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Old 12-05-07, 04:51 AM   #1
Smallwheels
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Do Full Size Full Suspension Bicycles Exist?

Are folding bicycles and mini bicycles the only road bicycles that have full suspensions? Lately I've been wanting to get a faster bicycle for riding around town. At this time I have a rigid frame recumbent with dual 20" wheels and a comfort bicycle with 26" wheels and a 32cc motor. The comfort model has a front suspension which I really like. It has a Thudbuster suspension seat post that works great too. I can fly over bumps on it in comfort.

The recumbent is really more comfortable than the "comfort" bicycle on smooth roads but the weight distribution is very uneven, which makes it a bit twitchy on gravel. Its 20" wheels make it a handful on bumpy roads.

Having a conventional bicycle would be much safer to ride on the icy roads during the Montana winter months. Having a suspension would add to the riding experience.

The Specialized Crossroads is a bike with 700c wheels, a front suspension, and an inexpensive suspension seat post. It's just a different type of comfort bicycle. It is probably a little heavier than a good mini bike with a suspension.

If anyone knows of some full suspension road or touring bicycles that cost around $600 or less please let me know and I will look them up on the internet.

Thank you.

Last edited by Smallwheels; 12-05-07 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-05-07, 09:12 AM   #2
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I think you'll get a better response in the road forum or touring forum. One generally pays a premium for folding bikes, which makes your $600 mark hard to achieve.
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Old 12-05-07, 09:27 AM   #3
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From what you describe the nearest thing I can think of that fits your description and budget would be a Y-framed 'mountain' bike with a few changes to make it better for full time road use. These frames are usually fairly heavy and cheap but incorporate a swinging rear triangle that covers what you say your need are. Y-Frames generally aren't made by any of the 'big name' manufacturers so I won't link you to a specific bike here. There are plenty of lighter frames with swinging rear triangle suspension from higher-end manufacturers like Kona, Cannondale and Trek but I fear these might be further from your budget.

All these bikes would come with 26" wheels and likely have knobbly tyres for mixed or offroad use but it's very easy to make an MTB into something more suited to road commuting by switching out the tyres (and tubes) to something more efficient for Tarmac and higher pressures. Tyres like the Schwalbe Marathons are a good all-purpose tyre and you'll not need to pedal as hard due to the efficency of having them pumped to a higher pressure. 26" tyres can be got in very skinny sizes (25mm) right up to 1 3/4" so there's plenty of choice if you look in the right places. For winter use you'll probably not want skinny slicks though

Also - it's worth noting there is a movement in MTB circles now to ride with larger 29" tyres which are similar in size to 700c wheels so that might also be an avenue of enquiry.

Other additions to make it more suitable for road use might be some changes to the drive system by changing the rear cassette or chainring to lose the lowest gears not needed on road-bike, and gain a few higher ones for cruising at a lower cadence.

Good page about evolution of the Y-Frame:
http://www.users.bigpond.com/cool386/trek/trek.htm
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Old 12-05-07, 03:58 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post
Are folding bicycles and mini bicycles the only road bicycles that have full suspensions?
Very few true "road bikes" have any sort of suspension. Lots of tourers will use a Brooks saddle and stick with that.

Many MTB's and hybrids have some type of suspension -- front only, seatpost, or full. Lots of people use MTB or hybrid for touring, as you get an upright position, suspension and so forth.


Quote:
Originally Posted by smallwheels
Having a conventional bicycle would be much safer to ride on the icy roads during the Montana winter months. Having a suspension would add to the riding experience.
Maybe, but the winter cycling thread is a better place to find out if suspension is actually helpful in cold weather.

As to options, I'd just go to your LBS, tell them you want a full suspension bike for touring and winter riding, and see what they have.
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Old 12-05-07, 04:46 PM   #5
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From a safety perspective, wider mountain bike tires are probably going to grip the ice a lot better than road bike tires.
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Old 12-06-07, 01:38 AM   #6
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If you really want a full suspension road or touring bike, you'll need to look to Softride

http://www.softride.com/bikes/bikes.html
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Old 12-06-07, 03:36 AM   #7
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I went to the Softride web site and it seems they don't make bicycles anymore. They sell bicycle carry racks to mount on to cars and trucks.

I wanted to change the title of the thread to read "Do Full Size Full Suspension Road Bikes Exist?", but the Edit feature wouldn't change the title.

Getting a mountain bike and then modifying it would seem to add more expense for me.

I do like the full suspension bicycles with 20" wheels. I have not ever seen a bicycle shop keep any in stock since they are a rare breed. I've never ridden one or even seen one in person. The Dahon Smooth Hound interests me because it at least has a front suspension. If I were to get one of those I would put my Thudbuster suspension seat post in it.

Full suspension and seat post suspensions are recognized by manufacturers as features that are wanted by customers. Why would they think that road bicycle riders wouldn't want them? Maybe the hard core racers wouldn't want them, but others would.

Going fast in comfort would seem to be a desirable way to travel on a bicycle. I don't want my hands to buzz from hitting bumps all the time and I want my rear end and spine to feel comfortable at the end of the ride. Recumbents offer comfort with weight in the low price range. They aren't ideal for riding on icy roads. I suspect that in time the major manufacturers will come up with something along these lines.
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Old 12-29-07, 09:01 AM   #8
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Yes, Softride quit making bikes 18 months ago. I have one, and called regarding parts - like the beam = they have none. So, when the beam goes , so does the bike. Very sad. It is a good bike for an old man like me.
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Old 01-02-08, 03:00 PM   #9
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The Dahon Jetstream XP or P8 has full front and rear suspension. It's a 20" folder.

Last edited by Cholmeleian; 01-03-08 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 01-02-08, 06:03 PM   #10
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Of course Alex Moulton has been building nothing but full suspension bikes since 1962, but all with small wheels.

BTW, why do you say "a conventional (std. wheel size or non-recumbent?) bicycle would be much safer to ride on the icy roads" ? Just wondering, like to hear your thoughts.

Best,
TCS
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Old 01-06-08, 09:42 PM   #11
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Road bikes don't use full suspension because it's heavy, inefficient, and always more complex than a hardtail frame. The only drop bar bikes you see with even just a suspension fork are long-distance touring bikes, but even most tourers are rigid for better efficiency and to make it easier to carry front panniers.

For comfort, instead of adding pivots, extra frame tubes, and shock absorbers, they're using different materials and tubing shapes to absorb the persistent and annoying bumps & buzzes.
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Old 01-07-08, 08:20 AM   #12
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You can get a Montague with a front suspension fork around that price point.
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