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  1. #1
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    Upset it's shocking how many forking people get these terms confused.

    Everyone, please. Forks and shocks are both pieces of suspension.

    A fork is always on the front of your bike because it is a suspension component connected with legs --or one leg, for a Lefty-- to a wheel. It looks like a fork, again except for a Lefty. The wheel is directly mounted to the fork.

    A shock is a device that connects the frame to a wheel via one or more linkages, and the linkages attach to the frame. This is true for the rear of a bicycle or for your car. The wheel is not directly mounted to a shock.

    Saying a rear shock or front fork is not only unnecessary, it's stupid. On a normal bicycle, there is one shock and one fork, and they are located in the rear and in the front of the bicycle, respectively.

    Calling a fork a shock, or a shock a fork, is also incorrect. Both forks and shocks contain springs, which may be of a variety of materials/types*, and usually but not always a damper. The spring carries the weight of the rider and bicycle. The damper, if present, absorbs energy from the spring so that its natural oscillation (movement up and down) is slowed, or damped. This is a very desirable feature for suspension but not technically required.

    *Springs may be elastomers, air, coiled metal, or leaf / arched metal.


    PLEASE use the correct terminology and encourage others to do so.

  2. #2
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    time to take a deep breath and step away from the internet

  3. #3
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    Yes, yes, yes. You are gonna get flamed for this, as many people no longer see the need to explain things with proper terminology. Or take the time to learn a bit on their own. Those are usually the same people asking me to diagnose their broken bikes.

  4. #4
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    In these situations I like to remind people that the purpose of language is communication. If you are not using the correct terminology, you will fail to effectively communicate your problem, question, complaint, or whatever. Please try to use the proper terminology and try not get defensive if someone corrects you. They are trying to help you.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scotth72 View Post
    many people no longer see the need to explain things with proper terminology.
    shock and fork is pretty easy if people just take one moment to think, "which one of these looks like a (two-tined pickle) fork?"

    my favorite example of this, though, was when a friend was trying to reassemble something on his car that he shouldn't have attempted to fix in the first place. he was confused about "how this bolt attached through this thing into the other bolt."

    that's right, a bolt is a bolt, and a nut is also a bolt.

  6. #6
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    This really bothers you this much?
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTSession View Post
    This really bothers you this much?
    I typed the first post in one shot, no edits, in 5 minutes. So, yes, it does bother me enough to spend 5 minutes. Obviously many people already know this, but I'm hoping that they will help others use the right terminology. It wasn't just a rant, I was foolishly hoping to see less talk of 'front shocks' and the like.

  8. #8
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    Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Explain this one to me then...

    it's shocking how many forking people get these terms confused.-p4pb10115912.jpg
    The cake is a lie.

  9. #9
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    A Lefty is not a fork, it's a strut.

    A shock consists of a spring and a damper. A fork is usually a shock, except for if it's only a spring. A rear shock is not a fork.

    Thank you for playing this week's edition of "technical correct".
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  10. #10
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    This reminds me of Shiggy getting his panties in a bunch from the miss-use of the terms "thru-axle" and "thru-bolt".

  11. #11
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    ^^ New Turner design??? ^^
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  12. #12
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    Re: it's shocking how many forking people get these terms confused.

    This has been discussed before but the one that irks me is "fully rigid". Wtf is fully rigid? If it isn't rigid it is either a hard tail, soft tail or full suspension. No need to put "fully" in front of rigid.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in southwest Utah

  13. #13
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    The content of this thread is hereby rejected.

  14. #14
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    Fully rigid is a saying used by the people that ride them to make themselves sound cooler/more awesome/better/more manly than the rest of us mere mortals. Here it is in practice:

    "What, you need full suspension for that? I just rode the shit outta that rock garden on my fully rigid bike!"

    Just because I can, doesn't mean I want to.

    Now just to mess with Colin, I'm going to change out the oil on my front spring tonight.
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  15. #15
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    What about straight blade forks?

    Curved ridged forks may provide minimal suspension but for most people front suspension means a suspension fork (e.g. Rock Shox). Before mechanical suspension became common a frame had a rear triangle, a main triangle, and a fork. When suspension came along it became necessary to differentiate the two by referring to them as either a fork, or suspension fork, so to me saying a bike has a fork does not mean it has front suspension.

    Front suspension/ rear suspension makes more sense to me.

  16. #16
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    I'm pretty sure there's a government agency involved in this nomenclature (from two different Latin names, both of which mean "name"...or, name name)...."Fully rigid", "front fork", "rear shock" are all generated by the folks at "The department of redundancy department".

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Explain this one to me then...
    Austrians, no further explanation is needed.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Explain this one to me then...

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	p4pb10115912.jpg 
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    I specifically said on a normal bike, fully expecting awesome pics like this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    A Lefty is not a fork, it's a strut.
    Yes it is. But I think we're all ok calling a Lefty a fork.

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Front suspension/ rear suspension makes more sense to me.
    I am 100% fine with front / rear suspension. That works just fine and is technically correct.

    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    "Fully rigid", "front fork", "rear shock" are all generated by the folks at "The department of redundancy department".
    No doubt.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post

    Yes it is. But I think we're all ok calling a Lefty a fork.

    Ok, now you will have to better define when technically incorrect terminology is ok, and when its not.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by reformed roadie View Post
    This reminds me of Shiggy getting his panties in a bunch from the miss-use of the terms "thru-axle" and "thru-bolt".
    Just try to use that through bolt skewer in your through axle frame or fork.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    A Lefty is not a fork, it's a strut.

    A shock consists of a spring and a damper. A fork is usually a shock, except for if it's only a spring. A rear shock is not a fork.

    Thank you for playing this week's edition of "technical correct".
    But a fork can also be rigid. Irks me when somebody says "I want to put a fork on my bike" when they really want a suspension fork.

    Be clear. Without a fork--rigid or suspension--nothing connects the front wheel to the frame.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Ok, now you will have to better define when technically incorrect terminology is ok, and when its not.
    Cannondale calls it a fork. That's good enough for me, how about you?

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    Cannondale calls it a fork. That's good enough for me, how about you?
    Sorry, but rules are rules.

  24. #24
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    If someone does not take the time to understand the terminology, they wont be able to understand what I'm telling them is wrong with their 'thing', and I wont explain it in laymen terms. If I have to explain a word into a definition, or a defining conversation, I'm going to charge more.
    I drive more when the streets need repairs! -'95 ZJ

  25. #25
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    is a rock shox a good front shock?

  26. #26
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    Way back in the 70's, when I was going through navy flight training, my marine flight instructor went ape-shit when I couldn't remember the name of the "castellated spindle nut" on the nose gear. (Of course, 40+ years later, I STILL know the name.) You're not that guy, are you?

  27. #27
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    When comparing the part of a bike [that connects the fornt wheel to the frame] to table utensils, a C-Dale Lefty is more of a knife than a fork.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silentfoe View Post
    This has been discussed before but the one that irks me is "fully rigid". Wtf is fully rigid? If it isn't rigid it is either a hard tail, soft tail or full suspension. No need to put "fully" in front of rigid.
    Just meet me at 6:00 am in the morning for a sunrise ride before work, and it will all be good.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by kubikeman View Post
    Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Explain this one to me then...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I am staying out of this conversation but what the hell is that?
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Way back in the 70's, when I was going through navy flight training, my marine flight instructor went ape-shit when I couldn't remember the name of the "castellated spindle nut" on the nose gear. (Of course, 40+ years later, I STILL know the name.) You're not that guy, are you?
    LOL. I'm 38, which isn't young, but I'm not that guy in either body or spirit. However, you might want to check with Shiggy...

  31. #31
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    2 forks? Hmmm...


  32. #32
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    kidding alert!!! kidding alert!!!

    My shock is located in the area that some call the front triangle. So, isn't really a front shock? Or, a mid shock 'cause it near the middle of the bike?
    - Be Someone

  33. #33
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    I prefer to be extra-precise. "shock" is misleading, since it would refer only to the damper, and not the spring.... so I use "air sprung, oil damped, linkage driven rear wheel suspension"

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vespasianus View Post
    I am staying out of this conversation but what the hell is that?
    Photo caption..."here's another look at the Scurra Hard Enduro bike. A 29" front wheel, 27.5" rear wheel and a unique front linkage system makes for one bizarre looking bike. The bike gets seven inches of travel front and rear, and the designers are currently looking for distributors and funding to bring the bike into production."
    The cake is a lie.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by net wurker View Post
    When comparing the part of a bike [that connects the fornt wheel to the frame] to table utensils, a C-Dale Lefty is more of a knife than a fork.
    I think we need to be careful and get far more specific. A table fork generally has three prongs and so it is highly misleading to compare it to a suspension fork. If we are talking suspension forks we need to refer to olive forks.

    Also a Cannondale Lefty should be referred to as a single chopstick.

    Just taking the time to use the correct terminology should avoid confusion.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiwi_GR_Biker View Post

    Also a Cannondale Lefty should be referred to as a single chopstick.
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  37. #37
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    How about we just accept that some people like to use the generic terms in vague manners, for the sake of avoiding the trouble of learning all the various technically accurate terms, and just determine the implication through context.

    On that note, are the 142x12 TA and 15 QR actually true thru axles, or are they more oversized skewers being put through the hubs' actual axles?
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  38. #38
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    "Front fork" kind of rolls of the tongue, although strictly it is not necessary to say "front" of course.

    Also people who know nothing about bikes are more likely to understand what you are talking about if you say "front fork" or "rear shock" as they won't know that is the only way round it can be. Apart from that bike in the picture!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy View Post
    Be clear. Without a fork--rigid or suspension--nothing connects the front wheel to the frame.
    Except a strut, like a lefty or the newer one-sided headshock models.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  40. #40
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    Evidently though, in Europe, when they sell forks, they only sell them two at a time, hence, "my pikes" (2), "I just got a pair of 888s" (4?), "a pair of boxxers" (4?) etc...What you do with the other fork, I'm not sure, but I guess having spare parts isn't bad...
    Last edited by Jayem; 09-27-2013 at 08:54 PM.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  41. #41
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    Technically it's not a shock, it's a "shock absorber". If you're gonna whine you should at least get it right.
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  42. #42
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    If my bike gets stuck on an electrical power line, will I get a shock from my fork?

  43. #43
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    I cannot wait for my new front fork and rear shock to come in. Stoked!!!!

  44. #44
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    This thread is about as useful as the 'Trail vs AM' threads.
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  45. #45
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    Why don't you make like a shock and get the FORK outta here.
    Let's make like a Bike and get the Huck outta here...

  46. #46
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    Funny. That's a good one. Is my front tire a shock absorber? Or a fork absorber?

  47. #47
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    Hey ColinL, what do you think of post #31? That is really funny. I really want to ride that bike for a Minute

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by aerius View Post
    2 forks? Hmmm...

    Wouldn't that actually be two rear shocks?

    What year was this bike built?
    I drive more when the streets need repairs! -'95 ZJ

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by hoolie View Post
    Hey ColinL, what do you think of post #31? That is really funny. I really want to ride that bike for a Minute
    Looks like it has 2 forks to me... Since an elastomer is suspension (albeit crappy), I guess softtail MTBs are in the same vein as a rear fork.

  50. #50
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    No mention of those that talk about the "forks" on their bike, as in "the Zokes on my bike are leaking" or "the forks on my bike need replacing"? This irks me at least as much as "front fork".

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