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Old 11-22-11, 12:25 PM   #1
Decatur_Tide
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Can't ride bike with no hands

Headset too tight?

Last edited by Decatur_Tide; 11-22-11 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 11-22-11, 12:35 PM   #2
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Fork bent?
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Old 11-22-11, 12:39 PM   #3
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drunk?

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Old 11-22-11, 12:41 PM   #4
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Fork bent?
Nope, just that the wheel and fork turns to easy when you let go of the handlebars.
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Old 11-22-11, 12:42 PM   #5
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drunk
Maybe.
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Old 11-22-11, 12:43 PM   #6
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The more you lean back, the better the front wheel will track. For really low speed no hands I need to have like 95% of my weight over the rear wheel.
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Old 11-22-11, 01:05 PM   #7
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If the fork is turning too easily then it is almost definitely not a tight headset. It is more likely a bent fork or frame, or perhaps a wheel not centred in the dropouts. Frame and fork misalignment will cause a bike to pull to one side.

Does the bike generally go to one side or does it flop back and forth without reason?
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Old 11-22-11, 01:15 PM   #8
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If the fork is turning too easily then it is almost definitely not a tight headset. It is more likely a bent fork or frame, or perhaps a wheel not centred in the dropouts. Frame and fork misalignment will cause a bike to pull to one side.

Does the bike generally go to one side or does it flop back and forth without reason?
When I let go of the handlebars it flops back and forth. It's basically a new bike, but that first time I let go I knew something was up.
Also, the wheel is centered in the dropouts. Headset has no slop.

Last edited by Decatur_Tide; 11-22-11 at 01:19 PM. Reason: Added comments
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Old 11-22-11, 01:29 PM   #9
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Try it at higher speed. Many bikes are too sensitive to ride no-hands at low speed but stabilize nicely at higher speeds. Bikes with a lot of trail are particularly prone to low speed instability if ridden no-hands.
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Old 11-22-11, 01:34 PM   #10
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Try it at higher speed. Many bikes are too sensitive to ride no-hands at low speed but stabilize nicely at higher speeds. Bikes with a lot of trail are particularly prone to low speed instability if ridden no-hands.
Will do HillRider. Would it have anything to do with it being a MTB with front shocks?

I guess you want me to video the high speed no-hands act?
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Old 11-22-11, 01:40 PM   #11
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I guess you want me to video the high speed no-hands act?
Sure. Let us know when you (or your survivors) have posted it on Youtube.
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Old 11-22-11, 01:48 PM   #12
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This is something I've never been able to manage either. I have a fairly heavy front rack on there and have always assumed that I didn't get that balanced quite right (or that I did something else not quite even when I converted from my old mtb from flat to drop bars, but it doesn't really affect my riding (except when I really need to stretch), so I haven't tried to mess with it.
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Old 11-22-11, 02:04 PM   #13
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This is something I've never been able to manage either. I have a fairly heavy front rack on there and have always assumed that I didn't get that balanced quite right (or that I did something else not quite even when I converted from my old mtb from flat to drop bars, but it doesn't really affect my riding (except when I really need to stretch), so I haven't tried to mess with it.
I knew I had read about the headset being too tight somewhere and I found it.

"Adjustment
If your headset seems either loose (you hear a clunking sound
and feel a looseness from the front end when riding over
rough roads or trails) or tight (the steering binds and sounds
crunchy, and it's difficult to ride no-handed), you can usually
remedy the problem with a simple adjustment."

This is from Bicycling Illustrated Bicycle Maintenance

But, I have no binding or crunchy sounds.
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Old 11-22-11, 02:53 PM   #14
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Can you ride other bikes with no hands?

If yes, then probably fork or frame or dropouts as previously mentioned.

If no, go a little faster and lean back further (both of which are counter-intuitive if you are not used to riding with no hands).
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Old 11-22-11, 03:04 PM   #15
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Can you ride other bikes with no hands?

If yes, then probably fork or frame or dropouts as previously mentioned.

If no, go a little faster and lean back further (both of which are counter-intuitive if you are not used to riding with no hands).
I can ride with no hands on other bikes, I think it's because the front has shocks and are heavier.
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Old 11-22-11, 03:39 PM   #16
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steering alignment may not be spot on,
whole frame may be twisted .



but that cannot be cured on a keyboard.

just hold on.

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-22-11 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 11-22-11, 03:46 PM   #17
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steering alignment may not be spot on, but that cannot be cured on a keyboard.
Steering mis-alignment won't prevent riding no-hands. You will have to lean to compensate for the bike's trying to turn but it can be done.
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Old 11-22-11, 06:04 PM   #18
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I can ride with no hands on other bikes, I think it's because the front has shocks and are heavier.

Well, riding no-hands depends more on the frame & fork geometry than whether it has front shocks or not. This bike probably has less trail (self-centering) than other bikes, so it's "floppier". As Wood said, try it going a little faster.
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Old 11-22-11, 06:09 PM   #19
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Agree with jeff... frame geometry has a lot to do with that. Some bikes are really poor designed. If the OP can ride no hands in anything else then is the bike.

I have a similar problem with the only hybrid bike i have, havent been able to ride no hand confidently in that one ever. I blame the headset that is garbage and clearly the headtube needs to be chased again because is horrible bad finished. Geometry is ok but not confident in that one at all.
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Old 11-22-11, 10:15 PM   #20
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I can't ride my new MTB without hands either. I blame the geometry, because I could definitely ride my old ten-speed long distances without hands.
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Old 11-22-11, 11:32 PM   #21
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The items that effect the self centering stability the most are:
1) How much forward the front wheel axle is ahead of an imaginary line down through the steering tube axis.
2) Mass of front wheel.
3) How fast are you going. For most road bikes you want to be going faster than 12-13mph before going hands free.
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Old 11-23-11, 12:28 AM   #22
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I can't ride my new MTB without hands either. I blame the geometry, because I could definitely ride my old ten-speed long distances without hands.
Same here. Some bikes, I can ride no hands, while standing up and gripping the seat with my knees. On others, I can barely ride five feet.

Last edited by FreakyFast; 11-23-11 at 12:28 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 11-23-11, 06:52 AM   #23
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Depends on the rake and trail as well as speed. My current MTB (Moots Rigormootis, fwiw) is very quick steering, can't be left alone for a second. My previous one (GT Xizang) was built for an old short travel fork but had a more recent longer fork which I think may have slackened the head angle. Whatever the reason, it was more stable.

Here's the thing - although all of my bikes will do trackstands - *not one* of them will do wheelies. This may be completely caused by the rider.
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Old 11-23-11, 09:49 AM   #24
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1) How much forward the front wheel axle is ahead of an imaginary line down through the steering tube axis.
I think you mean to say the distance between the contact point of the tire and the point where an amiginary line drawn down the steering axis intersects the ground. THis is the definition of trail. What you gave is a definition of fork rake, which is a component of trail, but not the whole story.
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Old 11-23-11, 09:51 AM   #25
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I still like the idea of you going really flat out and
then taking your hands off the bars.....with video
to be posted, of course.
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