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Shock Absorbing Fork

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Shock Absorbing Fork

Old 05-21-12, 04:20 PM
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Shock Absorbing Fork

I've starting using my mountain bike as my primary commuter. It has a shock absorbing "Rockshox" fork. Scoatw in another thread asked if it can be "locked out". I assume that means disabling the shock absorbing feature? Would you recommend doing that for a commuter? If so, why? Thanks.
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Old 05-21-12, 05:10 PM
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Locking out the fork does mean that you eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of travel in the shock. I would lock it out on a mtb that is on the street. I wouldn't even get a suspended fork for anything that doesn't go off road unless there is a medical condition that warrants it.
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Old 05-21-12, 06:05 PM
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If you're riding on the road then either lock out the fork or set the suspension to be firm. If you're riding partly on decent tarmac and partly on seriously bumpy stuff then set it for the bumpy stuff and lock it out on the tarmac.

If you ride on tarmac with a soft suspension fork you'll lose some of your pedalling energy as it bounces the fork. If you power up a hill with the suspension active you can sometimes see the fork bouncing as you pedal. All the energy that went into bouncing the fork could have gone on pushing you up the hill.
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Old 05-21-12, 06:07 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Makes sense. How is "locking out" done ?
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Old 05-21-12, 08:49 PM
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You may or may not have a "remote switch" to adjust the dampening, so you'll probably have to do it manually. On top of one of the stanchions (fork leg), you should find a knob/dial thingy. Rotate that a couple of clicks in one direction or the other and should notice it changing one way or the other.

Here's a vid I came across that may help you a bit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV5b8...ture=endscreen
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Old 05-21-12, 09:12 PM
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Sorry this doesn't really answer your question. But it might come close in some way.

I look down on suspension of any kind on a bicycle. (Though I'm willing to admit that it might be somewhat useful, but not necessary for rough off-road use.)

The human body is the best shock absorber for a bike. I'm sure many people reading this know what I mean; on rough stuff you only need to allow the bike to pivot on the crank and let your arms and legs absorb the shocks. Perhaps an analogy to skiing works. Consider a skier going down a fairly rough hill. Unless he's a complete tenderfoot his center of gravity will follow a pretty straight line down the hill. (If not, then he's a 'splattered' tenderfoot.) His skis, on the other hand, will go up and down, sometimes rapidly, over the bumps. His legs will be shortening and lengthening. His body is the shock absorber. It would be absurd to try to mount a mechanical absorber between ski and skier, so no one tries. The same mechanical absorber between bike and rider is less obviously absurd. But, really, it's almost as bad.

They're selling something we don't need.

Also, it seems to me that doing our own absorbing is actually better for our bodies. I doubt if I'll ever be able to prove it, but it feels to me as though it helps keep us limber and pliable.

You show me someone who 'needs' shock absorbers and I'll show you someone who doesn't really, really know how to ride a bike.

I hope I don't sound to contemptuous. But I guess shock absorbers fall into the 'pet peeve' category for me.

And now that I've finished ranting, I'll say 'good night!'
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Old 05-22-12, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
You show me someone who 'needs' shock absorbers and I'll show you someone who doesn't really, really know how to ride a bike.
Ever tried riding downhill really fast over rough terrain on a rigid bike?

Oh, and you do sound contemptuous in your rant.
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Old 05-22-12, 08:43 AM
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Some lower tier suspension forks don't lock out,
part of the component parts package
picked to keep the bike's price sum down.

Last edited by fietsbob; 05-22-12 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 05-22-12, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
Thanks for the replies. Makes sense. How is "locking out" done ?
If your fork has a lockout - some do, some (usually cheaper ones) don't - then there will be a control on the top of one of the arms that you can rotate.
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Old 05-22-12, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
Sorry this doesn't really answer your question. But it might come close in some way.

I look down on suspension of any kind on a bicycle. (Though I'm willing to admit that it might be somewhat useful, but not necessary for rough off-road use.)

The human body is the best shock absorber for a bike. I'm sure many people reading this know what I mean; on rough stuff you only need to allow the bike to pivot on the crank and let your arms and legs absorb the shocks. Perhaps an analogy to skiing works. Consider a skier going down a fairly rough hill. Unless he's a complete tenderfoot his center of gravity will follow a pretty straight line down the hill. (If not, then he's a 'splattered' tenderfoot.) His skis, on the other hand, will go up and down, sometimes rapidly, over the bumps. His legs will be shortening and lengthening. His body is the shock absorber. It would be absurd to try to mount a mechanical absorber between ski and skier, so no one tries. The same mechanical absorber between bike and rider is less obviously absurd. But, really, it's almost as bad.

They're selling something we don't need.

Also, it seems to me that doing our own absorbing is actually better for our bodies. I doubt if I'll ever be able to prove it, but it feels to me as though it helps keep us limber and pliable.

You show me someone who 'needs' shock absorbers and I'll show you someone who doesn't really, really know how to ride a bike.

I hope I don't sound to contemptuous. But I guess shock absorbers fall into the 'pet peeve' category for me.

And now that I've finished ranting, I'll say 'good night!'
You could easily say you don't actually need tyres on your bike but they certainly make the ride smoother and protect the rims. And you don't really need a saddle because you can stand on the pedals. And maybe you don't need gears because people get by on fixies just fine. Of course you only need the one wheel as unicyclists will gladly demonstrate.

Having a second wheel, gears, and a saddle certainly help and, if you're cycling over rough terrain suspension can also help. Horses for courses, and all that.
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Old 05-22-12, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by AdamDZ View Post
Ever tried riding downhill really fast over rough terrain on a rigid bike?

Oh, and you do sound contemptuous in your rant.

Yeah....I know. I give you my word that I'm in my most hang-dog,sheepish posture as I type this.
I only hoped that my contempt wasn't showing. But I know darn well that I'm contemptuous of suspensions.

My real regret is that I went off-topic. But this subject doesn't come up much. You gotta take the chances when they come. Sorry 'bout that, especially to the OP.

And, yes, fast downhill on rough terrain is one place where suspension can be useful. I pointed in that direction in my rant. But the bike that is right for those conditions is not the bike that is right for city streets, in my humble opinion.

I really am a pretty tolerant type, but suspension on a bicycle really makes me see red.

(I kid, I kid. It's not really all that severe. It's just kinda close.)
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Old 05-22-12, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
I give you my word that I'm in my most hang-dog,sheepish posture as I type this.
You should see the things I've screwed up. But hopefully no one ever will.

Yes I can understand suspension being needed going down hill in races, at speed, etc. For the average commute though it is pointless. MB tires are big and soft shock absorbers anyway. And as mentioned they do absorb energy that only comes from one source, you.

Of course getting narrower tires will help your commute for the same reason. The 1.25 inch are a nice size for general riding.
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Old 05-22-12, 09:49 PM
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I always thought the term "locking out the shock" referred only to the rear shock on a fully suspended bike? On a smooth road you lose a lot of power with the rear end pogo-ing as you pedal.
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Old 05-22-12, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bluegoatwoods View Post
Stuff....contemptuous
My post was redundant to what others have said. Yay for shocks.

Last edited by Simpletommy; 05-22-12 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 05-23-12, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuc View Post
I always thought the term "locking out the shock" referred only to the rear shock on a fully suspended bike? On a smooth road you lose a lot of power with the rear end pogo-ing as you pedal.
Not necessarily. My MTB is a hardtail and the suspension fork has a lockout. On a full suspension bike I'd expect to be able to lock out the front and rear shocks independently.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:57 AM
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Do you need sus for the road, no. I do like my front fork working when I take the mt bike for the commute. Big potholes around here. Bluegoatwoods, do you own a mt bike or travel off road? We have this stuff called granite which comprise most of our trails here in New England. Suspension is used a lot here. YRMV.

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Old 05-23-12, 08:26 AM
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i've never cared for suspension on bikes that really only see pavement. when i converted and old hardtail mountain bike into an urban street commuter, one of the first mods i made was to ditch the suspension fork and put on a rigid steel fork. if other folks like to ride with suspension on pavement, more power to them, but it's not for me.
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Old 05-23-12, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Easy Peasy View Post
I've starting using my mountain bike as my primary commuter. It has a shock absorbing "Rockshox" fork. Scoatw in another thread asked if it can be "locked out". I assume that means disabling the shock absorbing feature? Would you recommend doing that for a commuter? If so, why? Thanks.
If it boings more than you want it to, being able to damp it down or stop it entirely helps you go forward faster. If it doesn't boing more than you want it to then leave it alone.
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Old 05-23-12, 04:37 PM
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Thanks for all the replies, I learned a lot. I turned the knobs clockwise, and the knob got loose and I got more boing.
Counterclockwise, the knobs eventually stopped turning, and less boing, but not completely locked out. That's OK for me, cause I do hit quite a few bumps on the commute. Plus the commute is so easy, I don't mind a little extra workout.
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Old 05-24-12, 06:33 AM
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It was years ago I was stopped at a light at a major intersection. I was watching a guy on a box store "mountain" bike trying to cross the highway as he furiously pounded his pedals to beat the light. He was bouncing and bobbing up and down more than he was moving forward. It was then I recognized the need for a lock out if you must insist on a front suspension.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:46 AM
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I have them on my 7100 and I have considered ditching them but, I sometimes like having them. I usually keep them firm as possible to keep me from loosing energy while peddling. Either way, I dont see how it can be a pet peeve it doesn't make a cyclist lesser of a cyclist because he has sus.
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Old 05-24-12, 10:55 AM
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To the OP: Sounds like you've found the rebound adjustment on your shock and cranked it down to where the shock has minimal effect. That's what I had to do on my older MTBs that didn't have a lockout. My current full suspension bike has lockouts for both front and rear shocks, and I'm glad to have them because I often ride miles of paved roads or logging roads to get to local trailheads. Even with the suspension locked out, though, the MTB is still much slower on the road than my road bikes.

I agree that suspension on a commuter bike is overkill.... wide tires can provide enough comfort for most people.
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Old 05-25-12, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by addictedhealer View Post
Either way, I dont see how it can be a pet peeve it doesn't make a cyclist lesser of a cyclist because he has sus.
Well, it's a true pet peeve. At least it is in the way that I define "pet" peeve. Something that makes you mad even though it really doesn't matter at all. For that matter, 'mad' is a bit too strong a word. It's not like it really makes me all that angry. Maybe 'annoyed' is closer.

I'm annoyed with manufacturers for marketing and selling something that adds complexity without giving any benefit. (always excepting rough off road conditions. though I'm not convinced that suspension is absolutely necessary even there. and, yes, I've ridden off road. quite a bit.)

I'm not so fanatical that I'd throw 'em in prison for it or outlaw suspension. Nothing like that. I'm just calling a foul on them.

Maybe this describes the way I'm thinking; I love my bike the way men used to love their horses. I just know that most of the folks who'll be reading this feel the same way. I'm capable of absorbing those road shocks in my arms and legs. I'm happy to do it. It enhances the symbiosis (if that's the right term) between us. When I've tolerated a front shock on my bike I've found myself actually neglecting to be very careful about moderate chuck-holes and other such stuff. It's made me just a little bit lazy about really riding my bike. Less caring toward my bike.

When I'm riding my bike I feel something like a competent Centaur would have felt like had they been real. Suspension interferes with this. Does it matter if others share this view with me? No, it doesn't. Hence, it's a pet peeve. As opposed to a justified peeve.

Last edited by bluegoatwoods; 05-25-12 at 09:15 PM. Reason: remove redundant wording
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Old 05-25-12, 10:06 PM
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As previously posted, with a commuter bike, a lot more energy is lost when pedaling up hill with a shock absorbing fork, and the extra weight of the fork is a factor too, with both of my current commuter bikes having solid forks for those reasons.
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