Author Topic: Front Suspension  (Read 2709 times)

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Offline Theflyingkiwi

Front Suspension
« on: July 26, 2017, 01:53:54 pm »
I am looking to do a 2 month cycle tour. Is there a noticeable advantage to ride comfort having suspension on the forks of a hybrid bike. I am looking for a bike to buy and would like to hear opinions as to suspension vs rigid fork. Maybe a carbon fork perhaps.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Front Suspension
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2017, 03:13:32 pm »
The answer to this, as to so many other "what is best?" questions, is It Depends.

For many road surfaces, a bigger tire (wider, more air volume) is sufficient.  If you're riding a bike with 700cx23 tires on most roads, even if the pavement isn't all that great, going to something in the 45-50 mm width range will probably be sufficient.  If you're riding on Colorado Rte. 7 in the eastern part of the state (my personal worst-case for gawd-awful expansion joints), you might want front suspension.

But suspension is extra weight, and many lower cost suspension forks are bouncy.  If you've got more than minimal climbing, you'll appreciate not having an extra pound to haul up every hill.  Likewise, if you're inexperienced or when you get tired, you'd prefer your pedaling energy to propel you forward, instead of up and down.

If you're considering a hybrid, I doubt you'll get much benefit from a carbon fork.  They lack the travel of both wide tires and suspension forks, but they will reduce the buzz from chipseal or similar bad road surface if your tires are hard and narrow -- in other words, probably not a hybrid.

My best advice is to go to a good bike shop and ride a bunch of bikes.  Pick the one you like best that will let you carry a load.

Offline Scott SD

Re: Front Suspension
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2017, 02:51:39 am »
I was also contemplating a suspension fork earlier this year when I was looking for a hybrid to do some light touring.  I was riding a Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail that was gradually converted to a hybrid and was accustomed to the front shock/Thudbuster seat post combo.  Buying a rigid bike was not a option initially.  But the suspension forks that are made for a 700c wheel are low quality and are heavy.  After all my research I purchased a Jamis Coda Elite because of the steel frame, carbon fork, and the rack mounts.  The Jamis fork has a slight curve which I believe helps to absorb some road vibrations.  The Coda components were low end, but I swapped every thing to XT.  I've ridden it about 1000 miles so far and I really like how the steel frame/carbon fork feels.  While it is not as good as full suspension, it is comfortable to ride all day.  I will be taking a quick 4-5 day tour down the California coast in September, but I would have no issue taking my Coda on a long tour.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Front Suspension
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2017, 06:12:30 pm »
As mentioned by others, a suspension fork is great in certain situations.  Such as the situations mountain bikes encounter when riding off road on dirt trails with ditches, holes, tree roots, rocks, etc.  You need a suspension fork to absorb the big abrupt bumps.  On paved roads, unless you are riding on bombed out roads in Baghdad, you aren't going to find big abrupt bumps.  You might find short small sections of road that have lots of potholes and cracks.  And a few stretches of roads with bad expansion joints.  But these are usually just a few feet long.  Or a couple miles with the expansion joints every 20 feet.  Not miles and miles and miles all day long day after day after day.  Wider tires, less air pressure, good bike shorts, good gel bike gloves, cork handlebar tape, good saddle, comfortable well fitting bike are what works best for 99.99999999% of paved road riding.  As already mentioned, suspension forks also have downsides.  Springy up down bouncing when you don't want it and the extra weight all the time.  Nothing is free.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Front Suspension
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 12:17:11 am »
On paved roads in first-world countries, I believe you are better off without a suspension fork.

Offline Galloper

Re: Front Suspension
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 02:36:14 pm »
Bigger tyres are, in my opinion, a better bet and I have recently become a big fan of suspension seat posts.   The comfort benefit of these is substantial and well worth the expense.