SS Racers--is front suspension more the norm, or rigid?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    SS Racers--is front suspension more the norm, or rigid?

    Just curious--I seem to see a lot of ss hardtails w front squish when I read about ss race events---and not as many rigid. I assume the main factor would be the length of the race, i.e. the beating you'd take which would wear you down faster on a rigid--is that kind of how people determine which way to run it?

  2. #2
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    After a few over-the-bars on a rigid while racing, and also because the trails are so rough in Western Australia in general, I decided to go with 100mm front suspension. So much faster downhill - you can actually keep up with most others in the race even without paddling. I have not looked back despite the 1kg weight disadvantage over a rigid carbon fork.

  3. #3
    SS Pusher Man
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    I like having the 120mm fork up front on my Highball. Really allows me to charge through the really rough sections. Lock it out and climbing is not an issue.
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  4. #4
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    Interesting. I just put a squish on my previously rigid ss, and am just not feelin' it….yet. Wondering how the racers(which I am not….yet) weighed in on it.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbass View Post
    Interesting. I just put a squish on my previously rigid ss, and am just not feelin' it….yet. Wondering how the racers(which I am not….yet) weighed in on it.
    I do a lot of racing on my single speed. I also sponsor a race team. Guys on the team are split with some riding rigid and others riding squish. Also some guys (including me) have multiple forks and multiple bikes. The topic of rigid vs. squish often comes up when we chat together about races.

    Equipment choice is more about style. You will find plenty of racers on squish and on rigid. On the whole the squish is more popular and I think it is faster.

    I race rigid 100% of the time but I think squish is a bit faster. For me the issue is that I am usually not as happy on a squish fork because it takes me out of my zone. It's funny, even though I have a really nice squish fork and think it is often the faster choice I find that I always choose rigid for races.

    At most races the time gaps between the winners and the others is often measured in minutes (or even 10s of minutes). For the most part goals like winning, placing, or finishing are not going to be impacted by the choice of rigid or squish. If you are strong enough to win then you win (unless someone stronger shows up).

  6. #6
    WillWorkForTrail
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    I'm with Mark on the gaps being minutes, and not winning or losing because of a fork, but my own preference, to be able to get every second I can out of it without riding myself into the ground, I like suspension. The biggest difference - for me - is greater control in rough braking zones going into turns, so I can brake later. It doesn't matter if you're spinning a flat, or blowing up on a fast flat, or bombing a downhill, when you have to put the brakes on, being able to wait just a little longer might not give you an advantage over the next guy, but it might take away his advantage over you.

  7. #7
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    I think it makes sense to ride bikes that help with weaknesses. If you're a strong downhiller but weak climber, you can probably ride a rigid bike at a decent pace and keep up with most people on downhills that aren't extremely rough. If you're a strong climber but weak on the downhills, you could run suspension to help even things out.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbass View Post
    Interesting. I just put a squish on my previously rigid ss, and am just not feelin' it….yet. Wondering how the racers(which I am not….yet) weighed in on it.
    i would say it depends on the course and rider preference. some races around me you will be just as fast on a rigid bike, but others you will be much faster with a sus fork. weather or not you choose to take advantage of the extra speed it up to the rider.

    as for time gaps i agree that usually they are pretty big as previously stated, but if you are very even with another rider, it could make all the difference.

    if your goal is the fastest time possible, most riders will sacrifice comfort and personal preference for speed. so when you said your not "feeling it" with a sus fork, that would be lower on the list of priorities and you should race with squish if it's faster.

    obviously personal preference outweighs everything else. really if your not making your living doing it, ride what makes you happy cause that's what it's all about. I've done it both ways, but with the exception of a couple events, my SS is always rigid.
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  9. #9
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    Frame choice plays a part as well. I've been very happy with the slacker headtube angles that have become available. I've been lucky enough to acquire a Jones Plus I built up as an SS and can honestly say I don't miss suspension at all.

  10. #10
    Let's ride
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    Really depends on the course and what level or performance you're expecting. A rough course is really going to pound you on rigid. You can ride it but it won't be a nice existence, will wear you down, or you'll go too fast and be put in danger.
    Full rigid is really nice, simple and so easy to loft the front over stuff.

    You really have to live with both and see what you prefer at which time. I'm currently on a lefty with my highballc and it is a reasonable mix as the Lefty has full lockout, yet is still a light 3lbs.

  11. #11
    western NC
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    I tried riding rigid when I got my first SS last season, and I mean I really gave it an honest shot for about six weeks. In the end, I'm just more comfortable and therefore less fatiqued and more in control with some squish up front. I'm also on board with the modern slack HTA long travel SS setups, they are so much fun it's not even funny. My SS isn't just my favorite because it's a single speed, it's because it's the most fun bike in the stable IMO.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the replies!

  13. #13
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    when I want to go as fast as possible I ride my geared FS Spearfish. I love my rigid SS, but I am not as strong and/or crazy as the racers who ride SS. I generally see a mix of rigid and squish in the SS crowd. I even see a handful of geared rigid bikes out there for the uber weight weenies in the XC field.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    I'm with Mark on the gaps being minutes, and not winning or losing because of a fork.....
    I've beaten a couple of guys this year who are running suspension forks now because the gap was multiple minutes despite them having better fitness than I.

  15. #15
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    I ride and occasionally race rigid ss all of the time. However 2 long races (one a 12 hour and one 100 miles in mountains) left me battered and wishing for suspension - particularly when I got tired and mistakes possibly easier to make. So it depends for me on length of the race/ride.

  16. #16
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    I'll still get last no matter which I ride.
    My arms and kidneys prefer front suspension.

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