Cyclopedia: Bicycle Shocks (or Suspension)
Shocks are becoming more common on bicycles today. That said, they are just like any other component. They are great or obligatory for certain riding and not necessary or detrimental to your riding when you don’t need them.
Borrowed from the world of motor-cross, front shocks were originally made for mountain bikes only. Today suspension technology has not only expanded to different parts of the bike—rear shocks and suspension seat posts, for example—but is being applied to comfort-oriented lifestyle bikes as well.
Suspension forks can be used both on and off-road but are more appreciated in areas with challenging terrain. Dual suspension can provide the rider with greater control, comfort, and confidence while riding off road but might give a “mushy” feel to the ride if ridden only on a smoother surface.
Shocks are often discussed in terms of “travel,” which is the amount they can compress. Shocks can compress anywhere from 30 mm (used on casual riding bikes such as Fuji’s Crosstown hybrid/commuter bike) up to a whopping 180 mm (used on freeride bikes such as Fuji’s Thrill mountain bike).