The best 120mm forks are as light as a race fork but as trail capable as a 150mm unit. A prime example is Fox’s outstanding Float 120 family. The F120 is based on the open brace F100 architecture rather than the webbed brace F32 structure, which means it’s only 70g heavier than the 100mm fork and lighter than many dedicated race units.
The angle adjustable 15QR screw-through axle (70g extra) is easy to use and keeps fork tip and overall stiffness to reasonably accurate levels. The gold Kashima coating is only available on aftermarket forks not those you get on complete bikes and the difference in smoothness and small bump control is well worth paying to upgrade to.
Compression damping is also reduced for a more open, fluid feel while the FIT cartridge stops multiple-hit indigestion on long, lairy sections. The F120 will happily take trail trauma that would trip up many longer travel forks in its stride. While it’s loaded with tuning potential, including low-speed compression, lockout and lockout threshold, it rides great straight from the box and reliability has been similarly fit and forget on the several sets we’ve tested.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.