Eurobike 2009: urban suspension

Road forks get a bit more fit for purpose?

by Dave Atkinson   September 4, 2009  

One thing we've seen a bit of evidence of at this year's show is manufacturers taking the suspension of road bikes a little bit more seriously. By 'seriously', we mean thinking about the lines of an urban machine rather than just sticking a pair of thinned down MTB forks on the front and a coil spring on the back and popping off for lunch.

SR Suntour, who are serial offenders in the mediocre telescopic road fork market, had something much more interesting to show us this year: the Swing Shock front fork. The design is somewhere between a linkage fork and a headshock: the spring is recessed into the steerer, which keeps it out of harm's way, but the pivot is behind the line of the fork, which means that the fork movement is actually upwards and forwards, which feels a bit odd.

We weren't allowed to ride it off any kerbs as it was a pre-production prototype, so we can't comment on the quality of the suspension, but the action felt smooth and the whole thing has a sturdy look. The crown is alloy, but the legs are magnesium to save a bit of weight, and the natural shape of the fork is extended to form an integral mudguard (albeit a short one) and the front mudguard has a mount for a Supernova E3 light.

The overall look is very new new urban, and it's the kind of fork that'll look mighty nice specced on the new breed of classy urban rollers we're seeing so many of at the show. As to whether it's a better suspension experience... well, we'll have to wait and see.