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no hands(32 posts)

no handsET
Apr 16, 2001 9:46 AM
I'm continuing this topic in a new post since the old thread is off the main page and probably long forgotten.

Most here seemed to disagree with my claim that a bike will ride more stable, i.e. rider less likely to fall, using a longer stem when riding with no hands, y'all emphasizing that after all, you're not touching the bike.

I stand by my claim, but let me explain. Sure, riding on perfectly smooth terrain and no body shifting, and, if you like, in a vacuum :-) and it makes no difference. But put in a perturbation (as experienced in all real riding and as pointed out in one of my posts), such as slightly uneven road surface, or possibly body weight shifting, with a longer stem the amount of degrees the stem and wheel will move off center is less than with a shorter stem, hence it is easier to get back to the neutral balancing position, yes, all with no hands. Is that claim so outrageous? Another pointed out that there are other considerations too, such as different center of gravity. Maybe I'm wrong, but my same hybrid sure is a lot more "stable" now that I put in a longer stem.

Nigel, you're persistently trying to provoke me over Cycling Plus and I won't be drawn into it anymore. You claimed that in the oh so many issues you've received, not ONCE (your capitals and not the pro riding group) did they ever define the word "audax" (not that I really know what it means either) anywhere. Actually, it's defined in detail in each and every issue, on the Calendar page: pg 14 in the January issue, pg 14 in the February issue, pg 14 in the March issue. Very unobservant of you. Please read the magazine before making such claims. If you complain that that's a weird place to define it, not really: if you'd like to enter such an event, its definition and the schedule are there. Of course, apparently every Brit already knows what it is anyway. :-)
I'm sorry, ET. You're a good guy. I'm a bad guy.boy nigel
Apr 16, 2001 10:17 AM
I'll not taunt you further about C+ (the magazine that has everything for everyone interested in cycling--okay, one last taunt).

I read enough of the audax bike reviews and could find nary a sentence of definition in them (where, frankly, they should be). How dumb of me to skip the all-clarifying and omniscient PAGE 14. Next time, I do better.

I find it particularly of interest that you, Mister C+ (if I may say so, since a lot of us feel this way), still don't know what it means, despite having found its definition on said page. I also find it funny that you take half of your continuation thread on no-hands riding to point out that I am wrong and that you are (or that C+ is) right. What a good sport you are. I appreciate that.

Luv and hugs,
Not bad, just obnoxiousCurious
Apr 16, 2001 11:20 AM
You are not a talented sarcastic. You are not even an average sarcastic. Is it true that you are a magazine editor?

Not obnoxious, just tired of the whole thing.boy nigel
Apr 16, 2001 11:48 AM
Mr./Ms. Curious (don't think I've seen YOUR name here before--fake name, perhaps?),

To answer you in reverse: Yes, I'm a magazine editor. I'm not paid to be a "talented sarcastic." ET knows why I may take this tone with him. This relationship goes back months to his beating Cycling Plus into our heads.

This started as a kind and appreciated deed, seeing as the mag's miles better than Bicycling. He then proceeded to clobber us with "If you'd gotten C+, the review you're looking for is in this month's issue"-type responses. THAT'S obnoxious. He then asked what we felt about the subscrips we'd gotten, and I diplomatically and truthfully expressed that the mag, solid as it is, didn't quite cover what I looked for in a mag. He's great at flogging dead horses. Witness how he's kicking the crap outta this no-hands topic even though people have stopped responding to it (For WHAT?!); some sort of strange obsessive behavior on show here. He then began telling those who weren't 100% happy with C+ that we should appreciate the mag for this, that, and the other thing. We tried to be nice, but he kept on and on. I agreed to disagree, but he still brings my name into it.

I defend myself to those kind people on the board--you know who you are--not know-everythings like "Curious." Kiss my curious bum. We all sign onto this board to learn things and share info/experiences. I'm sure we've all done this to one extent or another. I don't need "Curious" to step in when his/her opinion's neither asked for nor called for.

Sorry if I offended anyone besides "Curious" and possibly ET.

re: no handsMrCelloBoy
Apr 16, 2001 10:24 AM
You answered your own question! You say in your experience it's more stable, so what else matters!?
Jah, So?grz mnky
Apr 16, 2001 10:43 AM
By increasing the stem length you move the mass of the whole bar assembly further from the axis of rotation and effectively increase the lever arm, the rotational moment of inertia, and angular momentum which in turn affects the system response time. So what?
but what aboutjohn de
Apr 16, 2001 10:50 AM
once this slower (longer stem) system has already directed off course...wouldnt a shorter stem be quicker to rather go with the quicker stearing...
but what aboutgrz mnky
Apr 16, 2001 2:16 PM
Stability and manauverability are inversely related. In the extreme something can be so mananauverable that it is unstable and difficult to fly/ride at the other end of the spectrum you have something that is so stable that you can't manauver it. In the middle it ultimately it comes down to the indvidual and the circustances and is a matter of preference. Quick steering is good in some respects and may be bad in others - there is no absolute, right or wrong answer - a crit racer would probably want something that is more manauverable while a RAAM rider would probably want something that is more stable.

Just what is your point?
if i have to have a pointjohn de
Apr 16, 2001 5:56 PM
its that long stems may be less inclined to be bounced off course but that once off course they are harder to pull back on course and that therefore the seeming no hand stability of a longer stem may not be not talking about preferances, this is science here..isnt that the debate in a way
if i have to have a pointgrz mnky
Apr 17, 2001 9:26 AM
Ahh, yes, but I try not to debate "facts". You'll have the increased stability with the longer stem, but the response time will be longer. No handed stability is a whole order of magnitude (or two) less important than having the bike fitting and handling (with hands) properly. You don't race or even ride much "no handed" so that's why I was questioning you. Still this is a board to kick around ideas and it's a lot safer to do that here than to go out and run some experiments in traffic.
give a rest, alreadysheesh
Apr 16, 2001 10:49 AM
merits of short and long stems?Dog
Apr 16, 2001 10:54 AM
While you are on the topic, what would you say are the relative merits of short or long stems? For example, better to have a short top tube and long stem, or long tt, short stem? Any 'ideal' length for a stem? Of course, the application might matter - road racing, time trials, ultra events, recreation, crits...

merits of short and long stems?john de
Apr 16, 2001 11:32 AM
i think it all comes down to comfort and i opt for the twitchier shorter stem over the sluggish long reach is also a factor, cinelli's are typically shorter...shorter bar reach i am very much in favor of..salsa makes the reach makes adjusting hand positions much easier and allows all positons to be closer
sluggish vs twitchy???PaulCL
Apr 16, 2001 11:51 AM
How about fit vs not-fit. I have a long stem becuase I have a long upper body. Simply it fits me better vs a shorter stem on a bigger bike. If I had a custom made frame, maybe this would be different.

How is a short stem twitchy and a long one sluggish?? I don't get it?
sluggish vs twitchy???Turtleherder
Apr 16, 2001 12:55 PM
The longer stem pushes the bars out farther from the pivot point of the head tube and thus the radius of the arc of travel of the bars is a longer distance for the same amount of turn at the wheel. This longer distance takes more time and movement and is thus "sluggish" compared to a shorter arc, faster turning, short stem. The question was, when achieving the same overall fit (top tube length plus stem length) is it better to have a long top tube and short stem or to use a short top tube and long stem? For me the shorter stem,longer top tube does provide for quicker handling.
sluggish vs twitchy???Jofa
Apr 16, 2001 2:54 PM
One easy (hopefully) way to visualise this: imagine 2 bikes, with the 'cockpit' (saddle - bar) lengths the same; the first has a long tt and a short stem, the second a short tt and a long stem. Effectively, the difference is that the head-tube - the centre about which the entire bike pivots- is tucked more underneath the rider on the second bike. To me, this allows a slightly easier visualisation of what is going on, and exposes one clear side-effect: the 'twitchiness' associated with short stems, as a result of the shorter lever, is partly countered by the fact that the wheelbase of the bike must be respectively longer, given that ht angle/ fork trail remain the same, to fit the rider. And long- wheelbase bikes have a reputation for being slower- handling. (On reflection, I don't actually know why this is: anybody care to elaborate?)

Anyway, it is partly because of all this that I maintain that the only way properly to fit a bike is by cockpit length, and the relative proportions of its constituents- tt and stem. Especially in these days of compact frames, where standover height is no longer an issue.

ps I think this is pertinent to the original issue, of hands off stability; given that a bike with a longer stem will- if it fits the rider- have a shorter wheelbase; somehow, I'd expect a short wheelbase bike to be more twitchy ridden hands off, although I can't quite work the dynamics of this out in my head. Of course, if you're talking about the same bike with different stems, I'd be surprised to register a difference.
please check the quote in the earlier threadET
Apr 16, 2001 12:43 PM
The one from Performance Cycling.

The passage ended off by saying, "Stem extension should not be a serious handling concern unless the rider is forced to use a very short or very long stem..."

I guess what's still somewhat incomplete is, what is the ideal stem length (if there is such a thing) for a person with such-and-such dimensions. This may be moot for all but a custom, especially given that if you're ballpark, apparently it doesn't seem to matter that much.
ET, you are persistent. Believe what you want.Jimbob
Apr 16, 2001 3:06 PM
On the road I think most of us are used to 10-12cm stems. Im sure you could get used to shorter or longer with a TT to counter. When I first started riding MTBs everybody used 150s. Now I use a 120 for XC and a 65 on my DH bike. THe short stems feel weird at first but when the trail is pointed downhill it balances the weight better. On climbs it places your weight too far back. As for long stems they are great for climbing, and when you turn its more of a sweeping motion than a pure turn. To answer your question, I dont know that there is an ideal TT/stem configuration. I just know that what we use currently feels good. It would be interesting to try dif. configurations but then your messing with head angles (unless of course you lengthen or shorten wheelbases accordingly)and dont get a pure reading. Bike geometry is a compromise. There are things we just cant do or try because it ruins other necessary geometries.
To Whom and Whomever's ...Breck
Apr 16, 2001 1:09 PM
To no one specific; every body that's a-bored.

Subjective observation:
YT (yours truly) can ride the OCLV with a normal 110 mm TTT stem with no hands on the flats, up hill, down hill and can even steer the damn bike preety goode with no shimmy (shimmy ko ko pop; shimmy shimmy shake [ -The Imperials] ) what-so-ever. My bud can not do this. Some can, some can't. Ditto with the Klein MTB ... all of the afore mentioned on the smooother flats & sum ruff stuff.

Objective observation:
A lot of Euro pros pick the smallest bike they can straddle so as to save bike weight. (They are already as light as they want to be). This necessitates a longer stem as one might suspect. Pay close attention next time you watch a WCP tape or OLN non-coverage of dah race.

A challenge:
How far on the flatts can you ride your bike, whatever the damn stem length? Posts times some time in the future. Doo-Wop shimmy's acceptable.

Uni-Cycle any one?

To Doug SloanJon Billheimer
Apr 16, 2001 1:50 PM
Check out Kevin Lippert's article on bike fit on his website. Stem length for him is primarily an issue of weight distribution from back to front of bike. The ideal according to Kevin is 55% rear, 45% front. Given that weight distribution, the top tube length needs to be as close to ideal as possible, which will then yield a 9 to 11 cm. stem. This is just one perspective, but is interesting nevertheless.
Some info. Probably common knowledge.Jimbob
Apr 16, 2001 3:45 PM
I think the ideal stem length would change with the persons height. I also think the seat to bar height ratio can be bigger with a taller person.
ooo ooo i canjohn de
Apr 16, 2001 6:07 PM
but can you tight rope or even better can you do a track stand no hands with a freewheel...can you ride standing on the seat stay and top tube....or sit on the bars backwards and pedal...i havent tried a wheelie in ages but a guy i ride with does one on his roddie....i wish i had my old bmx bike
"almost grown" -chuck berryBreck
Apr 17, 2001 6:12 AM
ooh ooh i can

they say i'm doin' alright on the bike
don't ride no scooters or trikes
but the question i have to you
doo you ride with one hand or two?

ooh ooh i can
ooh ooh i can

john de,
sing this to the tune of chuck's song
when you're doin' all those "cheap trick(s)".

re: no handsLBS Guy
Apr 16, 2001 5:41 PM
Longer stems = more stable ride, with or without hands it doesn't matter, y? i dont know its just the way it is deal with it.
Shorter stems = more sketchy, twitchy, responsive ride, also with or without hands, again just because God made it that way who knows.
Shorter wheelbase = more stable more responsive
Longer wheelbase = more sketchy less responsive, again just because thats the way it is.
Maybe all the people here in Ga that i've talked to about it are just freaks of nature and dont work right, but everytime i throw my leg over a road bike to test it and i ride it i come back and check the geometries and my theory stands. Later ya'll remember, it's not the bikes fault u suck.
LBS guy, youre dead wrong.Beavis
Apr 17, 2001 7:44 AM
When your hands are off your bars, your steering geometry doesnt know how long your stem is nor does it care. When they are on the bars, your steering input changes, quicker for a short stem and slower for a long stem. The stability of the bike remains unchanged.

Also, a longer wheelbase is more stable than a short w-base.

Go ride your hybrid around with ET until you get it figured out. This is the dumbest topic and statement I've ever heard.
if we're so dead wrong...ET
Apr 17, 2001 11:31 AM
why does grz mnky, with all his physics degrees, seem to agree with us? At least I think he does.

(I think LBS guy unintentionally swapped words in his fast typing in regards to the stability of longer and shorter wheelbases; no one's arguing that a longer wheelbase produces a more stable ride, so let's ignore that part.)

Think of this: If you balance a pencil on your nose (no hands!), it's hard to keep it in balance. Now try the same with a yardstick (no hands!), and it's easier. Now switch to a bike and do the no hands thing with a longer stem. Sure it's not exactly the same comparison, but it's not a long stretch to believe that minimal body motions and minimal road irregularities knocking one off center of balance will require only minimal offsetting body motions to maintain balance due to the smaller angle of deviation. Is that so dumb?

On another related point, someone pointed out that pros tend to ride very small frames. This would push one's body weight way forward towards the end of the top tube, and may very well be the explanation for the no-hands "shimmy" witnessed, even for a very long stem.
Grz Monkey doesnt agree..Give up on your stupid theories.Beavis
Apr 17, 2001 12:19 PM
You have no followers except for your fake name LBS guy. Most mike shop guys are $5/hour, zit-popping retards. There are some very very knowledgable guys dont get me wrong. Im speaking of the majority.
ET, do wider bars help you ride with no hands also???Beavis
Apr 17, 2001 12:56 PM
Wide bars slow down steering as well. Whats your analogy on this?
Grz Monkey does agree..Give up on your stupid theories.LBS Guy
Apr 17, 2001 3:31 PM
Beavis i would say your the dumbest person i've ever talked to but i haven't ever talked to you and your not dumb just stubborn, of course i guess if i was so wrong about something i might act the same way but anywho, how many zip popping shop workers do u know that ride/race road bikes, cause of all the workers i've met none do but hey maybe thats just around here, and no i'm not ET i've never met him, he does seem pretty cool and sounds like a good guy to ride with but, o well, but Beavis keep up your stubbornness, and keep up the good work, you know your kinda like one of my riding buddies who would argue with a stop sign no matter how wrong he is. oh well later all
Remember It's not only you who loves the bike, the bikes loves you back.
Whatever works for you. Im gonna try the pencil and yardstickBeavis
Apr 18, 2001 7:45 AM
theory tonight. If it works, you guys are right.
fast typing, indeed ...Breck
Apr 17, 2001 1:56 PM
re: "...Now switch to a bike and do the no hands thing with a longer stem...."

Are you saying it's easier to balance the bike on the end-of-your-nose if it is long stemmed? Have you actually tried this?

Bob Wills could balance the fiddle bow on the end of his nose while the band played "Big Balls in Cowtown". Rumor was he had a long fiddle bow. Really impressed the ladies too.

I think the acronym LOL is kinda geeky but really, I was LOLing!Beavis
Apr 17, 2001 2:03 PM
Wade you crack me up. LOL!!!