Getting through newbie wobbles - advice from Cruzbike owners

We often compare the transition between riding a traditional bike and riding a Cruzbike to a skier learning to snowboard for the first time (or vice versa). It's definitely a new skill! But it's totally worth it to get to fly down the road on the fastest, most comfortable, most ridiculously fun bicycle ever.

If you are learning to ride a Cruzbike and feeling frustrated with newbie wobbles or zigzags, you might find the exchange below helpful and encouraging. This conversation comes from the Cruzbike Forum - a fantastic resource for Cruzbike owners and prospective owners.

"Bit frustrated, I read of new riders here that are banging out mileage after only 3 days. I am now able to ride relatively straight but then will hit a patch where I zigzag to the point that if I was carrying any speed it would end very badly. I thought I would be further along after 5- 6 days riding." 

"Well, of course it's different for everyone. Some learn different things faster, some have more prior skills that they can adapt, some have more prior skills that interfere! (I wonder how many come from upright bikes and how many already were on recumbents before, like I was.) Different body proportions, roads, wind conditions… Oh and of course the different models might be very different to learn.

Just do as many different trainings as you can come up with and look where you need the most work. (Figure eights in fast and in tight, straight lines, zig-zags and swerving, as slow as you can, lean with or against the bike in corners, rough bumpy roads, low traction paths like sand or grass or gravel, …)

Have another look if your bike is perfectly set up for you, sleep enough especially after your rides and maybe try different tire pressures. If you have a racy model with flat seat, maybe try to shim up your shoulders and head in the beginning?"

- Henri


"Which bike are you on? On the V20 models in particular the fit is critical for leg length and also tiller length on the backside of the steer tube. Over extending the legs and having the bars too far away from you can result in hard handling. Also the position of the arms is critical to the overall fit/balance/control equation.

I have a video coming soon that will show this - but basically (V20 and V20C) you want to have your arms from shoulder to elbow in line with your body, and hands/wrists in a neutral position to the bars. This is a good power position - oftentimes people have the bar too far away from their body and they have "straight arms" (not enough tiller) and it is actually the opposite that you want.
Also being overly tense in the body can exacerbate "twitchiness" a lot. When I started on an old Vendetta many years ago - after having a decade on other recumbents and MTB's - I never thought I would go faster than 12 mph and I was very frustrated. As I relaxed and dialed in my fit and learned the nuances, it very quickly became the most stable and fastest bike I had in the stable. My personal mistake for a long time back then was trying so hard to set up my Vendetta to be as much like my older RANS F5 high racer as I could get it... "are" and "superman arms"... but that turned out to be a mistake."

- Robert Holler


"It took me two weeks of riding around my neighborhood before I felt confident enough to take it out on the bike path. The first few rides at decent speeds I had a few instances when a twitch would scare the Bejeezus out of me, and like Robert Holler said if you are set up properly and give it a bit more settling time you should be good to go."

- Frito Bandito


"Eight years ago I went from a DF road bike to a V20. It took me many short practice sessions at first. It was pretty repetitive, but with each round my brain wiring for riding this kind of bike came in a little bit more. With each next outing, the bike was a little easier to ride. After about 1000 miles I was finally sailing along as fast and smooth as could be. It wasn't easy, but it was so, so worth it."

- chicorider



Everyone is different. I spent 6 months riding only by myself on an isolated bike trail before I dared to venture out.

- cpml123

"Three things:
  1. Get a a picture of you sitting on the bike so we can see if you boom is the right length for your body geometry; small changes make a surprising difference; like MM and it takes some time to learn. When you know what correct feels like you'll know when it's not.
  2. See this thread. Spring Time - Learning To Ride Time | Cruzbike Forum it's long but worth it, but frankly the first two posts are all you need. Now I will boldly state this; if you go do this silly little protocol for 5 days in a row each day like it's a first time. And do a lot of figure eights before or after a ride for the first month; you'll have it mastered.
  3. Slow speed get your back separated from the bike; basically sit up and learn to do that without pulling on the handle bars. You want the bike and your body to move independently at slow speeds.

Everyone here sans a very small group had to stop and give themselves permission to remember that when we learned to ride a bike as a kid it took 1-4 days and after that it was years before we could do stupid things on a bike and get away with it.

I can now ride no handed with my hands behind my head on a v20 ; that's taken 13 years; no handed only took 1 year. It comes.

The good news is the best bike to learn on is the Q series; hands down the best."

- ratz

1 comment

  • Ted

    I’ve had my q45 for about a year now with about 500 miles in the clock. Today for the first time I managed to get both hands off the bar. Going slightly downhill really gently, feeling in perfect balance. Lots of practice one handed, including uphill when you have to put more force on the pedals. Slowly but surely getting there.

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