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What is the difference between these two front suspension types ? enter image description here

and this type :

enter image description here

On the upper the suspension seems stronger but is there any difference in the build type ?

Please ignore the different branding and model.

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Almost impossible to tell. The accordion type plastic structure is window dressing, it has nothing to do with the suspension. The actual suspension is inside the forks, and from those it's not possible to tell if they are air spring or coil spring (or a combo) fork suspensions. I would suspect that the Kona (Which is full suspension) has air spring forks, while the inexpensive lower bike has coil spring forks (Cheaper and heavier). – JohnP Apr 24 '14 at 20:57
up vote 4 down vote accepted

This biggest difference is the top (Kona) is a Dual Crown fork where as the bottom image has a Single Crown fork. Dual crowns are generally found on downhill mountain bikes. The style has been copied down to department store bikes as well, but don't let the look fool you those forks are still only as good as what you paid for them. For a while, there were some lesser travel dual crown forks made (old Specialized Enduros had them).

Both of these forks are most likely coil-sprung, meaning they rely on a spring to produce suspension and not air being compressed. Both also probably possess some degree of adjustment such as rebound or damping (or none at all).

As for use, the dual crown is meant to handle more rough terrain and jumps/drops as it is more stiff and tortionally rigid. The upper crown also helps to remove force from the steer tube. Single crowns are found in travel ranges of 80mm-170mm and can be meant for anything from XC to aggressive freeriding.

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Common upper limit for single crown is 180mm. – cherouvim Apr 28 '14 at 13:51

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