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  1. #1
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    light-weight suspension forks for recumbents

    Hi all,

    I'm new here, and although there have been a ton of threads about suspension forks, I didn't notice any that dealt specifically with light-weight suspension forks for recumbents. Most suspension forks are designed for mountain bikes and are expected to take lots of punishments on trails. Therefore, most are quite heavy (5 lbs +) unless one gets into the very high priced exotica. Many recumbent riders like suspension even for road use because in a recumbent, you can't lift your butt of the seat when going over a bump. For road use, a light weight suspension fork should be quite do-able. Are there any out there for less than a small fortune?

  2. #2
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Hey.

    No one responded to this, and now I've got a similar question. Anyone out there these days who has ideas for suspension on a recumbent?
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
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  3. #3
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    One idea would be to buy a bike that comes from the factory with suspension.
    Another idea would be to go with tires that have more air volume.

  4. #4
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by recumelectric View Post
    Hey.

    No one responded to this, and now I've got a similar question. Anyone out there these days who has ideas for suspension on a recumbent?
    Well, I've got ideas...

    I put a suspension fork on the front of my P-38 at one point. It wasn't entirely successful- I still got a jolt from the back wheel.

    If I had room for another bike, I'd seriously think about an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine:

    Pat Franz at Terracycle has one- he really likes the dual suspension since the roads around his shop are pretty rough.
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  5. #5
    Senior Member palmersperry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Wills View Post
    If I had room for another bike, I'd seriously think about an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine:
    I've never had a long go on a Speedmachine, but I have owned both an early Streetmachine and a Grasshopper and I can report that the suspension makes them very plush and comfortable! OTOH, you do tend to pay for that when it comes to how heavy the bike is - none of them are exactly mountain goats!

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    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Pantour suspension hub, for front & rear hubs:
    http://www.pantourhub.com/

    I've never used one, I can't comment on it. Barcroft Cycles uses the White Brothers 20" front fork on their Dakota S. The WB fork costs ~$700.
    old steel Specialized Hardrock

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    Senior Member 15rms's Avatar
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    Lightfoot cycles makes a full suspension bike. You can get front back or both. I have thier Ranger long wheel base bike. Another idea comes to mind. Not sure where they can be found however there is at least one company that sells wheels with the suspension built into the axel.

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    I had a meks fork it was really nice. no bounce going up hills. it was 2.5# if I remember right. but they can be tricky to fit on an existing bike. I had chain rub on mine when I tired it on my burley hepcat. so you need to make sure one will fit
    http://tinyurl.com/5zg77z

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    Pantour suspension hubs are ok but they don't do a lot. not sure if they have a good rear wheel but they used to not have. I bought one and got the bearings replaced twice on warranty found they were shipping them dry and they would rust and grind in 200 miles.
    Last edited by steveknight; 11-28-08 at 12:04 AM.

  10. #10
    META Severian's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about this very subject. I kind of want to swap out the front wheel and fork on my Streetmachine for a 26" setup. I was wondering if...

    a) any of ya'll have done or know of someone who has done something like this

    b) how much does going from a small front wheel to a larger front change the geometry and ride quality of the bike?

    In answer to your question; some of the most light-weight forks on the market right now are XC forks for mountain bike racing. At 80 mils of travel they're more than adequate for a recumbent... the problem is of course going from, on my bike, a 20" to a 26" wheel.

  11. #11
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    My Counterpoint Presto has some suspension --a spring under the seat, I think-- and my sense of it is that it works pretty well; but the Presto is the only 'bent I've ever ridden, so I have no basis for comparison.

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    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Don't go with Pantours. Or, if you do, only get the front. I've never felt the need for suspension on a bent; which is saying a lot here in Michigan, where pot holes and expansion joints have been raised to an art form to enhance repair-stream revenue for the auto-makers.

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    META Severian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
    Don't go with Pantours. Or, if you do, only get the front. I've never felt the need for suspension on a bent; which is saying a lot here in Michigan, where pot holes and expansion joints have been raised to an art form to enhance repair-stream revenue for the auto-makers.
    That's what I'm wondering about; how much ride quality would be affected by going with a rigid fork on my Velotechnic. I mean, I could just blow the bank and get a Fox Float32 fork, or a new RockShox Sid. But, how much weight would I add on versus going with a lighter unsuspended fork?

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    I've been running a Pantour front hub on my P-38 for about 3 years now. You can't believe the difference that little 1/2" of movement can make. They now have both front and rear hubs for disc brake wheels that have 1" of travel. Based on how much better the 1/2" travel hub made my P-38, I would think that putting the Pantour disc wheels on both front and rear would result in a very comfortable ride.

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    Pantour hubs can be fitted with a springier elastomer, but there are reports of reliability problems. They sure look good.

    The most economical solution is a pair of fat tires like the Scorcher or the Kojak. The former have very poor puncture protection. Am going to try to Kojak soon.

  16. #16
    It's easy being green. recumelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pm124 View Post
    The most economical solution is a pair of fat tires like the Scorcher or the Kojak. The former have very poor puncture protection. Am going to try to Kojak soon.
    Will they fit on the skinny rims that came with my bike?

    I've also heard about the Big Apple tire. Does anyone have experience with those?
    When I ride, the troubles just roll off my back.

    Originally Posted by Cody Broken :
    Every ride is a mission, a race, an adventure, a quest.
    Every bike is noble steed, a stalwart machine, a clever device, a stealthy speedster.

  17. #17
    Senior Member juliebeanpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveknight View Post
    I had a meks fork it was really nice. no bounce going up hills. it was 2.5# if I remember right. but they can be tricky to fit on an existing bike. I had chain rub on mine when I tired it on my burley hepcat. so you need to make sure one will fit
    http://tinyurl.com/5zg77z
    Where did you buy your Meks fork? I see your link (I've come across it on ebay a couple of times) but I have a 1 1/8 inch threadless. The Meks site lists a dealer in my area. I called him, but he's not called back yet. I'd love to buy one of the White Bros. forks, but sheesh - 700 bucks?!? Seems the Meks is my only option, if only I could get my hands on one....

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    I bought it off of ebay but that was at least 4 years ago. when they first came out. it was a 1 1/8 threadless.

  19. #19
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Lowracer1, who posts here occasionally, got a set of Pantour hubs for his VK2. The rear hub lasted just about 2 weeks, and crapped out on a 4-day tour, while climbing a 16% grade. They replaced it under warranty, but since there were numerous reports of similar failures, he sold them on Fleabay rather than futz with them any more.

    IMHO, the best suspension is a set of supple tires and some extra padding on the seat.

  20. #20
    His Brain is Gone! Tom Bombadil's Avatar
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    What type of recumbent are you talking about? A SWB Aluminum frame?

    I own a CLWB Sun EZ-Rider AX which has a spring suspension built into the frame. It was designed as a semi-off-road bike and so can handle some decent bumps.

    I also own a RANS Stratus, the traditional design, that is a LWB cromoly frame. It has no specific suspension, but that long steel frame flexes enough to make it feel like it has one.

    I second the suggestion about using wider tires, those really make a difference. I'm running 1.5" tires on mine, would use wider if both bikes didn't already have a smooth ride.
    "Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen." Louis L'Amour

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  21. #21
    Raptobike Rider djwid's Avatar
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    My rans Vivo has full suspension. It is a nice bike but HEAVY. I don't notice bumps on the road with it. OTOH I prefer to ride my Corsa in almost all circumstances. If I were really worried about road quality, chipseal and pot holes I would get a Rans X-Stream and put 28mm tires on it. The long wheel base coupled with the wider tires would smooth out my ride considerably. The X-Stream remains light and is a performance oriented recumbent.
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  22. #22
    Bent builder purplepeople's Avatar
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    It might be possible to modify an older AMP Research fork for smaller front wheels...

    :)ensen.
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