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Old 06-16-06, 03:59 PM   #1
don1867
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Why can't I ride my Marlin with no hands?

I just got it, and have ridden it less than 100 miles. I ride almost exclusively on pavement, so no, I'm not tring to ride across a field and wondering why I can't do it with no hands. I've put smooth tires on it, and that's the only ride affecting mod. It's a hardtail, with the stock front shock. If I try to ride it with no hands, it wobbles badly and would crash if i didn't keep one hand on the handlebars. I've replaced the back wheel after I broke it being stupid. I did have it trued. It has always been this way, from the moment I got it. The LBS said it was because I have a front suspension and one side of it would probably compress more than the other, even on smooth pavement, (how that would happen - on smooth pavement or anywhere else- I don't know) and that results in an inability to ride without hands. I think that ranks right up there with some of the greates BS excuses for "I don't know" that I've ever heard.
Anybody have any ideas? Thanks, Don.
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Old 06-16-06, 04:12 PM   #2
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You may want to check your headset. However, this bike's geometry may not lend itself to riding no-hands. I take it that you don't have an issue riding no-hands on other bikes?
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Old 06-16-06, 05:36 PM   #3
don1867
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No, no problems riding other bikes without hands. I grew up doing it.
It's a Gary Fisher Marlin, with the Genesis geometry. I don't know enough about geometry to know whether this bike should ride like that or not.
How does the geometry affect riding without hands? Is it because it is meant be able to change direction very quickly, which would require it to be less stable than a bike which is meant for long term straight forward riding with very few turns? I just never thought of this as being a bike that was built for that sort of thing. I don't even know if my idea is correct. If it is, is there anything I can do to make it a little more stable? I know, it's quite a longshot, but it can't hurt to ask.

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Old 06-17-06, 01:04 AM   #4
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How old is this bike?

If older, then your headset could be "indexed" (there is another term for this. Brindled I think, or something like that) meaning the bearings or cups are worn out and the bike "wants" to be in a certain position (other than straight).

Your frame could also be out of alignment. This happens sometimes during manufacturing, or rough shipping.

To check, get a long piece of nylon string, and lock one end on the left dropout, around the headtube and back to the right side dropout. Unfortunately, it usually requires removing all your cables, cranks, chain...etc. Down to a bare frame almost.

Then you can measure the distance of the seat tube from each side. If they are not the same, your frame is tweeked.

The good news is that this is usually always covered under warranty.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:03 AM   #5
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It's brand new. I guess I should have been a little clearer on that. I'll have to try the measurement you suggested. First, though, I think I'll have to learn what some of those words mean. I don't think I could be any newer to this.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:08 AM   #6
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Are you sure you are a good no handed rider because if its a new bike you shouldn't have any stability problems, I couldn't ride no hands on my RH at first either because I had not ridden for a month, after a few rides and some practice, I was doing all the stuff I could earlier but never blamed my bike when I couldn't do them, just blamed myself.

Be sure to use your knees, hands and hips, its quite easy to balance a bike no handed even if its twitchy and likes to go to one side.

I say that because I have an odd feeling you are not a good no handed rider and blaming your bike isn't going to help you, its the same as with bunnyhopping.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:14 AM   #7
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I have a fairly new Genesis Geometry bike. I have no problems riding with no hands. I wonder if your front suspension sag is set properly. This could make it handle differently.
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Old 06-17-06, 10:41 AM   #8
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Your LBS is full of it regarding the differential compression of the fork legs. Although this can occur slightly under force, it would not happen while riding down the road with no hands.
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Old 06-17-06, 10:49 AM   #9
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Did you put your back wheel on straight, not only between the chainstays but also between the seatstays too. It's a simple thing that can get overlooked.
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Old 06-17-06, 11:07 AM   #10
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My Trek 4900 MTB does the same thing. No matter how good ANYONE is at riding without hands, the geometry of that particular bike will not be able to be ridden w/o hands. When I was younger I learned to ride this particular bike backwards. It took a long time to learn though. Sitting on the handlebars facing the rear I could easily pedal for hours in that configuration. The only thing that would stop me was the inability of "seeing" where I was going. For the life of me, no matter how much practicing I do, I can not ride my Trek 4900 without hands. It wobbles and wants to go where it wants to go(usually to the closest ditch). No amount of "lean" or hip or knee movement or correction would rectify the situation.
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Old 06-17-06, 11:16 AM   #11
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I used to ride my huffy across town 3 miles to work no hands the whole way including turns. When I got my piranha I couldnt really go no hands without bad wobbling and almost falling, now 2 weeks later I can go no hands pretty good.

So it may be a mix that you need to get used to the bike and just used to riding in general.

Seat position may help alot, also I tend to have to ride abit faster to be fully stable no hands when with my old bike I could do it at a crawl.
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Old 06-17-06, 03:25 PM   #12
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"Did you put your back wheel on straight, not only between the chainstays but also between the seatstays too. It's a simple thing that can get overlooked."

It's a quick release, so I'm assuming it's straight. I know it's seated solidly in the mounting spots.

"I have a fairly new Genesis Geometry bike. I have no problems riding with no hands. I wonder if your front suspension sag is set properly. This could make it handle differently."

Sag? Mine only has a knob to adjust how stiff it is. Is that what you mean? Maybe that could have something to do with it. I never really thought about it. (Like I said, I'm completely new to this.) I usually leave the setting as soft as it will go. I'll try it harder and see what happens. I set it hard last night so I could try to pedal as hard as I could while standing without it being so wobbly. I'll try it today.

"Seat position may help alot"

I have my seat high enough that I get almost , but not quite, full extension of my legs on the downstroke. Could this be a prolblem? Do I have it too high, even for general riding? I remember reading that I should set it that way, but now we come back to the "new guy" thing.

On a side note, usually when I wake up in the morning, my back hurts. After riding last night shortly before going to bed, my back felt fine this morning. Coincidence? Maybe, but I hope not. I'll definitely be trying it again.
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Old 06-17-06, 03:29 PM   #13
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I couldn't ride without hands for a couple weeks on my new bike - I found that tightening up the rebound and reducing the sag helped a lot - but most of it was just getting a feel for a new lighter machine. Now it's 2nd nature to give my hands a rest on smooth paths.
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Old 06-17-06, 03:30 PM   #14
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its not about the bike
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Old 06-17-06, 03:57 PM   #15
don1867
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It only has the one adjustment (I think) for the suspension. I just went out and tightened it. Then I was able to ride without hands, but it was pretty wobbly. Then I lowered the seat about an inch, and that smoothed it out quite a bit. From here on out, it should just be a matter of practice.
Thanks for the help, everybody. Don.
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Old 06-17-06, 05:11 PM   #16
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...becuase you're not a very good rider?
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Old 06-17-06, 07:40 PM   #17
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...becuase you're not a very good rider?
did you finally get tired of the monkey and decide to come over here?
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Old 06-17-06, 09:23 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Girlscout13
did you finally get tired of the monkey and decide to come over here?
No man, I just had to ask Maelstrom a favor via PM, and I thought Id verbally assault some random guy with a lame insult whilst visiting. Stay on RM. This place...lame. Tell your pops I sold my bullit, so we arent twins anymore.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:26 PM   #19
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no skills
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Old 06-17-06, 09:37 PM   #20
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I guess there are bound to be a couple in any crowd. Sad to see them mixing in with the generally decent, kind and helpful people in this forum. Sorta like finding poison ivy growing in your carefully manicured lawn. Or like noticing that a dog left his calling card in that same lawn.
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Old 06-17-06, 09:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don1867
I guess there are bound to be a couple in any crowd. Sad to see them mixing in with the generally decent, kind and helpful people in this forum. Sorta like finding poison ivy growing in your carefully manicured lawn. Or like noticing that a dog left his calling card in that same lawn.
Yeah whatever Dr. Phil. Sack up.
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Old 06-18-06, 01:07 AM   #22
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lean back and get your center of gravity over or behind the bottom bracket. It's what I have to do on my trackbike with super steep geometry. If I ride my friend's old clunker 3 speed, I can let go with my weight in any position.
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Old 06-18-06, 08:25 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wfin2004
...No matter how good ANYONE is at riding without hands, the geometry of that particular bike will not be able to be ridden w/o hands... ...It took a long time to learn though. Sitting on the handlebars facing the rear I could easily pedal for hours in that configuration. The only thing that would stop me was the inability of "seeing" where I was going....
Did you have a large group of people who can ride with no hands line up and have a concensus that it's impossible?

Secondly, I had a friend lose three teeth, get a concussion and break his collar bone riding backwards, not so smart


but hey, keep riding,a nd I'm sure you'll be able to ride with no hands, this is almost the same as saying I can't bunnyhop right, the geometry of my bike must be making it impossible for me to bunnyhop, you can bunnyhop on ANY bike, it's just a matter of how much and to what extent. It's comes down to skill
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Old 06-18-06, 10:26 AM   #24
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I agree that the genesis geometry is where your "problem lies".. With it shifting you back your balance point is quite a bit different and it makes everythign feel different. Instead of balancing with your legs and upper body you now have to have more "english" for lack of a better word. Good luck either way!
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Old 06-18-06, 11:21 AM   #25
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+1 (or more?) on the headset! The bike's geometry (mtb) should be inherently stable at low/moderate speed, so most likely cause of this (other than rider skill) is (a) a headset [even a new one] that is too tight and/or brindled [rough spots in the bearing surfaces 'catching/sticking'] (b) wheels not true in dropouts or (3) rear triangle (frame) misaligned [worst case scenario, but not at all unheard of] from the factory -- if that's out by more than 2-3 millimetres, inherent instability.
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