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  1. #1
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    Anyone Commute with Suspension Fork?

    My old commuter was getting thrashed, it needed one of everything kinda situation. I traded it to a work buddy for a 6 pack because he needed a bike and built up a new commuter. It was my old mountain bike, brand new 3x8 drivetrain with mechanical disks and a dart 2 suspension fork.

    Man do I love the squishy front end, soaks up bad roads, even minor potholes. I am glad to trade the weight for more comfort, (I was having some hand/wrist pain with a solid front end from my old commuter)

    Anyone else commute with a suspension fork?

    Edit: My old commuter was an older Gary Fisher Tarpon (entry level mountain bike) with a super crappy rst fork that was completely locked up solid

  2. #2
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    One of my commuters is a hardtail, but I usually ride with the lockout on. I tend to run biggish 2.4 tires below 25psi though, and they soak up a fair bit on their own.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    One of my commuters is a hardtail, but I usually ride with the lockout on. I tend to run biggish 2.4 tires below 25psi though, and they soak up a fair bit on their own.
    Ahh good point, I am running some skinny 1.75s at 50psi. The fork is definitely doing the work

  4. #4
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    Hardtail here, as well. I don't set lockout, but run mostly firm with the dampening. 2.1's do a great job of removing harshness, even when pumped to 65, compared to road bike width tires. Can't beat a larger contact patch for smoothing out pitted surfaces.
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  5. #5
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    I have been running the suspension fork, and really appreciated it this spring with the terrible road conditions. In winter and other bad weather I lock it out to reduce the amount of crud gumming up the works.

  6. #6
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    I used to. Last year I rode 2000+ road miles on a mountain bike (mostly commuting miles.) Then this year I bought a road bike and have been commuting on that. I finally got back on the mountain bike for the first time the other week and whoa! That was like driving a big ol' Cadillac.

  7. #7
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    Nope, I can't stand the vague wishy-washy front end.

    I don't use suspension for riding the trails either.
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  8. #8
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    I don't like the lack of efficiency of commuting with a suspension fork. Whenever I ride my mountain bike on pavement, I don't like it at all. I'd much rather be on my commuter or road bike. I have a pretty rough commute as far as pot holes go since I live in New England, but I still wouldn't take suspension. I use 32mm tires and will probably go up to 35 or 38mm when I need new tires, but even riding something like Big Apples would make the ride plenty smooth IMO.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy View Post
    My old commuter was getting thrashed, it needed one of everything kinda situation. I traded it to a work buddy for a 6 pack because he needed a bike and built up a new commuter. It was my old mountain bike, brand new 3x8 drivetrain with mechanical disks and a dart 2 suspension fork.

    Man do I love the squishy front end, soaks up bad roads, even minor potholes. I am glad to trade the weight for more comfort, (I was having some hand/wrist pain with a solid front end from my old commuter)

    Anyone else commute with a suspension fork?

    Edit: My old commuter was an older Gary Fisher Tarpon (entry level mountain bike) with a super crappy rst fork that was completely locked up solid
    Yup since 2005...there is of course some lose with suspension. The lose can be mitigated with very smooth pedalling technique.

    It also provides a smooth ride on the days that is what you really want.

    Always fun to blow by a roadie with the full gear on knobbies and an FS.

    BTW I ride 38mm front slick and a 32 mm rear slick for commutes.

  10. #10
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    I'm with Straz. I hate riding my mountain bike on pavement. It just feels so inefficient and slow compared to my commuter or road bike. But I use my commute time as my training rides since I don't have time to go out and ride when I get home. I average between 18 and 19.5 mph on my 14 mile commute each day. The knobbies and suspension of my mountain bike would drive me crazy, even with the potholes of Cleveland.

  11. #11
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    Nope. I rely on larger 700c wheels and 28c tires to smooth out the nasty bits. A lot of it has to do with how you ride the rough bits.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by spazzy View Post
    Ahh good point, I am running some skinny 1.75s at 50psi. The fork is definitely doing the work
    You're thinking too much from a mountain bike perspective. 1.75" (45mm) is very wide for pavement. A road bike typically comes with 23mm tires, which is .9" at 90-110PSI. We all have our own opinions about how smooth we want our ride, but you certainly aren't running skinny tires. I would consider the ride on a bike with 45mm tires to be luxurious! Even without suspension!

  13. #13
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    I like riding my mountain bike for commutes. It's the only one I've got, so I have to. I'm riding an rigid aluminum hardtail upgraded with a Krampus fork, though. The tires are a big difference. For me the 2.2 Mountain King and 2.0 Race King tires feel super inefficient on pavement, but they really smooth out the pot holes and bumps once I get into town for work. It takes lots of work, but I can do 18mph average or more if I really need. My 38mm "skinnies" are junk (they were probably ok 6 years ago) and make every bump feel awful. I'm sure I could get skinnier tires that feel better on the road.

    Whatever you want to ride, get good tires. A good set of tires will make you love life. A bad set of tires will make you a miserable wretch. And really, whatever you ride, at least you're riding.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Whatever you want to ride, get good tires. A good set of tires will make you love life. A bad set of tires will make you a miserable wretch. And really, whatever you ride, at least you're riding.
    Not only this, but also get the RIGHT tires for the conditions. Knobbies are not even for hard pack dirt, let alone streets. If you are going to commute on an XC frame, get smooth, low tread height tires. The right tires eliminate handling and vibrations issues. I feel more confident on my F5 than I ever did on my road race frame because these tires put a lot of rubber to the road in the curves, and the tiny pieces of loose tar that would send me sliding through a turn are hardly noticed. I can concentrate on enjoying the ride instead of hawking the road debris. I thought I'd ride my Nevegals until I picked up some tires for the road, and noped out of that in less than 1/8 mile.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85 View Post
    You're thinking too much from a mountain bike perspective.
    MTBR sacrilege!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbxplorer View Post
    MTBR sacrilege!
    Haha! I just mean thinking of the relative width of the tires. When the OP said "I am running some skinny 1.75s at 50psi. The fork is definitely doing the work" it gave me the impression he thought his tires were particularly skinny or high pressure.

  17. #17
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    I have the opposite problem, mountain bike challenged as I am.

  18. #18
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    We have good fast roads here so I just use a Soma Double cross for the 13Km commute. 700x23c GP4000s at 100psi, 52/39 and 11/23 cassette I can do it in under half an hour, even with all the traffic lights, and pretty much travel at a similar speed to the cars at rush hours, it also gives the added advantage of a bit of drafting, free energy is always a good thing.

    I have done it on knobblies before and it seemed like serious hard work. It is not in anyway more comfortable even on a full suspension bike; the vibration on road along with the relatively high rolling resistance makes for an altogether unpleasant and uncomfortable commute plus it takes almost double the time.

    I agree with all who have said that tire choice makes more difference than suspension or not.

  19. #19
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    Here's my steed in full commute mode:

    Anyone Commute with Suspension Fork?-2014-07-02_07.14.15.jpg

    If you can't see in the image above, the following image reveals the complete lack of any knobs on the tires:

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    Super soft compound knobby tires will always be a bear on the street, can't stress enough that a decent street tire will transform any CX/XC bike into a very capable road bike. You won't win a the TDF (except maybe some of the cobblestone stages , but CX/XC bikes are far from sloppy, loose or soft, and FS are like the old softride frames (if no rear lockout). I'd draw the line at a long sus DH bike, because it's a LOT of extra weight and an expensive bike to commute on.

    For efficiency close to a road bike, there are a number of thin carcass tires in 1.00-1.50 sizes that handle 75+ psi. Coupled with light tubes, they are efficient. Here's what I use for long street rides:

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    I keep up with my 200lb buds on centuries with these, at 350 Lbs. Can't say any part of the bike or components have any inefficiencies or sloppiness that makes a difference. At times I'll soften the preload and reduce dampening to work on smoothing out my stroke.
    I will suffer no butt-hurt fools!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Straz85 View Post
    Haha! I just mean thinking of the relative width of the tires. When the OP said "I am running some skinny 1.75s at 50psi. The fork is definitely doing the work" it gave me the impression he thought his tires were particularly skinny or high pressure.
    For the width of the rim they are pretty skinny, the wheelset is from an older mountain bike build and the rim is probably more suited to the 2.4s I was riding on dirt and more than double the psi.

    I am new to having a semi nice commuter to ride on, in college I had little money and rode whatever old knobbies I had laying round so having specialized road tires are new to me

  21. #21
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    Where I live the roads smooth, so a suspension fork helps lessen tension I have on neck and shoulders. For me its worth the extra weight and cost to have it. You can still get full fenders an a front rack if you get a fork with the right standoffs.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flamingtaco View Post
    Here's my steed in full commute mode:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The double-decker racks are a nice touch, I've never seen that before.

  23. #23
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    Yup, how else do you commute on dirt to get home?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Yup, how else do you commute on dirt to get home?
    Plenty of people mountain bike with rigid bikes. I have taken my CX bike mountain biking a handful of times. It's fun.

  25. #25
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    The suspension forks absorb a lot of the gravel pits in the road to me. The 2.1 tires are mainly to help with my 250+lbs rear end. I never lockout the forks during my commute.

  26. #26
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    I only have one bike, a 1x9 alum hard tail. Today was the 1st time in mod I had to unlock the fork- and it was more out of comfort than necessity. It's nice to have the option, but if I had permission to get a 2nd bike for commuting, it def wouldnt be a hard tail.

  27. #27
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    I think riding a mountain bike on the road is retarded. I suspect likely the only reason you convince yourself you like it, is because you have not have tried a dedicated road, cyclocross or touring bike. A modern road like bike with a carbon fork is a pretty damn comfortable ride. I used to ride a low-end Trek 6000 even on the road for the longest, but I finally got a 1996 Waterford Road bike used:


    In my situation, I bought the mountain bike when I wanted to try to get back into bike riding and was unemployed. Eventually I learned I loved it, got a job and more pay. Started demoing alot of bikes at demos hosted at local bike stores/parks by Sram/Trek/Cannondale. Eventually I had no desire to ride a dedicated mountain bike on the road and rarely took rides, because the comparison with the experiences of the demos and because I now had enough money that I didn't have to limit myself to using one hard-tail mountain bike for every possible ride.

  28. #28
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    I think you should commute whenever possible, if you have or want a mountain bike to commute on then that's reason enough. I've racked up lots of miles in 30+ years of commuting and I have two mtbs (a Fisher Paragon and a Salsa Fargo). The Fisher wears 2.2" Saguaros year round and get's me to work (about 18 miles of gravel road/limestone trail/pavement) just fine. If I'm climbing I'll lock out the fork, but otherwise I ride pretty smoothly. The Fargo normally wears cross tires and fenders in the summer (use it for generally less technicial/longer rides) and Conti's with Fenders in the winter. I've owned one of almost everything ranging from an '82 Colnago Record Mexico (back in '82) to a Fuji CX to a Lemond Buenos Aires and as much as I miss those bikes I'm too dumbtarded to own a dedicated road or cross bike. I live on a gravel road and am considering a Surly ECR though I suspect it will make me dumber than I already am

  29. #29
    NDD
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    Forster, I used to want a Krampus until I saw an ECR. That's the bike dreams are made of.

    I have used a mountain bike for commuting for almost a year. I put close to 2000 miles on it with 4/5ths of that with 38mm hybrid tires. It worked supremely well and was comfortable. Even commuting with 2.2/2.0 trail tires doesn't suck. You waste a bit of effort. I won't deny that, but in all honesty if you accept that and either push harder or roll slower the cushy-ness is worth it. In reality it works like this: at least you're riding a bike. I think the only bike I wouldn't do my 22-25 mike commute to and from work or school on would probably be a bmx bike. I'd even try that for ****'s sake.

    My "new" 1977 Schwinn road bike weighs about 26 pounds, so it's about 2.5 pounds lighter than my MTB. But I know it's probably more aerodynamic and has less rolling resistance and blah. But that's whatever. More than anything it's unquantifiabley fun. All steel, and comfy cozy. I dig that bike, too but that doesn't mean the MTB is no fun to ride any time. They're both fun, but I know which one is more versatile overall for when I'm in a "eh****ittimeforshenannigans" mood.

  30. #30
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    Anyone Commute with Suspension Fork?

    Yah on commute on a 2014 rocky mountain trail head 29er. 30 speed is great for hills up and down, easily adjusted fork for my weight, turn of the dial locks the fork for climbing. Continental 2.2" race kings are comfy, quick and stick bite ok in the dirt. They are rated for hard pack and pavement.

    Road bikes..... Meh not into the tight shorts.
    Fatbike, XC bike, Gravel Bike....

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Forster, I used to want a Krampus until I saw an ECR. That's the bike dreams are made of.

    I have used a mountain bike for commuting for almost a year. I put close to 2000 miles on it with 4/5ths of that with 38mm hybrid tires. It worked supremely well and was comfortable. Even commuting with 2.2/2.0 trail tires doesn't suck. You waste a bit of effort. I won't deny that, but in all honesty if you accept that and either push harder or roll slower the cushy-ness is worth it. In reality it works like this: at least you're riding a bike. I think the only bike I wouldn't do my 22-25 mike commute to and from work or school on would probably be a bmx bike. I'd even try that for ****'s sake.

    My "new" 1977 Schwinn road bike weighs about 26 pounds, so it's about 2.5 pounds lighter than my MTB. But I know it's probably more aerodynamic and has less rolling resistance and blah. But that's whatever. More than anything it's unquantifiabley fun. All steel, and comfy cozy. I dig that bike, too but that doesn't mean the MTB is no fun to ride any time. They're both fun, but I know which one is more versatile overall for when I'm in a "eh****ittimeforshenannigans" mood.
    I think the tire width correlation to commuting speed thing needs to be looked at as well. I've been alternating my Fargo (with Club Roost CX tires) and my Fisher Paragon (with 2.2 Saguaros - the cheap ones) and I'm consistantly 5 minutes faster on the Paragon. Part of my ride is gravel (5 miles of 18) and I'll have to see what happens when I throw the Conti 2.2s back on this fall (to ensure it's not the bike) but it's enough to convince me that other than pure road commutes, I'm loosing nothing with wider tires. On a related note, one of the Gravel Worlds racers I spoke to about the ECR is considering the ECR for his Worlds Bike next year (over a Trek CX bike). Again, it's an all gravel race, but 3" knards are not "slight" tires and the Worlds is a 153+ mile race.

  32. #32
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    I think the unavoidable conclusion is that if you like to commute with suspension do it. I don't like suspension for anything I do on a bike, even for the off road around here. Try everything at least one (disclaimer, I'm talking about bikes only right now).

    I'm going to sell all my bikes and get a razor scooter and bmx bike. I'll see you in the "anyone commute on a bmx bike?" Thread. Haters allowed.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    I think the unavoidable conclusion is that if you like to commute with suspension do it. I don't like suspension for anything I do on a bike, even for the off road around here. Try everything at least one (disclaimer, I'm talking about bikes only right now).

    I'm going to sell all my bikes and get a razor scooter and bmx bike. I'll see you in the "anyone commute on a bmx bike?" Thread. Haters allowed.
    You forgot the link. http://forums.mtbr.com/commuting/any...l#post11403045

  34. #34
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    I have two bikes

    One is a 1990 Norco Rigid MTB 7 speed BioPace....nice fast bike.

    I ride max once a year...and lend it to visitors etc.

    I ride a 2005 Element full suspension MTB

    Mountain or commute or road...

    I have two sets of wheels slicks and knobbies and a lockout front and rear...

    The FS is actually quite a bit lighter than the old steel ridgid.

  35. #35
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    OP checking in here, after 3+ months of 8 miles a day on a squishy fork I can say that I do like it better than the rigid I was riding. For me it is more comfortable. Another plus is that I am running disks so braking performance is enhanced in the wet and I am stoked for winter commutes on disks as well.

  36. #36
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    @spazzy:
    That is funny because to me being comfortable is not wasting potential extra-efficiency by riding a mountain bike on pavement when I don't have to, dealing with fork bob when I don't have to, having a tire with less rolling resistance rather than more.

    May I ask what kind of physical condition the people who actually purport to prefer mountain bikes on the road are in? Do you guys have arthritis, any back problems, are you overweight, etc.? I think this would explain alot.

  37. #37
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    Some people commute to get some exercise, some people prefer an upright riding position, some peoples commutes involve a mixture of pavement and offroad riding, some people prefer suspension. If I'm on the road I much prefer riding a road bike and getting up to decent speed but this the commuting board not the extra-efficiency Strava, KOM, segment comparison board. Most people couldn't give a hoot if they are wasting a bit of energy or going a few mph slower.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyFokker View Post
    @spazzy:
    That is funny because to me being comfortable is not wasting potential extra-efficiency by riding a mountain bike on pavement when I don't have to, dealing with fork bob when I don't have to, having a tire with less rolling resistance rather than more.

    May I ask what kind of physical condition the people who actually purport to prefer mountain bikes on the road are in? Do you guys have arthritis, any back problems, are you overweight, etc.? I think this would explain alot.
    Yes, that's it. I'm retarded, fat and have back problems and arthritis due to unemployment. (skipped back a few posts). You seem to confuse "to me" with "for you". I've been commuting for 30 years and I have sufficient endurance to ride 36 miles a day and stand all day. My Fargo is roadbike like and I'm riding a Century today on it. So feel free to speculate about what's wrong with me all you want.

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  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoyFokker View Post
    @spazzy:
    That is funny because to me being comfortable is not wasting potential extra-efficiency by riding a mountain bike on pavement when I don't have to, dealing with fork bob when I don't have to, having a tire with less rolling resistance rather than more.

    May I ask what kind of physical condition the people who actually purport to prefer mountain bikes on the road are in? Do you guys have arthritis, any back problems, are you overweight, etc.? I think this would explain alot.
    This whole project also started out because I had 75% of a mountain bike in my garage and me being a poor pharmacy school student I built up a reliable commuter for not a lot of money. The old mountain bike donor is equipped with a suspension fork and disks and was all I had laying around. My commute is mixed with some dirt sections, road and multi use trail so a suspension fork is comfortable to me.

    Honestly I don't notice much bobbing unless I am out of the seat hammering up a hill and I would gladly trade some inefficiency for a cushy ride and the ability to comfortably jump some stairs/curbs/trials moves (who doesn't like to have some fun on the commute?) I am running 1.75 x 26 semi slicks at 50 psi and they roll great.


    As far as physical condition, I am 26 years old, no underlying health conditions or arthritis, no back problems. I hit the gym, ride and play hockey. I am physically in the best shape of my life. My commute is between 4-5 miles depending on the route and I routinely average 15mph (even with waiting for the stoplights) and that is plenty fast for me.

    Edit: For me my commute is not getting from home-school/work as fast as I can. On the way in I am prepping myself for the day and on the way home I am letting go of all the stress and having fun riding my damn bike. Because of this efficiency isn't my top priority.

  41. #41
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    The OP IS HAPPY!!. who woulda thought? More power to you bud. Enjoy that squish

    If spazzy was miserable, then I'd be on a different boat. I'd say "try out a road bike". But that's not the case.

    As far as physical condition goes, I'm 22 years old 5'11" and 140 pounds. I'm basically a stick figure with thicker legs. But I think I lost about two DIU's and 150 pounds two weeks ago when I got my road bike. Must be it. In the winter, when it's snowy or icy and I'm commuting on the MTB again I'll gain the weight and lose my license again. I'll also put bar ends on my handle bars pointing straight up and never clean my drive train. I'll also quit my job, so I'll only pay on these commuting forums when I make liquor store trips... So every day.

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