50/50 weight: was Re: [CR] Re: Toe-clip overlap- there is a reason for it

Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2006 09:27:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Thomas Adams <thomasthomasa@yahoo.com>
Subject: 50/50 weight: was Re: [CR] Re: Toe-clip overlap- there is a reason for it
To: Ken Wehrenberg <wnwires@htc.net>, classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <5d166ee4e717017955f84d7118690cdb@htc.net>

Dear Ken and List:

Here's a chance to test another old wive's tale. I was always told that you wanted 60% of the weight on a level bike on the rear wheel for stability: that too much weight forward would make the bike unstable generally, and dangerous in hard braking or descending when the weight shifts forward, possibly leading to crashes when the rear wheel would unweight and skid. Eddy Merckx was sited as the authority for rear weight bias: his legendary descending skills were attributed partly to having his frames built with extra beefy rear triangles to avoid the evils of too much weight forward.

Ken, have you verified that the weight distribution is in fact 50/50, or is it simply that a higher % than normal is on the front wheel? Have there been any stability/handling issues?

I remember sitting around with my riding buddies, perched on our bikes with the wheels sitting on two scales so we could get front and rear weight readings, moving our saddles back to get more avoidipous on the rear. Who wouldn't want to be like Eddy?

Tom Adams, Shrewsbury NJ

Ken Wehrenberg <wnwires@htc.net> wrote: List:

Having read through the many postings over the last couple of days, I really think we need to ask why in the world "even good bikes" like the Masi mentioned, have it. My commuter/town bike, a 1980 Nishiki Cresta fendered tourer with 700x37s has just a touch of it (I ride a 53 all the time). Hasn't been a problem. Let me say here that my riding bikes have the same sizing, including saddle 2" above the bars. I attain this by altering things like seatpost setback and stem length.... So the Nishiki, the Hi-E Cosmopolitan (overlap), the '72 LeJeune, the '77 Eisentraut "A", the '50s Follis rando, '61 Legnano etc are basically different perceptionally as a result of the geometry of the frame.

6 years ago I had a custom go-fast frame made for me by one of the Boston area Ti firms. We ended up with gobs of toe overlap and there was good reason. In order to get a near 50-50 weight distribution, the front wheel was brought rearward-- more under the frame-- and I got a longer stem, too. The result was a revelation! To naysayers, and I was one of them in the past, I say, keep an open mind. It may take a little practice, especially when standing for traffic lights, but there are reasons for its existence.

Ken Wehrenberg, Hermann, MO USA