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Help - Cornering!

GarryMGarryM Posts: 77
edited October 2011 in Road beginners
I came off my bike yesterday and I’d really like to understand quite how/why it happened. I appreciate it’s impossible for anyone here to know exactly as they weren’t there but perhaps someone might have some comments which might help me to work it out.

My background: I’ve been a keen mountain biker for 10 years and have pretty good bike handling skills. This was only my second ride on a road bike, an Eddy Merckx EMX1 with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres at 100 psi on Fulcum 7 wheels.

The corner: minor road (Exmoor) downhill right hander with positive camber, old and worn tarmac but no potholes or loose gravel. Approached corner fairly quickly, hands in low position, water running across road before corner which compromised my braking slightly but not significantly. Corner itself was dry. Half way through corner, front wheel washed out dumping me on the ground.

It happened in a split second – my shoulder, elbow and hip took the impact, the bike hardly touched the ground (thankfully, so no damage to my new bike except the ‘bar tape!) I was following a friend who had no difficulty. Afterwards, I looked carefully at the road surface but could see nothing obvious. It was fairly rough though.

I am used to sliding wheels on my mountain bike and I am conditioned not to touch the brakes in a corner. I just don’t understand why the front wheel washed out so violently; I had no time to react at all. Can anyone offer any words of wisdom?
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  • plowmarplowmar Posts: 1,032
    As you say can't really say but if you were leaning over then the side wall of tyre may still have been wet, especially as you said that you're braking was slightly restricted.
  • The hard skinny tyres on road bikes behave very much different to MTB's. It one thing to drift around corners on a mountain bike (it's fun), but you really want to avoid it on a road bike. If you start skidding either you correct it or you go down.

    I reckon you still had water on the edge of your tires was enough to loose traction.
  • merakmerak Posts: 323
    Once your front wheel starts washing out on a road bike you are likely to go down, and violently, unless you manage a heroic recovery. Standing a road bike up again once the front wheel is going needs ace handling skills and very fast reactions. Sound like you just went in too hot with wet tyres (off the central strip).
  • Diesel??
  • Were u doin an endo or summat?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Any wet leaves on the road? I nearly fell over walking the other day when I slipped on one. Sounds like you were overcooking it and something else (like oil, leave, water on the tyre) then tipped the balance (literally). Glad to hear you are ok, could have been a lot worse.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,175
    Tyre pressures too high or just too hard a compound?

    You will obviously know about these things coming from a MTB background though.

    Other than that, could be a bit of loose material in the corner. Doesn't take much to destabilise a road tyre as the contact patch is so small and stiff, ref. Jens Voigt binning it a couple of years ago due to a bump in the road.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • DesWeller wrote:
    Other than that, could be a bit of loose material in the corner. Doesn't take much to destabilise a road tyre as the contact patch is so small and stiff, ref. Jens Voigt binning it a couple of years ago due to a bump in the road.

    Wasn't a bump that took voigt down but the white line in the middle of the road
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-payruR2-k
  • Thank you everyone for your comments – really appreciate it. I am beginning to conclude it was a combination of things (technique, speed, poor road surface, fairly hard tyre compound, may be some water on tyre, etc.) which combined resulted in a wash out that I’m unlikely to ever be able to correct. I clearly need to be able to recognize/correct these things a little earlier – I don’t have too much skin left to practise!

    What about bike position? If I find myself going into a corner like this again, should I be trying to stand the bike up and lean my body more, as opposed to leaning bike and body together, as I did?

    I had also wondered about body weight. On trails on my MTB I would have been standing with my weight balanced between my outside foot and the handlebars, bike leant over hard and would have been turning my body so that I’m effectively turning the bike around my foot, if that makes sense. It takes a bit of pressure off the front wheel and if the conditions are slippery or dusty, it slides the bike round the corner. I know I shouldn’t be doing anything like that on a road bike but I’m pretty sure I had my weight fairly evenly balanced between outside pedal, saddle and ‘bars. It doesn’t feel natural on the road bike to get my weight off the saddle, particularly when my hands are in the drop position. To be honest, nothing feels that natural on a road bike to me yet! Ironically, I was beginning to feel more at home just before this happened!
  • If your bike is new you may not have scrubbed the tyres up enough to get to full grip - new tyres can be quite silppy for a good few miles.
  • As you say... it's hard to say....

    Also a MTBer and have been riding for about 6 months on a roadie. The problem with the thin tires is that you quickly move from lots of grip to no grip. Once they start sliding, keeping control is pretty hard... but if you are used to sliding on a MTB.. it should help.

    Tyre choice makes a huge difference in terms of compound soft/hard|ness. My bike came with Conti GP - which are pretty soft... but I switched to Conti Attack & Force for the summer. The Attack & Force tires do run faster... but have noticeably less grip than the GPs - especially in the wet. Corners that I'd sail around on the GPs (in the same wet conditions) - I was sliding around all over the place.. and were generally a lot more twitchy.

    Looking at the Conti site: http://www.conti-tyres.co.uk/conticycle/road.shtml

    I would guess that the further to the right you go... the faster rolling the tires are... but at the expense of grip.
    Simon
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    Piquet wrote:
    DesWeller wrote:
    Other than that, could be a bit of loose material in the corner. Doesn't take much to destabilise a road tyre as the contact patch is so small and stiff, ref. Jens Voigt binning it a couple of years ago due to a bump in the road.

    Wasn't a bump that took voigt down but the white line in the middle of the road
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-payruR2-k

    Ah, paint! The road outside one of our local schools has been plastered with lines and text "to make it safer". Unless you're on a bike in the wet. :roll:
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • Thanks - I have 23mm tyres (Vittoria Zaffiro Pro) that are described on their website as:
    " •reliable and convenient 60 TPI foldable tyre
    •hard-wearing with potential for high mileages
    •economical, long-life tyre that rides and looks special"

    I can't see what looks special about them?! Sounds like it is aimed at durability rather than grip. I also see you can buy them for £8 each and whilst I like a bargain perhaps they're just not very good? Then again, I've only done about 60 miles on them so far so perhaps their grip will improve as thescouselander says. Even so, I'm tempted to get some Conti 25mm Grand Prix 4 Season if they will help me re-build some confidence.
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    60 miles, IME, is more than enough to scrub up new tyres.

    As for alternatives, GP4000s tyres are fantastic IMO: lightweight with low rolling resistance and grip in all weathers (apart from ice that is)...but they are not as durable as others and more prone to punctures/cutting up (although others would contest this)so, with the wet season coming up, it might be good to plump for something like Gators if you feel you need to change. However, you might just want to look at your technique first as that will always be a factor.
  • That does sound a bit cheap. Tyres aren't something to skimp on imo. I have conti gatorskins and have found them to be good - I've heard good things about the grand prix 4 season too. It would probably be a good investment.
  • GarryM wrote:
    Thanks - I have 23mm tyres (Vittoria Zaffiro Pro) that are described on their website as:
    " •reliable and convenient 60 TPI foldable tyre
    •hard-wearing with potential for high mileages
    •economical, long-life tyre that rides and looks special"

    I can't see what looks special about them?! Sounds like it is aimed at durability rather than grip. I also see you can buy them for £8 each and whilst I like a bargain perhaps they're just not very good? Then again, I've only done about 60 miles on them so far so perhaps their grip will improve as thescouselander says. Even so, I'm tempted to get some Conti 25mm Grand Prix 4 Season if they will help me re-build some confidence.

    FYI..
    I have the std Conti "Grand Prix" and they grip really well in the wet. I would assume the 4 Sessions would have even more grip. They also appear to be more puncture resistant than the Attack/Force. Rolling resistance was only really noticeable on smoother roads.... so not that much benefit on that front. The GPs did appear to wear pretty quickly.. but that is preferable to "ice skating" when it's wet!
    Simon
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    I'm a MTBer with a road bike, I've been using Gatorskins for a year now while commuting with no problems, when it's dry I run out of balls before the tyres run out of grip, in the wet they don't grip as well, but that's to be expected, and I've not had any problems yet *touches wood*. The back stepped out going round a roundabout the other week, but it was tipping down with rain and I think I hit a bit of diesel/oil. If it had been the front I would have gone down, but I just drifted a bit and managed to stay up.

    The point I'm getting at it is that maybe it's just the tyres, and gatorskins seem a decent, tough alternative.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • Thanks again everyone. I have to say my instinct is not to blame the equipment but to look at my technique as Bobbinogs says. That said, I do think the combination of speed, tyres and road surface was just too much on that particular corner and sadly my lack of experience didn't flag that up. My technique will improve and it looks like I can improve the tyres. The other rider had wider tyres with more volume (not sure what make - I will find out.)
  • I've just gotten a road bike for the first time and corners are rather interesting. My understanding is that you should try and get your weight on the outer pedal eg left pedal when turning right.

    I try and consiously do this and it seems to help (oh god what have I said .. thats me falling off in the next week or so).
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • Ha! I hope not Dax - I don't recommend it! Definitely right about the outer pedal. I'm interested to know how much weight should or shouldn't be on the saddle. Any advice?
  • Fraid I'm still learning too .. on a motorbike I tend to go for in-slow, out-quick but that doesn't really work for a push bike :)

    At a guess the main thing is to be smooth .. no sudden movements, weight transfers, etc while leaning over so get it all sorted (including speed) before making the turn.

    I'd hazard a guess that moving completely off the saddle is bad becuase you'd be less stable through the turn. So I think I tend to move over to the inside of the saddle, stick my knee right out, get my shoulder down and then commit .. but like I say still learning .. and getting it wrong (and sitting up) on a regular basis.
    Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

    strava profile
  • benno68benno68 Posts: 1,689
    I'm no expert but on hard and quick corners I like to put as much weight as possible on the outside pedal, my ar$e is in contact with the saddle but with little weight on it. For me the bike seems much more stable.

    The way you leant into the corner sounds spot on.

    I think that the great cycling conditions suddenly going onto a wet surface with new tyres were the main factors.

    Having a new bike and, understandably wanting to "give it some" would have had nothing to do with it :lol:

    Glad the bike's ok fella, sounds like you did the honourable thing and took the impact to save the bike, I bust my collarbone saving my bike last year :wink:
    _________________________________________________

    Pinarello Dogma 2 (ex Team SKY) 2012
    Cube Agree GTC Ultegra 2012
    Giant Defy 105 2009
  • geebee2geebee2 Posts: 248
    Should be some weight on the saddle.

    I think maybe you underestimated the effect of the water.

    Plus maybe a bit of inexperience / too much optimism about grip.

    Whenever I see water ahead like that, I get very frightened.

    Basically get as much speed off as you possibly can while still in a straight line, then go into super-delicate cornering mode.

    You get very little warning on a road bike when it's about to let go.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 60,998 Lives Here
    Fast cornering:

    #1 have balls

    #2 outside pedal down

    #3 press hard on outside pedal whilst turning

    #4 - try not to break when turning - if you must, straighten up a bit.

    Job done.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    60 miles might not have been enough to scrub the outsides of the new tyre in, especially the cheaper ones fitted to your bike. They are a harder compound and like most new tyres they have a waxy coating on them left over from the moulding process. I always run new tyres at a lower pressure for a while so they deform more and have a larger contact patch with the road so wearing in quicker. I think that and the water on the road would have combined to cause your washout and crash.
    The inportant thing now is not to lose confidense in your cornering ability, get out there and ride hard as soon as you can.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 11,066
    Vittoria Zaffiro Pro are like riding on pieces of wood
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • I am so pleased to hear you say that! (Why didn't you say it before yesterday?!! :) )

    I hadn't intended to buy tyres after only 2 rides but I'm going to. I've learnt from the experience, thanks again everybody. Can't wait to get out there again!
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    Those tyres are sh!te
  • Evil LaughEvil Laugh Posts: 1,412
    The top end Vittorias like Open Paves are awesome though.
  • GarryMGarryM Posts: 77
    GP4000S ordered. I'm very interested to see how they will feel compared to my existing tyres. In hindsight, I'm so annoyed with myself that I didn't really take any notice of the tyres and how hard they felt to the touch - I am very fussy about the tyres on my mtb - had I done so I would have been more wary on the corners. I'm also surprised that such low quality tyres are OE on an expensive road bike. If you spend £1500+ on a mtb, you invariably get pretty good tyres. (I know my off was not just down to the tyres but I'm now confident they played a large part.)
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