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Are lighter bikes more dangerous in crosswinds?(7 posts)

Are lighter bikes more dangerous in crosswinds?Dutchy
Oct 2, 2001 9:38 PM
I am curious to hear from people who ride light bikes (sub 8 kilo/17.5pounds)
Do these very light bikes become twitchy in crosswinds.
I ride a 96' Giant CFR which I find is a lot more unstable on windy days than my Cannondale (rigid MTB with 26x 1.5 slicks).

The "Dale" is only ~ 1kilo/2.2pound heavier but is very stable on windy days. The CFR has deep dish rims about 2 inches high, could this be a factor in the wind buffeting?

The reason for asking is I want to buy a new bike but am a little concerned about the crosswinds affecting a light bike while going downhill.

Any thoughts.
re: Are lighter bikes more dangerous in crosswinds?Akirasho
Oct 3, 2001 4:00 AM
... hard to nail down because of the large number of variables presented... but think of it this way... your body is by far the largest sail and factor with respect to the wind... geometry of the frame... the wind speed... your speed as a rider... will all factor into the equation... with a few more variables just to give the super computer something to munch on... but I wouldn't be as concerned with the weight of the frame as I would the geometry... my position on the bike... and the height of the rim sidwalls (some deep, tri spoke rims and disc wheels can catch a bit of wind, especially at speed).

Of course, part of the equation is also your ability as a human being to adapt and learn new bike handling skills... get your new ride, then work on your skills when dealing with it.

We abide.

Remain In Light.
re: Are lighter bikes more dangerous in crosswinds?Mick
Oct 3, 2001 4:24 AM
I ride a 00 Giant CFR, the last year for the model I believe, and am glad to find another owner. I don't see many of them on the road.

I also have an older, much heavier, Bianchi steel bike. As to frame weight as a wind-catching factor, I'd say no. The Bianchi and Giant handle differently based on materials but wind doesn't seem to be a factor.

You said you use deep dish rims. That's where I'd put my money on your wind and sail effect. I don't ride them but they have a reputation for handling problems in high winds.
re: bikes in crosswinddzrider
Oct 3, 2001 4:38 AM
The wind acts on the combined weight and surface area of the bike & rider so the kilo isn't much of a difference.

I know that disc wheels have a huge effect in crosswinds so I'll conclude that deep dish rims have some because they increase the lateral surface area.

The mountain bike may do better because of a lower center of gravity and larger contact area with the ground but that's just guessing.
Can't be any physical mode for thisChris Zeller
Oct 3, 2001 5:46 AM
The two things that would effect riding in crosswinds are:

1 total weight of rider and bike
2 total aerodynamic signiture of the rider and bike normal to the direction of motion.

Since the weight of race roadbikes only varies by four or five pounds in a total weight of around 180-200 lbs for rider + bike, this won't make any substantial difference.

What will make a difference is the profile of the bike (how you sit on the bike is a big component) especially the wheels. Deep dish aero wheels have a nasty reputation for performing terribly in crosswinds. The small reductions in frontal aerodynamic signiture usually come at huge gains in aerodynamic signiture normal to the direction of motion. This is likely to be the source of your problems.
Oct 3, 2001 7:53 AM
Just built a sub 16# TCR and it's purty stable at speed. I've only had it up to a tad over 40 but it felt just fine there. I haven't been in a windstorm yet so I guess I can't claim anything on that front.

IMHO, if you have gusting crosswinds then any bike will be a handful. Be very careful!

It's not the bike, it's me...Allen az
Oct 3, 2001 2:48 PM
I don't ride a light bike, (Trek 1000, ~24.5 lbs.). But I weigh 120 lbs. Crosswinds (gusts) almost tip me over, and It's scary! (especially during fast group rides).