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Suspension or No Suspension?

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Suspension or No Suspension?

Old 06-13-13, 01:01 PM
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Bravin Neff
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Suspension or No Suspension?

I must be a speed demon (even though I'm not that fast). Bikes with suspension take away way too much forward motion for me to accept. As I don't ride dirt paths or trails or hills or grass or mountains, the hardtail/hardfork seems the only sensible choice to me.

Yet I see suspension bikes everywhere, seemingly spending their entire existence on paths/roads/sidewalks that seem not to justify suspension. What are your thoughts? Am I too preoccupied with speed? Or do I not know what I'm missing?

(PS my wife has a Trek 7100 comfort hybrid with suspension. Its a comfortable ride but I like a quicker bike.)

Last edited by Bravin Neff; 06-13-13 at 02:52 PM. Reason: Wanted to portray a greater flair of writing style with subtle changes to punctuation and other grammatical elements.
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Old 06-13-13, 01:24 PM
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Jimbojo
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So as a total noob to biking this can be taken with a huge grain of salt. I say, like most things it boils down to personal preference. My wife and I are just getting into biking, mostly for fitness and fun, I doubt either of us will commute or join any teams or such. I bought her a Fuji Absolute 3.0, she wanted a light bike, no suspension as 99.9% of our riding will be on pavement. For myself, I also went with a hybrid, just got it today so the verdict is still out, but it does have a front fork with suspension, I had the pre load as stiff as possible (no lock out) and took it for a short ride and I had no issues, even though I am a bit overweight, not alot of bobing, even when I stood up and pumped to go up a hill. The ride seemed very smooth so I guess for me it does not make a big difference, maybe it will when I drop 40 lbs or so and start to think I can go fast. But I do like the fact that if I hit any pot holes or big cracks I have a little relief, again as a noob this may help where as an experienced rider will probably have better reflexes and can avoid these issues all together.

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Old 06-13-13, 01:47 PM
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Suspension for commuting is useless or worse. I had it for years. If you run into a pothole or curb hard enough to make you lose control, I don't think a front shock is gonna make any difference. If your ride is too jarring, you can lower your front tire pressure. In addition to the loss of efficiency that you noticed, I found that I had less control during braking because my front end would dive. Getting a bike with a rigid fork made a huge difference, especially for all day rides.
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Old 06-13-13, 02:51 PM
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I find even worse than suspension fork is suspension ass. Just saying.
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Old 06-13-13, 03:15 PM
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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.
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Old 06-13-13, 03:26 PM
  #6  
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The vast majority of my riding is on paved roads. There are a few routes where there is some dirt & gravel, but it's still smooth enough for a road bike to get by. My Hybrid, riding on 32's does just fine, except for the very loose and/or steep sections of the trail...although I have yet to lose control.

Some of my riding friends are convinced that they need dual-suspension mountain bikes - 3 of them own various bikes from Santa Cruz (SuperLight, Nomad, Blur), which they paid quite a bit of money for, and none of them has ever seen anything but roads & MUP's.
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Old 06-13-13, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
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.
I'm not trying to discount or insult your experience. Mine has been the opposite. In fact, the worst injury I've suffered (broken arm, mild concussion) was from getting thrown OTB during a quick stop that would have been no problem on a bike with a rigid fork. That didn't stop me riding the bike, it just made me more cautious. I can completely understand why someone with an overriding physical concern might need a suspension system, and in that case I suppose it's worth it to get a good one.

In the absence of that need, I find that the efficiency I've gained with a rigid fork has translated to an increase in speed, control, and overall comfort, which has been significant both for in-city transportation and for longer rides. I noticed the same energy loss as the OP, and I agree with his opinion. Maybe I've been too quick to discount the benefits that suspension offers, but for myself I'm well rid of it. Certainly not trying to offend. YMMV.
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Old 06-13-13, 04:14 PM
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...based on my experience on other bike forums and my brief time here, this question will always generate polarized replies, with regards to suspension forks it seems you either love them or hate them. It's the old Ford vs Chevy thing, nobody ever wins they just stick with what works best for them. Personally I like them and have them on my Crosstrail, I found that with a hard fork my wrists and forearm would get sore and my fingers go numb, after switching to a suspension fork these issues disappeared...
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Old 06-13-13, 05:23 PM
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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.
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Old 06-13-13, 07:02 PM
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Although I would probably like front suspension on my mountain bike, I agree with you. I've been looking for a hybrid and everything has front suspension. I don't get it. Maybe after taking a beating on the trails, I can't see the need for it in a road or path situation. I don't think its worth the weight and any movement that isn't forward is a waste. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-13-13, 07:07 PM
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I have a 2012 Norco Indie 3 hybrid,triple 9 speed with 6061 frame and moly solid fork, mech. disc brakes. Most my riding is on paved road with some rough patches. I went from an entry level mountain bike with a suntour fork to this bike, riding mostly for fitness. I like the handling of this new bike a lot and switched out the Kenda 700x38c to Schwalbe 700x35c Marathon plus which has improved the ride and feel to the road. I enjoy going over rough patches now. And hello everyone! good success with your choice. Also breaking in a Brooks b17.

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Old 06-13-13, 07:15 PM
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I like my front suspension. Of course My bike is a mtb made more road worthy. I don't see front suspension affecting braking, but maybe I'm used to the dive from riding on the track with my motorcycle. Slowing from 140mph to 80 your front tends to dive, so i'm comfortable with it on my bicycle.
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Old 06-13-13, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by giantcfr1 View Post
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 Fatty Headshok
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Old 06-13-13, 07:39 PM
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If you ride the really rough stuff a good suspension fork is a must. If not you're better off without one.
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Old 06-13-13, 07:40 PM
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I wouldn't really ride a Hybrid without suspension, but the 7.6 with all its damping, plus 32's, with a comfort saddle makes it "awesome" but I only ride paved roads though.. " lock-out" is the bomb
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Old 06-13-13, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
I happen to have suspension on the front of my Crosstrail, because I need it due to physical problems... If you don't like it, don't get it. But please stop badmouthing something that is very usefullllllllll.
Please don't mistake my tongue-in-cheek style for bad mouthing suspensions! The only justification one needs is that s/he prefers it, as far as I'm concerned. And I can certainly appreciate your situation with bike suspensions helping physical problems. My first love is with inline speed skating, except two meniscus surgeries and a bunch of swollen knees later have pushed me to cycling because of its lower impact on the knees, and it allows me to do more. So I fully get what you're saying.

If I have any criticism it would be this: it seems to me that utilitarian considerations are not the primary motivation behind suspensions. Rather, some combination of trendiness/fashion/keeping-up-with-the-joneses seems to drive the suspension purchases, and absent those factors I think far more people would buy hardtail-hardforks.
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Old 06-13-13, 09:21 PM
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I really had a hard time finding a hybrid I liked that didn't have a suspension fork. I also struggle because I have very short legs but a long torso so some of the bikes I tried just weren't comfortable. But the GT I settled on had a suspension fork, but I got it as a 2012 close out, I figure if I need to I could swap the fork and still be with in my budget. But heck, I'm gonna ride it a bunch first, then decide. I can always swap it for a different model if it doesn't work also.
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Old 06-13-13, 09:42 PM
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For my first hybrid bike I picked up a trek DS 8.2. I got a bike with suspension because I never know where I am gonna go, or when I will decide to explore a park and want the suspension. I keep it pretty stiff. The DS will become my family bike/park bike when a light trail ride may be called for.

I plan on purchasing a road bike in a few months which will take care of all my road riding, and I am hoping for christmas to get a MTB which will take care of the crazier trails in the area. It honestly is all personal preference. If I was going to buy just one bike to rule them all for me I would have suspension because I like riding trails. If all you do is riding on the road or paved trails, then I would probably look the other way on a bike like the DS and go for something like the FX by trek.
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Old 06-14-13, 02:32 AM
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I have a front suspension on my GT Transeo 2.0. It's a lockout ( with a remote LO on the handle bar which is really cool BTW) which I keep it locked out nearly all the time. I would have gotten a solid fork but I do go on some moderate off road trails every once in awhile.
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Old 06-14-13, 04:36 AM
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My Diamondback Trace Sport has a front suspension which has added 10 minutes to my commute. I'm right with you as I'm quickly disliking this.
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Old 06-14-13, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoxoLive View Post
The Fatty Headshok
Sadly my frame won't accept a headshock. The old badboys came in two different frames with one having the bigger head tube to accomodate the headshock. Mine didn't. (-.-) My friend has a standard set of suspension forks in black and I'll be testing my 700mm rims on them over the weekend. Also he has some gun mavic 26" disc wheels he doesn't want so I've got some thinking to do.
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Old 06-14-13, 05:09 AM
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"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 06-14-13, 04:50 PM
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I like having the suspension on my crosstrail, but I also like having the lockout.
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Old 06-14-13, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by giantcfr1 View Post
Sadly my frame won't accept a headshock. The old badboys came in two different frames with one having the bigger head tube to accomodate the headshock. Mine didn't. (-.-) My friend has a standard set of suspension forks in black and I'll be testing my 700mm rims on them over the weekend. Also he has some gun mavic 26" disc wheels he doesn't want so I've got some thinking to do.
That would be a No go.. You have your Gary Fisher, your Bad Boy is a street bike. You just want to be able to post on (The what have you done to your Hybrid Thread) Wax it or something.
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Old 06-14-13, 08:33 PM
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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:
... using the fork in prolonged lock out mode is excessively hard on a fork's internal damper. It is best to limit the lock out to smooth climbing only.
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.
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