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Smoother

To Grip or Not to Grip? That is the Question

To Grip or Not to Grip? That is the Question (for experienced riders only)  

22 members have voted

  1. 1. When riding, do you grip your wheel with your legs?

    • yes
      2
    • no
      4
    • sometimes
      16
  2. 2. If you answered "sometimes" above, which times are you referring to? EDITED TO INCLUDE THE WORD "sometimes" and "steep" where appropriate

    • Sometimes over rough ground
      10
    • Sometimes on a surface with a camber (slopes left or right across your path)
      3
    • Going up steep hills
      5
    • Going down steep hills
      4
    • Sometimes when crossing muddy ground
      4
    • Sometimes when crossing loose ground such as sand and gravel
      6
    • Sometimes when riding in snow, or ice
      4
    • Sometimes when accelerating hard
      3
    • Sometimeswhen braking hard
      5
    • Sometimes when turning
      5
    • Sometimes when slaloming
      4
    • Sometimes when jumping up curbs or over obstacles
      8
    • Sometimes when jumping down curbs, etc
      2
    • Sometimes when doing some types of tricks
      3
    • Other
      5
  3. 3. If you do not usually grip with your legs (except in one or more of the situations above), did you grip more, or all the time, when you were a beginner?

    • Yes
      17
    • No
      5
    • Can't remember
      0
    • Gripped LESS when I was a beginner
      0
  4. 4. If you ride or have ridden more than one style of wheel (small/large, short/tall, light/heavy), Do you grip wheels differently based on the size/height/weight

    • yes
      4
    • no
      7
    • don't remember
      0
    • Haven't ridden enough wheels to say
      4
  5. 5. If you ride or have ridden wheels with significantly different tire widths (2.125" and 2.5" not considered significantly different), do you grip these wheels differently based on the tire width?

    • Yes, I grip wider tired wheels more
      0
    • Yes, I grip narrower tired wheels more
      2
    • No, I grip/don't grip, both types similarly
      3
    • I haven't ridden wheels with significant tire width differences
      10


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I've noticed that some riders talk about gripping the wheel as a regular thing.  My legs only occasionally touch the sides of the wheel; in fact I frequently find myself adjusting my feet positions so as to reduce the calf contact to an absolute minimum.  So I am curious how others ride.  This poll is for experienced riders (more than 500KM ) as beginners haven't yet become one with their wheel, and all beginner crutches have not yet been dispensed with.

 

EDIT. More questions added to reflect statements of respondents, and other thoughts.  No more room for questions, or I would have asked about different grip preferences based on speed.  If you feel you have a speed related grip thought, please share.

Edited by Smoother
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Alot depends on the type of wheel you ride, I find myself gripping the Monster more often than I would on a 14 inch wheel. It could also be for fear, that If I lose control of the Monster, the weight of the wheel could easily damage the shell. 

Edited by ED209

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I voted "other" on the second question as I had to mark some option despite voting no on the first. So subtract one of that.

Maybe all these tall wheels make people grip them? All praise the low low low ACM and KS16(S) form factors, enforcing good stance (I say good stance, but if gripping works for you, that is obviously good too).

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Normally I move my feet so I do not feel the wheel on my legs yet I can still grip if needed. I grip to jump up curbs. I touch without gripping during long straight high speed runs. (cruse control mode)

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In severely icy conditions I sometimes do a "semi-grip". One leg is hard against the wheel to keep it from sliding around too much, while the other is on its normal, non-touching position for balance corrections.

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48 minutes ago, meepmeepmayer said:

Also, the more relaxed and loose you stand on the wheel, the better it can rumble under you without affecting you. Your body's momentum will force it back on track automatically. So I think gripping may be counterproductive.

Totally agree with this. Riding loosely on the wheel I can feel the wheel bounce around under me when it hits something, but momentum just brings everything back into line. Gripping the wheel when you hit a bump means the bump impacts the rider, not just the wheel.

A question I wonder about is whether wobbles affect grippers more than non-grippers. I feel like the wheel wants to wobble sometimes but riding loosely means I can correct before it becomes a problem. 

Edited by winterwheel
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2 hours ago, LanghamP said:

The question you should be asking is "are my footpads long and wide enough?"

Why yes they are, thanks for asking. 34cm to be precise. But when they were factory I still only gripped in certain situations, rough ground, etc.

 

 

 

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I still grip going over some things where there is a good chance my feel will come off, like crossing a driveway on the sidewalk,  basically anytime I think the machine will leave the ground I grip the wheel. It's just a reaction I still have.

I used to do this over bumps like crossing a gutter but after noticing that most people who have rode for a long time dont really grip with their legs I've stopped doing it. Feels smoother this way too. In sure if I could adjust my feet better it would help too. I still have to slow down to 10mph or less to move my feet. 

I've also noticed if I let my support leg land where it naturally does when I take off it feels better but when I look down my placement is different for each foot. Do most of you ride asymmetrical? 

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8 hours ago, Flying W said:

I still grip going over some things where there is a good chance my feel will come off, like crossing a driveway on the sidewalk,  basically anytime I think the machine will leave the ground I grip the wheel. It's just a reaction I still have.

I used to do this over bumps like crossing a gutter but after noticing that most people who have rode for a long time dont really grip with their legs I've stopped doing it. Feels smoother this way too. In sure if I could adjust my feet better it would help too. I still have to slow down to 10mph or less to move my feet. 

I've also noticed if I let my support leg land where it naturally does when I take off it feels better but when I look down my placement is different for each foot. Do most of you ride asymmetrical? 

Getting airborne (feet leaving the pedals is a legitimate concern because ones feet rarely lands back where they started.  Land too far either way and a face plant is next on the to-do list. In my early days i practiced riding down stairs, (very broad stairs) each time I landed my feet were 1cm further forward.  By the third step I had to stop before I lost control. Generally, I used to leave the pedals more than I do now and I've had to think why it has changed.  I think there are two reasons, 1. I hit less unexpected things now than I used to (i.e. I watch my path more closely AND actively steer around the worst things in my path. 2. I bend zee knees. Slightly, when the surface is known to me and relatively smooth, and severely when going cross country.  If you use your knees as shock absorbers the airborne incidents are greatly reduced.  There's one extremely rough path I ride from sea level to to top of some cliffs, which really make my quads burn, especially if I keep the speed up.  Despite being an up hill bump fest, I never grip the wheel, and never get airborne, but there are times when the shocks to the quads are so severe that i have to slow down until the burn subsides.

Longer pedals help too.  getting airborne on stock pedals can easily put the balls of your feet out in the breeze with nothing underneath them.  With longer pedals you land on the pedals, ok, not where you want to be, but you at least have a fighting chance of slowing down under control, and readjusting.

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4 hours ago, Smoother said:

Longer pedals help too.  getting airborne on stock pedals can easily put the balls of your feet out in the breeze with nothing underneath them.  With longer pedals you land on the pedals, ok, not where you want to be, but you at least have a fighting chance of slowing down under control, and readjusting.

I'm currently using the new large size King Song pedals... They make quite a difference if you land "out of place" - as there is more pedal available maintaining balance is easier and you have time to reposition again. 

king-song-pedals-xl-size.jpg

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As a still beginning rider, I'm gripping less and now just want my leg close to the side pads but not touching. Much more comfortable riding.

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5 hours ago, Smoother said:

I bend zee knees. Slightly, when the surface is known to me and relatively smooth, and severely when going cross country.  

I keep reminding my dad of this, he doesnt lock his knees but the bend is very slight. I've seen his feet come off the pedals on speed bumps (almost never a surprise as he sees them coming and slows down). 

@The Fat Unicyclist the new kingsong pedals are awesome!  I put them on my 16s. I wear a 9.5 to 10 size skate shoe so they almost cover my whole shoe!

How do you all feel about toes pointed in (like speedy feet) vs toes pointed slightly out? Lately I've been keeping my feet wide on the pedals with my toes pointed slightly out. This make it easier to point my inside knee into the turn while crouching down low. It also makes the wheels feel less....darty (only word in I can think of right now)....when my toes point in like a pidgeon the wheel is very eager to turn.

One of the best things about commuting is being able to try new things on a familiar route!

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1 hour ago, Flying W said:


How do you all feel about toes pointed in (like speedy feet) vs toes pointed slightly out?

I  could be wrong, but most people with great familiarity with tricks(like Speedyfeet) have a bias for toe in. (Even if sometimes strong toe out is needed for special maneuvers)

I can hardly see a toe out posture for single foot riding...

 

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I also find the type of grip important. The contact point changed for me from the lower legs to the ankles. I do make tight contact only when needed and then preferably with the ankle. Lower legs only come into play for one legged riding.

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Im now just under 500kms on my z10, but i dont care about rules so voted anyway.

Dont grip at all.  Legs as wide as possible, feet hanging off the sides of the pedals and my riding has improved considerably.  Cant thank @houseofjob enough for his tips.

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1 hour ago, pico said:

I  could be wrong, but most people with great familiarity with tricks(like Speedyfeet) have a bias for toe in. (Even if sometimes strong toe out is needed for special maneuvers)

I can hardly see a toe out posture for single foot riding...

 

This is true, my feeble attempts at one leg maneuvers require the toes pointed in but I just move my feet to practice (poorly) one legged riding. 

For me it's not even about tricks yet, just want to be able adjust my feet without doing the heal lift shuffle :laughbounce2:

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9 minutes ago, Flying W said:

This is true, my feeble attempts at one leg maneuvers require the toes pointed in but I just move my feet to practice (poorly) one legged riding. 

For me it's not even about tricks yet, just want to be able adjust my feet without doing the heal lift shuffle :laughbounce2:

Don't worry, it will come sooner than you think! Just keep trying and soon you will join her rank! Cheers!

Credit print screen from a post by  ED209  in the video  thread.

 

Screenshot (525).png

Edited by pico

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On 12/23/2018 at 5:13 AM, Smoother said:

Getting airborne (feet leaving the pedals is a legitimate concern because ones feet rarely lands back where they started.  Land too far either way and a face plant is next on the to-do list. In my early days i practiced riding down stairs, (very broad stairs) each time I landed my feet were 1cm further forward.  By the third step I had to stop before I lost control. Generally, I used to leave the pedals more than I do now and I've had to think why it has changed.  I think there are two reasons, 1. I hit less unexpected things now than I used to (i.e. I watch my path more closely AND actively steer around the worst things in my path. 2. I bend zee knees. Slightly, when the surface is known to me and relatively smooth, and severely when going cross country.  If you use your knees as shock absorbers the airborne incidents are greatly reduced.  There's one extremely rough path I ride from sea level to to top of some cliffs, which really make my quads burn, especially if I keep the speed up.  Despite being an up hill bump fest, I never grip the wheel, and never get airborne, but there are times when the shocks to the quads are so severe that i have to slow down until the burn subsides.

Longer pedals help too.  getting airborne on stock pedals can easily put the balls of your feet out in the breeze with nothing underneath them.  With longer pedals you land on the pedals, ok, not where you want to be, but you at least have a fighting chance of slowing down under control, and readjusting.

Best way to work on this is to find some speed bumps, practice going over them while keeping feet on the footpads, gradually increasing speed so the wheel gets a bit of a  bounce going. Keeping knees well bent in that situation makes it easy to maintain contact with the footpads throughout the bump.

Edited by winterwheel
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