Front Wheel Washout?

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
Lazycarton
Posts: 16
Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 24 Nov 2020, 10:35am

cycle tramp wrote:
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..


Your experience is exactly the same as mine, I too thought I was being paranoid but when it happened 3 or 4 times I started to get worried that there was something mechanical affecting the front wheel. I have cleaned that whole bike today with de-greasant and will go out tomorrow and see how it handles.

alexnharvey
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby alexnharvey » 24 Nov 2020, 11:08am

I think the damp roads are particularly difficult to judge. On a day with drizzle, mist or dew the mix of a little water and whatever crud is already lying on the surface (mud, leaves, oil, fuel, etc) is particularly treacherous. On a good wet day with a freshly rained on road surface I find it's not so difficult to judge the grip. I believe that a good shower of rain can wash away a lot of the nastiness that builds up but tree lined streets and corners may not get the same effect.

Lazycarton
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 25 Nov 2020, 1:31pm

Went out this morning usual route. Wet and damp with the same amount of decaying leaf stuff on the side of the road. No slipping or momentary loss of traction. Reduced the F tyre to 60psi, but it felt a bit "spongy" over my ususal 70 - 80psi. Not sure if I was imagining it but it felt harder work uphill. Will increase to normal range next time and see what happens.

kwackers
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Location: Warrington

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby kwackers » 25 Nov 2020, 1:39pm

Lazycarton wrote:Went out this morning usual route. Wet and damp with the same amount of decaying leaf stuff on the side of the road. No slipping or momentary loss of traction. Reduced the F tyre to 60psi, but it felt a bit "spongy" over my ususal 70 - 80psi. Not sure if I was imagining it but it felt harder work uphill. Will increase to normal range next time and see what happens.

Last few mornings have been warm, no chance of black ice.

The other day was the first time I've seen it this year (well, felt it).

pwa
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby pwa » 25 Nov 2020, 2:04pm

I was out earlier today on some very wet and cruddy lanes with a mixture of water, mud, manure and mushed leaves to contend with and even in the worst spots my Marathon Supreme tyres held on nicely. I did push it in a few places to see if I could induce a little rear wheel drift but nothing doing. I reckon black ice / frost was the culprit, if there was nothing else obviously wrong with the road surface.

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The utility cyclist
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby The utility cyclist » 26 Nov 2020, 1:43am

At 95kg I ride 80psi front with a true 28mm (Giant PSL2 folder) and 80psi rear in the 32mm, this is on my daily with rack/guards/pannier attached always. That said if I'm a bit tardy the pressures can go down significantly and post reinflation the bike is a bit more sprightly.

After your nasty incident might it sometimes be a case were we ourselves over interpret what has happened and a small twitch that might not even resonate becomes a doubt in our mind as being more than what it actually is? Post big off might not that trigger in our heads as something more serious? Not trying to say nothing happened, but I've been guilty of over analysis/giving too much value in a situation post having a bad experience and upon reflection thought I was being a bit sensitive/over egged what actually happened.

Lazycarton
Posts: 16
Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 26 Nov 2020, 7:57am

The utility cyclist wrote:At 95kg I ride 80psi front with a true 28mm (Giant PSL2 folder) and 80psi rear in the 32mm, this is on my daily with rack/guards/pannier attached always. That said if I'm a bit tardy the pressures can go down significantly and post reinflation the bike is a bit more sprightly.

After your nasty incident might it sometimes be a case were we ourselves over interpret what has happened and a small twitch that might not even resonate becomes a doubt in our mind as being more than what it actually is? Post big off might not that trigger in our heads as something more serious? Not trying to say nothing happened, but I've been guilty of over analysis/giving too much value in a situation post having a bad experience and upon reflection thought I was being a bit sensitive/over egged what actually happened.


Yes, having bitten the dust in May I am of course much more aware of the condition of the roads when out. However, on this occasion the nervousness started in the front wheel and of course then transferred to me :D Having satisfied myself that I wasn't dreaming I won't worry so much if it happens again.

Lazycarton
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 30 Dec 2020, 4:56pm

UPDATE: Over the last couple of weeks I had the same pulling/Momentary loss of control from the front. Yesterday went out and had similar, but with what sounded like a mouse trapped somewhere in "front" area (rim touching the brakes?). Went home and decided to strip the front axle to see the state of the bearings (Cup & Cone) BB's were smooth and not pitted and the cups were smooth, but not a lot of grease in there. Cleaned it all out replaced the bearings, greased and put it all back together,

Was going to go out today and see what was what. Woke up and felt decidedly "off" (Not C-19!) so will update again once I have ridden it.

Lazycarton
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 1 Jan 2021, 3:20pm

Went out this morning, pulling was worse than ever. Stood at the side of the road pulling the wheel, spinning it, loosening the brakes trying to lift the front with one arm and do things with the other is never really successful but it did mean the front of the bike was swinging from L to R a lot and I could hear some grating. Went home and dismantled the headset. Not something I have ever really thought about :oops:

Image
The missing BB fell out as I removed the bottom race.

Must remember to service these in the future!

Ray
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Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Ray » 1 Jan 2021, 4:33pm

Years ago I rode 30 miles out to Blyth, did a 25m TT on the A1, and rode home afterwards. Five miles from home on the return I noticed that the steering seemed rather imprecise, and attempting to ride hands-off to check felt quite unsafe (not something I normally do anyway). It wasn't until I cleaned the bike later that I noticed a crack two-thirds of the way round the down tube, in line with the gear cable braze-ons. The hair stood up on the back of my neck at the thought of what might have happened if the frame had collapsed while I was mixing it with high-speed traffic a few hours earlier.

I tell this story, not to suggest that you have a broken frame necessarily, but simply to say that we should always be open to a range of explanations. Given the slippery roads of late, it is reasonable to look for causes related to tyre adhesion etc, and your headset issue way well turn out to be the root of the problem, but sometimes looking for the 'obvious' can blind us to other unexpected explanations.

PS - I'm reminded of Stephen Roche (I think?) being aware of dodgy steering in the rapid finale of a race. He finished safely, but when he released the q/r to remove the front wheel, one of the fork blades fell off!

Ride safely in 2021.
Ray
The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt - Bertrand Russell

Lazycarton
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 11:06am

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Lazycarton » 1 Jan 2021, 5:17pm

Thanks for that Ray.

we should always be open to a range of explanations

Yes, it was not something that I would have thought could produce self steering!

Biospace
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Location: North Yorkshire

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby Biospace » 14 Jan 2021, 10:56am

The OP mentioned a damp road, which at this time of year could mean it's a drying road salt solution. Over the years I've learned to be especially wary of such conditions as at a certain point of damp some tyre compounds can lose a lot of friction with the road.

I've never tried to work out what it is in the drying liquid which makes things slippery, just become aware of when this occurs, it does always seem to be worse on chipping surfaces.

peetee
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Location: Cornwall

Re: Front Wheel Washout?

Postby peetee » 14 Jan 2021, 1:44pm

Sideways force generated when turning can cause the rim to touch a brake or the tyre to touch the frame. More especially if the QR is not tightened properly, the axle is loose or the spoke too slack. If there is little grip in the tyre it may cause the wheel to lock up momentarily.
Also, with regard to traction, sometimes the tread pattern of the tyre can be irrelevant. If the tyre picks up a leaf and the road surface has more leaves then there is nothing stopping the two leafy surfaces sliding across each other with lack of control bring the outcome.
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.