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Should we opt for that front-suspension thingie on a Comfort Bike?

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Should we opt for that front-suspension thingie on a Comfort Bike?

Old 05-15-12, 12:16 PM
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Should we opt for that front-suspension thingie on a Comfort Bike?

We're coming down the home stretch on picking a bike for my wife. We're 99% certain it'll be a Comfort bike. I've seen opinions both ways about the benefits of the front suspension. And, one of our possible selections (Giant) has it while one of the other ones (KHS) does not have it.
The logic pro and con seem equally good to us, so we are confused. My wife is just re-starting her cycling, has had 2 back surgeries (most recent one was 5 years ago), and it is highly unlikely she will ever go more than 10 miles (roads and paved bike path).
Will she notice any difference either way? Or should the suspension not play a role in our decision?
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Old 05-15-12, 01:08 PM
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I wouldn't think so. The front suspension adds cost to the bike, and you can find a bike with a better rear derailleur and a non-suspension fork for about the same cost as a bike with a suspension fork, and a lower quality RD.
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Old 05-15-12, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by erg79
I wouldn't think so. The front suspension adds cost to the bike, and you can find a bike with a better rear derailleur and a non-suspension fork for about the same cost as a bike with a suspension fork, and a lower quality RD.
Fully agree with erg79. Unfortunately, bike manufacturers rarely have their product lines set up you can find a model that omits something you don't want and conveniently adds a better something else in its place!

The thing to realize with suspension forks on road bikes is that they are there to give the "impression" of comfort in the showroom. On a mountain bike, the loads the front wheel gets are vastly different than a road bike (rocks, roots, jumps!). So MTB's got suspension, and then casual shoppers in bike stores saw that and started asking for it on hybrids and comfort bikes. Manufacturers were all too happy to oblige, as they are always looking for some new feature that will entice people to get rid of their old bike and buy a new one.

The truth is, ESPECIALLY on a comfort bike, most of your weight (probably 70%) is on the rear tire, which doesn't have suspension! The jolts you feel in the saddle are coming from there, not the front wheel. A suspension seatpost will do much more for those jolts and bumps than a suspension fork, if that's what you're looking for.

Happy riding!
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Old 05-17-12, 05:45 PM
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Some front suspensions have a lockout knob so you can use it either way.
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Old 05-17-12, 08:18 PM
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I'd vote No, too, at least for the kind of riding a comfort bike is designed for. I assume we're talking mostly paved roads and paths, just fairly gentle riding around. A suspension fork adds cost and weight but doesn't contribute much in that environment. YOu can achieve much the same effect by lowering the pressure in your front tire.
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Old 05-20-12, 08:05 AM
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I'll throw in a bit of an opposite point of view. Go for the comfort plush ride.....she'll probably ride more!

Recently purchased a Gary Fisher Solstice in almost new condition off of CL. The GF Solstice is a step or maybe two above the department store bikes. It has both a front suspension fork and a seat post suspension in addition to a comfy seat. Pretty decent components. BUT....I LOVE this bike.....ride it LOTS around the neighborhood for small errands AND for some 15-20 mile exercise rides. I am always happy to jump on this bike and just ride, it's so comfortable.

I appreciate the extra 'plush' of the bike tremendously, and I could care less about the extra few pounds on the bike. I had back surgery 20 years ago (when I was in my mid 20s). Had some issues the first 5-10 years (nothing debilitating, just pain that did keep me from riding though).

On the Solstice, I added a carbon fiber handlebar and stem (from Nashbar to keep it relatively inexpensive). Now, uneven sidewalk seams, most curb hopping/transitions, all but disappear while riding. No constant 'vibration' of pavement, neither through my hands/arms, nor through the seat. It's so nice.

So, IMHO, whether it's placebo effect or not, both a seat suspension and the front suspension take the 'bite/vibration' off of any bump, on either tire. So much so....that I'm considering copying some of the components onto our Trek T900 (a tandem we use for long distance riding).

HTH.
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