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  1. #1
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    Rigid vs. suspension fork?

    After many years layoff from mountain biking, I'm building a Nashbar hardtail frame using components laying about. I want a good all-around bike, no extreme trails or drops.

    What's the pros & cons of using a rigid fork vs. suspension fork? My old Rockhopper had a basic Rokshok that worked decently. Looked at a CF rigid fork that's offered by Nashbar- anyone have any experience with it?

  2. #2
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Get a decent suspention fork and be happy.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

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    Senior Member newbeat's Avatar
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    rigid climbs a little better, descends way worse.
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    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    My full suspension broke, and the fork on my Homegrown blew all in a week so i was forced to lead group rides on my Homegrown frame with a ridgid front fork. People said they couldn't keep up with me anywhere, climbs, singletrack or decents, and it isn't easy riding here. I can't explain it other than my total focus was on running smooth lines rather than just being comfy and short running stuff.

  5. #5
    Old School Rad mtnbiker66's Avatar
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    Could be your mad skillz.
    Like a circus monkey on a stolen Harley......

  6. #6
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    obviously

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    I would not buy a cheap suspension fork. The rigid Nashbar fork will last a long time and be great for everything except fast singletrack and washboards.

  8. #8
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I rode for years with a rigid fork and enjoyed myself. Then I went HT and thought this is all a guy would ever need. Recently I went FS and am wondering why I waited so long. Suspension is easier on the joint and the teeth. On a rocky descent, a suspension fork will absorb some shock where a rigid fork might send you over the handlebars.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

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  9. #9
    Senior Member vw addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daspydyr View Post
    Suspension is easier on the joint and the teeth.
    Yes but not any faster if even as fast. I started mtn biking on a fully ridgid, heck suspension didn't even exist. Then lazy americans came up with suspension so they could ride their bikes offroad and sit on the seat as much as possible. Better?

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    Custom User never's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vw addict View Post
    Yes but not any faster if even as fast.
    Seriously? You figure a rigid setup is faster than suspended setup?

  11. #11
    Senior Member pablosnazzy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vw addict View Post
    Yes but not any faster if even as fast. I started mtn biking on a fully ridgid, heck suspension didn't even exist. Then lazy americans came up with suspension so they could ride their bikes offroad and sit on the seat as much as possible. Better?
    yes, waaaaay better. i rode hardtail for 10 years or so, and i'm way faster and can do way more with my full suspension bike. faster + more = better.

    or course the trail has lots to do with it. when i lived in the east coast, and rode north carolina, virginia, maryland, delaware, vermont, i did quite fine on my hardtail. if you are riding buff smooth non technical stuff, a rigid hartail might be faster, heck a singlespeed is probably faster (assuming the people riding are the same fitness level). if you are riding rocky technical stuff, then a rigid hardtail is slower and possibly useless.

    if you care to test my theory, we can meet in Moab, ride UPS-LPS-Porcupine, me on my full suspension, you on a hard tail.
    Last edited by pablosnazzy; 11-29-10 at 09:05 PM.

  12. #12
    Firm Believer Johnny Law's Avatar
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    Like Pablo said, the course/trail has lots to do with it. I am sure that "back in the day" when ridgid was all there was the trails were not as crazy and technical. The average trail/track/course/whatever of today would most likly be considerd insane 10 or 15 years ago.

    The place i ride mostly is The Georgia Internatinal Horse Park, that is where the 1996 MTB Olympics where held. If you watch videos on Youtube of that race, the course seems like a joke compared how it is today! When you look at the bikes, they are all on Rigid Bikes.. When you go there now its all FS and HT's, you wont find a rigid ANYWERE.. Unless you go up there and The Legend Of Samburger is riding around on his old GF..

    ANYWAYS! what im getting at is... You have to move along with the times, we are humans, what we have is never enough... The trails are going to get harder and harder to ride..

    You cant play an Xbox 360 with an Atari Joystick..
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  13. #13
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by never View Post
    Seriously? You figure a rigid setup is faster than suspended setup?
    It is. So are 700c skinny wheels and drop bars...on the road.

    I'll keep my suspension, thanks. The smoothest line is not always the most fun line.

  14. #14
    Senior Member victim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vw addict View Post
    My full suspension broke, and the fork on my Homegrown blew all in a week so i was forced to lead group rides on my Homegrown frame with a ridgid front fork. People said they couldn't keep up with me anywhere, climbs, singletrack or decents, and it isn't easy riding here. I can't explain it other than my total focus was on running smooth lines rather than just being comfy and short running stuff.
    I'm also on the east coast. Western Mass to be exact. There is trails around here that a rigid in no way can keep up with a suspended bike given equal riders. No way, no how, not even close type of keeping up. that being said, on some buffed out single track I could see a rigid being fun and faster so the answer is: surprise surprise, depends on the trail. Also unless your racing, who cares how fast you are. Its about the ride, right? Also agree with the dude who said not to bother with a cheap suspension fork. They tend to be flexy, power robbing pogo sticks IMO.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    I am going to be using the bike on the street and on trails. I have a rigid fork on hand. The bike budget is shot to hell this year. My speed on trails isn't an issue. More of a sightseer than a racer these days. Look for a report.

  16. #16
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Be sure to post pictures with your report. A Rigid setup is still a very fun ride, beats Atari or Xbox any day. As you get a bunch of miles in speed will become a want more than a need. I like my F/S setup. It has full lock outs both front and back. Climbing is good to be rigid, feels like I have a flat tire trying to climb with suspension. While we have talked mostly about speed and comfort, there is also a control factor. The rear tire reconnects with the dirt quicker. Speed results from the increased control and smoothed out jolts. But all in time Grasshopper, all in time. You and your checkbook will know when a change is "needed."
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

  17. #17
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    I find you dive forward when you brake hard with a front suspension. The only time I prefer front suspension is on hard bumpy snow in the winter.

  18. #18
    Pint-Sized Gnar Shredder Zephyr11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hybridbkrdr View Post
    I find you dive forward when you brake hard with a front suspension. The only time I prefer front suspension is on hard bumpy snow in the winter.
    Shift your weight backward.

  19. #19
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    Pablo and Johnny have it pegged. The terrain dictates which is faster. You can gain alot more time on a climb than a descent given you're not a pink-pantied nail biter. I started killing my local trails on my rigid SS when my knees could handle it b/c all of that power went to the ground. My new local trails in the town that I'm moving to are much more rocky and chunky. I have ridden both rigid and front suspended. I was much faster on my PIKE. Not as much climbing. I would venture to say I'd be even faster on a dually.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Flying Merkel's Avatar
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    My first "mountain bike" was a Schwinn Varsity 'way back before the term was invented. The Varsity died because of my uncompetent attempts at modifications. If I'd had the resources & skill, we'd be riding Merkels instead of Gary Fishers.

    The Nashbar is almost finished. Waiting for Fedex to deliver the seatpost & clamp. As we've matured, we have discovered the "ride it and see" philosophy instead of relying on theory. The rigid fork weighs more than the frame itself- $5.00 at the local swap meet, go figure.

    Everyone here is right. It depends on the terrain.

  21. #21
    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    Pictures of the before and after are usually required.
    I think its disgusting and terrible how people treat Lance Armstrong, especially after winning 7 Tour de France Titles while on drugs!

    I can't even find my bike when I'm on drugs. -Willie N.

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    Having ridden both as a fledgling ******bag, it seems the hardtail is the faster of the two.

    I, also, live in Georgia. I don't have experience with the high end suspension forks, but I like my shocks dialed in firm. And I find that the hardtail ascends and descends faster than the rigid can. Climbing and descending, I have to pitch and dodge roots and rocks to keep speed. This costs speed; and if you don't dodge, you'll be sent flying. A front suspension fork lets you compromise efficiency a hair on climbing so that you can move much faster at all time.
    1996 Giant ATX 980 - 1993 Specialized Rockhopper, full XT - 1989 Schwinn Prelude

  23. #23
    PBR Racing RIC0's Avatar
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    Suspension is for off road riding, rigid is for roads. WTF beat your self up on a rigid?
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  24. #24
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I bought a hardtail Rockhopper frame for $150 or so. I spent $250 on a pretty good suspension fork. I'm very happy. I rode a rigid Stumpjumper for years. A good suspension fork makes the riding experience much more pleasant. It was worth ever penny.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Elev12k's Avatar
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    I have bikes without suspension, front suspension and full suspension. If I were allowed to keep one, I would stay with rigid. On my local track I am almost as fast, but the ride is more rewarding. Add up to that the simplicity.
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