Speed Wobble Incident

Just sharing this because it was a first for me. Also because after talking to more than several cycling friends, some who race, it was surprising few heard of this occurring. For reference, I was on a 2020 Roubaix, with CL 50 Rovals and Conti 5000’s.

Over a week ago, halfway thru an 80 mile ride, I was coasting downhill and dealing with some crosswinds. Nothing major, but enough so it required some effort to control the bike. I was down in the drops and not soft peddling. About 3/4ths of the way down, my front tire started shaking. I thought I got a flat and glanced down. Nothing. It started shaking even more. Suddenly I remembered watching a TT race in September when Chloe Dygert lost control over her bike, similarly to what I was experiencing before going over the guardrail. I started trying to slow down, gently using the back brake. The bike started shaking even more violently. I was worried it was going to flip me over the handlebars. I finally got the bike to stop when I actually stopped. Still not knowing what caused it, I lifted the bike and spun the wheel. It spun fine. Fearing I may have cracked something in the fork, I looked it over for several minutes. Even running my hands across it to ensure nothing was cracked. Needless to say with 40 more miles to go and more hills to climb before I got back home, I was a nervous wreck the entire time.

When I got home, I googled “Speed Wobble” and found several articles on the subject. I also reached out to Nate to ask if TR ever talked about this. He was kind enough to forward me the links below… so just in case, they’re both worth reviewing.

There’s also a forum post: How to minimize high speed wobble?

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Speed wobbles can be horrific and affect tou mentally on subsequent rides, I had one on my old cervelo S3 that I just could not stop from happening…
As soon as i hit 38-40mph downhill it would come, and a few occasions it was pretty dangerous. For the most part I could handle it and dampen it, knees clamp on the bar, shift weight off the seat and a little further back but it would still happen.
I had numerous lbs look at it, changed wheels, stem length, seat post height and none of it fixed it.
In the end I sold the bike, bought a canyon ultimate and (touchwood) never had the problem since.

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If you want to go deep into the science of how this happens, and some simple recommendations on how to stop/prevent it, I’d highly recommend this podcast.