Why not suspension on a touring bike ?

RufusChucklebutty

Senior Member
Today I rode a hard tail bike with heavy panniers down a rough track and got a real pounding, so I wondered why not have a full suspension bike that can be set up to work with a loaded panniers for off road touring ?

You could just set the suspension for whatever weight you were carrying from light to heavy ?

A hybrid of a MTB and a touring bike ?
 
I toured on a no name hybrid with front suspension.
There are a few reasons why people generally advise against suspension;
  • The difficulty of attaching a rack
  • Added weight
  • Extra maintenance/issues, especially on long tours.
  • Extra energy required to pedal if suspension is not locked out.
I know nothing about full suspension bikes but I'd imagine that attaching racks could be tricky. The front suspension may need to be locked depending on the rack used.

Without wanting to get into a discussion on terminology, Bike Packing is generally the term used to describe off road adventures, usually with a different style of baggage - not dependant on racks. If you google backpacking images you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about.

People have toured on all kinds of bikes. No reason you can't on a full suspension one.
 

Pale Rider

Legendary Member
Riese and Muller offer a full sus short travel ebike designed for road and gravel which has an integrated rear rack.

Fit some Marathon Plus or other MTB tyres and you would have a ful sus short travel MTB on/off road tourer.

There's even a step through version.

I had a bash on an earlier model.

Made some sense - it held the road better than any other bicycle I've ridden.

https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/bikes/superdelite/

https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/bikes/homage/
 

andrew_s

Guru
Location
Gloucester
If any suspension is to work properly, any luggage must be mounted on the frame side of any moving suspension parts.

That basically means custom or bike manufacturer supplied racks similar to those on the bikes on Pale Rider's R+M links, or sticking with what you can carry using a seatpost rack, traditional Carradice saddlebag, or strap on bike-packing style luggage (not including any bags strapped to the fork blades). Panniers on a standard rack mounted on a rear triangle/suspension arm is no good.

In addition, the suspension adds weight, you potentially lose work on suspension bob, and the suspension is something else to go wrong when you are away from home and taking the time out to fix it would not be welcome.
 

Eziemnaik

Senior Member
Riese and Muller offer a full sus short travel ebike designed for road and gravel which has an integrated rear rack.

Fit some Marathon Plus or other MTB tyres and you would have a ful sus short travel MTB on/off road tourer.

There's even a step through version.

I had a bash on an earlier model.

Made some sense - it held the road better than any other bicycle I've ridden.

https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/bikes/superdelite/

https://www.r-m.de/en-gb/bikes/homage/
If anything, suspension touring bikes seem to be more popular around parts Europe than rigid ones
All seem to be rather well specced with mudguards, lights, racks etc
It is something of a British thing to use modified road or randonneur bikes for touring...
 
If anything, suspension touring bikes seem to be more popular around parts Europe than rigid ones
All seem to be rather well specced with mudguards, lights, racks etc
It is something of a British thing to use modified road or randonneur bikes for touring...
Well, yes, a lot of bikes used in Europe have front suspension (op specifically mentioned full suspension) but in reality, these are do-it-all hybrid bikes designed to be used in cities and on bike paths. And they do a great job, but you'll rarely see front panniers on them.
The "serious" touring bikes from Dutch & German suppliers typically have no suspension.
 

Eziemnaik

Senior Member
:okay:I have missed word full in the first post :laugh:
 
Dare I mention bikepacking? Written off by many here as right on and trendy, but there are a lot of folk using full sus and hardtails to explore rugged off road tracks. No need for racks when you can strap a multitude of soft bikepacking bags to various parts of the bike and go off-road touring.
 
Dare I mention bikepacking? Written off by many here as right on and trendy, but there are a lot of folk using full sus and hardtails to explore rugged off road tracks. No need for racks when you can strap a multitude of soft bikepacking bags to various parts of the bike and go off-road touring.
In fairness, I did mention it above 😊

I'm genuinely in awe of the likes of yourself and your adventures, less perhaps of where you can go, more the level of discomfort you're willing to tolerate^_^

I have to admit to a certain frugality, too. A decent back packing baggage set up is not cheap, needs to be complemented with lightweight (read expensive) gear and really isn't a lot of use for doing the shopping ^_^

It's easy to get distracted by "labels", especially online, but in the real world it's barely relevant. A majority of people I meet on the road who are the happiest, are the ones on the "least suitable" bikes^_^ - according to the internet.

At the end of the day, what's between the ears or beating in the chest is far more important than the bike under the ass.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
Most touring cyclists spend the majority of their lives on tarmac with their off road sections being handled by having wider tyres. That's why touring bikes are optimised for roads and have no suspension. They ride fine off road on the majority of those trails where most tourists would be anyway, old railway lines, long distance trails, canal towpaths etc. It's fair to say there's a different breed who go wilder and might need suspension of course.

I wouldn't fancy punting a heavily laden full-sus tourer along tarmac roads for any great distance... boing, boing, boing, feeling like your precious energy is being wasted with every compression of those shocks.
 
Many suspension systems require some form of servicing very frequently, for example Rockshox recommend servicing every 50 hours of riding time, which is obviously inconvenient for touring.
Service intervals can probably be stretched out a bit given the light use of on road touring but how it would affect warranties and long term durability is something to be considered I suppose.
 

Low Gear Guy

Über Member
Location
Surrey
I have done some light touring on canal towpaths and rail trails with front suspension and panniers. The thought of riding with panniers on terrain that needs full suspension does not appeal.
 
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