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Hello,

I test rode a GF Rig today (17.5"), which is the first 29er I've ever ridden. I noticed that the steering felt really strange compared to every other bike I've ever ridden. I wasn't able to ride no-hands on it for more than 5 seconds before it would start to veer off to one side or the other (I can usually ride no hands indefinately, even avoiding obstacles and making not too sharp turns).

Does anyone here know what I'm talking about? Is this something all 29ers feel like? Or just Gary Fisher 29ers? Or just this bike? I swear I wasn't drinking just before the test ride! :D

Thanks!
Greg
 

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Gregzilla said:
Hello,

I test rode a GF Rig today (17.5"), which is the first 29er I've ever ridden. I noticed that the steering felt really strange compared to every other bike I've ever ridden. I wasn't able to ride no-hands on it for more than 5 seconds before it would start to veer off to one side or the other (I can usually ride no hands indefinately, even avoiding obstacles and making not too sharp turns).

Does anyone here know what I'm talking about? Is this something all 29ers feel like? Or just Gary Fisher 29ers? Or just this bike? I swear I wasn't drinking just before the test ride! :D

Thanks!
Greg
If you want to ride no hands you probably should tighten up the headset. I think the stem length and body fit might affect the steering for you. Did it have a longer stem than you are used to?
 

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Quasi said:
If you want to ride no hands you probably should tighten up the headset. I think the stem length and body fit might affect the steering for you. Did it have a longer stem than you are used to?
It's not that I "want" to ride no hands, I had just tried to do so after feeling how strange the steering felt. The headset didn't have any play in it (I checked). The stem length seemed normal - I didn't notice it being very short or very long. :confused:

Greg
 

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Deos stem length matter when no holding the handlebar? A headset that doesn't turn smoothly will kill all the fun of riding with no hands. When the self-centering effect of the bike through the fork angle and offset is overpowered by headset friction...you can't balance anymore.

A friend built a road bike recently, and was all ready to sell it because of poor handling, even with hands on the bars. Till another friend managed to get to his head that something wasn;'t right with the headset, a little ring was installed the wrong way around, and when weighted the headset would suffer friction. With that corrected, a whole different bike that ride really nicely.
 

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Gregzilla said:
Does anyone here know what I'm talking about? Is this something all 29ers feel like? Or just Gary Fisher 29ers? Or just this bike? I swear I wasn't drinking just before the test ride! :D
I've ridden all sorts of bikes no handed. My Van Dessel Buzz Bomb w/ White Bros 80mm fork 29"er rides as straight as any other bike. I've never ridden any Fisher 29"er.

An unrelated comment, when hitting high speeds w/ no hands on the same bike described above I start to get a wobble until I put my hands back, experienced mostly w/ Nanos I think. I've been meaning to replace my front wheel because of that, perhaps with something lighter, stronger, and truer.
 

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I have a RIG and have no problems at all. Can ride no handed anywhere without issue. It does seem easier though with the Niner fork vs the Reba fwiw.
 

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If the rig is an '06 model, then the stem may have a facing issue on the steerer clamp - this condition causes the headset to stick and wears out the headset. I replaced the defaulty stock stem with a better stem and resolved the headset sticking issue.
 

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Gregzilla said:
It's not that I "want" to ride no hands, I had just tried to do so after feeling how strange the steering felt. The headset didn't have any play in it (I checked). The stem length seemed normal - I didn't notice it being very short or very long. :confused:

Greg
What kind of headset was it? Often a headset race can get pitted. It can give it a slight "index" type of feeling turning the bars back and forth when toubleshooting. When riding no-handed, a pitted headset race surface can make it hard for the steering to "float" through the pits. In the end, you fall over because your balance is compromised.

It can also create very uncomfortable steering on singletrack when it gets a bit worse. It sure could be described as a "funny" feeling.
 

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Quasi said:
If you want to ride no hands you probably should tighten up the headset.
I didn't think to mention before, if a headset is tightened to the point where there's the slightest amount of binding, I think that would really mess up one's ability to ride with no hands. Now that I'm thinking about it, was the headset slightly too tight?
 

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Uneven stem.

Hey! Ask the shop mech to swap out the stem for a test ride. Make sure it's a completely different stem other than the Bonty sport/select whatever. What has happened in the past is the stock stems have been manufactured "uneven" so when the top cap is tightened it compresses the bearings unevenly and forces the h-set to pinch itself. It's not that the h-set is to tight it's the stems fault.
 

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Could you be more specific about "strange"? 29"ers DO tend to handle differently than 26"ers, as the increased gyroscopic effect can cause the bike to feel more resistant to turning if you're steering from the hands rather than from the hips. As for riding no-handed, I wouldn't know. I never do that.
 

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actually, the inability to ride without hands is a "feature" on 29ers. As you know, 29ers do everything better and this is just one more example of many.

Consider it a safety feature where once the 29er recognizes that you have no hands on the bars, it reacts by discouraging you from riding no-handed since of course that type of riding is flat out unsafe.
 

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bb height?

When the eccentric is rotated all the way up to it's highest point then the bb height is up there close to 13 inches. So everything is higher including the driver. This tends to make no hands riding a little more wobblier. I prefer to keep mine in the highest position to keep pedaling through stuff.
 

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Gregzilla said:
I wasn't able to ride no-hands on it for more than 5 seconds before it would start to veer off to one side or the other (I can usually ride no hands indefinately, even avoiding obstacles and making not too sharp turns).
I believe the sensation is related to the large trail number of the bike, probably in excess of 80 mm of trail, better than 10% more than you're likely use to on either a 26er or a road bike (57 mm of trail on a road bike, somewhere around 72 mm for most 26er mtbs). Bikes with less trail are more responsive and easier to correct the steering when riding no-handed by body weight shifts than a bike with greater trail. Greater trail means that when your front wheel veers off course it takes more input to get it back where you want it -- often times more input than you can manage with just body english. It's much easier to ride my road bike no-handed than any mtb I've had. Grant Petersen of Rivendell fame made a bike with a fork with adjustable rake so he could vary the trail and that was one of the things he noted -- less trail resulted in a bike that was easier to ride no-handed.
 

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PeT said:
Grant Petersen of Rivendell fame made a bike with a fork with adjustable rake so he could vary the trail and that was one of the things he noted -- less trail resulted in a bike that was easier to ride no-handed.
I'm not saying I know, but are you sure about that? I thought a bike with less trail would require more correction riding no-handed, but a bike with more trail would result in a bike with more stability and a greater tendency to stay in a straight line.

Or is that what you meant? A short trail bike could be steered more quickly with no hands? That I'd agree with.
 

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jpre said:
A short trail bike could be steered more quickly with no hands? That I'd agree with.
Yeah, that's what I mean. Yes, a long trail bike is "more stable", but once it's off line it's more difficult to bring back on line -- not a big deal when you have a hand on the bars but difficult to do when you're trying to do it with just hip swivels and body english.
 
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