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.
Thanks ina advance for your thoughts on this.