Front Wheel Washout?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Lazycarton
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 22 Nov 2020, 8:02pm

I went for a ride today and had an experience I have never had before in 30 years of cycling. There were several occasions when the front wheel felt like it was losing traction for a split second only, which unnerved me as I thought that at any time the front might slide away. This was on straight road cycling. The conditions were damp with some debris, but nothing unusual. I ride this route 3 or 4 times a week.

The bike has 28c tyres which are (as far as I can tell) not needing replacement. I wondered if it was a loose wheel or one of the brake pads binding, but it was neither of those. Has anyone else experienced this?

Stradageek
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Stradageek » 23 Nov 2020, 8:36am

I used to get a lot of scary washouts when the 'wet and rotten leaves' season set in.

Simple solution, take the front tyre pressure down. I dropped in stages from 100psi to 80psi finally settling on 60psi, at which point the problem has completely disappeared.

The bike is an HP Velotechnik Speedmachine with a 20" front wheel that carries most of the weight of the bike.

Hope it works for you

Lazycarton
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 23 Nov 2020, 4:02pm

Hi Stradageek. Thanks for your reply. I did let a little air out of the front tyre after the first loss of grip, but maybe not enough. I usually have them at between 70 - 80psi

The experience was quite unnerving as I had a bad "off" in May when I hit a Pothole and face planted the road! Had 4 broken teeth, split lit and mashed nose with 30 inner and outer stitches. My right arm acted as brake and ripped the flesh to the bone.

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531colin
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby 531colin » 23 Nov 2020, 4:14pm

Diesel spill?
70-80 psi is quite high for 28mm tyres? I ride 32mm at 45 front, 55 rear, at 70Kg bodyweight

kwackers
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Location: Warrington

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby kwackers » 23 Nov 2020, 4:15pm

Sounds like small patches of black ice, that's exactly how it feels like when you're on the straight.

No idea where you are but I was out running first thing and there where a lot of small patches of the stuff near me (Warrington).

pwa
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby pwa » 23 Nov 2020, 4:40pm

kwackers wrote:Sounds like small patches of black ice, that's exactly how it feels like when you're on the straight.

No idea where you are but I was out running first thing and there where a lot of small patches of the stuff near me (Warrington).

That would be my guess too.

Lazycarton
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 23 Nov 2020, 5:31pm

Sounds like small patches of black ice, that's exactly how it feels like when you're on the straight.

No idea where you are but I was out running first thing and there where a lot of small patches of the stuff near me (Warrington).


I did wonder about that as the ride rises from about 600ft above sea level to the highest point in W.Sussex at 900ft (Blackdown) However there were damp patches which looked watery to me.....Or maybe I should go to Specsavers :D Of course black ice is just...err....black

Will probably be doing it again tomorrow so will see how it goes.
Thanks for all the replies

kwackers
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby kwackers » 23 Nov 2020, 5:37pm

Lazycarton wrote:I did wonder about that as the ride rises from about 600ft above sea level to the highest point in W.Sussex at 900ft (Blackdown) However there were damp patches which looked watery to me.....Or maybe I should go to Specsavers :D Of course black ice is just...err....black

The "beauty" of black ice is you can't tell until it's too late!

I spent years commuting in the winter, keeping the bike upright on black ice was a speciality of mine.
Occasionally I'd fit winter tyres which benefit everyone because as soon as I felt the bike unstable I'd fit them and from that point on it'd be warmer and there'd be no ice...

atlas_shrugged
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby atlas_shrugged » 23 Nov 2020, 6:19pm

Were your front tyres slicks i.e. without tread? If so switch to a tyre with tread e.g. a schwalbe marathon.

If your front tyre had a good tread then the cure is to switch to 3 wheels (which is why M. Burrows invented the windcheetah so he could continue to train in winter).

Best wishes

peetee
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby peetee » 23 Nov 2020, 6:22pm

Black ice only looks black on fresh tarmac. It is ice with no imperfection such as fractures or air bubbles suspended in it that would refract the light and give it a lighter appearance. Black ice just looks like a wet road.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

Lazycarton
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 23 Nov 2020, 6:45pm

atlas_shrugged wrote:Were your front tyres slicks i.e. without tread? If so switch to a tyre with tread e.g. a schwalbe marathon.

If your front tyre had a good tread then the cure is to switch to 3 wheels (which is why M. Burrows invented the windcheetah so he could continue to train in winter).

Best wishes


These tyres. Image

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mjr
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby mjr » 23 Nov 2020, 6:46pm

531colin wrote:Diesel spill?
70-80 psi is quite high for 28mm tyres? I ride 32mm at 45 front, 55 rear, at 70Kg bodyweight

Having recently "enjoyed" cycling over a diesel spill, my first thought was diesel on the tyre, too.

75psi is quite high but, surprisingly, some 28mm tyres do recommend they are run at least that hard. My preferred ones are run at 55f / 65r for similar weight to you.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Lazycarton
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 23 Nov 2020, 8:09pm

mjr wrote:
531colin wrote:Diesel spill?
70-80 psi is quite high for 28mm tyres? I ride 32mm at 45 front, 55 rear, at 70Kg bodyweight

Having recently "enjoyed" cycling over a diesel spill, my first thought was diesel on the tyre, too.

75psi is quite high but, surprisingly, some 28mm tyres do recommend they are run at least that hard. My preferred ones are run at 55f / 65r for similar weight to you.


I did wonder if it could be Oil or Deisel, but as it happened 3 or 4 times on different sections of road, I discounted that. When I got home I inspected the tyre and could not smell any Dieselish aroma.

I will keep the tyres as normal and if it happens again I will reduce them. I have ridden countless miles at the higher psi with no problems. Very odd.

cycle tramp
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby cycle tramp » 23 Nov 2020, 9:06pm

Lazycarton wrote:I went for a ride today and had an experience I have never had before in 30 years of cycling. There were several occasions when the front wheel felt like it was losing traction for a split second only, which unnerved me as I thought that at any time the front might slide away. This was on straight road cycling. The conditions were damp with some debris, but nothing unusual. I ride this route 3 or 4 times a week.

The bike has 28c tyres which are (as far as I can tell) not needing replacement. I wondered if it was a loose wheel or one of the brake pads binding, but it was neither of those. Has anyone else experienced this?


Strangely I had the same thing over in Somerset. The first time around I thought I'd let the pressure in my front tyre get too low and I was catching the edge of the raised middle ridge of the tyre on the road, the second time I had made sure that I had plenty of tyre pressure. It's a really wierd feeling, because at first I wondered if I imagined it and I was being paranoid... because it only feels like you've lost contact for one second
..the only thing I can put it down to is some sort of vehicle fluid. Where I live there is less motor traffic, and I wonder as a result whether substances on the roads surfaces aren't being displaced by the passing of car tyres, and whether as a result there are more vehicle fluids left on the road. The other thing that I wondered about is that as some vehicles are nor driven so much, whether some of the ones with leaks (brake fluid, steering fluid) are dropping more fluid when they are driven..

pwa
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby pwa » 24 Nov 2020, 7:46am

If the cause of the slip was black ice, in my experience adding normal tread to the equation is not all that useful. I have hit the deck a couple of times riding on Paselas, and they had the sort of file-like tread you might anticipate being useful. They seemed to me to slip very freely on any hint of frost or ice over smooth tarmac. Spiked tyres are the only real reassurance to be had in those conditions.

On very cold mornings it was my habit to look for puddles beside the road. Any sign of liquid water was reassuring. Very often the first hint of possible trouble was on climbs, where I would suddenly feel the rear wheel lose traction momentarily as I pressed on a pedal. That has caused me to get off and then find the road was so bad that I had difficulty walking in cycling shoes.