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Old 07-10-11, 03:17 PM   #1
DLBroox
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Is bike technology part of the crashing problem?

I was thinking about this today and wondered if the development of lighter bikes with new materials and components is part of the problem. Are the bikes harder to handle because they are so light?

I know in one thread it was discussed that the riders are poorer at handling the bikes, but maybe there's a point where they have developed past what is reasonable for one of these guys to ride at forty miles an hour going downhill on slick roads.
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Old 07-10-11, 03:36 PM   #2
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It's not about the bike.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:12 PM   #3
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My personal experience is that lighter bikes are easier to handle, as are racing geometries.
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Old 07-10-11, 04:13 PM   #4
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Do you think a 35 pound bike would have had enough momentum to resist that 3000 pound car that ran into him?
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Old 07-10-11, 04:15 PM   #5
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Is not the bike, in this case is just bad luck and more than nothing that the race planing by the tdf org is pretty bad. So since nothing is clear the guys are fighting for positions since day one. Sucks tho.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:16 PM   #6
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In general bikes and tires are much safer then in the past, imo. The one exception is carbon rims, which have much less stopping power then aluminum rims, although that is really only a factor on a very technical descent.
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Old 07-10-11, 05:31 PM   #7
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Do you think a 35 pound bike would have had enough momentum to resist that 3000 pound car that ran into him?
Yeah, of course that's what I was thinking. Ya mean I'm wrong? Wow, I better go watch golf cuz' I jus don't get this here bike stuff...
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Old 07-10-11, 05:49 PM   #8
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^^lol
i doubt the weight has much if anything to do with crashing.
the only time i think equipment played a role in crashing in the fireld
was during the 90s when racers were using clip-on bars during non-TT stages.
oh and maybe the high-profile wheels in strong cross-winds
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Old 07-10-11, 05:56 PM   #9
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...forty miles an hour going downhill on slick roads.
I think you may have hit on your answer....

Not to mention that they ride on top of each other, locked elbow to elbow.
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Old 07-10-11, 06:07 PM   #10
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Evans said they were doing 40 down a slippery bending hill.

It's a miracle these things don't happen more often.
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Old 07-10-11, 09:36 PM   #11
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shorter wheelbases
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Old 07-11-11, 07:25 AM   #12
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Veering T.V. cars, driven by wild eyed Frenchmen.
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Old 07-11-11, 08:42 AM   #13
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Some dumb ass at the UCI (sorry to be redundant) got this line of thought going, saying that the very light bikes behaved differently making them less safe.

They know the weight limit is no longer defensibleon the grounds that lighter bikes would be prone to fail, so they're back filling.
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Old 07-11-11, 12:18 PM   #14
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I think to stiff a bike, if thats possible, would be less compliant over rough terrain. Although the body of the rider should act as a damper.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:25 PM   #15
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I say we need to revise the weight limit rules. Let's include the weight of the rider and make the total lower limit 275 pounds. That way, everyone rolls downhill at about the same speed! Safe!
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Old 07-11-11, 10:17 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLBroox View Post
I was thinking about this today and wondered if the development of lighter bikes with new materials and components is part of the problem. Are the bikes harder to handle because they are so light?

I know in one thread it was discussed that the riders are poorer at handling the bikes, but maybe there's a point where they have developed past what is reasonable for one of these guys to ride at forty miles an hour going downhill on slick roads.
The crashing problem has little to do with the bikes. It has always been part of elite competition bike racing in Europe where the roads are often narrow. However, over the past couple of years the television networks are putting a lot of pressure on the grand tour organizers to make the races more exciting or they threaten to stop TV coverage. So the organizers are designing the stages with more fast narrow downhills and windy sections. They know more accidents will occur. Combine this with less doping and you have higher amounts of rider fatigue combined with more even physical level which makes things more competitive. Then you throw in 2-3 times more cars into the race than are needed. It's a bad situation getting worse. None of these things is related to bike technology. Bike racing is first and foremost more dangerous than people think. But it is getting worse due primarily to media pressures.

In my opinion the way to make it more exciting for the media is to have all racers with helmet mounted cameras in addition to two helicopters and half a dozen motorcycle cameras and maybe 3-4 camera support cars. Then all the riders need to have a two way radio with two channels. One is private so that only the team cars and team riders can talk to each other. The other channel is open that everyone can hear and the media have access to. The riders must stay on the open channel for most of the race or they get fined. But they can go to the private channel for say as much as 30 minutes per race to discuss team tactics without snooping. The TV media then can mix in any helmet cams and open channel radio conversations as they wish to the broadcast.

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Old 07-12-11, 08:05 AM   #17
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There are only so many riders, motorcycles, and cars you can pack into the space of those roads. Sardines anyone?

Last edited by seypat; 07-12-11 at 08:05 AM. Reason: Used the wrong verb
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Old 07-12-11, 08:13 AM   #18
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I think to stiff a bike, if thats possible, would be less compliant over rough terrain. Although the body of the rider should act as a damper.
That's at least what the people at Canondale think with their Speed Save micro-suspension technology.

It's definitely possible to make a bike too stiff, but frame designers understad this, hence the grail of laterally stiff, vertically compliant.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:27 AM   #19
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Some dumb ass at the UCI (sorry to be redundant) got this line of thought going, saying that the very light bikes behaved differently making them less safe.

They know the weight limit is no longer defensibleon the grounds that lighter bikes would be prone to fail, so they're back filling.
You referenced the point I was going to make. There is a minimum weight allowed and it is now easily reached. The builders are no longer searching for grams as they are not allowed to drop more weight.

If the issue was bikes as related to weight we would have seen the problem years ago when they were still looking to lose grams.

Personally I think the number has gone up and the cause is obvious. More vehicles on the road. Mainly more bikes, but more cars and motorbikes too. Also it seems there are more riders in a position to care about placing, more guys that at least go in hoping for a top 10 or top 20 finish. That means a lot more riders fighting for the front and trying to avoid losing seconds in the early stages.

I just realized one more argument. If it was about the bikes the incidents would be concentrated in technical areas, excluding the one very nasty crash on a bad corner on a decent a couiple of days ago I do not remember any that were technical course issues, too many riders in one place or non-bike vehicles forcing their way through.

Incidents like the one that took out several riders go way back, just ask Ocana and Merckx. Or any of the riders in the following group that bowled over Ocana.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:36 AM   #20
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All good points. Thanks.
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Old 07-12-11, 09:42 AM   #21
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There are so many riders now that the Peloton looks like a mosh pit! And we know what it's like in a mosh pit. One person decides to get crazy and mayhem breaks out!
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Old 07-12-11, 10:12 AM   #22
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I was just thinking, perhaps in a backwards sort of way the bikes might be contributing to this (along with the numbers). Perhaps they handle 'too well'. They deal with the minir road imperfections better than previous bikes so riders are not as skilled with making corrections as they were in hte past (and are still miles better than any of us). Also it may mean they do not need to pay as much attention to the road as in the past.

That could mena the bikes allow for and perhaps contribute to slightly less skill and slightly less attention. But the bikes don't help at all if another rider veers or a fan is too close. Then bang, crash.

I'm not saying thsi is the case, just that it might be. And if it is I think it is a minor contribution.
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Old 07-12-11, 10:18 AM   #23
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back to friction shifting downtube shifters?

I think its just too many riders (190+), who have the simular riding ability trying to get them selves into the first 20 riders.
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Old 07-12-11, 10:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
That's at least what the people at Canondale think with their Speed Save micro-suspension technology.

It's definitely possible to make a bike too stiff, but frame designers understad this, hence the grail of laterally stiff, vertically compliant.
However, too much lateral stiffness does lead to major handling issues. Motorcycle manufacturers are particularly aware of this. Proper suspension on a motorcycle (or mountain bike) will allow it to be vertically compliant & help with keeping the tires on the ground. When it is leaned over in a corner you need a certain degree of lateral compliance in the frame itself to have good traction on anything other than a perfectly smooth velodrome. I'm not so sure that frame manufacturers have that down to a perfect science yet. Tire manufacturers are still learning as well & will continue to do so.
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Old 07-12-11, 11:08 AM   #25
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However, too much lateral stiffness does lead to major handling issues. Motorcycle manufacturers are particularly aware of this. Proper suspension on a motorcycle (or mountain bike) will allow it to be vertically compliant & help with keeping the tires on the ground. When it is leaned over in a corner you need a certain degree of lateral compliance in the frame itself to have good traction on anything other than a perfectly smooth velodrome. I'm not so sure that frame manufacturers have that down to a perfect science yet. Tire manufacturers are still learning as well & will continue to do so.
How often do you see guys crash from leaning too hard into a dry corner, though? The big crash on Stage 9 was the result of guys going too fast through a wet corner. The same thing would have happened on my old & heavy POS bike.

I think the one bit of technology that I actually hear riders talk about is the wheels. A lot of them aren't crazy about the braking performance of the carbon wheels and you'll see some guys switch to Al on wet days.
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