Mountain biking gives you rewarding off-road adventures, with nature as your company instead of bustling road vehicles. It can help reduce stress and improve your overall mood. At the same time, mountain biking is all about rough terrains, hills, and trails.
Unlike the usual flat roads you take on regularly, these paths might welcome you with challenging obstacles. Some terrains can cause shock and throw off your balance and control. But the best mountain bikes know the one thing that can counteract this problem: a suspension. So if you're hopping on a mountain bike, especially for the first time, you need to look into the shock-absorbing mechanism carefully.
There are different types of suspension, but we'll focus on the most efficient type for off-road cycling: a dual-suspension mountain bike. Know its purpose, anatomy, the incredible benefits, and the limitations in this article.
What Is the Purpose of a Bike Suspension?
As briefly mentioned before, a suspension is a bike mechanism that absorbs shock or impact from the ground. Thus, it allows you to ride smoothly and safely, even on rough terrains. For this reason, it's considered one of the significant components of a bike, but more so on mountain bikes. Of course, it's not the only important part, but you shouldn't take it lightly, either.
The Anatomy of a Full/Dual Mountain Bike Suspension
What does it look like? How does it work? If you're new to mountain bikes or bike components in general, these are the questions that might come up in your mind. Let's break down the anatomy of a dual or full-suspension mountain bike below.
Two Basic Elements
A bike suspension is composed of a spring and a damper. The spring bounces the bike to keep it in a good position when pressured by road impact. Meanwhile, the damper eliminates the excess energy caused by the suspension spring. These two components provide you with a smooth and controlled biking experience.
Two Suspension Placements
A mountain bike with full suspension comes with a front and rear suspension to brace both ends when a shock hits the wheels. Rear suspensions have different designs, but it's usually based on personal preference.
4 Advantages of a Dual-Suspension Bike
Now that you know how a bike suspension works, it's time to discuss its advantages. What makes a full-suspension bike better than the rest? Here are four benefits you can expect.
The Best Choice for Beginner and Advanced Off-Road Cyclists
Whether you're a newbie or an advanced rider going off-road biking, having a suspension on both ends (front and rear) is the most secure option. Since you're going to cross various terrains and experience a lot of uneven ups, downs, jumps, and drops, you need a bike mechanism that keeps you unharmed and in full control under these circumstances.
Keeps You Comfortable Against Shocks
Dual suspension bikes keep your rides easier and comfortable. However, it doesn't magically make you comfortable against rough bumps and rocky paths. Naturally, you will still feel its impact, but the dual suspension reduces the discomfort through excellent shock absorption. As a result, you will less likely get yourself hit by the vehicle or lose control over it.
Provides Relevant Speed
Mountain bikes with full suspension are fast on tough terrains, but they're not necessarily the fastest. Their speed works best only for off-road trails, which have more obstacles and weight than regular roads. A dual-suspension mechanism gets you over them effortlessly and with relevant speed.
Versatility as a Competitive Advantage
The "more is better than less" principle fits a dual-suspension bike perfectly. It's often regarded as a complete package because you can find excellent maneuverability, speed, and versatility in one system.
On regular roads, you can ride them with ease (depending on the type of mountain bike), and of course, they're much better off-road. It incorporates technologies that work in various terrains, making it a wise choice for bike races due to its capability. You might get more than what you invested in on full-suspension bikes.
Where Does It Fall Short?
As incredible as it may sound, a dual-suspension bike is still not for everyone. It's designed to work on particular bike rides and trails, as well as the rider's preference. Here are some limitations you need to know before getting a dual-suspension mechanism.
Heavier Than Other Mountain Bikes
A dual suspension bike is naturally heavier due to its complete suspension system. It's made for tougher terrains and, therefore, requires more strength from its components. Some riders might find it difficult to maneuver the bike when going up the trails or hills or even on regular roads because it requires more energy.
More Expensive Than Other Bikes
The more enhancements, the pricier a bike gets. Full-suspension mountain bikes have more complex components and systems, which adds digits to the overall price. Some start from $9,000 and above, while cheap full-suspension mountain bikes and used suspension mountain bikes for sale range from $2,000 and below (with a huge quality difference).
May Not Be Suitable for Some Beginners
There's no fixed standard for the type of bike you can use based on your skills. It means that even amateurs can make it with a dual-suspension bike. However, it also means that not every beginner can adjust well and fast to it. Depending on the individual, you might find full-suspension bikes too complicated, or you might get accustomed to their comfort and versatility.
Has an Increased Maintenance Risk
Dual-suspension mountain bikes have more components. From a maintenance perspective, this characteristic makes a bike harder to fix. Since there are more parts, you'll have a lot to repair or maintain than with a simpler bike. Still, maintenance issues may depend on the bike quality and how you use the vehicle.
On Buying a Dual-Suspension Bike: What Should You Look Into?
Knowing the pros and cons of a dual-suspension bike, you probably have a clear idea of what a good one should look like. Here are some pointers to consider for your mountain bike buying guide and add them to your biking knowledge:
- Ensure that the two basic elements (spring and damper) are present and well-functioning.
- Choose a full-suspension system if you're planning for off-road cycling.
- If your main buying factors are comfort and versatility, then a dual-suspension bike is your go-to.
- If you have issues with weight, energy, and speed, you might want to consider a hardtail mountain bike instead.
- You need to prepare a higher budget if you want an exceptional dual-suspension bike. Otherwise, choosing a cheaper one can be a risky move.
- If you're a quick learner and don't mind getting deep into complex bike maintenance, you can give dual-suspension a shot.
Like any other type of bike, a dual-suspension bike is designed for specific riders and road conditions. If you're up for a tough off-road adventure and have enough strength for it, then this is the best women's or men's mountain bike choice for you.
Choosing a bike is all about understanding which qualities match certain conditions, and then you're good to go for an incredible spin!