Is the degree of suspension on a bike relevant at all to its winter use? I'm eyeing a craigslist Giant Cypress as a winter beater. Is full suspension a really good or really bad idea for winter utility and commute riding? Or does it not really make a difference either way?
You don't need suspension to rid ein the winter. If you are getting a good deal on a bike that will work well as a Winter Beater, then go for it. Winter is hard on bikes, so getting a used / good quality bike is definitely a good idea. That way you won't feel guilty when you see tons of salt and grit get on your drivetrain.
I really believe in suspension for Mountain Biking. It helps you ride faster, longer, and to a degree safer. The things that make it great off road make it suck on the road, and suck even more in the winter.
Riding in the winter is hard enough. Adding power robbing suspension would make it even worse. Not to mention the maintenance issues with suspension and the effect extreme cold has on it's performance (which is superfluous after all in this aplication).
Cool, thanks for all the guidance. Based on it, I've switched my winter beater purchase plans from a full suspension Giant Cypress to a rigid Schwinn Criss Cross. Should work out ok as long as the cross is in decent shape... The joys of buying used.