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  1. #1
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    The Big Question!

    Rigid vs Suspension?

    Im sure this has been posted loads of times but would welcome peoples views, experience. I have a Kona Unit '13, which is great fun, run a big fat Ardent up front and on smooth singletrack it's great - I really enjoy it. However, as soon as you point the nose down and it gets rough - I feel i on hold on for dear life and am pleased i get to the bottom in one piece and with all my fillings - I just don't get the same enjoyment out of it (I have a full susser as well, which is a blast and my summer/dry bike). Going into autumn/winter here in NZ, i want to get more out of the bike, hence considering suspension or maybe it's the rider :-) ?

    Question is, what are there any trade offs with getting suspension on a single speed, don't want shell out a fair bit of money on a decent fork only to regret it. Was considering 100mm, would suit the trails here and wouldn't change the geo too much.

    Cheers
    Last edited by Bart_74; 02-13-2014 at 01:41 AM.

  2. #2
    1*14*29*2.1 & 1*1*29*2.4
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    I've gone from front sus to rigid....for me although the sus fork is definitely more comfortable, it's heavier and way more flexy. Going rigid allowed me to have more fun on technical sections and corners. I only miss it like you say when going fast over lumpy stuff. It may depend on the sus fork...I have an older reba....get the stiffest one you can find and maybe you'll be fine. Sounds lie you may like it if you are not enjoying the rigid fork at times. With lockout or something similar you shouldn't get too much bob on climbs.

    Oh hang on...you have a full sus so you'd be up on this already. I don't think in terms of SS alone it makes a big difference. The only thing I can think of is the bobbing on standing climbs but lockout fixes that.... mostly.

  3. #3
    cowbell
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    Well, when you say you hold on for dear life, it makes me think you tighten your grip. If you're holding on to a rigid real tight, it's going to start to suck. Stay loose. I personally don't find the idea of a suspension fork on a SS that attractive. Part of the fun for me is figuring out how to ride things on a rigid bike that make people think I'm even crazier than they did when they sorted out I was on a single speed to start with. Plus, when you add suspension, you take away some of the instant response you get when you ask for something. It makes the bike softer - which is what you intend, but in a way, that takes away an element of the fun for me.

  4. #4
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    Hopefully the OP has read through "Why Ride Rigid" here ...Why Ride Rigid?.

    Lots of great info / opinions in there.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  5. #5
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    I went from suspension to a carbon rigid fork. There's really not a lot of difference in comfort. There's a different way to ride. I prefer the rigid by a large margin.

  6. #6
    Souperbad
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    Read the book Mountain Bike! by William (not Bill) Nealy published in 1992 by Menasha Ridge Press. It's full of great tips & the illustration work is fantastic. Being written when most bikes were suspension free it's basically a manual for riding rigid plus it's a damn good book. Some of the multi-finger tips on braking will not be applicable with today's disc brakes, other than that it should be an invaluable riding manual for most.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmcneace View Post
    Read the book Mountain Bike! by William (not Bill) Nealy published in 1992 by Menasha Ridge Press. It's full of great tips & the illustration work is fantastic. Being written when most bikes were suspension free it's basically a manual for riding rigid plus it's a damn good book. Some of the multi-finger tips on braking will not be applicable with today's disc brakes, other than that it should be an invaluable riding manual for most.
    I used to read his books about whitewater paddling AND mountain biking. Gonna check the book shelf in the basement but pretty sure I don't have them anymore. Expertly written and illustrated, an individual who's life ended far too soon.

    SPP
    Rigid.

  8. #8
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    I have the book and it's a great read. Didn't realize the author passed away though. Sad.

  9. #9
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    I think the solution here is to ride the appropriate bike for how you want to ride. If you want to charge through rocky gnarly descents, ride your FS rig. if you want the challenge of riding rigid on tech trails, bust out the rigid. Why have a quiver of bikes if you aren't going to use them when they are clearly called for? There are FS singlespeed frames out there if the gears on your FS rig turn you off.
    "...when I stand to climb I'm like the Hulk rowing the USS Badass up the Kickass River."
    -michaelscott

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    I went from suspension to a carbon rigid fork. There's really not a lot of difference in comfort.
    Huh? I have been riding and racing rigid SS for 7 years. But I also have a training bike with suspension and gears, and there is a huge difference in comfort. You just need to push yourself to where that will become obvious.

    This year I am using suspension (with lockout) on the SS for the first time. I may not be faster, but in the 8 hour solo races I will definitely be much more comfortable.
    My rides:
    Lynskey Ti Pro29 SL singlespeed
    KHS Team 29
    S-Works Roubaix SL3 Dura Ace
    Pake French 75 track

  11. #11
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    Nah...maybe I'm just tougher...

    Seriously though...I don't find the comfort any less on my rigid but I am going from an aluminum frame suspension fork bike to a steel frame carbon rigid fork...so perhaps steel and carbon is the magic combo. It has enough plush front and back that it really soaks up all the bumps where I ride.

  12. #12
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    I recently acquired a giant pile of old Dirt Rag magazines, dating all the way back to Issue 1! it's funny to read through these and see Rock Shox appearing on the scene and hearing people debate about it. At that time, many people had to be convinced that suspension was a good idea and many people seemed to think it was a stupid fad. hilarious.

    I have nothing new to add, this topic has been discussed to death.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for your feedback/comments - seems the consensus is to percivere with the rigid, change my riding style and slow down a bit! Will see how it goes and maybe explore the carbon option if I still can't get my head around it.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart_74 View Post
    run a big fat Ardent up front
    At what pressure? Just a few pounds lower can really make a big difference in comfort. I run 18 up front ( I weigh 220#) on my rigid xxix. Are you running tubeless? That along with the suggestion about loosening up your grip a bit, will really help.

  15. #15
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    The Big Question!

    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    At what pressure? Just a few pounds lower can really make a big difference in comfort. I run 18 up front ( I weigh 220#) on my rigid xxix. Are you running tubeless? That along with the suggestion about loosening up your grip a bit, will really help.
    About the same, although I'm about 175 - yep run tubeless, lower than 15psi and the steering gets a little squishy (not sure that's the technical term?) will drop it bit more and see how it fares. Thanks

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bart_74 View Post
    Thanks for your feedback/comments - seems the consensus is to percivere with the rigid, change my riding style and slow down a bit! Will see how it goes and maybe explore the carbon option if I still can't get my head around it.
    Persevere with the rigid, but don't slow down! Aim for the haggard lines full speed and hope for the best!

    Seriously though, I switch back and forth from a rigid and my Reba, and suspended I'm definitely a slight bit quicker on the downhills. Not enough so to put it back on just yet, it's not better or worse, just different.

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