Recommendations for grooved roads?

FitzChivalry

Active Member
I have a long span of grooved roads (with the grooves running in the same direction as I'm riding) that I deal with every day I ride. I don't know if it's because of my City Commuter's balloon tires, an adjustment that needs to be made to my bike, or what, but it makes the bike all wobbly the whole span. It's very discombobulating. I slow way down, but that doesn't seem to help much.

Do you have any recommendations for how to deal with this? It's such a long span that getting off the bike and walking it would add a not-insignificant amount of time to my commute... not to mention being annoying.
 

Court

Administrator
Staff member
Bummer to hear about this Fitz! I'm kind of stumped because I know the feeling you're describing here... I've even had it happen with cars before. The grooves sort of grab you and pull from from side to side requiring more strength and attention for steering.

I think the larger balloon tires would actually decrease the impact of grooves or bumps in the road vs. narrower road tires. To me, it seems like thinner tires would wedge into the channels even more and send harsher feedback up through the wheel and fork.

The most obvious change you could make would be with the tires because they interface directly with the road. To me, larger seems better for dealing with this kind of thing and Pedego does make the super wide Trail Traker wheels and tires but they are much less efficient and probably aren't compatible with your City Commuter. I'll Google around and see if I can find out how cars deal with this issue. Upon further inspection and recollection of my own City Commuter I realized the tread pattern is linear and parallel with the direction of travel as shown in the image below. Maybe if you get flatter tires or ones with knobby tread instead of striped you'll experience less pull.

city-commuter-tire-tread-pattern.jpg

Check out the tread on the IZIP Zuma, it's more perpendicular to the direction of travel and might reduce the impact of grooves. There are lots of other options out there, bummer you'll have to spend more but it might solve the issue. Be sure to get some with Kevlar lining or use some good tubes as usual.

izip-zuma-tire-tread-pattern.jpg

Here are a few tires I found on Amazon that should fit the 700C tires on the City Commuter. I double checked the documentation and your bike currently uses Schwalbe Fat Frank Balloon Suspension Tires with Kevlar at 28" x 2.00"
 

Reddy Kilowatt

Well-Known Member
If there's enough width in your section of the roadway, or you have the whole roadway to yourself, you can do as I used to do.
I had a motorcycle and I had to cross an expanded metal grate bridge on my commute. I found that if I weaved back and forth gently as I traveled, the bike wouldn't hunt and be all "squarely." Just a thought.
Allen
 

FitzChivalry

Active Member
I've actually gotten used to the feeling, and it doesn't freak me out anymore. I still avoid the grooves where I can, including riding on sidewalks for short stretches of my ride to work, but when I can't avoid it, I no longer get freaked out.

I'll keep the side-to-side idea in mind. As a former motorcyclist, I know the feeling of going over a long grate, and you're right, it's very similar to the grooved sidewalks on a bicycle.