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Losing the front wheel

mattsawmattsaw Posts: 907
edited February 2018 in Commuting chat
Watching this earlier got me thinking,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHoH-DKW8Mw

Almost a carbon copy of me going down a few weeks ago on oil on Priory lane.

Is there anything you can do in this situation that can rescue it?

This chap had the foresight to put his hands out whereas I selflessly saved my bike by taking the impact on my face. :D
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  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Didn't CycleGaz frequent this forum a few years ago?

    If there's a way to recover when travelling at that speed, someone with my bike handling skills ain't finding it. Looks like the back wheel slipped out a little as well, so no traction to help bring you back up.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • On the MTB with it’s fat soft tyres and slack geometry etc, I have caught slips, and certainly loosing the front wheel off road is recoverable.

    On a road bike with such a small footprint and sharper geometry it’s going to be more challenging at best! Oil/etc on the road frankly and all bets are off. I’ve drifted a car on diesel before now, and that’s a lot of rubber and thus grip.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    A month ago I didn't do anything like that cause nobody saw it. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5brSNg84QPA

    This was the same day I bragged on Instagram that I was already wearing short sleeves, albeit a Gabba cause the ride started off wet so I guess karma came back big time.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Last October in a road race the was diesel on a sharp bend. Some when down in the first race through. I did find the diesel and both wheels slid but I let the bike bike go and it found grip and all was well. That happened three times. The road was very wet too so slips can be recovered. Really grippy tyres help though.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,111
    I've managed to save a front wheel slip like that, but have also gone down like a sack of **** a few times - most recently when I came off on Denmark Hill last May at 45kph and ended up with a broken collarbone. Comes down to a mix of instinct and luck. I guess you could practice by riding round muddy fields and front braking a lot...
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Like others have said - it can sometimes be done if you have a good feel for the bike and a bit of luck, though you certainly wouldn't want to rely on it on the road. A good way to develop the technique is by racing round muddy cyclocross courses, where the speeds are lower and falling doesn't tend to be an issue; I lost my front wheel 5 or 6 times in last weekend's race, and only ended up on the deck once.
    The technique involves steering back under the bike and putting down the right amount of power, but it's not really something you can do consciously, you have to learn it by doing it. A very fast unclip can also save you if you're not going too fast; again, that's something you can learn by racing CX.
    One other technique you see a lot in CX is the pre-emptive unclip on a sketchy corner, where you hang your inside leg out to catch yourself if you slip. It actually increases the chance of skidding (because you can't put any power down to control the grip) but you should stay upright if it does happen. Only really useful on the road if you think a particular corner is especially sketchy (in icy conditions for example).

    Edit: Just watched the video, didn't realise he was going in a straight line. Dumping the front brake and steering back under the bike, possibly with a touch of power, would most likely have saved this. Then, if you *need* to brake, gently with the back brake only, possibly continuing to pedal. If there's limited grip; always sort your steering first; only brake if you have "spare" grip to play with. If you feel the front wheel go, *always* dump both brakes, they're not going to do you any good anyway. If you feel the back wheel go, same applies most of the time, though there might be times when it makes sense to skid it on purpose. As above though, you have to learn this by doing it; riding around on really slippery mud is probably the easiest/safest (and most enjoyable) way to do this.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • Just to add my experience of an incident.

    Cycling along a straight and level road about 20mph, reached for my water bottle (so maybe slightly off balance to the right?) lost the front wheel on either some diesel or a manhole cover. Front wheel followed by the rest of the bike squirted out to the left. In an instant the top tube smashed off my right thigh (had a perfect line bruise to show for it) and rebounded, righting the bike.

    Not sure if or why it satisfied the conservation of momentum but I was thankful all I had to show for it was a purple thigh and brown shorts.
  • PhilipPirripPhilipPirrip Posts: 616
    edited February 2018
    Lost both wheels in a slide the other week on a wet and muddy road when travelling at about 25mph. Steered into the slide and got traction back but was then heading for a grass verge and then a hedge. Managed to slow down enough to avoid the hedge, rode along the verge and back on the road.

    https://youtu.be/p4V0MgWFID8

    I'd like to think it was my cat like reactions by steering into the slide that saved me but know I was lucky. Had it been oil, diesel or ice I'd most likely have gone down.
  • Did exactly the same thing on 28th December. New jacket and scratched shifters! No you can't catch it, well I was down before I knew I was going.
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,718
    three of us in my club have gone down on the same roundabout at different times, low speed everytime but total wipeout, not wet and no visible sign of oil but clearly something on the road, I broke my wrist AGAIN and trashed my handlebars, shifter, rear mech, jacket and gloves.

    Very expensive crash
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • mattsaw wrote:
    Watching this earlier got me thinking,

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHoH-DKW8Mw

    Almost a carbon copy of me going down a few weeks ago on oil on Priory lane.

    Is there anything you can do in this situation that can rescue it?

    This chap had the foresight to put his hands out whereas I selflessly saved my bike by taking the impact on my face. :D

    In the vid, both wheels slide so nothing is going to save you in them circumstances. Just try and fall to the left so you don’t trash the rear mech !!
  • cyclecliniccycleclinic Posts: 6,865
    Xc MTB or cx riding teaches you bike control on s way riding a road bike cant.
    http://www.thecycleclinic.co.uk -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Xc MTB or cx riding teaches you bike control on s way riding a road bike cant.

    No matter of XC or MTB experience is saving you when 25mm of rubber suddenly loses all traction on black ice.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Xc MTB or cx riding teaches you bike control on s way riding a road bike cant.

    No matter of XC or MTB experience is saving you when 25mm of rubber suddenly loses all traction on black ice.
    If you're going in a straight line (as in the original video posted) and the slide is caused by your hitting the brakes (as in the original video posted) it probably will save you. In fact, it might have helped you avoid that slide in the first place.

    If you're banked over, hammering it round a corner, and hit ice, you're going over. In a straight line - shouldn't be a problem.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,667 Lives Here
    tgotb wrote:
    Xc MTB or cx riding teaches you bike control on s way riding a road bike cant.

    No matter of XC or MTB experience is saving you when 25mm of rubber suddenly loses all traction on black ice.
    If you're going in a straight line (as in the original video posted) and the slide is caused by your hitting the brakes (as in the original video posted) it probably will save you. In fact, it might have helped you avoid that slide in the first place.

    If you're banked over, hammering it round a corner, and hit ice, you're going over. In a straight line - shouldn't be a problem.

    Agreed.
  • tgotb wrote:
    Xc MTB or cx riding teaches you bike control on s way riding a road bike cant.

    No matter of XC or MTB experience is saving you when 25mm of rubber suddenly loses all traction on black ice.
    If you're going in a straight line (as in the original video posted) and the slide is caused by your hitting the brakes (as in the original video posted) it probably will save you. In fact, it might have helped you avoid that slide in the first place.

    If you're banked over, hammering it round a corner, and hit ice, you're going over. In a straight line - shouldn't be a problem.

    So on a street with all its bumps, curves, potholes etc not to mention other vehicles causing you to brake as in this clip, you manage to cycling in a perfectly straight line? Think about what you say for a minute.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,667 Lives Here
    He's right trivial.

    Guy in the original vid was unlucky. But it probably was saveable. Can't say I would have necessarily. But I spotted the front wheel sliding before he fell down. It wasn't wham bam.

    FWIW I probably have the back wheel step out once or twice a club run, and I've had the front wheel step out a couple of times without falling.
  • But to say it’s ok so long as you ride in a straight line is absurd. There will always be places you need to turn even slightly. I know what you’re saying. I went out at New Years and it was like glass. Momentum is what kept to upright but I was on a long flat stretch on a country road. If I had needed to move even slightly lot avoid a bump or censored in the road I’d probably have gone down.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,667 Lives Here
    But to say it’s ok so long as you ride in a straight line is absurd. There will always be places you need to turn even slightly. I know what you’re saying. I went out at New Years and it was like glass. Momentum is what kept to upright but I was on a long flat stretch on a country road. If I had needed to move even slightly lot avoid a bump or censored in the road I’d probably have gone down.

    What he means is is not cornering.
  • But to say it’s ok so long as you ride in a straight line is absurd. There will always be places you need to turn even slightly. I know what you’re saying. I went out at New Years and it was like glass. Momentum is what kept to upright but I was on a long flat stretch on a country road. If I had needed to move even slightly lot avoid a bump or censored in the road I’d probably have gone down.

    What he means is is not cornering.

    A twitch left or right of no more than a foot is enough. You don’t need to be Caning it around a tight bend. The camber on the road could be enough even if you are moving in a straight line.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,667 Lives Here
    Meh, it's not so bad.

    I've only ever lost it when properly cornering (as in, i'll get pedal strike if I'm pedalling).
  • Meh, it's not so bad.

    I've only ever lost it when properly cornering (as in, i'll get pedal strike if I'm pedalling).

    Just cos you haven’t experienced it, does not mean it can’t happen
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,667 Lives Here
    Sure.

    Some riders fall more than others.
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    Just cos you haven’t experienced it, does not mean it can’t happen
    Just cos you can't feel when your braking is about to make the front wheel slide, and just cos you haven't controlled a bike that was going sideways, does not mean they can't be done
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • tgotb wrote:
    Just cos you haven’t experienced it, does not mean it can’t happen
    Just cos you can't feel when your braking is about to make the front wheel slide, and just cos you haven't controlled a bike that was going sideways, does not mean they can't be done

    What you just said makes no sense whatsoever. Care to elaborate?
  • tgotbtgotb Posts: 4,714
    tgotb wrote:
    Just cos you haven’t experienced it, does not mean it can’t happen
    Just cos you can't feel when your braking is about to make the front wheel slide, and just cos you haven't controlled a bike that was going sideways, does not mean they can't be done

    What you just said makes no sense whatsoever. Care to elaborate?
    Sure.

    You effectively said, "Just because you haven't had the front wheel inexplicably disappear from underneath you, with no warning, doesn't mean it can't happen."
    My reply, "Just because you didn't see it coming, or have the skill to save it, doesn't mean other people can't"

    Rick's reply was rather more elegant. Some people fall off their bikes more than others. The people who fall off a lot generally seem to be the ones who think it's unavoidable.
    Pannier, 120rpm.
  • BikequinBikequin Posts: 402
    Looking at the video the guy twitches to right which initiates the fall - pretty sure Peter Sagan would have stayed upright there.
    You'll not see nothing like the mighty Quin.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    I've had a handful of slides over the years. I had a two wheel slide while cornering in icey conditions a few weeks ago (no visible ice, road was gritted, must have just caught a patch of ice/frost as I was cornering). I just stayed off the brakes and stood the bike up straight. This strategy also saved me a few years back when I had a back wheel slide out on a wet manhole cover (I know - I came round a corner and was on it before I saw it). In that case after standing the bike up I mounted the grass verge and crashed head first into the end of a hedge, which was exciting!

    The commuter that I ride now has 38C tyres on it, and I've certainly found slides to be more recoverable on that than on a 23/25C tyred road bike.
  • As others have said mountain biking (or CX) will help sharpen you up (or loosen you up?) when it comes to losing the front wheel and generally improving bike handling as the fatter tyres and slacker geometry give you much more time to play with. It also makes you feel much faster when you get back on the roady :D

    A low side on a road bike always has the potential to put you on the deck before you know it's happening though - especially on ice!
  • Will bigger tires make any difference .. Currently using 38mm
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