Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Folding Bikes
Reload this Page >

Why "suspension" on folding bikes?

Notices
Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

Why "suspension" on folding bikes?

Old 06-23-14, 07:49 PM
  #1  
bikerwannabe
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Why "suspension" on folding bikes?

Just starting to research folding bikes (I own a Trek pilot road bike and Cannondale Road Warrior hybrid, but I cannot fit either of these in/on my car when towing my pop up camper)

I am looking for an "inexpensive" folding bike that I can store INSIDE the popup and use only when camping once I retire. I prefer to bike on paved surfaces but occasionally on rail to trails type surfaces. No mountain biking, and probably no urban biking.

So my question is - why do folding bikes have "suspensions". It seems some have front or back suspension and some have both (for ex: "Full suspension Downtube")

Neither my road bike nor hybrid have that - so i want to understand why I need it (if I do) and what it provides.
Thanks!
bikerwannabe is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 08:46 PM
  #2  
keyven
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Singapore
Posts: 1,142

Bikes: Fully customized 11-spd MTB built on 2014 Santa Cruz 5010 frame; Brompton S2E-X 2014; Brompton M3E 2014

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I wrote a pretty long post but I lost it when I accidentally closed the window lol.

Long story short:

- Suspension helps to absorb bumps and uneven surfaces. Downside is extra weight and a slight loss in speed (since pedaling converts a downward force into forward motion)

- Having suspension on folders are more the exception than the standard. Many cheaper, common folders (Dahon lower-mid range, Citizen, etc) are for urban or multi-modal commuting and do not offer suspension. A good affordable (about $500) and popular option may be the Downtube 9 or 9FS. Some specialty touring folders like Bike Fridays offer suspension but they're certainly not cheap.

Last edited by keyven; 06-23-14 at 08:59 PM.
keyven is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 08:46 PM
  #3  
BikeLite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 990
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 290 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 43 Posts
For comfort.
BikeLite is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 09:00 PM
  #4  
jur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 7,391
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Read the sticky thread "New to folding bikes", for info on suspension.
jur is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 09:04 PM
  #5  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
The smaller wheels of most folders do produce an inherently harsher ride than having regular size wheels. That can be countered in one way by going to wider tires but some companies have also chosen to include one or more types of frame suspension as well. My Bike Friday does not have any suspension but I do run wider tires on it (28 and 32 mm) than on my regular road bike (23 mm). I did test ride some folding bikes with suspension and didn't like the ride quite as much as on the Bike Friday I ended up buying but I can certainly see others coming to a different conclusion based on their personal preference.
prathmann is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 10:05 PM
  #6  
jur
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 7,391
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Regarding the rôle of smaller wheels and tyres, see
https://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bi...arge-ones.html
jur is offline  
Old 06-23-14, 11:14 PM
  #7  
prathmann
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Bay Area, Calif.
Posts: 7,239
Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 659 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by jur View Post
My reading of your simulation results there was that the conclusion was exactly opposite of the thread title. I.e. if other factors are kept equal (tire width, construction, and pressure) then the smaller diameter tire will have a harsher ride. Only by compensating for this inherent property through the use of either wider, lower pressure tires and/or by introducing some type of suspension can the ride of the smaller-wheeled bike be made equal or even less harsh than that of a bike with larger wheels.

As I said above, I find the ride of my Bike Friday to be perfectly fine and about the same as my regular road bike - but that's only when I run wider tires on it. When using the tires with which it came (25mm, 100+ psi) the ride was harsher. And in comparison to my 700c touring road bike with 32mm tires the Bike Friday still has a slightly harsher ride. Nothing surprising here - smaller wheels tend to give a harsher ride and wider, lower pressure tires tend to give a softer ride. So I'm not at all surprised by your simulation that one gets about the same ride with 16" wheels using fat tires that one does with 700c wheels with skinny tires.
prathmann is offline  
Old 06-24-14, 06:17 AM
  #8  
bikerwannabe
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanks for all the quick replies. So basically - suspension is NOT required, but MAY offer a more comfortable ride on a bike with smaller tires. I do plan to do some test rides - but I am glad to have some information before all the "sales" talk starts
bikerwannabe is offline  
Old 06-24-14, 09:48 AM
  #9  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,326 Times in 835 Posts
Cheaper DaHon & knockoffs dont have suspension ..

My Brompton does, My Bike Friday does not.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-24-14, 12:46 PM
  #10  
BikeLite
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 990
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 290 Post(s)
Liked 68 Times in 43 Posts
And remember you can add seatpost "suspension" to most bikes...like the Cane Creek Thudbuster.
BikeLite is offline  
Old 06-24-14, 01:24 PM
  #11  
mconlonx 
Str*t*gic *quivoc*tor
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 7,552
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7069 Post(s)
Liked 77 Times in 55 Posts
I like suspension on my Birdy not for comfort, but for handling. Tires bouncing off road debris is not gripping the road; suspension accommodating road irregularities is.
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline  
Old 06-25-14, 08:51 AM
  #12  
invisiblehand
Part-time epistemologist
 
invisiblehand's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 5,862

Bikes: Jamis Nova, Bike Friday NWT, STRIDA, Austro Daimler Vent Noir, Haluzak Horizon, Salsa La Raza, Hollands Tourer, Bike Friday tikit

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 120 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by bikerwannabe View Post
Thanks for all the quick replies. So basically - suspension is NOT required, but MAY offer a more comfortable ride on a bike with smaller tires. I do plan to do some test rides - but I am glad to have some information before all the "sales" talk starts
That is my experience with road riding with a folding bike.
__________________
A narrative on bicycle driving.
invisiblehand is offline  
Old 06-25-14, 04:26 PM
  #13  
technical_tim
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: London (UK)
Posts: 5

Bikes: Dahon Jetstream P8, Speed P8, Helios P8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a couple of 20" Dahon bikes, one with full suspension and one without any suspension.

I would absolutely agree that for most roads and smoother (hard packed) trails the suspension is not at all required.

My suspension bike does have slightly wider and lower pressure tyres than on the other bike, 42mm at about 75psi vs 35mm at about 80psi, but I doubt this makes a huge difference, so the suspension does seem to be fairly noticeable.

The suspension isn't soft, little bumps or a rough surface is felt, but in comparison, where the road surface isn't good, the ride without the suspension definitely feels harsh. Small holes, ridges, speed bumps, drains, etc can be quite jarring, especially at a brisk (not fast) pace, even with all one's weight lifted off the saddle.

I find the suspension gives some options for rolling over/down smallish bumps that I'd avoid with a shorter, smaller wheeled bike that wasn't very "solid", and definitely gives a bit more confidence when encountering some unexpected roughness or hole or something.
technical_tim is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 10:47 AM
  #14  
downtube
Senior Member
 
downtube's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,495

Bikes: Many Downtube Folders :)

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 278 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Most bikes today are made of aluminium, which is a very stiff metal. Folding bikes have smaller frames hence make these frames stiffer, additionally smaller wheels absorb less shock. Therefore an aluminium frame folder is much less comfortable than a comparable bigger wheeled bike. Suspension solves these issues, but adds weight.

I think suspension is required on a folder.

Thanks,
Yan
__________________
Designer of Downtube Folding Bike
Ph.D. Temple University ( Math )
Biked across the USA twice
Semi-active chess player ( two time Bahamas National Champion )
Sivananda ( Bahamas ) Trained Yoga instructor ( 2013 ) and ThetaHealer since 2013
Bicycle delivery worker for Jimmy John's. Delivering is the best workout I have ever had.
downtube is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 11:38 AM
  #15  
mconlonx 
Str*t*gic *quivoc*tor
 
mconlonx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 7,552
Mentioned: 46 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7069 Post(s)
Liked 77 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by downtube View Post
I think suspension is required on a folder.
I'd not go that far.

I love my Birdy and think that the suspension greatly contributes to my surprise that it exceeded my expectations like no other bike has. Hand's down, I'd pick it over previous smaller-wheeled bikes I've owned -- Raleigh R20, Mercier (BD) mini-velo.

But it's really dependent on intended use, budget, and availability. A folder without suspension would satisfy many people looking for a folder, weighs and costs less.
__________________
I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.
mconlonx is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 12:33 PM
  #16  
bikerwannabe
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by downtube View Post
M

I think suspension is required on a folder.

Thanks,
Yan
Okay then, now I have a couple of follow up questions:
1- Does the least expensive Downtube (NOVA?) have a suspension?
2- What is the difference/ advantage/disadvantage of the "Front Suspension" vs "Full suspension" on the other Downtube models?

3- How much more weight does suspension add to a folding bike?

Thanks again for all the great info…
I intend to be a well informed consumer!
bikerwannabe is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 12:37 PM
  #17  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,326 Times in 835 Posts
Yan 'Downtube' is a dealer , so I will let him talk about his Products..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-26-14 at 12:41 PM.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 12:49 PM
  #18  
downtube
Senior Member
 
downtube's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,495

Bikes: Many Downtube Folders :)

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 278 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 14 Posts
bikerwannabe answers are:

1. No the Nova has no suspension. It competes with entry level folders in the market ( none of which have suspension ).
2. The full suspension is the most comfortable bike we sell. The front suspension is our commuter model. It swaps the rear suspension for a rear rack and rear fender ( please note a front fender is not required on most 20" folders ). Otherwise the two bikes are identical.
3. It depends what forks you swap ( steel vs aluminium ). However as a general rule, suspension adds about 2 lbs vs non suspension.

Thanks,
Yan
__________________
Designer of Downtube Folding Bike
Ph.D. Temple University ( Math )
Biked across the USA twice
Semi-active chess player ( two time Bahamas National Champion )
Sivananda ( Bahamas ) Trained Yoga instructor ( 2013 ) and ThetaHealer since 2013
Bicycle delivery worker for Jimmy John's. Delivering is the best workout I have ever had.
downtube is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 03:53 PM
  #19  
dynaryder
PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes
 
dynaryder's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: BicycleSPACE warehouse in SW Washington DC
Posts: 6,980
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by downtube View Post
I think suspension is required on a folder.
No way. Swapped the 1" tires that came stock on my old Mu SL for 1.35" Kojaks and it rode just fine. So does my Hooli 3 with the same tires. The right tires can make all the difference in the world.
__________________

C'dale BBU('05 and '09)/Super Six/Hooligan8and 3,Kona Dew Deluxe,Novara Buzz/Safari,Surly Big Dummy,Marin Pt Reyes,Giant Defy 1,Schwinn DBX SuperSport,Dahon Speed Pro TT,Brompton S6L/S2E-X
dynaryder is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 05:12 PM
  #20  
bikerwannabe
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 136
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by downtube View Post
bikerwannabe answers are:

1. No the Nova has no suspension. It competes with entry level folders in the market ( none of which have suspension ).
2. The full suspension is the most comfortable bike we sell. The front suspension is our commuter model. It swaps the rear suspension for a rear rack and rear fender ( please note a front fender is not required on most 20" folders ). Otherwise the two bikes are identical.
3. It depends what forks you swap ( steel vs aluminium ). However as a general rule, suspension adds about 2 lbs vs non suspension.

Thanks,
Yan

Thanks Yan!
bikerwannabe is offline  
Old 06-26-14, 05:27 PM
  #21  
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,268

Bikes: See my sig...

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 22 Posts
My Dahon V and Moulton both run on 16 inch wheels and tyres, my P20 usually rolls on 20 inch Marathons and our old Raleigh 20's ride on a range of tyres in the 406 and 451 size.

The Dahon has 1.75 tyres that run at 50 psi and it has a rather nice ride quality while the Moulton rides on higher performance 1.3 tyres at 85-90 psi and really defines what a nice ride is all about without any sacrifice to performance. I would expect that if the Dahon was fitted with similar tyres the ride quality would be greatly diminished.

If I compare the Dahon to my other bikes that run 1.75 tyres it is a fairer comparison just as comparing the Moulton to bikes like my randonneur (that runs similar width tyres) and the suspension on the Moulton is what gives it the ride quality of a bicycle with 35mm tyres that run at similar pressures.

The 406 wheel and tyre seem to be the usual point where you can roll without suspension and still run higher performance, lower volume tyres without losses in ride quality.., have ridden my P20 with 1.3 Comets at 100 psi and the ride was better than it is with Marathons at a lower psi but the trade off is survivability as they are rather light.
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 06-27-14, 06:40 AM
  #22  
jobtraklite
Senior Member
 
jobtraklite's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Quincy, IL
Posts: 118

Bikes: too many

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Suspension vs. no is just another one of those "tastes great, less filling" debates, in other words, nothing more than personal choice.

For me, I'm still touring on a 2008 Dahon Speed P8 (referred to as cheap in a previous post) and I haven't missed suspension a bit.
jobtraklite is offline  
Old 06-27-14, 08:44 AM
  #23  
JTriumph
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a Xootr Swift, which has no suspension, and with wide tires (Big Apples, which are also fairly fast) and a sprung saddle (Spiderflex), the ride is plush enough for dealing with pot holes, gravel bike paths, etc.
JTriumph is offline  
Old 06-27-14, 08:58 AM
  #24  
downtube
Senior Member
 
downtube's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Greensboro, NC
Posts: 1,495

Bikes: Many Downtube Folders :)

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 278 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by jobtraklite View Post
Suspension vs. no is just another one of those "tastes great, less filling" debates, in other words, nothing more than personal choice.
Agreed it is a requirement for me. Obviously that is not the case for everyone.

I like Speed 8's, nice bike. I would not worry of others refer to it as cheap.

Thanks,
Yan
__________________
Designer of Downtube Folding Bike
Ph.D. Temple University ( Math )
Biked across the USA twice
Semi-active chess player ( two time Bahamas National Champion )
Sivananda ( Bahamas ) Trained Yoga instructor ( 2013 ) and ThetaHealer since 2013
Bicycle delivery worker for Jimmy John's. Delivering is the best workout I have ever had.
downtube is offline  
Old 07-07-14, 09:47 AM
  #25  
alienbogey
Senior Member
 
alienbogey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Western Washington, USA
Posts: 97

Bikes: Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc, Brompton M6

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
FWIW, my Brompton has its simple bushing suspension and I find that it really adds to the comfort of the ride.

When I ride my full-size hybrid (with front suspension but not rear), I'll sometimes hit a bump and feel an unexpected amount of shock in the seat, then realize it's because I'm not on the Brompton.

YMMV
alienbogey is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.