Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

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Stickinsect
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Joined: 13 Jun 2018, 9:06pm

Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Stickinsect » 13 Jun 2018, 9:14pm

Newbie and inexperience question.

I have a muddyfox energy 26" wheel 20" frame bike. Can't afford to replace at present but really need suspension in front as bumps in trails are killing my arms and shoulders. I don't go fast or mad, just gentle pootle around.

What I want to know is can I put a set of front suspension forks on this bike just to lessen the bump impact on my arms and if so what length would I need. Not looking to spend much money as was only a cheap bike to begin with and can't replace at moment but need something to help now as the jarring over little bumps is causing real issues. As I said it's not full off roading it's just little bumps and slightly uneven ground.

Thanks for any assistance.

peetee
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Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby peetee » 13 Jun 2018, 10:03pm

Any suspension fork will cause the front of the bike to be raised up. This may affect the handling of the bike and put you in a less comfortable riding position. You might want to consider a suspended handlebar stem such as the Girvin Flexstem. No longer produced but often found for sale on online forums etc. They work very well to eliminate vibrations and small jolts from the front wheel.
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Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

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Cunobelin
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Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Cunobelin » 14 Jun 2018, 6:13am

WHat size tyres are you running?

Sometimes a larger tyre at a slightly lower pressure, or even your present tyres at a slightly lower pressure can help

iandriver
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Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby iandriver » 14 Jun 2018, 11:30am

You'e not riding with lock out elbows are you? Make sure you have some bend in them.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

Brucey
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Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Brucey » 14 Jun 2018, 2:43pm

if you have a lot of weight over the handlebars then any jarring may be magnified; you might be trying to treat the symptom not the underlying cause. It might be a good idea to have someone check your riding position out. Depending on when it was made a 20" frame might be meant for very tall folk and if you are not that tall you might be able to get the saddle the right height but the reach will always be way too long unless you fit a shorter stem

cheers
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paddler
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Joined: 8 Oct 2017, 9:13am

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby paddler » 14 Jun 2018, 3:53pm

I added some to an old Univega Alpina MTB. They were great, but did raise the front. Only problem with that was when I did some touring. No matter what I did with the panniers, once I added a bar bag the combination introduced a horrible low speed wobble. I learned very quickly to ignore it and it was never a problem though.

Dave

Stickinsect
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Joined: 13 Jun 2018, 9:06pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Stickinsect » 14 Jun 2018, 6:19pm

Bike is only 5 months old bought brand new. I'm very tall with really long legs. I have neck problems with 6 displaced discs so any hard jolt which you get over bumpy ground kills my neck. My arms are loose and bent to absorb as much impact as I can but it still too much for my neck. I'll have a look to see if I can find the thing in the first reply which isn't made anymore.

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RickH
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Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby RickH » 14 Jun 2018, 6:33pm

There is a suspension stem back on the market but it ain't cheap - redshift shockstop - although it supposedly works well enough. :D

crazydave789
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Joined: 22 Jul 2017, 10:21pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby crazydave789 » 14 Jun 2018, 7:34pm

paddler wrote:I added some to an old Univega Alpina MTB. They were great, but did raise the front. Only problem with that was when I did some touring. No matter what I did with the panniers, once I added a bar bag the combination introduced a horrible low speed wobble. I learned very quickly to ignore it and it was never a problem though.

Dave


do you mean the shimmy of death?

from what I read up after getting it the forks are not the issue nor was the speed, it seemed to be when I set it up but it was a bit of a bugger at times and I did once wonder if the frame could take it. still experimenting with moving the bags back a bit but strapping them to the rack helped as did a few zip ties on the fork legs. a few sites say keep the weight down but them some riders only ride with massive front panniers.

for the OP you can pick up a decent second hand set off ebay and adapt them to fit. if you are lucky you can find a set with a nice big steerer tube and trim it down. if not you can get a couple of stem extensions that fit either outside or inside with a quill fitting to make it longer.

it will raise the front but often bikes are sized to take that into account, an adjustable bar clamp will take care of that.

Looking online it looks like a budget bike with a quilt stem and threaded headset so if you can find one an old girvin flex stem is actually rather good at ironing out lumps and bumps in a different way ideal for road use over forks. it will take out the bulk of the shock but doesn't have the travel of forks. back in the day a few riders used to use them with forks as well to take out the shock from bottoming out. I used to ride with one on an MTB set up for road use and a tri bar type setup with bar ends so I could stretch out a bit.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_osac ... m&_sacat=0

you should need the 25.4mm from the looks of things.

paddler
Posts: 31
Joined: 8 Oct 2017, 9:13am

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby paddler » 14 Jun 2018, 8:54pm

crazydave789 wrote:
paddler wrote:I added some to an old Univega Alpina MTB. They were great, but did raise the front. Only problem with that was when I did some touring. No matter what I did with the panniers, once I added a bar bag the combination introduced a horrible low speed wobble. I learned very quickly to ignore it and it was never a problem though.

Dave


do you mean the shimmy of death?

from what I read up after getting it the forks are not the issue nor was the speed, it seemed to be when I set it up but it was a bit of a bugger at times and I did once wonder if the frame could take it. still experimenting with moving the bags back a bit but strapping them to the rack helped as did a few zip ties on the fork legs. a few sites say keep the weight down but them some riders only ride with massive front panniers.

for the OP you can pick up a decent second hand set off ebay and adapt them to fit. if you are lucky you can find a set with a nice big steerer tube and trim it down. if not you can get a couple of stem extensions that fit either outside or inside with a quill fitting to make it longer.

it will raise the front but often bikes are sized to take that into account, an adjustable bar clamp will take care of that.

Looking online it looks like a budget bike with a quilt stem and threaded headset so if you can find one an old girvin flex stem is actually rather good at ironing out lumps and bumps in a different way ideal for road use over forks. it will take out the bulk of the shock but doesn't have the travel of forks. back in the day a few riders used to use them with forks as well to take out the shock from bottoming out. I used to ride with one on an MTB set up for road use and a tri bar type setup with bar ends so I could stretch out a bit.

https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_osac ... m&_sacat=0

you should need the 25.4mm from the looks of things.


Haha, Yes I was worried about it being dangerous! But it only happened at relatively slow speed. The problem was the short chain stays meant the panniers had to go as far back as possible so the front was stupidly light. I thought that putting a bar bag on might help, but not a bit of it - it was that that introduced the wobble. Riding through Oban to catch the ferry was an eye opener, but after a couple of miles on Mull it had gone. I assume I just got used to the feel and never induced it again. Certainly we zoomed down a long hill really quickly with no problems anyway!

Dave

crazydave789
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Joined: 22 Jul 2017, 10:21pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby crazydave789 » 14 Jun 2018, 9:02pm

paddler wrote:
Haha, Yes I was worried about it being dangerous! But it only happened at relatively slow speed. The problem was the short chain stays meant the panniers had to go as far back as possible so the front was stupidly light. I thought that putting a bar bag on might help, but not a bit of it - it was that that introduced the wobble. Riding through Oban to catch the ferry was an eye opener, but after a couple of miles on Mull it had gone. I assume I just got used to the feel and never induced it again. Certainly we zoomed down a long hill really quickly with no problems anyway!

Dave


My chain stays are quite short as well but just big enough to handle panniers. the fronts I pushed forward as far as possible and I'm not sure if that was the cause. not sure what effect a bar bag would have to the whole thing. when I let it run away to see how bad it got I was somewhat concerned and wondered how much the alloy frame did to the equation and whether it could snap and ruin my day.

plenty of mentions on line about it but few solutions if any or indeed a definative cause.

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Cunobelin
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Joined: 6 Feb 2007, 7:22pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Cunobelin » 15 Jun 2018, 6:56am

I tried teh Girvin Flexstem when I was (much) younger and suspension was in its infancy

Gave up after the first week

It worked well enough with vertical suspension, but the handlebars also had a tendency to tilt as well, so you had one side higher Han the other. Mad steering very woolly and I could not get on with it at all

Brucey
Posts: 29939
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby Brucey » 15 Jun 2018, 10:46am

Stickinsect wrote:Bike is only 5 months old bought brand new. I'm very tall with really long legs. I have neck problems with 6 displaced discs so any hard jolt which you get over bumpy ground kills my neck. My arms are loose and bent to absorb as much impact as I can but it still too much for my neck. I'll have a look to see if I can find the thing in the first reply which isn't made anymore.


I suspect that at least part of the problem may come from jolts coming through the saddle as well. Maybe you need a FS bike? Maybe a different riding position that puts more weight on the saddle and less on the handlebars? A suspension seat post (eg a good one like the thudbuster)?

cheers
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crazydave789
Posts: 497
Joined: 22 Jul 2017, 10:21pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby crazydave789 » 15 Jun 2018, 7:43pm

Cunobelin wrote:I tried teh Girvin Flexstem when I was (much) younger and suspension was in its infancy

Gave up after the first week

It worked well enough with vertical suspension, but the handlebars also had a tendency to tilt as well, so you had one side higher Han the other. Mad steering very woolly and I could not get on with it at all


can't say I ever noticed a twist even doing nasty hills every night. I found mine about right with a blue rubber.

peetee
Posts: 530
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm

Re: Adding Front suspension forks to a non-suspension bike

Postby peetee » 15 Jun 2018, 8:51pm

No twist from mine either. Only reason I don't use it now is I don't do the milage and prefer the more direct trail response of fully rigid.
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.