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Hands Free Riding
#1
Recently I have been doing maintenance on my bikes. I re lubed the steering head and as a test I tried riding with my hands off the bars.

No way, the bike was very squirmy. This is a Mountain Bike. I just put new 1.5 tires on it that are more road oriented and there was no change in tracking from my MB tires.

I remember as a kid riding hands off with my old road type bikes but no way now. Whats up with that?
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#2
If you fit a narrower tyre you also reduce the overall radius of the wheel, which has the effect of reducing the trail, making the steering quicker and more twitchy. On large 700c wheels where the difference in overall radius between a 700x25c and a 700x35c is only going to be a few millimeters you may not detect the handling change. However, going from a fat 2" tyre with raised tread to a slick 1.5" tyre on a smaller 26" rim, the change to the trail and the effect on handling might be more noticeable.

Here's an explanation of Rake and Trail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_geometry

The bikes you rode as a kid probably had quite lazy, shallow head angles, to make the handling safe and slow for less experienced riders.
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#3
Actually the former fat tires were as twitchy as the narrower ones. Thats not to say they are bad. Need to go on a longer ride to test rolling .
My old road bike had narrower tires was more beat up and I was able to ride hands free. Maybe MB has different steering geometry or I was a lot more balanced back then. :-)))
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#4
The width of the tryes, doesn't really effect the twitchiness, it's mainly the trail, which is effected by the head angle and the rake in combination with the wheel radius.

A long stem can also make the steering feel a bit odd as it becomes a bit like the tiller on a boat, if you see what I mean, that wouldn't explain why it effects riding no-handed though.

What mountain bike is it? Does it have front suspension, or did it originally? If you're front suspension forks are too soft and the bike rides too low, it's like having shorter forks, which will make the head angle steeper, reduce the trail and make the steering quicker. Similarly, if you fit rigid forks to an MTB frame designed for suspension forks, you need some that have an axle to crown length similar to the suspension fork in the neutral position, otherwise once again you have forks that are too short and make the head angle steeper etc.
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#5
I have the problem, too. I was never able to go hands-free very long on my old Trek Antelope. However, the old Peugeot road bike I have, I can seem to ride for blocks hands free. I have always wondered why that was and thought maybe it was just me, but maybe it is not.
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#6
Just don't text and ride. Saw this kid free handing with both hands on his cell obviously texting and ran right into the curb. Ouch threw him from his bike but he was ok just shaken up when I checked on him. Broke his cell.


Bill
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#7
(06-03-2010, 10:01 PM)GeorgeET Wrote:  I remember as a kid riding hands off with my old road type bikes but no way now. Whats up with that?

Yeah, I had the same type of memories, I recall it being so easy!
I can still do it now, but my success varies from day to day. On my Cannondale 29er with mildly bumpy tires (Continental race-kings), on a good day I can go a couple of blocks, but frequently it's only 20 feet or so.
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#8
YE OK. Pheww it aint me getting unbalanced its the mountain bike vs road bike.
While I cannot go more than a few feet hands free on a MB, I just rode a 1985 Fuji del rey road bike I may buy. I can ride it hands free no problem.

Been trying to find a nice vintage Schwinn RB like Le Tour or Superior but they are all to damn tall for me. Shees. Need 21".
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#9
haha, i text all the time hands free on mine. as long as i'm in a parking lot or an empty road, i'll do it... maybe its not the safest thing, but whatever lol
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#10
A worn headset can affect handling especially if the races are pitted.
But you say you've re-lubed yours so I would have thought you would have detected any roughness.
[font=Trebuchet MS]Ride hard or ride home alone![/font]
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#11
(06-04-2010, 06:55 PM)buzz Wrote:  I have the problem, too. I was never able to go hands-free very long on my old Trek Antelope. However, the old Peugeot road bike I have, I can seem to ride for blocks hands free. I have always wondered why that was and thought maybe it was just me, but maybe it is not.

A little off topic here but,
Like your latest blog.
Good maintenance to your Bike, can make it like the wheels are, true and smooth!
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#12
I tried hands free riding with several MB bikes. I think that the steering geometry for quicker response needed in rough and probably shorter wheelbase (same reason) makes that difficult.

With a road bikes narrower tires and geometry laid out for straight ahead riding on roads they track better hands free and are not as squiggly as MB. IMO.

AS per my headset cycler UK yes its serviced and greased like the rest of my bike, and in good shape. Sure loosened up after my first ride, should have taken the wrench with me to readjust.

What bike are you talking about ou2mame?

Will go for a longer test ride on the 1985 Fuji del Rey to see if I can survive road bikes. :-)) Nice that my MB bike has aluminum frame its listed as 26.9 lbs.(I have added 10lbs of gear) The 24.6 lbs steel frame Fuji has lots of rust spots.
Non Stainless Steel spokes rust quickly by the beach.

Finally some sunshine here by the beach. For those that do not know California has several climate zones you can sun by the beach and ski in 8,000' mountains 50 miles inland. When the weather inland gets hot it draws the foggy marine layer in that hangs sometimes just a few blocks of the beach and mostly a few miles while its hot and sunny after that.

No idea what you are talking about Bill..........
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#13
i have an 05 hardrock, no problem riding hands free. i just greased my headset last week also. i don't know why people find it so difficult on a mtb. as long as i've ridden the bike for a little bit and know the handling, its not difficult. my shoulder is a mess, so when i'm going for long rides i like to stretch out and lean back.
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#14
Good for you . Ye half of it is me needing to practice for the circus . I did get one good run on the Fuji . But than scared myself, not doing it again, :-)))

Its funny you stretching out on your bike. I do that on my motorcycle at 90mph. Another thing I should not do. It tracks very straight.


Rode the Fuju del rey. Interesting riding a road bike again very different and precise. Very light quick handling. Its still working good after all these years. Nice frame and components, SS spokes would have bean great. 24.6 lbs I weighted it. Nice.

I checked and my MB has a 43'' wheelbase and the RD has 40''. So the RD is shorter but it tracks good straight ahead.

http://www.classicfuji.com/DelRey_1986_Page.htm
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