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Suspension or No Suspension?

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Suspension or No Suspension?

Old 06-14-13, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Burton
I go with the idea that a rigid front fork and oversized tires are the best choice for the city...
I am, of course, in total agreement and even go so far to say that people who only look at suspensions really have no idea how smooth/plush a rigid bike can be with a decent fork and tire.

Regardless.

Is my memory serving me correctly that mountain bikes for decades were completely rigid? Didn't they get their "mountain credentials" (which is to say, their suitability to go over rough terrain) strictly as a function of their frames, wheels and tires? I had a 1992 Rock Hopper. That thing waived the mountain flag higher than most at the time, it seems to me. And it was totally rigid. Huge tires, but...
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Old 06-15-13, 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton
For anyone on the fence regarding the benifits of a front suspension and considering using it in lock-out mode in the city - here's a direct quote from one of the tech reps at DT Swiss:

I go with the idea that a rigid front fork and oversized tires are the best choice for the city and can do just about every trail as well as long as you are willing to use a little finesse and reduce your speed.
I've always heard the same thing, about leaving it in the locked position. & can agree that for Urban riding, a good tire, plus a carbon fork, [h=2]IsoZone handlebar and grips (Bontrager’s inForm Science of Comfort research to design the ergonomically shaped IsoZone Grip, then paired it with a handlebar containing an advanced elastomer insert to soak up road buzz. The result of this breakthrough bar/grip combination is nearly a 30% reduction in peak hand pressure, which means more comfort and control) copied from Trek's website about the handle bars & grips. But if I'm leaving the road, I want suspension. Now if you have a GOOD suspension fork, you can adjust the preload to be stiff unless you hit the biggest, of pot holes etc..[/h]
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Old 06-15-13, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive
The Fatty Headshok
This made me smile! I love the looks of Cannondales with suspension forks, especially the single shock model.

I go back and forth over the suspension question. If the front shock is of good quality and set-up correctly, the suspension can really add a lot to the ride of a bike. But, I also see the advantages to sticking with the rigid fork. I just like to test ride different bikes and I am often surprised. For example, REI has some hybrids with front suspension that are classy bikes. The Scott line impressed me. Also, Giant and Specialized have some great bikes with front suspension systems that don't seem to bog me down.
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Old 06-15-13, 02:00 PM
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Go for what feels best for you, suspension is great over rougher roads and sucks standing on it going uphill.
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Old 06-15-13, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by ss1977
Go for what feels best for you, suspension is great over rougher roads and sucks standing on it going uphill.
Very reason why I actually took my Diamondback Trace Sport back and bought a GT Tachyon 4.0 I climb a lot of hills on my commute to work, my ride increased by 10 minutes. I was riding the GT ZUM with only 8 gears. I'll stick to bikes without a suspension unless I ever plan on doing some mountain biking. Hoping you have been looking at the roads you'll be riding before finally deciding on a bike.
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Old 06-15-13, 03:31 PM
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Suspension with a lock out is the way to go IMHO.
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Old 06-16-13, 07:58 PM
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I prefer rigid! Recently took the stock Suntour NVX shock (non-lockout version) off my 2011 Crosstrail and replaced it with a Surly Karate Monkey. This saved me nearly 3 lbs and made my bike WAY more livable for the way I ride it (mostly paved bike paths/hard-pack trails). Yes it's more jarring, but at least now when I stand up to pedal that my energy is not being wasted. Something else I noticed had improved over the stock suspension was that riding with no hands was no longer jiggly (impossible/unsafe).
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Old 06-16-13, 08:26 PM
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Some *hardcore* mtb-ers ride SS & "rigid". ( Its a hardtail without a front sus. fork. ) ... donno why a hybrid would need one. ( Esp. since most 4 to 800$ hybrids have an 80$ Sus. fork stock. ... it may or may not have a lockout, if it has a rebound adj knob, I bet a wooden nickel it wont do squat. )

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Old 06-17-13, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by martinus
Some *hardcore* mtb-ers ride SS & "rigid". ( Its a hardtail without a front sus. fork. ) ... donno why a hybrid would need one. ( Esp. since most 4 to 800$ hybrids have an 80$ Sus. fork stock. ... it may or may not have a lockout, if it has a rebound adj knob, I bet a wooden nickel it wont do squat. )
Yep...my bike was around $500 and the crappy non-lockout fork weighed over 5 lbs...and just sapped power every time I needed to pedal hard or uphill.
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Old 06-21-13, 10:09 PM
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I ride on paved trails in LA/OC. Very occaisionally I hit a rough patch of ground that makes me wish I had suspension. But 95% of the time, I'm glad I am not being weighed down by some crappy suspension.
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Old 06-21-13, 11:48 PM
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I recently took up riding again after a near 20 year absence, and opted for a bike with a suspension fork. In the intervening years I've had a number of back issues, and I felt that the extra give would be useful (I have ridden bikes in the meantime, but not regularly). And, since we get plenty of frost heaving here in the Midwest, there's an awful lot of trails that are just all broken up (I walk them regularly, and am well aware of their condition!). And I've discovered that the extra give certainly helps take the edge off the washboards that pass for roads and paths around here. I ride pretty much pain free, something that wasn't always guaranteed in the past.

Having said that, I'm beginning to get irritated with the inefficiencies that come with a front suspension, particularly during an uphill run. I knew them going in, and figured that it wouldn't bother me much, but like so many things you just don't know what'll annoy you till you get out there and do it-I doubt this would have been an issue on a test ride (and it wasn't!). I have a sneaking suspicion that, even though this bike is brand spanking new, I'll be getting something else in the near future.

But, I think that's the difference between people who like suspension forks and people who don't. This bike rides beautifully around town, soaks up all the ridges and garbage, and is easy to ride. For a casual user it makes perfect sense, and doesn't beat up the rider.

-WDH
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Old 06-22-13, 12:36 AM
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A little bit OT, but having to do with front suspension and 700c wheels...


The fork on this Salsa is a Rock Shox Paris-Roubaix Ti SL, circa 1993. At the time, this was the only suspension fork available for 700c wheels. Air/ oil design, approx. 50mm of travel, with adjustable lockout.
Based on the Mag 21 MTB fork, this same model won Paris-Roubaix three times ('92, 93, '94).

I just bring it up because the reason I put this fork on the bike in the first place was because I had broken my collarbone, and wanted something to dampen the road vibration while I was healing. After I was better I liked the fork so much that I never took it off.

Sorry about that; I now return you to your regularly scheduled Hybrid Forum...
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Old 06-22-13, 08:47 AM
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Suspensions are great, they're just not for me. I think there are roughly two categories of people who buy bikes with suspension:

1. Experienced cyclists that have a specific need or desire that only a suspension addresses. Riding on rocks, trails, body aches, numb wrists, aging body, etc. Whatever the reason, it is probably valid.

2. People who buy a bicycle and theoretically, in their mind work out some kind of vision that a suspension makes the ride better, more comfortable, or just seems more technologically advanced and therefore more appealing in some "more modern" kind of way.

Group #2 consists of people who I believe often come to the bike purchasing decision with their calibration of what a rough or smooth ride is totally off, and biased toward what seems the technologically more appealing option. The suspension is oversold to them, by the sales guy or by the theoretical musings of their mental image of how rough/smooth they anticipate the street will feel. The typical hybrid with 32mm wide tires, ridden on the typical pavement-sidewalk-path is totally smooth and comfortable, more so than group #2 has any clue about until they get some miles under their belt. Then they either turn into members of group #1 (less likely), or move away from suspensions with the experience they gained (more likely).
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Old 06-22-13, 08:53 AM
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As far as weight is concerned, a suspension fork weighs more than a ridged fork but it's only by a few pounds. The extra weight can be equalized by putting down the cheeseburgers and getting in shape. You're guaranteed a lighter ride.

Last edited by SLazz; 06-22-13 at 08:57 AM.
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Old 06-22-13, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by oldskoolwrench
A little bit OT, but having to do with front suspension and 700c wheels...


The fork on this Salsa is a Rock Shox Paris-Roubaix Ti SL, circa 1993. At the time, this was the only suspension fork available for 700c wheels. Air/ oil design, approx. 50mm of travel, with adjustable lockout.
Based on the Mag 21 MTB fork, this same model won Paris-Roubaix three times ('92, 93, '94).

I just bring it up because the reason I put this fork on the bike in the first place was because I had broken my collarbone, and wanted something to dampen the road vibration while I was healing. After I was better I liked the fork so much that I never took it off.

Sorry about that; I now return you to your regularly scheduled Hybrid Forum...

Mate if I could ever find a pair of those forks I would use them on one of my old road race bikes in hart beat. Regardless of what they weigh there cool, they must so hard to find now.
I've posted these pic's many times before, but what the hey I'll do it again



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Old 06-22-13, 12:00 PM
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Bearing in mind that my Salsa is an old school, cro-moly steel frame, the bike (as equipped) weighs 23 pounds. For a mid 90's steel bike built for long distance rides it was comparable in weight to many production bikes with rigid forks. Based on Bravin's chart, I fit into Category #1.

It does attract some attention when I'm riding in a group, and reach down to turn the adjustment knobs on the fork as the group transitions from smooth asphalt to chipseal...
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Old 06-23-13, 10:18 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by giantcfr1
Mine has rigid forks but I prefer the looks of a suspension hybrid. I'm thinking of it seriously for my badboy for looks alone.
The forks I looked at were far too big. They raised my bike by about 12cm and completely changed the rake. Decide my bike looked an felt so much better with rigid. It will be left as is with rigid.

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Old 06-25-13, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by SLazz
As far as weight is concerned, a suspension fork weighs more than a ridged fork but it's only by a few pounds. The extra weigh. can be equalized by putting down the cheeseburgers and getting in shape. You're guaranteed a lighter ride.
I agree with this, but 3 lbs (in my bike) made a huge difference, especially since I've got at least as much weight in accessories (evened it out). I would have done the swap to rigid for no weight loss just to improve the ride efficiency.
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Old 06-25-13, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by giantcfr1
The forks I looked at were far too big. They raised my bike by about 12cm and completely changed the rake. Decide my bike looked an felt so much better with rigid. It will be left as is with rigid.
The bad boy has its own type of front suspension. Not sure if they all are, but the higher end ones come with a lefty style and it looks much shorter than your average cheapo dual-tube front suspension.
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Old 06-25-13, 05:35 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by ryanpetersen
The bad boy has its own type of front suspension. Not sure if they all are, but the higher end ones come with a lefty style and it looks much shorter than your average cheapo dual-tube front suspension.
My Badboy frame isn't one of the Chinese ones. The USA built frames used a Headshok fork. There was a choice of two frames one having a totally different geometry including a huge headtube to accomodate the Headshock fork.
I chose the model built for the Fatty Fork so it can't take the Headshok. I'm actually not interested in the Lefty Fork you mentioned. The ones you see on the current Badboys are the cheapo ones and are not suspension. They are rigid.
Sadly when Cannondale was sold off to Dorel, the components on the Badboy models dropped conciderably.
BTW...I think you are thinking of the HeadShok Solo. They are nothing like the real single bladed suspension fork.
eg.
Lefty(suspension) Fork



Headshok Solo


Pre-Dorel Badboy with Headshok System (enlarged headtube)

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Old 02-25-14, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer
I happen to have suspension on the front of my Crosstrail, because I need it due to physical problems. It makes a huge difference in the jarring that is not transmitted to my spine/shoulders. Without it, I'd probably have to give up bicycling.

Lowering tire pressure did nothing to alleviate my suffering, but the front suspension is a lifesaver.

I especially like the ability to lock it out when straining uphill...... the rest of the time, it's doing it's dampening. I'd rather have the extra weight, than give up my bicycle.

I gave up my drop bar road bike, and never looked back.......................... And, I can't even remember the last time I was on a road bike.

If you don't like it, don't get it. But please stop badmouthing something that is very usefullllllllll.
+1 on your post

Weight weenies/speed demons have issues with every part of the bike...It's fine...whatever floats their boats. I know even one guy who goes to the bathroom and comes out when he squeezes everything from him as a "weight saving that makes him faster" lol I almost can hear few of you saying - "I never thought about that!" hahahahahahaha. Anyway, front suspension fork is there for a reason, and it really works. Even a cheap one will save you a lot of pain now or in the future. Typical hybrid user doesn't care about being the fastest one out there. It's more about getting everywhere they want and in comfort.
If the weight or speed are priority - road bike is the one that will meet these requirements. There is also several choices in between hybrid and road bike. One of the examples is Specialized Sirrus - geometry of a road bike with greater speed and no suspension fork, and ability to install racks and other accessories typical to hybrid. Researching before buying can save you from trouble later on. Don't blindly trust your local bicycle store salesman. He is there to help, but his 1st priority is to make money. Buy what YOU WANT OR NEED, not what they are telling you to get...
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Old 02-25-14, 04:07 PM
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We need to remember that Sheldon Brown was just a nice, crazy cyclist that happened to like to share his opinions/knowledge with others.
I love reading his stuff, but there is many misleading and wrong instructions. I'm sure he would update many things himself if he was still with us.

Originally Posted by Lake_Tom
"If your wrists hurt, you need to train your core more!" The late, great Sheldon Brown noted that early in a ride, one is up on the pedals, but as we fatigue, we set down upon the saddle and put more weight on the handlebars without even noticing it. You could do abdominal workouts zealously, or just cycle more often to build up your overall strength so that you are up on your legs and using your core to keep upright with your weight off the handlebars.

Ok, that is a bit simplistic, but there is some truth in there. Brown even had advice to do quite short workouts at the beginning of the season. His advice was to ride like five minutes and then park the bike.

As for suspension, a rigid bike with a springy steel or carbon fork and balloon tires is my advice. My road bike has 700x32 tires.

I took the suspension fork off of my mountain bike, replaced it with a rigid fork and put 26x 35mm tires on it. It works great on everything except loose sand. I wear padded gloves.
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Old 02-25-14, 04:34 PM
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I don't find low end suspension forks to be that useful on hybrids with slack frame angles and a more set back riding position.

When your riding position is more aggressive or the road isn't a road a suspension can keep the front wheel planted on the ground and improve handling and stability.

My hardtail has a suspension fork and this lets me run lighter faster tyres on the trail and is of no real use on the road, I also have a full rigid XC monster cross bike.

My hybrid is a full rigid (steel) and runs 700:32 cross tyres... the ride quality is excellent.
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Old 02-25-14, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
I don't find low end suspension forks to be that useful on hybrids with slack frame angles and a more set back riding position.

When your riding position is more aggressive or the road isn't a road a suspension can keep the front wheel planted on the ground and improve handling and stability.

My hardtail has a suspension fork and this lets me run lighter faster tyres on the trail and is of no real use on the road, I also have a full rigid XC monster cross bike.

My hybrid is a full rigid (steel) and runs 700:32 cross tyres... the ride quality is excellent.
Agreed. IMO, the main function of suspension on a bicycle is control because it helps keep the tire glued to the ground. Id take rigid over bad suspension any day.
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Old 02-25-14, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DorkDisk
Agreed. IMO, the main function of suspension on a bicycle is control because it helps keep the tire glued to the ground. Id take rigid over bad suspension any day.
You are not going to see great suspensions on entry to mid level bikes... they bump the price up too much.

At minimum you are looking at $250.00 - $300.00 for an entry level fork with a lockout and that would raise the price of the bike accordingly.

Forgot to mention I have a full suspension bicycle that was designed specifically for road use and it is my daily driver when there isn't snow on the ground.



The Moulton has a rear damper and a low travel front shock and was the first full suspension bicycle made... with the high pressure tyres the suspension is an essential part of the design and the bike handles like it is on rails and rides like a dream.
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