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Gravel bikes are a great alternative to road bikes for those looking for a bike that is more relaxed and more comfortable when spending long periods in the saddle. However, many people are hesitant to buy a gravel bike because they don’t believe they will be able to ride them comfortably, especially when riding on gravel tracks and rough terrain, where suspension is normally needed. If a gravel bike is supposed to be a good marriage between road and mountain bikes, do gravel bikes have suspension? If not, why not? In this guide, I will try to answer these and other gravel bike related questions.
For those looking for a quick answer…
Gravel bikes don’t normally come with suspension as the forks, frame and wheels are designed to be able to absorb the bumps and rough surfaces you will be riding on. However, if you want to ride on very rough terrain, you might want to add some suspension forks, although these will add weight to the bike.
Want to learn more? Then read on.
Do Gravel Bikes Have Suspension?
Gravel bikes are becoming a more popular option for cyclists looking for a versatile bike that can handle a variety of terrain. These bikes have wider tires that provide more traction and they often have disc brakes, which are better at stopping in wet or muddy conditions. But do gravel bikes have suspension?
The answer is not as clear-cut as it might seem. While some gravel bikes do come with suspension, usually they don’t. And even within the category of gravel bikes with suspension, there is a wide range of options when it comes to the type and amount of suspension. Some gravel bikes have full-suspension systems while others have just front or rear suspension.
On the whole, what makes a gravel bike a gravel bike is that they are built for speed on gravel surfaces and suspension forks are more about comfort than speed, therefore most gravel bikes will not come with suspension forks and will have rigid forks.
Why Do Gravel Bikes Have Rigid Forks?
Some people might wonder why gravel bikes have rigid forks when suspension forks are available. The answer is that suspension forks are not necessary for gravel biking. In fact, they can actually be a hindrance because they add weight and can make the bike less agile.
Rigid forks are lighter and more responsive than suspension forks, which makes them better suited for gravel biking. They also help to keep the bike stable on rough terrain, which is important when riding on unpaved roads.
Can You Add Suspension to A Gravel Bike?
There are a few different schools of thought on the matter, but the general consensus seems to be that it is possible to add suspension to a gravel bike. Some people argue that it’s not necessary because gravel roads aren’t usually very bumpy, but others maintain that adding suspension can make your ride more comfortable and efficient.
There are a few different ways to go about adding suspension to a gravel bike. You can either buy a complete gravel bike with suspension already built-in, or you can add suspension components to your existing bike.
If you decide to go with the first option and buy a gravel bike with suspension, there are a few different brands that offer bikes with this feature. Some of the most popular brands are Salsa, Specialized, and Trek.
Do I Need a Suspension Fork?
There is no definitive answer to this question as everyone’s needs and preferences vary. However, a suspension fork can provide a smoother ride on bumpy surfaces, which can be especially helpful if you frequently ride on unpaved trails or roads.
Additionally, a suspension fork can help absorb some of the shocks from pedalling, which can be beneficial if you are someone who pedals hard when you ride.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to get a suspension fork comes down to personal preference and what type of riding you plan to do most often.
So there you go, gravel bikes generally do not have suspension. While some may have features that resemble suspension, they are not the same. Gravel bikes are designed for a different type of riding, and suspension would actually be a hindrance on the trails and roads that they are meant to ride on. If you are looking for a bike with suspension, then a gravel bike is not the right choice for you.
Andy is an avid cyclist who enjoys nothing more than a ride out in the hills. Competing in track, road, time trial and mountain bike events in the past, he prefers slower rides out with his family these days.