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  1. #1
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    "Steer from the Hips"

    Hey guys,

    I'm reading a lot that bikes with really short chainstays tend to be more suited to being "steered from the hips".

    As seen here:

    bikefix: mountain and road bike reviews

    and

    What has 16.2" chain stays, titanium, and can make me smile for 90min?

    Does it mean that you're using a lot of body english in your hips to slide the rear end into turns?

    Or is it a more subtle shifting of hips to shift body weight to cause the bike to turn?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
    Reputation: AndrwSwitch's Avatar
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    Are you shopping for bikes right now?

    I used to feel like I steered my 26" bike from the hip. Basically, it'd more or less go where I pointed my hips. It would also go where I pointed the front end, with my hands, but that's more work. I was definitely leaning into turns, but I didn't feel like I had to do anything with the way the wheels track. By comparison with my new bike, it has a low bottom bracket.

    Lately, I feel like I turn by making the wheels track outside the line I want to take. Then the bike turns itself. I've also gotten a little more resilient about how I hold my feet. I don't feel so much hip these days, but I'm more conscious of my feet and wheel tracks. I feel like I'm using my body a little more as a unit.

    Not sure if that helps. It's kind of hard to explain a feeling. It can be really helpful to mess around with different turning techniques on a really small course, like something coned off in a park.

    Or don't worry about it unless you think you're doing something major to shoot yourself in the foot.

    Or go to a skills clinic...
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    Thanks that does help. Sounds like you're talking about the latter of the scenarios I mentioned initially. You're right. Hard to describe.

    I am shopping for bikes yes. When people talk about the appeal of short chainstays they often add that short chainstays leads to a bike that you can "steer from the hips" with. So I was trying to figure out what that meant. The idea of the slight hip and body shifts to turn appeals to me. The other idea: the idea of using your hips (strong body english) to power slide the rear end into turns appeals much less. But then power sliding shouldnt have much to do with short chainstays......

    Ya I'll have to mess around on my bikes to try some of this. Thanks

  4. #4
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    At faster speeds, I'm not sure if it's my hips but I do tend to use my body more. Lean right to go right for example.

  5. #5
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    On my short stay 26er I use my body to steer the bike when flowing through tighter turns and twisty trails. The feeling is that I'm using my hips to steer.

    If you think about the balance of your body being more over the rear wheel, when you lean your hips the bike will track that direction, and this feeling is amplified with a shorter chainstay. I like it, it makes the ride more of a 'total body' experience for me.

  6. #6
    since 4/10/2009
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    I've never really thought about that phrase much, but the discussion here is starting to solidify some things in my mind. I like a "playful" bike. One that's easy to turn that doesn't take aggressive body english to do so. Subtle movements are my preference. Thinking about it, I suppose I do like to steer from the hips, so to speak. I like for a subtle lean and a slight adjustment to the steering to affect the direction the bike is going. I have ridden bikes that absolutely did NOT handle like this. They plowed straight ahead really well and fast, but it took too much input to turn them to my satisfaction.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I like for a subtle lean and a slight adjustment to the steering to affect the direction the bike is going.
    Agreed. I think this thread confirms for me that my new bike is going to have that quality. Which sounds I think achievable through short chainstays from random threads I've read.

  8. #8
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    Just FYI, tire tread (especially front) can affect this - assuming I understand the feeling you are describing.

    Also suspect bike weight plays a role here.

  9. #9
    DFMBA.org
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    "Steer from the Hips"

    A seasoned MTBer once advised me to 'steer with the bottom bracket'. English, positioning and weight adjustments will help the bike to steer and the rider to corner better. Even on tight switchbacks this holds true for me. I have friends that cannot turn right or left on a switchback and they know it's all in their heads.
    Please donate to IMBA or your local IMBA chapter. It's trail karma.

  10. #10
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    My bike is short, short stem and short stays, putting your weight very far back. I love the way it feels. It's really easy to get your weight right back when you're going down hill and on tight terrain it makes the front very light and easy to flick around. Hairpins are a doddle.

    If a bike is short you can put your weight anywhere you like. If it is long you are limited.

  11. #11
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    I went out riding (my harley) and I notice I'm steering with my hips mostly.

    Then again, my riding position is such that I'm positioned way back with my feet and hands more forward.

  12. #12
    Old Fart Swamper
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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    Low speed and tight turns,,,

    Go In wide,
    Look where you want to go,
    Your on your feet so keep your weight centered on the bike and low through your feet,
    Point your belly button around the turn, your hips will follow,
    Let the bike move under you and relax,
    Nothing wrong with a little counter steering now and then,,,

    Faster turns,,,

    Go In wide,
    Get low and flat,
    Face about 12 inches above the stem on corner entry,
    Press down on the bars driving the front tire into the ground for traction,
    Outside/high side pedal down..
    The more you press down on the outside pedal the more the bike will turn,
    Learn to steer with your feet,,yep you read that right....

    Lean the bike not the body,,,,,
    Last edited by Osco; 2 Weeks Ago at 04:07 PM.
    Scott Spark 760
    I no longer clip In,
    got a better seat, and a dropper post.
    Other than It's Bone stock.
    It Just works :P

  13. #13
    I have Flat Pedal shame.
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    Short chainstays normally just make it easier to lift the front end or get tighter cornering. Steering with the hips, imho, should be done no matter what the chainstay length is. It is the difference between turning your handlebars to try and make a corner or ripping a corner.

    This video is a great example. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDjem5RfuAI
    I don't care what you ride or how you ride just as long as you ride.

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