1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Bike Ninja
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    New question here. Do I need front suspension?

    I'm currently riding a good quality but older bike. As a result, it has no suspension. How much does a suspension fork help? I'm not riding anything extreme or doing jumps, but some of the dirt trails have a fair amount of erosion and ruts from all the rain. Is anyone else still riding without suspension, or is it just me? I don't want to buy a new fork if it won't add much, since I need all my $ for grad school.

  2. #2
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    There are still a ton of folks who ride successfully without suspension. Do you need it? No. Unless of course maybe your back is outta whack and suspension might enable you to ride more. You'll actually be a better rider over all riding without. When you do get suspension(if it's good) you'll notice you'll be able to ride longer and more stuff than you used to and it'll be less tiring, but if you're young you might not notice. :-)

  3. #3
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
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    I will agree to disagree with fred3, yes no suspension makes you a better rider. Front suspension will step it up a notch, full suspension will step it up alot. It wont hurt to give it a shot with a Rock Shox Judy. If you decide you dont like, haha, you can sell it.

    http://www.jensonusa.com/store/produ...x+Judy+06.aspx

  4. #4
    bi-winning
    Reputation: rkj__'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninja jessi
    I'm currently riding a good quality but older bike. As a result, it has no suspension. How much does a suspension fork help? I'm not riding anything extreme or doing jumps, but some of the dirt trails have a fair amount of erosion and ruts from all the rain. Is anyone else still riding without suspension, or is it just me? I don't want to buy a new fork if it won't add much, since I need all my $ for grad school.
    If you have an older bike, it may not be designed for a suspension fork. I have an older MTB in my garage, and if a suspension fork was added to it, the bike would be turned into a chopper. The front end would be raised a minimum of 3-4".

    On the other hand, there is a chance it could accept one... But i seem to doubt it.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  5. #5
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    if a suspension fork was added to it, the bike would be turned into a chopper.
    That is one major issue. The changed geometry might also strain the frame more.

    I occasianally take my rigid early 90s commuter "mountain bike" on easy trails. There the lack of suspension just makes the occasional roots and rocks a bit more obvious. Even fatter tyres migh make the ride more comfortable. I keep this bike away from rougher trails just to make sure I do not break the old (lightish) frame and fork.
    edit: and my other bike has way better brakes and everything else is sturdy enough that I am not likely to break anything on the trails.

  6. #6
    On MTBR hiatus :(
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    Also consider head tube diameter. Depending on the age of the "older" bike, it could have a 1" headtube. Marzocchi, White Brothers and RST were making forks to fit that, last I checked -- but they can be difficult to find and/or expensive.
    speedub.nate
    MTBR Hiatus UFN

  7. #7
    Witty Title.
    Reputation: nordeaster's Avatar
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    I would say first that suspension is far from "must have" however, I won't be going back to rigid anytime soon. Also, I'd say that I'd hesitate to add a front shock to anything older than a couple (2) years old, with concerns of stress to the frame (even if you're not going to be jumping anything). The last thing I'd add is that if you add a couple hundred dollars to the cost of a middle-of-the-road aftermarket fork, you get a pretty attractive trail-worth bike with a middle-of-the-road fork already designed into it. So unless you've got a real cool retro bike that this idea would be a step down from... it might be worth considering. A second idea is justifying the 'get a new bike budget' with "I'll commute on it" or "I'll convert the older bike to a commuter" might change things a little.
    --

    ~bc

    member, nemba.org

  8. #8
    Bike Ninja
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    Thanks for all the input. I've been looking at new bikes (I really, really want one) but I'm not sure if I can afford it right now on a grad student budget. I'll probably do nothing with my current bike and get a HT with discs in the fall.

  9. #9
    ride hard take risks
    Reputation: dogonfr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ninja jessi
    Thanks for all the input. I've been looking at new bikes (I really, really want one) but I'm not sure if I can afford it right now on a grad student budget. I'll probably do nothing with my current bike and get a HT with discs in the fall.
    http://www.ibexbikes.com/Bikes/ALP-650-Details.html

  10. #10
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    To answer this question, one only has to look as far as single speed bikes. Single speeds are really getting big right now due to their simplicity. There are many guys in my local club riding SSs and most of them are full ridig (ie. no suspension fork). These same guys also have full suspension geared bikes as well. I have a single speed with a suspension fork but the fork is setup as stiff as it can possibly be. Ridig forks allow for much better cornering and climbing but can be hard on the back when hitting big obstacles or riding off drops....that's why my SS still has suspension.

    Basically, stick with what you have until you can afford to upgrade. Then when you're ready, convert that full rigid to a single speed! It's like being a kid again....like a really big BMX bike.

  11. #11
    Bike Ninja
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    I was just looking at it yesterday... and it's really really tempting. In fact I can hear it calling my name

  12. #12
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    why change your setup

    and risk compatibility issues. when your tires need replacing, get some 2.3's (if they fit in your frame) and go higher volume with lower air pressure.

  13. #13
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by BundokBiker
    why change your setup
    ... when your tires need replacing, get some 2.3's (if they fit in your frame) and go higher volume with lower air pressure.
    I agree.
    If your bike is in good servicable condition AND you need to use your money sparingly, the smart thing is to use what you have. Big tires (when you need a replacement) can make a big difference in how a bike behaves. A set of tires does not have to cost all that much.

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