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New bike: Twitchy handling?

iamraymondiamraymond Posts: 14
edited May 2017 in Road general
I find that handling on my Canyon Endurace is much faster/twitchier than my old bike (Felt F4130). I thought it was just something I could get used to, but then this weekend I almost took a spill while riding no handed - something I could easily do before with the old bike.

The Felt was a bit too large for me so I remedied that by switching from a 100mm to a 70mm stem. This change didn't really affect the bike's handling and I could still ride no handed without any problems. On the other hand, the Canyon is very very quick. I changed the stem (80mm to 90mm) and bars (380mm to 420mm) for fit purposes, which I would have thought would have slowed down the handling, but this didn't make much perceivable difference.

Is this something that I just need to get used to? I do like how the Canyon handles corners much better than the Felt did. Its like driving a sports car vs a truck. It's just riding no handed which makes me concerned.

If it helps, here are the geometries of the two bicycles (first number is the Felt and second number is Canyon):

Head Tube Angle: 73 vs 70.9
Seat Tube Angle: 73.5 vs 73.5
Top Tube Length: 531 vs 526
Head Tube Length: 130 vs 127
Seat Tube Length: 472 vs 475
Chainstay Length: 405 vs 415
Wheelbase: 974.2 vs 979
Reach: 386 vs 366
Stack: 536 vs 541
Stem length: 70 vs 90
Bar width: 42 vs 42

Posts

  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    I doubt stem length or handlebar width come in to play much when riding with no hands ... the slacker head angle will give you slower steering and less twitchiness.
  • I find switching from my CX to my commute road bike the handling feels twitchy for a bit ... similarly switching from the commute road bike to the good weekend bike. Most likely just down to different geometry, head tube angles ... but could also be better bearings making the steering turn a little easier.

    If it's only when attempting to ride no handed then it's probably just a case of safe practice until you get used to it.
  • fat daddy wrote:
    I doubt stem length or handlebar width come in to play much when riding with no hands ... the slacker head angle will give you slower steering and less twitchiness.

    You're right, riding with no hands would make the stem/bar irrelevant. :lol:

    I thought that the change in the HTA would be the culprit, but shouldn't the steeper angle of the Felt (73.0) theoretically make it more twitchy than the Canyon (70.9)?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,219
    WHat throws you off balance when you are riding with no hands is wheel alignment... if you have a wheel slightly out of dish, it becomes impossible to ride no handed... check your wheels are perfectl aligned between the stays/forks
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,632
    iamraymond wrote:
    I thought that the change in the HTA would be the culprit, but shouldn't the steeper angle of the Felt (73.0) theoretically make it more twitchy than the Canyon (70.9)?

    ah yes ... but what you didn't take into account was my inability to figure out if the lower the number is a steeper or slacker head angle :mrgreen:
  • WHat throws you off balance when you are riding with no hands is wheel alignment... if you have a wheel slightly out of dish, it becomes impossible to ride no handed... check your wheels are perfectl aligned between the stays/forks

    I confirmed the wheels are true by spinning the wheels and watching for any wobbling at the brake pads. How do I confirm if the wheels are are aligned between the stays/forks?
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,219
    iamraymond wrote:
    WHat throws you off balance when you are riding with no hands is wheel alignment... if you have a wheel slightly out of dish, it becomes impossible to ride no handed... check your wheels are perfectl aligned between the stays/forks

    I confirmed the wheels are true by spinning the wheels and watching for any wobbling at the brake pads. How do I confirm if the wheels are are aligned between the stays/forks?

    They need to be bang on in the middle of the stays/forks, as above

  • They need to be bang on in the middle of the stays/forks, as above

    Alright. I'll check that tonight. When I installed the wheels when I got the bike, I just threw on the wheel and did up the skewers, but I didn't really check if it was in the center of the fork.
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    If I look at your geo then I would have thought the Felt would have been the twitchier bike!

    From the bike's I've owned the key thing that has made a bike feel twitchy has been head tube angle, the steeper the angle the more responsive the bike. Trail and wheelbase are the other things I look for, but trail is driven by head tube angle and fork rake so tends to be relaxed if the head tube angles are.

    People say that handlebar width and stem length make a difference but having played around with my bikes I've not seen much difference when I've swapped things around.

    From what you've said I would take a look at your bike fit. Do you have more weight on the bike wheel that is making the front wheel lighter?
  • stueysstueys Posts: 1,332
    If I look at your geo then I would have thought the Felt would have been the twitchier bike!

    From the bike's I've owned the key thing that has made a bike feel twitchy has been head tube angle, the steeper the angle the more responsive the bike. Trail and wheelbase are the other things I look for, but trail is driven by head tube angle and fork rake so tends to be relaxed if the head tube angles are.

    People say that handlebar width and stem length make a difference but having played around with my bikes I've not seen much difference when I've swapped things around.

    From what you've said I would take a look at your bike fit. Do you have more weight on the bike wheel that is making the front wheel lighter?
  • keezxkeezx Posts: 1,311
    Guess the Felt has little fork rake and the Canyon much more, otherwise the different behavior with these steering angles is not explainable.
  • vrsmattvrsmatt Posts: 153
    Lots of hangups about the Head Angle

    Means nothing without taking the rake of the fork into account ( what you'd call castor on a car )
    Giant TCR Composite 1, Giant Defy Advanced 2, Boardman Comp, Santa Cruz Heckler, Raleigh M-Trax Ti, Strida LT, Giant Halfway
  • bontiebontie Posts: 426
    Your weight distribution is likely off, move saddle back a bit and try again.
  • onionmkonionmk Posts: 100
    iamraymond wrote:
    fat daddy wrote:
    I doubt stem length or handlebar width come in to play much when riding with no hands ... the slacker head angle will give you slower steering and less twitchiness.

    You're right, riding with no hands would make the stem/bar irrelevant. :lol:

    I thought that the change in the HTA would be the culprit, but shouldn't the steeper angle of the Felt (73.0) theoretically make it more twitchy than the Canyon (70.9)?

    This is likely the culprit. My days.. 70.9 as a HT angle? That's steep!
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,369
    onionmk wrote:
    iamraymond wrote:
    fat daddy wrote:
    I doubt stem length or handlebar width come in to play much when riding with no hands ... the slacker head angle will give you slower steering and less twitchiness.

    You're right, riding with no hands would make the stem/bar irrelevant. :lol:

    I thought that the change in the HTA would be the culprit, but shouldn't the steeper angle of the Felt (73.0) theoretically make it more twitchy than the Canyon (70.9)?

    This is likely the culprit. My days.. 70.9 as a HT angle? That's steep!

    Erm, it really isn't. Have a think about it.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • vrsmattvrsmatt Posts: 153
    Crown offset and rake.........
    Giant TCR Composite 1, Giant Defy Advanced 2, Boardman Comp, Santa Cruz Heckler, Raleigh M-Trax Ti, Strida LT, Giant Halfway
  • onionmkonionmk Posts: 100
    onionmk wrote:
    iamraymond wrote:
    fat daddy wrote:
    I doubt stem length or handlebar width come in to play much when riding with no hands ... the slacker head angle will give you slower steering and less twitchiness.

    You're right, riding with no hands would make the stem/bar irrelevant. :lol:

    I thought that the change in the HTA would be the culprit, but shouldn't the steeper angle of the Felt (73.0) theoretically make it more twitchy than the Canyon (70.9)?

    This is likely the culprit. My days.. 70.9 as a HT angle? That's steep!

    Erm, it really isn't. Have a think about it.

    My Bad!.. In theory should make the canyon less twitchy? That's weird..
  • vrsmattvrsmatt Posts: 153
    Giant TCR Composite 1, Giant Defy Advanced 2, Boardman Comp, Santa Cruz Heckler, Raleigh M-Trax Ti, Strida LT, Giant Halfway
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,863
    forks pay a big part. forks which result in a longer wheel base will give more stability
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,676
    vrsmatt wrote:
    Lots of hangups about the Head Angle

    Means nothing without taking the rake of the fork into account ( what you'd call castor on a car )
    No the HA is the castor angle.

    Rake is part of what makes up the trail.
  • First.AspectFirst.Aspect Posts: 3,313
    I would have thought that the slacker head tube angle, for the same trail, you would get a more stable front end because a greater component of the weight applied would be biasing the steering towards the centre. I'm working on a patent case that works on precisely this principle just now.

    What you are feeling is that as you inevitably rock the frame slightly when you pedal hands free, the steering reacts more sensitively.

    The flip side of "twitchy" steering is that the bike as a whole should be more nimble and more responsive to steering inputs, most significantly by leaning the bike. So the Canyon will be a better handling bike when you are chucking it around, which is surely what you want isn't it?

    I had thought that the slack head tube geometry was fairly recent, probably driven by the US weekend warrior market. Certainly when I went to get my custom bike I had to work hard to persuade the fitter to use my 20-year old bike's geometry as his starting point, rather than end up with a bike that looked to me like a Raleigh chopper.
  • 4kicks4kicks Posts: 600
    I had a time NXRS and a Boardman SLR, and the Time was IMPOSSIBLE to ride no hands whereas I can do the banana thing, put on/take off gilet etc with the Boardman. Same wheels, same saddle and setback (cos my LBS in Mallorca has a jig). Couldnt work out if it was slacker hta, more rake, or whathaveyou but my mate who is a ride guide here laughed at me till I made him try the Time and the same thing. So yes, iwhat you say is very believable and without changing the fork, not very fixable
    Fitter....healthier....more productive.....
  • iamraymondiamraymond Posts: 14
    I double checked the wheel alignment and everything checks out OK. During my weekend ride, I tried to ride no-handed and the bike just seems to want to wobble around. i could get used to it, but I'm afraid that one day I'll take a spill when I forget that the bike doesn't want to stay straight when letting go of the bars.

    The handling while descending at high speed is awesome. While my old bike would understeer in the corners, the Canyon is much more "pointable". I guess that responsive handling comes as a cost since I can no longer comfortably ride without both hands on the bars.
  • iamraymondiamraymond Posts: 14
    Could the weight of the bike also be a factor? The Felt is a steel framed bike, 105 components and heavy factory wheels, whereas the Canyon is Carbon frame, Ultegra and lightweight DT Swiss wheels. I haven't weighed them, but I'd guess that Felt is probably 9kgs whereas the Canyon is around 7.5kg.
  • keezxkeezx Posts: 1,311
    Weight does'nt matter much for stability , except the front wheel.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,219
    Sitting too far forward? Try to lean back and see if it gets better
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,534
    keezx wrote:
    Weight does'nt matter much for stability , except the front wheel.

    Surely it does? The rider is the same weight and sat up high so the centre of gravity will be higher, surely?
  • iamraymondiamraymond Posts: 14
    Sitting too far forward? Try to lean back and see if it gets better

    I don't think that I'm sitting too far forward. The fit on both bikes is pretty similar. Usually when I ride no handed, I'm seated up right so all of my weight is on the saddle/rear of the bike.

    Is it just that some bikes are inherently more twitchy/responsive than others? I've only ever ridden these two road bikes so I don't have a lot of things to compare against.
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