The short answer is: they can do.
Whether or not you want your hybrid bike to have suspension is completely up to you and is dependent on a number of factors like your budget and what you intend to do with the bike.
The mountain bike was the first bicycle to employ suspension built into its frame. While standard road bikes are designed specifically to roll along a continuous flat surface, like a road, suspension bikes, on the other hand, are designed for an uneven off-road environment to compensate for the decrease in stability.
Looking for a new bicycle can be complicated, especially if you know very little about what you are looking for.
Whether or not you should buy a bike with suspension is probably a question that has come across your mind so here is some important information for you to consider.
What do you need your bike for?
If you just use your bike on roads to commute to work then there is probably no need to invest in suspension.
Even if you have the money to spend, it is better to invest in a better all round bike with no suspension than a hybrid with suspension.
Unless you are going to be riding down the sides of mountains or jumping across rocky ledges then a suspension bike isn’t the right call, especially a cheap one.
If you plan to do a lot of off-roading or mountain biking, then suspension is a solid investment – although it is an investment that will require a lot of money.
Advantages of Suspension
The most obvious role that suspension plays is as a shock absorber, making the ride smoother and more comfortable.
Front suspension will also help hold the front wheel tighter to the ground which can massively improve handling, especially on an off-road environment.
The increased traction that comes with suspension is excellent for off-roading, but you might not find much use for it in the city.
Disadvantages of Suspension
Bikes with suspension are typically slower than those without; the increased weight coupled with the energy absorption of the shocks will have a negative impact on your speed.
Bikes with suspension are also expensive, both in cost and maintenance, and if you are going to buy one it is worth investing in one that has good shock absorption.
Cheaper suspension really won’t help ride comfort that much, so unless you have enough money to consider buying a decent set then there is probably no point.
If you are only planning to do a little bit of off road, or just want to improve your ride comfort there may be cheaper alternatives you can try.
The cheapest and easiest method is to buy some cycling hand grips and padded gloves for increased grip and support.
The next thing to consider is bigger tires as they can alleviate some of the difficulty faced on rougher ground and improve your comfort.
It might also be worth investing in a high quality steel bike frame (or carbon if you can afford it) as it will absorb even more vibrations and make the ride that much smoother.
Suspension isn’t just for off-road though; maybe you just want a relaxing Sunday ride or perhaps a family cycle trip around the local area.
If this is you, then a comfort bike might be a solid option.
As the name suggests, the comfort bike puts rider satisfaction above speed and efficiency.
You’ll have suspension and cushioned seats to take the impact out of bumps and pedaling will be a breeze.
Once long distances and hill climbs come in to play then you should start considering a hybrid, but a mountain bike will probably be a better choice.
So what should you do?
Suspension is ideal if you are planning off-road trips or rides up mountainous trails, but for anything else it probably isn’t necessary.
If you are cycling on roads and in cities then you won’t be encountering any hard corners, but your bike will be considerably heavier and your top speed will be decreased.
In short suspension is necessary for two scenarios: trekking off road and across free terrain; riding in a city with lots of pot-holes or curb lips.
If in doubt I suggest buying a bike without suspension and seeing how it feels… You can always upgrade your bike by adding a suspension fork later on.
For more information on bike suspension take a look at the video below: