What is the purpose of suspension lockout?
I'm trying to decide which 29er bike I want to purchase and one of them has lockout. I know what lockout does but I'm not sure what it is used for and if I will need it.
Update: We're good now. It's been 6 years (Holy crap) since I've posted this. I'm definitely fully aware of lockout. I've also realized my Rockshox Recon Silver lockout is actually 100% lockout since there's a buffer.
You turn it on when riding on smooth surfaces or going up hill to improve pedal efficiency. It's hard to know if you will need it in advance because without riding the bike you won't know how well the suspension design handles pedal bob (the energy lost by the bike suspension compressing under pedal forces), try and get a test ride.
Nice answer. Also, one never knows when an obstacle will come out of nowhere while the suspension is locked. That is a thing to think about (specially some systems have a "blow-off" feature that automatically unlocks the suspension in case of a harsh bump). As for myself, since the roads I ride are not so smooth and pedal bob is not so terrible, I end up never using the lock feature of my fork, since I want the suspension to always work when I need it (that's why I installed in the first place).
A friend of mine a few years ago had to spend about £200 on having his Fox rear shock rebuilt, after forgetting to turn off ProPedal before hitting some big downhilling runs... I'd like to think blow-off mechanisms are more prevalent these days, but I haven't checked!
On a 29'r you will be surprised how big the obstacle can be before you need the shocks unlocked......
So, I guess I shouldn't spend an extra $60 to get the Trek Marlin instead of the Trek Wahoo.
@macuser - Assuming you don't have the option of a test ride - unless you do 90% or more off road riding, get the one with lockout. If you have it and don't need it (assume the more expensive bike has lockout), you 'lost' 60 bucks. If you don't have it and need it, you need a new bike....
Does my weight have anything to do with lockout? and what if I jump over a curb with the lockout on? will that ruin it?