Gravel Bike - suspension or not?

I am looking for a gravel bike and trying to decide what I want for suspension features. I think I’ve ruled out anything with a real suspension or lefty fork given I want a racier/faster ride. That said, I still want something that isn’t limited off road as I already have a road specific bike. Is it worth going with something like a Specialized with a Future Shock type “suspension” or something more traditional like a Giant Revolt or Look 765? I am sure there are plenty of other options though. The range of bikes on the gravel side is quite large.

As is often the case, the answer is “it depends”. What type of gravel ar your normally riding? Just gravel roads or stuff that is more technical / bumpy?

Personally, I am a huge fan of suspension seatposts….but I am riding mostly on gravel trails that aren’t too chunky. Did Rapha 10,000 yesterday which had some rowdier sections of gravel, but nothing that require suspension, IMO. If you park up a suspension seatpost with something like the Redshift suspension stem, I think you are in good shape for most gravel.

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go in between. Get a Red Shift suspension seatpost. Put one on a CX bike and used it for my first season of gravel. Was AWESOME!

I went from a Lauf to a Revolt and honestly, I think the Revolt is cushier. I’m convinced it mostly comes down to tire size and pressure. The downside to the Lauf fork is that it has some side to side movement, which you don’t notice at all on gravel, but get out of the saddle on pavement, and it feels like the front end is moving side to side.


Why did you switch bikes?

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I bought the Lauf from a dealer. Back when they were available from storefronts, not mail order, a local dealer had demos in stock and sold me one. I wasn’t sure if I’d like gravel, and I didn’t own a hardtail mtb, so I bought the demo bike. It was a good bike. VERY light, even with the fork. Fun to ride. But, over time, it became obvious that it was a size too small for me, and I really wanted to go back to 2x. It was right at the beginning of COVID, and I found the Revolt in stock at a time when no one had ANY bikes. Almost immediately after that, someone locally who wanted to get into gravel at the beginning of COVID offered to buy the Lauf for what I had in it, so it was really a win/win.

I’ve owned a lot of bikes, some expensive beauties, but I’ve never owned a bike that generated the conversation that Lauf did, EVERYONE wanted to try the fork. When people realized they could open their beers off my front derailleur spot… man, I was popular :rofl:

If you’re good with 1x, I honestly have nothing bad to say about the bike other than the mentioned “climbing on pavement wobble”.

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Lotta guys were in Laufs at The Rift…shocker since they are an Icelandic brand. :crazy_face:

I was seriously considering knocking some of them off their bikes and stealing them last year when we were bouncing all over the stutterbumps on the backside of that course….:rofl::rofl:

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That’s a bucket list ride for me. Totally jealous.

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I have a Trek Checkpoint with Isospeed. I combined that with tire inserts and nice wide tires, so I can roll at 35 PSI. It’s extremely comfortable, and I don’t think I’d need to go much more. Its a good balance between speed and comfort, hoping it will get me through unbound 200 on saturday.

I have a Diverge with Future Shock. The thing really works. Huge difference be the iso speed on my Trek Domane.

I can’t say enough awesome things about both the event and Iceland in general……weather in the day of the race was total :poop:and it was still spectacular.

Everyone should try and do this ride……it is that great.

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Owned my first gravel bike since August 2019. Installed the Redshift suspension stem to soften road chatter. Intermittently, I was either on another bike or stem was off, I noticed the difference with a solid stem. It does make a difference.

Never been swayed to have suspension on the bike, but rather damping. Installed Vittoria air-liners and ran different size tyres accoring to terrain type. At some stages, had 28/29psi on 38mm tyres no issues going down mountain passes, fast.

Tempted but reluctant to install a suspension seat post. I don’t feel I am missing out on much.

I have ordered a new bike (Lauf Rigid Race Wireless) and intently not going the XPLR sus fork (nor Lauf fork) route, chosen to go to the suspension stem. Reason for this bike is its versatility to race like a road bike and allow exceptionally large tyres for a gravel bike. Saves building a hybrid hardtail MTB with drop bars to accommadte those long treks.

Some mates have the Specialized with integrated shock. Other mates have the suspension stem, one has the suspension seat post. And other mates have no suspension/damping of any sorts and have no complaints.

So it depends, I guess.

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I too have a future shock and it works really awesome for midwest gravel…ie. Flatish gravel. For fast and rough decents in Appalachia, the future shock is in over its head and doesnt help that much. Maybe a little help on breaking bumps.

Don’t know if you all have seen it, but there’s a new alternative to the redshift

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Just saw that Cane creek release. adds about 100 grams from a normal stem, a touch lighter than the redshift light version ( i think by 20 grams) and adjustable on the fly,
The features and ID is much better…i’d get one.

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Unfortunately, nothing longer than a 100 in the Cane Creek…way too short for me.

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Interesting. How long of a stem do you run on gravel? I’m used to see 100 or less. Is your setup super aggressive?

Yeah, I’m on a 120….a bit more of a roadie set-up. I debated between the 54 and 56 on the Aspero and Cervelo recommended the 54. In hindsight, I maybe shoulda gone with the 56, but :man_shrugging:

I love the fit / position I have, though,just a question of how I would have connected the dots.

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Ha! I’ve been there. As you’ve seen above, I bought the smaller Lauf with the longer stem and eventually switched to the bigger bike with the shorter stem because I wanted more comfort and was willing to give up some aero. I’m that guy who seems to always be “in between sizes” due to a long torso but short arms.

Has anyone tried that lefty fork or Grizl with a suspension fork?

I don’t currently have a hardtail or gravel bike so it seems appealing, but I’m not sure if it is overkill for mostly gravel roads and occasional singletrack.