Kinesis Maxlight IX fork £275

Cutting edge rigid fork for longer-travel 29ers

BikeRadar score 4/5

The IX is a proper monocoque unit with a tapered full-carbon steerer, a stout curved crown and big tapering legs all comprising one flowing UD (Uni-Directional) carbon fibre structure.

External ribs on the leading edge and internal 3K weave panels add reinforcement, while alloy dropout inserts guard against wear and crush damage. 

Unlike most forks it’s designed for 100-120mm corrected bikes, rather than 80-100mm. There isn’t a 15mm axle option though, and there are no brake hose guides either, so you are left with untidy zip ties right round the leg. You also need a specific carbon steerer plug.

At 690g uncut these forks save around a 2lb/1kg over most suspension forks, but hang onto an impressive tracking accuracy for confident hard carving/drifting on smoother surfaces. There’s no obvious tuck or twist under braking or down long steps or steep descents, either. 

Inevitably, lumps, braking bumps, potholes and rocks are properly bruising and control sapping if you don’t exploit that low weight to lift over them; expect an extra day of ache for every hour you ride them on properly rough terrain. Still, at least the price is less punishing than the competition.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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