The ultimate in stability?

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The ultimate in stability?

Postby The_Eggman » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:38 pm

Hey all

I'm 9 months or so into rehab a crash than damn near killed me (which involved me clipping a catseye on a fast descent - so I'm told anyway - I have no recollection), and I'm hoping to get the docs thumbs up to get back on two wheels sometime soon (I'm currently adorning a recumbent trike, generously crowd sourced by my bike club mates).

Now when I do get back on two wheels, I'm hoping to make it the most stable two wheeler (within reason) I can jump aboard. I'm probably still keen to try ride some reasonable k's - maybe 80 or 90 k rides once a week or so, and see if I can build up from there. Any thoughts on what I should stick on the shortlist?

I'm quite open as to what the ride may be, be it something like a Trek Domane or Specialised Roubaix (which both seem to have a reputation of being very stable road machines) or a posh flatbar (which I guess may offer a beneficial geometry, not to mention wider tyres which I guess help, even though it slows my pace) ?? I would probably draw the line at mountain bike though. Anyhow, keen to hear everyone's thoughts.

FWIW my old/current ride was an Orbea Lobular clad with Dura Ace and Mavic Kysriliums. Haven't ruled out just jumping back aboard it - it came thru the crash disgustingly well. I'm wondering if a might be able to fit a wider tyre, and would that have the desired effect?

Thanx in advance
Last edited by The_Eggman on Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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by BNA » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:55 pm

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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby open roader » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:55 pm

As I began to read your post I was thinking MTB with slicks. From experience my MTB (26" wheels) fitted with slick tyres is the most stable bike I've ever ridden on the road, esp. on fast decents......... but for 80-90 km at a time...... maybe not.............?

However, only you will know your limits in relation to how your bike must feel under you when you make your velo return.

I'd be surprised if Trek Domane or Spez. Roubaix (have tested a Roubaix - very comfortable with low road buzz factor) or any other conventional road race bike will offer you substantially more stability than your current Orbea Lobular. 'Relaxed Geometry' frames are intended to offer a less crouched more upright riding position, however, I would not read more stablity into that equation.

Wider tyres run at lower pressures will enlarge the contact patch and theoretically offer more grip as will a pair of sticky fast wearing race tyres, however, from my experience unless you opt for a significantly longer wheelbase and/or significantly more voluminous tyres or a significantly heavier wheelset, a slick tyre shod MTB is the most confidence inspiring ride for sealed road surfaces.
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby il padrone » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:12 pm

My brother cane back to cycling after a lapse of over 25 years. He had a bad road collision on his bike when he was about 19 and copped some head injuries. He came back to ride recumbents, but then a couple of years ago he had another spill on the Warby trail (front tyre washed out in loose gravel) that left him with a very bad break of his lower leg.

Now he rides one of these:

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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby ironhanglider » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:45 pm

Surely really heavy wheels would have a greater gyroscopic effect which would increase stability.

I got some Stars Circle wheels to re-build onto different hubs for my tandem, the rims are 880g each at 45mm deep. (Compares to about 500g for most 30mm deep section rims) I haven't ridden with them on a single bike though. I'd expect that they wouldn't accelerate well, and wouldn't manoeuvre well, but they should be stable. I'll see if I can put them on my race bike for a test.

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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby kb » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:55 am

I'd question if stability is really what you're after. It may be but try to pin down your requirements a little more precisely. A feeling of security I understand. I tend to feel more comfortable if a bike responds quickly and feels as if it goes where I think. Generally speaking, you can't go wrong with wider, more grippy tires though.
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby The_Eggman » Sun Nov 03, 2013 7:44 pm

kb wrote: It may be but try to pin down your requirements a little more precisely.


You may well be right.

What I'm looking to do is to best minimise the chances of coming off again, but still be able to put out some reasonable kms. I had thought perhaps a flat bar roadie sporting 28mm tyres or wider may fit the bill, but I guess I wanted to know (a) is a flar bar genuinely more stable than a roadie, and (b) if so could I achieve 90% of the benefit by running a wider tyre (or some other simple mod) on my roadie and is that even a realistic option? Part (c) was does changing to a roadie with a reputation for stability (such as the Domane) really make a difference.
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby Nobody » Sun Nov 03, 2013 8:28 pm

The_Eggman wrote:(a) is a flar bar genuinely more stable than a roadie
Not much for hitting reflectors, rocks, sticks etc as the tyre pressures of a 32 aren't that much different.

The_Eggman wrote:(b) if so could I achieve 90% of the benefit by running a wider tyre (or some other simple mod) on my roadie and is that even a realistic option?
Not realistic on a road bike. You really need a super wide and therefore super low pressures (like < 30psi at the front) to make a big difference to stability with hitting small objects.

The_Eggman wrote:(c) was does changing to a roadie with a reputation for stability (such as the Domane) really make a difference.
I haven't ridden it, but I highly doubt it.

For maximum two wheel stability, you really need a hard tail MTB with wide road tyres run at low pressures. Keep the front shocks active down hills and you can run over reflectors at will IMO. :)
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby wqlava1 » Sun Nov 03, 2013 9:08 pm

Your current bike being a CX-based bike means you can fit wider tyres back up to somewhere around the 32mm specified when new. The rims on your wheels could be wider to get the tyre spread out a bit wider and run lower tyre pressure. Some wheels built up with H plus Son Archetype (or Velocity A23 or the Pacenti or HED alternatives - there have been a few threads in these forums) rims would give the tyre a wider base and feel a bit more stable. If you still want a road-type frame with drop bars then see this article
http://cyclingtips.com.au/2011/02/the-g ... -handling/
and think about a light-ish touring frame with longer chainstays and closer to seventy-something up to 80mm bottom bracket drop. Those bikes will usually come with the ability to fit wider tyres. Before dismissing wider tyres as slower, look up the number of people saying that Grand Bois, and a variety of other flexible-walled wide tyres are as fast or faster than narrow road race tyres. Wider tyres which run at lower pressures will have a little bit more ability to flex over small bumps such as you say caused your accident.

It doesn't need much of a bump on a road surface to cause a bike to lose traction. On a trail I rode to work recently for a few months (the Diamond Creek Trail through Eltham, Vic) the council is trying out a new line marking on a corner that has raised squares about 1cm every 3 or 4cm instead of smooth paint. It's just next to the old rail trestle bridge, for locals. I have slid sideways over it a few times in the wet, but not on similar corners at similar speeds with flat paint. I think my tyre is raised up a couple of mm passing over a square and only contacting that one square not the full contact patch - therefore it can start the slide. I have fed that back to the council, but no action to change it yet!
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby The_Eggman » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:03 pm

OK, to make this bit more straightforward I'm looking at flat bar road bikes like:

The Boardman Pro: http://www.boardmanbikes.com/hybrid/hybrid_pro.html
The Cannondale Quick SL1 : http://www.cannondale.com/aus/catalog/p ... egory/953/
The Orbea Carpe 10: http://www.orbea.com/au-en/bicycles/carpe-10/

All offer a wider tyre, a more upright position and a couple of them superior breaking than my previous ride.

Am I going to feel any more stable on one of these (or is it figment of my imagination), and can you seriously punch out 80 and 90K sessions (riding group with those on roades, averaging 25 to 28 kph) on such a bike
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Re: The ultimate in stability?

Postby open roader » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:22 pm

The_Eggman wrote:Am I going to feel any more stable on one of these (or is it figment of my imagination), and can you seriously punch out 80 and 90K sessions (riding group with those on roades, averaging 25 to 28 kph) on such a bike


A fit rider can make the best of any ride, be it with fat slow tyres, heavy frame, tall un-aero riding position etc, the key is motivation to do so (or not)

Personally I find flat bar road bikes (yes - ridden a few) a pain in the wrists after 20 mins riding or there-abouts but these bikes were holiday rental types and hardly set up to fit me 'just so'. They are also a more upright riding position which means more aero drag to factor in and also from a stability viewpoint, a higher centre of gravity.

Returning to your initial issue with a crash on a fast-ish decent, on a road bike (700c wheels) I've always felt the most stable whilst cornering on a decent with my hands down on the drops.

You cliped an on road obstacle and had a very nasty high speed collision. Without wanting to sound dismissive and perhaps paternalistic, I'd chalk this down to experience, albiet a bad one and try to ride your not so badly damaged pre-existing bike again to see how you feel about it.

If you are determined to go flat bar road bike then I'd be demanding a truly decent test ride, indeed preferably down a twisty decent for proof of pudding factor, otherwise I'd stick to a longer wheel base road bike with not so steep a fork angle, drop handlbars and 25mm to 28mm tyres which allow lower pressures to be run gaining the much improved rolling impact absorbtion you need to avoid road surface anomalies like reflectors and pot holes deflecting the bike off your desired line.
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