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  1. #1
    A Lost Member aluckyfiji's Avatar
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    loose and looping steering...

    (I also have it posted in the road bike selection, but no luck so far... maybe all those who hang out here might know more...)

    So I am going to try to do my best to put this into words, so if someone needs more clearification please let me know...

    I have two bikes (03 Felt and 80's Basso) and I am trying to get the same feeling in the steering of the Basso as I have in the Felt.
    The Felt has a 73 degree head tube with a 45mm rake with a 90mm 6degree stem
    (sorry I do not know the head tube angle or rake) but it has a 120mm stem

    (I have all the measurements on the Basso as close to what I can get to the Felt, hence the 120 stem)

    Problem one:
    The Basso "feels" loose in the steering, it take NO effort for the wheel to turn and when it does turn it wants to go all the way to 90 degrees. If you lean it up against anything you have to be care that the front wheel does not turn and the bike than "turn away" from the wall/pole and end out on the ground. I have repacked the head set (threaded Record) and there is no sign of wear to the bearing/cup/race/etc. and there is no play in the head set.

    Problem two:
    On the road the Basso "feels" loopy in steering. I know there is a large difference in the stem length, hence the steering, but I feel like I am on beach cruiser. I am not wanting tight like a track bike, but maybe a little tighter... I was thinking about shorting the stem (this is my commuter, so a more up-right position would be okay) to 11cm but I do not know if that will make a difference or not... I am not really wanting to put that much money into the bike (i.e., no new fork with a differnt rake) I am just hoping that maybe I could get a way with just a stem change...

    On the way home today, I am going by the LBS... their best mechanic is in on Mondays... and take to him about it, but I would like to hear everyone elses opinions...
    "Please don't be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry."
    -Jon Stewart at W&M Commencement

  2. #2
    Senior Member Avalanche325's Avatar
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    If you are not dealing with a loose or tight headset, you are dealing with geometry. One bike needs a 90mm stem and the other 120mm, so you definately have geometry differances. You probably won't get much of a handling change with the stem. I would think that a fork change is the only thing that will do it.

    I think you are trying to make a '80 Corvette handle like an '03 Porsche. They are just too different to get the handling the same.

    PS. Before anybody gets upset, you can interchange Corvette and Porsche in the above statement. They just handle WAY differently.
    Last edited by Avalanche325; 05-08-06 at 11:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I think the Basso must have much more "trail" in the steering than the Felt. The readiness of the front to turn at the slightest provication while parked along with the sluggish response while riding both point to this. Your stem lengths and angles have little or nothing to do with the difference.

    I expect the Basso has a shallower head tube angle than the Felt and possibly a fork with less rake so the trail is significantly greater. Italian bikes from the 80's tended to have slower, more stable geometry than current bikes so this is likely.

    The only "cure" would be to get a fork with significantly more rake for the Basso. Rakes of 45 mm are common and, if the Basso has less than this, a fork change would solve part of the problem. You may need a fork with, say 50 mm of rake, to get close to the handling quickness of the Felt. None of this is going to be free.

  4. #4
    fmw
    fmw is offline
    Hoosier Pedaler fmw's Avatar
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    I have a 90's Basso Gap with a steel fork probably much like yours. The Gap hasn't changed at all since the 1970's, if I'm not mistaken.

    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "loopy" but my Basso has what I would describe as "stable" steering. Or, if you like, the opposite of "twitchy." It is the easiest bike I have to hold in a straight line and it feels smooth and secure when cornering. It is a geometry thing. Mine has a threadless Chorus headset that is adjusted as loose as I can get it without having any play. The bike is a joy to ride, by the way. I wish all my bikes steered like the Basso.

  5. #5
    A Lost Member aluckyfiji's Avatar
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    I believe that it is a Gap, but I am really not sure...
    I would definitely call it the opposite of twitchy, though to go with it, it feel sluggish in making a turn (loopy somehow came to my mind)...
    Thanks for all this imput... I am happy with the bike but it is just my commuter and a new fork is just a little more than what I want to put into it (and I like the look and feel of the chromed columbus steel fork that it has) I was just hoping that I could get it to match more like my Felt.
    "Please don't be mad. I know we were supposed to bequeath to the next generation a world better than the one we were handed. So, sorry."
    -Jon Stewart at W&M Commencement

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