Bicycle Know-Hows

The Suspense About Cycle Suspensions

  • Ninety One
    Team 91
  • 3-minute read
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The Suspense About Cycle Suspensions

Cycling is a fun activity, and after the pandemic, it has only grown in popularity. This activity is important for a variety of reasons, and if you're a serious cyclist or aspire to be one, then it's only natural to want to understand a cycle. We're part of a century where it's almost natural to be spoilt for choices. We have mountain cycles, hybrid cycles, road bikes, and more. We also have all-terrain cycles and various other categories dependent on our riding requirements. Each of these cycles differs in one aspect or another other, and one of them happens to be cycle suspension. Since it is a critical part of a cycle, and we must understand it.

What is Cycle Suspension?

A suspension fork or system literally suspends the rider and the cycle to cushion them from the damaging and jerking effect of rough or treacherous terrain. Not all cycles have a suspension system, and it's mostly hybrid and mountain cycles which has suspensions. The suspensions are a mandatory part of some cycles and for a good reason. The suspension absorbs the shocks of bad roads. If we ride cycles without suspension on rugged terrain, we can risk ourselves, and it can be bad for our backs and hips. The suspension also helps in stabilizing the ride; by doing so, the rider can actually focus his attention on the road and enjoy the beautiful terrains and scenic views. It also helps in keeping the rear wheel on the ground, which further helps us ride well.

Types of Bicycle Suspensions:

There are different types of suspension forks available depending on your riding style and choices. We have cycle front suspensions, which are also hardtail suspension and full suspension. Both of them serve different purposes. Let's learn more about each:

  1. Full suspension: These suspensions are usually available on hardcore mountain bicycles as they can actually provide us with the stability needed for a comfortable ride. It's important that the ride is jerk-free and takes on the challenges of terrain easily. This suspension is not just in the front but also in the rear, and therefore we are ensuring ourselves a highly comfortable and smooth ride. This ride is also reliable and keeps us focused on pedalling instead of balancing our bicycles. The wheels on our cycles also perform optimally.
  2. Hardtail or front suspension: Hardtail suspension is a type of suspension that is focused only on the front wheel or part of the bicycle. This type of cycle usually does not have a rear shock absorber. This cycle, too, is perfect for a ride in the mountains and hybrid cycles. These bicycle suspensions do well on bumpy and gravelly roads and help in keeping the cycle rooted to the ground. We must choose a suspension system that is perfect for our riding requirements. Entry-level MTB riders will do well with a hardtail suspension system. Even some pro riders go for hardtail suspension systems.

A suspension fork is often the component that introduces the shock-absorbent and jerk-free ride aspects in our cycles. We have external compression adjustments, steerer tubes, crowns, air valves, stanchions, lowers, through axles, external rebound adjustments, and drop-outs. These parts are important in building the entire cycle's fork system. Just like there are different types of suspension, we also have

Different sizes of suspension:

  1. 50-80 mm travel: This is one of the most common suspension types available in the market and is perfect for most hybrid cycles and introductory MTBs. These cycles are better than rigid suspension forks and are perfect for absorbing bumps on bad roads. These cycles are also perfect for gravelly roads. The Drago 24T Multispeed comes with a 91 TUF SHOX suspension which offers 80mm travel. This is perfect for mild off-roading.
  2. 100-120 mm travel: These are also known as trail suspensions because they are used on riding MTB trails. This travel is the longest that one can find on a bicycle front suspension or hardtail cycle. This travel is perfect for most MTBs and can take on potholes and bumps easily. This cycle comes with good stability and does well in descending.
  3. 150-160 mm travel: Not many bicycles come with a travel length above 120 mm. The 150-160 mm travel is found on hardcore mountain bicycles, and these bicycles are built to manage rougher and tougher terrains. These cycles are great for descending purposes and can handle any kind of obstacle with relative ease. This suspension system is used by most serious MTB riders.
  4. 200 mm travel: A rare occurrence but these suspensions also exist. This bicycle is made to handle the toughest of terrains that Mother Nature can offer us. These MTBs are literal beasts and are perfect if you're looking for a stable downhill ride on a high altitude and rough terrain, then this bicycle is your best bet.

There are also fork adjustments available. These forks have knobs that can help you adjust the travel. We have the lockout adjustments, which can lock the fork and completely remove the travel aspect of the fork. This is perfect if you're riding uphill. We also have preload adjustments which help us unload the tension on the spring.

Cycle suspension is important for a smooth ride, the topic of suspension can be confusing for many, but most vehicles, even cars, and motorbikes, have suspensions; they are essentially important for stabilizing our ride and making it as comfortable as possible. A relatively simple concept made even easier by this guide!

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