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Old 05-10-06, 03:16 PM   #1
viki
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Front suspension on Hybrid - Good or Bad ??

Hi! I am a newbie to cycling. I need a bike on which I can do a daily commute for 4-5 miles. I have been doing some research online and LBS and have narrowed it down to

Specialized Crossroad Sport
Trek 7200 .... Both have front suspensions

But recently I found some comments from users that Front suspensions are a waist on such bikes. Could some body please shed some lights on advantages or disadvantages of paying extra money for front suspension in a Hybrid bike.

Thanks
Viki
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Old 05-10-06, 03:35 PM   #2
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People seem to like them. And if you like how they feel and it encourages you to get out on the bike then, by all means get a bike with suspension. Take a test ride, 30-60 minutes on your prospective bikes. You will get a pretty good idea of what you like and don't like.

I think the bad parts of suspension is that they can be cheaply and poorly done sometimes. The more recent good quality comfort bikes seem to have good setup but others more familiar with suspension would have to chime in on that.

Pros:
Makes for a plusher ride

Cons:
Weight
Expense
Maintenance

The cons can be far outweighed if the suspension gets you on the bike. The expense is a one time thing, maintenance needs to be done anyways, it will just cost a little more at times. The weight will become a non-issue unless you desire to do much faster, longer or more technical riding.
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Old 05-10-06, 05:57 PM   #3
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Suspension doesn't really seem to be necessary if you're mainly riding on roads. If you do offroad a lot, you may appreciate it.
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Old 05-10-06, 07:01 PM   #4
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I am looking at similar bikes, and read somewhere that front suspension absorbs some of your effort when climbing hills. Is this true, because I have a LOT of hills in my neighborhood (the area I will be biking most). Also, on a hybrid, do I want more or less travel in the suspension?

Last edited by b-dizzle; 05-10-06 at 07:16 PM.
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Old 05-10-06, 08:23 PM   #5
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Depending on how you set them, not only for compression but also for rebound. They can absorb energy, the softer they ride the more energy they will absorb. How you set them will be up to you and how adjustable the suspension is.

I prefer slightly less travel to keep the feel in the steering. Others prefer it softer. That part of the setup will be a personal choice. The good part is that you should be able to easily adjust it to what suits you.
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Old 05-11-06, 10:03 AM   #6
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When taking fast corners on rough pavement, my suspension bike would allow the front wheel to dribble up and down like a basketball... dangerous. I got rid of that, went to a solid fork. Best thing I ever did for that bike.
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Old 05-11-06, 01:33 PM   #7
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Thanks for all your responses.

Can anybody tell me Suspensions on less $400 hybrid bikes fall into what category ?
As more I learn about cheap suspensions I want o stay away from them ... But I am not able to get any answers regaridng Trek 7200 / Trek 7300 or Crossroads Sports....

My Lbs was pushing for Trek 7300 with adjustabel suspensions... even though i told him I would use it for commute on roads .. not sure i trust him for advice...

Thanks
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Old 05-11-06, 02:55 PM   #8
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Look at the Trek "7.something FX" bikes, all solid forks. www.trekbikes.com


the 7.2 FX lists for $420, you could probably get it for less than $400
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Old 05-11-06, 03:30 PM   #9
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Search this forum for 7.3 and also for 7300. Alot of people seem to be buying them and are happy with them. They sound like they are solid bikes. I don't think you could go wrong with the components on those bikes. The other side of that coin is that it is their opinions. The one that matters most will be yours.
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Old 05-11-06, 06:56 PM   #10
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A front suspension on a hybrid in that price range means that the manufacturer is cutting the quality of the other components, which are already marginal at that price point. It can be no other way because suspension forks cost more to make than non-susp. Things like the wheels, hubs, deraiileurs are usually a grade or two lower than the same bike without front suspension. For example, compare the components on the Trek FX series with the non-FX, which has front suspension.

In addition, the suspension adds 2-3 pounds of weight, sucks up some pedaling energy, and will not handle as well, except on bumpy terrain where it may have an advantage. A suspension fork simply is not needed on a road bike for comfort unless you ride over potholes. One caveat: try to get a bike with a fork that is either cro-moly or carbon. Both will provide an excellent ride. Some hybrids use an aluminum fork which tends to ride stiffer. However, tires of a sufficient size (28-35) will usuall dampen out most road "buzz". I had a 7500fx and it was a great all around bike, with a fair turn of speed.
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Old 05-11-06, 09:06 PM   #11
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OK, sounds like I don't really need suspension. Does anyone know of a good non-suspension hybrid under $400 that still has nice components? I live near a city, so between several LBSs, I have access to just about every brand you guys have mentioned on here.
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Old 05-12-06, 05:10 AM   #12
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A non sus bike is probably a better choice for general purpose riding. It is hard to find qood quality sus forks with fender eyelets.
In the $400 range, look for forks made from chromoly steel rather than the cheaper Hi tensile steel.
Do you need 700c weels or 26" (MTB). This is mainly down to your size.
Over 5'4" you can fit a 700c bike.
Below 5'1" you are better off with smaller MTb wheels.
In between is depends on the particular frame but people ride both.
The Specialized Sirrus style of fast, light hybrid (called a flat-bar road bike) is popular and efficient. Most other brands do similar models.
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Old 05-12-06, 07:38 AM   #13
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I am 6'1" and still growing (I'm 15), so I guess 700c wheels would be fine . The Sirrus is about $150 outside my pricerange, and it seems like most companies' flat bar road bikes are too.
If its fender eyelets you're worried about, I was looking at this one, which also has front suspension: http://fujibikes.com/2006/bikes.asp?id=183
Heck, it even comes with fenders. Seems like a pretty good deal to me.

I don't really care about the maintenence or weight of front sus. If I can find a good bike for a good price that has sus, I'd get it. But if I could trade front sus for better components in a bike under $400, preferably around 350-370, I would.
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Old 05-12-06, 08:31 AM   #14
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I went with the Trek 7700FX for light weight and speed, but still with the better visibility and handling of a flat bar. I love benefits and have not had a day when I wished for front suspension. I take it off-road and on unpaved trails all the time. Over the road though it is fast and nimble, which for me has made my commute a lot more enjoyable.
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Old 05-12-06, 11:02 AM   #15
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In Montreal the roads in the spring are worse than the dirt trails, because the effects of freeze thaw cycles. Suspension pays off in these circumstanes, but not if you have big hills to climb.
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Old 05-12-06, 06:11 PM   #16
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Also consider buying a used mountain bike from the early 90's (steel, rigid fork) that has low usage and good components. Many of these can be purchased for around $100 off Craigslist and they are versatile and comfortable. Models like Trek 850, 930, 970, Specialized Stumpjumper and Rockhopper, Gary Fisher, Marin, etc. A tune up, some new slicks and brake pads, and off you go for around $200 total investment. Less worry about scratches, dings or theft, too.
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Old 05-12-06, 06:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viki
Thanks for all your responses.

Can anybody tell me Suspensions on less $400 hybrid bikes fall into what category ?
As more I learn about cheap suspensions I want o stay away from them ... But I am not able to get any answers regaridng Trek 7200 / Trek 7300 or Crossroads Sports....

My Lbs was pushing for Trek 7300 with adjustabel suspensions... even though i told him I would use it for commute on roads .. not sure i trust him for advice...

Thanks
Viki
My wife had the Trek 7100 with an unadjustable front suspension. We rode on pavement and dirt roads. She liked the bike but didn't feel the need for the suspension. Since it wasn't adjustable, it couldn't be locked out and so it was just extra weight. I got her a Trek 7.5FX WSD and she loves it. My stepdaughter got the 7100. It replaced her Wal-mart bike.

Ride the 7300, adjust the suspension. Then ask to ride something without a front suspension.
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Old 05-12-06, 08:06 PM   #18
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I don't like it, others do. There's no right answer.
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Old 05-16-06, 09:33 PM   #19
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When I started commuting, I was using an mtb. After a while, I changed out the suspension fork for a rigid. I can definitely feel the difference in my hands after a ride, but I don't really miss it. (dropped 2 lb. from the bike by swapping it out. definitely helped on the hill climbing) Instead, I just learned to unweight my hands (and butt) a little during the rough sections of pavement.
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Old 05-19-06, 08:10 AM   #20
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My wife has weak wrists and ankles, so anything less than a comfort bike, which puts her in a totally upright position, is not good for her. However, I do not suffer the same problems that she does and therefore find the suspension to be quite anoying. Sure, it may slow my wife down, but since we are into utility-family cycling (not racing), it does not matter.

In the long run you may find a rigid fork to be more agile in commuting conditions. If you do go for a suspension fork, then realize that it is not necessary, you should be able to pick up a rigid fork pretty cheap. The LBS will probably install it for free if you bought the bike there also.
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Old 05-19-06, 09:51 AM   #21
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IMO, you don't need a front suspension for commutes. A rigid front fork is a good choice for commutes even over broken or choppy pavement. If you need a cushier ride, you can always use a wider tire. For a commute bike, something from the Trek FX series or comparable models from other manufacturers will do fine.
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Old 05-22-06, 08:31 PM   #22
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check frame clearance when shopping!

If you decide to go with a bike that has 700C wheels, pay particular attention to the clearance between the frame and the tire as you are shopping. Many of the hybrids on the market right now come stock with 35-38C tires, but would have minimal clearance if you choose to switch to 42C widths for a little extra cush. Lack of clearance is really bad if you get into sticky mud or fresh tar (I have horror stories!) In the respect of clearance, MTB's are usually more forgiving. In the respect of rolling over average bumpy stuff, the vote goes to 700C--bigger tires roll over bumpy things better, generally speaking.
FWIW, I just bought a hybrid that has front suspension (Gary Fisher Utopia). When I was shopping I was dead set against front suspension, but I test rode this against a Trek 7.3 because I liked the other features of the bike. Needless to say, after comparing them I brought the Fisher home, and have actually enjoyed having the suspension. The only thing I don't like about it is the way it always wants to compress when I stand to pedal out of the saddle-no lockout. I'm still fiddling to find the "perfect" setting on the suspension.
My wife's Specialized Expedition was a very good value at $450, but it may be a little more upright than you are looking for. Good components for the price point though!
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Old 05-24-06, 12:24 AM   #23
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I went against suspension, decided I wanted a solid ride and better components.
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Old 05-24-06, 10:39 PM   #24
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Thank you all for wealth of information. Based on that and my budget I am thinking of buying Trek 7000 the only one without suspension. But it has steel fork instead of Cromoly

Can you help educate how much diffrent these two type are.

Also if any body out there has this kind [hybrid with High Tensile Steel Fork] of bike please share your experience.

Thanks
Viki
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Old 06-05-06, 01:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by viki
Thank you all for wealth of information. Based on that and my budget I am thinking of buying Trek 7000 the only one without suspension. But it has steel fork instead of Cromoly

Can you help educate how much diffrent these two type are.

Also if any body out there has this kind [hybrid with High Tensile Steel Fork] of bike please share your experience.

Thanks
Viki
for the type of riding you are talking about, it is a non-issue.

I agree with most here that suspension is not necessary for you.

The other part of this not mentioned (other issues being more important anyway) is that suspension just adds more moving parts. More to fix, more to oil, more to...

Keep your bike simple for the riding you are talking about. If you fall in love with the sport, sell this one and trade up to a road/mtn bike.
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