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Why are there no Shocks on Road Bikes ? Really(26 posts)

Why are there no Shocks on Road Bikes ? ReallyMaartin
Apr 29, 2003 8:40 AM
Why is it that Roadbikes have no shock absorbing other than the frame, seat and wheel materials. Every other type of bicycle except for track bikes do. Motorcycles, cars and just about everything else. I was surprised that Cannondale is no longer offering its headshock on a road frame. Wouldn't a cyclist be faster if they were not getting tired from road shocks on a long course ? Even shock absorbing seatposts are rarely seen. Sometimes I wonder if it because of fashion more than function.
re: Why are there no Shocks on Road Bikes ? Reallylaffeaux
Apr 29, 2003 8:51 AM
They add weight, and offer little improvment on rides (unless you bash through pot holes). A light suspension fork for a MTB is around 3 pounds. That's a lot of weight to add to a road bike. Mountain bikers who deal with the extra weight lock-out their forks on the road because they cause the front end to bob and offer no performance gains on the roads.

Wider tires and/or less air pressure in the tires usually provides plenty of suspension.
I think that was an issue the carbon forkcyclinseth
Apr 29, 2003 8:59 AM
revolution tried to address. quite successfully I might add. I don't think that pavement offers up enough uneven terrain to warrant suspention on the fork. Also, added wieght, reduced aerodynamics, reduced efficiency. If energy is used to move up and down it is not being used to move forward.

But I believe that a company has either introduced or is working on a suspention road fork.
Steel offered more comfort than carbon; but solved Al...Spunout
Apr 29, 2003 9:07 AM
You wouldn't want an aluminum fork, so carbon is used. Steel is an improvement(?) on carbon, but most don't want to pay the gravity bill.

Rock Shox 'Ruby' (Roubaix) is a shock for roadbikes. Check cyclingnews.com PR's pics for use.

I ride a steel bike, have no need for suspension. Even on some of the worst West Quebec roads I've ever seen, no need.
where are you riding?mohair_chair
Apr 29, 2003 9:16 AM
Unless you ride on dirt or really crappy pavement, there's no reason to have a shock. It's just a lot of weight for no real gain.

You talk about cyclists not getting tired, but believe me, carrying an extra 3 pounds won't keep you any fresher. And unless you can lock out the shock, you're going to get shock compression during your ride just from moving around on the bike (i.e., pedalling, standing up, etc.), which is stealing your energy. Try standing up for a sprint or a climb on a mountain bike sometime and see how much of your stroke goes directly into compressing the shock rather than turning the wheel.
Road bikes don't need shock absorbers...Fredrico
Apr 29, 2003 9:18 AM
That is, if the pavements are smooth. Minor bumps are easily handled by the hard inflated tires, front fork, bike frame, seat, and rider. The few times a shock absorber would actually work, as over a manhole cover or pothole, would also take away the "feel" of the road, which, like sports car drivers, most roadies welcome.

Shock absorbers are found on hybrids and "city bikes." They have appeared on race bikes in the Paris-Roubaix race over cobbles, but are not universally accepted there. Designers are hard pressed to make them stiff enough or light enough for roadies' tastes. Unlike motorcycles and cars, road bike frames are so light and tuned, they absorb shocks quite well.
Other things to try first...Fez
Apr 29, 2003 9:26 AM
If you ride the pavement, a front suspension would not be much more comfortable and would be heavier, less aero, and less efficient (even w/ a lockout).

If offroading and bumps are your bag, then try this:

1) touring or cyclocross frame w/ greater wheel/tire clearance
2) comfort oriented road frame and fork. if you are riding a Cannondale CAAD5 and are complaining about comfort, then maybe a different choice would add comfort.
3) larger, more comfort oriented tires at an appropriate PSI.
4) comfortable saddle
5) gel gloves

If that doesn't work, look for a Cannondale Silk Road on Ebay.
on fashion vs function.Steve_0
Apr 29, 2003 9:37 AM
....actually, I think just the opposite; not even most mountain bikes need shocks. I think its funny to look at the the suspended mountain bikes on the roads, flatpaths, and even some moderate singletracks. overkill, imo.

Sure, cars and motorcycles zip around at 60+mph; little time to navigate around potholes, road irregularities, racoons, etc; and the suspension helps keep the car under control.

Bicycles, however 1) are far more maneuverable, 2) are quite comfortable without suspension, and 3) wheels other road components would break in environments which necessitate suspension. Why decrease bike performance for 'perceived' comfort.
It's crazy to buy a "real" MTB without front suspension.Eug
Apr 29, 2003 8:22 PM
"....actually, I think just the opposite; not even most mountain bikes need shocks... even some moderate singletracks. overkill, imo."

Mountain bikes all come with front shocks for a reason. They make riding the bike on moderate singletrack (and up) more comfortable and potentially more safe.

Many cheap shocks are crap, but even the crap ones are much better than a rigid fork IMO. A good damped shock is awesome however.

It's no surprise that ALL the MTB racers have front shocks.

None of this applies to biking on smooth paved roads however, of course.
hmmm.Steve_0
Apr 30, 2003 3:27 AM
dont know if ALL mountain bikes come with shocks. I'm not one to go blow my money on the latest 'advancement' every time it comes.

But I DO know that I've ridden plenty of single-track unsuspended, was QUITE comfortable and never felt unsafe.

Pro-racing, sure i can see the potential for some advantage. Buti dont think 'most' mountainbikes are ridden by pro racers, or even serious enthusiats who ~need~ it.
How much mountain biking do you do?Mel Erickson
Apr 30, 2003 6:16 AM
Yes, it's an advancement that virtually all riders of all levels can benefit from on the trail. It makes trail riding more enjoyable for the vast majority of riders. Of course you can ride safely without a front shock and you can even enjoy the ride. However, virtually everyone will be able to ride longer, farther, over more difficult terrain and enjoy it more with a front shock. Sure, some people still ride with a rigid fork but it's the exception, not the rule, and it's not because it's the fashion. Shocks just plain work better for off road riding.
How much reading do you do?Steve_0
Apr 30, 2003 7:02 AM
admittingly, I dont MTB anymore; but have thousands of hours of singletrack behind me. Thats besides the point.

I stated that i believe that most mountainbikes do not need suspension. Yet you argue that shocks 'just plain work better for off road riding'. ok. What does that have to do with 'most mountain bikes'?

Are you trying to argue that most mountainbikes are used offroad? Hardly. I contend most are used going to and from school by childeren. A smaller percentage used by weekend warriors on their once-per-year concrete-bound "fun runs". An even smaller percentage are used on the nations 'rails to trails', tow-paths, and flatpaths. Lastly, there's the small percentage used by 'serious' offroad enthusiasts.

The vast majority of mountainbike riders are riding mountbikes because the road-bike industry has all but abandoned comfortable (read: Somewhat upright), functional, and somewhat durable roadbikes. Not because they're riding 'longer and farther over difficult terrain'.

Shocks on these mountainbikes (i.e., most mountainbikes) are fashion, not function.
agreedlaffeaux
Apr 30, 2003 9:39 AM
From my non-scientific observations, the vast majority of low-end full suspension bikes (i.e. department store bikes) are used for commuting. 99.9% of those riders would be better off with a fully rigid bike.

Front suspension on a bike is nice. Is needed? Absolutely not. It allows riders to go faster, but does not necessarily allow them to go anywhere that a fully-rigid bike could not go.

I've been riding my full suspension bike in rocky areas and had riders on hardtails blow past me. It's not about the bike.
Racers don't use full suspension. They use hardtails.Eug
Apr 30, 2003 11:32 AM
"I've been riding my full suspension bike in rocky areas and had riders on hardtails blow past me. It's not about the bike."

Well, to give you some credit, pretty much all pro xc mtb racers use hardtails, not full suspension bikes.

I love full suspension, but I don't don't see to be a necessity at all, unlike front suspension.

By the way, you're right about the rider. I'm so out of shape these days just about anyone can "blow" past me on my hardtail. ;)
OK I should have worded it better...Eug
Apr 30, 2003 11:28 AM
What I said: "Mountain bikes all come with front shocks for a reason. They make riding the bike on moderate singletrack (and up) more comfortable and potentially more safe.

Many cheap shocks are crap, but even the crap ones are much better than a rigid fork IMO. A good damped shock is awesome however.

It's no surprise that ALL the MTB racers have front shocks."

You said: "dont know if ALL mountain bikes come with shocks. I'm not one to go blow my money on the latest 'advancement' every time it comes.

But I DO know that I've ridden plenty of single-track unsuspended, was QUITE comfortable and never felt unsafe.

Pro-racing, sure i can see the potential for some advantage. Buti dont think 'most' mountainbikes are ridden by pro racers, or even serious enthusiats who ~need~ it."

I guess it depends on the situation. Not all, but on difficult singletrack around here it is very unusual to see any mountain bike doing well with rigid fork only. You are right to say that a bad biker is still a bad biker, but a good biker with a damped front shock is usually an even better biker. I used to think the way you do, but after trying and using front suspension (multiple forks), I consider it a basic necessity for a serious MTB enthusiast.

I agree, however, that front suspension is useless and even detrimental on the road, and isn't necessary for fireroads either (although more comfy).

Furthermore, rear shocks are more a luxury item. I run a suspension seatpost and love full suspension bikes, but I don't seem them as a necessary item on mountain bikes unless you're into downhill.

To put it in road bike terms: Like many who think one should drop too far below Shimano 105 for a "real" road bike, I think one should ever consider a rigid fork on a "real" mountain bike to be used for intermediate to advanced singletrack.
ok, we're getting close.Steve_0
Apr 30, 2003 12:19 PM
I understand where you're coming from, but disagree with one statement: " a good biker with a damped fron shcok is usually an even better biker".

I will agree that the good biker with front suspension may be a 'faster' cyclist, but is he better? If he decides to substitute finesse with suspension, I tend to think not.

anyway, difft strokes; keep pedaling.
Cannondale headshock on...HAL9010
Apr 29, 2003 9:42 AM
...their Bad Boy headshock (formerly the Bad boy Ultra) and their Cyclocross Headshock seem to fit the bill. The Bad Boy is their CAAD-4 mountain frame (hard tail) setup for the road and still very light weight. Just swap the flat bars for drops. The Cyclocross HS just needs to have the tires swapped for 23mm ones.

The head shock & fatty forks add just a bit to the bike weight vs a Rock Shock type. The C'Dales w/HS and lock out are wonderfull for touring over long stretches of rough roads.

But for racing a shock is realy just extra weight. Touring on the other hand does seem to cry out for a Headshock w/ lockout.

My 5 & 4/3 cents (inflation)

Hal
(Bad Boy owner)
Shocks are for panty-waists!filtersweep
Apr 29, 2003 9:54 AM
Even on a mtn bike they can rob power, inhibit handling, etc...

If you keep the road bike on the road, you really shouldn't need much shocks...
DittoMR_GRUMPY
Apr 29, 2003 10:53 AM
If you want shocks, get a comfort bike !!
Are you serious?Mel Erickson
Apr 29, 2003 1:34 PM
If you mean off road MTBs perform better, ride faster and beat up the rider less with front shocks. On road, that's different. Why people ride MTBs on road is a mystery to me. BTW, this from a person who rides a Softride Solo and a Giant XTC NRS.
Ever heard of air suspension system on road bike?c722061
Apr 29, 2003 10:10 AM
Air in the tires - bigger tires, better shock control. In my previous life, I rode 700x28 tires years in and out. I did not need special bike shorts nor any type of add-on suppension system and I rode on semi off-road often.
Rocks Shox used to make one and Serotta doesColnagoFE
Apr 29, 2003 10:17 AM
called the Ruby I think...It was probably too heavy for weight weenies and offered little advantage over a compliant steel fork. Also Serotta has messed with suspension though in the frame and not the fork. Mostly for tuning the ride though. Not for comfort as far as I can tell.
Rocks Shox used to make one and Serotta doesGreyhound
Apr 29, 2003 11:52 PM
Moots makes a softail roadbike, as well as a soiftail cross.

Greyhound
Related question: endos, potholes, and shockskenyee
Apr 29, 2003 10:19 AM
If you had shocks on the front, would that keep you from endoing when you hit a small animal or pothole?

(Assuming the endo is caused by the object and not you slamming the front brake, of course :-)
If they had shocks.....byker
Apr 29, 2003 11:14 AM
..we would call them 'cross bikes. Thats why we don't put them on road bikes.
Be the shock.SnowBlind
Apr 29, 2003 12:41 PM
The fact is YOU are the shock. That is an important part of the position on a road bike. A proper position, knees slightly bent, back arched, arms unlocked and only light pressure on the hands, makes one hella of a shock.
The back and leg muscles absorb most of the shock without effort.
If riding gives you pain, look at your fit and your posture.
Then take a look at shocks if you can't take it.