Bianchi Camaleonte

Browsing through the range of hybrid bikes available in the market, you will probably ask yourself whether the suspension options offered by various models are worth considering. Indeed some makers do not really offer the option. Ranges such as the Bianchi Camaleonte or Specialized Sirrrus are aimed primarily at the more road-going fraternity. That said, what are the choices actually on offer?

Fundamentally there are two types of module – front suspension forks and suspension seatposts. A hybrid bike will not have the rear suspension found on most mountain bikes. They are not designed for the severe off-road use that a mountain bike will have to cope with.

Front Suspension Forks

Without doubt suspension forks are the most widely fitted suspension modules on hybrids. Coil-spring operated, they have a travel of around 50-60mm.

The basic package can be improved – depending on price of course. One of the best features to watch out for is “lockout”. This enables the legs to be fixed. This is great for cycling on smooth surfaces and means that the suspension does not soak up pedalling energy.

Scott is well known for fitting this type of fork to its bikes, so if you see yourself doing a lot of off-road cycling, the Scott Sportster range could be worth checking out. In the Kona Dew range, the FS model is fitted with a suspension fork as well.

Suspension Seatposts

These are fitted remarkably rarely to hybrid bikes off the shelf. Many people, myself included think that this is a surprise, given how effective they are in combatting uneven roads. Most are operated by a coil-spring, although more expensive posts use an elastomer compression system. They will usually have an adjustment to cope with different weights of rider.

The Kona Dew FS is one model that does fit a suspension post as standard. However bear in mind that a suspension post can always be fitted to any bike at a later date – just be careful to order the correct diameter.

So what are the advantages and drawbacks of suspension systems?

You’ll really feel the benefit of suspension if you do a high proportion of your cycling on poor roads or on grass or gravel. A bike with suspension allows you to head off into the countryside whenever the mood takes you.

But nothing is for nothing – a good suspension fork will not come cheap. On top of this, remember that a suspension fork will also add to the weight, and the springs will absorb some pedalling energy – so go for a fork with lockout if you can, and use it.

You can fit a suspension seat post to your bike at any time. The weight is not noticeable, and they are not that expensive.