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jendpu 09-19-12 07:51 AM

Newbie Question
Hi guys,
I'm a newbie Athena that just moved to NC from Chicago. I did some biking in the City, but not enough. Now that I'm down here in the wilderness...I've bought myself a cyclocross bike to jump on some of the trails here. I like the fit of a road bike but wanted the option of switching out knobby/road tires depending on whether I'm on the road or a dirt trail that day. Now, onto my question....

I'm newer into biking so I may be overreacting a bit but it seems like this new cyclocross bike of mine (Tommaso Bestia) has a very touchy fork. It sways to the side almost violently whenever I let go of the handlebars (not riding, just sitting idle). When I am riding seems to be very touchy on the turns. It's almost like it's TOO smooth if that makes sense.

I rode around on a Jamis Ventura in Chicago and didn't have this problem, it felt smooth but steady. I could let go of the handle bars for a short period of time and they would stay straight.

So my question I being too sensitive? Or is there some sore of adjustment I can make to get this a little more stiff?

Btw, I'm super excited to have found this forum. Being a big girl on a bike is so much fun, but it's always nice to know there's others out there like me!

jsigone 09-19-12 08:08 AM

Generally the CX geo is much more sensitive then a road frame (faster steering w/o leaning). the head tube angles are a bit steeper allowing for it to be numble on the tight CX course. The riding w/ no hands thing can be that combined with your balance on the bike. The stem position could also not be in a neutral position to allow it to feel effortless like a roadie.

delmalpz 09-23-12 02:31 PM

Jendpu: I'm pretty much a newbie Athena, too, so I can't really suggest a solution for the issue. However, I have a cyclocross bike, too, and if I try riding with no hands (essentially testing balance), the front tire goes off to the left side pretty quick. Now, as a child (many, many moons ago), I could ride in a straight line "forever" with no hands. So I don't know if what we're experiencing is a function of current lack of core strength, balance or something twitchy about the kinds of bikes we have (maybe some combination of all that). Hopefully, you'll get some other, more insightful, answers soon!

TrojanHorse 09-23-12 03:10 PM

Riding no handed is more a question of weight balance - I could never do it on my last frame, which was actually very stable, but I can do it all the time on my newer "twitchier" frame. If your weight is not between the wheels you'll have trouble.

It may be something you get better at as you ride more too, hard to say.

steve0257 09-23-12 04:29 PM

Looking at the bikes I think the Tomasso is designed to be a little more responsive than the Jamis. This will also give a little twitchier handling. Unless you get with somebody that understands frame geometry and start trying different forks I think you're going to have to get used to it.

jendpu 09-24-12 07:55 AM

Hey guys,
Thanks for all the responses. After a very long stretch of gross, rainy days here in NC, I was finally able to get my bike out for a longer ride (longer for me at least). Needless to say the fork was the least of my worries! My bike wouldn't shift to the lowest and highest gears, the breaks felt a little wonky and there was chain rubbing at all times, ugh!!! That 8 mile ride felt like 50. And this is all after I had just picked up the bike from a LBS who had built the bike from the box and said they'd do all the fine tuning and adjustments. I knew there was something huge Jamis had Sora shifters and felt way better than the Tiagras on my new Cyclocross. Well after several phone calls and some serious investigating, turns out the guys got the handlebars and seatpost on and didn't do a DARN thing to the bike after that. One of the guys just assumed it was good to go because it was put together. Sheesh. Anyway, I made them give me my money back and went to another LBS that a friend recommended after hearing this story. Now awaiting to pick up the poor bike hoping it's in better shape. Maybe after they do all their fine tuning the fork will not be so weird. We'll see??

rdtompki 09-24-12 09:08 AM


Originally Posted by jendpu (Post 14767733)
............... Anyway, I made them give me my money back and went to another LBS that a friend recommended after hearing this story. Now awaiting to pick up the poor bike hoping it's in better shape. Maybe after they do all their fine tuning the fork will not be so weird. We'll see??


RichardGlover 09-24-12 09:18 AM

Where in NC? If you're in the RTP area, I might be able to recommend a good LBS if you still need one.

Esteban58 09-24-12 09:48 AM

Sounds like pretty good advice here, one thing I would add is this: I'm riding a hybrid, after not riding seriously for 25+ years... at first it felt REALLY twitchy - now that I've been riding regularly for 3+ months, a lot (but not all) of that is gone - so I think a factor is just time on the particular bike, getting used to its feel.

jendpu 09-24-12 12:49 PM

Thanks for the advice guys. I'm sure as I ride more I'll get used to the bike and things will feel smoother in general. I'll let ya know how it feels once I get the bike back (for the 2nd time :notamused: ) And Richard, I live in Apex, but work over by Cary Pkwy and Evans, so any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

DiamondDave247 09-24-12 01:01 PM

i have noticed the geometry and design of newer bikes puts the rider in more of a "forward" position over the front wheel. even though i have been riding "regularly" for over 5 years now, i still do not trust myself to take both hands off the flat turning radius just seems way too sharp to even take a chance of wiping out. i guess i'm a total granny rider...both hands at 10 and 2.

anyway, i hope the issue with your bikes' handling was due to improper assembly and it gets fixed correctly. ride safe!

jendpu 09-26-12 09:14 AM

What a trip this has been. So update:

I just got my bike back from the other recommended LBS in my area. I had another appointment immediately after so I was not able to to do more than give the bike a once over. It did look like he tweaked a few things and once I got the bike home, the shifts were certainly smoother. I think the handlebars were not completely aligned which was causing the fork to sway so easily. However, after messing with the shifters, there is still some pretty severe chain rub when the gear is on the big chainring in the front and smallest cog in the back. This is so weird, I would assume this is something easily fixed by a LBS no? Is this just something I need to deal with?

Does anyone have any foolproof advice on an adjustment I can do myself? Otherwise I guess I'll just be dropping the bike off yet again to get it looked at. *sigh*

TrojanHorse 09-26-12 09:17 AM

I would go back to the shop and say "hey" with respect to the chain rub and no, you shouldn't have it and yes, it's easy to fix. You already paid them to do it, might as well let them do it.

Happy riding!

jendpu 09-26-12 09:20 AM

Agreed, never thought it would be so difficult to get a proper, thorough setup on a bike from people you're actually PAYING. Quickly learning one of the hardest and most important part of being a consistent biker is finding reliable LBS.

DiamondDave247 09-26-12 10:10 AM

for me, sometimes even after i specifically mention an area of the bike i want given more attention, the LBS does what ever it is they want, often completely ignoring my concern. since they know more about bikes than i do, i assume they'll give a bike the maintenance it needs. with time, and youtube videos, i have become a little more familiar with how a bike works, and many of the adjustments are not very complicated if you have the time, patience, and a little mechanical ability. it often beats having to drag your bike to and from the LBS every time there is a problem, only to find that it wasn't fixed. anyway, after several visits to the LBS didn't fix the problem i was having, i found the following video on youtube very useful, and i fixed the same problem you are having, myself. i hope it helps:

jendpu 09-28-12 10:34 AM

So for anyone who was interested in an update. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I watched a few videos (read: more like 20) online and adjusted my own FD. It took me a good 2 hours but I got everything sorted out. No chain rub! Feels pretty good to know how to fix those things. Still extremely frustrating that neither LBS fixed it.

I took the Bestia out on a test ride (about 8 miles) yesterday to see if my tweaks actually worked....and also to make sure I didn't ruin anything. Everything went well, sans the gigantic hill I hit in the middle of the ride, not sure how I'll ever get up that's like riding up a 60 degree angle.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who helped. Wasn't exactly a great start to this whole cycling thing, but getting out there on the roads really made it worth it!

Wolfwerx 09-28-12 11:37 AM

Now that the kinks have been worked out... how do you like the bike?

DiamondDave247 09-28-12 11:53 AM

1 Attachment(s)
it was good to read that you got things sorted out.

i also wanted to mention that derailleur adjustments on a work stand at the LBS, or in the garage at home, may seem perfectly fine, until someone actually gets on the road and goes through all the gear shifts with weight and stress on the chain to confirm the adjustments were good. you did the right thing in test riding it. often, the LBS mechanic doesn't have the time or inclination to actually test ride any gear adjustments made, so this may be a reason we get that annoying "chain rub" in the outside gear positions while we are on the first ride after getting the bike back from the LBS.

by the way, i'm not sure if you have one of these at home or not, but i have a small adjustable folding bike stand (see picture below) for small repairs, chain cleaning, adjustments, etc. i love it and use it all the time.

jendpu 09-28-12 02:31 PM

All in all the ride was pretty good. I do wish I had more gears to work with, but it shifts smoothly, fits pretty well, the saddle isn't nearly as uncomfortable as my Jamis was. It feels like a good mix between sturdy and flexible on the bumps.

I may get an adjustable stem down the road to move the handlebars up just a tiny bit, but I haven't decided on that yet or not. I need to get more miles in the saddle before making a decision. Overall, i'm a happy gal.

Where did you get that stand DiamondDave? That would sure beat always having to put the bike upside down and laying on my back to try to reach the limit screws! I need something small like that.

Bill Walker 09-28-12 02:38 PM


Originally Posted by jendpu (Post 14785165)
Where did you get that stand DiamondDave? That would sure beat always having to put the bike upside down and laying on my back to try to reach the limit screws! I need something small like that.

I found a couple at Amazon. This one was the cheapest:

Happy Friday !


jendpu 09-28-12 02:40 PM

Not bad at all! Thanks Bill!

DiamondDave247 09-28-12 04:40 PM

i have a very small apartment, so i'm limited on space, but if you have more room or a nice garage to work on your bike, Nashbar has a nice bike stand that sets up alongside the bike. it has some good reviews and appears to be stable, too. here is the link:

an international ebay seller is also offering the same small folding bike stand i use. they are currently accepting offer's on this item, so you might try a "low ball" offer of $5, $6, or $7 and see if they accept. the only drawback is that it might take 2 weeks for the item to arrive on a "slow boat from China"! here is the link:

found one more on ebay with a USA shipping location, so its a faster and more reliable delivery:

if you decide to go with a small folding bike stand, there is a really easy way to attach it and remove it from your bike. i used to fumble all over the place with the bike and the stand, until i read about the easy way to attach it. let me know if you need any help with that. ride safe.

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