Wobbly Feeling Going Downhill


I did a ride on Saturday that has some long climbs (for me anyway) and I was feeling good overall, thought I’d try to go a bit past my comfort zone when it came to descending. I would go somewhere between 30-35 mph downhil. it was all well and good until some sections where it was a bit windy and I felt like the wind would topple me over. A couple questions:

What do I need to do to avoid that wobbly feeling? Is it form or something I need to do while riding?

Equipment: I’m running roval alpinist wheels 33 deep. Do I need something different?

Thank you, any help on overcoming this fear/anxiety would be helpful.

You mentioned feeling like the wind would knock you over, but later that you felt wobbly. Are these the same thing or two different issues? I ask because some bikes will get a bit wobbly downhill at speed with no wind at all, and this can be reduced by touching your knee to the top tube.


It’s the same thing, but I don’t ever do that, so I’ll try that the next time I do a descent.

Thank you!

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As @Pbase noted, one of the fastest solutions is using your knee(s) against the top tube.

But ultimately, you still need to find the root cause. Start with your position on the bike….how are you descending, on the hoods or the drops? Getting in the drops will lower you center of gravity and give you more control.

How upright are you? The more upright you are, the more susceptible you are to crosswinds. It also shifts your weight to the rear wheel, which can accentuate the “wobbly” feeling in the front. (Again, getting in the drops can help counter this)


This is especially likely if you are going at speeds you are uncomfortable with. It’s a common instinct to want to get further way from the ground or the front wheel when going fast and uncomfortable. But this can accentuate the twitchy feelings.

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Just FYI - I asked about wobble vs. gusts because a totally different feeling is when the wind smacks you at 30mph out of nowhere. I’ve had times when the wind moved me across the road. Now that’s scary. This is why the pros ride in echelons on windy stages (for example, crossing a bridge or on wide open terrain). Cycling brands spend a ton researching and marketing frames and wheels that offer more stability in wind.

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This might be considered a “speed wobble.” certainly can be a scary thing. Lots of posts on the internet documenting folks experiences dealing with, solving for and getting over this phenomenon


Yup, we’ve seen a fair bit of discussion on speed wobble here as well:


Any chance it’s an unbalanced wheel? I’ve had tubeless tires with large dried blobs of sealant and the faster you go on them the more you feel a wobble out of them.

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Plus one here for keeping your knees on the top tube. If you’re nervous of wobbles this is an instant cure.

I don’t have any climbs coming until a few weeks out but I will definitely try putting my knees on the top tube.

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Agreed. I like squeezing my knees against the top tube so that I feel more locked in place. I feel like that it makes me more aero because I’m holding a consistent position.

Obviously this is on longer straighter descents where I can see further ahead.

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I just experimented with this during my past couple of rides and can confirm that it has solved the issue of wobbling.

Thank you for saving many lives! :+1:


How many spacers do you have under the stem? Try taking one out from under the stem and putting it above the stem- moving it down one position. This might change the critical frequencies in the system.

Make sure your headset isn’t loose. I’ve seen that cause a bike to feel weird and unbalanced and cause a speed wobble.