Beating the system - the cycling commuting section
14 posts • Page 1 of 1
At the uni where I work, we're in the process of creating a bike fleet. The bikes we have for it are ex-police mountain bikes (courtesy of Karen a.k.a. cludence from the forums). They have been painted and they have nice fat slicks. I rode one in to work yesterday and I just wanted to say:
<rant> how the hell does anyone commute with front suspension? It felt like I was riding a friggin pogo stick. Standing up for the hills was crazy. The bike was jumping all over the place. I think this may be the reason why people don't ride bikes to work, because all of the crappy cheap supermarket bikes have suspension. The ride quality is awful. </rant>
Today I was back on my nice un-bouncy roadie. Nice bike. Good bike.
A lockout or at the very least adjustable preload is good on cheap forks but the really cheap ones don't even have that (as you've found out )
"...for many people your life is not worth the effort it takes to pay attention or the extra few seconds they may need to wait before they can safely get around you."-BikeSnobNYC
I agree cheap shocks are rubbish. I bought a cheap MTB and one of the first things I did was to throw the rubbish shocks in the (recycling) bin and replace with a rigid CrMo fork.
Although you can get hybrids without the shocks or with lockout shocks. My wife's Giant Elwood has a rigid fork, while the next model up, the Cypress, now has "SR NEX 4610 63mm travel, w/lockout" so it looks like soon every reasonable quality hybrid should have lockout shocks.
Until you stuff up a drop and punt the front wheel in to a hole way too hard and endo big time...only saving it because you have spent money on good forks,knowing your cheapies would have spat you over the bars in a flash.
Oh you don't find that on your commutes?...Sydney roads must have got better in the last year!.
Which uni do you work at? I'd like to help out with bicycle fleets. If it's the same Karen I think we're talking about I have had some involvement with her, and I am a big fan of bicycle re-cycling as a way to get people off four wheels and onto two wheels!
I agree front suspension sucks. I regularly warn people not to bother with them unless they have front lock-outs. I also warn them that the K-mart bikes with the front suspension and disc brakes are usually rubbish (no offence to K-mart, but Big W, and all the other such shops peddle the same crap). It usually comes as a surprise to alot of people when I tell them that suspension is only worth it if you are doing alot of dirt track riding, where it makes a difference.
I gotta correct ya guys: CHEAP front suspension sucks.
Good front suspension is fantastic, when used as intended.
Think outside the double triangle.
Imagine a world with no hypothetical scenarios.
Yeah, it would be the same Karen. Anyone in Sydney who rides bikes with less than 7 cogs on the back knows Karen. The uni: Macquarie. When we get it all sorted an working, I'll post a story about it.
The bikes in question are great as MTBs. You can fang them around and do lots of technical stuff on them and the suspension forks are great. Just not for commuting. I am constantly surprised by the number of MTBs at Uni - all with knobby tyres and front (and sometimes rear) shocks.
I do have a "MTB" commuter which has 26x1.25 slicks, a rigid front and is close to the same size as my roadie. I used to use it as a rain bike and am in the middle of converting it into a workhorse with lots of racks and stupidly low gears.
Speaking of gears, when riding the MTB yesterday I couldn't find a gear high enough for my liking and wondered what the hell all of the low gears were for. I was spinning like a mad bugger on the middle ring. Didn't even use the granny gears. I was hauling my heavy butt and another 10kg or so of gear in the panniers from North Ryde down to Putney then back home. 27 gears and all I wanted was one I liked.
Don't get me wrong. The bike is great, but the bike as a regular commuter bike...as my mate Adrian (who also rode one yesterday) said: you'd never have a problem getting away from the bike cops if you were riding a roadie.
As well as swapping tyres, swapping cassettes can make a big difference by reducing the inter-gear difference.
The MTB cassette is going to be something like
12, 14, 16,18, 20, 23, 26, 30, 34
Which has some pretty big jumps (particularily 12-14).
Replacing it with a 12-25 or 12-23 will provide a much less 'gappy' set of gears. Even replacing the 12 with a 13 would help!
And you can get up to at least 50T on a 110 BCD chain ring
Stop handing them the stick! - Dave Moulton
Most 9 spd mtb cassettes are 11-32/34.
44T front 11T rear at 100rpm = 50km/h.
My forks don't bob at all when climbing and never lock them out. Just like anything else you get what you pay for I guess. I couldn't imagine spring shocks feeling like anything else but a pogo stick
My first commuter had RockShox Judy 2.5's - hydraulic damped spring forks with lockout.
I thought they weren't bad. Certainly didn't pogo everywhere, even without the lockout active. My current commuter has an airsprung Lefty fork with lockout. It's a lot more compliant in the fork, but I only use the lockout (conveniently near bar height ) when climbing out of the saddle. Otherrwise I leave teh fork active. Makes the commute a lot more fun and interesting, hunting out a bit of urban singletrack!
I certainly wouldn't use a cheap fork without a lockout on a commuter, though.
When all else fails, persistence prevails -- Lew Hollander
I've commuted 10s of thousands of ks over the past many years...most of it with front suspesion. I prefer it for commuting. Used to pop spokes pre suspension...never do now. I also think it is safer at night when the occasional pot hole sneaks up on you. Just my opinion.
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