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Old 02-19-10, 04:47 AM   #1
slipknot0129
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Will my bike mess up if I ride too fast downhill?

I live on gravel roads and going downhill Is rough. Theres some potholes and im kinda scared that if I ride down a hill really fast and hit a pothole I will mess up my bike. Mostly I just coast my bike downhill and try to avoid potholes. My bike has 36 spokes and its a cannondale touring bike.

I think coasting wont do as bad when I hit a pothole. The road grader smoothed out the road a little today.
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Old 02-19-10, 04:55 AM   #2
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It think their called ruts on gravel roads arent they?
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Old 02-19-10, 11:02 AM   #3
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Depends how rough the downhill but I mountain bike. Some downhills are made for speed and some for taking care on. One thing The others in my group have learnt is don't attempt to follow me downhill. They will wreck and I rarely do.

Your wheels might take it but will you? Take the downhills at a speed you are comfortable with and don't push it till you are ready.

And offroad- down a long lumpy grassy hill and 53.8mph- but that was on a Bike that was set up for the rough stuff. Full downhill spec wheels and 6" front suspension. Still hurt me on the back of it though---Forgot to say- It is a Tandem. That thing glides over bumps due to the long wheelbase and strength of the bike.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:26 AM   #4
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Do you know how to bunny-hop? It's a valuable skill. Especially when potholes are involved.
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Old 02-19-10, 11:53 AM   #5
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Potholes are potholes no matter what the surface material. Ruts are actually more dangerous, because they're grooves that may impede steering. I guess the only advice I can offer is to never go so fast that you don't feel 'in control.'
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Old 02-19-10, 12:08 PM   #6
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just don't crash
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Old 02-19-10, 12:16 PM   #7
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I can sit here and say you should ride down the hills at 100 mph, but if you wreck, it's going to be your skin rubbing on the gravel, not mine. Ride at a speed you're comfortable with and don't worry about what other people do.

It's a similar thing in driving on ice or snow. You're driving 40, you pass people going 15, and people pass you going 60. But those people passing you, you don't know if they're expert drivers on studded tires, or just idiots. And after you make an unexpected U-turn or two, you tend to think a little differently about it.
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Old 02-19-10, 01:24 PM   #8
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My gravel road routes are done on a hardtail mountain bike. I regularly hit 70-75 km/h on downhills, but I've never hit a pothole at that speed. I've hit a bunch of potholes at about 50-60 km/h and if I'm not far enough off the saddle when I hit, I get my butt kicked. The bike, however, is just fine.
I would certainly be more careful on a road or touring bike , not because I was worried about the bike, but because I would be worried about losing control and crashing. And i hate the pain in my hands when I hit a hole without front suspension.
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Old 02-19-10, 10:20 PM   #9
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Feather your rear brake to modulate your speed. You may need to upgrade your brake pads or replace the rear pads more often.
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Old 02-19-10, 10:30 PM   #10
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Make sure not to exceed the manufacturer's suggested maximum speed (MSMS).
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Old 02-19-10, 11:42 PM   #11
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If you have to ask the question, then you're probably going too fast?

:)ensen.
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Old 02-20-10, 07:45 AM   #12
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When it comes to rough downhills, touring bikes do have limitations compared to the latest disc-brake, suspension MTBs. You have to think ahead and plan where your wheel is going. Your brakes are not so effective so dont pick up too much speed. If you know the road well you can ride faster.
If you see (or more commonly, feel) a pothole, you should bunny hop to avoid smacking into the opposite face. I once rounded a corner down a steep lane, fully laden and found myself in a huge pothole with no way of hopping out. My front wheel hit with considerable force but the 36 spokes, touring rim and 32mm tyre absorbed the impact with no damage.
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Old 02-20-10, 08:10 AM   #13
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Part of the secret is having a light touch on the bike while remaining in control. Being relaxed at hand, elbow, knee and ankle so you can help the bike absorb the roughness while still guiding the bike is a art. It takes practice. You'll want to be able to feel the bike sliding around a bit and be able to GENTLY correct it. Go faster and faster and eventually you'll find the point where you are going too fast and you'll crash. It's a learning curve. Another secret is to not stare at the pothole or whatever that is the problem. Look for the smooth way around it and look at that. Sort of like climbing a tall ladder. Don't look down because that's scary and will cause you to tense up. Looking at your path around your problem keeps you loose and upright.

Fortunately when you spill you'll suffer more than the bike. You may have to bang levers back into place or straighten your front wheel to handlebar relationship or put a chain back on, but probably nothing you can't fix right there and keep going. When you get where your going get yourself cleaned up and post the details for us to read about.

Remember, falling off your bike is learning how to ride. It happens. You want to do it less and less as you get experienced but it happens. That's why you wear a helmet (you have a helmet, right?) and while you practice some repeats on this stretch of gravel wear some loose fitting jeans and a long sleeve thick fabric shirt. Gloves guard your hands in a fall (you've got gloves, right?) as well as aid in comfort on the bars.
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Old 02-20-10, 10:14 AM   #14
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If you find everyone you know aging much quicker than yourself, you're probably going too fast.
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Old 02-20-10, 10:42 AM   #15
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Your bike wont mess up but it will mess you up if you don't treat it right on fast downhills
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Old 02-20-10, 02:28 PM   #16
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Yes. I hit a pothole today on a downhill and broke my bars. Fortunately it was just the drops and I finished my ride on the hoods.
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Old 02-20-10, 02:39 PM   #17
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Yes. I hit a pothole today on a downhill and broke my bars. Fortunately it was just the drops and I finished my ride on the hoods.
For real? What material are they made of? Did they crack or bend?
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Old 02-20-10, 02:56 PM   #18
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Carbon. Cracked.
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Old 02-20-10, 04:24 PM   #19
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Carbon. Cracked.
Yikes, that could have resulted in a crash. How fast were you going and what did you hit? Did the rims and spokes make it OK?
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Old 02-20-10, 04:30 PM   #20
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Yikes, that could have resulted in a crash. How fast were you going and what did you hit? Did the rims and spokes make it OK?
I started a thread about it:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...22-RIP-Ergosum

Looks like from the data I was going about 20-30, as I had slowed down for a water crossing. The crossing ended up not having water in it so I didn't slow as much as I would have otherwise, and didn't notice the hole until it was too late.
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Old 02-20-10, 04:38 PM   #21
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If you find everyone you know aging much quicker than yourself, you're probably going too fast.
LOL. You're a real Einstein...
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Old 02-20-10, 05:53 PM   #22
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If you have a real bike and not a department/toy store thing, worry about damage to yourself, not the bike.
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Old 02-20-10, 10:11 PM   #23
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I started a thread about it:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...22-RIP-Ergosum

Looks like from the data I was going about 20-30, as I had slowed down for a water crossing. The crossing ended up not having water in it so I didn't slow as much as I would have otherwise, and didn't notice the hole until it was too late.
Jeez Louise, good to hear you pulled that one off. Excellent cycling skills I'd say.
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Old 02-21-10, 12:23 AM   #24
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Hasta la vista baby!
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Old 02-21-10, 07:14 AM   #25
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If you have to ask the question, then you're probably going too fast?
That's what I think too. Bad things happen and, when you're going fast, bad things happen faster. There's a lot of wisdom in recognising the line between "wimping out too soon" and "exceeding your ability". I've made some bad calls in my time.
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