Bike Suspension: Types and Purposes

Bicycle suspension systems are engineered to absorb impacts, reduce vibrations, and maintain tire contact with the ground, enhancing overall ride quality across varying terrains. This technology is pivotal in mitigating the roughness of the road or trail, resulting in improved rider comfort, better bike control, and increased efficiency.

The primary function of a suspension system is to allow the wheels to move up and down with the contours of the terrain while isolating the rest of the bike and its rider from the majority of the shock. This action is achieved through a combination of springs and damping mechanisms that absorb and dissipate the energy from bumps and obstacles.

Suspension systems can significantly affect a bike's performance. On rough terrain, they enable greater speeds, more control, and less rider fatigue by reducing the amount of vibration transmitted from the surface to the rider. For off-road and mountain biking, suspension is essential for navigating through rocks, roots, and drops, where it helps to keep the bike stable and the rider safe.

Moreover, suspension systems are not just about absorbing impacts. They also contribute to maintaining better traction by ensuring that the wheels retain contact with the ground as much as possible, which is crucial for effective braking and consistent power transfer from the rider to the bike. 

While suspension adds weight and can require more maintenance than a rigid setup, the benefits of improved comfort and control often outweigh these drawbacks, especially for off-road cycling. In recent years, advances in materials and design have led to lighter, more efficient, and easier-to-maintain suspension systems, making them an increasingly popular choice among all types of cyclists.

Why its necessary to have high quality Bike Suspension

High-quality suspension systems on bicycles offer numerous advantages, especially for off-road and mountain biking, where the terrain can be unpredictable and challenging. Investing in a high-quality suspension system is essential for several reasons:

1. Improved Comfort

  • High-quality suspension reduces the impact of rough terrain on the rider, mitigating fatigue and allowing for longer rides with less discomfort. It absorbs shocks that would otherwise be transmitted directly to the rider's body.

2. Enhanced Control and Stability

  • By maintaining tire contact with the ground, a good suspension system provides better traction, which is crucial for safe handling, especially on technical trails or during high-speed descents. This leads to improved bike control and rider confidence.

3. Increased Efficiency

  • On uneven terrain, suspension helps to keep the bike stable and the wheels grounded, allowing for more efficient power transfer and less energy loss. This means riders can maintain speed without being slowed down by obstacles.

4. Reduced Wear on the Bike

  • Suspension systems absorb much of the stress and strain that rough terrain imposes on a bike's frame and components. This can significantly extend the life of the bike by reducing the risk of damage from vibrations and impacts.

5. Versatility

  • High-quality suspension systems are often adjustable, allowing riders to fine-tune the setup according to the specific conditions of the trail or their personal riding style. This adaptability makes the bike more versatile and capable of handling a wider range of terrains effectively.

6. Better Performance in Technical Conditions

  • Advanced suspension technology provides improved damping and rebound control, which is crucial for navigating technical sections of trail where precision is key. High-quality systems allow for smoother handling over obstacles, drops, and steep descents.

7. Longevity and Durability

  • Premium suspension components are typically made from higher-quality materials and are designed to withstand the rigors of intense use. They often feature better seals, more durable bushings, and superior fluids, all of which contribute to a longer lifespan and consistent performance over time.

8. Safety

  • Finally, the increased control, stability, and comfort provided by a high-quality suspension system directly contribute to rider safety, reducing the risk of accidents caused by loss of control or fatigue.

While high-quality suspension systems come at a higher initial cost, the benefits they provide in terms of performance, comfort, and durability often justify the investment, particularly for riders who frequently tackle challenging terrains or who prioritize long-term use and reliability in their cycling equipment.

bike suspension

Types of Bike Suspension by place

Bicycle and e-bike suspension systems are designed to absorb shock, providing a smoother ride over rough terrain and improving control and comfort. The type of suspension used can greatly affect the bike's handling, efficiency, and overall ride experience. Here are the main types of suspension systems found on bikes and e-bikes:

1. Front Suspension (Hardtail)

  • Characteristics: Features a suspension fork in the front to absorb impacts from the front wheel. The rear of the bike has no suspension, hence "hardtail."
  • Common Use: Mountain bikes, some hybrid and city e-bikes.
  • Benefits: Improved control and comfort on uneven surfaces, lighter weight, and generally less expensive than full suspension setups.

2. Rear Suspension

  • Characteristics: Incorporates a shock absorber at the rear, but with a rigid front fork.
  • Common Use: Uncommon setup, but can be found in some specialized e-bike designs focusing on comfort.
  • Benefits: Reduces impact on the rear wheel, improving comfort and traction at the back of the bike.

3. Full Suspension

  • Characteristics: Combines front suspension forks with a rear shock absorber, providing suspension to both wheels.
  • Common Use: High-performance mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes.
  • Benefits: Maximum comfort and control on very rough terrain, better traction, and handling.

4. Dual Suspension with Throttle Control (Specific to e-bikes)

  • Characteristics: Full suspension setup combined with electronic control systems that adjust the suspension stiffness based on terrain and riding conditions.
  • Common Use: Advanced e-mountain bikes.
  • Benefits: Customizable ride experience, with the ability to adapt suspension performance on-the-fly for optimal efficiency and comfort.

5. Seatpost Suspension

  • Characteristics: A suspension mechanism within the seatpost to provide cushioning directly under the rider without affecting the bike's handling dynamics.
  • Common Use: Touring, commuting bikes, and e-bikes where full suspension isn't necessary but comfort is a priority.
  • Benefits: Improved rider comfort, especially on longer rides with relatively smooth terrain.

6. Integrated Suspension

  • Characteristics: Suspension elements integrated into the frame design itself, rather than through external components.
  • Common Use: Some modern road bikes and e-bikes, focusing on subtle vibration damping.
  • Benefits: Reduces road buzz without significantly increasing weight or complexity.

Whether you're riding a traditional bike or an e-bike, selecting the appropriate suspension type can significantly enhance your riding experience by improving comfort, control, and the ability to tackle a wide range of terrains.

Types of Bike Suspension by technology

Air suspension and coil (spring) suspension are two primary types of suspension systems found in bicycles and e-bikes, particularly in mountain bikes and e-mountain bikes designed for off-road use. Each system has its unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages.

Air Suspension


  • Weight: Air suspension systems are generally lighter than coil suspensions, making them a popular choice for riders looking to reduce overall bike weight.
  • Adjustability: They offer easy adjustability for different rider weights and riding conditions by simply adding or releasing air from the shock or fork.
  • Progressiveness: Air shocks can be more progressive than coil shocks, meaning they can be tuned to be more responsive to small bumps at the start of the compression but become stiffer towards the end of the stroke to prevent bottoming out.


  • Initial Setup and Maintenance: Setting up an air suspension to the rider's preference can be more complex and may require more maintenance than a coil system to keep seals and air chambers in optimal condition.
  • Price: Generally, air suspension systems are more expensive due to their complexity and the technology involved.
  • Feel: Some riders find air suspension to be less plush or responsive than coil systems, particularly in extremely rough conditions or at very high speeds.

Coil Suspension


  • Durability and Reliability: Coil suspensions are known for their durability and reliability. They have fewer moving parts and seals than air systems, which can mean less maintenance over time.
  • Consistent Performance: They perform consistently across a wide range of temperatures and conditions. Coil springs are less affected by changes in temperature, which can impact air pressure and, consequently, the performance of air suspension systems.
  • Sensitivity: Coil suspensions are often praised for their small-bump sensitivity and plush feel, providing a smoother ride on rough and uneven terrains.


  • Weight: Coil springs are heavier than air springs, which can add significant weight to the bike, a critical consideration for those looking to keep their setup as light as possible.
  • Adjustability: While some coil systems allow for preload adjustments, changing the spring rate for different rider weights or preferences generally requires physically swapping the coil spring, which can be inconvenient and less versatile than adjusting air pressure.
  • Progressivity: Coil shocks are generally linear in their compression, meaning they may not offer the same level of bottom-out resistance as air shocks without additional mechanical or hydraulic features.

Choosing Between Air and Coil Suspension

The choice between air and coil suspension should be based on your riding style, preferences, and the type of terrain you most frequently tackle. Riders seeking a lightweight setup with customizable stiffness may prefer air suspension, while those looking for a plush ride with minimal maintenance might opt for coil suspension. Additionally, technological advancements continue to blur the lines between these systems, with many modern suspensions offering a mix of the benefits traditionally associated with each type.

Air suspension and coil suspension are fundamental components of a bike's setup, each with distinct advantages and functionalities. Essentially, while both involve springs, the former utilizes an air spring and the latter employs a coil spring. But there's more to the distinction than just the underlying mechanics.

Both types of suspensions have seals. However, air suspensions demand more seals to confine both air and oil (for damping purposes) in their designated places, whereas coil suspensions only involve oil. This, combined with the pressure level in an air shock, means coil shocks experience reduced stiction. Therefore, coil shocks offer superior responsiveness to minor bumps as they need less force to initiate movement.

Weight is another contrasting factor. Air suspensions primarily rely on a lightweight air can, whereas coil suspensions incorporate a denser coil spring. The coil spring's weight varies with the rider's weight, necessitating heavier riders to use a weightier spring.

The adjustment capabilities also vary. Sag adjustment is crucial and is set based on the rider’s weight. For air shocks, this adjustment can be easily made with a shock pump, whereas for coil shocks, the appropriate spring weight needs to be procured.

The core difference lies in their behavior: linearity vs progression.

In simpler terms, a progressive spring requires increased force as it compresses, while a linear spring demands consistent force. Air suspensions are typically progressive, offering increased resistance as they compress, whereas coil suspensions, being linear, move more fluidly.

So, how does this affect your ride?

Different riders with varied focuses prefer one over the other. Cross-country enthusiasts might lean towards air suspension due to its lightweight advantage. Conversely, downhill and enduro bikers might prefer the coil suspension for its enhanced traction.

Beyond genre-specific preferences, the inherent properties of each suspension type also influence a bike's behavior. Air suspensions give a more energetic, responsive feel as they compress, while coil suspensions promote better ground adherence, potentially offering a smoother ride in technical terrains. However, coil suspensions might slightly compromise pedaling efficiency due to their reduced stiction.

One notable advantage of coil suspensions is their consistent performance during prolonged descents, as they don't heat up like air suspensions, making them a favorite for downhill and enduro bikes.

buy bike suspension

How to choose right Bike Suspension

Choosing the right suspension for your bike involves considering several factors to ensure it meets your riding needs, preferences, and conditions. Whether you're upgrading your current bike or selecting a new one, here's how to choose the right suspension:

1. Determine Your Riding Style and Terrain

  • Mountain Biking: Full suspension is beneficial for technical trails, providing comfort and control. Hardtails are suitable for less technical, cross-country riding where efficiency is key.
  • Road Biking: Suspension isn't common, but newer endurance road bikes sometimes feature minimal suspension or shock-absorbing elements for comfort on longer rides.
  • Urban/Commuting: Consider a bike with minimal suspension, such as a front suspension fork or seatpost suspension, to handle city potholes and curbs comfortably.

2. Understand Suspension Types

  • Air vs. Coil: Air suspension offers adjustability and is lighter, suitable for riders looking to fine-tune their ride and reduce weight. Coil suspension offers a plush ride and durability, ideal for aggressive downhill riders or those who prefer the consistency of coil springs.
  • Front (Hardtail) vs. Full Suspension: Decide based on the terrain you'll be riding. Full suspension provides comfort and control on rough trails, while hardtails offer efficiency and simplicity for smoother trails or mixed-use.

3. Consider Suspension Travel

  • Suspension travel is the amount of movement offered by the suspension, which varies by bike type:
    • Cross-Country Bikes: Generally have less travel, around 100-120mm, for efficiency and weight savings.
    • Trail and All-Mountain Bikes: Offer medium travel, around 130-160mm, for versatility.
    • Downhill Bikes: Have the most travel, 180-200mm or more, for absorbing large impacts.

4. Adjustability Features

  • Look for suspension systems with adjustable settings for rebound, compression, and air pressure (for air shocks) to tailor the suspension performance to your weight and riding style.

5. Quality and Brand Reputation

  • Invest in a suspension system from reputable brands known for quality and after-sales support. Research reviews and ask for recommendations from experienced riders or local bike shops.

6. Maintenance and Serviceability

  • Consider the maintenance requirements of the suspension system. Air shocks may require more frequent service than coil shocks, but they offer greater adjustability.

7. Budget

  • High-quality suspension systems can be expensive, but they are a worthwhile investment for regular riders. Determine your budget and find the best suspension system within your price range that meets your needs.

8. Test Ride

  • If possible, test ride bikes with different suspension systems to get a feel for how they handle and perform on the terrain you plan to ride.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can choose a suspension system that enhances your ride quality, comfort, and performance on your favorite trails or routes. Remember, the right suspension setup can significantly impact your biking experience, making it crucial to select one that aligns with your specific riding demands.

How to maintain Bike Suspension

Maintaining your bike's suspension system is crucial for ensuring optimal performance, longevity, and safety. Regular maintenance can prevent wear and tear, save money on potential repairs, and keep your rides smooth and comfortable. Here’s how to maintain your bike suspension:

1. Regular Cleaning

  • After each ride, clean your suspension components, especially after riding in muddy or dusty conditions. Use a soft brush and a mild soap solution to remove dirt and debris from the fork stanchions and rear shock. Avoid high-pressure water jets that can push dirt into seals and bearings.

2. Lubrication

  • Keep the stanchions (the shiny part of the fork legs) and shock shaft lightly lubricated with a suitable suspension lube or oil. This helps maintain a smooth action and protects against corrosion. Wipe off any excess to avoid attracting dirt.

3. Inspect Seals and Bushings

  • Regularly check the seals for signs of wear or damage and ensure they're keeping oil in and dirt out. Worn seals can lead to more significant issues, such as oil leaks or contaminated internals. Bushings, which help the suspension move smoothly, should also be checked for excessive play.

4. Air Pressure Check (for Air-Sprung Suspensions)

  • Regularly check the air pressure in air-sprung forks and shocks with a high-pressure shock pump. Adjust according to your weight and riding style, as recommended by the manufacturer.

5. Sag Adjustment

  • Sag is the amount your suspension compresses under your weight alone and is crucial for optimal suspension performance. Adjust the sag according to the manufacturer's recommendations, usually as a percentage of the total suspension travel.

6. Damper Settings Adjustment

  • Familiarize yourself with the damper settings on your suspension (if applicable), including rebound and compression. Adjust these settings periodically to match the riding conditions and to ensure the suspension is reacting as you prefer.

7. Full Service

  • Suspension components require a full service periodically, which involves disassembling the fork or shock, replacing the seals, and changing the oil. The frequency depends on the manufacturer's recommendations and how hard and often you ride. Consider having a professional bike mechanic or a suspension service center perform this service, as it requires specialized tools and knowledge.

8. Avoid Clamping the Stanchions

  • When transporting your bike or clamping it in a repair stand, avoid clamping the stanchions of the fork or the body of the rear shock. This can damage the surface and lead to seal issues.

9. Use Protective Films

  • Consider applying protective films or guards to the fork stanchions and rear shock to protect against rock strikes and debris that could scratch the surface and compromise the seals.

By adhering to these maintenance tips, you can extend the life of your bike's suspension system, enjoy better performance on the trails or roads, and avoid the inconvenience and cost of unexpected repairs.

Additional Accessories for Ebike

Enhancing your e-bike with the right accessories can significantly improve your riding experience, making it safer, more convenient, and enjoyable. Here's a list of additional accessories to consider for your e-bike:

1. Panniers and Rack Bags

  • Expand your cargo capacity for commuting, shopping, or touring. Waterproof options are great for all-weather riding.

2. High-Quality Lights

  • Invest in powerful front and rear lights for visibility at night and on overcast days. Some can be directly wired to your e-bike's battery.

3. Helmet with MIPS Technology

  • Safety first. A helmet with Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) offers additional protection against rotational motion transferred to the brain during an impact.

4. Locking Systems

  • High-quality U-locks, chain locks, or folding locks designed for high theft-risk areas. Consider locks with alarms for added security.

5. GPS Tracker

  • Hidden GPS trackers can help recover your e-bike if stolen, offering peace of mind.

6. Handlebar Mirrors

  • Improve your awareness of your surroundings without constantly turning your head, especially useful in urban environments.

7. Comfortable Saddle

  • Consider upgrading to a gel or memory foam saddle for longer rides, or a saddle designed to relieve pressure.

8. Suspension Seat Post

  • Adds comfort on rough terrain by absorbing shocks, making long rides more pleasant.

9. Ergonomic Grips

  • Reduce hand fatigue and increase comfort on long rides, especially important for riders with grip issues or arthritis.

10. Fenders/Mudguards

  • Essential for wet climates, they protect you and your bike from mud and water spray.

11. Chain Guard

  • Keeps your clothing from getting caught in the chain, a simple addition that can save a lot of hassle.

12. Kickstand

  • Especially useful for e-bikes, which are often too heavy to lean easily. Look for sturdy designs capable of supporting more weight.

13. Water Bottle Holder

  • Hydration is key. If your e-bike doesn't have a built-in holder, there are many aftermarket options available.

14. E-Bike Specific Tire Pump

  • Due to the added weight of e-bikes, having a reliable pump capable of reaching higher pressures is a must.

15. Toolkit and Spare Tube

  • For on-the-go repairs and adjustments, a compact toolkit and spare tube can be a lifesaver.

16. Smartphone Holder

  • For navigation and tracking apps, a secure and accessible mount on your handlebar is incredibly useful.

17. Bell or Horn

  • Necessary for alerting pedestrians and other cyclists, especially on shared paths and in urban areas.

18. Protective Gear

  • Depending on your riding style and environment, consider knee pads, elbow pads, and reflective wear for additional safety.

Incorporating these accessories into your e-bike setup can greatly enhance your riding experience, whether you're commuting, exploring, or simply enjoying a leisurely ride. Prioritize accessories based on your specific needs, budget, and the type of riding you do most often.


It's pivotal to research thoroughly as not all bikes are compatible with coil suspensions. The design of a bike's suspension system is optimized for specific performance, and modifying its linearity might alter its entire riding feel. Frame compatibility is also a consideration.

Ultimately, your choice should align with your riding style and preferences. Whether you're aiming for technical trail mastery with a coil shock or seeking agility with an air suspension, the right choice is based on your needs. Additionally, air suspensions generally offer more extensive and convenient adjustment options than their coil counterparts.

If you have any additional questions, come and visit us at 654 College street, Toronto. And we will show you why our suspension is one of the best in the market.

Explore more