One of the most surprising moments for me was during a descent of a mountain pass on my early 70's touring bike. Prior to that ride, I had ridden new, cutting edge racing bikes for many years. During a particularly steep and straight, and hence high speed, section, I took a hand off the bar (can't remember why, whether to drink of simply shake out an arm) and hit an unseen dip in the road. I was amazed on how little this effected me or the bike. On one of my new, racing bikes, I would have had to quickly grab the bar with my free hand to regain control of the bike, but the old, slack angled, long stayed, low bb'd, touring bike was totally unfazed. That made a big impression on me, and now my only "new" bike is a custom, lugged steel frame with very similar geometry to my old touring bike. Anywho, I can definitely relate to the one handed instability issue with current road race geometry. I personally would not be surprised if this instability is due as much to the higher bottom brackets, as to steeper angles.
John Wood Red Lodge, MT
On Feb 1, 2008 11:31 AM, Kenneth Freeman <email@example.com> wrote:
> I have a friend in one of the LBS, who races CX and road events locally,
> in her mid-20s (half my age!). While talking about getting some OT
> handlebars and how I'm not going to friction shift this bike, she said she
> can't imagine riding without both hands on the bars, and that there is
> instability if she takes one off for much other than drinking water. This
> seems new! My more classic frames, 1980 Masi and 1982 or so Mondonico, can
> easily be controlled and ridden with one hand, and I have nowhere near her
> skill and fitness level.
> She feels she needs this constant positive control in the peleton, but
> won't have it if she releases a hand.
> This change in riding style may be driven by different geometry, in turn
> driven by not needing to let go of the 'bars. I assume she rides a (ot)
> Specialized Tarmac or something, maybe an Orbea.
> Ken Freeman
> Ann Arbor, MI USA
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Emily O'Brien <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
> Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2008 11:36:02 PM
> Subject: [CR]Re: Classicrendezvous Digest, Vol 61, Issue 103
> > I'd factor in huge improvements in road surfaces. I've had guys INSIST
> > PX-10 is a "touring" geometry and not racing! That shows you how
> angles, top
> > tube lengths and fork rakes have changed as road surfaces have
> improved. How
> > many modern cyclists even know why racing cyclists wore goggles up to
> > the mid 1950s?
> Another difference is how pro races work, and how the format has changed.
> Stages of the Tour de France have gotten shorter, but they've also gotten
> faster. When it started, support wasn't allowed at all; now those guys
> don't even take a piss without help. They don't have to ride for nearly as
> long at a stretch, but they have to go a lot faster.
> > When you look at old bikes, you begin to realize that much of the
> > technology changed because riding styles changed, and on the other
> > hand, riding styles changed because technology changed.
> Those are the things I'm curious about; after all, it's always a two way
> It does make me speculate about how the geometry or ride styles from
> different periods might suit different riders or body types in different
> ways. Seat tube angles, for example, will vary partly with the usage,
> partly with style over time, but partly with the biomechanics of an
> individual rider's leg and the requirements of what they're doing.
> I'm not so much interested in any one period in particular; just whatever
> periods people care to talk about.
> Emily O'Brien
> Medford, MA