You are on page 1of 28

2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Bicycle suspension
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A bicycle suspension is
the system or systems used
to suspend the rider and all
or part of the bicycle in
order to protect them from
the roughness of the terrain
over which they travel.
Bicycle suspensions are
used primarily on mountain
bikes, but are also common
on hybrid bicycles, and can A full suspension Mountain Bike
even be found on some
road bicycles.

Bicycle suspension can be

implemented in a variety of

An elastomer suspension stem.

Suspension front fork

Suspension stem (although these have fallen out
of favor) 1/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Suspension seatpost
Rear suspension
Suspension hub

or any combination of the above. Bicycles with suspension front

forks and rear suspensions are referred to as full suspension bikes.
Additionally, suspension mechanisms can be incorporated in the
seat or saddle, or the hubs.

Besides providing obvious comfort to the rider, suspensions

improve both safety and efficiency by keeping one or both wheels
in contact with the ground and allowing the rider's body mass to
move over the ground in a flatter trajectory.

1 Front suspension
2 Rear suspension
2.1 Suspension Categories
2.2 Soft tail
2.3 Single pivot
2.4 Four-bar suspensions without
Enter topic Horst
to look up link
2.5 Four-bar suspensions with Horst link
2.6 Unified rear triangle
2.7 Virtual Pivot Point
2.8 DW-link
2.9 Split pivot 2/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

2.10 Independent Drivetrain

2.11 Monolink
2.12 Equilink
3 Saddle suspension
4 Suspension hub
5 Terminology
5.1 Travel
5.2 Preload
5.3 Rebound
5.4 Sag
5.5 Lockout
5.6 Bob and squat
5.7 Pedal feedback
5.8 Compression damping
5.9 Unsprung mass
6 Mountain bikes
7 Road bikes
8 Recumbent bikes
9 Softride and Zipp
10 See also
11 References

Front suspension
Main article: Bicycle fork

Front suspension is often implemented with a set of shock

absorbers in the front fork. The suspension travel and handling 3/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

characteristics vary depending on

the type of mountain biking the
fork is designed for. For
instance, manufacturers produce
different forks for cross-country
(XC), downhill (DH), and
freeride riding.

Suspension fork design has

advanced in recent years with
suspension forks becoming
increasingly sophisticated. The
amount of travel available has
typically increased. When
suspension forks were
introduced, 80–100 mm of travel
was deemed sufficient for a
downhill mountain bike.
Typically this amount of travel is Suspension fork of a Trek
now more normal for cross- Fuel 90
country disciplines. Downhill
forks can now offer in the region
of 170 to 203 mm[1] of travel for handling the most extreme

Other advances in design include adjustable travel, allowing riders

to adapt the fork's travel to the specific terrain profile (e.g. less
travel for uphill sections, more travel for downhill sections).
Advanced designs also often feature the ability to lock out the fork
to completely eliminate or drastically reduce the fork's travel for 4/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

more efficient riding over smooth sections of terrain. This lockout

can sometime be activated remotely by a cable and lever on the

The shock absorber usually consists of two parts: a spring and a

damper or dashpot. The spring may be implemented with a steel or
titanium coil, an elastomer, or even compressed air. The choice of
spring material has a fundamental effect on the characteristics of
the fork as a whole. Coil spring forks are often heavier than
designs which use compressed air springs, however they are more
easily designed to keep a linear spring rate throughout their travel.
Substituting titanium coils in place of steel coils in a design can
decrease the weight of the design but leads to an increase in
expense. Air springs work by utilizing the characteristic of
compressed air to resist further compression. As the "spring" is
provided by the compressed air rather than a coil of metal they can
often be made lighter; this makes their use more common in cross
country designs. Another advantage of this type of fork design is
that the spring rate can easily be adjusted by adjusting the pressure
of the air in the spring. This allows a fork to be effectively tuned to
a rider's weight. One disadvantage of this design is the difficulty in
achieving a linear spring rate throughout the fork's action. As the
fork compresses, the air held inside the air spring also compresses;
towards the end of the fork's travel, further compression of the fork
requires ever increasing compression of the compressed air with
the spring. This results in an increase in spring rate. Increasing the
volume of the air inside the spring can reduce this effect but the
volume of the spring is ultimately limited as it needs to be
contained within the dimension of the fork leg. 5/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

The damper is usually implemented by forcing oil to pass through

one or more small openings or shim stacks. On some models, the
spring, the damper, or both may be adjusted for rider weight,
riding style, terrain, or any combination of these or other factors.
The two components may be separated with the spring mechanism
in one leg and the damper in the other.

Some manufacturers, especially Cannondale, have tried other

variations including a single shock built into the steerer tube above
the crown (also called a "HeadShok"), and a fork with just a single
leg (also called a Lefty). Both of these systems claim to offer
greater stiffness and better feel, with lighter weight - by having
only one leg, and using Needle Bearings instead of bushings, as
well as special forging techniques. Others, namely Proflex
(Girvin), Whyte and BMW, have made bikes that utilize
suspension forks that employ linkages to provide the mechanical
action instead of relying upon telescopic fork legs.[citation needed]

Rear suspension
Perhaps because front suspension has been easier to implement
and more readily adopted, it is often assumed, and rear
suspension is sometimes synonymous with full suspension.

Suspension Categories

No Suspension, also called a Rigid, is a mountain bike with no

suspension. 6/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Hardtail, Most modern mountain bikes have front suspension but

no rear suspension, these
are referred to as hardtails.

Full suspension mountain

bike technology has made
great advances since first
appearing in the early A 2002 Rigid 21 speed Trek 800
1990s. Early full Sport
suspension frames were
heavy and tended to bounce up and down while a rider pedaled.
This movement was called pedal bob, kickback, or monkey motion
and took power out of a rider's pedal stoke — especially during
climbs up steep hills. Input from hard braking efforts (known as
brake jack) also negatively affected early full suspension designs.
When a rider hit the brakes, these early designs lost some of their
ability to absorb bumps — and this happened in situations where
the rear suspension was needed most.

The problems of pedal bob and brake jack began to be solved in

the early 1990s. One of the first successful full suspension bikes
was designed by Mert Lawwill, a former motorcycle champion. His
bike, the Gary Fisher RS-1, was released in 1990. It adapted the A-
arm suspension design from sports car racing, and was the first
four-bar linkage in mountain biking. This design solved the twin
problems of unwanted braking and pedaling input to the rear
wheel, but the design wasn't flawless. Problems remained with
suspension action under acceleration, and the RS-1 couldn't use
traditional cantilever brakes. A lightweight, powerful disc brake
wasn't developed until the mid 1990s, and the disc brake used on 7/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

the RS-1 was its downfall.

Horst Leitner began working on the problem of chain torque and

its effect on suspension in the mid 1970s with motorcycles. In
1985 Leitner built a prototype mountain bike incorporating what
became known later as the "Horst link". Leitner formed a mountain
bike and research company, AMP research, that began building
full-suspension mountain bikes. In 1990, AMP introduced the
Horst link as a feature of a fully independent linkage rear
suspension for mountain bikes. The AMP B-3 and B-4 XC full-
suspension bikes featured active Horst link/Macpherson strut rear
suspensions and optional disc brakes. A later model, the B-5, was
equipped with both the Horst link and a four-bar active link
suspension featuring up to 125 mm (5 inches) of travel on a
bicycle weighing around 10.5 kg (23 pounds). For 10 years AMP
Research manufactured their full-suspension bikes in small
quantities in Laguna Beach, California, including the manufacture
of their own cable-actuated-hydraulic disc brakes, hubs, shocks
and front suspension forks.[2]

Soft tail

The Soft tail (also Softail) relies on the flexing of the rear triangle
and a rear shock or elastomer placed in line with the seat stays.
Soft tails are a variation of the original Amp Research Mac-Strut
design (technically a 3 bar suspension design). Soft tails have no
moving parts, besides the shock/elastomer, making it extremely
simple. It maintains pedaling efficiency and power delivery
because of the solid chainstays. They tend to be extremely light 8/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

compared to other rear suspension types. Soft tails are out of favor
now because of the limited rear axle travel of these designs -
typically around 1 inch. Some examples include the KHS Team
Soft Tail, Trek STP and the Moots YBB. The Cannondale Scalpel
is an exception with 4 inches of travel.

Single pivot

The Single pivot is the

simplest type of rear
suspension. It simply
consists of a pivot near the
bottom bracket and a single
swingarm to the rear axle.
The rear axle will always
rotate in a part-circle A full-suspension mountain bike
around the pivot point. with a single-pivot suspension.
Some implementations use
linkages to attach the rear triangle to the rear shock for a
progressive spring rate. Other implementations directly attach the
rear triangle to the rear shock for a more linear rate. Santa Cruz's
Superlight is such an example. The main benefit of this design is
its simplicity. There are few moving parts, relatively easy to design
and has good small bump compliance. Challenges with this design
are brake jacking, and chain growth.

Manufacturers that use a single pivot design are Trek, GT, K2,
Morewood, Transition, Orange, Cannondale, Mountain Cycle,
Specialized, Haro, small boutique frame builders such as bcd and, 9/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

due to its simplicity, many inexpensive department store bikes.

Four-bar suspensions without Horst link

The four-bar suspension

utilizes several linkage
points to activate the shock.
Seat-stay four-link pivot
bikes perform exactly like
similarly placed
monopivots under
acceleration and chain
forces, which means they
aren't as neutral under
Four-bar linkage rear suspension
acceleration as Horst-link,
four-bar bikes, dw-link, or
Split Pivot bikes. However, when brakes are mounted on the seat
stays, dw-link, Split Pivot and FSR four-link bikes have an
advantage while braking over rough ground.[3]

A four-bar, seat-stay pivot suspension is similar looking to Horst

link suspension, but having a pivot above the drop out instead of
in front of the drop out (ie no Horst link and no patent problem).
Having the pivot in front of the drop out (i.e. on the chain stay)
allows the linkage components to affect the path of the rear axle,
thereby allowing for a more complex arc of the axle path. Placing
the pivot on the seat stay (above the drop out) makes the rear axle
travel path like that of a single-pivot bike, since the chain stay is
the only component that affects the rear axle's arc. 10/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

One manufacturer well known for their long-time use of the seat-
stay pivot four-bar link suspension is Kona, who incorporate the
design on their entire line-up, along with other manufacturers such
as Infiza and Icon.

Four-bar suspensions with Horst link

A Horst link suspension

has one pivot behind the
bottom bracket, one pivot
mounted at the chain stay,
in front of the rear wheel
drop-out (this pivot being
the venerated "Horst

FSR rear suspension

), and one at the top of the seat stay. Some examples of Horst link
four-bar designs include the now-discontinued AMP B-5, the
Specialized FSR and related bikes, Ellsworth, KHS, Titus, and

The bike company Specialized worked with Leitner Technologies

to develop a heavier-duty version of the four-bar/Horst link
suspension which was marketed as the Specialized FSR. The FSR
patent describes a four-bar bicycle suspension system with the rear
wheel mounted to the seatstay. The rear pivot though, is located on 11/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

the chainstay both in front of and below the rear axle. Through this
pivot positioning, the popular FSR system works by providing a
wheel path that helps prevent the suspension preload or unload
(squatting and locking) during acceleration and braking. The
design is regarded by some as superior to single-pivot/four-bar
system due to other designs having a wheel path that either squats
or "locks", depending on the position of the swingarm. The FSR
system uses a wheel path that is in the middle of either squatting
and lockout throughout most of the travel (circular, like single
pivots). The FSR proved popular, and became a standard for full
suspension designs, although recent innovations from competitors
have set the company back. Specialized bought several of Leitner's
patents in May 1998 and other manufacturers must now pay
license fees to Specialized for the use of the 'Horst link'
suspension design. The Horst link suspension design is the most
leased or "borrowed" suspension design. It is very popular with
companies such as Norco, Ellsworth, Chumba, KHS, and Fuji.[4]

In 2003 Specialized introduced the Brain, an external inertia valve

designed to effectively eliminate pedal bob. The system utilizes a
brass weight inside a cylinder situated atop the non-drive-side
chainstay, near the rear dropout, and connected to the shock
directly or through a hose. The weight closes the shock valving and
deactivates the rear shock at rest. Upward force from rough terrain
displaces the weight, opening the valve and engaging the
suspension. In the original Brain mechanism, when the terrain
evens out, the weight returns to its original position through a
return spring, and deactivates the shock again. The position of the
weight near the rear axle is designed to prevent downward 12/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

pedaling force from affecting the mechanism while optimizing

response from terrain. A newer version of the Brain was developed
that utilizes the rebound hydraulic fluid flow to return the weight
to its rest position instead of relying on a return spring. This was
developed to address a noticeable delay in the shock

Unified rear triangle

The "Unified rear triangle" or "URT" for short, keeps the bottom
bracket and rear axle directly connected at all times. The pivot is
placed between the rear triangle and the front triangle so that the
rear axle and bottom bracket move as one piece, and the saddle and
handlebars move as another piece. This simple design uses only
one pivot, which keeps down the number of moving parts. It can be
easily modified into a single-speed, and has the benefit of zero
chain growth and consistent front shifting. On the other hand,
when the URT rider shifts any weight from the seat to the pedals,
he or she is essentially standing on the swingarm, resulting in a
massive increase in unsprung weight, and as a result the
suspension tends to stop working. During braking, riders naturally
brace themselves on the pedals,[citation needed] and combined with
brake dive leads to more severe pitching, sometimes called
"stinkbugging".[citation needed] Because of lockout and pitching,
along with persistent suspension bob in low-pivot URTs, and a
constantly changing saddle-to-pedal distance, the URT design has
fallen out of favor in recent years.[6]

Examples of bike with this kind of suspension include the 13/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Castellano Zorro, Catamount MFS, Ibis Szazbo, Klein Mantra,

Schwinn S-10, Trek Y, and Voodoo Canzo.

Virtual Pivot Point

The Virtual Pivot Point or VPP, is a linkage designed bike frame

that is built to activate the suspension differently depending on
what inputs the suspension has received. The "Virtual Pivot Point"
system owned by Santa Cruz Bicycles, Inc is protected by four US
patents, three of which were originally issued to Outland Bicycles.
The four patents cover a specific linkage configurations that are
designed to aid the pedaling performance of a rear suspension bike
without negatively affecting the overall bump absorption
capabilities. The Santa Cruz Blur and V-10 models introduced in
2001 popularized "dual short link" type suspension systems, but
have the unique characteristic of having links that rotate in
opposite directions. VPP suspension is also licensed to Intense


Main article: DW-link

Dave Weagle's dw-link

suspension is claimed by
many cycling media and
user reviews at consumer
sites like to be
the pinnacle of cycling 14/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

suspension performance Diagram of the dw-link suspension,

today. The dw-link design as implemented on an Iron Horse
is protected by patents in Sunday, showing the location of the
the USA and Europe, with virtual pivot point
patent coverage in more
countries than any other bicycle suspension in existence today.
The dw-link is licensed to Ibis, Independent Fabrication, Turner
Suspension Bicycles, and Pivot Cycles.[7]

Split pivot

DW-Link inventor David Weagle applied for patents on a

concentric rear axle pivot rear suspension system called Split
Pivot in 2006.[8] The Split Pivot design was awarded it's first
patent in the USA on May 18, 2010, US Patent 7,717,212. The
Split Pivot suspension is also described in patent applications in
the USA (US2008/006772 A1 and US 2008/00738 A1) and
Europe (WO2008/027277 A2).[9][10]

The Split Pivot System was designed to allow the separation of

braking and acceleration forces in a bicycle suspension. As with
Dave's dw-link design, the Split Pivot design has been licensed
within the bicycle industry, with licensing companies releasing
new models in 2010 and beyond. In June 2010, speculation that
Cycles Devinci from QC, Canada would be a Split Pivot partner
was confirmed on the cycling news site

After Mr. Weagle's patent applications were filed, Trek Bicycle

Corporation released a version of the Split Pivot design called 15/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

active braking pivot (ABP) in early 2007. In identical fashion to

the Split Pivot design, the ABP system uses a rear pivot concentric
to the rear axle. Trek's design allowed their new full suspension
system to look very similar to previous models, but dramatically
improved their ride quality. ABP reduces brake feedback that is
typically felt by the rider as suspension stiffening. This allows the
suspension to remain active while braking — hence the term,
active braking pivot.

Split Pivot patent applications predate all patent applications filed

by Trek.[9][10]

Trek also introduced a full floater system to go along with the

ABP. The full floater system mounts the rear shock to two moving
points in the suspension (rocker link and an extension of the
chainstay). Other systems mount the shock to one end on the
swing-arm, and the other to a fixed mount on the frame. This
means as one part of the suspension compresses the shock, the
other end of the shock moves as well. This allows Trek engineers
more freedom to more accurately and precisely tune the system's
leverage ratio. This functionality is also described in David
Weagle's Split Pivot patent applications.[10]

Independent Drivetrain

The Independent Drivetrain (AKA IDrive) Pat # 6,099,010 /

6,073,950, was the 4th commercialized suspension design
developed by pioneering MTB suspension designer Jim Busby Jr.
The independent drivetrain system was a direct result of the 16/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

limitations encountered with the GT LTS (links tuned suspension)

4 bar linkage design used by GT Bicycles from 1993 to 1998. The
defining feature of Independent Drivetrain is the isolation of the
bottom bracket (crank) from the front or rear triangle. This
isolation allows the BB to move in such a manner as to neutralize
the unwanted characteristics of chain growth at the pedal. Some
may call this a "modified URT" but in reality it is a highly
reconfigured 4 bar if examined theoretically. By using this isolated
BB construction, pedal forces do not induce undesired suspension
compression or extension nor does suspension activity produce
pedal actuation through chain growth.


The "Monolink" made by Maverick Bikes uses 3 pivot points and

places the bottom bracket on a floating linkage between the front
and rear triangle. It was designed by Paul Turner. It is a licensed
variant of the Independent Drivetrain suspension system Pat #
6,099,010 / 6,073,950. The monolink design varies from the
Independent Drivetrain original design in that it uses a shock body
that is integrated into the rear triangle, and that the saddle to
bottom bracket distance changes as the suspension is compressed,
although not as large as a URT design. The suspension is more
active when in the saddle, as pressure on the cranks actively works
against the suspension. However, because of this property, there is
less bob in out of the saddle sprints. The monolink design is also
unique in having a rearward axle path, which is similar to the angle
of attack of the front suspension. Examples are the Maverick
ML7/5, ML8, Klein Palomino, and Seven Duo. 17/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…


The "Equilink"
system was
developed by
Felt Bicycles
for their full
line. The
system is a
style six-bar" The Optima Stinger recumbent with rear
suspension suspension
system:[11] the
Equilink ties the lower link (between the rear triangle and main
frame) to the upper rockers. Felt contends that this system
"equalizes" movement of the suspension in response to chain
forces by linking the motion of the upper and lower linkages.[12]
Some, however, argue it works on the same principle of the dw-
link; that is it creates a dropping rate of chain growth as it moves
through its travel.[citation needed]

Saddle suspension
Suspension may be added at the saddle either with a suspension
saddle or a suspension seatpost.

This style of suspension is the oldest, cheapest, and simplest, but 18/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

it is also the least effective

as all of the bicycle's
weight is unsprung weight.

Suspension hub
Suspension may be
provided in the hub of a
bicycle wheel.[13] One
manufacturer offers 12 mm
to 24 mm of travel.
A leather suspension saddle by
Terminology Brooks England mounted on a
suspension seatpost.
Several terms are
commonly used to describe different aspects of a bicycle


Travel refers to how much movement a suspension mechanism

allows. It usually measures how much the wheel axle moves.


Preload refers to the force applied to spring component before

external loads, such as rider weight, are applied. More preload
makes the suspension sag less and less preload makes the 19/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

suspension sag more. Adjusting preload affects the ride height of

the suspension.


Rebound refers to the rate at which the suspension component

returns to its original configuration after absorbing a shock. The
term also generally refers to rebound damping or rebound
damping adjustments on shocks, which vary the rebound speed.
More rebound damping will cause the shock to return at a slower


Sag refers to how much a suspension moves under just the static
load of the rider. Sag is often used as one parameter when tuning a
suspension for a rider. Spring preload is adjusted until the desired
amount of sag is measured.


Lockout refers to a mechanism to disable a suspension mechanism

to render it substantially rigid. This may be desirable during
climbing or sprinting to prevent the suspension from absorbing
power applied by the rider. Some lockout mechanisms also feature
a "blow off" system that deactivates the lockout when an
appropriate force is applied to help prevent damage to the shock
and rider injury under high unexpected loads. 20/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Bob and squat

Bob and squat refer to how a suspension, usually rear, responds

to rider pedalling. Squat usually refers to how the rear end sinks
under acceleration, and bob refers to repeated squat and rebound
with each pedal stroke. Both are undesirable characteristics as they
rob power from pedalling. Many suspension systems incorporate
anti-bob, anti-squat, or "platform" damping to help eliminate

Pedal feedback

Pedal feedback describes torque applied to the crankset by the

chain caused by motion of the rear axle relative to the bottom
bracket.[14] Pedal feedback is caused by an increase in the distance
between the chainring and rear cog, and it can be felt as a torque
on the crankset opposite to forward pedalling.

Compression damping

Compression damping refers to systems that slow the rate of

compression in a front fork shock or rear shock. Compression
damping is usually accomplished by forcing a hydraulic fluid
(such as oil) through a valve when the shock becomes loaded. The
amount of damping is determined by the resistance through the
valve, a higher amount of damping resulting from greater resistance
in the valve. Many shocks have compression damping adjustments
which vary the resistance in the valve. Often, lockouts function by
allowing no compression. 21/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Unsprung mass

Main article: Unsprung mass

Unsprung mass is the mass of the portions of bicycles that is not

supported by the suspension systems. At one extreme are road
bicycles with no suspension in the frames, very little in the tires,
and none in the saddles. By raising themselves off their saddles,
riders may provide suspension with their knees, making their mass
be sprung mass, but all of the mass of the bicycles remains
unsprung mass. At the other extreme are full suspension
mountain bikes. With front and rear suspensions the only parts
unsuspended are the wheels and small parts of the front forks and
rear chain-stays. Even then, as mountain bikes have large low-
pressure tires which allow much more travel than small high-
pressure road tires, the wheels are sprung to some extent as well.

In general, bikes are so light compared to their riders that travel is

a much bigger motivator than unsprung mass in determining where
to put the suspension and how much to use. The exception to this
is that on recumbent and tandem bicycles where the riders are
either unable to lift themself out of their seat or unable to see in
advance when that will be needed, the riders' mass can no longer
be expected to be supported by their knees over road irregularities.
These bicycles generally have some sort of suspension system to
reduce unsprung mass.

Mountain bikes 22/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Many newer mountain

bikes have a full
suspension design. In the
past, mountain bikes had a
rigid frame and a rigid fork.
In the early 1990s,
mountain bikes started to
have front suspension Rear suspension of a Trek Fuel 90
forks. This made riding on
rough terrain easier on a rider's arms. The first suspension forks
had about 1½ to 2 inches (38 to 50 mm) of suspension travel.
Soon after, some frame designers came out with a full suspension
frame which gave riders a smoother ride throughout the ride.

Newer suspension frame and fork designs have reduced weight,

increased amount of suspension travel, and improved feel. Many
lock out the rear suspension while the rider is pedaling hard or
climbing, in order to improve pedaling efficiency. Most
suspension frames and forks have about 4-6 inches (100-150 mm)
of suspension travel. More aggressive suspension frames and forks
made for downhill racing and freeriding have as much as 8 or
9 inches (200 or 230 mm) of suspension travel.

Many riders still prefer to ride a hardtail frame, and almost all
mountain bicycle riders use a suspension fork. Well-known
suspension fork manufacturers include Manitou, Marzocchi, Fox
Racing Shox, Rock Shox, and (to a lesser extent) Suntour, RST,
Magura, White Brothers, DT Swiss and Maverick. Some Cycle
manufacturers (notably Cannondale and Specialized) also make
their own suspension systems to fully complement and integrate 23/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

the bike set-up.

Road bikes
Although much less common, some road bicycles do incorporate
suspensions, particularly the Soft Tail variety mentioned above.
One example is Trek Bicycle Corporation's s.p.a (Suspension
Performance Advantage) rear suspension, offered on some of their
Pilot models, but the system was removed for the 2008 model year.
Virtually all bicycles produced by Alex Moulton bicycles also
have very effective full suspension, due to the low unsuspended
mass of the small wheels and high pressure tires, a characteristic of
the unconventional design of these bicycles.

Recumbent bikes
Many recumbent bicycles have at least a rear suspension because
the rider is usually unable to lift themselves off of the seat while
riding. Single pivot is usually adequate when the pedaling thrust is
horizontal - that is, forwards rather than downwards. This is
usually the case provided the bottom bracket is higher than the
seat's base height. Where the bottom bracket is significantly lower
than the seat base, there may still be some pedalling-induced

Short-wheelbase recumbents benefit from front suspension,

because the front wheel is often smaller than the rear wheel and
bumps are unduly felt without it. 24/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Softride and Zipp

The Softride Suspension System was launched at the Interbike
1989 bike show. The original SRS systems consisted of two foam
filled fiberglass boxes bonded together with a viscoelastic layer.
Originally intended for the use in mountain bikes, Softride
produced its first full-fledged mountain bike, the PowerCurve, in
1991. During 1996 Softride released its first aluminum frame road
bike, the Classic TT. The Softride Suspension System is used
almost exclusively for triathlon racing. Softride ceased bicycle
production in 2007.[15]

A very closely related suspension design to the Softride is the Zipp

2001, a contemporary competing beam bicycle, where the
suspension was in the hinge, rather than in flex of the beam itself.

See also
Bicycle and motorcycle dynamics
Bicycle fork
Bicycle frame
Hybrid bicycle
Motorcycle fork
Mountain bike
Recumbent bicycle
Road bicycle
Suspension (motorcycle) 25/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Suspension (vehicle)

1. ^ "SUPER MONSTER 2003"
ggetto=56226) .
ggetto=56226. Retrieved 2008-12-23.
2. ^ AMP Research > History (http://amp-
3. ^ Everything Bicycling - Suspension – the inns and outs
4. ^ "Scott USA Genius"
( .
Retrieved 2009-03-15.
5. ^ "Specialized Suspension Sciences"
ml) .
ml. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
6. ^ "Mountain Bike Rear Suspension Design: High Pivot URTs"
( .
Retrieved 2008-03-14.
7. ^ "dw-Link" ( . 26/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

Retrieved 2009-03-15.
8. ^ "Split Pivot" ( . http://www.split- Retrieved 2009-03-15.
9. ^ a b "US Patent & Trademark Office, Patent Application Database:
20080067772" (
2&OS=20080067772&RS=20080067772) .
2&OS=20080067772&RS=20080067772. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
10. ^ a b c "US Patent & Trademark Office, Patent Application
Database: 20080073868" (
=20080073868&RS=20080073868) .
=20080073868&RS=20080073868. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
11. ^ Huang, James (September 25-29, 2006). "Felt Equilink design
offers another viable rear suspension alternative"
id=results/interbike064) .
id=results/interbike064. Retrieved 2009-04-17. 27/28
2/17/2011 Bicycle suspension - Wikipedia, the fre…

12. ^ "Equilink Suspension Overview"

catid=1540,1730&pageid=809) .
catid=1540,1730&pageid=809. Retrieved 2009-04-17.
13. ^ "VeloVision Issue 10" (
bin/ .
storynum=507. Retrieved 2009-10-06.
14. ^ a b Phillips, Matt (April 2009). "You Don't Know Squat".
Mountain Bike (Rodale): 39–45.
om/about_softride.asp) . Archived from the original
( on 2007-01-01.
om/about_softride.asp. Retrieved 2007-01-18.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Cycling equipment | Cycle types

This page was last modified on 16 February 2011 at 00:13.

Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-
ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. See Terms
of Use for details.
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. 28/28