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  1. #1
    Senior Member SPiN 360's Avatar
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    Is a Mechanical Suspension Lockout Fork a "Gimmick" on a Hybrid?

    I was at an LBS recently shopping for my next ride.

    The guy was telling me that he recommended against buying any hybrid with a mechanical lockout suspension.
    The logic is that if I'm not willing to go to the expense of getting an air suspension, it's better to get a non-suspension hybrid because:

    - Air suspensions are much more adjustable based on your bodyweight
    - The added weight from a mechanical suspension fork is not worth the benefits

    Any comments? Is this sage advice?

  2. #2
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    Nope. I like my oil/spring rockshox tora on my hybridized mtb. It may be heavy, but its totally worth it when the road gets nasty and the guys on road bikes have to start walking. I can just reach down, unlock my fork and keep on riding. For sheer speed on a good road, not needed. If you plan on riding anywhere else though its worth having.

    One thing though, cheap shocks are worthless. Be sure to get a decent one.

  3. #3
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    You will find a lot of different views on this, and for me at onetime (every Hybrid needed suspension) & lockout was the bomb. Now it's Carbon Fiber, light & fast, but what really matters is : If it works for you, then it's perfect.
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

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    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    if you really want a cushy ride, try a thudbuster seatpost. short one for a hybrid mostly street bike, long one for a dirt bike

  5. #5
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pierce View Post
    if you really want a cushy ride, try a thudbuster seatpost. short one for a hybrid mostly street bike, long one for a dirt bike
    but they look horrible.
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

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    If you're going to get a cheaper spring fork then a lockout is a good thing so you can stop it pogo-ing around when you're pushing hard up road hills.

    Whether the fork is worth the weight depends on the roads you're riding on - if you're hardly ever leaving blacktop then probably not - but if you're often on rougher MUPs or unsealed roads then it will be nice to smooth out the load on your wrists.

    If you start off with cheap suspension and then change your mind then switching back to a rigid fork won't cost much - going the other way is more expensive though - aftermarket suspension forks can be pretty dear.

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    Mine is locked out 90% of the time, but even locked out it has small amount of dampening going on. When I do need it though, its great. With the front suspended you don't need to slow at all on uneven roads to keep in control. Just roll on over like it wasn't there. The height adjustable ones are great as well. You can decide if you want to be more aero, or more suspended with the twist of a dial.

  8. #8
    Senior Member SPiN 360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolly_ross View Post
    Whether the fork is worth the weight depends on the roads you're riding on - if you're hardly ever leaving blacktop then probably not - but if you're often on rougher MUPs or unsealed roads then it will be nice to smooth out the load on your wrists.
    Hm, a suspension fork adds what, 2-3 lbs?

    Isn't this only 1-2% of the net mass of the bike and my own body weight?

    Am I missing something here? Does a 1-2% mass difference really create such a huge difference?

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The folks in Asia that make suspension forks , have been lowering the feature list in price..
    I suspect the kid in the shop is a Mountain Biker,

    wouldn't be caught-dead on a hybrid anyhow..

    Air oil suspension forks cost as much as some people are willing to pay for a whole Bike..


    TRek has 2 different lines 7. and 8. the frame is designed to have the tall suspension fork,
    or it's made to not have that tall fork..


    you can get suspension from bending your elbows and getting off the saddle too. .. arms and legs..

  10. #10
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPiN 360 View Post
    The guy was telling me that he recommended against buying any hybrid with a mechanical lockout suspension.
    The logic is that if I'm not willing to go to the expense of getting an air suspension, it's better to get a non-suspension hybrid because:
    Was this a Cannondale shop? C'dale's HeadShok is the only air suspension I'm familiar with that's not high-end. Unless he was trying to steer you to a high-end MTB. For someone who's not actually in a professional competition,regular forks are just fine. Lockout is a good thing because it makes hill climbing easier and fast downhills safer. Whether you need suspension or not only you can say. How are your wrists/back? How are your roads? Are you going to be doing any off-road riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    but they look horrible.
    And need alot of seatpost exposed,so not always doable.

    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    Mine is locked out 90% of the time
    Not a good idea. Suspension forks aren't designed to be ridden like that. When unlocked,the fork lowers slide up the sliders when a bump compresses them. When locked,they can't move,so instead of sliding up,they get flexed at an angle. This puts extra torque on the legs and ruins the seals. If you're really not using your suspension you should consider a rigid fork.

    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    wouldn't be caught-dead on a hybrid anyhow..
    Interesting comment for the Hybrid forum. Jus sayin',I don't hang out in the road or BMX forums.

    C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport/Qualifier,Brompton S6L,Dahon Speed Pro TT

  11. #11
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPiN 360 View Post
    Hm, a suspension fork adds what, 2-3 lbs?

    Isn't this only 1-2% of the net mass of the bike and my own body weight?

    Am I missing something here? Does a 1-2% mass difference really create such a huge difference?
    thats 10-15% of the mass of a typical medium-to-light bike.

  12. #12
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Interesting comment for the Hybrid forum. Jus sayin',I don't hang out in the road or BMX forums.
    I think he meant the presumably mountain-bike riding kid in the bike shop.

  13. #13
    Senior Member SPiN 360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Was this a Cannondale shop? C'dale's HeadShok is the only air suspension I'm familiar with that's not high-end. Unless he was trying to steer you to a high-end MTB. For someone who's not actually in a professional competition,regular forks are just fine. Lockout is a good thing because it makes hill climbing easier and fast downhills safer. Whether you need suspension or not only you can say. How are your wrists/back? How are your roads? Are you going to be doing any off-road riding?
    Nope, it was at an independent LBS that sells many large brands including Cannondale. He was trying to steer me toward other no-suspension hybrids that were in my price range.

    I am interested in recreational cycling only both on unpaved trails and roads of varying quality.

    My wrists and back are not injured or anything, but the main reason I wanted a suspension fork is that my other friends who ride no-suspension hybrids told me it's the #1 thing they would want to upgrade on if they bought another hybrid today.

    I am leaning toward Roam XR1 though I am concerned. Is the additional cost over the Roam 1/2 mainly due to gimmicks for people who don't know what's what? Also I am researching whether hydraulic disc brakes are more trouble than they're worth.

  14. #14
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    I'd ride some non-suspended hybrids in the same price range as the suspended bikes you're looking at, and pay particular attention to how they ride on rough stuff. I don't like cheap suspension forks, they dive quite a bit when you brake hard, making downhill control kinda scary, and if you're at all on the heavy side, they tend to be grossly undersprung.

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    Shoot buddy it's a big time gimmick.

    That's why several on this board bad mouth suspension front forks several times a week.
    Any real cyclist will have the seat 100mm above bar height and ride tucked in with no weight on the seat with arms of steel.

    Dang! I totally regret 25 years of riding bikes with front suspension and hate myself for buying a worthless Trek 8.6.
    But I must console myself to the fact that age, weight, old m/c injuries, the lack of pinch flats, broken spokes or untrue rims are just fact of my cycling life with the 8.6.

    YMMV

    Ps: Suspension fork also keeps the tire planted during panic stops on rough surfaces.

    OP, now start a thread on disc vs rim brakes.

  16. #16
    S'Cruzer pierce's Avatar
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    sure, a good fork properly tuned, like a Fox Float, is a wondrous thing. but the sorts of Sunrace forks put on $500 hybrids ain't in the same league.

  17. #17
    Senior Member xoxoxoxoLive's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPiN 360 View Post
    Nope, it was at an independent LBS that sells many large brands including Cannondale. He was trying to steer me toward other no-suspension hybrids that were in my price range.

    I am interested in recreational cycling only both on unpaved trails and roads of varying quality.

    My wrists and back are not injured or anything, but the main reason I wanted a suspension fork is that my other friends who ride no-suspension hybrids told me it's the #1 thing they would want to upgrade on if they bought another hybrid today.

    I am leaning toward Roam XR1 though I am concerned. Is the additional cost over the Roam 1/2 mainly due to gimmicks for people who don't know what's what? Also I am researching whether hydraulic disc brakes are more trouble than they're worth.
    Order the Roam XR1.
    2013 TREK 7.6 FX

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    If u mostly ride smooth paved roads, a suspension fork is totally useless. The only good use 4 a suspension fork would b on a ht mtb. Of course, that would b reserved 4 gravel, rocks, roots, and the hills and dales of mtn country. Otherwise, it's a road bike all the way 4 me. Just put the proper tire on any hybrid and that should be enough suspension for most streets, roads, and trails. Though, I only have occasional use for my hybrid anymore. Only like when I run errands (grocery store), ride thru park trails, or have to park my bike downtown somewhere. Don't get 2 much chance 4 that these days.
    Last edited by Cfiber; 04-29-13 at 10:03 AM.

  19. #19
    ^ JBC. jbchybridrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPiN 360 View Post
    I was at an LBS recently shopping for my next ride.

    The guy was telling me that he recommended against buying any hybrid with a mechanical lockout suspension.
    The logic is that if I'm not willing to go to the expense of getting an air suspension, it's better to get a non-suspension hybrid because:

    - Air suspensions are much more adjustable based on your bodyweight
    - The added weight from a mechanical suspension fork is not worth the benefits

    Any comments? Is this sage advice?
    I think your LBS salesman "Err Hum" salesperson is telling you what he genuinely believes is right, a lot of other people would tell you the same thing. But it's your call on what you think you need and what you can afford.
    Take in all the advice given here as well as the salesperson and make your own judgement. Personally on a hybrid I like the light weight feel and steering precision of a carbon rigid fork
    2010 Custom Carbon JBC, 1990 Ricardo Pinnacle, 1988 Ricardo Elite, 1983 Ricardo Varsity, 1990 Peugeot Hurricane, 1977 Dawes Galaxy GT, 2007 Pinarello F3-13, Custom aussie made 1980 Columbus SL racer, 1975 Calton Rapide, 1995 Olympia Fusari, 1993 Basso Viper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Order the Roam XR1.
    ^^^^Ditto. That looks sweet.

    I've taken a Craigslist 2003 Gary Fisher Solstice 'Comfort/Commuter' and turned it into a very capable 'Hybrid' (at least, for everything I do).

    Added a Brooks Champion Flyer (sprung B17), changed the stem and handlebar to a more 'flat bar road bike' style (carbon fiber). Also put some Schwalbe Kojaks (26x2) on it, and it's now the most versatile and comfortable bike I own (out of 9, including 3 tandems).

    ~30 miles this past Saturday jumping curbs, trying to extend my 'wheelie' distance, cruising the streets and MUPS (including some hard dirt pack construction area), and the only thing sore was my legs. No hand/feet/crotch tingling/numbness, hot spots or nothing. Just fun and fast (for me, averaged ~14mph).

    Is it going to win any weight weenie contests? No. Am I going to get 'scalped' every now and then? Sure. Do I care about either? Absolutely not.

    It's a fun and COMFORTABLE bike to do everything I want to do fitness/fun/occasional shopping wise (I have a BOB trailer for it, plus panniers), but also great for just moseying along to follow the kiddos to/from school.

    Next two upgrades.....new cool custom paint job and one of those air/oil forks.

  21. #21
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I have a lockout front suspension, and love it. Mine is also locked out 95-98% of the time, without any issues whatsoever. I bought my bike in '08, and ride 9 months out of the year, 30,40 miles per day.

    It has not failed in any fashion, and it works great, when I need it.

    Personally, I think that salesperson needs another line of work. MHO

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  22. #22
    The Left Coast, USA FrenchFit's Avatar
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    I replaced the old worn out XC shock on my commuter with a suspension corrected rigid carbon fork. Hated it, went backwards. Even those old and crappy elastomer or spring forks take some road chatter out of the ride, well worth the added weight, assuming you keep it on the road.

  23. #23
    Senior Member SLazz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
    Order the Roam XR1.
    Ditto.

    I have a 2012 Roam 1 and love it. I lock out the fork 90% of the time and wondered why I didn't go for a rigid fork. That is until I ride the trails. Then I'm glad my bike has a suspension fork. Do remember, if you plan on alot of rough, off road riding then maybe a 29er MTB would do. But if you ride light trails then the Roam is the real deal. Good luck!

  24. #24
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I'll never understand why some come on this subforum, and badmouth the bikes it is about. They are not helping the hybrid forum, or their own.

    "Retirement is the best job I ever had!" Me, 2009


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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    I'll never understand why some come on this subforum, and badmouth the bikes it is about. They are not helping the hybrid forum, or their own.
    I like road bikes & I like mtbikes. I suppose I like hybrids 2. I just have a problem seeing the difference between certain mtbikes & certain so-called hybrids. Like, is my 29er Muirwoods a mtb with a rigid fork or is it a hybrid?
    What's the difference between a Trek DS & a Trek Rig? The only real difference that I can see is tire width. I think, if u like road bikes & u like mtbikes, then you simply have 2 like hybrids 2, by default!

    Now if I say that a suspension fork is good 4 a mtb, but not good 4 a road bike, what have I really stated? Many hybrids look so much like a 29er mtb, that they're damn near indistinguishable! OTOH, I honestly do believe that most suspension forks on most entry level bikes r completely unnecessary.
    Last edited by Cfiber; 04-29-13 at 10:33 AM.

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