Made the switch to carbon

fattony

Regular
Hi

I’ve been using a aluminium gravel bike but recently switched to a carbon road bike.

It feels so light and flimsy it’s taking a while to build confidence in it, strong side wind and I have to ride into it a bit, is that normal and it’s just due to the weight?

I’m wondering if the handle bar needs lifting slightly, is there a guide for setting handle bar height, when I come out the saddle it feels like the handle bar is quite a distance and feel like I’m over the front wheel (moving the saddle back may help, again is there a guide for this?)

Regarding reach and stem I don’t think I’d want it much less, I believe the rule of thumb is that when sat on the bike the handle bar should block the hub? In its current position I can just see the hub below the handle bar.

appreciate any input you can offer

thanks
 

MichaelW2

Veteran
Set it up exactly the same as your old bike.
 

cougie uk

Senior Member
The side wind thing isn't down to the lighter weight of the bike - it's just a strong wind. You'd be doing the same whatever the bike.

You'll get used to it with time - just go easy on the winter roads.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
It feels so light and flimsy it’s taking a while to build confidence in it, strong side wind and I have to ride into it a bit, is that normal and it’s just due to the weight?
It's anything but flimsy! But yes I know what you mean, it's very noticeably lighter and you can flick it side to side almost too easily when you're out of the saddle... that can be a little unsettling at first.

I disagree a little with Cougie, I'd say it's normal to be affected by sidewinds at least a little more, it's a combination of less weight but also more cross section for the wind to act on. Carbon tubes are bigger. It's not a huge issue though, and you very quickly get used to compensating a little more.
 

I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
it's a combination of less weight but also more cross section for the wind to act on. Carbon tubes are bigger. It's not a huge issue though, and you very quickly get used to compensating a little more.
Disagree about the cross section thing. It's all about geometry and how neutral the steering is. My previous commuter was large'ish aluminium tubing and big 35mm tyres. Very solid and predictable in windy conditions, could ride it in any conditions.
When it died I replaced with a racy steel framed bike, much narrower tubing and only 32mm tyres. At first I thought I had made a big mistake, it seemed to be unsettled by any weight in the panniers and felt twitchy in a cross wind.
12+ months later I have got used to the differences and am as confident on the new bike as I was on the old. I also appreciate the sharper handling of the new bike and would say I can now throw it fully loaded into a corner with more enthusiasm than the old bike (which never struck me as being full either).
 

Lovacott

Senior Member
Disagree about the cross section thing. It's all about geometry and how neutral the steering is.
^^^This.

When hit by a side wind, the largest surface area of any bike is the cyclist sat in the saddle. Most of that surface area will be well above the centre of gravity. You compensate by leaning into the wind a bit.

Once you've ridden any bike a few times, you learn how to correct for sideways winds just as you would if you were driving a high sided lorry.

If you change something on the bike or wear a big flappy jacket, you will have to learn how to correct your balance again, but it's literally a two second job.
 

DRM

Veteran
Location
West Yorks
My Marin Gravel bike is a slightly higher riding position, not much, but noticeable over my carbon Giant Defy road bike, it was noticeable that I seemed lower down at the front end, despite the Giant being sold as a comfy endurance mile muncher.
The Giant does seem to be affected by side winds a bit more and you do notice how light it is too.
 
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F

fattony

Regular
The only difference I can see between the 2 bikes is that the handle bars are lower on the giant, but the other is a gravel bike so I guess the ride is a bit more upright, other than that I guess it’s just getting used to the new position
 
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wafter

Über Member
Location
Oxford
Can't answer any of your questions but I would stronhly suggest using a decent torque wrench to re-tighten any fixing on / adjacent to any CFRP components as far less forgiving than ally in the case of overtightening ;)
 
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SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Once you've ridden any bike a few times, you learn how to correct for sideways winds just as you would if you were driving a high sided lorry.
An empty lorry doesn't handle the same in the wind as one that has got some weight in it though. Bikes are the same. Heavy ones are not so easily blown off course by crosswinds.
 

Lovacott

Senior Member
An empty lorry doesn't handle the same in the wind as one that has got some weight in it though. Bikes are the same. Heavy ones are not so easily blown off course by crosswinds.
Yesterday I cycled to work in a 45mph North Westerly and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

I nearly opted to drive when I set foot outside the front door and saw the trees bending over but I thought I'd give it a go anyway.

Yep, I got blown around a bit, had to do a fair bit of leaning and correction of steering, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

For a couple of miles, it was sort of behind me and it was like riding in a vacuum (no resistance).

For a mile or so it was right in my face and it was like riding through treacle.

For a couple of miles it was on my side and I swear I was leaning 30 degrees towards it in order to stay upright.

Glad I did it though. That's another fear put to bed.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
A bike is not “empty“ though and usually a small percentage of overall weight.
It still makes a difference though. My lightest bike is just under 25 lbs, the heaviest one just over 40. All have small diameter steel frame tubes and conventional wheels so the aerodynamics are not greatly different. If I get hit by a gusty cross wind on my 40 lb 3-speed it doesn't have much effect apart from being unpleasant. The same sort of gust is enough to actually blow me noticeably off course on a light bike and make me correct the steering. The overall difference in weight if you include me is small, but when riding a heavy bike the extra weight is added to the extremities not concentrated in the middle as with the rider.
 
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