OK I know i’ve read about this somewhere before but i couldn’t find it again and my searches came up with too much unrelated stuff to search through.
I went for my first decent ride today now that i’m more confident at not looking stupid and found the road camber quite annoying. What I would like to know is whether this can be overcome (or reduced) by tyre/pressure selection etc. or whether this is something that you just have to live with. Obviously i rode in the middle of the road as much as possible to minimise the camber effect. But this is not always possible.
Currently I am riding a 26" Nimbus with a 2.5" Hookworm. Pressure not hard or flat, just nice comfort with a little bit of spring.
Just out of curiosity, does wheel size make a big difference? I am hoping to get a 36" eventually.
I’ve got a 3" Duro Wildlife Leopard that came with the uni but for learning purposes i bought the hookworm and figured it would also be better for the road. I was planning on keeping the Duro for when i am good enough for some proper Muni.
Tyre choice will certainly affect the influence of any camber.
The HookWorm is a fantastic tyre on the flat, but it is very sensitive to camber. I have a 24" one I ride regularly, and need it pumped up fairly hard to make it a decent ride. The more you practice, however, the more you’ll get used to it.
Swapping to a thinner tyre will also help. Something with a more squarish profile rather than a big rounded one.
Wheel size doesn’t really make a difference. Some large diameter tyres are more sensitive to it, and some small diameter ones are too.
Jamessd, have you tried the 2.0" BA? I really don’t like the 2.35" because of the way it handles camber, but the 2.0" is fantastic, and much more efficient on tarmac than a knobbly tyre.
Some tires are definitely a lot more sensitive to road camber than others. The problem is figuring out which ones. I have a Big Apple tire on my 29" and never noticed any problems. But I did have some camber problems on my Coker when the tire was worn down. I never noticed anything when the tire was new, but after lots of training for the Lake Tahoe ride, all the knobs in the middle of the tire were gone, and that ride is along a shoulderless, narrow road so it was really noticeable. Even at that though, the much more experienced Nathan and Beau Hoover said “you get used to it.”
The following year I did the ride with a relatively new Radial TA tire and camber didn’t bother me a bit. Both of those tires have relatively roundish profiles, and I highly recommend a round tire over a square one for dealing with camber. Square tires tend to be more sensitive when you’re riding more on one side than the other.
But also there’s some degree of getting used to riding on the side of the road, so part of it can be you as well. Work on relaxing and finding a “groove” where you don’t have to do extra work to go in a straight line. If this is only possible while sitting crooked or bending your body to the side, you definitely need to try a different tire (and make sure your wheel is centered in your frame). I recommend high pressure to start. It’s always easier to let some out than put more in!
As opposed to a square tire, which “fights” being ridden lopsided? I think the jury is still out. From the loads of anecdotal evidence I’ve heard over the years, it’s not a straight answer of round vs. square as some square tires seem to have worked fine for some people, while others had problems with round ones.
Also, having just taken a look at my Radial TA tire, though it’s roundish along the tread, it has corners on either side so it’s a bit square as well.
So for best results, I guess you should ask for feedback on specific tires to find out what’s working for people who already own them…
I have roughly the same problem there is a camber on the road that im using to learn, I can get down the street and around the corner but when I try to go back its like I haven’t learnt a thing. I think its something that you have to get used to
From that description it sounds like you’re good at leaning to one side but not the other. That’s probably “beginner stuff” that you’ll overcome with more practice/experience. Practice both sides, turning to both sides, etc.
Road crown or camber affects all riders and tires differently. The degree that it affects them depends on many things. The inside profile of the tire is just as important as the outside profile and running pressure. Together the profiles and pressure determine the tire’s footprint on the road as a function of angle and pressure. Squirrelly tires at low pressures may ride more upright at higher pressures or may show no improvement at all with pressure increase. Hearing about experiences with specific tires from other people is information that is about as accurate as you can get. The only more accurate information is from your own experience. Wheel size really doesn’t make a difference other than it sometimes restricts the tire profiles from which you may select.
I think road camber is a problem w/ everyone as they are learning.
It was a huge issue w/ me. Getting good at tight figure 8’s helped. Now it’s not a big problem for me.
Also when learning I had a tendency to vear to one side. Holding that arm forward helped, but it was anoying and wasted energy. Doing LOTS of smooth tight circles in the opposite direction cured this for me.
I have ridden with both the original Coker tyre and the TA and haven’t noticed too much difference in handling of road camber. I remember one race I did last year (www.coasttocoast.co.nz) where I did the 70km stage on a Wheel TA tyre. I was fighting the road camber the whole way. I had to really aim the tyre to towards the centre of the road and lean myself right over just to keep in a straight line.
I found my coker (with TA tyre) was really badly affected by crown until I let the pressure down significantly. I started with it at 50psi or so, because most people on here seem to run them at high pressure, but it was really horrible to control. I let it down to about 25psi for some cross-country and found it was also much better on the road - no more trying to throw me into the gutter. Now I tend to keep it somewhere between 25 and 30psi for everything.
The nearest I’ve ridden to your tyre was a 26x1.5" road tyre I put on my muni for one long road ride a few years ago before I had my coker. I started off with that at about 70 or 80psi (like I would have run it on a bike) but it was much nicer at lower pressure, probably more like 45 or 50 (this was a thin-walled bike tyre). I did about 60 miles on it that day and it was actually quite a nice ride for a tyre I just happened to have. I don’t remember it being affected much by road camber, even through town.
Almost every kind of vehicle designed for air, water or land uses some form of trim device or wheel alignment to counter adverse control forces. I’m surprised no one has yet developed some sort of shifting weight or angle adjustment for unicycles along these lines.
A simple twist knob or push/pull cable could be utilized to make minor adjustments on the go.