Kinesis Maxlight IX fork review£275.00

Cutting edge rigid fork for longer-travel 29ers

BikeRadar score4/5

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.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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