Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    7
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Is a rigid fork better than suspension on a hybrid bike?

    I am trying to get an opinion about rigid forks vs suspension on hybrid bikes. Is there any true advantage to one over the other? I will be riding on a mix of paved trails, towpaths, dirt trails,etc.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
    My Bikes
    2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer
    Posts
    630
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a hybrid with a suspension fork that can be locked. I ride the same type of surfaces that you mentioned - paved trails, limestone dust trails on the GAP Trail, some street riding on smooth and cratered asphalt and cobblestones, etc. Initially, I rode it with the suspension open. But over the last year, I've learned that riding on paved trails is better in the locked position. You waste less energy that way. On dirt trails and rough streets, I had left it unlocked, but even there I'm learning to go with it locked and adjust my comfort by adjusting the air pressure.

    Here's what I think you should take away from all of this - if I were buying now, with the knowledge that I have now, I would buy a rigid fork and moderate the "suspension" by adjusting the air pressure in the front tire. I have come to believe that you can get most, if not all, of the comfort of a suspension fork by simply reducing the front tire pressure (being careful, of course, not to go so low that you risk a snake bite flat). Plus you get the advantage of the fork weighing less. My comments apply to the surfaces you mention, not to more challenging surfaces. But then, a hybrid probably wouldn't be up to more difficult conditions in general.
    Last edited by Altair 4; 04-22-14 at 06:34 AM.

  3. #3
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    North Aurora, IL
    My Bikes
    Road & Hybrid
    Posts
    5,467
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There could be physical reasons for the need for suspension. If so, it could keep you on the bike. That's a good thing.

    However, if you don't really need it for technical trail riding, you are better off without it!

    Less to go wrong, less to carry around, less to clean and maintain, cleaner lines, etc, etc,etc.

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


    Specialized Crosstrail Sport - '08
    Nishiki Sport - misappropriated from my youngest son (circa 1984)
    Marin Stinson - misappropriated by my youngest grandson - '01
    "The Beast" - 1990 Schwinn Airdyne (in the basement for winter torture)

  4. #4
    Banned.
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Posts
    1,558
    Mentioned
    15 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The rougher the terrain, the more you should lean towards a suspended fork. However, IMHO, if you're not mtbiking, you don't really need a suspended fork.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Along the Rivers of Pittsburgh
    My Bikes
    2011 Novara Forza Hybrid, 2005 Trek 820, 1975 Mundo Cycles Caloi Racer
    Posts
    630
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    ...if you're not mtbiking, you don't really need a suspended fork.
    Exactly. And the suspension fork on many hybrids aren't up to the task of technical trail riding. Different horses for different courses.

  6. #6
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    40,071
    Mentioned
    27 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    +1, better in the long run as a cheap suspension fork lacks lockout , so bobbing up and down will happen pedaling..

    and a front basket will fit easier , rigid fork will let a support under the basket, go to the fork tip.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 04-22-14 at 08:52 AM.

  7. #7
    Ha ha ha ha ha giantcfr1's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Kyoto;JAPAN
    My Bikes
    2004 ORBEA Mitis2 Plus Carbon, 2007 Cannondale Bad Boy Si Disc, 2012 Trek Gary Fisher Collection Marlin WSD 29er
    Posts
    4,274
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    The rougher the terrain, the more you should lean towards a suspended fork. However, IMHO, if you're not mtbiking, you don't really need a suspended fork.
    Quote Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
    Exactly...
    Nail on head

    If for any reason you use it on the odd occasion on a rough trail, just let the air down to it's minimum and HTFU.
    Road Bike: 2004 ORBEA Mitis2+Carbon, Freekin' groovy Urban / Mountain Road Cruising Bike: 2007 CANNONDALE Bad Boy Disc, MTB: 2012 Trek Gary Fisher Collection Marlin WSD 29er

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Central Coast, California
    My Bikes
    Kona Splice, Nashbar Carbon road bike
    Posts
    175
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For a hybrid I would not even consider suspension forks unless they have lockout.

    The cross trail bikes made by Specialized, Kona, andy Trek all have lockout forks.

    Having a suspension you can turn on is not just useful for off road it also is great for old/rough roads with bumps and cracks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Delmarva's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Posts
    328
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by WestPablo View Post
    The rougher the terrain, the more you should lean towards a suspended fork. However, IMHO, if you're not mtbiking, you don't really need a suspended fork.
    This...
    And keeping front and rear tires inflated to the proper pressures will allow riding on a variety of surfaces.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    North Central Florida
    My Bikes
    2013 Giant RX 0, 2001 Mongoose Pro Triomphe, 2011 Giant TCR Composite, 2014 Giant Escape RX Composite
    Posts
    441
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I think you have received super answers. Suspension on a high end mountain bike and a hybrid bike are two DIFFERENT critters. The ones found on low to medium priced hybrids are mostly....pure junk IMHO. Work poorly, add a lot of weight and add to maintenance issues. Stay away... really away. I good suspension system on a MTB will most likely cost more the entire hybrid in the first place.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bbbean's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Missouri
    My Bikes
    Giant Defy Composite 0, Cannondale SuperX, Univega Alpina Ultima
    Posts
    572
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Familygal View Post
    I am trying to get an opinion about rigid forks vs suspension on hybrid bikes. Is there any true advantage to one over the other? I will be riding on a mix of paved trails, towpaths, dirt trails,etc.
    It just depends. If you're buying a hybrid as a light duty mountain bike, you want a suspension fork. If you're buying it as a comfortable, heavy duty road bike, you don't need suspension.

    FWIW, my Hybrid (Giant Roam XR2) has lockout front suspension. The forks stay locked in rigid position 95% of the time, but when I do ride it on the occasional singletrack or especially rough trail, I'm happy to have the suspension.

    Either way, you'll adjust your riding style to suit.

    BB
    www.beancotton.com
    Formerly Fastest of the Slow Riders, Currently Slowest of the Fast Riders



    http://veloviewer.com/athlete/2615827/

  12. #12
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    My Bikes
    1998 Pinarello Asolo, 1992 KHS Montaņa pro, 1980 Raleigh DL-1, IGH Hybrid, IGH Utility
    Posts
    4,391
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DowneasTTer View Post
    I think you have received super answers. Suspension on a high end mountain bike and a hybrid bike are two DIFFERENT critters. The ones found on low to medium priced hybrids are mostly....pure junk IMHO. Work poorly, add a lot of weight and add to maintenance issues. Stay away... really away. I good suspension system on a MTB will most likely cost more the entire hybrid in the first place.
    +1. There's a big difference between a high end and a cheap suspension fork. The cheap ones are heavy, flex a lot and are sluggish. The good ones are very expensive and not suited for an hybrid IMO.

  13. #13
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Wilkes-Barre, PA
    My Bikes
    Many
    Posts
    7,295
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    A few years back I swapped my suspension fork for a rigid fork, and was surprised at how much better the bike handled on pavement, and how little I missed it on crushed stone or gravel rail trails.

    So, I definitely lean heavily toward non-suspension on a hybrid.

    I think the manufacturers build what sells, and there are a lot of uninformed people that think suspension makes riding better... Heck, I see a lot of people riding the cheap full suspension bikes from big box stores, and I would guess that most of them never even see gravel. And they probably only ride them long enough to find out that the suspension isn't a magical fix.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  14. #14
    Senior Member Cyclosaurus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Chicago Western 'burbs
    My Bikes
    1993 Mt Shasta Tempest, 2011 Motobecane Fantom Cross CX, 2012ish Dahon Speed D7
    Posts
    352
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a vintage full-rigid MTB that I use on road, gravel, and light trails. I have ridden my wife's front-suspension Fuji adventure bike from time to time and the first thing I do is lock out the fork. Maybe I'm just used to the rigid fork, but I find the suspension annoying and sluggish feeling. Unless I was going to go serious singletrack riding, I don't think I'd go in for a suspension bike.
    Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve. -Popper

  15. #15
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    My Bikes
    2012 Salsa Casseroll, 1997 Bianchi Advantage, 1994 Trek 930.
    Posts
    2,028
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No. IMO, suspension forks on hybrids are not needed unless you ride a lot of really rough terrain, in which case you should consider buying a mountain bike.

  16. #16
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Posts
    7
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thank you all for such good information. I knew I came to the right place for answers! This helps me make an informed decision. Now I know exactly what I need.

  17. #17
    Avid Cyclist MickeyMaguire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    My Bikes
    Fuji Absolute2
    Posts
    314
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If you look at the manuals for hybrids, they'll tell you that they are not for off-road use. The suspension fork adds a lot of weight for no really good reason. Given that, I'd say you might be better served by a good alloy or carbon front fork and a little wider set of tires rather than the Rock Shock imitation on most low-to-mid-priced hybrids or comfort bikes.

    My Fuji Absolute2 has 700x28 where the rubber meets the road. I have a nice carbon fork. The rider comfort is great since I replaced the factory furnished seat (made by Vlad the Impaler).
    If you can't do great things, do small things in a great way. ~Napoleon Hill
    Http://www.tricornpublications.com/gethappy/

  18. #18
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Waltham Ma
    My Bikes
    Trek Madone 2.3, Trek 520, Gary Fisher Montare
    Posts
    44
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by DowneasTTer View Post
    I think you have received super answers. Suspension on a high end mountain bike and a hybrid bike are two DIFFERENT critters. The ones found on low to medium priced hybrids are mostly....pure junk IMHO. Work poorly, add a lot of weight and add to maintenance issues. Stay away... really away. I good suspension system on a MTB will most likely cost more the entire hybrid in the first place.
    Well said! I had a real cheapo Manitou South on my Gary Fisher Montare. I rode it mostly on paths and fairly smooth roads. It was heavy and wasted energy with every stroke of the pedal. I replaced it with a Salsa Cromo fork. It was around $120.00 at my LBS. It improved the overall ride quality and lightened the bike by a few pounds. I personally believe that suspension forks on most hybrids are selected as a compramise item to keep the cost lower but really dosent add any meaningful value to the ownership experience. That being said I realize that for some folks can and do benefit from the softening effect some can provide. I say rode instead of ride as I eventually gravitated to a road bike.
    Last edited by Ghazmh; 04-29-14 at 10:42 AM. Reason: spelling and grammer

  19. #19
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin
    My Bikes
    2012 Salsa Casseroll, 1997 Bianchi Advantage, 1994 Trek 930.
    Posts
    2,028
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Frustrating thing is, sometimes even when you advise friends to stay away from cheap suspension forks, they don't believe you and buy them anyway.

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Canada
    My Bikes
    2013 Trek DS 8.4
    Posts
    92
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    There have been dozens of threads on this subject, and while the pros/cons points are almost universal, often things are painted with too wide a brush.

    For starters, the OP might have been better to ask "Is a rigid fork better than suspension for ME?" as oppose to is one or the other better on a hybrid. All comes down to the individual and their riding, nothing else.

    Yes, its true you can ABSOLUTELY bomb down this trail without a suspension fork:


    In fact I believe the dude out front has a rigid. HOWEVER I personally would want my suspension, as meager as its 60mm is, for such outings, especial on the downward slopes. I'm just more comfortable and confident as such and it annoys me a little when people berate riders like me with the whole "get a real mountain bike or else learn how to ride a rigid" diatribe.

    Yes I concur there is junk out there. No one would argue the front end on a $300 department store bike is anything other than junk (and will probably seize up in 3 months making it rigid anyway). If we take a $1000 median price point though, its not so black and white. Even a novice can appreciate the difference between the suspension forks found on the kilobuck hybrids compared to the ones on even bike-store brands at the entry level. At very least you have to concede they are not as crazy heavy, wont fall apart just looking at them, and in my estimation at least work consistently over time. As someone pointed out they still have that telltale sticker on the back which reads "Leisure Cross country only". Guess what: that EXACT same sticker is found on the "real" mountain bikes at that same price point.

    A guy at my LBS put it well when he said (of hybrids with suspensions) "its what the 'sport' mountain bike SHOULD have been all along".
    Last edited by Sunsanvil; 04-30-14 at 09:31 AM.

  21. #21
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    How would you rate the front suspension on the Trek DS 8.4? It's the following: RST Nova ML w/coil spring, preload, lockout, 60mm travel

    Thanks,
    Sauce

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southwestern Ontario
    Posts
    1,538
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sunsanvil View Post
    There have been dozens of threads on this subject, and while the pros/cons points are almost universal, often things are painted with too wide a brush.

    For starters, the OP might have been better to ask "Is a rigid fork better than suspension for ME?" as oppose to is one or the other better on a hybrid. All comes down to the individual and their riding, nothing else.

    Yes, its true you can ABSOLUTELY bomb down this trail without a suspension fork:


    In fact I believe the dude out front has a rigid. HOWEVER I personally would want my suspension, as meager as its 60mm is, for such outings, especial on the downward slopes. I'm just more comfortable and confident as such and it annoys me a little when people berate riders like me with the whole "get a real mountain bike or else learn how to ride a rigid" diatribe.

    Yes I concur there is junk out there. No one would argue the front end on a $300 department store bike is anything other than junk (and will probably seize up in 3 months making it rigid anyway). If we take a $1000 median prince point though, its not so black and white. Even a novice can appreciate the difference between the suspension forks found on the kilobuck hybrids compared to the ones on even bike-store brands at the entry level. At very least you have to concede they are not as crazy heavy, wont fall apart just looking at them, and in my estimation at least work consistently over time. As someone pointed out they still have that telltale sticker on the back which reads "Leisure Cross country only". Guess what: that EXACT same sticker is found on the "real" mountain bikes at that same price point.

    A guy at my LBS put it well when he said (of hybrids with suspensions) "its what the 'sport' mountain bike SHOULD have been all along".
    I couldn't agree more, Sunsanvil, on all counts.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Canada
    My Bikes
    2013 Trek DS 8.4
    Posts
    92
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Sauce1 View Post
    How would you rate the front suspension on the Trek DS 8.4? It's the following: RST Nova ML w/coil spring, preload, lockout, 60mm travel
    I'm sure someone will tell us its junk but I'll be a little more practical and say it isnt horrible. I believe its in the same overall category and weight as the XCM they use on their XCAL7 (albeit with 2/3 the travel) and of course it has the lockout. I've ridden mine for a year and the action feels the same as the day I bought it. Something I and many others have noticed though is that it doesn't matter if you are 120 or 200lb, or if the preload is all the way in or out, it compresses about 10mm just sitting on it. No idea if thats a defect or a design, but it seems to create a small zone in which its fairly compliant. My wife's Neko SL has the same fork, with allegedly a lighter spring "for women", and it does the exact same thing.

    That said, if I keep this bike beyond the summer I will seriously consider that new airsprung SRAM fork. Should shave a pound off and make for a plushier action.

  24. #24
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Detroit
    My Bikes
    2009 Specialized Tarmac, 2008 Cannondale Quick 4, 2009 Jamis Coda Comp
    Posts
    43
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Rigid fork all the way. The tires and butt cheeks are more than enough suspension.

  25. #25
    Senior Member SPiN 360's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Toronto
    My Bikes
    2013 Giant Roam XR1
    Posts
    110
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You might want to read the thread I started on this topic a year ago:
    Is a Mechanical Suspension Lockout Fork a "Gimmick" on a Hybrid?

    I've had a the suspension fork for over a year now and I don't regret it. Undoubtedly it has its "ups and downs" (no pun intended).

    If you are mainly on-road, the suspension is pointless.

    Even with a non-suspended fork, more of the bumps of the road/trail will be absorbed by your muscles, tendons, joints, rather than the fork itself. So energy is still lost, but it's your BODY that acts as the suspension. The suspension fork makes makes things a lot easier on your hands and other joints. It does a better job at keeping the front wheel on the ground during heavy breaking rather than having it skip. Even if you are going uphill, the loss of energy from the fork deflection is partially because most people's pedaling technique is not completely circular and thus they are wasting energy. With perfect pedaling technique, you won't be bobbing up and down.

    Downside is the weight and additional maintenance considerations. Mine takes stanchion oil, which is still only a few bucks. The manual calls for regular dis-assembly and maintenance by the manufacturer.
    Last edited by SPiN 360; 05-03-14 at 11:31 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •