Bike Suspension Part I:Forks, Air Cans and Dropper Posts
Forks, Air Cans and Dropper Posts….Oh My!
Bike Suspension Part One
Not as simple as air it up and ride, bike suspension has many moving parts.
Look, here’s the thing: unless you’re the type of person who regularly posts up at the trendiest micro-microbrewery in town, slowly swishing your overpriced session Imperial dry-aged lager around in an overpriced session glass, while droning on about the subtle, finishing notes of coriander, green olives, and tripe, and trying to convince anybody who will listen about the “purity” and “connectedness” of a fully rigid mountain bike (with rim brakes and a three-pizza chainring with 7-speed rear cog drivetrain setup straight outta 1997, because reasons), you want suspension. Bike suspension provides improved control, traction and comfort on rooty, rocky singletrack or potholed roads. It is one of many factors that contribute to your riding enjoyment.
This set of articles will cover the basics of suspension for new bike shoppers or anyone considering an upgrade. We then go on to provide a more detailed look at how suspension works. So make sure you start at the beginning and read in order, it will make a better read and more since.
Full Suspension or Hardtail?
Full Suspension: Party up front, party out back. A bike that has 2 shock absorbers (a fork and and shock) designed to soften the impact of rough terrain. Full Suspension bikes have higher upfront costs and maintenance costs are higher as well. But, they are more stable on rougher terrain and high speeds.
Hardtail: A bike that has only a fork as the shock absorber. Hardtails have lower upfront costs and maintenance costs are lower with only one suspension component. Our very own Scotty Mac says they’re a riot, but he’s also been known to hold forth on the merits of session Imperial lagers, sooo… actually, judges’ ruling, we’ll let him have this one, hardtails are good.
Paying for Performance
Buying a new bike? The suspension components’ quality has a major impact on its price. Replacing your existing fork? You’ll find a range of options and prices. Here are some suspension considerations that may be worth springing (pun abso-lutely intended) for:
Less weight: Suspension companies remove the most weight by switching from a coil spring to an air spring.
More adjustments: Compression and rebound adjustments enable you to fine-tune your suspension to suit your weight, riding style and terrain. Such “adjustable feel” lets you dial in a firmer ride for climbs and smoother trails. As front forks and rear shocks climb in price, they gain a lockout feature; a popular upgrade, especially in the cross-country realm, is a handlebar-mounted remote control for the lockout.
Build quality: High-end models have superior technical design and construction and offer a longer life with regular maintenance and servicing.
Ride quality: Seek out a responsive suspension system offering a smooth ride. The type of riding you want to do will often dictate how much suspension you need. Harder, more technical trails really cry out for a quality suspension setup with a range of adjustability to match the terrain, ensuring good times will be had by all.
Whoop Whoop Ding Ding!
Ascent Cycling 5928 Stetson Hills Colorado Springs, CO 80923 719-597-8181