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  1. #1
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Front wheel wobble question

    I'm new at track racing and have just gotten into riding on a velodrome. I usually do Master's Crits, RR's and cross races. I'm 59, weight is 185, and my athletic background is that I was a decathlete back in my college days and sprinting and hard short efforts are in my blood. We just built the Velodrome in Cleveland and my first race was last Saturday. I purchased a lightly used Fugi Comp Track bike from a team mate, who has a Fugi Pro and also recieved a bike from a sponsor. My bike has the factory wheels. I also purchased additional chain rings and cogs to enable gear ratio changes. I hope to keep racing track for a few more years and want to do this properly.

    In practice while riding fast in the flying 200 I have experienced a wobble in the front of the bike when deep into the turn at full on power. The shaking of the front end and bars while at maximum effort is disturbing. Sometimes the wobble showed up and other times the bike was smooth. When I would do short multi-lap sprints the bike never had the wobble. I've tightened the head set and tried different tire pressures.

    Two weeks ago I did a flying 200 for time and had a 13.1" with no wobble. In the race last Saturday during my flying 200 I got the wobble in both turns and it impacted my time significantly. I did hit a max mph of 35.8 on effort but the wheel scrubbing killed my effort. I was in a 49/14 gear in the race. My time was only 13.6" and I had expected it to be in the high 12's. In the 500TT there was no wobble as the speed/effort was not quite as fast.

    Can anyone provide advice regarding the wobble? Could it be me grabbing the bar too hard? Riding with my body too stiff? The wheel flexing? Something new riders need to work through? The bike does have a CF fork, but is my bike a POS? I have been working on staying at the measurement line on the hard efforts and don’t think I'm over steering with the right hand. In the 500TT I stayed near the line and in the 2K I know I spent most of the race on or below the black line.
    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 09-19-12 at 09:05 AM.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  2. #2
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    It's probably not the frame itself. I'd guess that it's either your form, the front wheel, or a combination of the two. It's possible that you're pulling on the bars very hard in the hard effort; it's also possible that you have a bit too much weight on the front end and aren't riding smoothly. It's possible that the wheel isn't stiff enough, but I'd imagine that would matter most on steep tracks. What track is it?
    the hipster myth.

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  3. #3
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    I experienced this once.

    It's likely not your equipment choice (it wasn't for me).

    It could be:
    - Inappropriate tire pressure
    - Loose bearing adjustment
    - Too much/little weight on the front of the bike (body positioning)
    - Gripping too tightly
    - Stiff arms

    What tire pressure are you using? Do you pump your tires before each sessions?

    I would consider relaxing the arms and hands a bit and see how that goes. Check the bearing adjustment. Basically, if you can wiggle the front wheel left-right even a little bit, that's a problem.

  4. #4
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    - Stiff arms
    I see this a lot with new track racers. They slam their saddle forward, drop their bars a ton, and their arms go straight down from their shoulders to the drops. There's a lot of weight on the front of the bike, and very little stability.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    The track is the 166 meter facility in Cleveland. The banking is 50 degrees.

    I'll try out the suggestions and work on form. Had not considered bearings and will check that out. Thanks for the ideas.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  6. #6
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Here is some video of a practice 200. Please point out room for improvement. it's Ok to pick, I've got broad shoulders and I want to improve. I have flipped the stem since then. I did the run after my workout and when the track was pretty clear. The 200 starts on the thin white line around 20" into the clip.

    http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/r...6E3744B51D.mp4
    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 09-19-12 at 11:05 AM.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  7. #7
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Here is some video of a practice 200. Please point out room for improvement. it's Ok to pick, I've got broad shoulders and I want to improve. I have flipped the stem since then. I did the run after my workout and when the track was pretty clear. The 200 starts on the thin white line around 20" into the clip.

    http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/r...6E3744B51D.mp4


    Your knees come inside of your elbows when you are in your tuck, and they are close to your elbows when your arms are straight.

    Looks like too much weight on the front. If I had to guess, when you are in the "cockpit" of the bike looking down at the front axle, from that point of view the axle is way in front of the handlebars, right?

    In my humble opinion:

    - I think your bike is too small
    - I think that your saddle is too far forward

    Moving the saddle back some may help with the fit being small. But, I suspect that you'd be more comfortable on a bike one size larger.

    What size is your track bike?
    What size is your road bike
    How tall are you?
    Are you evenly proportioned or longer in the legs or longer in the torso?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post

    In my humble opinion:

    - I think your bike is too small
    - I think that your saddle is too far forward

    Moving the saddle back some may help with the fit being small. But, I suspect that you'd be more comfortable on a bike one size larger.

    What size is your track bike?
    What size is your road bike
    How tall are you?
    Are you evenly proportioned or longer in the legs or longer in the torso?
    Thanks for the input.

    I'll try moving saddle back some after checking the front view. I'm just under 5' 11" tall and I believe my proportions are normal. The track bike is a 56 cm and my road bikes are 56 cm also. The velodrome has loaner bikes and I'll try a 58 cm next time out.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  9. #9
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    Thanks for the input.

    I'll try moving saddle back some after checking the front view. I'm just under 5' 11" tall and I believe my proportions are normal. The track bike is a 56 cm and my road bikes are 56 cm also. The velodrome has loaner bikes and I'll try a 58 cm next time out.
    Hmmm...you look like a 6'1" guy riding a 56cm.

    Of course, I could be wrong. I'd like to hear what others think.

    I paused the video and moved the frames and it seemed like your knee was ahead of the pedal spindle. Most people go for knee over the pedal spindle or knee behind it.

    If you rode a larger bike and sat back a bit that would definitely help. The larger frame will have a wheelbase that is 2cm longer and sitting back will take some weight off of the front wheel.

    I found that the more I got into track racing, the more particular I got with my bike fit. Maybe it's because the banking, high cadences, and high speeds magnify everything. I know that I'm not that particular about my road bike's fit.

  10. #10
    aka mattio queerpunk's Avatar
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    I'm inclined to say that the OP could be riding both longer and further back. Instead, the short reach makes him seem arms-down with a cramped body.

    Now, whether the body positioning is the cause of the speed wobble is hard to say.

    I think first the OP oughta take that wheel off, check its tensioning, check its bearings. Then put another front wheel on there and do some hard flying 200s and try to find that wobble there with a different wheel.
    the hipster myth.

    i practice vagabondery.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I'll be back in the bowl next week and will switch front wheels with my Raleigh Rush Hour fixie. I'll also move the feat back.

    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions Carlton and queerpunk.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  12. #12
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    I'll be back in the bowl next week and will switch front wheels with my Raleigh Rush Hour fixie. I'll also move the feat back.

    Thanks for all the tips and suggestions Carlton and queerpunk.
    Good luck and remember, if the saddle goes back, it has to go down a bit too to keep the leg extension the same. Otherwise you'll be too extended.

  13. #13
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Here are some simple ideas for ya:

    One of the most important pieces of advice to a new track rider is to keep your arms bent and relax them. Wiggle your fingers, as that will prevent you from being stiff. Bending your arms to get lower will smooth things out and get you a little more aero, which is important for timed events. Track bikes are pretty wobbly with a tense stiff rider (and it is hard not to be tense when you are new to the track, going hard).

    Track drops (with a longer reach) and/or a longer stem will allow you to stretch out a bit on that bike and not be so cramped (try the saddle first though).

    Try rotating your bars forwards so that the bottom of the bars are slightly pointing down (not parallel to the ground). This will both help force you to bend your arms, and give you a little more length in the cockpit.

    A good fit on your bike, and relaxed arms/hands will help a lot.

    I was really hoping to go visit you guys Saturday, but I’m just not going to make it this weekend. Bummer!

    P.S. if you are there Saturday, have Dale take a look at your set up - he has more track experience than all of us put together.
    Last edited by chas58; 09-20-12 at 09:02 AM.

  14. #14
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Here are some simple ideas for ya:

    One of the most important pieces of advice to a new track rider is to keep your arms bent and relax them. Wiggle your fingers, as that will prevent you from being stiff. Bending your arms to get lower will smooth things out and get you a little more aero, which is important for timed events. Track bikes are pretty wobbly with a tense stiff rider (and it is hard not to be tense when you are new to the track, going hard).

    Track drops (with a longer reach) and/or a longer stem will allow you to stretch out a bit on that bike and not be so cramped (try the saddle first though).

    Try rotating your bars forwards so that the bottom of the bars are slightly pointing down (not parallel to the ground). This will both help force you to bend your arms, and give you a little more length in the cockpit.

    A good fit on your bike, and relaxed arms/hands will help a lot.

    I was really hoping to go visit you guys Saturday, but I’m just not going to make it this weekend. Bummer!

    P.S. if you are there Saturday, have Dale take a look at your set up - he has more track experience than all of us put together.
    If it's a loaner bike, I'd advise simply getting a larger bike.

    Having the reach too far over the front axle makes handling wonky and out of the saddle efforts difficult with too much weight on the front of the bike.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    Here are some simple ideas for ya:

    One of the most important pieces of advice to a new track rider is to keep your arms bent and relax them. Wiggle your fingers, as that will prevent you from being stiff. Bending your arms to get lower will smooth things out and get you a little more aero, which is important for timed events. Track bikes are pretty wobbly with a tense stiff rider (and it is hard not to be tense when you are new to the track, going hard).

    Track drops (with a longer reach) and/or a longer stem will allow you to stretch out a bit on that bike and not be so cramped (try the saddle first though).

    Try rotating your bars forwards so that the bottom of the bars are slightly pointing down (not parallel to the ground). This will both help force you to bend your arms, and give you a little more length in the cockpit.

    A good fit on your bike, and relaxed arms/hands will help a lot.

    I was really hoping to go visit you guys Saturday, but Iím just not going to make it this weekend. Bummer!

    P.S. if you are there Saturday, have Dale take a look at your set up - he has more track experience than all of us put together.
    Thanks for the tips. I will be out of state this weekend and will miss the event. Good suggestion about asking Dale "bend your arms" Hughes about fit advice. Hopefully next time I'll do that. I spent at least 8-9 days with Dale when assembling the track.

    This image is from last week while doing 45' of Z3. It might show my bike fit a little clearer.

    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 09-20-12 at 09:52 AM.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  16. #16
    Senior Member chas58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    If it's a loaner bike, I'd advise simply getting a larger bike.

    Having the reach too far over the front axle makes handling wonky and out of the saddle efforts difficult with too much weight on the front of the bike.
    from original post: "I purchased a lightly used Fugi Comp Track bike from a team mate..."
    (adjusting the fit just right is my biggest beef of using a loaner bike for a season).

    Good point about weight on the front; put the seat back first, but you should be able to get 10-20cm out front without messing with the geometry too much. It does have to be balanced.

  17. #17
    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
    from original post: "I purchased a lightly used Fugi Comp Track bike from a team mate..."
    (adjusting the fit just right is my biggest beef of using a loaner bike for a season).

    Good point about weight on the front; put the seat back first, but you should be able to get 10-20cm out front without messing with the geometry too much. It does have to be balanced.
    But...

    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    The velodrome has loaner bikes and I'll try a 58 cm next time out.

  18. #18
    Senior Member taras0000's Avatar
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    You can also have someone else ride the wheel at speed and see if they experience the wobble as well. If they do, then a wheel balancing may be the order of the day. I used to do this with my old Zipp 440's. Found out that the balance was off, called Zipp and found out that the rims were off balance by about 30grams. Balanced the wheels out with some lead foil tape and the problem went away. But at the same time, don't discount the previous advice as the previous points were spot on in my opinion as well.
    Taras - :noun. 1. Typically an overweight has-been that can sometimes be seen pootling around a velodrome on an old Look KG 233.

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