question for the experts

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Anonymous's picture

I bought a 1980s triathlon bike last winter to be my city bike. Now that the weather is nicer, I ride it all around the city.

The other day, i was riding in the park and had a chance to ride no handed... however i couldn't! Every time i take my hands off the handlebars, the bike dives downwards towards left. It doesn't feel as though it steers towards the left, it feels more like it angles towards the left. I can't take my hands of for even a full second. If i start leaning right and take my hands off, it doesn't make any difference -- still dives left.

I've never had problems riding no-handed on any other bikes. What could be the cause of this?

Anonymous's picture
Christian Edstrom (not verified)

Um, your bike is misaligned? The fork would be the first place I would look.

It may take a village, but this won't take an expert. Do the string test, and then pull the fork and have a look. If it's that noticeable when you ride it, it will be obvious when you look at the bike, too.

- Christian

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Another, albeit slight, possibility.

Far less likely than Christian's (typically) excellent diagnosis of bent fork / overall frame mis-alignment, but to be considered, is the wheel or wheels are wildly out of lateral true.

Anonymous's picture
Jason Hyatt (not verified)

My first question would be are there areobars on the bicycle cause if there are that could cause excessive weight on the front end of the bike causing steering issue. The second thing to check is the cable routing, if the rear brake cable is slightly too short that will also cause the bike to pull slightly to the left as most brake cables are routed on the left side of the frame.


Anonymous's picture
Anthony Donato (not verified)
"The first thing to check is the ""headset"""

Headset do wear out in time (depending on your bike usage).

I had a similar problem w/ my 2nd bike.

From time, I figured out the cause of this misalignment.
The culprit was...
I was using this bike as a stationary/spinning bike in winter time.
I actually wore out the headset by doing a lot of climbing and spinning intervals this past winter.

Anonymous's picture
April (not verified)
Second that

Headset could simply be worn. How I don't know but I had similar problem with one of my older bike. A new headset fixed it...

Also, the cable (and areobar) issue raised above could be a culprit too. But that's too easy that I'm assuming the original poster had already checked that out.

If it's the frame/fork, I would imagine you'll feel it even during normal riding (with hand)?

Anonymous's picture
Uri (not verified)
It's a tri bike

The angles of such are steeper, especially the seat tube, and would prevent one from riding no handed. Your weight is more centered towards the front wheel.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
speed boats and inline (5wheel) speed skates...

...the farther back you have the weight, the easier it is to steer by shifting your weight.


Anonymous's picture
richard rosenthal (not verified)
Another possible explanation: drop out alignment and straight wh

Christian points out the overall alignment of the tubes but I don't know that his string test also embraced checking to see the front and rear dropouts are perfectly aligned (left and right; not front and back). Also, if you have a rear drop out that allows for movement in the placement of the wheel, is that wheel set straight?

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
"""Triathlon"" bike"

I have never seen anyone with aerobars ride no handed. The completely throw the balance off. Isn't that part of the reason they're not allowed in the Sigs etc.? I can't say for absolute sure since I have not mastered no handed riding on any bike, but I think I'd have a much better chance on a road bike.

Anonymous's picture
Etoai Nshrdlu (not verified)
String test, schmring test

"String this, fork that, bent something else. Oh please! Your bike has handlebars for a reason. Use them the way you're supposed to and the whole issue goes away. Keep taking your hands off the handlebars, particularly here in New York, and sooner or later you're going to be the meaty part of a flesh and steel sandwich.

""If you stick a fork into a light socket just to see what will happen, don't be surprised at what happens.""
--Maserek the Electrician

Your Pal,
Etoain Shrdlu"

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