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I recently picked up a 2001 Trek Navigator 400 with the intention of using it to commute the 15 miles to and from work a few days per week. I currently ride a Raleigh 7 Speed with 27.5x1.95 tires which is way too slow to commute with and is horrible for inclines.

The bike is in remarkable shape with little wear. I'm going to lose the suspension seat post and add some Continental Contact Urban 26x1.75 tires. I'm not familiar with the Shimano Pushbutton setup, but it shifts flawfelsssly.

My question is about the front suspension. I don't know a thing about suspension maintenance. What should I do to make this bike a perfect city commuter?

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  • answer to a question you did not pose: yes, buy a rack and panniers, it would be worthwhile to try to put a pair of aerobars as well if you have long stretches without traffic (>.5 mile or 800 meters, but always use them with care, since you have no immediate access to the brakes). Tyres: you will find your optimum comfort, please keep in mind that smaller tyres (27.5 --> 26) and thinner section (1.95 -->1.75) are already two large steps in "feeling more the asperities of the road" (all things equal, bike geometry and even the exact tyre compound play a huge role).
    – EarlGrey
    Oct 5 at 7:02
  • 15 miles each way? Oct 5 at 7:46
  • Why not try the suspension seatpost a bit to see if you like it before throwing it away? Same with the front suspension fork.
    – Armand
    Oct 6 at 0:26
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Various answer on other bike forums point to a cheap fork made by either Answer or Suntour. Its unlikely parts of service instructions are availed. I don't know what the tech behind them are, if they are a elastomer damper its likely so hard the fork does not move now. If its a oil damper its likely its an unserviceable unit, if its working, great, if not, a replacement is unlikely.

IMHO to make this bike a better (no such thing as perfect), the best thing to do would be replace the fork with a rigid fork. It will save weight and removing moving parts that wear. If the fork is OK I would however ride the bike as is, with the fork locked out (if it has a lockout).

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  • Aluminum bikes often come with a suspension fork because the aluminum frame is too rigid for comfort, compared to a steel frame. How uncomfortable a rigid frame is obviously depends on the surface you are riding on; but even in an urban setting my experience is that you encounter stretches where you'll be happy about suspension. The exception would be if the commute is mainly on well maintained roads. Oct 5 at 7:51
  • Modern aluminum fabrication techniques (hydroforming) and computer modeling have significantly alleviated this problem in reasonable quality frames, although the OPS bike predates the advances.
    – mattnz
    Oct 5 at 19:39

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