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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just finished a ride up Loveland Pass and encountered gusty winds on the way down (as I do about half the time on that ride). The wind gusts can scare the crap out of me and am wondering if I can do anything to make my bike a bit more stable.

I am riding a 1999 55cm Lemond Alpe D'Huez with a 1" threaded to 1 1.8" threadless adapter with a 100m stem and Rolf Vector Comp wheels. I have had the bike up to 51mph and it is fairly stable as long as there are no gusty winds.

Would a longer stem help? I am not quite as stretched out as I could be.

Would a less aero wheel help - perhaps a box section wheel?

Larger Cojones perhaps?

Any feedback would be appreciated...

-kevzl
 

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You're Not the Boss of Me
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7,746 Posts
Well, no question that cross-winds can grab those aero wheels a little more, but whether to spend the dough on a whole new wheelset because of occasional cross-winds while descending .. that seems like a bit much. Nor would I change the fit of my bike with a 1 cm longer stem just to stabilize for descents.

Many things to feel stable on those kinds of downhills (and I've certainly ridden Loveland plenty)... hands in the DROPS, keep speed down (feather brakes), keep weight on the pedals (not saddle) and keep a relaxed upper body.
 

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chica cyclista
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lose the Vectors

seriously.

I sold my Vector Comps after 2 canyon rides, like a month after I moved out here. they literally almost got me killed; thank buddha I was at one of the rare spots on St. Vrain where there was a guard rail. now, central Ohio can be really windy, but I never encountered the gusts / wackiness that gets going on here in CO. After some super scary days in the wind with my old Rolfs, they got a new zipcode. I dunno what year yours are but mine were the first gen (1999) Rolfs and they were heavy, the bearings sucked monkey butt and they were super prone to crosswinds. in 20 years on the bike, these had to have been the worst wheels (for what they cost) I ever rode. My old box section Wolbers on 105 hubs were craptastic too, but at least they didn't pretend to be anything special.

Box section wheels most assuredly help, and for windy day canyon rides, box section with non-bladed low spoke counts (if you are small / light enough to manage that) are the best. Best wheels in my current quiver are a pair of old-skool red Helium tubies that I use for climbing and crit racing. Light, fast, stiff enough (for me anyways, if you weigh like 200# or are a track sprinter, forget it), and I've never felt them get squirrelly on me in the wind.

oh and if your bike is aero section tubing... good lord, that's double jeopardy. I got blown off the road at the crest of Lee Hill twice a couple weeks ago. I was riding my Morgul Bismark Aero Al, and it's got a flat, knifeshaped tubing cross-section. Bad. Idea. Even with the Heliums on, I had a horrific moment in one of those gaps where the canyon profile becomes a wind tunnel, where I got blown off the road, had to grab the bike... and the wind literally picked the entire bike up like a sail and even tho I had my legs braced and my back to the wind, it about pulled me over too. I was on foot fercrissake, and it almost knocked me down. The wind was so bad that I had to *walk* the bike (in speedplays, mind you) 100 or so metres down the road until I got into a less exposed area. and homey don't walk, nowhere. especially in X cleats.

Now, most sane people won't ride in these conditions... but in CO the weather gods are fickle and you don't always luck out either. It can be dead calm one minute and howling the next, especially up in the central mountains.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Alpe D'Huez does have aero section tubing on the down tube. I guess that combined with the Rolf wheels are tossing me around. I live at 9000' and the winds can be unpredictable, especially this time of year.
 

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The best thing you can do is not over-correct for the gusts, because when the gust passes you end up turning too much. Relaxing is the key.
 
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