How limiting is a rigid bike?

Anything specific to off-road riding.
binka
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby binka » 9 Jan 2014, 8:19pm

I have a 20 year old mtb which I still use frequently. It does everything I want it to inc belting down Snowdon at high speed. I've never had a mtb with suspension so wouldn't be able to compare. When I started mtb suspension didn't exist.
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Neilo
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Neilo » 10 Jan 2014, 7:54pm

I got back into mountain biking a few years ago. i dusted off my old rigid bike and got out there. Later I treated my self to a new bike, front sus hardtail. The differences, were shorter top tube, so more upright position. Disc brakes, much better than cantis. Teeth getting less rattled and less sore arms from not having to hold on so tight, but this was only on the really rough down hill stuff.
I turned the old MTB into a tourer, raised the bars, added racks and mudguards (The bike had all ths braze ons)
So on the OPs planned terrain, a rigid would be fine or even ideal.

Neil
If it aint broke, fix it til it is.

blackbike
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby blackbike » 18 Jan 2014, 10:59pm

Bicycler wrote:I've been wanting to expand my cycling a bit lately to include more off road riding. I have no intention of racing or going to a trail centre or anything like that, just exploring tracks and bridleways.

.....

The question is how would the lack of suspension limit me off-road? People went mountain biking before suspension. If it is mainly a case of being slower I'm not bothered about that. Is it just a case of using wider tyres and dropping the pressure a bit?


For exploring tracks and bridleways a rigid MTB will be fine.

A tourer such as a Dawes Galaxy with 28mm tyres will be fine too.

Lack of suspension will not limit you at all for your purposes.

Brucey
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Brucey » 12 Feb 2014, 8:50pm

irc wrote:A former workmate once spent a summer taking his rigid mountain bike to the summit of every Munro. So it will go anywhere though a certain amount of pushing or carrying might be required.

Doing the Inaccessible Pinnacle in Skye with rigid MTB

Image


:shock: :shock: ...is there a brideway up there then...? :lol: :lol: :lol:

Suspension brings you comfort and/or speed on moderately rough terrain. Obviously there is more weight, more to go wrong. The dream bike is one where there is no weight penalty and enough reliable suspension action to give enough comfort. It is unattainable of course, but it is fun trying.

One tip is that on very rough ground you are far better off carrying a day pack on your back, rather than on the bike, (which is the reverse of the normal situation). This goes double if you have no suspension. In an ideal world when you get to a road section, you strap it back onto the bike.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jughead
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Jughead » 12 Feb 2014, 10:53pm

My FS A1 Rockhopper gave brilliant service but was needing replaced (She was 20 afterall). Rather then another MTB I decided to get a CX bike. I have never had so much fun in the mud. I got a Genesis Croix De Fer and upgraded to Mavic wheels and Schwalbe CX tyres . Really skinny knobblies seem way better at cutting through the mud. I have not missed the front suspension at all which does surprise me :D

FarOeuf
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby FarOeuf » 12 Feb 2014, 11:14pm

Bicycler wrote:The question is how would the lack of suspension limit me off-road? People went mountain biking before suspension. If it is mainly a case of being slower I'm not bothered about that. Is it just a case of using wider tyres and dropping the pressure a bit?


back in the day we used our arms and legs as suspension. I use my Surly LHT offroad (Scotland and Pyrenees) on 28mm tyres with luggage (700c, rim brakes, drop bars, etc). I always used to use rigid mountain bikes (Marin Muirwoods, Orange P7, another P7). Never dropped the tyre pressure. But, I do choose my lines (down) with more care than the suspender-boys/girls. You can learn trail skills, which will help you a lot.

You need to be more picky with your lines on a rigid bike (though the same could be said for pot-holed roads), which will initially make you slower. But after a while you'll be more fluid than the rest of them. Understanding what makes a pinch-flat will help you too (ie whacking the rim into a perpendicular surface).

cheers,

james-o
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby james-o » 25 Feb 2014, 10:47pm

Not very, or not as much as some would suggest, unless you define mountain biking by the speed across technically demanding trails.

Most (almost all?) MTBs are designed to use a sus fork so they may feel more jarring at the front than they need to when a rigid for is fitted.
http://www.jonesbikes.com/bike_design.html - An example of how to design a comfy rigid bike - these bikes may not be that readily available or a practical option for all, but from experience I'd say the ideas work and the design is sound. Better than sound really. Worth a read for perspective anyway.
Basically, get your weight back and away from the front wheel, use bigger width and diameter tyres and consider adjusting your hand/wrist angle by using different bars to help adapt to the different demands.
Suspension is great but it's not essential, I don't use it for most of my riding these days.

drossall
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby drossall » 25 Feb 2014, 11:56pm

I don't think you'd fit a rigid fork to a frame designed for suspension, not least because suspension forks take up so much space, so the proportions would be wrong.

However, the rider's arms can be used to provide a lot of suspension, on tracks and bridleways. You don't actually need anything fancy unless you're going over real boulders and the like.

reohn2
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby reohn2 » 26 Feb 2014, 8:57am

drossall wrote:I don't think you'd fit a rigid fork to a frame designed for suspension, not least because suspension forks take up so much space, so the proportions would be wrong......

There are suspension corrected rigid folks available,Salsa and Surly both make them.

mrjemm
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby mrjemm » 26 Feb 2014, 10:22am

reohn2 wrote:
drossall wrote:I don't think you'd fit a rigid fork to a frame designed for suspension, not least because suspension forks take up so much space, so the proportions would be wrong......

There are suspension corrected rigid folks available,Salsa and Surly both make them.


Yup, am running Surly Troll forks on my P7, which I really really like, and on my Merlin Malt 2, am running corrected Kona P2s (most folk think those are ugly though with the long tube above the fork crown/below the headtube).

Bicycler
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Bicycler » 26 Feb 2014, 10:30am

I really had a older MTB in mind and these were designed as rigid bikes so there would be no intention of swapping out the fork

drossall
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby drossall » 26 Feb 2014, 10:36am

Yes, quite. Just go ahead and enjoy it. With a budget to consider, you'll probably be better off without suspension anyway, as low-cost suspension systems can be worse than no suspension at all.

I did a minor overhaul on a friend's rigid Carrera this week. Quite a nice bike.

Bicycler
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Bicycler » 26 Feb 2014, 11:06am

drossall wrote:With a budget to consider, you'll probably be better off without suspension anyway, as low-cost suspension systems can be worse than no suspension at all.

Thanks for the response. This advice is repeated everywhere I looked on the internet and yet it seems no decent entry level bikes (I'm excluding sub £200 bikes) are currently made with rigid forks. Fashion no doubt but seems like a missed opportunity for manufacturer, especially when many people swap out the original forks anyway.

As suggested upthread, I've put some sturdy touring wheels and knobblies on my hybrid as an interim measure. It has been fine for some of the local bridleways. My longer term plan I think is to sell the hybrid (it doesn't get much use) and go ahead with the old mtb idea. Kitted out as a tourer and with two sets of wheels/tyres I may have to question whether I need my other bike

james-o
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby james-o » 27 Feb 2014, 8:35am

it seems no decent entry level bikes (I'm excluding sub £200 bikes) are currently made with rigid forks.

There's a few if up to £500 is considered entry level, I think Revolution have them, Ridgeback have rigid 29er city style bikes -could be ideal- Pinnacle has a 650B and 29" entry level MTB (the 29" has a single chainring but a triple can be fitted), Charge have one also.

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Vantage
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Re: How limiting is a rigid bike?

Postby Vantage » 4 Mar 2014, 1:31am

As others have said, I started mountain biking before suspension was the norm and we used our arms and legs to soak up the bumps. The national and international mountain biking magazines even had articles and instructional how to's for novices and newbies to the sport. Nutcases like John Tomac won downhill races on fully rigid bikes in the early 90's. We even ran skinny 1.9" Panaracer Smoke Lite tyres to keep the weight down and none of that unsuspened business deterred us us from exploring the knarliest forest tracks we could find.
Fwiw my current tourer has gone on some of those trails from my youth albeit a bit slower but still perfectly capable. The only limiting factor in where any kind of bike can go is its rider.
Bill


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