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Front Suspension on Hybrid? Yea or Nay?

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Front Suspension on Hybrid? Yea or Nay?

Old 05-09-11, 03:08 PM
  #26  
fatsoforgotso
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I used to subscribe to the "rigid fork-only for riding primarily on the road" canon, but I've revised my position since trying a locking suspension fork for road riding.

It depends on many factors. Traditional hybrid steel frames under heavier riders flex more and are more forgiving. Lighter riders on smaller aluminium frames with a sloped top tube don't flex the frame so much. There's much to be said about the headtube angle, fork rake, and choice of tires for that ever elusive confort/speed trade-off the rider wants to achieve.

I've settled for this: for a given frame, after it's been ridden for a while in a variety of surfaces, you'll want to try different forks and tire combinations to find what suits you best.
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Old 05-09-11, 03:14 PM
  #27  
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Well, I don't have those.
Doesn't the fork mostly affect shock through the handlebars? Does the fork make a lot of difference to the comfort of the saddle? I don't know these things!
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Old 05-09-11, 03:20 PM
  #28  
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Forks of every variety come in a wide range of quality and deliver different ride characteristics... low end sprung forks are pretty useless while better ones are much more refined and have lock out options. The Mars Elite on my XC bike weighs 3 pounds and is an air / oil model with no lockout and is wonderful for what it was designed for and not a bad fork on the road as I have it set up to be quite stiff.

Steel forks can be wonderful if they are made properly and with a rigid bike the tyres contribute more to ride quality than anything else... my Moulden XC bike has a straight steel fork and when the bike is run with the tyres it was designed for the ride is nothing short of being amazing. With high psi road slicks the bike has a very harsh ride as did my Trek hybrid... it also liked the 700:35's at 70 psi rather than 90-100 psi slicks.

If a bike has a set back riding position a suspension fork is pretty useless as the front is weighted less and a good set of tyres will address ride quality issues.

The best suspension after your tyres is your body... if you slam through every obstacle while seated and don't un-weight the pedals you and your bike will take a beating. Learn to post up off the saddle when you hit bumps and you can blow through nearly anything.

Find that this is a problem with riders who never stand and let their bike take every shock with their full weight on the saddle... it really puts those wheels to the test.
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Old 05-09-11, 03:43 PM
  #29  
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Absolutely! Get off your saddle on rough pavement and keep your elbows and knees flexed. Good post!
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Old 05-09-11, 03:45 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by goagain View Post
Does the fork make a lot of difference to the comfort of the saddle?
Probably not. Transfer weight from saddle to pedals (stand up) when traversing rough terrain.
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Old 05-09-11, 04:08 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
Absolutely! Get off your saddle on rough pavement and keep your elbows and knees flexed. Good post!
I taught my boys how to off road on rigid mountain bikes so they would develop good riding skills... and spent a lot of time riding rigid off road which really attunes you to riding without a suspension.

My youngest daughter (11) has developed these reflexes while her older sister tends to takes the bumps a little harder but is not nearly as aggressive on her bike... my little one will try to bunny hop, does wheelies, and has a thing for dropping off curbs but she simply floats on those pedals. She also likes going off road on her suspended hardtail so this has also improved her overall skills.
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Old 05-10-11, 04:23 PM
  #32  
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One reply said the tires greatly affect comfort. With a cromo rigid fork and cromo frame, would 700x38 tires be comfortable? Posts have said they roll a little easier than 26" ones, but are they comfortable too? Now that I've decided on the cromo model, I have to decide about the wheel size.

Thanks
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Old 05-11-11, 04:41 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by qmsdc15 View Post
Fatigue from the extra weight of a suspension fork will outweigh increased comfort from the shock absorption on all but the shortest rides.
I've never understood this. Holding the two forks side by side we are talking a difference of what, 1-3 lbs max? My backpack with laptop and books easily weighs 10-20 lbs depending on what's in it that day. Why does the extra weight of the fork matter that much?
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Old 05-11-11, 05:14 PM
  #34  
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That's cool if you think it's worth the trade off. That's why I asked, to see how others feel about it. Even though I pull a heavy trailer I can definitely feel and appreciate a lighter bike. I actually prefer a rigid fork over a shock fork for paved roads regardless of the weight. I hate carrying extra weight. My rig is so heavy already.
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Old 05-28-11, 05:48 PM
  #35  
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I was wondering about what happens if you choose to lock out your fork for long periods? Can that harm the fork? I'm thinking on the GF/Trek Montare/Utopia. I would probably ride on the road most of the time with the fork locked but I would like to do a few packed trails that would be beyond the limits of a FX series. I also wonder if the fork on these bikes ($1k or less) would be high quality enough and could the support a 200+ pound rider?
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Old 05-28-11, 06:16 PM
  #36  
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Don't buy a bike with suspension forks if you want to ride without suspension most all the time. Lock it out for climbing if you must but leave it active as much as possible. The principle disadvantage of suspension fork is weight and it doesn't get lighter when you lock it out. If you are carrying the extra weight of suspension fork, by all means use it!

I don't know how wide a tire can be used on an FX, but I seriously doubt "a few packed trails" would be beyond the limits of these bikes. Suspension forks on bikes costing less than $1000 aren't going to be very high quality. In many cases you will not be able to set them up stiff enough for a rider of your size.
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Old 05-28-11, 09:10 PM
  #37  
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For me the suspension fork on the hybrid is a big YES.

I bought mine (Specialized Crosstrail Sport) and listened to the LBS salesman (a knowledgeable guy) explain that I would want to use the suspension on trails, but lock it out on the pavement for efficiency. Check. I rode approximately my first 500 miles that way.

Then one day I unlocked it for a gravel with potholes area and forgot to lock it out for the ride home over country roads - eureka. It was a huge increase in comfort for the ride - fewer jolts to the seat, less buzzing to the hands and wrists through the handlebars, etc. It makes no difference over glass-smooth new asphalt but over older roads, chip seal, rough shoulders, etc it is great and I haven't locked it out since.

Note that I originally bought the bike for exercise so if I burn a few extra calories because of my flexing suspension and extra weight of the fork it's all to the good. I have a rack, trunk bag, fenders, kickstand, and today I rode it to the gun club and back with panniers plus two revolvers and 300 rounds of ammunition - I'm not worried about the weight of the fork, especially when, for me, the increased quality of ride makes it well worth it.

YMMV
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Old 05-29-11, 01:48 AM
  #38  
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True, alienbogey.
The weight isn't a very important factor for speed and the unaeroness doesn't matter much at moderate speeds.
Unless one is constantly climbing huge amounts, a suspension fork could even make one faster on bumpy roads.
Without suspension large potholes and big bumps will slow a bike down a lot more compared to with suspension.
For nice perfectly flat tarmac roads there is obviously no need for it.
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Old 05-29-11, 02:31 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by willpower101 View Post
I've never understood this. Holding the two forks side by side we are talking a difference of what, 1-3 lbs max? My backpack with laptop and books easily weighs 10-20 lbs depending on what's in it that day. Why does the extra weight of the fork matter that much?
Sub 2 lb. rigid forks can be had pretty inexpensively. Sub 4 lb suspension forks cost a LOT of money - $500+. You can get a 5 lb fork with lockout for about $200 or so, though. All depends on your priorities.

I hate having all that weight on the front of my bike. There better be some major benefits to put up with it.

As to how much saddle shock a suspension fork reduces, not a great deal. You'll want full suspension if that's a problem.
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Old 05-29-11, 05:13 AM
  #40  
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I have this one: https://www.srsuntour-cycling.com/dst...E+LO+700C.html
It is about 4lbs at 1750 grams and can be had for only 126€ in the right webshop around here.
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Old 06-01-11, 10:57 AM
  #41  
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ok so i didn't read the previous 40 + messages
But i do have a comment on the subject, and seeing that i'm on a second shocked hybrid "maybe it's a decent and helpful one" . I've found that the front shock is good for broke / bumpy or rooted type tar. That being said i'm happy that my solo headshok let's me turn it off and on, at the stem and on the fly .
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Old 06-01-11, 01:01 PM
  #42  
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I say nay but I guess it depends on whether you look at a hybrid as a flat bar road bike usable on the occasional trail or whether you plan to spend a lot of time on trails. I'd just buy a decent MTB if I was gonna be on dirt a lot though.
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Old 06-01-11, 01:13 PM
  #43  
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If you love the woods and don't want to drive out to the trail, I think its safe to say the right fork/wheel combo hasn't been invented yet. I have high hopes for these new "dual sport" bikes trek is pushing.

Its weird to ride 16 miles out to a trail you've done before and have to walk the bike over the very most fun parts....but avoiding having to replace a front wheel twice in a year has taught me to be a better off-road rider even with my front suspension Cannondale. I used to just roll over things, now I'm aiming for 2 1/2 inch gaps and throwing my body weight to 'twist' the rear wheel into position.

The Gila Pro shock that came *stock* on my sub-$500 2007 Cannondale F7 will lock out almost all the way even when I lean over the bars though, so I'm increasingly convinced that off-road wheels, not suspension-bobbing, causes the most difficulty.

The on road difference between my f7 with 26" wheels and my wife's 700cc wheel Trek 7100 is night and day - but they both have front suspension.

My chromo-forked 7.2 FX is faster over a couple miles of soft trail than my mountain bike, too....

So I'd say beginning riders should base a fork decision on their comfort level and where they think they will ride, but I'd always try to convince them on bigger wheels to make up the difference - unless they'll be doing dedicated off roading.

I dream of the day I will be able to snap in a quick-release front suspension if and when I need it. Carry it in my panniers like an extra inner-tube or something.
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Old 06-01-11, 07:53 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by goagain View Post
One reply said the tires greatly affect comfort. With a cromo rigid fork and cromo frame, would 700x38 tires be comfortable? Posts have said they roll a little easier than 26" ones, but are they comfortable too? Now that I've decided on the cromo model, I have to decide about the wheel size.

Thanks
I ride a Diamondback Trace that had a front suspension with 700x40 tires. Same category as the Specialized Cross Trail. My wife has the Diamondback Insight which is similar to the Specialized Sirrus.

Mine came with suspension forks without lock out which was a pain to keep up with my wife. It was comfortable and smooth but I kept losing momentum. After switching the fork with a rigid Karate monkey, I have no problems staying at the pace with my wife and actually can ride farther without getting tired as I was with suspension fork. I also take my bike on gravel roads and occasionally go with friends on actual mountain bikes and realized 80%, I'm happy with my bicycle. The 20% is when we ride over rock gardens, jumps, etc. Not because of the lack of suspension but the wheels /tires aren't meant for the conditions.

Maybe if I had lockout, I wouldn't have a problem and may get a quality suspension fork in teh future but for now I'm happy riding rigid
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