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Suspension Forks in Hybrids.

Old 04-13-15, 02:50 PM
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Suspension Forks in Hybrids.

This is a double post, from commuting, because I think it fits here, as well.

I will disagree with all who say suspension forks are crappy! All the folks who badmouth these forks are just plain wrong! MHO

These forks would be better advertised as "trekking forks", which is really what they are. They really do work very well, for what they are designed to do. That is "smooth" out the ride over rough surfaces. YES, VERY WELL!

I have a Specialized Crosstrail Sport, an '08 model, that has about 35,000 miles on it, and has had exactly ZERO problems with the suspension fork. It has required NO MAINTENANCE other than keeping it clean. It still works very well, leaks nothing, is still quiet, does not rattle or vibrate, the lockout still works, and is still "tight." I can ride no handed with it without any issues. I do keep it clean, and wipe the stanchions and tubes if they get dirty, and actually wax them when I do the rest of the bike.

I have it because of physical problems, and it really does do a good job of removing shock from my shoulders and back, when needed. Without it, I likely would not be riding.

So, all of the naysayers out there, really ought to offer data to back up their claims of inferior equipment. My first hand experience has been completely the opposite. And I do have enough miles on it to draw a good conclusion. On second thought, maybe I got the only good one in the world - just not very likely!

It is not a mountain bike front suspension, and was never meant to be - but it just flat out works, for what it was designed to do !

YES, it does soften the ride! And is easy to lock out when not wanted. There is no ill handling at any speed I have attained. So far the highest is 37MPH.

As to the added weight - I can eat more breakfast, and frequently carry more water, than they weigh! Weight is a non issue.

And, yes, it does look nice.

Soooo, if you want a front suspension, go for it - they really do work!

MHO

Now, I will be able to find it in the future.
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Old 04-13-15, 03:14 PM
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Shocks work for some people, but I strongly suspect that the reason there seem to be 90-100 different models of hybrids from each manufacturer is that there are obviously some of us who prefer our bikes in different configurations.

Admittedly, my experience with a suspension fork was on my Giant Sedona from 2013, which didn't have a lockout, so I may have felt different if a lockout was available. I replaced the fork with a rigid fork 7 or 8 years ago, and haven't regretted it for a moment.

Most of my riding is on gravel or crushed stone, and I prefer the comfort of wider tires than if I was doing road riding, but I still prefer the handling without a shock.

Since I weigh over 300 pounds, I have no issues with overall bicycle weight, and I have a rack on my bike that I use to carry a trunk bag with more emergency supplies than most people carry in their car trunks, so if I were to move to a tiny saddle bag and a suspension fork, I would probably save weight, but I prefer the weight on my bike to be useful to me in my style of riding.

Before I swapped to a rigid fork, I also tightened up the suspension seat post to the point where it didn't move, and when I recently swapped it for a rigid post, and saved 1/2 pound of unnecessary weight, I felt like I had accomplished something... Did I notice a difference? No... but then again, I didn't expect to.

I do think that for many riders, the shock is there because of the thought of a luxurious ride seems to appeal to them... For me, I prefer spending my luxury ride in my recliner.

I used to be more hard core in my anti-shock feelings, but I think that cars give us a good comparison. If you want a car that is luxurious, and isolates you from all road feel, then there are cars for you. If on the other hand you prefer a sportier feeling, and want to be able to sense the road while driving, then there are cars for that as well. To one who prefers luxury, a sportier car feels harsh, to a person who prefers sportier cars, a luxury car feels dead and lifeless... and there are some who like things somewhere in between. I see no reason for bicycles to be any different.

I think you hit this from the opposite angle that I would... But there is a place for everybody in cycling.

Maybe my next bike will have a suspension fork, and maybe not. But, I guarantee that if it does, it will have a lockout, and not just the virtually unnoticeable spring preload that my previous fork had.
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Old 04-13-15, 03:53 PM
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For a bike on pavement you don't need a suspension. But I just spent 2 hours doing single track trails with climbs, descents, steps, obstetrical lots of roots. The locking/unlocking front fork soaked up the best of them.
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Old 04-13-15, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2
For a bike on pavement I don't need a suspension.
FTFY


I had a 2013 8.4DS and found the shock to be invaluable. I have arthritis and the fork soaked up all the vibrations form the uneven pavement, potholes, curbs ect. EVEN if I didn't I would still buy a bike with a suspended fork, because it works.

In my case the 63mm fork was still a little light and I could bottom it out off a good sized curb. Ive since lost some weight and that style of fork will probably be more than adequate. Though Im still no light weight at 220 lbs my goal weight of about 200-205 would still put me in a category of being a heavier rider and I would still want a suspended fork.

Granted the suspension on the big box bikes is absolute crap I don't believe the forks in the 650-900 range are junk but have their limits. I'm not going to go ride the King of The Mountain or compete in long distance tour on a Dual Sport either.

I hear the argument about the weight and like Wanderer in the grand scheme of things 3-4 lbs on a bike and rider combo of 250 ish pounds thats pretty much nothing. When I bought my bike at the local Trek store, the guy called it the ultimate Bosque bike and I had to agree with him.At the time I had just sold my Road Bike and had a Mtn Bike. While they had their merits the DS was far better for around town than either. Faster than the Mtb and far more comfortable than the road bike.

Like I said I no longer have my DS but am looking at 2015 8.4 here in a few months.
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Old 04-13-15, 05:05 PM
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Well.... 3-4 pounds can make a huge difference when talking about road bikes. I just went from a 17# bike to a 14# but on a 28# bike its not much.
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Old 04-15-15, 10:01 AM
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I recently purchased a '15 DS 8.3 and I love the suspension fork. I keep it locked on pavement, if not, it just robs power. But when I hit the bumpy gravel trails, I switch it on and it smoothes out my ride perfectly for me. If I'm on pavement and I see some rough stuff ahead, I just reach down and flip it on. Very convenient and it works for me.
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Old 04-15-15, 12:25 PM
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I weigh 220lbs, if I want to loose 3 lbs I'll go to the bathroom before my bike ride, not give up my locking suspension fork
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Old 04-16-15, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
This is a double post, from commuting, because I think it fits here, as well.

I will disagree with all who say suspension forks are crappy! All the folks who badmouth these forks are just plain wrong! MHO

These forks would be better advertised as "trekking forks", which is really what they are. They really do work very well, for what they are designed to do. That is "smooth" out the ride over rough surfaces. YES, VERY WELL!

I have a Specialized Crosstrail Sport, an '08 model, that has about 35,000 miles on it,.
"35,000 miles on it" > Really?
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Old 04-16-15, 03:58 PM
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When I had my suspension fork on my crosstrail ultimately I determined there was no sense locking and un-locking it, if your riding right. There is a big long thread here (forum) by someone much more schooled than I on the subject. If you hit something with it locked its also Much more jarring than just a rigid fork and if you take the fork apart you will see why as there is still a touch of travel even locked then to a dead stop.

It was o.k. for riding dual track,single track and I wanted to leave skinny 38 tires on rather than swaping to 2" tires.

I am glad I switched mine out to a Carbon fork (origin 8 / Black Ops) it does better on washboard with carbon than the coil spring shock ---- for me --- The bike is heavy as is at 30#'s. Its hilly where I live......very hilly......no need to drag more dead weight (coil sprung shock) up hills.

Rather switch out to 2" tires off road

Also........

"Carbon forks really do make a huge difference in comfort!"
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Old 04-16-15, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill1227
"35,000 miles on it" > Really?
Yep, about 6,000 per year, for 6 years.... I do roughly 1,000 per month, by doing 30-40 on the MUPs 6 days a week. Our riding season is limited to 6-7 good months..
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Old 04-16-15, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
Yep, about 6,000 per year, for 6 years.... I do roughly 1,000 per month, by doing 30-40 on the MUPs 6 days a week. Our riding season is limited to 6-7 good months..
That's impressive,awesome , good for your ticker and soul
I hope to retire some day too (chuckle, in my 50s)
Well, that's the most miles I am aware of, on any Crosstrail to date !

Your right it is a "treking" shock / bike. I like to refer to it as that (treking bike) or a Mountain Touring Bike
People need to see what's going on bicycle wise in Europe where they cycle avidly ten fold more than North America and they will see lots of treking (no suspension fork)and cross (suspension fork or head)treking bikes along with far fewer down bar bikes than N.A.
Basically MTB frames,touring geared,riser bars,var ends,700c,braze one,lights,mud guards as needed

Take care
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Old 04-16-15, 07:32 PM
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Wanderer,

On behalf of your impressive 35,000 on your Specialized Crosstrail and how you feel positive about the coil spring fork.

Here is a couple positive reads (links) I think you will enjoy in regards to coil spring forks, on/off road touring,etc.

This is a German made coil fork and it has a bit more travel but, on the other hand,modern times they are all more simular than differant in reality.

Magura Odur Fork | Tour on a Bike

Magura Odur 100mm Front Suspension Touring Fork Review | Tom Allen?s Bike Trip

May we all reach 35,000 on our Crosstrail's & Dual Sports some day.........
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Old 04-16-15, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by blue_cheese
I weigh 220lbs, if I want to loose 3 lbs I'll go to the bathroom before my bike ride, not give up my locking suspension fork
Well played sir!
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Old 04-17-15, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by side_FX
Well played sir!
My initial thought in regards to the tasteful reply was

Recommending a Springer seat rather than a Springer fork - perhaps more appropriate
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Old 04-17-15, 09:43 AM
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At the price most people are willing to pay for a Hybrid,.. just sayin'.. you cannot expect a $600 Fork on a $900 bike , for example.
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Old 04-17-15, 09:46 AM
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I'm glad you found something that works well for you, and aren't afraid to speak up about it!

I only weigh 135 so a few extra pounds seems like a lot to me! Besides, would a suspension fork even compress with me on it?

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Old 04-17-15, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill1227
That's impressive,awesome , good for your ticker and soul
I hope to retire some day too (chuckle, in my 50s)
Well, that's the most miles I am aware of, on any Crosstrail to date !

Your right it is a "treking" shock / bike. I like to refer to it as that (treking bike) or a Mountain Touring Bike
People need to see what's going on bicycle wise in Europe where they cycle avidly ten fold more than North America and they will see lots of treking (no suspension fork)and cross (suspension fork or head)treking bikes along with far fewer down bar bikes than N.A.
Basically MTB frames,touring geared,riser bars,var ends,700c,braze one,lights,mud guards as needed

Take care
At last ... someone else who 'gets it'. A few of us have been singing this song for years on here, to little effect!

It is astonishing just how unabashedly 'high end' both trekking and cross bikes can be in Europe -- where the market for such bikes is far, far stronger than it is in either North America or the U.K. Here, the paradigm for recreational bicycle purchase seems to be set by the twin-poles of full-on road (race) or mountain bikes, notwithstanding how few road (race) bikes are actually used for racing, or mountainbikes used for mountainbiking.

The availability of high end trekking/cross bikes extends to suspension forks: Suntour, for example, makes really nice short-travel (trekking) forks with air springs etc. SRAM (Rockshox) has finally entered this market with the Paragon, which is good (upgrade) news for cross (i.e. 'dual sport') bikes here.

My hope (probably won't be realized) is that at some point Specialized, for example, will offer a Crosstrail not only with XT drivetrain (as this year's Expert) but also a really nice fork such as the Paragon. I may well be switching back to suspension next year (at age 64) for various reasons -- with luck, I won't have to piece something together.
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Old 04-17-15, 08:10 PM
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I meet a guy out riding a few times a week. We are both old farts.....70's. He has lost 60 lbs in the last year and I have lost 45 lbs. We both love riding and are pretty fit for our age. While sitting on the trail bench, we chide each other about our respective bikes.
I have a Giant Escape with the solid fork. I like the ease with which I can propel this bike up and down our hills and find it does just fine for mild off pavement use....mainly gravel and well groomed trails. The bike's efficiency is my number one priority and the comfort is there except for rough, washboard surfaces which give my arthritic spine a good shaking and gets the blood flowing.
My friend has a new Specialized Crosstrail that when he talks about it gets a sparkle in his eye. He loves that bike and can't figure out why a guy like me, who rides the same roads and trails he does, can't get on board with suspension forks, disc brakes, larger tires, etc.
As we part company, him going one way and me the other, I say to myself....he doesn't know what he is missing. He knows otherwise. Today, we debated seats. He insisted my skinny Brooks seat was some kind of torture device, and I thought his new cushy saddle should come with a free bottle of groin lube.
Who is right?
Both of us.
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Old 04-17-15, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by blue_cheese
I weigh 220lbs, if I want to loose 3 lbs I'll go to the bathroom before my bike ride, not give up my locking suspension fork
Same here, as I type.
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Old 04-17-15, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Daddy Wags
I meet a guy out riding a few times a week. We are both old farts.....70's. He has lost 60 lbs in the last year and I have lost 45 lbs. We both love riding and are pretty fit for our age. While sitting on the trail bench, we chide each other about our respective bikes.
I have a Giant Escape with the solid fork. I like the ease with which I can propel this bike up and down our hills and find it does just fine for mild off pavement use....mainly gravel and well groomed trails. The bike's efficiency is my number one priority and the comfort is there except for rough, washboard surfaces which give my arthritic spine a good shaking and gets the blood flowing.
My friend has a new Specialized Crosstrail that when he talks about it gets a sparkle in his eye. He loves that bike and can't figure out why a guy like me, who rides the same roads and trails he does, can't get on board with suspension forks, disc brakes, larger tires, etc.
As we part company, him going one way and me the other, I say to myself....he doesn't know what he is missing. He knows otherwise. Today, we debated seats. He insisted my skinny Brooks seat was some kind of torture device, and I thought his new cushy saddle should come with a free bottle of groin lube.
Who is right?
Both of us.
Cool story and great write up too!

I plan to still be riding in my 70's, (less than 16 years away ) even if I need a suspension fork!
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Old 04-18-15, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1
The availability of high end trekking/cross bikes extends to suspension forks: Suntour, for example, makes really nice short-travel (trekking) forks with air springs etc. SRAM (Rockshox) has finally entered this market with the Paragon, which is good (upgrade) news for cross (i.e. 'dual sport') bikes here.

My hope (probably won't be realized) is that at some point Specialized, for example, will offer a Crosstrail not only with XT drivetrain (as this year's Expert) but also a really nice fork such as the Paragon. I may well be switching back to suspension next year (at age 64) for various reasons -- with luck, I won't have to piece something together.
I hope for the same thing.

Currently, I think only Merida offer this, but I don't know how easy it is for anyone to get their hands on a Merida bike.

Crossway 900 / -Lady - Cross - Merida Bikes International

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Old 07-11-15, 10:22 AM
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I'm happy enough with my suspension fork--I have some arthritis and other problems, and as lousy as our roads and sidewalks are here, not to mention the poor condition of some of the paved trails, the fork has made my riding bearable, to where I want to actually get out and ride. On the Schwinn, I felt like my upper torso was being rattled apart, and I had avoided riding for the past several years since it had become so unpleasant. Funny, I didn't notice much when I first tried the suspension, but once I locked it out and hit a few bumps on our local streets, big difference!

The other bike in the house (the Giant Sedona my other half rides) really could use a suspension fork--she has even more problems with arthritis and such, and has a lot of pain after some of the longer rides. I have wanted to look into swapping to a suspension fork on that one. I'd trade it in or sell it so we could upgrade, but likely would not get much for it, and it's not in the budget.
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Old 07-11-15, 03:34 PM
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29ers don't need suspension b/c wider tires soak up the imperfections of the road easily. And a sprung saddle can take jolts out of the rear before they would reach your back.

If you have a road-style alloy hybrid, the most cost-effective upgrade is to get a rigid steel or carbon fork. I prefer carbon because it will make a ride feel plush.
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Old 07-16-15, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Daddy Wags
Who is right?
Both of us.
That's the thing right there--what works for one rider, or what one rider likes, can be a total opposite of what another rider uses. The bike I chose fits my style of riding, and doesn't leave me hating riding for a week or two after riding it like my old Schwinn had done for the past several years. On the Macomb Orchard Trail yesterday, I kept the fork locked the whole time and had a nice ride out of it. The only time I unlocked the fork was at a couple of rough road crossings, on one bad stretch of the trail (heavily patched asphalt), and when I took a detour into downtown Romeo and dealt with their crappy roads and numerous ramps up and down sidewalks and such. If I lock the fork in those instances (I've tried), it's flat out painful at times.

The first dealer I stopped at didn't have the Crosstrail Disc in stock (or even carry it), but instead tried to push me to a Giant Roam 2. It had the same features I wanted, which they discounted to the same price, but the color was such a hideous, repulsive blue that there was no way I could live with it. Nothing against Giant as our other bike here is a dozen-year-old Sedona, which is a nice ride except for those awful (IMHO) grip shifters.
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Old 07-16-15, 10:08 AM
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I have a "city" style hybrid with front suspension and new flat bar "sport exercise" bike with a composite fork. I like them both for entirely different reasons. However if I were looking for a new bike with front suspension I would not even consider one that did not have the ability to lock out the fork. If it were available for a reasonable price, I would want remote lock out with "lock on the fly" capability.
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