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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 05-11-01, 08:11 AM   #1
AlphaGeek
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I'm pondering a new bike. I haven't been commuting long. I'm trying to evaluate if a front fork suspension is worth the extra 90 bucks or not. It's usually cheaper to buy it up front, rather than change out later, but do I really need it on a commute. Whadduya think?
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Old 05-11-01, 08:20 AM   #2
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I would say yes, mostly because any bike(more than likely) that has a suspension fork, is going to be a better bike (ie. frame, components). They just don't sell high quality MTB's without suspension, even though you can get some nice hybrids.

I personally commute 10 miles a day and have a front suspension, but if I were commuting longer I would consider getting a road bike.

If you are deciding between a rigid MTB or a hardtail, I would say go with the hardtail.
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Old 05-11-01, 09:19 AM   #3
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Its getting really hard to find a good non-sus MTB.
Consider fitting a fixed fork (like a Kona Project) to a good frame. Just make sure you can fit fenders if you feel the urge to stay dry.

If you want the bike just for the road, consider a different style. That doesn't have to mean a competition racing bike or comfort-fit hybrid. There are cyclo-cross bikes (off road racing) , light touring bikes (for long day rides), standard touring bikes. Check out Jamis, Bianchi and REI for some good value practical bikes.
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Old 05-11-01, 09:22 AM   #4
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To answer your other Q, No a sus fork serves no purpose on a road going bike and makes climbing more difficult.
The fixed forks should be supple enough to absorb a lot of road shock, and the lack of moving parts means you have a more reliable machine that takes less servicing.
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Old 05-11-01, 09:26 AM   #5
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I would say yes also get it. If you are going the route of MTB with front suspension to commute on, the benefit is of course you can take it off road if you wish. Unlike a road or a hybrid, or even a comfort bike, it will handle better off road. Sure it does not ride as well as a road or touring bike on pavement, but there are downsides to every bike in certain applications. However if this is strictly a commuter, and nothing more you might want to think of a hybrid. I still think a good MTB would be better for if you need to go off the pavement real fast and it is rough doing so a MTB would suit the task better.
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Old 05-11-01, 09:37 AM   #6
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Don't be afraid to ride rigid. I can commute, ride trails, race xc on my mountain bike. I weighs less, too, and it's good for climbing hills.
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Old 05-11-01, 09:39 AM   #7
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Actually, I'm thinking in terms of a hybrid. Simply because I don't do mountains or dirt, just daily 5 mi commute. I used to have a mountain bike, but it was stolen. Ouch that still hurts! So the revised question is: Should I get suspension for the front fork on a hybrid (cross bike)?
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Old 05-11-01, 09:45 AM   #8
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If it is purely for commuting there would be no reason for a suspension fork. And as MichaelW said, such a fork would only add more maintenance to the bike. Also, consider the fact that a suspension fork will add a couple more pounds to the bike. Sorry Hunter, I am a "weight weenie".
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Old 05-11-01, 01:08 PM   #9
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I had a daily 5-mi-each-way commute on which I accumulated 13,000 miles without benefit of a suspension fork. Discomfort was the least of my worries! Even though some of the roads were rough, all I needed to do was rise momentarily out of the seat to accomodate steel plates, potholes, big waves of asphalt, etc. Usually this was on my mountain bike. But when I rode the road bike, I just did the same, only I would have to swerve around some stuff that would have given me a pinch flat or other trouble with the more delicate wheels.

To me it seems suspension for city riding is only added weight, and potential added trouble and expense.
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Old 05-11-01, 01:24 PM   #10
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Any suspension of any kind is terribly energy insufficient, would not have it.!!!
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Old 05-11-01, 02:29 PM   #11
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AlphaGeek,
I have a Giant Cypress DX with the front suspension fork. It has its benefits, I guess, as I do ride on pretty rough streets, but I would not spend the extra money if I had it to do over again. I would get the model that has just the suspension seat post. When you don't need the extra shock absorption anymore you can tighten the clamp to lock out the suspension.
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Old 05-11-01, 06:31 PM   #12
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I understand the benefits of suspension forks are lost on pavement.
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Old 05-11-01, 07:19 PM   #13
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My commuter bike is a hybrid with rigid forks, an older Giant Innova.

It rides very well even on rough pavement. I've put smaller tires on than the originals and with the higher tire pressure I feel the bumps slightly more, but as JonR says you can avoid or reduce most of that with riding technique.

The faster speeds with the smaller tires more than make up for the slightly rougher ride. I don't think you need suspension if you don't intend to go off road. Actually I've taken the hybrid on some light off road trails, with the larger tires, and it was quite adequate.
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