Mountain bike components could replace suspension components in future
Components for mountain bikes, including those for fork and stem, could be replaced by a single component in the future, according to a new study from the U.K.-based University of Oxford.
The findings suggest that the future of suspension components could be based on the “mountain bikers” who have already been trained to ride a mountain bike.
“This is a big step in the right direction,” said Dr. Nick Beattie, who conducted the study while at the University of Cambridge.
“If you’ve got an old mountain bike, you’ll get the feeling of a suspension fork, but you can replace that with a suspension stem.”
The study, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, also suggests that the replacement of a mountain fork with a single components could help riders overcome some of the disadvantages of their older bikes.
“In terms of ergonomics, this means that we’re going to be able to move from using the standard fork for riding on rough terrain to using a single fork for on-mountaineering and riding with a bit more confidence,” Beattier said.
“It’s going to improve our confidence on the bike and improve our performance on the mountain.”
A mountain bike fork would have a lower profile than a conventional mountain fork, and would be lighter than a single-strand fork.
A suspension stem could also be replaced, Beattiere said.
The study’s findings are similar to those of a recent study from researchers at the UCL Centre for Research in Materials and Engineering (CRMEC), which found that a suspension component could replace the suspension forks in future bikes.
The researchers tested two different types of suspension forks, a single and a double, and found that the new single suspension fork had higher stiffness and increased efficiency.
The CRMEC team also used an experiment that involved a bike on a rough terrain, such as a mountain, to demonstrate that a single suspension component was sufficient.
The results of that experiment suggested that a new suspension component would have an improvement in the stiffness and efficiency of the fork, the researchers said.
While Beatti’s study found that mountain bikers could replace their suspension components, other research has suggested that they may not be able.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that some mountain bike riders, while capable of riding a mountain-style bike, could not do so with the standard forks, and therefore were unable to handle the increased power of a single mountain fork.
“What this study suggests is that in future, we’ll probably see more of a need to replace suspension, because mountain bikes are going to get taller, and they’re going the way of the bicycle, which is going to make them harder to ride,” Beathie said.
But the researchers did find that riders could switch to the single suspension forks that they had previously used.
“The fact that we were able to get these two different designs to work together in a way that allowed us to see how they perform and how they performed under real riding conditions really does give us confidence in the technology that we are developing to do that,” Beartier said, adding that it is possible that the suspension component will also be used in the next generation of mountain bikes.