Road bikes are popular in the racing world. They come in different designs and models. However, speed is an essential feature when it comes to racing.
Therefore, any component not contributing to speed becomes secondary or optional.
What category does suspension fall in when the discussion is road bikes? This focus on speed is why many cyclists ask:
Does a road bike have suspension? What does suspension bring to a bike?
No, road bikes do not have suspension forks. The absence traces down to one basic fact. It is not part of the working mechanism of road bikes. The types of terrains suitable for road bikes also make suspension installation unnecessary. Hence, road bikes have no suspensions.
There are different types of bicycles for various age groups and road types. Based on their default, not all these bicycles have suspension.
The goal of bicycles for many is to get from one location to the other in as little time as possible. That is the core reason for different bicycle designs.
Very few bicycle types have suspension as part of their default design. The mountain bike is arguably the most popular on the list of bicycles with suspensions.
Some of the bikes in this category have both front suspension forks and rear suspension forks. These modes are common to full-suspension mountain bikes.
A typical road bike is an example of a bicycle with no company-installed suspension. These types of bikes pride themselves on speed and lightweight materials.
Hence, the manufacturers discard whatever doesn’t contribute to such speed or weigh down the bikes. Another type of bicycle with no suspension is the triathlon bike.
Not all types of bikes have suspension. Generally, bikes that run on pavements and bikes suited to speed and racing do not have suspensions.
On the other hand, bikes that travel on rough terrains and mountain-like journeys have suspensions.
Depending on the extent of use and roughness of road types, some bikes have two suspensions. However, front suspension forks are the most common type in bikes.
Getting a bike does not automatically guarantee to get one with suspension. So you have to be intentional in your selection and criteria if a bike with suspension catches your fancy.
The front suspension is typical in different bikes. That is because they have a simple design and working mechanism.
A spring and damper that makes up the shock absorber system. It is a system you won’t find on a road bike.
Front suspension forks act by absorbing the roughness and bumpiness of the road by displacing fluid through the tubes.
The fork moves up when the wheels hit a bump, and the spring in the suspension system ensures the effect is minimal on the rider.
However, these components are additional weight for a road bike. This extra weight reduces the overall speed of the road bike.
When you consider that road bikes are popular for racing, you realize the absence of front suspension forks. Not all types of bikes have suspension, and it is due to road use and preference.
Road bikes are famous for one activity: racing on tracks. However, many bikers use this bicycle for day-to-day activities due to its popularity and design.
However, the original purpose of road bikes is to win races. This purpose requires speed.
On the other hand, the suspension provides comfort to the rider by absorbing shock from riding through different terrains.
While it allows for comfort, it reduces the average speed of the road bike. The bike also has more weight which means the rider needs to expend more energy to move the road bike.
This contrasting contribution is why road bikes don’t have suspension. Both types of suspension reduce the speed of the bicycle type; the one thing that makes road bicycles special.
Admittedly, a typical road bike offers no comfort to the cyclist while racing. However, racers are fit and in condition to withstand the lack of a shock absorber.
Furthermore, racing is also once in a while; hence there is no severe exposure to the effects of cycling with such types of bikes.
The story is quite different for someone using the road bike for daily activities. The lack of suspension to cushion the cycling experience can have a devastating effect after prolonged use.
If you already have a bike, you might be curious about the features of your bike and what it offers you.
Alternatively, if you are in the market for a new bike, an informed decision will help you pick the bike type that fits your preference and road use.
There are different methods to ascertain if a bike has suspension or not. One method is the category input method.
The second method is the self-examination method. The first method is only effective if you are yet to get a bike.
#1. The Category Method
The category method identifies bikes based on their type. These different types help determine if a bike has a suspension.
Generally, bikes in the same category tend to have the same features irrespective of their design. Here is a list of categories of bikes with and without suspension.
Bikes without suspension are as follows:
- Road bikes
- Gravel or Adventure bikes
- Utility bikes
- Triathlon bikes
Bikes with suspension are as follows:
- Mountain bikes
- Hybrid bikes
- Fat bikes
- Tandem bikes
#2. Self Examination Method
A more reliable method of checking for suspension is the self-inspection method. Again, it is helpful if you already have a bike or not.
It is all about knowing the type of suspensions and where to look. The two significant types of suspension in a bike are the front suspension forks and the rear suspension system.
The front suspension fork uses two tubes with springs that fit directly on the wheel. The tubes provide a cushion effect when applying weight to the front suspension.
The rear suspension makes use of springs. These springs are visible, unlike the front suspension forks. The setup is usually over the wheels and under the seats.
Inspecting these bike parts is a simple step to know if it has any suspension.
A road bike does not need any suspension to perform its duty. The suspension only provides more comfort in cycling and is not essential to the working mechanism of the bike.
However, installing a front suspension fork in a road bike is possible if it becomes necessary.
This installation makes it possible to enjoy the road bike while using it for daily activities. Some hybrid bikes have suspension by combining the features of a road bike and a mountain bike.
It merges the two elements to provide a pacy bike with improved comfort.
While the suspension is not really essential on a bike, there are several pros and cons of having a suspension on a bike.
Pros of suspension in bikes
- It adds more comfort to the ride
- The shock absorber enhances cycling control.
Cons of bike suspension
- Reduction in top speed.
- The increased cost of maintaining parts.
Road bikes do not have suspension because it is not a necessary component. Road bikes have just one goal, and that is speed.
If you’re looking for our recommendations for the best road bikes under $500 check out this article!
The addition of suspension reduces the top speed; hence, they are absent. However, an owner can install aftermarket suspension to the bike. Or get a bike with suspension.