14 November 2012

If It's A Low Trail Bike You Want....

Yesterday, "Velouria" , the author of Lovely Bicycle! posted about a possible trend-in-the-making for low-trail bikes.

Briefly, trail is the distance between the point where the "rubber meets the road" and the point at which the steering axis intercepts the ground.  Racing bikes usually have more trail than touring or randonneuring bikes; that's why their steering is more sensitive.  On the other hand, tourists and randonneurs have traditionally preferred the stability a shorter-trail bike offers, especially if they are carrying loads on the front.

I suppose that if I did loaded touring or randonneuring regularly, or if I hadn't spent so much time riding road bikes, I'd prefer a lower-trail design.  That said, I won't try to dissuade anyone who actually prefers the ride of a low-trail bike and doesn't want it merely as the latest fashion accessory on which to hang a $200 front rack that will, as "Ground Round Jim" caustically comments, never carry anything more than a vegan croisssant. 

Now if you really want low trail, take a look at this:

From Izismile


  1. But the question remains: Is it a tasty vegan croissant?

    I actually just read some of the comments on the Velouria/LB low-trail thread, and while I think GRJ asked valid questions, his delivery was exactly like you said it was. Still waiting for his blog. I'm sure I'd enjoy all the caustic crankiness.

    Right now I'm enjoying my new-to-me old-skool MTB (1984 Raleigh USA "Crested Butte") which has enough trail to pass around. Seriously. 68 degree head tube angle!

  2. Also, I'm glad that Jan Heine was basically saying "Enough about low trail!" Whether on purpose or not, he seems to have planted into many folks heads that you can NOT use a handlebar bag with a mid/high trail bike because it just will handle all wrong. Somehow, I've used a handlebar bag on my mid-trail LHT and it works. But what the hell do I know?

  3. Here is a great video of the bike pictured http://youtu.be/7qiR7E3dpjk
    and the builders website http://www.ollierkkila.com/

  4. Randy: Thanks!

    Adventure!: I've used a handlebar bag on a racing bike with high trail. Granted, the bike's handling wasn't optimal. But I managed to descend a twisty French Alpine road--and navigate around a lumber wagon-- in a rainstorm that turned to hail and sleet. Then again, I'd spent lots of time riding road bikes before that, so I had some idea of what to expect.