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Tom Pidcock is a young British cycling prodigy, is a World Champion riding cyclocross and an Olympic gold medalist at mountain biking and just turned 23.

Going fast round corners on a bike is very different from a motorised vehicle because you cannot feather the power to keep it balanced in the corner. All you have are the brakes on the way in then it's freewheel and keep as much speed as possible for the exit.

Imagine trying to race a car downhill where you had to dip the clutch through every corner and not drag the brakes. Heart in mouth stuff.

This is Tom descending through the bends of the Col du Galibier on Stage 12 of this year's Tour de France on his way to stage victory at the top of Alpe d'Huez which also saw the welcome return of Chris Froome in 3rd place.

 

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Racing bikers move their bum off the seat, and hang off their knee across fuel tank in corners.  Clearly on a pushbike you don't, as even these experts kept bum planted on saddle.

The advantages, of lowering the CoG and shifting it towards the centre of the turn are clear when you see how upright the motorbikes stay in a corner.   Why not the push bikers?

John

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25 minutes ago, JohnD said:

Racing bikers move their bum off the seat, and hang off their knee across fuel tank in corners.  Clearly on a pushbike you don't, as even these experts kept bum planted on saddle.

The advantages, of lowering the CoG and shifting it towards the centre of the turn are clear when you see how upright the motorbikes stay in a corner.   Why not the push bikers?

John

Speed and weight are the difference.

 

roger

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That's impressive riding.  Driven that pass at least once in the Vitesse, though not for a loooong time, and not going that quick.  Certainly I've been overtaken by cyclists many times on downhill passes.

Interesting that he has a cyclocross and MTB pedigree.  When watching youngsters race (did a fair bit of that before no.2 got his driving licence!), I always though it was noticeable that those with a cyclocross and/or MTB background had much better bike control than the straight road-bikers and the tighter the track (Dunkeswell kart circuit is pretty tight) the more blatant it was.

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1 hour ago, JohnD said:

Racing bikers move their bum off the seat, and hang off their knee across fuel tank in corners.  Clearly on a pushbike you don't, as even these experts kept bum planted on saddle.

The advantages, of lowering the CoG and shifting it towards the centre of the turn are clear when you see how upright the motorbikes stay in a corner.   Why not the push bikers?

John

A combination of things John. One is the lack of an engine and it's power to balance off in the corner.

Another is the basic geometry of the two different machines which comes from the different motive powers. The saddle on a motorbike is a lot lower than on a bicycle which lets you move your bum about. On The saddle height on a road bicycle is a lot heigher determined by the biomechanical efficiency of your leg extension which is limited to a quite narrow range. As is the height of the handlebars.

Downhill mountain bikes have things called dropper posts that let you lower the saddle when decending so you can move about a lot more and then raise it again when you want to pedal up hill. They have been tried on road bikes but the issue is even on a long descent you still need to be able to pedal effectively even if it's only a few strokes and it isn't practical - or stable/safe - to use a dropper post most of the time.

Road cyclists do get the GofG lower which is why you use the drops when descending (not just aerodynamics) and get your body and shoulders as low as possible. And the extended outer leg lifts the inner pedal to stop you crashing but also you put as much of your weight as possible on the outside foot to improve the force vector into the tyres and hence grip. You still need to keep some weight on the saddle to stabilise the bike. Lifting your bum completely off the seat at high speed downhill causes potentially catastrophic directional instability - especially when you are dealing with any sort of crosswind

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23 minutes ago, JohnD said:

I also forgot that bikers wear metal skid pads on the outside of their knees, they get them so low.  Not for push bikers!

Not intentionally that low :laugh:

And of course to get that fast on a pushbike you need to be on a really steep hill which adds a whole extra level of potental catastrophe if it goes wrong. Free fall but without Craig's parachute to help the landing.

This one turned out OK

 

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