What makes for a bike that you can ride no hands

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by skyl4rk, Oct 26, 2010.

  1. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    What design makes for a bike that you can ride no hands?

    Is it a certain angle on the steering tube?

    Tire footprint ahead of the steering tube axis?

    Long wheelbase?

    I have had some bikes that are very stable and some that are not stable at all. What causes this?
     
  2. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    6,333
    Likes Received:
    19
    the most common cause is the headset is too tight. riding no hands requires you to shift your weight back and forth to bring the front wheel under you. if the headset is too tight, it'll stick, and won't react to the shifting weight.

    bent forks suck, too.

    it's mostly in the steering. a long chopper will be slow to react, while a sharp fork rake will react too quickly. this could be the head tube angle or the fork, or both.

    but like i said, the most common, and the easiest to fix is the headset.
     
  3. 42blue15

    42blue15 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    Headset bearings is one thing--they should be straight (faces parallel), in good condition, greased and not overtightened.

    Fork rake & trail should be right. A lot of fork modifications mess this up, some are even sold this way. Using a 20" front wheel on a 26" frame + fork causes this too.

    Handlebars center of gravity should be "neutral", meaning they don't stick out far forward or far behind the head tube axis. Think of the classic ten-speed road bike handlebars, or straight MTB handlebars.

    A big (26") front wheel helps compared to a smaller (20") wheel, as does a fat/heavy front tire.

    If you use a seat-back (or a sissy bar) you may not be able to ride no-handed either.
    ~
     
  4. Black_Moons

    Black_Moons New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0
    Heh. when I used to ride with yaknow, pedals only, I got so good at riding no hands I used to ride everywhere like that.. eventualy I got good enough to actualy take corners on the sidewalk.
    Would'nt really do it on my engine powered bike however..
     
  5. corgi1

    corgi1 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,282
    Likes Received:
    1
  6. Goat Herder

    Goat Herder Gutter Rider

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Messages:
    6,250
    Likes Received:
    2
    Look ma no hands!;)

    Sorry I could not resist..
     
  7. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,301
    Likes Received:
    25
    Oh, I remember those days. Heck I used to ride more with no hands than with them. It was nothing to ride down the street with a Coke in one hand and the other resting on my thigh, pedaling and making turns just by leaning into them...But, I was pre-teen and fearless. You wouldn't catch me trying that today, motor assisted or pedals. Things heal way to slow now. :)
    Tom
     
  8. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    heheh

    Look Ma ... no brains!

    The bikes that I had that were easy to ride no hands were also some of the better riding bikes that I had. I used to deliver newspapers and on a good day I would fold them while riding and throw them on each porch, not touching the handlebars except on bumps. One good bike was an english bike, a Raleigh I think. I also had a few Schwinn cruisers that were stable enough to ride no hands.
     
  9. Black_Moons

    Black_Moons New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2010
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bumps eh? Hehe. One of my bikes I got so good at, I could take speedbumps on!
    But ya, Now I ride with hands. :)
     
  10. crazymike

    crazymike New Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was just thinking about this the other day, when I was pre-teen I had bikes that I could ride no-hands and in a wheelie for extended periods like a unicycle :D My grampa was retired and had a bike shop beside his house that he ran for years and always gave me whatever bike he thought I should have. Looking back I bet he picked them for balance, quality and did work on them like truing the wheels perfectly but I had no idea at the time about anything like that :)
     
  11. Allen_Wrench

    Allen_Wrench Resident Mad Scientist

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,787
    Likes Received:
    1
    Then there's trikes. Real easy to ride no hands. Say! what if you could build a bike or trike that could be easily steered without hands! For, like, disabled people or people who've lost their hands, like soldiers or accident victims. It could be configured Big-Wheel style, where you pedal the front wheel directly and you could also steer like that. Hmmm...
     
  12. scotto-

    scotto- Custom 4-Stroke Bike Builder

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2010
    Messages:
    6,527
    Likes Received:
    5
    Like Baird was saying, you can't have a headset that's too tight, other than that just about any bike can be ridden with no hands really and I find it really helps to have a throttle that sticks so you can cruise at a set speed with no hands. My blue bike is a perfect 'no hands' cruiser....it's got a nice sticky throttle....seriously.

    dnut
     
  13. 42blue15

    42blue15 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    0
    There are many examples of lean-steer trikes, but almost of them (all but one type I have seen, in fact) are not dynamically stable at higher speeds.

    Most people playing with bicycle parts want to build the trike to tilt automatically, but also to stay upright when it is stopped. To do that they mechanically link the lean angle with the steering(turning) angle, and you cannot do that and still have positive stability--though many, many home-builders with a lack of understanding have built fantastic Rube-Goldberg-type steering arrangements to try anyway.

    That is also why there were no tiliting trike motorcycles ever, until very recently--(Piaggio MP3)--and the Piaggio MP3 works by using regular mechanical steering control to turn the front wheels left-and-right, and use a computer and hydraulics to automatically tilt the vehicle the proper amount.

    --------

    It is possible to make an all-mechanical arrangement for a bicycle that is dynamically stable and that will stand up when stopped (with a rider holding the controls) but you must use a free-to-caster steering arrangement that wouldn't work quite like you expect. It would REALLY need a motor to be useful though, because the main advantage is that in high-speed turns, it will never oversteer--but you'd need to be going fast enough for lateral tire slip to occur to see that.

    For a motorcycle there are other additional issues, mainly being suspension feedback through the steering controls related to the heavier vehicle weight.

    This guy came up with the same idea (long before I did) and built a larger motorized vehicle, and is promoting it as a solution to--well, to the lack of tilting trikes, I guess.
    TILTING VEHICLE control systems.... X prize tilting vehicle
    I wish him well, but he seems to want somebody to come and dump a pile of money on him for him to allow them to build and sell these things--and somehow I don't think that's real likely to happen. The Piaggio MP3 system is already proven to work well, and is way lighter and more compact than what he is proposing. The website has the same photos/videos it had several years ago.
     
    #13 42blue15, May 22, 2011
    Last edited: May 22, 2011
  14. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    7
    I used to ride my touring bike with no hands when I was just lollygagging around. When I rode to school, I would actually ride along and read a book. Granted, these were unpopulated country roads. I can go no hands on my motored bike, but its tough to hunch and grab the throt cable from the carb to get going and keep your balance at the same time.
     
  15. 2door

    2door Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    16,301
    Likes Received:
    25
    I was thinking about this while I was setting in the garage looking at the bikes. One has a center stand and when it's parked the front wheel is off the ground. It always turns to the left, won't sit straight or to the right. It's the cables. They're stiff enough to put pressure on the bars and turn them to the left. Now that I remember all my old bikes that I used to ride with no hands, none of them had hand brakes or shifters so no cables.
    The handlebars would stay pretty much where you put them.
    When you're talking about balance and steering geometry, any pressure against the neutral would effect stability...or am I way off base?
    Tom
     
  16. DuctTapedGoat

    DuctTapedGoat Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,179
    Likes Received:
    7
    You're not off base - that's true that cables will have a large effect on it. You can tweak the cables to be balanced, but it will always be easiest without any.

    One other thing though is if you have a bike that's got forks that are angled a fair ways forwards, it's going to be very tough.
     

Share This Page