Suspension bike have shock absorbers on both the front and rear wheels and can absorb many bumps in the terrain. suspension bikes are suitable for marathons, fast downhill, and rough terrain.
- Part 1: Product Overview
- Part 2: Product Advantages
- Part 3: Product Classification and Introduction
- Part 4: Buying Guide
Part 1: Product Overview
Usually, a suspension bike had to have a shock absorber, or preferably two. The presence of a fork that is not rigid has excellent advantages on many different suspension bikes, but not all.
A lot depends on the type of terrain and riding discipline. In some cases, a rigid bike fork will be better, for example, on smooth asphalt. A front shock absorber will be helpful for more challenging applications, where it will provide not only comfort but also safety.
MTB models have not always had a shock absorber for the bike. The 1981 Specialized Stumpjumper was the first production bike of its kind to feature a rigid fork. Interestingly, it has SR Suntour ARX GT gear. This company is now one of the most significant shock manufacturers in the world.
According to the classic definition, a bicycle fork is a part to which the wheels are attached. The construction of bicycles has evolved over the years, as has the cycling nomenclature. Currently, a distinction is made between a bicycle fork at the front and a bicycle fork in the rear triangle, which is connected to the frame.
Both parts are designed to hold the wheels. The steering tube of the front fork passes through the head tube of the frame, and thanks to bearings in the rudder, it can rotate freely. To the fork tube, a bridge is screwed, which on the other side has a handlebar attached. This allows controlling the mountain bike suspension by turning the front wheel through the fork.
Part 2: Product Advantages
A shock absorber is nothing but a mechanism designed to protect the machine or the user of the vehicle from the harmful effects of vibration, which would be caused by riding on uneven surfaces.
A bicycle with a shock absorber provides the user with more comfort during the ride, especially during those complicated routes.
A Shock Absorber Used for A Bicycle
Shock absorption is very common in mountain bike shocks because this type of bike can overcome challenging trails. It is enough that it fits the mountain bike suspension and performs its function.
Part 3: Product Classification and Introduction
In the case of rigid forks, the differences in design are slight. It is entirely different if we choose a front bicycle shock absorber, such as SR Suntour XCM.
Types of Shock Absorption in Forks
Its type is key, and we should pay attention to design and adjustment as well as several other characteristics, such as its medium. We will encounter elastomers in the cheapest front shock absorbers, which resemble an accordion and are not very effective. This is a somewhat archaic solution – you will find them only on old suspension mountain bikes.
In the most advanced forks, deflection is achieved by an air spring. Its use brings several advantages, such as low weight. This type of spring also allows you to precisely adjust the shock absorber firmness to your weight, which is crucial for the precise damping of bumps. Air shock absorbers are often ranked among the best, but enthusiasts of other solutions are also. A steel spring does not necessarily perform worse, and forks equipped with them are less expensive than air springs.
When encountering a bump, a suspension fork flexes and then straightens. The parameters responsible for these two functions must be perfectly matched. To prevent the suspension fork from turning too quickly, damping is used. The cheapest models have elastomer dampers – not very effective, significantly when the temperature drops below 0°C. Oil damping is much better. Its advantage is the possibility of precise adjustment. Manufacturers use two solutions. The first is an open oil bath, which provides more reliable operation, but its disadvantage is higher fork weight. A lighter is a complete cartridge. Unfortunately, they are quite troublesome in service.
Suspension forks can also be divided by design. Telescopic models contain upper shanks that slide into the lower legs.
Impressive in appearance are double-half shocks, which operate on a similar principle as telescopic shocks, but offer increased stiffness at the expense of higher weight. It is different in the case of Upside Down forks, included, for example, in the recommendation of the Rock Shox brand. The RS-1 model from this manufacturer, for example, has lower shanks that are smaller in diameter than the upper shanks. Such forks are used almost exclusively in Downhill. Lefty suspension mountain bikes are also an exciting feature. In their case, the shins are only on one side, which creates the appearance of a lack of bike stability or low durability.
Nothing could be further from the truth – although they are costly, they offer high resistance, lightness, and stiffness. It is worth noting that this is a two-wheel design taken from the heaviest duty bikes. As a result, impacts are better distributed to the top and to the bottom.
A significant feature you need to pay attention to when choosing a shock absorber for your bike is the mounting standard of the wheel. The most popular size is 9 mm for a standard QR quick release. Some models, often mid-range, have adopted a 15mm diameter. A mountain bike suspension for heavier use may feature a 20mm mount. Keep in mind the width of the hub – some models made with Boost technology are more comprehensive and are characterized by a size of 110 mm. This tells you that you should buy a fork in this standard. It doesn’t always work for one rim size. Some of them accommodate, for example, 27.5 and 29-inch wheels. Even though larger wheel sizes are becoming increasingly popular, it is still common to find a 26-inch front bicycle shock absorber.
Types of Adjustment
Adjustment of the bicycle shock absorber allows us to fit it to our weight, type of route, and riding style. The modern bicycle suspension fork sometimes has too many options. Manufacturers often give up on the most complex designs because cyclists don’t use all the functions or do them incorrectly. An example would be the Dual Air system used on advanced Rock Shox models like the Reba and Sid. With so many adjustments available, it is often difficult to adjust the shock absorber on a suspension mountain bike. However, it’s good to be aware of what’s available, so here’s a brief overview of the most essential features of today’s forks.
Preload allows you to adjust the hardness of the fork to the rider’s weight. In the case of an air spring, we adjust it by changing air pressure. If air pressure is lower, SAG will be higher, so the fork will flex more. Higher pressure means a lower SAG – bicycle shock absorber will be less sensitive to obstacles.
The most important thing we should consider is the stroke parameter. You can choose according to your purpose. Below we have made a very conventional division, which will allow you to get an idea of the fork types for specific applications:
Trekking and cross bikes:
30-80 mm of travel
XC racing: 100 mm
Marathons: 100-120 mm
Trail: 120-130 mm
Enduro: 130-150 mm
Freeride: over 150 mm
Downhill: over 170 mm
It is important to remember that these ranges have changed over the years. In the past, it was accepted that Enduro suspension bicycles must have 140 mm of travel. Nowadays, some models have 130 mm and are successfully used on challenging trails. A suspension mountain bike can have a very different journey, but it is usually relatively low, sufficient for tracks designed for such bikes.
The thickness of the shocks will also tell us about the nature of the shock absorber. The largest diameter shins have the highest durability – aimed at Enduro and Downhill. Typically 30-32mm diameter on XC or marathon bikes and trekking bikes. Trail and Enduro models are wider at 34mm thick.
A Rigid Fork
A rigid suspension bicycle is obviously a more specific component than a shock absorber. It has no mechanism, and the only thing responsible for damping vibrations is the material. Aluminium is the least suitable for this task, and its advantages are lightness and strength. Steel is heavy, but the benefits of such a fork are strength and shock absorption – better than with aluminium. The carbon fork dampens vibrations better and also offers lightweight. Such a component can weigh little more than 500 grams – the most lightweight models made of aluminium weigh more than half as much. Carbon fibre isn’t the only option worth opting for.
What Should I Choose, A Suspension or A Rigid Fork
Rigid or suspension bike – there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the priorities of the cyclist, the routes he rides, the weight, and the bike. A suspension fork is something you won’t find on a road bike.
If shock absorbers are even making their way into road cycling, why not opt for them in every other case as well? Of course, among rigid forks, there are models suitable for 28-inch wheels, but you’ll find them in cross or trekking models. A cross cycle with suspension without a shock absorber is sometimes a good option unless you often ride off a level surface into the woods.
The same goes for trekking models. They usually ride on asphalt or gravel and rarely need to deal with sand or roots. Under challenging conditions, bicycle shock absorbers are always helpful – only if the vast majority of your surface is smooth paths and roads it is worth choosing rigid forks. They allow to reduce weight and simplify bicycles.
Fork replacement on a bicycle is a pretty common modification. No wonder – it can effectively adapt the suspension mountain bike to the type of terrain you are riding on. Replacement of fork with bicycle suspension or vice versa requires knowledge of several parameters. These include fork length, head tube height, steerer standard, and brake type.
The point is to ensure that the new component does not drastically change bicycle geometry. It is essential for safety reasons and comfort, which can be reduced in the case of a too-short fork. The frame may break in the head tube area if it is too long. The head tube’s height is the second parameter to pay attention to. If you buy a new fork, it is not a problem.
If you believe a used one, it may turn out that the steering pipe is too short about the head tube, and there is no way to screw in the bridge.The steerer standard is also essential. Cheaper frames have the same diameter – 1 1/8 inch. Newer steers may have a more significant bottom bearing: 1 ¼ or 1 ½ inches. The same is true for fork steerer tubes. You can use a reduction if you have a widened head tube and a standard 1 1/8 inch fork. It doesn’t work the other way – a widened fork steerer and an old frame standard – it doesn’t work. The last thing is the brake.
If you need to cut the tube, it is better to entrust this task to a service technician. If not, it is enough to dismount the brake, unscrew the bridge and remove the old fork. Then put the new one in and screw in the bridge.
Part 4: Buying Guide
A suspension bike is a bike that can dampen vibrations generated when riding on a road with an unlevel surface thanks to the suspension element.
Any person who would like to avoid unpleasant experiences when riding on hilly or sandy terrains should consider buying a bike with a shock absorber. This is because, thanks to its functionality, it affects the comfort of the user and his safety. Is it worth buying a suspension mountain bike?
It’s fair to say that bikes with shock absorbers handle terrain better. Users will feel more comfortable and stable during riding. If you are considering buying a bike with shock absorbers and you like a comfortable ride, then, believe me, you have nothing to think about.
There are plenty of hardtails in this price range, but if you’re willing to spend close to £1000 you can get a good full suspension bike and you can find full-suspension bikes for under £1000.
It depends. Many factors – riding style, weight, sense of adventure – impact material choice. The sections below clarify the different types of materials commonly used in bicycles.
The most material in bicycle frames is steel. Carbon steel, or high tensile steel, is a good, strong, and durable steel, but it is not as lightweight as its more technologically advanced brother, the steel known as chrome-molybdenum steel.
Lightweight and strong. It makes for a fairly lightweight frame. Chromoly is responsive and provides good flexibility while maintaining form.
Aluminium, which has come a long way from the overgrown old inner tubes, is now cheaper and widely used in modern suspension mountain bikes. It is lightweight, strong, and stiff. The right design can provide a solid riding performance when climbing or nimble handling in tight situations.
Lighter than steel but just as strong, you can find this more expensive metal in the high-end road and cross-country bikes. It bends so well while retaining the shape that the metal itself serves as a shock absorber in some premium bikes.
Continuous fibres bonded with adhesive. Several layers include a laminate (similar to plywood). Laminate, if properly designed, maybe solid. It is also lightweight. Usually, it is brittle. The metal can bend and regain its shape making it strong. For this reason, carbon fibre bikes are even more potent than they should be.
Wheels are the main component of any suspension mountain bike, and their size affects many other things you may not think about. In particular, frames must have wheels in mind. Bikes with larger wheels have longer lower chain forks, wheelbases, and higher frame heights than bikes with smaller wheels.
In short, an Mtb bike suspension with 29″ wheels offers more speed, efficiency, and stability, while a bike with 27.5″ wheels offers a better trail feel. So unless you’re particularly tall or short, your choice of wheel size depends mainly on the trail you’re riding on and your personal riding preferences.