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  1. #1
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    Bike with full suspension & a rear rack? Know a make/model?

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a bike make/model that would have full suspension (i.e. including rear), BUT also has a robust rear carrier system?
    (i.e. so it would need to have a solid bar or two coming off the frame to form the rear carrier rack no doubt, as I'm assuming it could not have a vertical support down to the rear wheel per normal due to the rear suspension)

    Anyone know of one of the bike manufacturers that does such a model?

    If there were multiple models that met this the ideal requirements would be:
    • Full suspension on front and back
    • Rear rack carrier (that can carry a bit of weight)
    • Disc brakes (on at least the front, but ideally on back too)
    • Usage = Road only / commuting
    • Prefer a flat-bar commuter type bike over MTB (e.g. http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-AU/....1/5332/39067/), however if a MTB frame is more easy to fit the requirements (and change the tyres to road) then that may be OK. Would also like the handlebars that just angle up a little bit, so you're not quite so bent over.


    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Why would you want/need a full suspension bike for strictly on-road use?

    Rear suspension will do nothing for you but add weight, cost, and lessen your efficiency when pedaling over a paved surface. If you are willing to consider a hardtail (suspension fork to smooth out bumps but a rigid rear triangle) you'll have literally hundreds of options.

  3. #3
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    Why would you want/need a full suspension bike for strictly on-road use?
    Fastest road bike I ever tried was a Moulton with front and rear suspension. It was also the smoothest road bike I've ever tried, even with the small tires up over 100 psi. The suspension was maybe 1" travel and that seemed to be more than enough.

    There is a reason that Formula 1 teams spend all that effort tuning the race car's suspension.

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    The OP's post is...really rather confusing. First he/she asks for "Full suspension on front and back" then..."Prefer a flat-bar commuter type bike over MTB"?

    I can only completely agree with "HandsomeRyan" - rear suspension will do nothing for you but have lots of drawbacks. From personal experience to - I've ridden around with my dad (who likes a much more relaxed pace ride, thus the reason for the mountain bike on the road) and that rear suspension will absolutely *kill* your efficiency. I was having trouble keeping up with him, even working hard!...then I locked out the rear suspension, and I was back to needing to take it easy not to outdistance him. It's a *severe* difference in speed and efficiency. It's probably different with the really expensive rear suspensions...but we're talking like $3,000-$5,000 bikes.

    If you're only doing road use, I personally see very little benefit to *any* suspension at all for pure road riding, even on terrible roads. Obviously you want a plush ride, but I would highly suggest a commuter type bike like you Giant you linked to, but put big cushy tires on it (slicks will also be more comfortable, and have more grip for on road use). I specifically suggest the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme's (the "Supreme" part is important, Schwalbe makes a lot of other "marathon" tires) in a big cushy (50c/2 inch) size. Make sure the bike can take tires that large, though, before you buy it (that's standard mountain bike tire size, but some silly commuter bikes don't have the clearance for good size tires).

    In the interest of covering all bases, I do know of exactly one rack that will mount on a full suspension bike - the Old Man Mountain, Cold Springs rack -
    http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/...ar_gallery.htm


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    If you are willing to consider a hardtail (suspension fork to smooth out bumps but a rigid rear triangle) you'll have literally hundreds of options.
    what do you mean by the suspension fork option? Looks like I should look into this option. thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I do know of exactly one rack that will mount on a full suspension bike - the Old Man Mountain, Cold Springs rack
    Interesting looking at the bike picture on this site at http://www.oldmanmountain.com/Pages/...Helicopter.jpg as it seems to have a different type of suspension for the rear. What kind of suspension is this? is this the suspension fork idea that HandsomeRyan was talking about?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by callagga View Post
    what do you mean by the suspension fork option? Looks like I should look into this option. thanks
    He means a bike with suspension in the front only. The front part of the bike that connects the handlebars to the wheels is called the fork - it's the part that makes like a 2 tooth fork shape over the front wheel.
    Last edited by PaulRivers; 03-05-10 at 01:46 PM.

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    A lot of times people new to biking believe the only way to get a comfy ride is to get a bike with suspension, like a mountain bike. They believe that larger tires are perhaps for traction or something.

    But in fact, a tire fill with air *is* a suspension system. The larger the tire, the more air it holds, and the more suspension it provides. In fact, the shock on my mountain bike actually needs to be pumped up with air about every week with a shock pump.

    Mountain bikes need to be able to handle plowing head-on into a log on the ground. They also need to be able to handle dropping 3-6 feet (maybe more) off a jump or mountain bike terrain. They need external suspension to handle those kind of huge extra drops and jumps. The one thing that might be useful on a road is it would be easier to plow into a curb with front suspension.

    But big tires do provide a great deal of suspension themselves.

  9. #9
    Senior Member canopus's Avatar
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    Tout Terrain Panamericana
    Not strictly on road use only but everything the OP asked for.

  10. #10
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
    Fastest road bike I ever tried was a Moulton with front and rear suspension.
    I can only assume you haven't ridden that many bikes then.

    Quote Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
    There is a reason that Formula 1 teams spend all that effort tuning the race car's suspension.
    Yes, but a bicycle isn't a Formula 1 car. How many Tour de France riders are using suspension? None. How many time trial riders use suspension? None. Rear suspension on a bicycle is designed to help the rear tire maintain traction over an uneven (generally unpaved) surface. On a paved road you do not need rear suspension to maintain rear tire traction.

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    Your going to be hard pressed to find a full-suspension bike that isn't a mountain bike. Not to mention suspension on a road bike just adds gobs of weight and half of your pedal stroke goes into compressing the suspension, and not to the road (FS bikes are heavy pigs to begin with!). I imagine a seat post rack would work however.

    Why do you want suspension so badly?

    I'll suggest finding a non-suspension bike - preferably a road bike. Put on the widest tires you can and find a comfy saddle.
    1993 Cannondale T700 - 1994 Specialized Rockhopper - Actionbent T1 (Electrification in progress!)

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    Senior Member mijome07's Avatar
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    The 1994 Bianchi Paris-Roubaix Full Suspension Road Bike.


  13. #13
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    I can only assume you haven't ridden that many bikes then. Yes, but a bicycle isn't a Formula 1 car. How many Tour de France riders are using suspension? None. How many time trial riders use suspension? None. Rear suspension on a bicycle is designed to help the rear tire maintain traction over an uneven (generally unpaved) surface. On a paved road you do not need rear suspension to maintain rear tire traction.
    I build them... from sketch to CAD to weld. Usually recumbent, but lately, long tail cargo bikes. Since you're unfamiliar with an Alex Moulton, you should take the opportunity to find one and test. What most people don't understand about the new carbon fiber bikes is that they are designed with FEA software to provide vertical compliance (or suspension) in specific areas while maintaining lateral rigidity (for power delivery).

    Now, of course, on a perfectly paved road, you do not need suspension. Heck you shouldn't need tires, yet good tires somehow make a huge difference. Why? Because no road is perfectly smooth. At some point, the tire can no longer conform to the road imperfections and this does not happen at some ridiculous velocity, but at surprisingly easy to reach speeds. The calculation is based on the wheelbase of the bike and the bump size. Lets take an example.

    Road bike with 1 meter wheelbase going off a 2 cm high crack in the pavement. This is not that unusual considering we are now seeing the winter damage and road maintenance hasn't yet started up. So, from a side view, we are essentially riding the bike off a very small curb. The time it takes for the bike to fall that distance is based on Newton's equation for acceleration d=1/2*a*t^2 or t = sqrt (2d/a) or 0.064 seconds. If the bike is traveling fast enough, the rear wheel goes off the crack before the front wheel touches down. That speed is equal to the wheelbase divided by that time or 1 m / 0.064 s = 15 m/s or 54 kph. Most people can hit that speed descending. When both the front and rear tire are not touching the road, there is no traction and no control. Many would say the bike feels sketchy and conform their body to take into account the difference in traction. Arms and legs become the suspension at the cost of a physical pounding.

    I'm not saying mechanical suspension is necessary. But it has it's advantages.

    :)ensen.
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  14. #14
    Pants are for suckaz HandsomeRyan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
    I'm not saying mechanical suspension is necessary. But it has it's advantages.
    It also has its disadvantages (which to all but maybe a very small handful of niche riders will vastly outweigh whatever benefits it may offer), mainly: cost, weight, difficulty of mounting a quality rear rack [as the OP requested], extremely limited availability of 'full suspension' road bikes, and lastly and most importantly full suspension road bikes solve a problem most of us aren't having. You can quote theoretical physics numbers all day but millions of cyclists have ridden hard tail and fully rigid bikes for literally hundreds of millions of miles and most of us have never crashed because of a 2cm crack.

    I don't mean to be snarky but I don't understand why you would advocate that the OP needs a FS road bike for commuting when 99% of commuters (check the commuting forum if you don't believe me) prefer a hardtail or fully rigid bike for commuting on pavement.

    As for the Alex Moulton bikes, it's unfair to compare overpriced novelty 'minivelo' bikes with standard 26"or 700c wheeled bicycles that most of us ride.

  15. #15
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mijome07 View Post
    The 1994 Bianchi Paris-Roubaix Full Suspension Road Bike.

    Interesting
    Was aware of racing bikes with suspension forks, but not rear, too.
    Apparently, this was used for one race only.
    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/?pg=fullstory&id=5800
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  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    I've since added Topeak's pannier-carrying side frames to this seatpost rack:


  17. #17
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandsomeRyan View Post
    It also has its disadvantages (which to all but maybe a very small handful of niche riders will vastly outweigh whatever benefits it may offer), mainly: cost, weight, difficulty of mounting a quality rear rack [as the OP requested], extremely limited availability of 'full suspension' road bikes, and lastly and most importantly full suspension road bikes solve a problem most of us aren't having. You can quote theoretical physics numbers all day but millions of cyclists have ridden hard tail and fully rigid bikes for literally hundreds of millions of miles and most of us have never crashed because of a 2cm crack.

    I don't mean to be snarky but I don't understand why you would advocate that the OP needs a FS road bike for commuting when 99% of commuters (check the commuting forum if you don't believe me) prefer a hardtail or fully rigid bike for commuting on pavement.

    As for the Alex Moulton bikes, it's unfair to compare overpriced novelty 'minivelo' bikes with standard 26"or 700c wheeled bicycles that most of us ride.
    I'm haven't been encouraging the OP to go full suspension, merely pointing out that you need not discourage or disparage it. Not only is it a viable option, if the local roads happen to be rougher than typical city streets, but it may even be a necessity for the OP. The number of commuter bikes with front shocks and suspension seatposts is testament to the need.

    You're right; it's unfair to compare the Moultons. They were banned by the UCI in the 60's for being too fast their first time out. I'll take that back now.

    :)ensen.
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    Quote Originally Posted by purplepeople View Post
    I'm haven't been encouraging the OP to go full suspension, merely pointing out that you need not discourage or disparage it. Not only is it a viable option, if the local roads happen to be rougher than typical city streets, but it may even be a necessity for the OP. The number of commuter bikes with front shocks and suspension seatposts is testament to the need.

    You're right; it's unfair to compare the Moultons. They were banned by the UCI in the 60's for being too fast their first time out. I'll take that back now.

    ensen.
    It's a little more than "happen to be rougher". I mean, we're talking about an entire street covered every 3 feet in basketball sized potholes or something.

    If you ask *mountain bikers* if they should get full suspension or hardtail (just front suspension), half of *those* people will tell you to get just front suspension. Mountain bikers!

    The existence of commuter bikes with front shocks and such says that people buy them. It's not the same as saying they work very well. Take a look at the people you see biking on the road to work during rush hour (when commuter would be out). Take a look at how many of them have have big tires - quite a few. I'd say at least 30% (I live in Minnesota - our roads practically grow potholes here). Maybe more. Then take a look at how many have suspension - almost none.

    Is is not impossible for me to believe that maybe a good suspension system *could* be designed. However, I don't believe one has for commuting that isn't very very expensive.

    The reason why people get touchy about the idea of using full suspension on a commuting bike isn't because we don't want you to be comfy - we certainly do. And it's not really the weight - another 5 pounds in suspension isn't going to make a notable difference compared to the average 200 pound rider.

    It's because we believe it's pluses are zero - a big fat tire will provide a really nice ride, and suspension won't improve on that. And it's minuses are big - a notably more effort required and notably slower commute.

    If people aren't comfortable commuting, they probably won't do it. We don't want that. But if it seems like it takes a really long time to get anywhere, and everyone else is passing them, that's extremely discouraging to.

    There are plenty of people who don't regularly bike commute because "it takes to long". I would know - with my current work/house location, I'm one of them.

    For the OP, if possible, I would highly suggest they go to a bike shop and try both for themselves. Get a fat tired, no suspension bike and take that out for a test ride. Then get a full suspension mountain bike. See if the fat tired bike is actually less comfortable (get one with as little tread on the tire as possible), and if the full suspension bike seems to be a slower, or a *lot* more work to ride on. By all means, try to ride on the roughest road near the shop.

    If you still prefer the suspension, well, then maybe that's for you. I think it's unlikely, especially if you rode both for a while, but hey - I only have an opinion, I could be wrong. But if you do get suspension, ask if it has a "lock out" which essentially turns the suspension off (it's never 100%, but it's close). That way if you feel like the bike is waaaaaaay to slower later, you can experiment with it.

  19. #19
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    For the OP, if possible, I would highly suggest they go to a bike shop and try both for themselves. Get a fat tired, no suspension bike and take that out for a test ride. Then get a full suspension mountain bike.
    I did that, but mainly to see what they were like off-road, not just commuting (meaning, through the grass, bumps, and some stairs at a nearby park). They were a hardtail 29'er and that Cannondale Rush that I posted earlier, both with lockouts.

    I noticed that I was spending a lot more time out of the saddle on the hardtail, and I could just pedal along in the saddle on the Rush. I decided that I'm too old to bounce around all the time, so I got the FS bike.

    As a commuter, it's the slowest bike I've got, but it'll go anywhere I want, too. I was even able to swap on some 700c wheels with skinny tires, and with the shocks locked out, it felt almost exactly like the rigid Cannondale Bad Boy that I used to have. I could see getting some slick 26" tires for it, but I'd rather leave it as my "Jeep".

    But... would I commute regularly on it? I'm not sure. I'm fortunate that I get to park inside at work, which isn't even that far away anyway -- so I could ride just about whatever I want. If I were in a different situation, I'd have to think about it some more.

  20. #20
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    There are some Dutch/German hybrid-style bikes with full suspension and fully supported luggage racks. Ive seen a few around but they have a lot of excess metal and seem quite heavy and cumbersome.
    The Moulton is probably the best full suspension bike with good lugagge capacity. I dont want to intervene in a good flame war but people use them for touring and commuting, they are lightweight, reliable and efficient.

  21. #21
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    I dont want to intervene in a good flame war but people use them for touring and commuting, they are lightweight, reliable and efficient.
    Didn't realize the house was on fire.

    Seriously, though... other builders are wiser than me and just stay out of these discussions. It's too bad, really, since there is truly a lot to learn from some of the really smart ones.

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  22. #22
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Tubus makes a disc rack that you can attack to your FS and a rack that hangs off your front fork... most FS frames aren't designed in a manner to carry loads.

    What what i have seen, most people use a trailer

  23. #23
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    I did that, but mainly to see what they were like off-road, not just commuting (meaning, through the grass, bumps, and some stairs at a nearby park). They were a hardtail 29'er and that Cannondale Rush that I posted earlier, both with lockouts.
    I bought my Sugar some years back with the intention that it was mostly for commuting and some light off-road, I had the LBS upgrade the fork spring to the highest weight rating even though I am only 170 lbs. With the semi-slick tires up around 80 psi and the rear shock up to 150 psi and setting rebound damping to high and compression damping to low, it removes practically all road imperfections while staying comfortable and having next to no pogo. Excellent traction in wet or near-icy conditions too. And this was still faster on city streets than my old Bridgestone, which had slicks and was no slouch either.

    Unless the LBS can set-up the suspension properly, it may not be possible to fully evaluate the capabilities of a full-suspension bike during a test ride.

    :)ensen.
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  24. #24
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