Is it better to have front suspension for getting around NYC?
Hi, I'm a newb, starting to get into biking for the first time since I was a kid. I live in Manhattan, 49 yr old male, average size and fitness. I want a bike for commuting crosstown and for rec use on weekends. I've narrowed my search to the Raleigh Passage 4.0 and the Marin Larkspur (or possibly the Marin Novato).
One big difference between the Raleigh and the Marin is the Raleigh has front suspension and the Marin does not. I've heard two different opinions from two different bike shops. There is an LBS a few blocks from my apartment that sells the Raleigh, and a larger bike shop a half hour walking distance that sells the Marin (but not the Raleigh).
After visiting the shop by me I was thinking of getting the Raleigh, but the larger shop told my that they recommend not getting front suspension. They said that they frequently need repair (at least on the moderately priced hybrids), and that they sometimes end up replacing it with a rigid fork. He also said the front suspension adds extra weight, but this doesn't seem like a major issue to me (they also recommend a Kryptonite New York lock that seems to weigh about ten pounds).
I went back to the shop selling the Raleigh and they said that they haven't had a lot of bikes in for repair of the front suspension, and they think it's a good feature to have.
What's your opinion? Is front suspension a desirable feature on city streets? I've seen a comment in this forum that a person did not like the feel of riding a bike with front suspension. How does it feel different?
Another difference in the bikes is that the Marin Larkspur is a bit sportier than the Raleigh Passage and a little less upright. I'm a little unsure which way to go on this. I like the Marin Novato because it's got fenders built in, but it's getting higher in price than I planned on going.
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I would test ride a couple bikes with and without suspension on the roads in your area and see what you think. I have both rigid bikes and front suspension bikes that I ride in the city. I go faster on the rigid bike BUT the bike with the front suspension is more comfortable.
I think the right bike will totally depend on how you ride and what the roads are like.
BTW - my front suspension bike is a cheap mtn bike and I have never needed to service my fork other than a little lubrication once a year. Also with high pressure slicks on this bike I am able to crush guys on road bikes all the time. Whatever energy I lose to the front fork I make up for my not slowing down on rough roads.
I just got back into biking after a long layoff. Have an old Trek 6000 which had a front suspension. After two days of commuting from Brooklyn to the Village in NYC traffic, I took the bike in and had the fork changed out for a standard rigid fork. Much nicer ride. I was not a fan of trying to take off quick at an intersection and bouncing up and down as I peddled. The weight difference was negligable (though the rigid fork is lighter), but the bike handles much better now.
Unless you like more bouncing rather than going forwards I'd not get the front suspension.
I didn't read the OP's looong post, but the gist is: only buy a suspension fork for urban riding if you're an old bloke with a bad back or some such, and comfort is 10x as important as speed. If you have decent bike handling skills (can hop the front wheel over a pothole etc.) and want to go anything like fast, then go rigid.
Originally Posted by dutret
Do you deny that you are clueless or do you just think that "moron" didn't need to be tacked on there?
I also was thinking of the Trek 7.2 FX and Trek 7300. I couldn't find any negative comments online about the Larkspur. Everybody that owns one seems to be really pleased with it. The biggest selling point for me over the 7.2 FX was the way it looks. The online image doesn't really do it justice. It's a really sleek looking bike. It was love at first sight. I'm a long time Apple Macintosh user, and Marin kind of reminds of that company--not the biggest market share, but its products just ooze quality.