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Bicycle hard to Balance?
#1
My Wife has now started to ride with me. She bought a Specialized Hardrock for a fun way to get in shape.

After our first ride she said that she was having trouble balancing. I gave the bike a test ride and sure enough, it's hard to balance and forget about riding with no hands.

I have given the bike a look over and everything seems nice and solid. I have included a picture, maybe there is just something that I cant see? I have never had any problems in my life riding with no hands except for when I was a little kid, I just cant figure it out. Thanks in advance for any help!

[Image: DSCF1451.jpg]
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#2
for street riding, those tires are murder; but great off road.
Nigel
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#3
(06-23-2011, 01:02 AM)nfmisso Wrote:  for street riding, those tires are murder; but great off road.

She wanted the knobby tires for a more strenuous ride.
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#4
Concur on the knobby tires with Nigel's comment. I have similar on my Giant mtb that I can't ride around town due to the teeth rattling. Which reminds me, I should get some smooth tires.

Regarding you and your wife's balance issue, could it be something along the lines of being not aligned tires, or something like the stem/handlebars aren't centered with the tire?

Is it sort of like an unsteady back and forth balance issue that goes from side to side quickly? Or a gradual tilt to the left or right? At faster speeds, is it worse or better?


AndrewB
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#5
(06-23-2011, 04:41 AM)AndrewB Wrote:  Concur on the knobby tires with Nigel's comment. I have similar on my Giant mtb that I can't ride around town due to the teeth rattling. Which reminds me, I should get some smooth tires.

Regarding you and your wife's balance issue, could it be something along the lines of being not aligned tires, or something like the stem/handlebars aren't centered with the tire?

Is it sort of like an unsteady back and forth balance issue that goes from side to side quickly? Or a gradual tilt to the left or right? At faster speeds, is it worse or better?


AndrewB

When I gave it a test ride it felt like if I took my hands off the handlebars the bike would quickly turn to a side, when I did take my hands off that is what it did. I never tried riding at a high speed, the quick ride was enough for me. I have a Gary Fisher Marlin but I have slicks on it and have not had off road tires on it in so many years I cant remember what it road like with them. I wonder if the way it is designed with the handlebars being much higher than the seat has something to do with it as well?
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#6
Ye 10-4 to the above. It sounds like you just bought the bike, if its from a bike store not big box store have them check the set up. Make sure the steering bearings are set up right and greased. Spin the wheels and see if they are centered and do not wobble. Look at the frame and forks see if its straight. Check if the wheels are inline with each other with a long straight board or string touching the wheel as high as it can to get the most surface on both wheels. Make sure everything is tight.

The tires are choppy too, but unless something is wrong with them normal riding should be OK. If you are riding mostly on pavement perhaps a cross tire will serve better. I just got new tires for my MB. Its a good light universal tire. OR get more road oriented tire.

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product2_10052_10551_1075033_-1

Ridding without hands is a circus act. I lost the ability to do that . Last time I tried I splashed right in front of a police car. They thought I was drunk. :-)) Guess goes with aging and lock of practice. I was a high rigger in movies and theater, no more. Its for younger guys. BTDT. :-)))

Bike looks great BTW....
Never Give Up!!!
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#7
For me riding with no hands is a big no-no but more power to those who can and feel as if they can control the bike that way.

I am assuming that the bike is a woman's model. Has she had the bike fitted? I noticed that the saddle is pretty low, is she a short person? It just could be that the balance issue is an improper fit and riding with your knees too high is causing the issue and not the bike. Just a guess.
HCFR Cycling Team
Ride Safe...Ride Hard...Ride Giant
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#8
I agree with JohnV on the seat height. If you are not trail riding with this bike then it has to be raised probably unless you had it fitted for street riding.
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#9
Another point; the frame geometry of the bike in the picture is set up for very quick handling; in automobile terms it would be squirrelly; requiring constant attention and darting all over the place. The angle of the head tube and distance the front axle is from the axis of the head tube are indicators of this. Take look at a touring bike, notice how the head tube is more angled and the axle is further in front of the head tube axis - this promotes stability; just like more caster angle on the front suspension of an automobile.

Bottom line, this frame geometry is not suited for relaxed riding, it was designed for intense mountain biking. Take a look at the reviews: "amazingly responsive" is typical. This is a bike that it loaded with caffeine all the time....
Nigel
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#10
Yep, the seat is too low.
The saddle is short, almost like a noseless type. Your inner thighs help with stability more than you think, with a short saddle that (subconscious, automatic) control is GONE. I know this from my experience with ISM touring & Sport (awful, by the way) saddles.
A short wheelbase with aggressive knobby tires just makes it worse. If I tried to ride that sucker no-handed I'd look like a Nun dancing on marbles.
(06-23-2011, 01:11 AM)chucky_vs_alf Wrote:  
(06-23-2011, 01:02 AM)nfmisso Wrote:  for street riding, those tires are murder; but great off road.

She wanted the knobby tires for a more strenuous ride.

Lose the knobbys & go with a super heavy street tire like a Marathon Supreme, Fat Frank or Big Apple. They roll easier, but weigh a ton & take some effort to get moving.
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#11
Quote:Another point; the frame geometry of the bike in the picture is set up for very quick handling; in automobile terms it would be squirrelly; requiring constant attention and darting all over the place. The angle of the head tube and distance the front axle is from the axis of the head tube are indicators of this. Take look at a touring bike, notice how the head tube is more angled and the axle is further in front of the head tube axis - this promotes stability; just like more caster angle on the front suspension of an automobile.

Bottom line, this frame geometry is not suited for relaxed riding, it was designed for intense mountain biking. Take a look at the reviews: "amazingly responsive" is typical. This is a bike that it loaded with caffeine all the time....

I have a Hardrock, it's only "amazingly responsive" when I want it to be. What the OP has is a "twitchy little ****"

You're right about the head-angle, it's really steep full stop. Mine's much slacker on my Hardrock, try putting on some forks with a longer axle-crown length (I run 130-140mm forks, awesome for off-road) to slacken the head-angle; or run some wider bars.
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#12
Are you living in a mountain place than these tires are best for you....
As i know about the these i think there would be some problem in handle thats why your wife is having problem with balancing it
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#13
The headset is probably bad, the same thing happens to me on one of my single speeds.
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#14
My headset was bad & I got peculiar handling. Constant correction was required to ride in a straight line.
The headset felt OK but the turd that owned it before me had ridden a bunch with the headset loose. The front third of the crown race on the fork was gone. It wasn't obvious until disassembly as the freak had used about half a' tube of Automotive Moly wheel bearing grease in there. The grease was filled with metal particles. Disasterous.
That stuff is tenacious, I tracked some into the house & got some spots in the carpet which have proven almost immpossible to remove.
New headset & crown race cured the issue, but I didn't have balance problems, the bike would just wander off with a mind of it's own.
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#15
check out the length of the cables from the levers, if these are very short or incorrectly routed, they can exert a sideways pull on the steering.
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#16
Riding without hands is not dangerous if you have good coordination and you don't to it on a busy street. In fact test riding a bike with no hands for a short distance can reveal problems with the frame, fork, a wheel not centered properly, or loose headset. I'm 58 and can still ride with no hands...but track stands are more difficult then they use to be when I was young, so some sense of balance has degraded over the years, either that or I need more practice!

A bike with as wide of tires like the one shown should be easy to ride with no hands, but if you're unsure of your ability then don't do it or you may crash and burn. I've done it on both of my MTB's and road bikes. It is easier to ride with no hands if you lean back on the seat a bit and steer with your butt.

Some bikes are more twitchy then others so you need to know your bike too, though I bought used bikes and rode them no hands, howbeit cautiously, to check frame alignment before purchase. But riding with no hands is great for stretching, wiping bugs off your glasses, getting something out of a backpack if your carrying one. I do it mostly for stretching and getting circulation back into the hands and arms and rest them for a bit. Just watch where you're going so you don't hit a rock or a pothole or ridges etc that will throw your balance off and you crash and burn.

Most if not all pro cyclists ride occasionally no handed to relax a bit or celebrate a victory. But to say it's dangerous or uncalled for is hooey.
Wag more, bark less
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