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Basics of Bike Suspension

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Bike Suspension

On bumpy, rooty highways or singletrack, bike suspension improves control, traction, and comfort. It is just one of many elements that go into how much fun you have while riding.For anyone looking to buy a new bike or considering an update, this article explains the fundamentals of bike suspension. We then provide a more thorough explanation of how suspension functions.

Full Suspension or Hardtail?

If a bicycle (often a mountain bike) has suspension, it usually contains one or two shock absorbers that compress and rebound to lessen the force of uneven terrain. the purchase of a new mountain bike? You must decide between bicycles with full (front and rear) suspension or “hardtails,” which have only the front suspension. Here are some comparisons:

Full Suspension

Upfront cost: Higher

Maintenance cost: Higher

Weight: A bit heavier

Trail suitability: Rougher trails with roots, rocks and drops

Best for: Hard rides on rough trails;

riders with back or joint issues; rough, high-speed descents

Hardtail

Upfront cost: Lower

Maintenance cost: Lower

Weight: A bit lighter

Trail suitability: Doubletrack, smoother singletrack, pavement, fire roads

Best for: All-purpose use (trail and pavement); efficient hill climbing; relatively smooth trails

Notably, suspension components are not produced by bicycle manufacturers. Instead, they outfit their bikes with suspension components from well-known manufacturers like Fox, RockShox, Marzocchi, Manitou, DT Swiss, SR Suntour, and X-Fusion.

Upgrading Your Suspension

  1. In order to replace your front suspension if it is no longer repairable due to wear or damage, you must be aware of the following 4 specifications:
  2. Does your front wheel have a standard 9mm quick-release for axles? Or about a 20mm or 15mm thru axle? Select the appropriate wheel’s axle dropout size.
  3. Travel: A suspension fork with a certain amount of travel is required by many bike frames. The bike’s handling characteristics will differ depending on the amount of travel. A mountain bike from the past can have an 80mm fork, which is difficult to get today. A 100mm fork might work as a replacement, but a 120mm fork will likely dramatically change the bike’s geometry and make it less safe to handle.Some totally rigid bikes also have the appropriate frame geometry angle so that you can switch to a suspension fork. Always ask your bike’s manufacturer for advice on replacement forks.
  4. a steering tube A typical steerer tube has a straight, 1-1/8″ diameter (see the components diagram below). The steerer tube on very ancient bikes might be 1″ in diameter, while the tube on more modern bikes might be tapered or larger. Ensure that the steerer tube in your new fork is compatible.
  5. Disc brakes are now a common feature of mountain bikes with full suspension Your options will be restricted to certain fairly basic suspension versions if you need to replace a fork with rim brake attachments unless you also change your wheel and brakes. 

Paying for Performance

Purchase a new bicycle? The quality of the suspension significantly affects the cost. Replace the fork you currently have? There are numerous choices and prices. What follows may be worth spending extra on:

Less weight: Changing from a coil spring to an air spring is the main way to do this.

Additional adjustments: You may fine-tune your suspension to suit your weight, riding style, and terrain by adjusting the compression and rebound. You may adapt to shorter travel for hills and less difficult paths thanks to this “adjustable travel”. A lockout feature is frequently featured, and an upgrade for the lockout is a handlebar-mounted remote control of bike suspension.

Build quality: With regular maintenance and repair, high-end models can last longer because of their superior technological design and construction. Look for a suspension system that responds quickly and provides a comfortable ride. Why would you know? Comparing prices is a fairly accurate indicator. A more costly fork will provide a better experience than a less expensive one. 

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Front Suspension Explained

  • Front suspension is a feature that almost all mountain bikes have, as well as certain hybrid, “comfort,” and children’s bikes. Differences: Adjustments can be made onsuspension mountain bikes to customise the riding experience. The kind of bump absorption, the distance it can travel, how robust it is, how it is applied, and the changes that may be made are all different. On hybrid and children’s bikes, suspension provides rudimentary functionality with little to no adjustment.

Types of Suspension

The “fork” is the most popular style of front suspension. The front wheel is attached to the head tube of the frame by two struts. One exception is the exclusive “Lefty” single strut suspension system from Cannondale. The Lefty frequently draws glances of scepticism and disbelief, although it is a well-known and tested design.

Steerer tube: connects the fork to the frame.

The crown joins the two stanchions. Each stanchion slides in and out of the sliders; its internal components include an air or spring chamber, a damper rod, lubricant, and valves. Both sliders and lowers link to the front wheel at the bottom and to the brakes as well. Mounts for brakes: disc, rim, or both. To hold the wheel axle, use dropouts.

Travel

This is the distance that the suspension will travel before it is completely compressed. The suspension travel equals the resulting wheel travel since the front suspension is telescopic.

Suspension Maintenance

  • Any moving object requires routine maintenance, and suspension can move a lot
  • Our advice:
  • Prevent or lessen stanchions from getting scratched. The performance and lifespan of the suspension will be reduced if these are nicked by a rock or tool because the rough edge may tear up the dust seal and bushings as it glides through.
  • After each ride, wipe the stanchions off with a soft cloth and a light cleaning solution, flossing around the tube and all the way to the lowers’ top seal.
  • For information on any further routine maintenance that the owner can conduct, consult your owner’s manual. Some people advise applying a thin layer of lubricant to the dust seal at the top of the sliders.
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Advice: Performing a dismantle, inspection, and rebuild is typically not recommended for the average rider, especially given how complex modern suspension systems are. The lifespan of a suspension can be increased by having routine maintenance performed by a suspension specialist because suspension units are expensive to replace. If you ride frequently, you should maintain your suspension once a year or after 100 hours of riding. Your bike frame will last longer with regular maintenance. Additionally, whenever you encounter the following: a professional suspension service is strongly advised.

  • Onto the stanchions surrounding the top of the sliders, much oil dripped.
  • a spring-loaded mechanism that loses all air pressure and travel.
  • Between the bottom sliders and the stanchions, you can play or knock.
  • any exceptional breakdown or resistance to regular operation.