Going Downhill

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by jwroubaix, Jun 5, 2015.

  1. jwroubaix

    jwroubaix New Member

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    I've been cycling for 7 years, nothing crazy just 15-20 miles a ride 2-3 times per week. I just got a new all carbon bike with deep dish aero wheels. Ever since I upgraded bikes i'm much more scared with descents down canyon roads. I don't know if it's the wheels, the bigger frame, or maybe just the lighter bike going faster but i've been really frightened. What can I do to make me feel safer while going downhill?
     
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  2. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, I enjoy more the uphill climb than the downhill especially when the road is winding or zigzagging. Aside, the uphill is like a challenge posed to you by no one but nature so it is you against nature. With the downhill ride, it is fun since you don't exert effort anymore, like a piece of reward that you get after climbing. But with my age now at past 50, I don't think I still could ride in that road that I used to test my strength with its steep uphill climb. The last time I was there was more than 5 years, I wasn't able to finish the climb and just walked my way uphill.
     
  3. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Are you actually going faster downhill? Does the new bike put you in a more aero position?

    The feeling has nothing to do with the bike being carbon. My guess is that your new bike has a different geometry and handling characteristics; like faster handling. This can make it feel twitchy on a descent.

    The deep front wheel coupled with faster handling can magnify the feeling of crosswinds. Is it a full carbon wheel? I've heard that the braking is not as strong as aluminum wheels, which can add a bit of drama as well.

    The solutions are simple either ride different routes, descend slower or keep practicing your descents.
     
  4. jwroubaix

    jwroubaix New Member

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    They are not full carbon rims. They are carbon but have they the aluminum braking surface. When you say practicing descents, what things should I be working on?
     
  5. DancingLady

    DancingLady Member

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    I think you should not let yourself go faster than feels safe. It's not worth getting injured if you could just slow down and prevent it. I don't know much about your particular bike or the roads you are on, but I'd say just slow down to a comfortable speed so you can enjoy it.
     
  6. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Member

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    Use a lot of brakes.
     
  7. gavinfree

    gavinfree Member

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    Take that particular descent a little slower than normal, and keep working on it to see if you feel more comfortable on the new bike. It could be that you feel more unstable on the bike, or maybe you actually are a little less stable than on your previous bike. If you can't shake the fear you feel while going downhill on that particular stretch, then you can only slow down or switch bikes or avoid that particular descent. You might find that you get over that fear after a few more rides downhill. Who knows?
     
  8. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. You should probably consider isolating the potential problem (if there is one) with the new bike or its components ...

    So, presuming you still have your "old" bike, take it on the descent which you now find to be daunting ...

    If you have no problems ...

    Then put your new wheelset on the old bike ...

    Assess.

    Then, put your old wheelset on your new bike ...

    Assess.

    ALSO, compare the geometries and (as maydog noted) relative riding positions.

    BTW. Presuming that your new bike was set up properly (there are NEVER any guarantees on that!), I'm going to guess that the wheels will make more difference than you might suppose ... with the fancy-schmancy wheelset possibly being laterally more flexible than your older wheelset ...

    But, if it's NOT the wheels, then ensure that the steerer/headset isn't loose, brake pads aren't inadvertantly rubbing on the rims, the frame is actually symmetrical, etc.
     
  9. ZXD22

    ZXD22 Member

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    Just get used to the handling and balance of your new bike. Maybe start off with small hills and go on from there. I was in the same position as you but now I love going downhill. Its such a thrilling experience to blow past down the road!
     
  10. JSWin

    JSWin Member

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    Sounds like you don't trust the bike. Faster or more expensive can obviously mean more thrills. Doesn't sound as if you like what you have. You want to be able to trust what you are using. I guess its the same kind of thing when a guy dates a really beautiful woman. They get scared. You've got to realize what you can handle.
     
  11. goldenmaine

    goldenmaine New Member

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    Have yourself ready on hitting the brakes and always focus on the road to avoid any accident or injury. Nothing can make you feel safer than yourself, knowing that you are ready for any obstacle that may come your way. I guess the lighter bike had an effect on the speed you are descending and it really feels that you are about to fly off from your bike. A very frightening thing, so it's either you adjust your bike or still continue with it and prepare mentally in you downhill moments.
     
  12. artyarson

    artyarson Member

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    I enjoy going downhill, though it's kinda risky thing to do. Before any action it taken, please be sure your brakes are ok.
     
  13. GemmaRowlands

    GemmaRowlands Member

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    It is absolutely vital that you feel safe at all times whilst you're cycling, so if you find that you're going too fast, you should use your brakes to slow you down. You might feel as though nobody else does this, and that they all go at top speed, but this isn't the case at all and you're better to be safe than sorry. You might find that it is a difference with the bike that you're using, and if this is the case you will get used to it gradually, but you should always do what feels safe until you're used to new equipment of any type.
     
  14. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I respectfully disagree.
     
  15. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vou9FFuFGo[/media]

    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4oLaSA3Bs0M[/media]

    [media]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EohtLFZcvg4[/media]

    1. Watch videos.
    2. Emulate techniques seen on videos.
    3. Make sure life insurance and hospitalization premiums are paid up to date.
    4. Profit?
     
  16. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    and buy antiseptic and bandages before participating.
    Hell I got hurt just watching the videos.
     
  17. mpre53

    mpre53 Well-Known Member

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    Make sure that your front tire isn't about to shit the bed. Check the tread. Look for any spots where the cords are showing. You don't want a blowout bombing downhill at 40+. (mph, not kph. But it would still suck at 40 kph).

    If you've crashed or otherwise did something that you even think "might" have damaged your CF fork, have someone who knows what he/she is looking for check it out before you blow down a fast descent. Having it come apart underneath you would probably suck more than blowing the tire.

    Have fun. At the point where you feel your cheeks starting to pucker, sit up and catch some air resistance. Be careful with the brakes---especially the front one, but you don't want your ass end sliding out either because you locked those up.
     
  18. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Quote by JH:
    "Hell I got hurt just watching the videos."

    Hey...if you know a good lawyer...just sayin'!

    I've always been a pretty good descender and enjoy the Hell out of just letting it roll. But, I have a friend and we've put in thousands and thousands of miles together. This dude is fearless and it's all I can do to stay on his wheel through those never-ridden-before blind turns that you hit the apex at 40 MPH or so and just hope you come out the other side with the bike still under you.
     
  19. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    CampyBob, I enjoyed the videos and learned something. I would add to your post, "3a) Make sure long-term care insurance is paid and up to date. 3b) Make sure will is written and doctors know your final instructions." Then I'd tack on jhuskey's antiseptic and bandages as 3c.

    Question for those who know: do we have "switchback" roads in the USA? No, I have not traveled much in the States. With the exception of 1 month in Utah in 2012 and 2 months in Minnesota long years ago, the entire land mass west of New York state is an unknown to me.

    Thanks a ton!

    Bob
     
  20. mayasupernova

    mayasupernova Active Member

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    The videos are really educational, I loved them. I like the way this narrator was giving tips for descending.
    However, it is pretty scary to cycle downhill anyway, especially if the roads are not asphalt but rather a bumpy old sand roads. Use brakes as much as possible and be careful. I tried to be a hero once, using a shortcut from the mountain (not wanting to waste my time using the asphalt road), and I paid a dire consequence. It is better to be safe than sorry.
     
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