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  1. #1
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    How much efficiency is lost from suspension

    I like to ride my full suspension 29er on the road because, well I'm 50 years old now and appreciate the comfy ride, speed bumps, road reflectors, whatever I just go right over them while in the saddle.
    I keep the frame shock in the locked out position which doesn't lock it out entirely and while standing up and cranking doesn't work staying in the saddle seems to work great, but the other day I put my hand down on the shock piston as I was riding along on very a very flat road and I discovered the piston was actually moving in and out about 1/4-3/8" or so with each pedal stroke which got me to thinking how much energy is being lost here? This is energy that is not being transmitted to the pedaling propulsion. I'm trying to get my head around all this, would a seat post suspension be losing the same energy? Is a hardtail that much more efficient?

  2. #2
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    Hardtails can be more efficient, but there are full suspension rigs that are just as good. I wouldn't worry too much about it unless you're racing.
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  3. #3
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    Don't worry, the suspension more than pays back for any energy it absorbs through the energy you save once things get rough. I'd say the only time it clearly wastes energy without paying it back is when riding on smooth pavement, but then again, that's why suspension forks have lockouts. That's honestly the only time I use the lockout on my Fox fork. I use my RockShox lockout a bit more cause the bobbing on that fork can be excessive.

    If you want some basic scientific explanation, the spring stores energy while a damper absorbs it. The force that goes into a spring would return when it springs back. That return force may or may not be useful in a cycling application; who knows if the fork return force, while you make a downstroke on the pedals, can increase the force in that pedal stroke. The damper in the suspension absorbs energy, which may make it appear that less suspension movement occurs, but the amount of force going into the fork could be virtually the same. There's less return force, so if that actually was useful, you just got less of it since the damper absorbed it. That's just speaking for the pedal-induced bob, not including how it works on bumps.

    Regarding lock-outs and platforms like propedal, not having a full lock-out ensures that you still get good traction. A true lock-out totally negates any advantage of the FS, and leaves you with a heavy rigid bike that performs worse than an actual rigid bike of a similar weight. That and there's a risk of the suspension units failing, perhaps due to seals blowing out, if you take a big hit while it is locked out. A little movement is preferable over a full lock-out.

    Not too certain about suspension seatposts and how well they are designed. Worth a look though, if you're only looking for a little extra comfort on the road rather than traction and control on rough ground.
    Last edited by Varaxis; 11-25-2013 at 08:38 PM.

  4. #4
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    "Less Efficient" in power-in/power-out only? Of course. This post clearly mentions the suspension being over driven by cadence. Body position and altering pedal-rhythm can make full-squish be pleasant, rewarding, and efficient - but that in and of itself is the model of inefficiency to some and quite possibly yourself.
    Yes - it is the rigid location of the rear wheel for total power to the pedal -- any bike, any rider, anywhere. How satisfied you, the rider, is the only means of efficiency that should be of any concern.
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  5. #5
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    Any time a damped spring rebounds, some power is lost.

    I'd say you probably lose less power to your suspension than to increased rolling resistance from MTB tires and increased air resistance if your speed is somewhere in the teens or higher.
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  6. #6
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    There are lots of 50+ riders out there on skinny tired road bikes. I gotta wonder why you can't lift your butt out of the saddle to go over speed bumps and other small obstacles? Too lazy? Leg and back muscles too weak? Regardless, why are you riding your bike on the road? Exercise? Commuting? Racing? If it's for exercise or commuting, why do you care about efficiency?

    I'm giving you a hard time, but I just can't figure out why so many people are glued to their saddles. It really doesn't seem that hard to me to get off the saddle once in awhile.

  7. #7
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    I fine my road bike to be much more comfortable on the pavement than my mtn bike. The road bike is smooth and efficient. My mtn bike feels slow rough and poorly matched on the pavement. Simply put my tires create alot of vibration on the road where as the slicks on the road bike just glide along. The acceleration of the road bike compared to the mtn bike is very noticeable. The road bike leaps to speed with a combination of lighter weight and more efficient frame to put power down. Simply put the road bike does everything better on the road than the mtn bike. Then again it should.
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  8. #8
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    I do occasionally ride the road on my FS mtnbike and find a significant increase in tire pressure makes a world of difference. I have total lock-out front and rear and use it.

    Much prefer off-road oh....and I'm 52 .

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    There are lots of 50+ riders out there on skinny tired road bikes. I gotta wonder why you can't lift your butt out of the saddle to go over speed bumps and other small obstacles? Too lazy? Leg and back muscles too weak? Regardless, why are you riding your bike on the road? Exercise? Commuting? Racing? If it's for exercise or commuting, why do you care about efficiency?

    I'm giving you a hard time, but I just can't figure out why so many people are glued to their saddles. It really doesn't seem that hard to me to get off the saddle once in awhile.
    I am thinking about buying a hardtail because of that very reason. I love my RM element 950. The only thing I don't like is that standing up on the pedals while climbing feels very inefficient. Obviously I don't have a fork lock out, Maybe I should get that iso a hardtail. Slightly worried about a soar back.

    To get back on topic, yes I think a lot of energy gets wasted by the suspension(unless you have a lockout and even then a percentage won't make it to the rear tire).

    The same technology that makes your ride comfortable will also make it (much)less efficient.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    I like to ride my full suspension 29er on the road because, well I'm 50 years old now and appreciate the comfy ride, speed bumps, road reflectors, whatever I just go right over them while in the saddle.
    I keep the frame shock in the locked out position which doesn't lock it out entirely and while standing up and cranking doesn't work staying in the saddle seems to work great, but the other day I put my hand down on the shock piston as I was riding along on very a very flat road and I discovered the piston was actually moving in and out about 1/4-3/8" or so with each pedal stroke which got me to thinking how much energy is being lost here? This is energy that is not being transmitted to the pedaling propulsion. I'm trying to get my head around all this, would a seat post suspension be losing the same energy? Is a hardtail that much more efficient?
    yeah mine is about the same...I am guessing 10% loss in efficiency maybe 15%...

    Take it off the bike and just use your arms to mimic the compression you observe...

    Really concentrate on spinning circles to help reduce this....

    BTW even the hardest racing bike still has some loss....both in the frame and the tires...it all gets back to spinning circles.

  11. #11
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    A mountain bike is not designed for road use.
    Sure it will do it, l ride mine a fair bit on the road and it is OK. But it will never be a road racing bike.

    The compromises are made up for when you go off road of course, where no road bike would ever get to.

    Taking into account the 100mm + suspension travel on most MTB's, l think they do pretty well on the road.
    It will make you fitter, pushing those big tyres and suspension along the tarmac! That is how l look at it.

  12. #12
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    I've wondered the same thing a bit. After probably 10 years of not riding a HT on a trail even a single time, I had occasion to ride my old GT Avalanche HT on a long, fun trail this summer (loaned my 2 FS bikes to relatives who were in town and wanted to ride). I was curious to see what a difference it would make. My FS bikes (6" Enduro, 4.5" Jamis Dakar XLT) are not noted to be the most efficient pedalers out there, so I was kind of looking forward to the comparison.

    The only place I noted a definite increase in pedaling efficiency was standing out of the saddle -- you know, standing and making a few good strokes to pick up speed quickly for an upcoming obstacle or something. It reminded me almost of being on my road bike, and I could really feel the difference there. Extended climbing didn't seem much, if any, easier on the HT once I was seated and grinding away, but if I stood, there was a notable difference. Of course, when the trail started to head downward, I was really missing the Enduro. Overall, it was not even close enough to make me consider going to back to riding a HT, but it was interesting to compare.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    There are lots of 50+ riders out there on skinny tired road bikes. I gotta wonder why you can't lift your butt out of the saddle to go over speed bumps and other small obstacles? Too lazy? Leg and back muscles too weak? Regardless, why are you riding your bike on the road? Exercise? Commuting? Racing? If it's for exercise or commuting, why do you care about efficiency?

    I'm giving you a hard time, but I just can't figure out why so many people are glued to their saddles. It really doesn't seem that hard to me to get off the saddle once in awhile.
    Well the reason I don't want to lift my butt off the saddle is because I want to keep pedaling hard at the same cadence and when you stand up on the full suspension it starts bobbing up and down and it's all lost. And no, I'm not racing my full suspension mountain bike in road races. I'm riding for fun, exercise and adventure, if I'm more efficient I can travel further and see more things.
    When I was in my teens and 20's I rode my Raleigh Competition GS all over all the time and could ride it all day no problem, now at 50, not having ridden steady in many years with a bad hip and shoulder I can't even properly ride in the drop bars anymore, bumps in the road are now problematic when riding the road bike.
    Does that answer your questions?

  14. #14
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    If you ride rocky rooty bumpy stuff regularly, then suspension saves more energy than it wastes.

  15. #15
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    Here's my simplistic view of energy loss.

    If I put my shoulder against a brick wall and push I expend energy, even if the wall doesn't move. The same applies when I ride my rigid 29er: I push at various points and there's no suspension to move, but I still expend energy that's not making the wheels go around.

    When I ride a fs bike I also expend energy at various points that's not making the wheels go round, only in this case the suspension moves. But I don't see that this means I'm using more energy on making this happen than when I ride my rigid bike.

    Tim
    Last edited by Wombat; 11-26-2013 at 07:18 PM.

  16. #16
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    at least 3%.

    but its at least 4% more fun on the way down.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    Here's my simplistic view of energy loss.

    If I put my shoulder against a brick wall and push I expend energy, even if the wall doesn't move. The same applies when I ride my rigid 29er: I push at various points and there's no suspension to move, but I still expend energy that's not making the wheels go around.

    When I ride a fs bike I also expend energy at various points that's not making the wheels go round, only in this case the suspension moves. But I don't see that this means I'm using more energy on making this happen that when I ride my rigid bike.

    Tim
    All real systems have at least two types of response one is elastic the other viscous...

    An elastic response is like an ideal spring all the energy that goes in comes back out..

    A viscous response is like a damper none of the energy that goes in comes back out..

    With a hard tail the frame is more elastic... the tires are viscous...so it only loses a small amount of energy...

    With an FS the shock has a large viscous loss, and so do the tires so it as a relatively larger loss of energy.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    All real systems have at least two types of response one is elastic the other viscous...

    An elastic response is like an ideal spring all the energy that goes in comes back out..

    A viscous response is like a damper none of the energy that goes in comes back out..

    With a hard tail the frame is more elastic... the tires are viscous...so it only loses a small amount of energy...

    With an FS the shock has a large viscous loss, and so do the tires so it as a relatively larger loss of energy.
    I don't see how the tires should be bought into this other than to point out that not even a HT is perfectly efficient. You might as well throw in the air resistance - viscous - losses while we're at it. Or grease drag.

    The post you quoted did bring out the fact that not all suspension movement represents energy that otherwise would had resulted in propulsion.

  19. #19
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    I'm considering putting some 32's on this bike, it's a Gary Fisher Rumbefish, and make it a sort of hybrid bike. I'm gonna custom fit road bike fenders too, this will probably piss off some people!
    One other thing I notice comparing this bike to my old Cannondale 26er hardtail is climbing a steep hill seems to work better on the hardtail, the Full suspension starts bobbing and something to do with the geometry causes the front wheel to want to lift more.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    I'm considering putting some 32's on this bike, it's a Gary Fisher Rumbefish, and make it a sort of hybrid bike. I'm gonna custom fit road bike fenders too, this will probably piss off some people!
    .
    Make sure when you do this to put on a lot of lights on the bike and show us pictures.

    We love that around here!

  21. #21
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    For my riding style and the trails I ride, in a race setting, I feel like too much energy is lost by having a full suspension. My trails consist of very steep but very short climbs. I find im quickest up them while standing, hammering up them. That style tends to make the rear suspension bob much more than a seated spin.. So, personally, for races, its a hardtail.. for long training rides and for fun, its full suspension...

    for riding the road? I dont use a "mountain" bike at all
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    Here's my simplistic view of energy loss.

    If I put my shoulder against a brick wall and push I expend energy, even if the wall doesn't move. The same applies when I ride my rigid 29er: I push at various points and there's no suspension to move, but I still expend energy that's not making the wheels go around.

    When I ride a fs bike I also expend energy at various points that's not making the wheels go round, only in this case the suspension moves. But I don't see that this means I'm using more energy on making this happen than when I ride my rigid bike.

    Tim
    If you put energy into a system, it has to go somewhere. If you've ridden a few suspension designs, you've experienced pedal bob. On a rigid bike, those forces would be resolved some other way, usually as more power being fed into the drivetrain.

    To revisit your wall comparison, if you used the wall to stabilize yourself and pushed a heavy weight, you'd move it a little further than if the walk was padded. In the padded wall case, you'd sink into the wall some. It would cost you the same energy, but you wouldn't move the weight as far. When you relaxed, the wall would rebound. Some of the energy you put into it would be lost as heat due to hysteresis. That's what suspension does.

    I was surprised to find I'm faster on the Specialized Camber and the Kona Hei Hei than on my hardtail. I don't think those bikes are more energy efficient than my hardtail was. I think they let me pedal more and spend less energy controlling the bike. In other words, I may actually be spending more energy, and my shock is definitely throwing out some, but I'm sending more energy to the rear wheel.
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  23. #23
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    ^^ I don't think so. Perceived exercise=/=actual output.

  24. #24
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    ^^^
    I never said they were equal. I think the FS bike lets me work a little harder, lets me devote more of my work to pedaling instead of stabilizing the bike, and doesn't absorb enough additional energy over my hardtail to cancel out those advantages.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    ^^^
    I never said they were equal. I think the FS bike lets me work a little harder, lets me devote more of my work to pedaling instead of stabilizing the bike, and doesn't absorb enough additional energy over my hardtail to cancel out those advantages.
    I think you are faster on your FS because it is in fact more efficient.
    Every pebble your tire hits creates a force on the bike. Part of that force is in the horizontal direction opposing your forward momentum. Suspension, or tires, that can absorb that force, will preserve momentum, and increase your efficiency.

    I think it was Shwalbe that did a study that showed that lower air pressure tires had less rolling resistance on a rough surface. What is true on pavement is not true on dirt.

  26. #26
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    The rougher the going is the more a (good) suspension system will improve efficiency and thus increase speed. On a smooth road nothing is more efficient or faster than a non-suspended road bike.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bird View Post
    I do occasionally ride the road on my FS mtnbike and find a significant increase in tire pressure makes a world of difference. I have total lock-out front and rear and use it.

    Much prefer off-road oh....and I'm 52 .
    Agreed. A HT 29er with the fork locked out, 65 psi and semi slick tires is very enjoyable for road riding.

  28. #28
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    Thinking more about energy loss due to small rear shock movement, consider this:

    When the shock compresses, it is true that that represents energy that did not go into forward motion. But the shock is a spring, albeit a damped one. Damping is somewhat minimal since fast return is needed for good bike performance, but a little energy is lost in damping.

    But, the shock is a spring that returns energy, and some of that returned energy does get converted to forward motion!

    I picture it like this:
    The shock compresses, which causes the bottom bracket to drop a little while pedaling. But then the shock extends, causing the bottom bracket to move upward while the pedal stroke is moving downward, so the energy ends up being returned to the pedal stroke!

  29. #29
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    Continuing with my line of thought above, comparing energy loss on a hard tail vs full suspension is complex, and larger movement does not necessarily mean larger energy loss.

    For example consider a hardtail made of super flexy steel. When you pedal, you cause the bottom bracket to move laterally. That movement might be small in terms of displacement, but large in terms of energy required to move it.

    When the bottom bracket returns to its original position, most of the energy is in the lateral direction and so not useful for forward motion.

    Overall, a hard tail is more efficient on pavement, but I think that the difference is less than some people imagine, when we are talking about smooth constant pedaling. And those little shock compressions are less significant than they appear.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by 006_007 View Post
    at least 3%.

    but its at least 4% more fun on the way down.
    27% of statistics are completely fabricated out of thin air...


  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I don't see how the tires should be bought into this other than to point out that not even a HT is perfectly efficient.

    I include tires because they are part of the suspension and spinning in cycles will improve the efficiency of the the tire as well.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Thinking more about energy loss due to small rear shock movement, consider this:
    Well take the shock of the bike and squeeze it back and forth with your arms and hands about the same amount as it cycles on your bike....

    You will definately feel the work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    I include tires because they are part of the suspension and spinning in cycles will improve the efficiency of the the tire as well.
    And in what significant regard is that different on a hard tail? I know the tires are part of suspension but they're a given. So I don't include tires.

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    OP - I can't imagine you expected this kind of dialogue when you started this thread.

    My 2 cents is this...

    Sure, you are probably losing energy to the up-down that is not going into the forward direction. Sure, you are probably working harder by riding those knobby tires. But if you are more comfortable, you are going to ride more. If you were uncomfortable and that caused you to ride 3 times a week instead of 4, that would be a 25% reduction in "fun, exercise and adventure", which is why you said you are riding.

    I also wasn't sure if you were serious about putting some 32s and fenders on there, but hey...go for it. I can see the logic. You got the squishy comfort of the FS, less rolling resistance w/smooth tires and keep the road grime off your back. Who gives a crap what other people think?

    I will say though, it seems a shame to take a Rumblefish and put smooth tires on it. You could go with something 'low knob' (like a Kenda Small Block 8). This keeps your options open should you discover a new trail along the roadside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by huffster View Post
    OP - I can't imagine you expected this kind of dialogue when you started this thread.

    I also wasn't sure if you were serious about putting some 32s and fenders on there,
    Yes quite serious about the road tires and fenders.
    And yes this is what I expected exactly.
    I'm on a windsurfing forum and you should see how a simple post can turn into 20 pages and I'm still waiting for the one guy on every forum everyone hates to hijack the thread and start yet another 5hitstorm, why hasn't that happened?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learux View Post
    Make sure when you do this to put on a lot of lights on the bike and show us pictures.

    We love that around here!
    Like this http://forums.mtbr.com/general-discu...ew-888004.html
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  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    Yes quite serious about the road tires and fenders.
    And yes this is what I expected exactly.
    I'm on a windsurfing forum and you should see how a simple post can turn into 20 pages and I'm still waiting for the one guy on every forum everyone hates to hijack the thread and start yet another 5hitstorm, why hasn't that happened?
    It has not and will not happen since near most people are able to count to the number 7.

    Mtbr Posting Guidelines

    Why not start another thread about 'why traction exists'??
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Well take the shock of the bike and squeeze it back and forth with your arms and hands about the same amount as it cycles on your bike....

    You will definately feel the work.
    That's hardly a fair illustration when it is your entire bodyweight moving the shock with the benefit of the lever arm of the bikes swing arm used to compress the shock. And you wouldn't have to squeeze "back and forth" since the spring extends the shock without any external input.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    That's hardly a fair illustration when it is your entire bodyweight moving the shock with the benefit of the lever arm of the bikes swing arm used to compress the shock. And you wouldn't have to squeeze "back and forth" since the spring extends the shock without any external input.
    If you replicate the motion than the energy consumed is gonna be the same...

    Yes the arms will make the effort seem like more than if you used your legs.....

    But the energy consumed will be the same

    Try it I have.

    Use what ever levers you like the energy (work) will be the same.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    There are lots of 50+ riders out there on skinny tired road bikes. I gotta wonder why you can't lift your butt out of the saddle to go over speed bumps and other small obstacles? Too lazy? Leg and back muscles too weak? Regardless, why are you riding your bike on the road? Exercise? Commuting? Racing? If it's for exercise or commuting, why do you care about efficiency?

    I'm giving you a hard time, but I just can't figure out why so many people are glued to their saddles. It really doesn't seem that hard to me to get off the saddle once in awhile.
    51 and stand for anything larger than a Golf Ball, still hopping curbs and climbing out of the saddle. No choice really, broke my back in three places 32 years ago and it's always given me problems, worse with impact. Had a disc-fusion in 2009 and thought about giving up on traditional bikes for a recumbent but you can't wheelie a recumbent. Traded the Cyclo-cross bike for a 29er hardtail instead (less seat to bar drop, fatter tires... I get the efficiency concern (work is 21 miles each way and the first and last 4 miles are gravel) so climbing and pogo sticking would bug me. If you're willing to deal with the weight and can spin smoothly it shouldn't be too big a problem. I ride the same route every day and with my new (bigger) tires I'm slower, so I leave sooner. I could go back to 1.9" tires, but some things are worth the cost, a better ride is one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    If you replicate the motion than the energy consumed is gonna be the same...

    Yes the arms will make the effort seem like more than if you used your legs.....

    But the energy consumed will be the same

    Try it I have.

    Use what ever levers you like the energy (work) will be the same.
    Actually, a portion of the energy that went into the shock - winding up the suspension - is returned at the end of the stroke, minus the part lost to the damper. Flexing of a 'rigid' frame is similarly not as catastrophic as it feels due to the undamped nature of a frame acting as a spring. See Sheldon Brown.

    There's also the difference between having a suspension bob from jack and from squat. Jack gives a firmer feel at the pedal because the action is counter to the pedal direction, and returns under compression damping which usually returns a higher percentage of the energy 'lost'. This is why most designs give a bit of jack in the small ring and some squat in the large ring where chain tension is lower and less consequential. This also takes into account the fact that you're usually getting a lot of weight transfer to the rear in the small ring.

  42. #42
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    Someday suspension will begin to be looked at as a traction-aiding device as opposed to a absorption-point for input from the crankset.

    This thread was ridiculous from it's start, and did avoid going shangri la for those wanting bikes to be made from more and more complex construction for hammer dropping.

    There's no suspension on any bicycle or any vehicle which completely avoids power-induced displacement of energy. Even on a road bike if your own body-mass is not in an optimum placement on the bike you'll have a soft spot on the crankset. How some can expect a full squishy to tie shoelaces while not being able to provide traction on trails illustrates why the Industry is making the tangents it does and it is.

    Simple items which do not perform (BB changeovers), ridiculous payouts for a wheelset which offers high performance, force-fed ridiculous gearing options, strains upon wheel size.

    And some outright counterfeiting still ongoing, misrepresenting the entire industry I am sure. The general mill may not pick up that form of power robbing, but I'm sure the Money is there and has burned down a few houses.
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  43. #43
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    If it makes you feel any better, I already look at suspension as a traction-aiding device. It just comes at a cost. All life is compromise.

    Much as I hate to admit it, I'm faster on my FS than I am on my hardtail.

    I found myself thinking about this yesterday - suspension has cost less and less energy over the years. So, it's been trickling down from the groups who have way too much energy, energy to spare - DH riders, who have a ton of potential energy stored in starting at the top of a hill and don't mind spending a little if it means they can brake less - to those of us with a bit less. But going fast off-road has never been about pure efficiency. So we're now at the point where if I lose a little bit of energy to my suspension system racing XC, it's not as significant as my ability to brake less, get beat up less, and pedal more. Which is all about traction.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    If it makes you feel any better, I already look at suspension as a traction-aiding device. It just comes at a cost. All life is compromise.

    Much as I hate to admit it, I'm faster on my FS than I am on my hardtail.

    I found myself thinking about this yesterday - suspension has cost less and less energy over the years. So, it's been trickling down from the groups who have way too much energy, energy to spare - DH riders, who have a ton of potential energy stored in starting at the top of a hill and don't mind spending a little if it means they can brake less - to those of us with a bit less. But going fast off-road has never been about pure efficiency. So we're now at the point where if I lose a little bit of energy to my suspension system racing XC, it's not as significant as my ability to brake less, get beat up less, and pedal more. Which is all about traction.
    Not looking for validation for it - it's common sense. Sometimes it's unless these things are made boldfaced and highlighted it's assumed that crucible is missed, forgotten about, and therefore being done wrong and in constant need for explanation.

    Meanwhile those like yourself who intentionally graze upon the matter (thinking this was done earlier in the thread) don't introduce speech-impediment causing debate over 'why things are like they are'.

    You know maybe that came off as feeling bad, but really - riding this fully suspended twenty niner in full-lockout down the boulevard was going to what: shred pavement? unseat the tire beads??
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  45. #45
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    Fact of the matter is, you spend way more time riding uphill then downhill. If it wouldn't waste a lot of energy all the xc racers would use FS.

    Just bought a carbon hard tail , I will keep you guys posted.

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    What we need is suspension that automatically locks out as soon as we start pedaling, something for the future....

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    What we need is suspension that automatically locks out as soon as we start pedaling, something for the future....
    ...because they don't already?

    Be careful how the word 'we' gets included in these posts.
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    What we need is suspension that automatically locks out as soon as we start pedaling, something for the future....
    Specialized Epic.

    You're welcome.

    Not the same system exactly, but the effect should be the same.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Specialized Epic.

    You're welcome.

    Not the same system exactly, but the effect should be the same.
    Being patient about shock setup is also good. Specialized no longer does 'Brain' shocks, or do they??
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  50. #50
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    The rear linkage design on my Kona means that it hardly moves when you are pedalling.

    The fork can be locked out instantly with a lever on the bars.

  51. #51
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    Re: How much efficiency is lost from suspension

    Quote Originally Posted by Haint View Post
    Being patient about shock setup is also good. Specialized no longer does 'Brain' shocks, or do they??
    They do. Check the web site. Fox is doing it again too, though on forks only for aftermarket.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    They do. Check the web site. Fox is doing it again too, though on forks only for aftermarket.
    Oh well - I work with a few Mountain Bikers, a Specialized S-Works Epic was just let go, the Brain Shock was not easy to cope with. The only option for any Shock I'd found while the bike was used was an older Fox.
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


  53. #53
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    Most people who claim to pedal circles are actually deluding themselves; it's been proven that even the pro racers don't do that very well.

    While a rigid/hardtail frame delivers 100% pedal power to the wheel, it also magnifies feedback; so when you're pedaling, you'll get a 'pulsing' return that is canceled out by a properly set-up suspension. What it IS is a waste of energy in an up/down direction by pedaling 'squares', which we ALL do, knowingly or not.

    Now, having thrown all that out there, I have to ask: you're enjoying the ride, you're doing it for fun and fitness -- what DIFFERENCE does it make? Quit overthinking it and just ride, have fun!

    I ride a Kona Coiler for everything -- 37lb full-suss BEAST. Sure, I feel it going uphill, and I'll likely never see 22mph (even if I HAD a computer on the bike); but every moment on that bike is a joy, and if I'm slower, that's more time on the bike!

    If you're not racing, then ride at the speed of fun -- if you don't you're cheating yourself.
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  54. #54
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    There's also a ton of other inefficiencies in the mtn bike, compared to the road bike. The geometry is different. You can get your hips forward and shoulders down and low to put out quite a bit of power down and accelerate. The tires are made for speed, which don't lose much in terms of rolling resistance, especially at higher pressure. Drag from seals from all the moving parts spinning on bearings is significantly less. Smaller cartridge bearings seem to be more suitable for higher RPMs, allowing it to spin more freely, compared to larger cartridge bearings that the mtn bike has due to having larger axles (and the need to withstand greater impacts/loads). It all adds up. The suspension being inefficient is really a small part of it. Put some performance slick tires (not heavy wire bead ones) and pump them up as hard as the rim and tire allows and see how much more "efficient" that feels. Shift your hips forward on your saddle, or get up out of it and put your hips forward close to your stem, and get your shoulders low and see how much more "efficient" that feels. Pushing away from the bars in an upright position is pretty damn inefficient, especially when combined with poor pedaling technique (pushing away from the bars also supposedly causes numb hands/wrists).

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigpedaler View Post
    Most people who claim to pedal circles are actually deluding themselves; it's been proven that even the pro racers don't do that very well.

    While a rigid/hardtail frame delivers 100% pedal power to the wheel, it also magnifies feedback; so when you're pedaling, you'll get a 'pulsing' return that is canceled out by a properly set-up suspension. What it IS is a waste of energy in an up/down direction by pedaling 'squares', which we ALL do, knowingly or not.

    Now, having thrown all that out there, I have to ask: you're enjoying the ride, you're doing it for fun and fitness -- what DIFFERENCE does it make? Quit overthinking it and just ride, have fun!
    Go out and spin circles and then hammer hard and don't spin then honestly evaluate the difference in bounce etc....

    I can make a bike bounce really good with inefficient pedal strokes or I can make it really smooth....

  56. #56
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    People overstate the "nobody spins" position.

    I know I don't deliver any power on the up-stroke. But I think "spinning" is still a great image. Cleaning up the transitions at the top and bottom of the stroke is worthwhile, IMO. Whatever image one uses to help do that.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  57. #57
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    What is needed is a feature that locks out the suspension only when we are pedaling.
    What type or style of frame suspension offers the least bobbing from pedaling?

  58. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    What is needed is a feature that locks out the suspension only when we are pedaling.
    What type or style of frame suspension offers the least bobbing from pedaling?
    Lockout when pedaling to there's no suspension when pedaling? Is this what you want??
    I like Sand - I don't like Witches


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    Yeah, exactly.
    Someday I imagine they will have that option.

  60. #60
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    It has been done, and it didn't work out well.

  61. #61
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    Re: How much efficiency is lost from suspension

    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    Yeah, exactly.
    Someday I imagine they will have that option.
    I like that my FS lets me pedal through rougher stuff than I could pedal through on my hardtail. I imagine most of the target market feels similarly. I'm not sure how a pedal-based lockout would improve upon the inertial lockouts in the F100X and Specialized Brain systems, and it seems like it would lock out the suspension at times when I do want it operating.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  62. #62
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    In the early days of full suspension, high single pivots and unified rear triangles were used to try try and give bikes the characteristics of full suspension going down, and a hard tail going up.
    Not a terrible idea, but the benefits of active suspension became more and more apparent over time, going up and going down, and those styles of bike faded away.

    Current designs try to have just enough anti squat to minimize pedal bob while still being active when a bump is hit. Its definitely a better all around solution than locked out pedaling IMO.

    Locked out while pedaling is possible, but isn't pursued even for XC racers. The brain shock is the closest to that, but it seems racers pick a hardtail for smooth courses, and choose the benefits of suspension for rougher courses, no in between solution needed.

  63. #63
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    Isn't full suspension usually for downhill? If your just riding around the streets, just get a steel bike. It will be buttery smooth with no loss of energy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by danorano View Post
    Isn't full suspension usually for downhill? If your just riding around the streets, just get a steel bike. It will be buttery smooth with no loss of energy.
    You bumped a five year old thread to say this?

    (No, full suspension isn't usually for downhill... It's used in all disciplines of MTB these days.)

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    You bumped a five year old thread to say this?

    (No, full suspension isn't usually for downhill... It's used in all disciplines of MTB these days.)
    Always has been.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    You bumped a five year old thread to say this?
    MODS: Pls rename "General Discussion" to "Zombie Forum"

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    Well the reason I don't want to lift my butt off the saddle is because I want to keep pedaling hard at the same cadence and when you stand up on the full suspension it starts bobbing up and down and it's all lost. And no, I'm not racing my full suspension mountain bike in road races. I'm riding for fun, exercise and adventure, if I'm more efficient I can travel further and see more things.
    When I was in my teens and 20's I rode my Raleigh Competition GS all over all the time and could ride it all day no problem, now at 50, not having ridden steady in many years with a bad hip and shoulder I can't even properly ride in the drop bars anymore, bumps in the road are now problematic when riding the road bike.
    Does that answer your questions?
    A good FS suspension won't bob as much when you pedal out of the saddle. Invest in a good bike with anti-squat suspension design.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

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    ghost advice for ghostrider
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by danorano View Post
    Isn't full suspension usually for downhill? If your just riding around the streets, just get a steel bike. It will be buttery smooth with no loss of energy.
    How did you even find this thread?

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by burtronix View Post
    A good FS suspension won't bob as much when you pedal out of the saddle. Invest in a good bike with anti-squat suspension design.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
    But this is 2013 in here. Good FS doesn't exist!

  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDwayyo View Post
    But this is 2013 in here. Good FS doesn't exist!
    Sure it does. DW Link, Giant Maestro, Trek ABP, are already a thing. As a matter of fact, they're all suing each other.

    Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
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  73. #73
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    danorano and Picard are vying for status.

  74. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    In the early days of full suspension, high single pivots and unified rear triangles were used to try try and give bikes the characteristics of full suspension going down, and a hard tail going up.
    Not a terrible idea
    No, terrible idea.
    "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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  75. #75
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    So a 4–Bar which has been used for 17 or 18 years and still used today isn’t a quality suspension design?
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

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    If you're riding a full sus 29'er on the road, worrying about the small losses from your suspension is pointless. The entire bike is inefficient on the road! :P If you want efficiency for road riding, get a road bike (I love road riding myself on a road bike). If you want to get out on the roads riding what you got, just enjoy yourself and don't worry about efficiency, you'll get the same workout no matter what, and the scenery is the same.

  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Len Baird View Post
    If you're riding a full sus bike no matter what size wheel on the road, worrying about the small losses from your suspension is pointless. The entire bike is inefficient on the road! :P If you want efficiency for road riding, get a road bike (I love road riding myself on a road bike). If you want to get out on the roads riding what you got, just enjoy yourself and don't worry about efficiency, you'll get the same workout no matter what, and the scenery is the same.
    I fixed that for you and you’re welcome.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by BEaglebuddy View Post
    Well the reason I don't want to lift my butt off the saddle is because I want to keep pedaling hard at the same cadence and when you stand up on the full suspension it starts bobbing up and down and it's all lost. And no, I'm not racing my full suspension mountain bike in road races. I'm riding for fun, exercise and adventure, if I'm more efficient I can travel further and see more things.
    When I was in my teens and 20's I rode my Raleigh Competition GS all over all the time and could ride it all day no problem, now at 50, not having ridden steady in many years with a bad hip and shoulder I can't even properly ride in the drop bars anymore, bumps in the road are now problematic when riding the road bike.
    Does that answer your questions?
    Bummer about the health issues. Given that I would just not worry about efficiency losses. I would try to dial front and rear suspension in to accommodate comfort but stiffen the system up as much as possible

    when coming back from the trail with my FS I lock out the front and when I stand weight the bars when out out the saddle climbing to reduce rear bobbing

    I find that off road the rear suspension actually helps by keeping the rear tire on the ground

    a hard tail is more efficient on fire trail climbs but i do no think on tech climbs at least not for me. It has a great weight advantage

    tire could be where you get your greatest advantage in efficiency if you are riding street only then street tires would be a big increase in efficiency

    I feel fortunate as at 55 I can still ride in my drops with no issues. On the road I am more of a masher so I am out of the saddle often when climbing. I use my mtb skills on the road bike to get out of the saddle and use arms and legs for suspension when needed. On the FS mountain bike I am seated more mostly for traction. When on my hard tail I do stand more but mostly in the choppy stuff or climbs

    good luck

  79. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor29 View Post
    There are lots of 50+ riders out there on skinny tired road bikes. I gotta wonder why you can't lift your butt out of the saddle to go over speed bumps and other small obstacles? Too lazy? Leg and back muscles too weak? Regardless, why are you riding your bike on the road? Exercise? Commuting? Racing? If it's for exercise or commuting, why do you care about efficiency?

    I'm giving you a hard time, but I just can't figure out why so many people are glued to their saddles. It really doesn't seem that hard to me to get off the saddle once in awhile.
    what a stupid trolling comment. If you knew anything about road biking you would know it's most efficient to stay in the saddle unless you are absolutely sprinting or climbing a hill in your lowest gear and can't spin. I guaranty you one thing, my leg and back muscles are stronger than yours, few people lift as much weight as me at my gym and i'm 230 lbs jackwagon.

  80. #80
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    I stop pedaling and suspension would be active, when I pedal suspension would be inactive. Something for a suspension road bike, seems to just trigger fools on this forum, nevermind.

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    It helps to read the OP, need suspension on the road.

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