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Just wanted to start a little suspension discussion.

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Just wanted to start a little suspension discussion.

Old 05-24-12, 05:41 PM
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Just wanted to start a little suspension discussion.

Feel free to bring up whatever you want, as long as it's about suspension. For starters, I personally don't understand the reasoning behind having the best suspension possible if you're not racing. I understand "big hit" suspension that will allow you to do some pretty gnarly drops and stuff. But why is full suspension that smooths everything out as much as possible on a regular trail a good thing? Why not just ride smoother trails if you desire a smoother and/or faster ride? I've ridden two bikes now that had really expensive shocks and forks. I fully admit it was kind of entertaining to go riding along a chunky/rocky section of trail and have the bike bounce around about as much as my road bike on a paved MUP, but that's not the kind of experience I'm looking for on a normal basis when I go mountain biking. I like the challenge and difficulty of MTBing on rocky/rooty/choppy trails. Is there something I'm just not getting, or is it simply a matter of "it's just not for everyone?" Did some of you high-end full suspension all mountain guys feel this way once upon a time? Or have some of you had full suspension and decided to go back to HT or ridged for the fun challenge of it?
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Old 05-24-12, 07:32 PM
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When push comes to shove, I'm not a good mountain biker. Suspension gives me a little bit of forgiveness, and it also lets me ride a little faster. So in effect, I get to ride slightly harder trails at a slightly faster speed than I would otherwise...and I guess that makes it a little more fun for me.

Also, I have a hardtail and a rigid too, and to be honest, I don't ride the full-suspension because I want a "smoother" ride. I guess that's a side effect, but it's not the reason I ride that bike. I ride whatever bike I think will give me the whatever kind of ride I'm looking for that day. But I don't think I've ever gone into a ride thinking, "Now, what bike will smooth out the trail for me?" If that were my logic, I'd just ride my road bike.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:40 PM
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Like any suspension?



IMO...suspension for XC is pretty amazing. You have to remember that there are trails out there that are very different from yours. When I lived in KS, my trails were mostly buffed with some gardens. My new trails are pretty flowey in structure...but totally littered with rocks that vary from fist-sized on up.

-That said...you can ride down hills across that crap on just about anything...but you can go faster on the dually because you won't pinch flat quite as easily on the little torpedoes that are waiting to smack your rim.
-Climbing really is more effective on a dually b/c your rear wheel tracks better. I used to think that was a little far fetched, but not anymore. Once in a while, I skitter around on the climbs on my HT.
-Flowing fairly level singletrack on a this rock-littered terrain is probably the most beneficial on a dually b/c you can stay seated and spin smoothly through it. When you stand on a HT...you mash down and have to interrupt your pedaling when you hit a bump as to not pinch flat.


If I moved back to KS and rode my old local trails...I'd be much faster on a rigid SS 26'er. But now I'm on this chunky "scrub-like" terrain.
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Old 05-24-12, 07:56 PM
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New trails:





Old trails:
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Old 05-24-12, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by 3speed
Is there something I'm just not getting
Suspension makes it possible to go faster. Fast is more fun than slow.

Sweet bar turn ed.
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Old 05-24-12, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ed
You have to remember that there are trails out there that are very different from yours.
This is huge. The trails that I'm on now, most stuff is small enough that it doesn't matter. If this were all I've seen, I'd probably assume full-suspension was unnecessary too. Sorry for the crappy quality iPhone picture...I don't usually bring along a camera:


Pre-grad school, I was riding trails that had big enough rocks that suspension made a much bigger difference. Sure, I used to see people riding rigid and hardtails on them, but there actually was a pretty big advantage from riding with suspension. Not my picture, but one of the trails (thanks Google Image Search source):
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Old 05-24-12, 08:41 PM
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For what I'm doing, it can be used, but is a bit unnecessary.
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Old 05-24-12, 09:33 PM
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I haven't been doing this very long, but I recently went from an entry level hardtail to a higher-end dual. The biggest difference is the light weight, but after that is the suspension. I could (and did) ride the hardtail on my local trail, but there are some fast bumpy parts with roots and/or rocks and a few very bumpy technical descents where the rear end would bounce around, making it hard to control the bike, much less go faster. The dual suspension soaks up the bumps a bit and keeps the rear wheel more in contact with the ground. That alone allows for more speed, and for me the extra control gives me more confidence, which allows me to go even faster.
Also, it makes sitting down more comfortable, which is nice when I need/want to sit.
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Old 05-24-12, 09:51 PM
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But if I am ever allowed to go back in the woods, first thing I am going to do is get a fully.
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Old 05-24-12, 09:59 PM
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There are several points I like in addition to speed. Comfort is primary. I am 58 and have chipped enough teeth and pounded my joints from contact and non contact sports like Basketball, HA, lotsa contact there. I can ride longer and not get as worn out. I like XC because you can make a day of riding, not just a few runs.

I keep the line I am riding better. I rode Sunday with a 135 pound cross country runner. He had a new bike that wan't dialed in very well. He was all over the place. I kept a good line.

I also like the sounds of sports. The squeak of BB shoes on a wood court and the sound of the suspension as it rebounds on a downhill section. Its music to me. Rocks spitting off the tires, rocks bouncing off the frame the suspension pounded back at the rocks. Its sweet to me.

Comfort, safety and sound. I like it.
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Old 05-24-12, 10:14 PM
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I've never rode full suspension, but if I rode really rough stuff then I reckon I'd get one. At this point though, for me, it's overkill for my riding and just more parts to break/need fixing/be expensive.
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Old 05-25-12, 05:13 AM
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Some of us have back trouble. The suspension helps. That said, I've been riding my rigid 26er lately. Great fun. If I'm by myself I have no issues and hold back enough energy to maintain the attack position for rough sections, and it's all good. But went with some faster riders this week and became fatigued tryingto keep up, and sat down more than I should have, and now Tylenol Corp is making money off me.

The other issue with suspension is that I have several bikes and it is costly and time-consuming to keep up with the maintenance. I just paid $130ish I believe, for Specialized's swap-out maintenance on their AFR shock. That adds up to real money real fast if you have several bikes. I still haven't gotten all my suspension bikes serviced and fuly-working for the season.

The maintenance burden is *really* annoying.
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Old 05-25-12, 09:00 AM
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My daughter's boyfriend rides dirt bikes. He rebuilds my Fox stuff for pizza. I guess not everyone can get that hook up, just lucky I guess.
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Old 05-25-12, 09:17 AM
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Just wanted to start a little suspension discussion.

I've taken to servicing my own suspension this season. Tools and oil and seals are still a nonzero cost though, and some problems I am not yet able and equipped to tackle.
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Old 05-25-12, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ed
You have to remember that there are trails out there that are very different from yours.
Hmm... This is something that just never popped into my head for some reason. I could understand a lot more on the stuff some of you ride. My mind was focusing more on local guys with full suspension.
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Old 05-25-12, 01:07 PM
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Remember that people travel as well. 80% of what I ride I could do very well with an old rigid. Then I get to rock and rollin and the F/S is my best friend. This weekend I am heading to Bountiful, UT. Looking at trails up there has me psyched. I am going to look for roots! I hear people complain about roots. The roots on cactus around here are the size of speaker cables. I want to see if roots are as tricky as I hear.
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Old 05-25-12, 01:11 PM
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Ditto what most everyone else has said. Because I'm not very skilled, suspension allows me to go faster. Faster is more fun, & I'm more focused on having fun than building skill. It also makes sitting down over smaller bumps more comfortable & less exhausting, which means longer rides & more fun to be had exploring the trails.

And as far as high end suspension vs low end, I can feel the difference pretty easily. My rear shock, for example, is always incredibly slow to rebound no matter what setting I put it on, needs to have air added after every ride (very leaky), & squeaks like a damn dog toy which drives me nuts. Compared to my stepdad's RP23, it feels like someone replaced the air with silly putty. Fortunately I literally just got a call from the LBS & the bushings are in for my RP2, so no more silly putty shock for me
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