So I am currently riding a 54cm Specialized Tricross Singlecross with a 110mm 0 degree stem that has one spacer underneath it on the steer tube. My tires are 32mm grifo clinchers that I run at about 35 psi.
So far this season I have raced about 5 times and have crashed/washed out at least once in almost every single one. It is similar each time in that I will be taking a turn at speed and the front wheel will turn in on me to wear it is horizontal throwing my forward onto my shoulder/hip. I have an entire season of cross under my belt and have been training a lot lately especially with handling. I thought lower pressure might help but during my last race I borrowed a teammates 34mm tubular, ran the pressure at like 28psi and still crashed this way twice.
A teammate recommended riding in the drops more, keeping my head up, and looking where I want to go which has helped a ton with taking turns at speed but I don't think that is the problem exactly as I am not having as much problems taking turns too wide or too slowly. Another teammate suggested raising my stem and/or getting something with a higher degree rise (possibly 5 or 10 deg).
I am building up a new bike and just got a new Alpha Q fork which is more vertical than my current fork so for some reason that might help too.
Do you guys have any other thought/suggestions or am I just been a noob road racer who needs to practice his dirt skills more and stop taking turns so hard?
Hey hank - ah, now I know who you are. We chatted a bit after your race...you talked about your chain and ENO hub? You looked good out there, glad you're feeling more comfortable. You're strong...keep it up.
1. cyclocross tests bike handling under extreme physical conditions. Your heart rate through the roof and attempting to stay very coordinated are mutually exclusive. Crashing is a part of learning your limits.
2. If you aren't counter-steering, then the chances you will crash while cornering are a great deal higher.
3. If you aren't steering with your hips and relaxing your shoulders, the chances you will crash are much higher.
If you are coming off a road bike that is fit for competition, you probably have too much weight 'forward.' I would consider a slightly shorter stem and more rise to get your weight back more. Other than that, practice 1-3.
I had this problem last year, I would get a gap and overcook a corner, wipe-out and end up back in the group. I'm sure a little bit of the problem was that I was going hard trying to gap the guys behind me, but I flipped my stem from -5 to +5 this year and haven't yet crashed in a corner. The second change I made was going from tubeless hutchinson bulldogs to tubular fangos.
Not sure which was the key, but I feel better in the corners this year.
A fork that is more vertical is going to turn way more sharp and might make the problem worse. The best way to fix the problem is to
1. Ride your cross bike as your primary to be used to the feel durring cross season.
2. ride lots of trails
3. circles on the grass going as tight as you can.
4. counter weight and steering
Your statement about forks actually isn't true. Now if the head angle is steeper on one frame, the steering will feel "quicker" because you've reduced the trail, but if you take a "more vertical" fork (I assume Hank means less rake) and compare it to one that has a longer rake (and thus less trail) for a given frame, that more vertical fork will actually steer slower. Think shopping carts - they are so twitchy with the wheels pointing forward, but super steady when backwards.
Not knowing the geometry of both of hank's bikes and forks, it's hard to say the real effect, but (Hank) it's also important to note that a fork that is straight-legged doesn't necessarily have more trail (less rake) since it often has some offset. But the tricross compared to an easton (just a guess) is 51 vs. 45 I think, so in that case, it is more vertical, so if you were to swap forks on your old tricross frame, the easton would feel slower.
Alright so finally got the new bike all together and boy oh boy does it handle like a dream! I have a cable hanger and two spacers under the stem now and that made a world of a difference!I could be wrong but I feel like the new fork helps too. Hell new everything always help.