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  1. #1
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    Downtube 8H vs 8HN Suspension, Differences?

    My first post!

    I'm trying to decide between:
    - 8H Front Suspension, SA Hub or
    - 8HN No Suspension, SA Hub

    I current ride a 26" wheeled unfolding mountain bike with no suspension, it's old, poorly maintained and I inherited it for free, almost everything should probably be replaced but it's still functional. I generally ride for fitness / fun (10-30 miles mostly on weekends), and some utility riding around town, grocery store, shopping, hopefully city commuting in the future. All riding is on paved roads, sometimes some gravel poorly paved roads but nothing I wouldn't do on a road bike.

    My only real problem with the 8HN is the color, I don't like that shade of blue so I am considering the silver or red 8H but I'm worried about the suspension.

    I've never had a bike with suspension, so:
    1) How does suspension affect:
    a) Performance (I like riding fast, how big of a hit will the suspension be? I never race or anything but just like going kind of fast.)
    b) Maintenance (I know I'll be bad with maintenance, thus the SA Hub, and a folding bike I can keep inside out of the elements, will the suspension need maintenance?)
    c) Comfort (My ride is kind of rough sometimes now, but I attribute a lot of that to the condition of many of the components, does the Front Suspension make a big difference in comfort for those occasional rough patches? Comfort isn't really that important for me.
    d) Can the fork be replaced easily if I decide I don't like it?

    2) Is there any other difference between the 8H and 8HN besides the suspension and color options? The downtube website didn't exactly make this clear, a detailed feature (or component) by feature table on the website would be nice but may be pointless based on the answer to this question.

    Thanks guys! Think I'll get it by Friday if I order tonight or tomorrow? (NY)

  2. #2
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrdeep View Post
    My first post!

    I'm trying to decide between:
    - 8H Front Suspension, SA Hub or
    - 8HN No Suspension, SA Hub

    I current ride a 26" wheeled unfolding mountain bike with no suspension, it's old, poorly maintained and I inherited it for free, almost everything should probably be replaced but it's still functional. I generally ride for fitness / fun (10-30 miles mostly on weekends), and some utility riding around town, grocery store, shopping, hopefully city commuting in the future. All riding is on paved roads, sometimes some gravel poorly paved roads but nothing I wouldn't do on a road bike.

    My only real problem with the 8HN is the color, I don't like that shade of blue so I am considering the silver or red 8H but I'm worried about the suspension.

    I've never had a bike with suspension, so:
    1) How does suspension affect:
    a) Performance (I like riding fast, how big of a hit will the suspension be? I never race or anything but just like going kind of fast.)
    b) Maintenance (I know I'll be bad with maintenance, thus the SA Hub, and a folding bike I can keep inside out of the elements, will the suspension need maintenance?)
    c) Comfort (My ride is kind of rough sometimes now, but I attribute a lot of that to the condition of many of the components, does the Front Suspension make a big difference in comfort for those occasional rough patches? Comfort isn't really that important for me.
    d) Can the fork be replaced easily if I decide I don't like it?

    2) Is there any other difference between the 8H and 8HN besides the suspension and color options? The downtube website didn't exactly make this clear, a detailed feature (or component) by feature table on the website would be nice but may be pointless based on the answer to this question.

    Thanks guys! Think I'll get it by Friday if I order tonight or tomorrow? (NY)
    If you're into performance, you won't like suspension. It just adds weight and saps energy. Unless you're riding dirt roads, or jumping off curbs, you don't need the suspension anyway, the pneumatic tires absorb all you need. However, be aware that the 8HN is 2" shorter in wheelbase, so the riding position and handling may affect how fast you're willing to go (especially downhill) on that model.

    There's more things to go wrong with the front suspension. The stock front forks aren't that great to begin with, and others have reported problems/failures. The internal hub is great - only way to go with folders in my opinion.

    If you're not real sensitive on comfort, a non-suspension bike will suit you fine. That's how I like my folders - without suspension.

    Front forks are easy to swap out. You can get them from various Internet sources or from Yan directly.

    If I were you, I'd still buy the 8H for the frame geometry and swap out the front fork some time in the future. I'm 6ft tall, and didn't like the short wheelbase for going fast ( which I like to do also).

  3. #3
    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    However, be aware that the 8HN is 2" shorter in wheelbase...
    Is this b/c the rigid fork has less rake than the shock? Or is this frame just shorter?

  4. #4
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosephLMonti View Post
    Is this b/c the rigid fork has less rake than the shock? Or is this frame just shorter?

    I think its the frame dimension (they don't share the same frame design).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    If I were you, I'd still buy the 8H for the frame geometry and swap out the front fork some time in the future. I'm 6ft tall, and didn't like the short wheelbase for going fast ( which I like to do also).
    If you were to do this, would you buy a stock fork from DT, I think it's around $50, or would you upgrade and if so, to what?

    Moreover, the suspension fork adds at least 1.5 lbs.

  6. #6
    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    If you were to do this, would you buy a stock fork from DT, I think it's around $50, or would you upgrade and if so, to what?
    I just ordered a rigid fork from DT to replace the stock shock...I'll let you know how it goes. Personally, I was never crazy about having a shock on my folder but felt that the design of the front suspension model's frame appeared sturdier than the non-suspension model's frame.

    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    Moreover, the suspension fork adds at least 1.5 lbs.
    I know that posters have quoted the 2007 shock's weight as 4lbs (which means it adds 2.5lbs)...is the 2008 shock a pound lighter?

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the help guys, I ordered a silver 8H with front suspension yesterday.

    JosephLMonti: Please keep us updated either in this thread or a new one with your fork swap.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, how's the fork swap? What was your motivation?

    I'm considering swapping mine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by makeinu View Post
    Yeah, how's the fork swap? What was your motivation?

    I'm considering swapping mine.
    Funny you mention it, I just posted some pics and mini-review in the DT thread last nite.

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