Sunday, 27 January 2013

cornering a cyclocross bike

Not my video, but a good one.

Once in a while, I like to share something that I stumble across on YouTube because once in a while, something really resonates with where I am right now. And this video resonates.

I have been biking for a long time (over three decades) and love riding in the dirt and fast on the road. Well, fast for me :)

If I have a failing in my dirt riding, it is in looking down too much. I have a hard time trusting my peripheral vision. I have known for years that where you look is where you go, but at times, I forget that. When I don't forget, things go much better.

New to me on this video though is the notion of the weight shift hard over the back wheel inducing an over steer power drift under control. The idea, if I remember rightly, is to unload the front end, load the back end by shifting your weight backwards, and let the bike slide a bit while pedalling evenly at a high cadence. Maintain a constant torque output and a chunk of speed. The ass end of the bike might slide out a bit, but in theory it is easier to control and more speed should be maintained.

Well, this morning, while out mucking around on my commuter mtn bike equipped with studs on a very twisty paved but snow covered lane way, I tried it. I maintained more speed that I normally would through a curve, forced the eyes up to where I wanted the bike to go, did a subtle weight shift backwards, maintained high cadence and torque pedaling, and guess what? The front tracked beautifully, the back obligingly stepped out, and I powered out of the corner on the snow significantly faster than I would have otherwise and felt totally in control. I also applied a bit of downward pressure on the outboard (in this case left as I was turning right) end of the handlebar which helped plant the front a bit.

It felt like an all wheel drive car drifting - slight under steer, relatively a lot of over steer, and way more speed.

I will have to try it in the dirt come spring on the mtn bike and the new cross bike.

What fun!

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