PRO carbon rigid fork £299

For ultimate trail feedback

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Technically advanced and rigid? You’d be forgiven for thinking this is an oxymoron, but it’s not. Yes, it is a rigid fork so it requires a different riding style, but the reasons for the full-carbon approach are twofold.

First is weight: at 570g (uncut) it’s 915g lighter than the current cross-country suspension fork benchmark (the 1,485g, 100mm-travel RockShox SID Team – a likely fork for the PRO to replace).

Second is ride feel: building the fork entirely in carbon means it’s able to transmit a clear feel of the surface of the trail – more so than carbon forks with alloy crowns, steerers and dropouts (like the heavier but cheaper carbon/alloy version at £170).

This trail feel isn’t due to more vibration getting through, but less; the effect is almost a soothing, smoothing sensation as the carbon dissipates a degree of trail noise. The best comparison testers gave was of a “large volume front tyre, run soft”.

Being rigid it demands more concentration from the rider in negotiating rough stuff at speed, especially in taking smooth line choices as rocks that are easily sucked up by suspension forks can send you over the bar if you don’t remain focused.

But the weight savings are huge; mid-priced hardtails could hit the 20–22lb mark, and lighter models could easily nudge the high teens – that’s seriously light, but it’s also a serious cost for a rigid fork.

On the trail, climbing is where you’ll see the biggest difference. With good tyres you’ll be gunning it up hefty hills that previously had you running out of gas. Mid-speed swoopy singletrack becomes a hoot as you search for smooth lines and traction.

The downsides? You can’t plough into obstacles, and you’ll have to look after the carbon steerer tube when fitting stems. And it’s a cool £100 more expensive than its carbon/aluminium competitors.

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