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Suspension on Road Bikes(13 posts)

Suspension on Road Bikescdnrider
Aug 17, 2002 8:07 AM
Anyone have an opinion on how much a suspension affects the performance of a bike? I am looking to upgrade to a performance hybrid - road gearing, light frame, etc. Typical rides are 30-60 miles over a mixed of pavement and gravel. I like to travel at a good pace and spend a fair amount of time up from the sadde. I've tested the Trek FX series, Devinci Syndey, and Fisher Fast City. I love the setup of the Fisher, but I am concerned that over longer distances the Manitou forks (even with a very stiff spring) will reduce bike performance and suck energy from me during acceleration and hill climbs. Appreciate any thoughts on the matter.
re: Suspension on Road BikesRon B
Aug 17, 2002 9:27 AM
Mostly you will see the problems when climbing out of the saddle. My experince with riding my old Cannondale hardtail on the road makes me understand why suspension on the road has never made an impact. You don't need it.

In your situation though it may be worth it since you are riding dirt paths as well.

For the most part you won't notice it on flats or downhills as there will be little bobbing even with a softer set up. When you get to the hills and climb out of the saddle it will more than likely annoy you.

It just depends on the roads you ride. A nice carbon fiber road fork may be all that you really need. They make cyclocross carbon forks as well if you are using canti brakes (V-brakes).
re: Suspension on Road BikesBreakfast
Aug 17, 2002 9:44 AM
If the intent of the riding is to cover ground rather than to tackle obstacles and there's a good deal of regular road riding and the only variation is the surface changing from asphalt to gravel, then the only issue should be tire style and width. You don't need suspension.

What are you upgrading from?

I'd think a cyclocross bike might be a good choice. Gearing and weight are important, you don't want to go to mountain bike type gearing and the added weight of inexpensive suspension forks for mostly road type riding.
re: Suspension on Road Bikescdnrider
Aug 17, 2002 12:52 PM
I'm looking to upgrade from a Peugot Prestiege hybrid. Had the bike about 6 years. It was their top model at the time, and it has served me well. 21 speeds, 700 X 38 tires on Air Line rims. I considered keeping the bike and upgrading a few of the components but the frame is also too large for me. Didn't really know any better when I bought it and I guess the dealer was looking to unload it from the floor.

Tend to agree that I don't need the suspension and it doesn't have a lockout. Really like the rest of the Fisher, the geometry is nice and its got better components than the Trek 7500FX and costs less than the 7700FX and the Devinci. Even with the forks, the Fisher weighs in at a reasonable 25.4 lbs, has 27 speed road gearing and 700 X 35 tires. The Devinci is a rocket by hybrid standards and light at 23 lbs but comes with a pretty larget price tag. Same goes for the 7700.

Of course, none of the dealers sell more than one of the product lines and each swears up and down that their product is the best.
re: Suspension on Road BikesTommyRides
Aug 19, 2002 6:24 AM
I just purchased the Devinci Santiago which is their top performanc hybrid...very very nice so I can stand behind their bikes! I also looked at the Specialized Sirrus Pro. has a suspension seatpost, and a carbon fork..very light and comfy indeed. I looked at the Fisher, and even though I love my Fisher Sugar MTB, The fast city seemed more of a commuter ride. I'd go with the Devinci, but definately check out the Specialized if you want that upright hybrid feel thing..only downfall, is the MTB gearing..maybe cyclocross is the ride for you..I had my eye on the Trek XO..

Good luck!
Tks for the info.cdnrider
Aug 19, 2002 9:03 AM
Thanks for the info. Hadn't considered the Trek XO but it looks like a nice ride. Think my problem is I'm being greedy. I want my bike to ride like a hybrid when I'm out with the girlfriend and ride like a road bike when I'm alone. What I should do is get more than one bike but if I blow all that $$ I might not have to worry about the girlfriend....

The Devinci might be a good choice. Local dealer has one left at $1500 Cdn tax included. Not bad for a model that retails around $1650 + tax. Not crazy about the red tho...
re: Suspension on Road BikesHAL9010
Aug 17, 2002 11:03 AM
Try a Cannondale Badboy Ultra. It has a rather light weight front suspension (headshock) that you can turn off at will. It is basicly a road bike in setup, mountain bike frame (compact like), no rear suspension and only 21 lbs out of the box. The head shock is great for rough stretches of pavement and the lockout works very well for those up hill sprints without the power sucking bob you would get without the lockout.
A couple of thoughtsRickC5
Aug 17, 2002 12:33 PM
1) I test-rode a Cannondale "Silk Road 800" two years ago. It has a elastomer front suspension that can be locked out. I could hardly notice the difference, even over bumps. To me, it seemed like an extra-cost option that provided zero benefit, but added weight.

2) I periodically ride my MTB on the road, especially if I KNOW I'm going to ride in some dirt. My MTB has lockouts for both the front AND rear shocks. If I'm on smooth pavement, I just lock the shocks. No energy-stealing suspension! I just have to remember to unlock before the rough stuff.
A couple of thoughtsMarvinK
Aug 17, 2002 1:16 PM
Just energy-stealing excess weight! ;)
I'm curious.Leisure
Aug 17, 2002 11:38 PM
What bikes are these that have suspension? What kind of travel do they have? What kind of suspension? What are some sites I could see them on? I'm actually of the mind that suspension road bikes will eventually be popular, though perhaps not anytime soon. I would expect most designs now would be clumsily executed, with mountain-type suspensions just kind of lopped-on to a road frame i.e.- putting on two inches of travel where less than one would be better, or using discrete rear shocks where simply in-building a half-inch of frame compliance would be lighter, simpler, more effective. Am I right?
Well...Spoke Wrench
Aug 18, 2002 6:02 AM
Most of the true hybred bikes today come with some kind of suspension fork and a telescoping suspension seatpost. The performance hybreds, actually a cross between a true hybred and a road bike tend to eliminate the suspension parts I assume in the interest of weight saving.

As you might imagine, there is a huge difference in the quality of suspension components. Everybody wants to talk about travel because that's an objective measurement. I'm personally much more interested in "stickshon." The inexpensive suspension seatposts, for example, tend to bind up so they don't compress and rebound smoothly.
I'm curious.cdnrider
Aug 18, 2002 6:37 AM
Many of today's "comfort" hybrids come equipped with front suspension forks. To your point I don't think the parts are specifically made for road/path riding. The performance hybrids are mixed. You have bikes like Cannondale's Bad Boy series that are a little under 25 lbs and equipped with suspension forks (not such which but Cannondale stock). Gary Fisher sells the Fast City which is equipped with Manitou Luxe forks (75mm travel) and still manages to come in at a very respectable 25 lbs.

My concern with suspension is that energy sapping bob experienced when you're out of the saddle. I would agree that if done correctly (ie, a limited amount of travel) the suspension fork could work well on a road geared bike.
Try a cyclo-cross or Silk Road bike insteadhycobob
Aug 18, 2002 6:32 AM
A cyclo-cross bike may be just your ticket. The bigger tires should give you more shock absorption and you will still have the benefits or a roadbike geometry. They tend to be a little on the heavier side but this didn't seem to be your greatest concern IMO.

If that doesn't work you can look into Cannondale's "Silk Road" series. They have a short travel headshock an a roadbike frame.

If this isn't enough, there is always the dreaded suspension seatpost.