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Suspension Question

Old 07-20-08, 03:56 PM
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Carys
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Suspension Question

A question about front suspension.

For the sort of riding I do (nearly all on roads and paved bike paths) I understand that I'm best off getting a bike without a front suspension system. The components list of every bike I've looked at does include a "front suspension" component of one description or another. Am I correct to assume that when it states a cromoly rigid that this is NOT the sort of suspension I should be looking to avoid and is in fact, what I should be looking for? Thanks so much.
-C.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:18 PM
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BarracksSi
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Interesting -- where are you looking at these bikes?

Yeah, I think you're on the right track; "cromoly rigid" is a rigid, non-suspension fork made of cromoly steel.

The components lists you're seeing, I'll bet, were drawn up by the store with the expectation that most of the bikes they'll sell would have front suspension. So, whoever was in the back office at the time was directed to make a list of features for the bikes, including whether it's a boy's or girl's bike, whether or not it has fenders, what kind of front suspension it has (rather than "whether or not it has suspension", if you see what I mean), etc.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:18 PM
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"Rigid" means NO suspension. "Suspension" means something flexible and shock absorbing.

Why would you want to avoid suspension forks in the first place? They may not be really needed in the type of riding you nearly always do, but can be very nice to have on the occasional rougher surfaces. You pay a penalty in weight and cost, but I think it's worth it. The park where I usually ride has a couple of paths: One completely paved, and one mostly dirt and gravel. The dirt and gravel path is very unpleasant for me to ride on a bike without a suspension fork, to the point where I avoid it.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:27 PM
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I'm looking at the on-line manufacturing sites for the bikes I've looked at/have been recommended. I'm using that as a jumping off point for research (components, etc). I haven't really decided to avoid a bike with the front suspension fork - it is more I've been advised that for the riding I do I'm probably better off letting the bike frame do that work for me and that I don't need the added feature. That might be a bunch of BS. That is one of the biggest problem I'm having. I haven't purchased a bike in 16 years. I don't really KNOW much about the technical aspects of bike specs- and getting up to speed is taking me some time. I'm really quite a novice at all this.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:34 PM
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If you can see a picture, it's really easy to see whether it's got a suspension fork or not.

When I don't like suspension is when it compresses while I'm trying to pedal hard. That squishing of the fork is taking energy away from the pedaling. It's great to have on rough paths, but I can also get anywhere I need to go without straying from pavement.

If I get another bike with suspension, whether it's just the fork or a full-suspension bike, I'm going to get one with a lockout lever. That way, I can have the plushness when I want it, and flip a lever to "lock" the shock in place to give me the rigid efficiency when I need it. I test rode a full-suspension bike a week ago with lockouts front & rear, and it worked great.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
When I don't like suspension is when it compresses while I'm trying to pedal hard. That squishing of the fork is taking energy away from the pedaling. It's great to have on rough paths, but I can also get anywhere I need to go without straying from pavement.
A case could be made that you shouldn't be pedaling that hard, anyway...that you should be spinning rather than mashing.
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Old 07-20-08, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by deraltekluge View Post
A case could be made that you shouldn't be pedaling that hard, anyway...that you should be spinning rather than mashing.
A case could be made where, even while spinning, the bob-bob-bobbing of a FS bike SUCKS.

A case could also be made that "spinning" a 34x30 is not the quickest way across an intersection when the light turns green.
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Old 07-20-08, 08:37 PM
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Right now the two top contenders for me are a Marin Larkspur and a Marin Fairfax. The Larkspur (which is a 'street bike' has a rigid fork but if I move up the ladder to a higher model I get the lockout you're talking about.
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