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Question about the quality of Suspension Forks which come on certain Hybrids

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Question about the quality of Suspension Forks which come on certain Hybrids

Old 03-01-14, 02:40 PM
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ColonelSanders
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Question about the quality of Suspension Forks which come on certain Hybrids

Hello all.

Whilst waiting for the time when I will purchase a hybrid(i.e. 2nd half of this year), I have been using the time available to me, to drive myself crazy by over-analysing literally every little detail about what my next bike will be and what components I value the most.

My current obsessive streak has me focused on the quality of the Suspension Forks which come with a few different Hybrid bikes.

I'll list them below and would really appreciate any information people could provide about each Suspension fork and how big a difference there is between models(or your best estimate on the differences).

Giant

Roam XR 0 --> SR Suntour NCX-D Air w/ Remote Lock-Out, 63mm Travel

Roam XR 1 --> SR Suntour NCX-D remote hydraulic lock-out 63mm travel

Roam 0 --> SR Suntour NCX-D, w/lockout, 63mm travel

Specialized

Crosstrail Comp Disc --> SR Suntour NCXi Coil, magnesium lower, custom integrated fork crown, hydraulic lockout, 50mm travel

Trek

8.6 DS --> SR Suntour NRX ATB Rated w/adjustable coil spring, remote lockout, 63mm travel

8.5 DS --> SR Suntour NRX w/adjustable coil spring, remote lockout, 63mm travel



Now within the brands, the Suspension forks on the higher priced models(i.e. Roam XR 0 & 8.6 DS) are meant to be an upgrade on the slightly lower priced models(i.e. Roam XR1 & 8.5 DS), but how do the forks compare when one compares one bike manufacturer's offerings to the other?

Cheers
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Old 03-01-14, 03:18 PM
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As far as I know, the NCX and NRX series are very similar.

1. Both have hydraulic damping/lock-out, and
2. Both are available either with coil spring or air spring (if the fork has the latter, the bike mfg. will make a point of saying so -- it's lighter!).
3. The construction seems very similar; I think the main difference is that the NCX can be (factory) set for either 50 (e.g. Specialized) or 63 mms/travel (Giant), while the NRX series is set either for 63 or 73 travel. That might be the reason for Trek's silly "ATB Rated" statement; can't think what else it would mean. Similarly, I think the "i" as in "NCXi" on the Specialized just refers to the fact that Spec. appear to have had Suntour make a dedicated version (crown shape, colour) for the Crosstrail (i.e. "integrated").

These forks get a bad rap here in North America ... undeserved. They (especially the 'air' versions) are found on very high-end "cross" bikes in, for example, the German market. They are trekking forks, not mtb ones; they are not meant to do six foot drops-to-flat etc, but for their intended use they seem very effective.
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Old 03-14-14, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
As far as I know, the NCX and NRX series are very similar.

1. Both have hydraulic damping/lock-out, and
2. Both are available either with coil spring or air spring (if the fork has the latter, the bike mfg. will make a point of saying so -- it's lighter!).
3. The construction seems very similar; I think the main difference is that the NCX can be (factory) set for either 50 (e.g. Specialized) or 63 mms/travel (Giant), while the NRX series is set either for 63 or 73 travel. That might be the reason for Trek's silly "ATB Rated" statement; can't think what else it would mean. Similarly, I think the "i" as in "NCXi" on the Specialized just refers to the fact that Spec. appear to have had Suntour make a dedicated version (crown shape, colour) for the Crosstrail (i.e. "integrated").

These forks get a bad rap here in North America ... undeserved. They (especially the 'air' versions) are found on very high-end "cross" bikes in, for example, the German market. They are trekking forks, not mtb ones; they are not meant to do six foot drops-to-flat etc, but for their intended use they seem very effective.
Thank you for your very comprehensive answer, it would have been very hard to find this out just by looking at manufacturer's often at times unclear websites.
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Old 03-14-14, 10:29 AM
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Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths, they just add weight, expense and complexity.
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Old 03-14-14, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths, they just add weight, expense and complexity.
With respect, this answers a question the OP didn't ask.
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Old 03-14-14, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by badger1 View Post
With respect, this answers a question the OP didn't ask.
With respect, if I can help save a newb from wasting money and adding weight and complexity, why wouldn't I.
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Old 03-14-14, 11:55 AM
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I've got an old mountain bike I have been sporadically riding since 1995, it has a straightish fork and I definitely want to see what a half decent suspension fork is like to live with.

I'm never going to do serious mountain biking, so in theory I should be an ideal candidate for this kind of fork.
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Old 03-14-14, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths, they just add weight, expense and complexity.
Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths, they add good amount of comfort for little extra money, and most are low or maintenance free.
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Old 03-14-14, 12:39 PM
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If you say so.
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Old 03-14-14, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
With respect, if I can help save a newb from wasting money and adding weight and complexity, why wouldn't I.
YMMV,but if I was going to be trail riding,I'd use one of my front suspension bikes. I have carpel tunnel issues,and fat tires don't always do the trick,esp in continuously rough conditions.
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Old 03-14-14, 04:06 PM
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I specified road and paths.
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Old 03-14-14, 04:08 PM
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high quality suspension forks for downhill racing cost more than any 1 of those complete Bikes.

rigid forks are often a better thing than cheap , no lockout forks , but the companies think that is what sells .
so that is what the bikes come with..

most only move with big hits and chip sealroads will feel the same.

Id go with 7 series FX rather than 8 series DS ..
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Old 03-14-14, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
most only move with big hits and chip sealroads will feel the same.

..
If you looked at the dirt lines on my sliders, you would come to a very different conclusion.............
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Old 03-14-14, 08:30 PM
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Thats nice, yours are not on mine (I only have a Spinner set . as came on my Koga WTR,
and they are 35mm short travel re machined for fitting a touring rack Upon)

my Hybrid sample is assemble, test ride, put the sales tag on it , and put it on as A floor display for sales

I have no idea how you can technically quantify your analysis for the OP , Do You?
mount a videocamera and make a .gif out of it?
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Old 03-14-14, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
If you looked at the dirt lines on my sliders, you would come to a very different conclusion.............
Yup, my cheap Rock Shock Darts and Suntour forks are also working pretty well. They work awesome on uneven surface of my local Rails-to-trails, or terrible city paths and roads, especially at greater speeds.

One of my riding partners have same Specialized Crosstrail as mine. We did 13,15k miles together. One day she bought Specialized Allez road bike, but she insisted on mountain bike flat bar for the same feel as on her hybrid. We hit the same bad piece of concrete /sticking out one, one and a half inch on otherwise nice path/, the same one we were rolling "smoothly" over it each and every night on our hybrids. But it was her first time on the new bike...she didn't expected such a huge difference. She hurt her wrists so bad that we walked home 15 or so miles, and she didn't ride for a week. Luckily nothing was broken and she fully recovered.
Yes, its a heavy fork comparing to the rigid one, but its good to have it on all-around bike.

EDIT: Fietsbob, your fork have 35mm travel which is not much at all. All of my forks have 75-100mm travel. That may be a reason why Wanderer and I have such a good experience with them.

Last edited by lopek77; 03-14-14 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 03-15-14, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
I specified road and paths.
Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths
To me,this would mean the towpath for the C&O canal,and I would def run suspension for that. I've also begun noting potholes for DDOT's upcoming Potholepalooza,and with the shape a couple of our side streets are in,I'll prolly be putting the BBU back into rotation. The street right behind my building is worse than the towpath.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:18 PM
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I think there is some good advice here. There are only a couple of things I would add (or emphasize if it has been mentioned, and I missed it)... My opinion is based on riding paved surfaces, or fairly smooth gravel.

If I wanted a suspension fork, I would not be concerned about whether or not the lockout was remote. I would not mind stopping the bike to lock or unlock the fork.

Also, I would not worry about the amount of travel, since my needs wouldn't require that much anyway. 50mm (or even less) to absorb some of the harshness of a rut should be fine. If you want to do some actual mountain biking on your hybrid, then you may need more.
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Old 09-29-17, 03:30 AM
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Originally Posted by lopek77 View Post
Frankly, for riding on the road and gravel/dirt paths, they add good amount of comfort for little extra money, and most are low or maintenance free.
Frankly, for riding road and gravel paths they are not needed. Your arms and legs will supply all the suspension you need and if the rids a bit rough, lower your tire pressure. I went from a 1999 aluminium rigid form mtb to a 2005 steel spring fork mtb for my road exercise. I road it for about 100 km before tossing it in a corner. The cheap forks weight a ton and the constant "bobbing" even with lockout, drove me crazy. I think to only people who advokate them are riders who cycle slowly along beach esplanades and have little concept of performance.
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Old 09-29-17, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
I specified road and paths.
It's a struggle with some isn't it
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Old 09-29-17, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
If you looked at the dirt lines on my sliders, you would come to a very different conclusion.............
I have a Suntour NEX fork on my hybrid (63mm travel I think) and mine definitely moves. The difference between this hybrid and my rigid hybrid is made apparent in the first few seconds of a ride. I ride both bikes, and enjoy both of them, but for different reasons. I tend to keep my rigid bike to the streets and paved paths, and I tend to use my suspended hybrid on the gravel and off-road.
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Old 09-29-17, 07:20 AM
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Look at a Sirrus with the FS.
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Old 09-29-17, 10:05 AM
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After having tried both, I'm wary of mechanical lock-outs. Last one I had on an RST fork would not engage even during casual riding. having a remote lock that only worked with the bike stationary felt a bit silly. Then one might as well lean over and turn the knob. Hydraulic locks OTOH are easily engaged at any time.
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Old 09-29-17, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by ColonelSanders View Post
Hello all.
Since this zombie thread has been brought back to life maybe the thread starter can give an update to the choice they made and thoughts about that choice. 3 years should be long enough to form an opinion.
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Old 09-29-17, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by danmyersmn View Post
Since this zombie thread has been brought back to life maybe the thread starter can give an update to the choice they made and thoughts about that choice. 3 years should be long enough to form an opinion.
ColSanders bought a Giant Toughroad and enjoys it immensly... ( rigid front fork, 2' tyres)

/ksywa
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Old 09-29-17, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by danmyersmn View Post
Since this zombie thread has been brought back to life maybe the thread starter can give an update to the choice they made and thoughts about that choice. 3 years should be long enough to form an opinion.
I also bought a Toughroad with the rigid composite fork, I use it mostly on the hard stuff but do from time to time go on gravel roads. For that I take the pressure down from 65 to 40.
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