Best Fork Upgrade For Motopeds, Sur-Ron, And Other Heavy eBikes

dnm-marzocchi-fox40

If the suspension on your electric bike is causing you grief, don’t fret, you’re not alone in search of the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron, Motopeds, or other heavy eBikes on the market.

 As both wildly affordable and wildly fun, inexpensive go-fast eBikes have exploded in popularity, but customers are quickly noticing a glaring performance issue:

 The suspension is decent on pavement but off-road, well… It’s Mediocre. At best.

 We get it. Nothing takes the fun out of an inexpensive bike like having to immediately turn around and drop several thousand dollars into the suspension.

 The good news is, you don’t have to.

 We’ve done extensive field testing of the three most popular fork options out there for heavier eBikes like the Sur-Ron. We’ve jumped, slid, and backflipped these forks everywhere from our local trails to Travis Pastrana’s backyard.

 So before you go dropping $2,000+ on your sub-$4,000 investment, check out our findings below.

 Before we jump into the forks themselves though, let’s address the question we should all be asking instead:

Why Is It So Hard To Buy A Heavy Performance eBike With A Decent Fork?

When we were still manufacturing the original Motoped, we asked ourselves the same question.

We called around asking all of the major manufacturers to supply a premium fork option for our bike, but none of the companies were able to make it happen.

The reason? Liability.

Although we’ve done some of the most extensive testing possible on every fork on this list (and then some) and never had a single failure, big manufacturers ultimately can’t get the green light to supply heavier eBikes with their products because they haven’t done enough testing on bikes like these.

That’s unfortunate for Ebike makers, because as we’ve seen in numerous videos both here and elsewhere, all of these premium forks can take a beating.

Ultimately companies like DNM or RST are the only brands bike builders can secure as OEM components without adding a huge expense because they’re based overseas in places like China, where liability isn’t a big concern.

Sometimes we get lucky when distributors like Luna Cycles can leverage their bulk pricing and produce in-house homologations like the “black edition” Sur-Ron that delivers with a beefy Rockshox Boxxer front end.

We hope to see more bikes like these in the near future as OEM companies are able to greenlight their products for heavier bikes.

Once that happens, you won’t have to worry about finding the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron, Stealth and Bultaco because these companies will be able to score OEM prices on premium components. Both the savings and performance will trickle down to customers like us who, at the end of the day,  just want to get out and let er’ rip to our heart’s content.

Ok, enough of that, let’s talk forks.

marzocchi bonber 58

Marzocchi Bomber 58 fork

Best Fork Overall: Marzocchi Bomber 58

Italian suspension wizards Marzocchi started making waves with their value-priced suspension components after their acquisition by Fox in 2015.

Along with the popular Z1 enduro fork, the downhill-oriented Bomber 58 gets high marks for its simplicity of adjustment, fast setup, and unparalleled performance for the money.

So what makes the Bomber the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron or comparable eBikes out there?

Imagine being able to pick and choose everything you needed from the Fox 40, but then getting a 50% discount by cutting out the stuff you didn’t.

You’d want Fox’s world-class GRIP damper technology, their super-plush EVOL spring, and of course those burly 40mm stanchions. Maybe throw in the handsome forged upper crown and the floating axle as a cherry on top.

And believe it or not, Fox has specced all of these features into their value-priced Marzocchi downhill fork.

marzocchi bomber top

Marzocchi Bomber 58 upper controls with the compression adjustment on the right and the air adjustment on the left

Best Fork Overall: Marzocchi Bomber 58

Italian suspension wizards Marzocchi started making waves with their value-priced suspension components after their acquisition by Fox in 2015.

Along with the popular Z1 enduro fork, the downhill-oriented Bomber 58 gets high marks for its simplicity of adjustment, fast setup, and unparalleled performance for the money.

So what makes the Bomber the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron or comparable eBikes out there?

Imagine being able to pick and choose everything you needed from the Fox 40, but then getting a 50% discount by cutting out the stuff you didn’t.

You’d want Fox’s world-class GRIP damper technology, their super-plush EVOL spring, and of course those burly 40mm stanchions. Maybe throw in the handsome forged upper crown and the floating axle as a cherry on top.

And believe it or not, Fox has specced all of these features into their value-priced Marzocchi downhill fork.

marzocchi bomber bottom

Bottom of Marzocchi 58, the rebound adjustment is on the right leg

While it isn’t the latest GRIP2 damper found in the Fox 40, the Marzocchi Bomber 58 gets the FIT GRIP version, which many riders will actually prefer. That’s because the FIT GRIP system utilizes two simple adjusters for both rebound and damping, combining high and low-speed adjustments into a single knob. Just set it and forget it, which we’re all about.

You won’t be able to fine-tune your high and low-speed settings individually, but the factory setup on the Bomber is so good, chances are you’ll never miss it.

Unless you’re riding at an absolutely professional level, the single hybrid adjusters offer plenty of range. There’s a goldilocks setting for just about everyone thanks to 13 clicks of damping adjustment and 9 clicks of rebound.

Hell, even pro racer Tyler McCaul has been running a Bomber at Redbull Rampage for years. You should be just fine.

Especially for $999. Nearly half the price of the pro-racing spec Fox 40.

At this point I’m sure you’re wondering: What else did they cut out to get the price so low?

Aside from adjustability, the main things you give up with the Marzocchi are setup options from the factory.

For instance, 27.5” is the only available wheel size (you’ll be lacing up a custom one anyways), and a 52mm offset is the only factory option for the crowns (which happens to be the sweet spot for most riders).

The Bomber also foregoes the latest “boost” 20×110 front axle spacing, and sticks with the traditional 20×110 downhill setup.

You won’t get a Kashima coating on your uppers, and yes, the Bomber does weigh an extra 50 grams or so. But, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance your  bike is already over 100lbs anyways so… Who cares?

Again, everything you need, nothing you don’t. Save your money for skid plates, cockpit upgrades, and better wheels and tires. The Marzzo is the best fork upgrade for the Sun-Ron and anything else like it.

Best Budget Option: DNM USD 8

Yes, the DNM USD 8.

 That same fork that your Motoped, Stealth, or Sur-Ron probably came with from the factory unless you happened to score a limited “black edition” with a Rockshox Boxxer.

 The DNM fork is arguably the worst part on any bike you bolt it onto.

 It rides too low in the stroke, has next to zero small bump compliance, and is all but guaranteed to bottom out on big hits.

 So why is it on this list?

 Because for just over $150, a good suspension shop can transform your DNM into a real performer.

 Specialists like Dirtlabs Suspension out of Longmont, CO have done amazing tuning work with these budget forks and made them a serious contender.

Top of DNM fork – Rebound adjustment on the right, Pre-load adjustment on the left

Bottom of DNM fork with the air pressure adjustment valve under the right leg

By re-valving the OEM damper setup on the DNM, businesses like Dirtlabs allow the fork to ride higher in its travel, and increase its firmness throughout the stroke.

 That translates to VASTLY improved small bump compliance and a more progressive ramp-up that resists the OEM fork’s tendency to bottom out when you push it.

 That extra firmness doesn’t come at the cost of smoothness through, as Dirtlabs also replaces the abysmally thick oil in the stock fork. With a high-quality lower-weight oil, sticktion is reduced and travel is smoothed out throughout the stroke.

 This is clearly one of the best fork options for the Sur-Ron and other bikes like it for the low cost alone.

 DNM owners will also be happy to hear that the same treatment can be applied to the DNM Burner rear shock, meaning you can completely transform your entire suspension setup for around $300.

Motoped testing of DNM Forks

fox 40 front

Fox 40

Fox 40: When Money Is No Object

You’ve seen it, you know it, you love it (or you’d love a chance to, anyway): The race-proven Fox 40 needs no introduction here.

Yes, if money is something you can’t stand the sight of, the Fox 40 is a top performer for DH bikes and heavy eBikes alike and will happily make your money disappear. Vanish. Into thin air…

POOF! The Fox 40 transforms your cash into gold-plated Kashima bling and all your suspension worries magically fade into the void, hand-in-hand with your savings account.

We don’t have anything seriously negative to say about the Fox 40, because it’s either the best fork on the market or roughly tied for that spot alongside the folks at Ohlins.

fox 40 top

Top of Fox 40, with the High and low speed compression on the right leg and the Air adjustment on the left leg

Its GRIP 2 damper offers industry-leading adjustability, the FLOAT EVOL air spring is utterly top-notch, and it only comes in the latest 20×110 boost spacing because again, money is no object.

Honestly, the only negative thing we might say about the Fox 40 is that it’s just too much.

 Dialing in the high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustments takes some serious time, effort, and know-how. Many owners spend a week or more on the trail finding their sweet spot in this sea of adjustability.

Truth be told, there are really only two common types of riders who might be able to appreciate this level of fine-tuning:

  • Lightweight riders (we’re talking like 140lbs and lower) who ride their bikes very aggressively.
  • Heavier riders (as in 200lbs and up) who ride their bikes very mildly.

 Unless you fall into one of those categories… the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron or whatever else you might ride is somewhere else on this list.

fox 40 lower

Bottom of the Fox 40, with the High and low speed rebound on the right leg

Conclusion: The Best Fork Upgrade For Your Ride

Depending on how and where you ride, chances are you’re going to opt to replace your DNM with a Marzocchi Bomber 58, or hang onto the stock setup and let a pro upgrade it for you.

Ultimately, if you spend most of your time riding your eBike on the street with some trail time thrown in, even the Marzocchi may be overkill for the kind of riding you’re doing. It’s that good.

Keep in mind that even a factory DNM fork provides the same 203mm of travel as the other forks on this list.

And while it needs some love in the damping department, all of its other components feel overbuilt.

The DNM feels much stronger than its 35mm stanchions suggest, and the Motopeds team put this thing through the ringer on everything from massive jumps to gnarly trails and hasn’t managed to break a single one.

What customers love about the Sur-Ron is its low cost-to-fun ratio, and adding $150 to the price tag hurts less than $999 for the Bomber and a lot less than the $1600-$2000 you’ll spend on a Fox 40 when it’s all said and done.

Also keep in mind those prices don’t include the rear shock, which is just as bad as the fork, but can also be retuned for around $150.

$300 out the door for a solid performing suspension is certainly a value-added proposition worth considering.

Still, if you’re doing lots of trail time, riding technical singletrack, or frequenting the motocross parks, the best fork upgrade for the Sur-Ron or anything else in this category is the Marzocchi, hands-down.