PHOTO: 1888 Rudge’s Patent Non-vibrating Spring Fork
Before pneumatic tyres, springing was sometimes used to combat the hard ride provided by solid tyres: for example, a spring between the fork top and steering head was common on 1889/1890 bicycles.
The concept was resurrected in the late 1890s and early 1900s to try out suspension parts that manufacturers thought might be useful on the new ‘motor bicycles’.
In the USA, ‘cushion’ frames featured a ‘shock absorber’ type rear fork and pivot at the bottom bracket, and sprung front forks were also offered as an option. In Britain, some bicycles were designed with integral springing, such as the BSA Spring-frame.