Bicycle suspension is the system or set of systems used to cushion and protect the cyclist and the bike from the roughness of the terrain. Suspension is a key element not only to help riders enjoy their favourite sport, cycling, but also to protect them while doing so.
Bike suspensions are mainly used on mountain bikes, but they are also common on hybrid bikes, and can even be found on some road bikes. Shock mechanisms may add weight, but they improve comfort, performance and control on rough trails or bumpy roads.
Nowadays, forks are made of very resistant and lightweight materials such as graphite, aluminium, etc. which gives them great durability.
Bike forks can be rigid or suspension. For road cycling and triathlon, rigid aluminium or carbon forks have been established. Their suspension capacities are relatively low, however, for these disciplines the most important thing is that the forks are lightweight and rigid.
If you want to have more comfort and control, especially trekking and mountain bikers, there is a wide variety of forks to choose from. Some designs are simpler than others, because they absorb shock through elastomers or a steel coil, to make driving on uneven surfaces or off-road roads more comfortable and safer. There are also lighter air compressed forks and sturdy steel forks, which can be adjusted more easily. You should choose the most suitable bike frame depending on where you will be cycling your bike.
We can classify suspension forks based on the discipline or use for which they are manufactured:
Cross Country Forks
This type of MTB consists of crossing mountains at a high speed, over almost entirely flat tracks with occasional obstacles so these forks have a shorter amount of travel, from 80 to 100 mm, which is faster and easier, offering a moderate suspension. This makes them lighter for riding uphill and going fast on the track. In addition to competition cross-country bikes, this is also the amount of travel found in bicycle touring bikes and those of general recreational use.
We talk about more aggressive full suspension bikes where, unlike downhill ones, you can also climb mountains, so the forks used for these have a good suspension travel amount- between 120 and 180 mm - but are lighter and have a more normal geometry. They have to allow more or less comfortable pedalling in order to be able to push them up the mountain and be able to withstand jumps of more than one metre high. 120 to 180 mm travel enduro bicycles require a specific geometry on the bike, since the height is increased and the steering angles vary. In full suspension bikes, they are always accompanied by a rear suspension chord, which modifies the final performance of the bike.
Downhill and Freeride Forks
Downhill, and freeride are mountain biking modalities which consist purely of descending a mountain (or city with steps, ramps, etc.), where, in addition to extremely resistant bicycles, a large fork travel is also used, above the 200 mm .
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