Descending....please help

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speshyalex
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Descending....please help

Postby speshyalex » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:17 am

Hi,I've recently bought a road bike after doing a fair bit of mtb xc.I've done about 4 big rides and done a few hours on the turbo and am loving it,though descents scare me as anything over 30mph I develop a speed wobble .I dont know whether I'm just to tense or I'm not getting in a "aero" enough position,I 'm not overly confident on the drops,I usually ride low on the hoods.Advice welcome please.

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MajorMantra
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby MajorMantra » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:20 am

Any kind of technical descending should be done on the drops. If you have trouble reaching them you should adjust your fit. There are loads of tutorials on descending:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=road+bike+descending

Danlikesbikes
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby Danlikesbikes » Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:25 am

Can be quite a scare, especially if you used to MTB bikes.

Speed wobble is quite a funny one with no one cause (that people can agree on) but its unlikely that your none aero position is the cause.

BR did a section this a while ago though is still relevant - http://www.bikeradar.com/fitness/articl ... ble-14776/

Must admit on my first few rides I too struggled with steep downhills & tended to hold my body really stiff and try to control the bars covering the breaks. However after I while I got used to the bike and how it rides and generally loosened up and gained more confidence then was able to ride even faster.
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Mikey23
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby Mikey23 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:24 pm

Descents still scare the heck out of me but I am getting better. I'm always thinking of myself hitting the road and how it's going to feel. Quite irrational I know. I just try to make myself relax and stop feathering the brakes and go with the flow. All a matter of confidence, competence and experience. Never had speed wobble cos I never let myself go fast enough! I suppose if you get this at 30 and above then why not ride at 29?

ashleydwsmith
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby ashleydwsmith » Sun Feb 17, 2013 12:29 pm

Now I dont claim to know a great deal about road bikes, but my first port of call would be the bike, or more specifically the rims. Are they straight and true?

Stueys
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby Stueys » Sun Feb 17, 2013 17:07 pm

It's practice, when you're nervous you tense and that transmits right through the bike, making the bike feel nervous. Just practice and it will come, try to stay relaxed on the bike, in the drops so weight over the front wheel.

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ShutUpLegs
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby ShutUpLegs » Sun Feb 17, 2013 19:55 pm

Mikey23 wrote:I'm always thinking of myself hitting the road and how it's going to feel.


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g00se
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby g00se » Sun Feb 17, 2013 21:11 pm

No expert on descents here - and a bit nervous on fast ones to boot. But the most important thing is to relax your body - even if everything is telling you to tense up.

Speed wobbles - only had one and it wasn't nice. One thing to try and get out of it, is to clamp your knees against the top tube.

oldwelshman
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby oldwelshman » Sun Feb 17, 2013 22:07 pm

MajorMantra wrote:Any kind of technical descending should be done on the drops. If you have trouble reaching them you should adjust your fit. There are loads of tutorials on descending:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=road+bike+descending

Why?
Thats like saying climbing should be done out of the saddle?
I do vast majority of my descending on the hoods technical or not, just feel more relaxed and in control. Each to their own I guess.

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roger merriman
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby roger merriman » Sun Feb 17, 2013 22:30 pm

oldwelshman wrote:
MajorMantra wrote:Any kind of technical descending should be done on the drops. If you have trouble reaching them you should adjust your fit. There are loads of tutorials on descending:

https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=road+bike+descending

Why?
Thats like saying climbing should be done out of the saddle?
I do vast majority of my descending on the hoods technical or not, just feel more relaxed and in control. Each to their own I guess.


It is just one of those things that gets said, you normally get better braking and are slightly more aero in the drops, but you'll also have your weight further forward and less balanced.

with little rubber on the road, being smooth is the key, no death grips! plus a bit of forward thinking.

ie is hill safe to travel at speed? could some one step out of their house? and such what if's. Stopping once your above 30mph/48kph takes a remarkable time and distance even on nice dry roads...

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Mikey41
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby Mikey41 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 23:25 pm

I use drops partly for a more aero position, but mostly because I can brake better and harder from there.

Speed wobbles... Tyre pressures OK? Wheels true? Headset loose?
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b45her
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby b45her » Mon Feb 18, 2013 02:06 am

try hovering slightly above the seat but not actually sitting, for 1 your legs will absorb bumps not the bike and give you a smoother ride and 2 your center of gravity will be lower making things a lot more stable.
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nolight
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby nolight » Mon Feb 18, 2013 07:00 am

Never ever brake too suddenly too hard when going downhill! Gradual steady braking to slow down. Panic = disaster!

stifflersmom
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby stifflersmom » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:09 pm

I find another reason to use the drops rather than the hoods is that it can be easy to throw your hands off the hoods if the descent is bumpy.

deswahriff
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby deswahriff » Mon Feb 18, 2013 13:09 pm

...to the OP, you should not be getting any sort of "speed wobble" at 30mph, you have to address this as it could be indicative of something more serious with the bike. You say its a recent purchase, take it back to the shop, describe to them the wobble and get them to check it out.
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Muffintop
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby Muffintop » Mon Feb 18, 2013 13:28 pm

Another tip is don't look at the tarmack right infront of you or along the way - you will hit all those little bumps you're trying to avoid, don't look in the direction the bike is going (a really hard one!) - trying to turn the corner when you're bike hasn't made the turn and is still in the direction of the hedge, and you look at the hedge you will hit it. Only ever look at your exits - which should change constantly, and only for moving items which you will want to avoid which you acknowledge once with a proper look - but don't stare at these, you will hit them - and eyes straight back to your chosen exit on the road.

I spent about three weeks cycling in a park going round in circles trying to fine tune this. I practiced by going round in circles, with my head facing the middle of the circle but not the direction of where the bike was going. Practice does make a huge difference.

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roger merriman
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby roger merriman » Mon Feb 18, 2013 16:45 pm

stifflersmom wrote:I find another reason to use the drops rather than the hoods is that it can be easy to throw your hands off the hoods if the descent is bumpy.


If that's really a problem, then your doing something really quite wrong, most likely a death grip! Let the bike move under you and look ahead for your line.

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smidsy
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby smidsy » Mon Feb 18, 2013 17:21 pm

IME it makes complete sense to use the drops when descending. As already mentioned you can break better from there, you have more control from there and you are less likely to loose grip if the road surface is not the best.

This does not mean that you can not do it by using the hoods, it is simply more suitable to use the drops.

This is not to derride anyone elses techniques or experiences, simply based on my experience. Also look at how the pros do it, the majority will use the drops and they should be the role models for technique not any of us internet experts.

To the OP - you need to relax your upper body (and I would say use the drops) and look at where you want the bike to go. If you feel you are going too quick then use the brakes (but only when going straight) to control your speed. Don't drag the brake, apply the brakes to scrub speed and the release (you can do this as often as required).

Also look ahead as far as you can (not at the tarmac directly in front of you) as this allows you to anticipate and read the road.

A great technique to use approaching/in bends is to use either side of the road as a marker (still looking as far ahead as possible) - if the kerbs (or grass verge or walls or whatever) are getting closer together you need to slow down, if they open apart or stay parallel you can go quicker.

Scrub speed before you need to turn and keep looking at where you want to be.

None of this needs to be done in one go or at significant speed, just practise at a comfortable speed until you get comfy.
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MichaelW
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Re: Descending....please help

Postby MichaelW » Mon Feb 18, 2013 21:40 pm

High speed wobble may be a basic flaw of the bike. Now that forks are commodity items, they just fit The Fork to every bike. It may not work with the frame angles. I changed forks and the bike went from a solid descender to a flighty one.
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