Riding no handed

orderodonata Posts: 86
edited May 2010 in Road beginners
I've upped the spec on my bike over the last year, and it's a couple of pounds lighter than it used to be, but now if I ride no handed, it feels very twitchy and I'm not as confident as I'd like, especially at low speed.

Is it just a skill to learn/re-learn, or are lighter bikes inherently all over the place?

Alive at both ends, but a little dead in the middle.


  • psymon
    psymon Posts: 1,562
    if its a better spec bike then it probably has better/lighter wheels.
    this means there is less rotating mass and therefore less gyroscopic effect, which is what keeps you upright and balanced.

    also differing angles...head, rake, trail will all effect its twitchyness too.

    i had a trek vrx with awesome rolf satalite wheels, the front was 20 paired spokes and it was impossible to ride no handed!
  • mattbass789
    mattbass789 Posts: 355
    More speed = more gyroscopic effect = more balance

    Does that sound counter intuitive, I can only ride no hand if i keep my legs spinning, and think forwards and not think about the fact my hands arent on the bars.
    “If you worried about falling off the bike, you’d never get on.”

  • acidstrato
    acidstrato Posts: 945
    i can ride my giant with no hands easily pedalling or just rolling the front always keeps straight until i shift my weight slightly to steer the bike. but i cannot take my hands off my ribble and sit back as the handle bars will instantly swing around and i'll die
    Crafted in Italy apparantly
  • fastercyclist
    fastercyclist Posts: 396
    You can ride no handed anywhere with enough momentum especially if you can deliver power in a balanced way. I went no handed up a reasonably steep slope whilst removing my helmet yesterday and didn't veer once. Try sitting even more straight as you go no handed. Need a back like an ironing board when doing it.

    I'm on a light bike too, P-X. Maybe the lighter bike is punishing you for balance errors you got away with before. It's just practice but it's certainly doable on light bikes.
    The British Empire never died, it just moved to the Velodrome
  • Smokin Joe
    Smokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    Sit bolt upright and look at the road ahead, not down at the front wheel.
  • herusix
    herusix Posts: 55

    I have been able to ride no handed since I was a kid,however I have only recently been able to do the same whilst on my rollers which does take quite a lot of concentration.
    Dialled Bikes Prince Albert MTB

    Giant Bowery Inc lots of Upgrades

    Project Concorde Road Bike
  • ilm_zero7
    ilm_zero7 Posts: 2,213
    there is anlso another answer - buy deeper rimmed wheels - lighter wheels have the bike more twitcy, but I have found deep rimmed wheels more stable when you need to eat or do an SMS :D
    Wiliers: Cento Uno/Superleggera R and Zero 7. Bianchi Infinito CV and Oltre XR2
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    My vote says it's down to practice.

    I've never been without a bike since about 4yrs old, and whilst I've not conciously practiced riding no handed, I guess 34yrs of biking has given me plenty of practice. I find it second nature now, although on my road bike it's a little more twitchy.

    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • andy_wrx
    andy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    Just practice !
    I learnt how to do it this year, age 47...

    Harder on my TT bike as the weight distribution is further forward, more onto the front wheel. Easier on the roadbike, particularly if I lean back more and unweight the front wheel.
  • boondog
    boondog Posts: 205
    acidstrato wrote:
    the handle bars will instantly swing around and i'll die
  • I think it's definitely the change in wheels from Aksium to Dura Ace. I think the gyroscopic effect must play a part, I was just a bit surprised the first time I tried it on the new wheels.

    I'm sure I'll get used to it! Or fall off, one or the other.
    Alive at both ends, but a little dead in the middle.
  • pneumatic
    pneumatic Posts: 1,989
    Look no hands! Look no teeth!

    that is the advice I was given. :wink:

    Fast and Bulbous
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    There is another option. Don't ride no handed. :wink::wink:
  • thel33ter
    thel33ter Posts: 2,684
    Smokin Joe wrote:
    Sit bolt upright and look at the road ahead, not down at the front wheel.

    Thats what works for me, although I can't do it on my Specialized very well for some reason. Also keep pedaling kind of evenly and powerfully, not spinning.
    And now you know, and knowing is half the battle
    05 Spesh Enduro Expert
    05 Trek 1000 Custom build
    Speedily Singular Thingy
  • racingcondor
    racingcondor Posts: 1,434
    If you've upgraded your bars or changed your cable housings recently that could contribute. A change in the length (or just stiffness) of the cable housing may mean that left alone the bars tend toward turning one direction more easily than the other.

    Probably the wheels though.
  • The_Beast
    The_Beast Posts: 89
    I used to be able to ride my BMX when I was younger downhill no handed but no chance would I try it now, one hand signalling can make me wobble sometimes.
  • Matt the Tester
    Matt the Tester Posts: 1,261
    pneumatic wrote:
    Look no hands! Look no teeth!

    that is the advice I was given. :wink:
    lol :shock: :D
    Coveryourcar.co.uk RT Tester
    north west of england.