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New to road bikes--cornering and steering problems

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New to road bikes--cornering and steering problems

Old 05-24-15, 10:57 PM
  #1  
marimorimo
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New to road bikes--cornering and steering problems

I recently bought a Pinarello Razha after riding a flat bar hybrid and while I love how the bike feels, I feel incredibly nervous handling it. It's my first road bike.

It's incredibly sensitive, and responds quickly to the slightest input from my body. I have heard that this is a feature of road bikes although I did not expect the handling to be this quick. It also seems to me that I should not use the handlebar to steer (a habit I had from my flat bar bike), as evidenced by an incident yesterday where I yanked the bike to the left to compensate for a poor angle into a hairpin turn, leaving me sprawled on the ground with a bad case of road rash on both my body and the brifters.

I have heard that the bike must be steered from the hips--this feels incredibly vague for me, and pretty much a crap shot for the 90-degree corners on very narrow roads (with bollards!) that I have to navigate on my route. Could someone please describe to me how I should move my body to steer a road bike?
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Old 05-24-15, 11:03 PM
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Lean into turn like a motorcycle. Probably not useful advice if you have not road a motorcycle
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Old 05-24-15, 11:17 PM
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I leaned into turns on any bike I've ever had at any kind of speed. At low speeds road bikes are finishing turns before my mind does. It takes some getting used to.
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Old 05-24-15, 11:36 PM
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You can have the headset tightened ( or the bolt above) which should make it a little more difficult to turn to bars.
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Old 05-24-15, 11:49 PM
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Just look in the direction in which you'd like to go... and it will happen.
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Old 05-25-15, 12:09 AM
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On a conventional bicycle, you actually need to briefly turn the handlebars in the direction opposite of your turn to initiate the lean which will allow you to make the turn. Only once you have established the lean you can complete the turn. You will then need to turn the handlebars even further into the turn in order to come out of the lean and stop turning. It seems counter-intuitive but you can easily see this in action. First ride in straight line and then try to turn left by only pulling back on the front edge of the left side of your handlebar and/or pushing on the back edge of the right side of your handlebar. You should not be able to make the turn this way. It may be easier to do this test first on your flat bar hybrid. Once you understand this dynamic your turning will become easier and more natural.
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Old 05-25-15, 12:29 AM
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I think you just need to ride your bike more and you'll get used to it. If you know how to ride a bike you already know (at least sub consciously) how to countersteer. You shouldn't have to think about it.
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Old 05-25-15, 12:43 AM
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there must be something physically wrong in the fork, wheel or headset if your getting thrown off the bike just by trying to negotiate a turn. if thats not the case and your incident was caused by operator error, you may, in all honesty, want to buy a $50 pos roadie of craigs list and get use to the handling. It would be a shame to trash your brand new pinny. pretty steep and expensive learning curve.
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Old 05-25-15, 12:49 AM
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If the headset is properly adjusted, then it's just that you need a chance to get used to the bike and position. Give it a couple of weeks.
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Old 05-25-15, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bunyanderman View Post
You can have the headset tightened ( or the bolt above) which should make it a little more difficult to turn to bars.
Do not do this unless it is improperly tightened. (i.e. loose). Your headset preload/tightening should be enough to turn the wheel freely back and forth without resistance.

I'd be curious as to your steering situation, however. (extremely short stem might give a rider this feeling)

Perhaps a picture of your bike is in order.

Was/is this bike brand new?
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Old 05-25-15, 01:34 AM
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I'd sure hope anyone selling Pinarellos fits them properly.
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Old 05-25-15, 01:34 AM
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Just practice more. Reading all this stuff about countersteering and whatnot is all good and well, but it's a little like reading about sex and thinking you're going to be really good at it after reading some tips. Nope.
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Old 05-25-15, 05:08 AM
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Counter-steering, steering with the hips, etc. are all just ways to describe that you turn the bike at speed by leaning into the turn. This isn't specific to road bikes -- even the most relaxed hybrid turns by the same method. What's different is the sensitivity to steering inputs (either at the bars or due to weight shifts). It will take some getting used to, especially since your muscle memory is used to the characteristics of a more stable geometry. Riding figure-eights or slaloms in an empty parking lot (one without barriers) will let you get used to the feel in an environment where there are no consequences for taking a turn too wide. Once you make the adjustment, going back to a more relaxed geometry will feel like driving a truck
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Old 05-25-15, 05:52 AM
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your bike isn't a truck
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Old 05-25-15, 06:26 AM
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Just because you see a 90 degree turn does not mean you should make a 90 degree turn ... your riding line is just as important if not more important than your cornering technique. I come from an auto racing background. Every racing line from motorcycling/driving can be applied in bike racing, and I have found to much success. Here's a good link on how to approach your corners.

The racing line | Taking corners at speed | drivingfast.net

- Far out, close in - Start on the outside of the driving line, finish towards the apex, look where you want to go, not at the road
- Brake in a straight line before your corner
- Raise your inside leg and push down on the pedal with your outside leg. You're pushing the tire into the road for more grip
- DON'T pedal through tight corners - Center of gravity, tire grip, pedal damage
- Place your hands on your drops NOT your hoods
- For the love of God, don't turn your handlebars in a corner or you will eat pavement
- Steering with your hips means moving your center of gravity, your hips are now your center of gravity as opposed to your torso when seated on the bike. All motions with your hips can translate to the road.
- Steering must be learned through feel
- Be in the right spot, at the right time
- Don't do this SLOW, physics are different at low speeds.

Cornering is one of the most fun aspects of cycling, hard to master but extremely rewarding.

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Old 05-25-15, 06:26 AM
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You can't think this through. That will just result in overthinking it. Riding a bicycle (any bicycle) is totally intuitive. You have been doing this all along, you just have to keep doing it. Unless you have been on a trike or with training wheels like a 3-year old, there is no way you were steering with the handlebars. An in-line two-wheeled device simply cannot be steered with the handlebars. It must be steered by shifting body weight whether flat barred or drop barred, relaxed ride or aggressive ride. Stop thinking about it and just start riding.
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Old 05-25-15, 06:51 AM
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"It's not me, it's you." - Pinna

Give it a few rides to adjust.

I used to have the same squirrelly feeling when jumping from a MTB to a road bike. It always took me a few minutes to adjust. I expect you're in a similar situation coming from the relaxed geo bike you were riding to something with race geo.
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Old 05-25-15, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bunyanderman View Post
You can have the headset tightened ( or the bolt above) which should make it a little more difficult to turn to bars.
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Old 05-25-15, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I think you just need to ride your bike more and you'll get used to it. If you know how to ride a bike you already know (at least sub consciously) how to countersteer. You shouldn't have to think about it.
yup.
Take corners at a comfortable speed, and as you get more comfortable, you can go a bit faster.
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Old 05-25-15, 07:15 AM
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Originally Posted by marimorimo View Post
It also seems to me that I should not use the handlebar to steer (a habit I had from my flat bar bike),
If by this you mean that your hands are on the bars and not on the hoods (or drops) when you are executing a turn, then yeah, that could be a big part of the problem. A road bike can feel twitchy as hell when you are coming off a flat bar hybrid - it takes some getting used to. Give it time, and don't bite off more than you can chew in the early stages.
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Old 05-25-15, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by marimorimo View Post
I have heard that the bike must be steered from the hips--this feels incredibly vague for me, and pretty much a crap shot for the 90-degree corners on very narrow roads (with bollards!) that I have to navigate on my route. Could someone please describe to me how I should move my body to steer a road bike?
As mentioned. Don't over-think (or over-read the technical explanations)
You get the best control from the drops.
On a wide, safe road or open area, do a little slaloming. Smooth zig-zagging to get the feel of how it handles
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Old 05-25-15, 10:16 AM
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IDK if he wrote a book about cycling or not, but i read this and became a scratch golfer.
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Old 05-25-15, 01:26 PM
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A motorcycle trick I learned when I was a tike that is very appropriate for road cycling was to steer with pressure from the inside hand only. Turn right push with the right. Turn left push with the left.
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Old 05-25-15, 01:28 PM
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Here's an exercise, while cruising along wiggle your hips from left to right, carving s curves like an indy car warming up its tires. That's steering from the hips.
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Old 05-25-15, 02:34 PM
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And riding "no-hands" is steering with your hips, or whatever ya wanna call it.
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