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Old 04-09-08, 08:47 AM   #1
jayne_cobb
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Shocks

I plan on buying a new bike in the near future. I come from the typical CCM/hardware store type of bike, and I want quite the upgrade. I have always enjoyed biking quite a bit and am willing to invest the money to finally get something nice. I would be described as someone who would be using his bike for recreational use, fitness, and the occasional commuting. I think I would like at some point to get involved in some mild trekking. So while recreational use and fitness would be the primary use, I am making the purchase with commuting and trekking in mind...but they are somewhat secondary. I would say the terrain is mostly street....but there would be potholes, occasional curbs to negotiate.

Long story short the advice I am getting is a hybrid type of bike but seem to have conflicting views on "shocks". Again remember where I am coming from so almost anything I'd be on will feel much nicer. That said I also have never known the benefits of shocks so its not like I would miss them persay if I never get them. I imagine I am not the type to be super concerned that every ounce of energy I use is translated into motion, so as a novice its hard for me to imagine 4-5 lbs making that much of difference. That said generally I do enjoy working up to a good speed.

Any thoughts?
Thanks(new to the forum)
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Old 04-09-08, 09:07 AM   #2
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Welcome. Don't worry about it too much - find a good LBS with two bikes ( one rigid and one with suspension) in your price range and test ride both. Then buy whichever one you like more.
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Old 04-09-08, 11:27 AM   #3
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I agree, best to try some out and figure out what you like. If you're mostly riding street, you may like something with some nice high volume, puncture resistant balloon tires instead (they'd work really well to absorb curbs and potholes), or something else completely. Suspension may not be the thing for you if you're not interested in technical riding.

Good (front suspension, at least) won't rob you of much energy at all, some are available with a lockout now which will allow you to make the shock rigid on demand, allowing you a choice based on your terrain. I have a suspension fork on my commuter (which also does all my cross country), with its setup its still highly energy efficient, but the biggest downside to me is its need to be maintained moderately often - whereas a rigid fork needs nothing (or maybe a rust coating or something, but nothing you do often)

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Old 04-09-08, 11:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayne_cobb View Post
I imagine I am not the type to be super concerned that every ounce of energy I use is translated into motion
In short, this common belief among new riders is false for all riders. Does not matter whether you are trying to win the TdF or trying to have fun around the neighborhood, either goal with be easier to reach if the bike is as efficient as is possible (within the other needs of the circumstances).

Put another way: biking does not get easier, it just gets faster.

Efficiency is the thing in cycling. For fun and for wins.

jim

p.s., I concur with your judgment about shocks. They are worse than useless for most riders in most riding conditions. And get the smoothest, highest pressure tires you can while you are at it.
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Old 04-09-08, 11:49 AM   #5
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+1 on buying the bike you like best but I think a front shock is a waste if you're riding 90% road. If you take your time and test ride a dozen or more you'll eventually find one that just "speaks to you".

Forks require maintenence as mentioned above, add cost or a component downgrade or two to hit the same price point, and cheaper ones easily suck enough energy to slow you down by 0.5mph or more. I take my rigid fork cyclocross commuter out on dirt roads and easier trails a half dozen times ever year. If that added up to more than 10% of the annual mileage I might consider a suspension fork but it's only about 30 miles out of 2000+. Find some supple 32-35c tires and run them at 70-75psi if you're sticking to pavement and concerned about comfort.
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Old 04-10-08, 03:08 PM   #6
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I don't know if they sell these forks separately, but my Novara Forza has a front shock that locks on or off with the turn of a knob. I normally leave it on (use the shocks) because I ride mostly in the city where it's pretty rough - potholes, unpaved stretches, curbs... But when I do take it on the roads and bike paths, I can lock it off for a solid ride. Didn't realize what a luxury this was when I bought the bike.
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Old 04-10-08, 03:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgedwa View Post
In short, this common belief among new riders is false for all riders. Does not matter whether you are trying to win the TdF or trying to have fun around the neighborhood, either goal with be easier to reach if the bike is as efficient as is possible (within the other needs of the circumstances).

Put another way: biking does not get easier, it just gets faster.

Efficiency is the thing in cycling. For fun and for wins.

jim

p.s., I concur with your judgment about shocks. They are worse than useless for most riders in most riding conditions. And get the smoothest, highest pressure tires you can while you are at it.
I agree with the opinion that shocks are not a useful option for most riders, but I wouldn't recommend high-pressure tires. These worsen the ride over bumps, potholes, and rough roads. If anything, I would try and get the LOWEST pressure tires that work for you. I don't recommend getting giant knobbly mountain/dirt tires, as these buzz and hum over smooth roads and are slower. I would recommend a smooth, lower pressure tire (not super skinny 23c, 125+ psi road tires), which would give you the best ride on most roads. Like cachehiker said, I would recommend getting some supple, round 32c or 35c tires and don't inflate them past 90 psi. High pressure tires negate any suppleness and ride-damping qualities of the tire, as the high pressure doesn't allow the tire to deform to soak up road irregularities.
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