Seriously (not subjectively)... Do suspension forks improve safety on Urban ebikes?

rich c

Well-Known Member
You can get a lot rougher than gravel (roads on the east coast). Those gravel bikes are not ridden at 28mph, they are ridden mostly around 10-14mph, makes a huge difference...
Nobody rides an eBike gravel bike over 10-14mph on the gravel? That's odd, but I guess your opinion is better than mine. But I 've only ridden at 28mph a dozen times on smooth streets in the 5,000 miles I have on my class 3.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Nobody rides an eBike gravel bike over 10-14mph on the gravel?
I said mostly, not all the time.
Btw I tried to ride my non-suspension ebikes on rugged terrain and had to slow down because the tires were constantly losing contact with the ground at higher speeds. Maybe you can share your experience once you ride a no suspension ebike on rugged terrain at higher speeds.
 

ruffruff

Well-Known Member
Just my two cents,,,why would you NOT go suspension and just lock it out on smooth roads? That lock out is there for a reason.
 

john peck

Well-Known Member
It is not subjective to say a suspension fork allows better control on bumps & potholes where a rigid fork does not.
Put another way, you can only steer a bike when the front wheel is on the ground.
 
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Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
Nobody rides an eBike gravel bike over 10-14mph on the gravel? That's odd, but I guess your opinion is better than mine. But I 've only ridden at 28mph a dozen times on smooth streets in the 5,000 miles I have on my class 3.
Going to have to disagree with you there.

Gravel cycling is still considered a new genre of cycling and there are people posting videos on the subreddit r/gravelcycling on a daily basis hitting well over 45kph on their Trek checkpoints and Specialized Diverge’s among many other makes and those are non-electric rigid gravel bikes.
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
  1. Weight
  2. Road feel and responsiveness. An e-bike is already kind of ponderous and a suspension fork makes it more so.
  3. Did I say weight?

One of the few times that I will disagree with you.

1. For a normal bike(around 22-24 lbs) yes, ebike No . Most of the ebikes are in the 50+lbs range and the addition of 1-2 lbs really doesn't make a difference. Moreover there are many fs offerings which are just as light as their no-suspension counterparts.
2. Unless you are riding a lighter ebike (<38lbs roadbike for example) a good suspension fork will not be any worse in terms of road feel or responsiveness. On uneven surfaces it will improve handling significantly.
3. High quality suspension forks are not significantly heavier than fixed forks...

A good suspension fork will have a significant cost but it is worth it.
there are people posting videos on the subreddit r/gravelcycling on a daily basis hitting well over 45kph on their Trek checkpoints
So? There are many people who exercise dangerous riding habits. I have friends who do 40 mph on their roadbikes and god forbid if they hit a pothole or some obstacle they may get seriously injured.
The question asked is if suspension improves safety and the simple answer is yes, it improves handling which leads to a safer ride. Just because you own a no-suspension doesn't mean you should be irrational and claim otherwise. I also own two no suspension ebikes, I rode them many times on rugged terrain and they simply can not handle higher speeds on those surfaces.
 

Akrotiri

Well-Known Member
Region
Europe
One of the few times that I will disagree with you.

1. For a normal bike(around 22-24 lbs) yes, ebike No . Most of the ebikes are in the 50+lbs range and the addition of 1-2 lbs really doesn't make a difference. Moreover there are many fs offerings which are just as light as their no-suspension counterparts.
2. Unless you are riding a lighter ebike (<38lbs roadbike for example) a good suspension fork will not be any worse in terms of road feel or responsiveness. On uneven surfaces it will improve handling significantly.
3. High quality suspension forks are not significantly heavier than fixed forks...

A good suspension fork will have a significant cost but it is worth it.

So? There are many people who exercise dangerous riding habits. I have friends who do 40 mph on their roadbikes and god forbid if they hit a pothole or some obstacle they may get seriously injured.
The question asked is if suspension improves safety and the simple answer is yes, it improves handling which leads to a safer ride. Just because you own a no-suspension doesn't mean you should be irrational and claim otherwise. I also own two no suspension ebikes, I rode them many times on rugged terrain and they simply can not handle higher speeds on those surfaces.
Gravel bikes are designed to handle those trails. Their much lighter than full suspension bikes first and foremost and have the geometry to handle well on gravel trails. I doubt there are people doing 28mph in their full suspension mtbs off road. Suspension doesn’t improve handling, it does the opposite in fact by making the bike heavier thus less agile. Suspension prevents the rider from losing control on huge unexpected pot holes and adds comfort in most instances. There are many people in these forums that hit 40mph on downhills, ofcourse it more dangerous but experienced riders know that it’s imperative to keep 100% attention to the road in front of you at high speeds to avoid pot holes that would knock the rider off the bike.

Me personally I get scared at 28mph even on smooth roads so I rarely go over 22-23mph because I do know how dangerous it can be on a bicycle or e-bike at those speeds but for others who are more experienced than me it’s no problem.

Your non suspension bikes that couldn’t handle off road were because of their geometry not because they lacked suspension. Suspension on bicycles are a very new phenomenon. Only started in the late nineties early 2000s. Twenty years ago and before there were only rigid mtbs available ; and that’s it. Today’s new genre of gravel bikes have identical geometries of 1980s-1990s rigid mtbs with the only difference being they have drop bars instead of flat.
 
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linklemming

Well-Known Member
You can get a lot rougher than gravel (roads on the east coast). Those gravel bikes are not ridden at 28mph, they are ridden mostly around 10-14mph, makes a huge difference...
Suspension will always be better than no suspension assuming its a quality suspension with good damping. Comparing cheap suspension makes this less clear (I have been thrown off a bike when the fork rebounded so much it bucked me off).

I have had and ridden FS bikes since the late 90s and love them where the FS is really needed.

But other options might be good enough like simply using fatter tires. I have two speed pedelecs (iZIP Moda and my own DIY MAC motor build), that I ride offroad pretty much everyday. They routinely see 28mph offroad and the DIY has seen 35mph. I specifically chose both of these bikes because they were rigid.

Would they be good if the road was really rough? Of course not, if I needed that I would go FS.

I also routinely come across very fit guys on acoustic gravel bikes going 20mph(on flat ground) and even higher sometimes. Had a guy catch me on a salsa cutthroat this last weekend and I was going 22mph. Made his day...he earned it 😀
 

baxterblack

Member
I would say yes, in the case of urban riding, the need to avoid or taking quick action to maintain safety , may require you to jump a curb. I would say front suspension may help with that.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
The question asked is if suspension improves safety and the simple answer is yes, it improves handling which leads to a safer ride. Just because you own a no-suspension doesn't mean you should be irrational and claim otherwise. I also own two no suspension ebikes, I rode them many times on rugged terrain and they simply can not handle higher speeds on those surfaces.
To be fair, the question asked is specifically... "Do suspension forks improve safety on Urban ebikes?"

I'd agree with @Mr. Coffee that in URBAN environments, they really don't do much in the way of safety, unless you frequently hop curbs, or live in a city with really lousy infrastructure and/or a lot of street car tracks. In those cases, 2" or wider tires will do just as much for safety as a fork.

In my personal experience of 30+ years of cycling in the city, the difference between a suspension and no suspension is negligible. Having 2" tires (sewer grates, streetcar tracks) is WAY more important. You don't want to have to avoid a car door doing 20+mph only to have your skinny tires hit the edge of the tracks.

One of my ribs has been an excellent predictor of rain for about 25 years, thanks to 28mm tires. :)
 

Johnny

Well-Known Member
Your non suspension bikes that couldn’t handle off road were because of their geometry not because they lacked suspension.
Try not to make assumptions. One of my non-suspension bike is a Gravel bike with good components , I didn't say it can not handle off road, I said they can not handle it at higher speeds(25+) there is a very significant difference between going slow and fast on uneven terrain. This is not about geometry, we are talking about the same bike fitted with a quality suspension fork vs one with a fixed fork.

Suspension prevents the rider from losing control
That means it handles better(handling by definition covers many attributes). In terms of added weight, the 1-2 lbs added by a good quality suspension is negligible compared to rider and ebike's weight.

Suspension will always be better than no suspension assuming its a quality suspension with good damping.
Completely agree.


I also routinely come across very fit guys on acoustic gravel bikes going 20mph(on flat ground)
On flats I do 20mph when the motor is turned off, I am faster on my normal road bike but honestly it is neither safe nor comfortable.


In my personal experience of 30+ years of cycling in the city, the difference between a suspension and no suspension is negligible. Having 2" tires (sewer grates, streetcar tracks) is WAY more important.
You must be lucky to live in a city with good pavement as you said that makes a big difference and "Urban environment" is not enough of an indicator of what you are going to get. Where I lived, some streets were so bad that they had giant patches that are 1-2" deep and even 50mm tires would not save you from them. I had to slow down or maneuver frequently. If the pavement is broken suspension makes a significant difference even for a bike fitted with 2.6" tires.
 
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Ken M

Well-Known Member
Lot's of good points but seems to be some consensus that cheap front suspensions / forks do nothing to increase safety, just merely adds weight, slight comfort and decreases reliability. I understand the physics of keeping the tire in contact with the road but I'm just wondering how frequently the roads are so bad as to that effect being significant expecially if you have 2" or wider tires (the added air volume is certainly going to deal with most road irregularities that cause vibration).

I just started this thread because so may people were telling me how critical a suspension fork was on a urban/road ebike that has assist over 20mph. I just didn't want to drink that koolaid because I just had this sense it's more about marketing than reality.

I know I was riding an urban ebike with a 140mm air Magura fork that I would ocassionally lock out just to see if I could feel must of a difference. I couldn't unless I was dropping off a curb but that's just an occasional occurance. I switched out the suspension fork for a carbon rigid fork and I felt the bike handled better and was even a bit safer. I never thought it rode harshly unless the street was really bad but a street like that is going to make you slow down suspension or not.
 

linklemming

Well-Known Member
I know I was riding an urban ebike with a 140mm air Magura fork that I would ocassionally lock out just to see if I could feel must of a difference. I couldn't unless I was dropping off a curb but that's just an occasional occurance. I switched out the suspension fork for a carbon rigid fork and I felt the bike handled better and was even a bit safer. I never thought it rode harshly unless the street was really bad but a street like that is going to make you slow down suspension or not.
I dont think its possible to come up with an answer because like many things....it depends on so many factors like rider skill, road conditions, fork quality, tire size. Im pretty sure thats all everyone has been showing. Basically we are all giving our opinions based on our experience and conditions.

I rode with the POS fork on my Juiced CCX locked out most of the time except when I used the stock 45c tires at 60psi. When I went to 2.25F/2.1R tires and 30psiF/30psiR with locked out fork, I felt that was better/safer in every single way. I was always secretly wishing to replace that fork but instead decided to do my own rigid build which could use fatter tires
 

ruffruff

Well-Known Member
I dont think its possible to come up with an answer because like many things....it depends on so many factors like rider skill, road conditions, fork quality, tire size. Im pretty sure thats all everyone has been showing. Basically we are all giving our opinions based on our experience and conditions.

I rode with the POS fork on my Juiced CCX locked out most of the time except when I used the stock 45c tires at 60psi. When I went to 2.25F/2.1R tires and 30psiF/30psiR with locked out fork, I felt that was better/safer in every single way. I was always secretly wishing to replace that fork but instead decided to do my own rigid build which could use fatter tires
I hear ya, I have an RT Guide front fork on my fat tire and hate it. Just haven't pulled the trigger on a better one yet.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
To be fair, the question asked is specifically... "Do suspension forks improve safety on Urban ebikes?"

I'd agree with @Mr. Coffee that in URBAN environments, they really don't do much in the way of safety, unless you frequently hop curbs, or live in a city with really lousy infrastructure and/or a lot of street car tracks. In those cases, 2" or wider tires will do just as much for safety as a fork.

In my personal experience of 30+ years of cycling in the city, the difference between a suspension and no suspension is negligible. Having 2" tires (sewer grates, streetcar tracks) is WAY more important. You don't want to have to avoid a car door doing 20+mph only to have your skinny tires hit the edge of the tracks.

One of my ribs has been an excellent predictor of rain for about 25 years, thanks to 28mm tires. :)

Kind of the reasoning I have about urban riding - wider tires actually improve safety far more than having a suspension fork. I understand that a suspension fork can add a bit more comfort (at the cost of extra weight and maintenance that seems to be ignored) but I was focused on the safefy factor.

I ride my urban ebike with 29 x 2 (27.5 x 2.4 rear) tires and no suspension fork at over 30mph frequently down mild hills and I never felt less safe that I would have on a bike with a suspension fork.
 

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linklemming

Well-Known Member
Kind of the reasoning I have about urban riding - wider tires actually improve safety far more than having a suspension fork. I understand that a suspension fork can add a bit more comfort (at the cost of extra weight and maintenance that seems to be ignored) but I was focused on the safefy factor.

I ride my urban ebike with 29 x 2 (27.5 x 2.4 rear) tires and no suspension fork at over 30mph frequently down mild hills and I never felt less safe that I would have on a bike with a suspension fork.
Whats that bike light mount?, I want one. I have seen several on amazon, curious which one your using.
 

antboy

Well-Known Member
You must be lucky to live in a city with good pavement as you said that makes a big difference and "Urban environment" is not enough of an indicator of what you are going to get. Where I lived, some streets were so bad that they had giant patches that are 1-2" deep and even 50mm tires would not save you from them. I had to slow down or maneuver frequently. If the pavement is broken suspension makes a significant difference even for a bike fitted with 2.6" tires.
We must have different ideas of what the word "urban" means then. I'll just leave it there. :)