now there are Cross country double competition that professionals use to compete in World and World Cups. Or for example 180 mm enduro bicycles They are already approaching the descent. Therefore, it is time to clarify concepts and review the current travel ranges according to each MTB modality to help in the choice of the one that best suits you and your bicycle.

What is the suspension route?

[Captation id = "Attachment_4380" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]Rebume dial of the suspension fork of a mountain bike Photo: Shuttersock[/caption] It is important to review the concept of suspension route, especially for newcomers to this sport. When talking about the fork of a mountain bicycle, it has 100 mm, 130 mm or 160 mm suspension, what it means is that the damping system can be compressed and then expand vertically to a maximum of that measure. Thus, the greater the way to damping capacity to overcome irregularities, potholes and obstacles. Its measurement method varies depending on itself is the front or rear.

How to measure the front suspension route

We can know the route by measuring the length between the upper and the lower end of the fork bars. The bars are the finest tubes that sink into the bottles (or thicker tubes). More route, the suspension fork will have more ability to absorb potholes, impacts, etc. But, as a counterpart, add weight and subtract stiffness to the structure.

How to measure the rear suspension route

In this case it does not correspond to the length of the bar that sinks into the body of the shock absorber. That is known as a career. The route depends on the construction of the trench or rear triangle of the bicycle. This has connecting rods and turning points that can multiply or reduce the total route, depending on the scheme. Thus, there may be bicycles with the same shock absorber race but different swingarm, which ends up modifying the total suspension route. The most practical in matters of measurement is to consult the tour data given by the manufacturer, which are usually reliable. But it is also possible to measure the rear suspension route with a simple method:
  1. Put the bike face down and place it parallel to the wall. In it make a small mark of the upper end of the rear wheel.
  2. Then remove the air of the shock absorber and have the wheel down. Once you have capped the position in which the wheel was left.
  3. Finally, it measures the distance between one brand and another and so you will get the effective route.

Suspension tours by modality and type of use

[Captation Id = "Attachment_6439" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]Mountain bike Photo: Depositphotos[/caption] We have already explained that the tireless evolution of the Mountain Bikes is making the length of the route of certain modalities vary. Next we explain what tours carry the mountain bicycles currently according to their modality.

Cross country

The conventional Mountain Bike for circuit or unleavened routes has increased the suspension routes in its serial models, with direct influence of the competition. Of the 80 mm and 100 mm of past seasons it has increased to 110 mm and 120 mm in most doubles and also in some semi -rigid. It is a new XC concept called Down Country and that has invaded the assemblies of the World Cup and marathon tests. The picture contains the weight, although a slight increase in the larger size of the fork or shock absorber is inevitable. But the absorption and control gain in declines and obstacles is notorious.


The most versatile and versatile bicycle category of the Mountain Bike has also increased suspension tours while optimizing pictures and geometries, to compensate for the increase in weight and slower maneuverability of larger forks. Now you can find famous bicycles such as Specialized Stumpjumper Evo wave Canyon Spectral with 160 mm tours and pigeed in the modality of Trail bicycles. In general, we can conclude that a current trail covers from 130 mm to 160 mm. This increase in tours has ended up blurring and disused the subcategory All Mountain, a segment that was the prelude to the enduro until a few seasons, with tours between 140 mm and 160 mm.


The enduro has also updated its suspension tours Collecting a good part of the All Mountain of 29 ”and 150 mm to 160 mm, at the same time that it has created a subcategory called superendide, with forks of up to 180 mm (even 190 mm in some models) to use in Bike Parks or especially technical and steep natural routes. However, the vast majority of Enduro bicycles current are between 160 mm to 180 mm.


It is the category that has least evolved over time, maintaining the 200 mm standard for both axes. However, there are certain models of Descent bicycles, like the trek session of 29 ”, which has chosen to reduce the route to 190 mm. But it is not the norm.
The choice of the right route will depend on the type of routes you make and your technical level

Inconveniences to use an inappropriate suspension route

Bicycle fork Sometimes, either due to ignorance, lack of experience or for the great tangle of modalities and assemblies, you can be wrong in choice of a mountain bicycle and not finding the appropriate route is one of the weight reasons for that mistake. Rolling with an inappropriate suspension route for your driving style and type of usual routes will generate discomfort in its handling, greater physical wear and generalized dissatisfaction with your bike. It doesn't make much sense to get a 160 mm enduro bicycle to roll by clues. Or an XC for high mountain routes plagued by rocks and obstacles. To avoid confusion, it is important that you are clear what kind of regular tours you make. In addition, consider your driving and posture style on the bicycle. For example, if you like to roll with an XC sitting and erect, you may need a 110 mm or 120 mm route instead of the 100 mm conventional. Also, if your technical level is not very good yet, try to increase the fork route (it is possible in some models) or renew bike and move from an XC to a trail. The increase in suspension route always generates more absorption and control over obstacles and downstairs.

Is the tour the most important when choosing fork?

[Captation Id = "Attachment_4305" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]Mountain bicycle fork Photo: Depositphotos[/caption] The tour is the aspect that will condition the choice of the fork. But he's not the only one. You must also look at these characteristics, ordered from greater to less importance:
  • Ease to adjust pressures and SAG.
  • Compression settings (blocking) and rebounds.
  • Weight.
  • Bars diameter (32, 34, 36 mm, etc.)
Also, do not stop looking at your personalization possibilities, such as The use of tokens to better make the suspension route better.

Can I change a 100 mm fork for another 130 mm on my bicycle?

[Captation Id = "Attachment_6549" Align = "Alignnone" Width = "744"]MTB double suspension Photo: Timeo Buehrer / Unspash[/caption] As a general normal, manufacturers do not recommend it. Nor do we advise it from here. Each bicycle is designed taking into account the series suspension route. Elements such as the geometry of the painting or the choice of wheels, tires and even peripherals such as the handlebar are conditioned by the suspension route. In any case it is possible that in some models there is some compatibility changing the fork with a variation of 10 mm. But before risking the change, consult the technical file and the manufacturer's use manual. In addition to the route, when changing one fork to another on the same bicycle you must always consult the following compatibilities:

The type of axis

There are forks that are only compatible with Boost wheel axes (15x110 mm) and others, simpler or older, with 100 mm axles.

The brake clamp anchor

The assembly of the new fork also implies using the same anchor of the brake clamp, which will be linked to it. Here the compatibilities between the different standards (Post Mount, IS, Flat Mount) are somewhat greater due to the existence of adapters.

The tube measurement

With the tube we refer to the upper part of the fork, which joins the bike steering pipe. There are different measures, 1-1/8 ”, conical tubes (1.5” below and 1-1/8 ”above) or 1.5”. Between standards it is only possible to change a conical to 1-1/8 ”by an adapter.

The diameter and wheel step

Finally, make sure the technical sheet of the fork that is compatible to host the measure of your tires without striving or dangerously approaching the bottle. You can opt for one of the wheel or larger step. At the same time, there are forks that can only be mounted with 29 ”wheels and others only with 27.5”. Precisely one of the greatest errors of incompatibilities between bicycle components is to change your wheels of 27.5 "for others of 29" without taking into account how it affects the fork.
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