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Old 08-10-17, 06:42 PM   #1
cthorsman
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Suspension, or not ?

Hi all :-) I am searching for a folder to carry around in my car.

I am 5'9" tall, 200 lbs (and slowly dropping), 66 years old and wanting to ride for overall health, mind and body.

Shops with folders are about 3 hours away. I have made the trip twice and about to go again to a third shop.

So far have tried a Citizen, Dahon, pos no-name, Bike Friday Pocket Companion, Xootr Swift, Tern Link, Tern IOS, and a couple of Bromptons.

My opinions so far: do not like Brompton, not crazy about Citizen, Dahon or Tern 20 inchers. Bike Friday and Swift were impressive rides, BUT, I have acquired several kinks over the years and require a fully upright riding position as my norm. The 24" Tern IOS has come the closest so far, but even with it I would need a different handlebar. It's 25" top tube has the stock handlebars a bit far out for me.

Also, with tax and new handlebars I am looking at close to $900. I could, but I shouldn't. I have seen an older IOS on Craigslist, but am concerned about the reported frame breaking issues.

I would prefer a softer ride than the 20" bikes have given and wonder if a suspension bike would suit me. If I find what I think is my perfect bike I could expand my budget, but hope to stay $600 or less. If the IOS were $500 It would have come home with me, but I am not Jonesing for it.

The Downtube and Origami full suspension bikes are interesting. Can anyone who owns one offer their opinion. What I have seen indicates the 9FS is well liked, but it appears to have a longish top tube for me. I find very little current opinions on the Origami suspension offerings.

Sorry for the long post, but i figured best to give a complete picture.

Focusing on full suspension for now.

Any thoughts appreciated. Regards, Craig
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Old 08-10-17, 08:49 PM   #2
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The first line of suspension for bicycles are there tires. If you are OK with 20-inch tires, I would stay away from suspension systems. With wider, supple 20 inch tires the ride is comfortable, enough. Suspension adds weight and complexity and are prone to "bob". With 16 inch tires, the smaller air volume makes suspension more of a necessity and less diameter to handle bumps. 16 inch folders are better for multi-mode commutes and storage.

If you can get a swift, and are OK with their fold, swap out the handlebars for some Northroad or swept back style ones. Velo Orange has a good selection.
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Old 08-10-17, 10:27 PM   #3
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I have both suspension and non-suspension folders.

My downtube 9fs is dual suspension. It weighs quite a bit more than my non-suspensed Tern D8 but I can tell you the ride is extremely nice and comfortable. The extra weight is more than worth it for the enhanced comfort imo especially on long rides. It doesn't feel heavy at all when riding it. The bobbing isn't really noticeable or bothersome in any way at least not to me. You can get a suspended seatpost made just for Tern bikes which improves the ride but of course its not as good as having full suspension.
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Old 08-11-17, 01:40 AM   #4
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If you ride with an upright position, a suspension seat post would be a good option. Check out the seat tube size on the bikes you like the most, and then see what suspension posts are available in that size.
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Old 08-11-17, 01:43 AM   #5
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If you're not into racing, riding to keep fit, commute or for fun, at age above 50, a full sus will do ya good.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:13 AM   #6
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The first line of suspension for bicycles are there tires. If you are OK with 20-inch tires, I would stay away from suspension systems. With wider, supple 20 inch tires the ride is comfortable, enough. Suspension adds weight and complexity and are prone to "bob". With 16 inch tires, the smaller air volume makes suspension more of a necessity and less diameter to handle bumps. 16 inch folders are better for multi-mode commutes and storage.

If you can get a swift, and are OK with their fold, swap out the handlebars for some Northroad or swept back style ones. Velo Orange has a good selection.
Thanks Schwinnsta. I will check out 20" tires more carefully this weekend. And play with air pressure. My take on the Swift was it is designed to ride as a road bike. My neck will not tolerate that, can't look up much without pain. Thanks, also, for the tip on the Velo Orange. I assume whatever I do will involve some type of sweep back on the handle bars.

The only Swift I found to try was a size small frame at the bikes@vienna store, D.C. suburb. Good price, brand new. Too small for me, though.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:22 AM   #7
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I have both suspension and non-suspension folders.

My downtube 9fs is dual suspension. It weighs quite a bit more than my non-suspensed Tern D8 but I can tell you the ride is extremely nice and comfortable. The extra weight is more than worth it for the enhanced comfort imo especially on long rides. It doesn't feel heavy at all when riding it. The bobbing isn't really noticeable or bothersome in any way at least not to me. You can get a suspended seatpost made just for Tern bikes which improves the ride but of course its not as good as having full suspension.
Thanks, northerlights. You verbalize exactly what I hoped would be the experience of riding a full suspension folder. I can't ride hard, just want something comfortable to cruise around on and increase my time in saddle. Read your post several times. Now need to find one to try.
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Old 08-11-17, 02:25 AM   #8
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If you ride with an upright position, a suspension seat post would be a good option. Check out the seat tube size on the bikes you like the most, and then see what suspension posts are available in that size.
Hi, Sangestu. If I go with an unsuspended bike I will have a suspension seatpost. Thudbusters seem popular. Thanks
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Old 08-11-17, 02:30 AM   #9
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If you're not into racing, riding to keep fit, commute or for fun, at age above 50, a full sus will do ya good.
Exactly, Tokwan! Riding for fun and health. Trying to lose a few pounds and keep the pump working. At age above 65, how the heck did I get so old so quick?

OK, thanks for the replies. Woke up in the middle of the nite and now time to go back to sleep. Happy dreams

Last edited by cthorsman; 08-11-17 at 02:33 AM. Reason: To add salutation
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Old 08-11-17, 07:02 AM   #10
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That is why we ride. By the way, I am 58yo, about your height and weighs about 176lbs (managed to bring the weight down from 210lbs, in the last 5 months.
I ride a full suspension mountain bike.
Why a mountain bike? It allows me the freedom to ride either offroad and on road, sort of no barriers bike. This way, I get to ride more and have more fun.
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Old 08-11-17, 07:54 AM   #11
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Since you are in Maryland, you are welcome to come down to Richmond to try the Origami models. We are open by appointment, so we are generally available in evenings and weekends if that helps.
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Old 08-11-17, 08:00 AM   #12
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Suspension is the answer!

Thanks,
Yan
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Old 08-11-17, 08:15 AM   #13
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a suspension seat post suspends you..
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Old 08-11-17, 09:53 AM   #14
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Speaking generally, there's nothing more subjective in evaluating bikes than matters related to comfort. All the contact points - between you and the bike (saddle, bars/grips, pedals/shoes), between the bike and the road (i.e., tires) - as well as any suspension elements fall into the one-man's-meat-is-another-man's-poison category.

So, subjectively: I've ridden a Downtube full suspension heavily and am now using a Xootr Swift as my main ride. I prefer the unsuspended 20 incher as long as it has my holy trinity of comfort: Brooks saddle, Ergon grips, and Big Apple tire in front. These might not work for you, but, for most people (assuming the bike fits you properly) choice of saddle, bars/grips setup and tires will have the biggest impact on comfort.

Suspension can definitely make the bike more comfy, but keep in mind: all other things being equal, suspension adds weight, cost and maintenance to any bike (as well as pedal bob, which may or may not bother you). And on cheaper bikes, with cheaper suspension elements, it adds components which will degrade in performance quickly and will need (sometimes expensive) replacements down the road.
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Old 08-11-17, 11:39 AM   #15
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a suspension seat post suspends you..
Thanks feitsbob. 26,293 posts, amazing!

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Old 08-11-17, 11:49 AM   #16
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Thanks, Pinigis and Yan, for responding. Pinigis, i will consider a visit, but if Yan is in Hawaii i would rather visit him. Yan, any chance you could send me a ticket? Coach will be fine.
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Old 08-11-17, 12:39 PM   #17
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Thanks, Pinigis and Yan, for responding. Pinigis, i will consider a visit, but if Yan is in Hawaii i would rather visit him. Yan, any chance you could send me a ticket? Coach will be fine.
Hawaii over the South Side of Richmond?!?! You have to get your priorities straight! Sure, they have beautiful beaches and warm weather, but WE have history....and crime...
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Old 08-11-17, 01:44 PM   #18
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I quit my job in Hawaii. Kaua'i was the most beautiful place I have ever lived, but the work environment was toxic. I left after the Fall semester & started delivering sandwiches for Jimmy John's. I prefer delivering to Hawai'i.

Thanks
Yan
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Old 08-13-17, 03:10 PM   #19
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The Swift only comes in one frame size. There are taller handlebar stems and longer seatposts available that they would call a large or X-large. or at least they were. However it is also easy to change stem and bars on the Swift.
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Old 08-13-17, 03:57 PM   #20
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Just to be clear you don't get pedal bob with a thudbuster sup seatpost as the distance remains the same to the pedals.
You do get bounce.
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Old 08-14-17, 11:40 AM   #21
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Thanks feitsbob. 26,293 posts, amazing!
That total is after resetting the count.
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Old 08-14-17, 06:22 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Speaking generally, there's nothing more subjective in evaluating bikes than matters related to comfort. All the contact points - between you and the bike (saddle, bars/grips, pedals/shoes), between the bike and the road (i.e., tires) - as well as any suspension elements fall into the one-man's-meat-is-another-man's-poison category.

So, subjectively: I've ridden a Downtube full suspension heavily and am now using a Xootr Swift as my main ride. I prefer the unsuspended 20 incher as long as it has my holy trinity of comfort: Brooks saddle, Ergon grips, and Big Apple tire in front. These might not work for you, but, for most people (assuming the bike fits you properly) choice of saddle, bars/grips setup and tires will have the biggest impact on comfort.

Suspension can definitely make the bike more comfy, but keep in mind: all other things being equal, suspension adds weight, cost and maintenance to any bike (as well as pedal bob, which may or may not bother you). And on cheaper bikes, with cheaper suspension elements, it adds components which will degrade in performance quickly and will need (sometimes expensive) replacements down the road.
Thanks, Troc. I hadn't included the ownership / maintenance of the bike into my thinking. Weather kept me from visiting another shop that stocks folders on Saturday past, but I will be sampling some more unsuspended 20" rides sometime this week. Also, have a question I wil send pm. Hope that's ok.
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Old 08-14-17, 07:04 PM   #23
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Just to be clear you don't get pedal bob with a thudbuster sup seatpost as the distance remains the same to the pedals.
You do get bounce.
Hmm, I had to come back and figure out the above. Bounce, no bob.

I used to bounce. I like bounce. Tiggers bounce
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Old 08-15-17, 12:52 AM   #24
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When you hit a bump on a thudbuster the supsension moves down and back in an arc. The pedal to seat distance is keep the same therefore.
It is not damped so afterwards there is some continued bounce on this arc from the bump.
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Old 08-15-17, 12:56 AM   #25
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When you hit a bump on a thudbuster the supsension moves down and back in an arc. The pedal to seat distance is keep the same therefore.
It is not damped so afterwards there is some continued bounce on this arc from the bump.
The elastomer itself is lossy so technically it is damped. This makes a huge difference actually.
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