It might help to define small drops. Small to me is when a drop is shorter than the rider. I only do small drops. I learned to do small drops on Manitou Black with 120 mm of travel. Further, I have seen small drops done on all ranges of air sprung Fox XC forks. However, there is more than just size that causes a drop to be abusive on equipment. The steepness of the transition, density of the landing point and texture of the landing area can all change what a fork can do. A three foot to flat drop on urban concrete can jar your soul. But, six feet to a nice steep tranny made of soft dirt is like landing in butter. Throw rocks and roots in the landing area and the rules adjust again. Still, I would say that as long as you’re keeping it below three feet and do not land in rock gardens, the Fox F120 will be fine.
Another thing you will want take into account is how often you will be doing drops and more aggressive downhill single track. Although I’ve never seen the phrase, aggressive downhill single track could easily define my riding. If you wanted to ride with someone like me three or four times a year, you shouldn’t have a problem with either of those bikes. If however, you want to make it a weekly thing, then durability really comes into question. The fork wouldn’t be the first of my worries, the linkage on the frame and the wheel set would.
Small is likely to be a couple of feet (at most) from elevation to flat on single track and perhaps the same sort of height on to gravel. Certainly this will only be every once in a while, although it may need to withstand a period of me hashing it up.
What is bothering me, is the definition of all mountain – some magazines put the 5" travel in to the â€œall mountainâ€