Recreational & Family - Hybrid/Comfort Bike
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07-06-05, 09:38 PM
I'm looking in to a Hybrid or Comfort Bike. I'm wondering if it is worth getting front suspension or if it makes much difference. This would be for riding on the river bed (blacktop by my house) or just putting around the streets.
07-07-05, 06:17 AM
I got one with suspension forks and honestly can't tell if it made any difference or not. I don't feel them "spring" when I hit bumpy areas much.
07-07-05, 06:38 AM
A friend of mine that works in our LBS told me that front shocks are more for serious bumps and ruts, and that they don't compress much when used on the street. I haven't ever ridden on a bike with one, so I can't say for sure, this is just what I've been told.
I had a mountain bike that I was riding on the street. When I took the suspension front fork off and put on an old used solid front fork, I loved the bike even more, because it was lighter and handled better. I am no fan of front suspension.
07-07-05, 09:03 AM
I would go with a rigid front fork and spend the money you save on other areas such as accessories or upgrades. To soften the ride a bit you could use a suspension seat post and use beefy (1.5 to 2") tires with 40-50 PSI. Front forks are overprescribed and just add extra weight. As well, you would have to buy a mid-range fork to get any kind of decent quality.
Just my 2 cents.
07-07-05, 10:08 AM
The next upgrade I am doing on my bike is a non suspension seat post. But I like the front suspension. Ohio streets suck, and I noticed this when I road my friends 3 speed without suspension. I didnít notice it in the seat, but I sure felt it in my hands. I think when I am on my seat it is all the way to the bottom anyway, but the front forks definitely take the buzz out of my hands.
07-07-05, 10:33 AM
It adds to much weight for the little benefit it gives. My wife's Giant Cypress is a heavy cumbersome hog. I much like my Trek 730 w/o suspension. I really have no idea why comfort bikes have front suspension.
I have front suspension on my hybrid and I wish I hadn't. It doesn't give all that much benefit and it does make the bike heavier and less responsive. If I were buying a bike today, I'd definitely get a rigid fork.
07-07-05, 01:00 PM
Have you looked at the Trek 7x00FX line of hybrids? They have the solid front fork. I compared a 7200FX and a regular 7200, and liked the ride of the FX much better...it somehow just wanted to "go" more. I don't know if it was because of a weight difference, or the guy at the LBS said it might be that the front suspension absorbs your energy when starting out instead of translating into forward momentum. They also cost $30 less, and have different shifters and saddle.
Other than those Treks, all the hybrids I looked at only had solid forks on the lowest model, usually an all-steel frame rather than aluminum. 'Course you could always switch forks if you wanted an aluminum without the front suspension.
The other thing I found out is that some models have adjustable suspension, some have non-adjustable. So that might affect your ride too.
07-07-05, 02:46 PM
I have a hybrid with a suspension fork. I like the ride of the bike, but I can't say that suspension is a make or break item. Mine will give if I hit a decent pothole or other defect in the road and that does help with the shock to your hands and arms. Stretches of sustained bumps are definitely a little smoother.
On the other hand I'm sure if it didn't have suspension I would get used to that and ride as well. There is little doubt that the front fork absorbs some energy, but at my level of riding I don't think it makes as much difference as my excess weight or generally poor shape. Best advice is ride it and see how it feels under you -- do you feel a lack of responsiveness or other issues that would lead you to another bike or to replacing the fork with a rigid one? That is the only test that matters.
07-07-05, 02:48 PM
Are the FX bikes as Comfortable as the 7000 series that is not FX. I guess by comfortable I'm talking about your legs and back not the smoothness of the ride.
07-07-05, 05:43 PM
I believe the actual geometry (frame angles, length of tubes) of the frames are the same between all the 7x00s and 7x00s (as long as you are comparing the men's models- the women's are different and not the same between FX and non-fx, and not the same as the men's), so your posture should be the same on each. The higher levels of each series might have more adjustable stems, I just can't remember. Check trekbikes.com for all the specs.
In terms of the losing energy to the suspension fork, one of the reasons I didn't want the susp fork is that I plan to pull a trailer or a trail-a-bike, so I want all my energy going toward propelling the bike!
I think it probably depends on the conditions of where you are riding. I am doing bike lanes and paved bike paths...really no big bumps to speak of. And my current bike is an OLD road bike so I'm not used to a cushy ride, but I am used to sitting slightly off the seat when the bump comes.
I bought a 7200fx last month, but was shocked at how bumpy the ride was with the aluminum frame. I was coming from a steel-framed bike.
The vibrations on normal road surfaces and bike paths resulted in me selling the 7200fx and going back to my older steel bike.
The lighter weight of the aluminum frame wasn't worth the trade-off in ride comfort for me.
07-08-05, 04:41 PM
That's an interesting point about aluminum vs. steel. I hope I'm not disappointed in my FX when it comes. I'm keeping my old steel road bike just in case, too! Actually, if I ever start doing longer distances, I think I'd like to upgrade my old bike, b/c it fits me very well. I'm just don't feel stable enough on it to feel comfy pulling the trailer or trail-a-bike, I wobble every time I change gears with the downtube shifters.
Regarding the comfort bikes and hybrids, the lowest model of Trek 7000 and Nav 50, and Giant Sedona ST and Cypress ST are all steel and don't have suspension forks, I think.
07-11-05, 11:48 PM
I just bought a hybrid with front suspension because I know I will be using the bike on rough roads and dirt trails at times. I also made sure to upgrade the suspension with the Lock-out feature to allow me the benefits of a rigid fork on smooth paved roads.
The extra cost for the lock-out suspension was worth it for me to fully enjoy my bike both on and off road - Which is what a hybrid should be all about.
By the way, once you ride a bike that has a lock-out suspension, you will be able to tell that there IS a significant difference with a front suspension, even on a moderately bumpy road.
I was thankful for the front suspension on my hybrid today. I took a country route to get in some hill climbing and hit 33 MPH on the way down a couple of hills. The suspension soaked up the bumps well at that speed.
07-12-05, 11:22 PM
If your just riding the river bed then a non shock fork is your ticket, but if you have in the back of your mind to ride lite dirt trails then maybe the shock is for you. On flat bed bike paths its more appealing to ride rigid fork. Weight saving and predictable handling.
07-13-05, 05:16 AM
Weight saving and predictable handling.
I will give you the weight thing. The front suspension on my bike is very heavy. I will not give you the handling part, my bike handles like a dream.
The best advice I can give you is everyone has their own opinion, and until you test ride the bike you will not be able to have an educated opinion of your own. You can read what we say all day long, but you need to make up your own mind. Test ride everything you can. Then buy what feels best to you.
You have your own riding stile, and what is right for me is not necessarily going to be right for you.
[You have your own riding style, and what is right for me is not necessarily going to be right for you.]
Well said Bigmark!!!! It is good to get opinions, but the final decision is yours to make.
I have front suspension on my hybrid and I really wish it had a lockout. When I am pushing up a hard hill I see the shock compress with each turn of the crank, and I realize that that's MY energy being wasted by pushing that darn shock up and down.
If you are riding off-road trails, get the shock. On paved roads, forget about it, would be my advice.
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