i recently acquired a 2011 specialized langster. the bike had very few miles on it when i got it. i have a terrible habit of riding with no hands. the first time i let go of the handlebars on this bike, it immediately started to lean left and i had to grab the bars to regain control. ive had a bike to this to me in the past, but it was an old crappy bike, unlike this new one.
what could be causing it? everything - the wheels, the bars, the seat - appear to be sstraight and flush. there is nothing else in there that would make it obvious. i have been able to ride it no hands since, but i do have to counter balance a bit.
help me understand...
Steel is Real.
How's the bike?
so, my leanings continued for a while still without explanation. i messed with the wheels, i messed with the seat. two weekends ago, i rode the bike to starved rock. as my hands got a bit tired, i sat upright into a no hands dance. bike rode perfectly straight. i even took a video of it while riding. i thought it might have been the weight of the pack on back. but i took it off and tried without it. bike still rode straight.
bike is now sold, and this will forever be a mystery.
can you at least share the video with us? It can be embedded via youtube or vimeo I know.
If the problem went away that points to the front wheel not fully seated in the dropouts. You say you messed with the wheels in the dropouts? Maybe the fork was bent/not right and you accidentally put it in not straight and found that perfect out of position spot where the bike rides true. Or maybe the wheel was never in right for some reason (a burr on the DO or something odd) and it finally popped out of the way and the axle could now sit fully into the dropouts.
It really doesn't take a lot of misalignment to make some bikes pull. The more "racy" or steep the fork angles and trail geometry the less tolerance to misalignment the fork is. The long lazy fork angles of old roadsters are much more tolerant but then steering isn't quite so quick and responsive. On a more modern road bike the steering geometry tends to be more race-oriented and quick -and sensitive to even the slightest bit of misalignment.
If the bike leans to a side while no handed, it is usually an over tight headset. Headsets should move freely. As you ride no handed, your body leans to compensate and stay up right. As you lean the front wheel turns slightly. If the headset is tight, the fork resists movement back to the center and keeps tracking in the new direction. This is supported by the action of the rake on a fork. For example, take a look at a shopping cart, the front wheels always want to drag backwards with the forks pointing back. A bicycle would do the same thing naturally if we allowed it.
Reply by John W. on
"Couldn't hurt to tighten the headset. When my bike has a loose headset and it's hanging on the rack, I can't keep the wheel pointing forward...it keeps turning. Once the headset it tight, it points forward until I move it."
You want the wheel to turn in a rack, and that is a perfect test. Tightening it to keep it straight in a rack is exactly what will cause it to ride funny.
I would think that your overtight headset loosened up over time, allowing it to track normally on your ride to starved rock. Bikes gone, though, so it's a moot point. Happy riding, hands or not.
i cant say that the headset was tight, per se. maybe, but it wasnt something i noticed. it was internal, as well. havent messed with those before. i did mess with the wheels and how they sat in the drop outs, front and back. i flipped both wheels in the name of science. it always just stayed leaning left. not pulling left. it never tried to turn the bike, just leaned.
anyways, here is the vid. not that it helps too much in anything. its short. really had to put my eyes back on the trail. its my first youtube post tho, so thats kinda cool. and yes, its moot at this point, but the question remains.
I like that you named it No Hands Dance.
There's no easy answer. I have two custom Waterford frames and I have to shift my weight ever so slightly to get both to track straight no-handed. Both frames have been back to Waterford for repainting and alignment check over the years.
I've built all my wheel sets and they are trued and dished as close to perfection as my TS2 and VAR dishing tool will get them.
I believe I'm fatter on one side of my body but I also harbor a shitload of hot air....
Hot air weighs a lot.
I skimmed, so I'm not certain if this has been addressed or not, but track bikes are less stable due to a higher center of gravity and twitchier geo. I have a friend who can ride hands-free for days on her CX and touring bikes, but on her track rig, or the track bikes of any of her similarly sized friends, she simply cannot.
ya, ive experienced squirleyness before on a track. this wasnt the case. it was steady in its lean.
I think a little lean is natural and I have experienced it before. If it didn't "steer" left, but only leaned left, it could be the way you naturally position yourself on the bike. This often involves upper body weight shifted to one side and our knees aimed in or out to aid in balancing. When our hands are on the bars, we have two points of contact for balancing input making things easier. However, when we ride no handed, our body has to apply more english to keep upright and may develop a lean and counterbalance to make staying upright eaiser. Another thought is that there may be no such thing as balance (unless you're a rock). Balance is the perception of ourselves becoming more comfortable with being out of balance. While riding, our bodies make thousands of minute adjustments to keep ourselves upright. Our bikes probably very rarely ride directly upright as it moves underneath us.
My hypothesis to leaning left, if we all had perfect center of balance, or non-balance, like a Yogi, would be the crown in the road. We ride on the right, the road slants to the curb, forcing us to lean, or adjust our bodies, a little to the left to keep the bike vertical. I have seen this lean change while riding down the left side of a crowned one-way. Also, take a look at your tires. As most people maintain a natural lean when they ride, due to road crown or not, their tires will possibly show wear consistent with that lean. It's possible that duiring your trip to starved rock, the limestone trail was made with little crown, fairly flat compared to the city streets we're used to riding on, allowing the bike to be perceived more vertical.
I'm not trying to doubt your experiences, Igz, just providing food for thought from my own experiences incase you havn't discovered them before. The whole discussion is further skewed by whether we are on a fixed or freewheel bike.
Safe, vertical, rides to all!