Buying a bicycle - suspension or not?

I’m going to buy a (pedal) bike soon, it will mostly be used on the road or cyclepaths, with occasional off-road use.

I like the look of the bikes I’ve seen with Y-shaped frames and both front and rear suspension, but apart from the extra expense, there is a nagging thought lurking at the back of my head:

Are there situations where the suspension might end up absorbing some of the effort that the rider is supplying to propel the bike? - making them harder work to ride.

It’s probably a vastly flawed comparison, but I’m thinking of the extra effort that is needed when you run across a yielding surface like sand or a mattress.

I probably should go for a standard model, wanting the flash one is just vanity really, nothing more.

Yes, pedaling-induced motion (“pogo”) does rob power. Bike designers try hard to minimize this effect, but I don’t think you can eliminate it completely.

On the other hand, in many situations suspension makes you faster, because the whole bike doesn’t have to climb up and down evey bump on the road.

What price range are you looking at? Good suspensions are expensive, and cheap ones aren’t very effective.

If you’re just tooling around town with an occasional foray into the woods, a front-suspended bike is nice to have. The dual suspension is a waste because it does rob energy in the pedal stroke. If you’re going to go bombing downhills and such, definitely get a dually. And always, keep the rubber side down!

Thanks, I’m looking at the lower end of the price scale, so perhaps I should let my money get me an alloy frame (as opposed to heavy steel) and forget the suspension.

Try my mountain bike selector:

I bet you’ll be pointed towards an Aluminum hardtail (front suspension only).

Yup go for front suspension only and maybe tyres that are suited more to road use rather than the knobblies which absorb lots of energy.

In fact I’d be inclined to get tyres that are pretty much road use only.

Another vote for front suspension only. The added complexity, weight, and cost really won’t get you much for the type of riding you’re doing.

things of importance when buying
opt for a lighter frame over rear suspension.
invest in smooth(road) tires since thats where you’ll be doing most of your riding.
keep in mind your bodies natural shock absorbers.
your large strong legs can more easily absorb
the bumps than your arms. as such it makes
sense to go with front suspension since your
arms tire alot faster than your legs.

hope these thought help

If I can swing it, my next bike will have front suspension. The kind you can ‘lock out’ when you want, to give me that stiff frame that’s so much nicer on the smooth pavement.

But when I’m not on smooth pavement, I want that suspension, dammit! Just last Thursday I took my Bianchi Premio (lower middle-end road bike, has served me well for 7 years now) across about 20 metres of gravel road. In the middle of said gravel was a little stretch of innocuous-looking washboard. I saw it, and stood up to absorb the vibrations, and before I knew what had happened, my bike flipped over and I had some impressive road rash all down my left side (plus an impressive-looking-but-fortunately-not-equipment-damaging cut to my groin where it hit the handlebar stem). Oh, the bike is mostly okay, the front tire deflated and I think that’s about it, I’m fixing her up this weekend with a friend. With suspension, I’d have had a better chance of making it across. I wonder how the heck they ever did the Paris-Roubaix without suspension! (For non-cyclists: The P-R is a 273km cycling race in France with about two dozen stretches of very rough cobblestone of varying ugliness. Generally considered the most difficult single-stage road race in the world.)

yes, front suspension seems like all you’ll need. This is what I have, and does just fine for sidewalks and the occasional dirt trail. The rear suspension is for the more wild-style riders who do mostly downhill stuff (jumps, logs, riding off rocks) - you know, the type who don’t mind fracturing their collar bones as long as they get a good rush. Chances are you’d probly have to do this kind of riding before you’d notice any advantage in the rear suspension; it’s basically to keep the frame from being busted apart when you high-center yourself on a stump or to keep your spine from doing the same. My friend just spent about $1500 on a new frame alone; parts are extra. My bike came from Costco and cost about one-tenth that.

      • Suspended bikes are more comfortable than not. Suspended bikes tend to be heavier than those not, and also somewhat less efficient, but if you’re not training for the Olympics you’ll probably never miss the difference. Cheap(er) suspension bikes used to be dreadfully heavy, but that’s no longer the case.
  • Buy from a real bike shop, and not a department store. Getting replacement parts for department-store suspension bikes can be a tremendous hassle.
  • You didn’t give your weight, but make sure the bike can easily support your weight. When you sit on the bike, the suspension on both ends should only compress a small bit.
  • Tires: get smooth tires. There’s expensive ones in bike shops, but Wal-Mart carried a generic one for a long time priced at about eight dollars. Using knobby tires on pavement or smooth trails wastes far more of your effort than the rear suspension will.
  • Shocks: get one that uses urethane bumpers, if you can. These are considered “less than ideal” for competition but you don’t care. Air/oil shocks will leak, springs will break and sag, but urethane bumpers just keep on bumpin’. - MC

I cycle around London a lot. For the last 6 months or so, I’ve been riding a bike with suspension. The other day I borrowed a friends suspension free bike. I found the experience deeply unpleasant. Personally I wouldn’t go back to life pre-suspension.It’s just too hard on your ass.