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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 02-16-06, 06:15 PM   #1
johnfhess
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riding "no hands"

Hi folks, it's been a week and Im riding the Xootr Swift about 10 miles a day. Very soon I'll pull the cassette and go ss with a 15 cog. I've attempted to ride with hands on the handle bars and it's not pretty. I can do it for short stretchs, but I'm guessing that because of the small wheels, it's more difficult? Is this normal for the 20" wheeled bikes?

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Old 02-16-06, 06:18 PM   #2
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oops, gotta learn to proof read. Hands NOT on handle bars. That's what "no hands" means.
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Old 02-16-06, 08:23 PM   #3
14R
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took me about 2 months riding my Giant Halfway with no hands with the same style and sophistication I used to have for conventional wheel sizes.

Now I ride them with no problems, but they respond faster, so you may end up riding and having some quick knee responses that you will take a few rides to get use to.

Can be done though, just keep practicing.
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Old 02-16-06, 08:49 PM   #4
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Obviously they are more sensitive as the wheels have less gyroscopic effect. I have found that the easiest way is to keep your weight more rearward to start AND be in a taller gear such as more gear inches. I have found it is easier to do it with a slower cadence and more pressure on the pedals. With this I have no problems at all and could ride for miles in this manner. The Swift is much better than my other folders with respect to doing this. Also the faster you go the easier it is but the more it hurts if you crash!
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Old 02-16-06, 10:38 PM   #5
james_swift
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I find it's harder to ride a 20"-wheeled bike no-hands: both my Dahon and my Swift. The smaller wheels don't have the same amount of gyroscopic effect as 26" or 700C wheels.
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Old 02-17-06, 04:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wavshrdr
the faster you go the easier it is but the more it hurts if you crash!
Yes Totally ! - even though 26" and 700c are easy, it takes more b*lls to ride smaller wheels hands off. Strangly enough I can ride my strida hands off, but not the brommie - both 16" wheels, I guess the plastic strida wheels and larger tyres have more mass.
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Old 02-17-06, 10:55 AM   #7
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Hands free for Bike Friday or Dahon no problem. Never tried it on my Birdy and could not do it on my Brompton. I agree though: the faster you go, the easier it is to be hands free.
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Old 02-17-06, 11:00 AM   #8
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I think riding position has a lot to do with it. In college I rode a 26" mountain bike hands-free ALL the time. I've tried a few times on my commuter bike (700c) and just can't manage to keep it stable without hands on the handlebars. The wheel sizes are so close I can't imagine that making a difference. I think a bike where you're set up for a more upright riding position is easier to ride hands-off (however that is just speculation).
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Old 02-17-06, 11:17 AM   #9
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For a couple weeks, I wasn't able to to ride hands free on my 700c (I found an abandoned frame and built it up). Then one day I noticed that my front wheel wasn't aligned with my back wheel, that there was a discernable 1/2" - 3/4" shift. When I pushed the front forks over a bit (via the pipe and 2x4 method), the tracking was straighter and the ride a lot smoother, and only then was I able to go hands free. I think wheel alignment also has a lot to do with it. Tire width didn't seem to be a factor as I was using 700x23.
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Old 02-17-06, 12:27 PM   #10
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I can sorta fake it on my Dahon enough to ride a century in reasonable comfort.
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Old 02-17-06, 12:50 PM   #11
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I think I read somewhere (might have been in "Bicycling Science"), that gyroscopic effect has much less influence on the ride stability than head angle and trail.

I personally have a very hard time riding my DT VIII FS hands-free.
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Old 02-17-06, 04:13 PM   #12
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I never ride handsfree, used to do it when I was a teenager, crashed one day, hands brewsed, for a week I had to eat HANDSFREE (well sort of handsfree, it was a painful week)
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Old 02-17-06, 06:09 PM   #13
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I have done hands free on my 20 inch Yeah .Only for a short distance though.
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Old 02-17-06, 10:29 PM   #14
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After practicing hands free on my Raleigh Twenty for a while, I still am not comfortable doing it unless I'm by myself, w/ no traffic. The up side is that when I ride my 26 inch wheel bike, I feel like I could ride hands free all the time.
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Old 02-18-06, 04:56 AM   #15
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As i wrote in another thread: Riding on my Stock Twenty handsfree was near impossible. Changed the headset and fork (less rake, more beefy) as well as tire and now -after a little practice- i can ride handsfree for miles. As well if not better than on my 26 inch bike. In a way it is better since the bike responds quicker -but not too quick- if i suddenly need to swerve handsfree.

All the factors mentioned by others above can have a (huge) influence on the ability to ride handsfree, IMO with any good quality folder most people will likely be able to ride handsfree from decent to great providing they are willing to tinker with the bike and practice. Sitting more upright is definately one of the biggest factors. Handlebar width is another. Tire selection, cadence, terrain, etc. are some others.
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Old 02-20-06, 08:52 AM   #16
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I've tried it on my Twenty but I get 'the fear' as soon as I relax my grip and abort. They are just too sensitive. Get back on a 700c hybrid and EVERYTHING feels easy. It's like an armchair and equally as wooly...

Last edited by LittlePixel; 02-20-06 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 02-20-06, 02:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rincewind8
I personally have a very hard time riding my DT VIII FS hands-free.
I agree was very tough on the older models, however it is easier with the new longer 90mm stem....although I am not sure why.

Thanks,
Yan
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