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retromike3
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Discussion Starter #1
I have been trying to clime some pretty steep hill in my neighborhood and the gears I seem to have on my road bike just don't seem to have it. I am running a 35 in the front chainring and a 32 rear cog. Do you think that's low enough or am I just way too out of shape? A friend of mine seems to walk away from me when he drops it into his front 24.

Mike
 

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Total noob (& forum admin)
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Mike, this is a trick question, right? Depending on your crankset, you can certainly get a smaller chainring. Without knowing the BCD, I can't tell you how small though. But no one here can answer the out of shape part, besides you.

How do your legs/lungs feel on climbs? Do you have a heart rate monitor? Do you want to throw hill-climbing into your weekly rides to build on that, or are you content to sit at the back while everyone waits for you? Personally, I hate hills. Because of that, I never trained for them. So when I was in my best shape ever, I could kill it on the flats but would get dropped on long or steep grades.
 

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Hack really hit on your fitness....and he is right, only you can answer that one. I like hill climbing, just not the brutally steep stuff. I try to stay away from anything above 12% grade if possible. That being said, I have a bike with a double and one with a triple. Through training, there are hills I climb now in my double that I could only do on my triple in the smallest ring just a few months ago. Basically, your fitness will truely decide what grades you can climb and how fast.
 

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retromike3
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
the hills ect

It was not a "trick" question The crank I currently have is limited but I have a few different possibilities if I choose to. I used to love hills but I have been having some problems lately.

I try to do a hill set at least twice a week. Maybe Ill do it every day until I feel more comfortable.

mike
 

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You need to give yourself recovery time. Make it every other day.

My comment about this being a trick question arose because we don't know your fitness level.
 

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retromike3
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Discussion Starter #7
recovery sounds good

Maybe I will try an "easy" day with a little less hill and a "hard" day with a bigger hill. When I was a kid I knew I was starting to get in shape when I could make it over my local hill without stopping. I am not up to that pace yet, but I am going to work my way up to it.

mike
 

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I used to love hills but I have been having some problems lately.
When you say you have been having problems lately, are you referring to your fitness or are you suffering some type of abnormal pain when you climb? About a year ago I found myself staying away from hills because I had a little knee pain. Turns out I just needed to adjust my bike to relieve my knee pain and I was back on the hills again.

Also, not to agree with Hack again, (its becoming a bad habit) but recovery time is very important. If you are blasting up hills every day, even with good to great fitness; your climbing will suffer until you give your body a chance to recover.
 

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retromike3
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Discussion Starter #10
the hill and I

Grated I am older and fatter than I used to be, but up until last year I was able to get up a certain hill with a bigger gear. I think my fitness is definitely the case. No my hart monitor no longer works(batteries dead) but when I really push it physically I know when I have gone to far and I try to keep it below that threshold. I went though some operations on my feet this spring and was ordered off my bike for two months

So after about three weeks I went back slowly mainly riding on my 66 cc motor assist bike(its a 1994 Giant mountain bike I converted over for road use and it has a 34 single front chainring with a eight speed cassette on the back that's a 11-30. When I go into "stealth mode" I peddle the bike like normal. When I have to get there quick I let out the clutch and I am gone. I still pedal it and it does have two completely separate drive systems.

Now I am trying to get to the point were I was last year when I was in better shape. and I now am trying to ride my road bike up that dreaded hill again.

used to do a steep hill in my Neighborhood every week to "test" my fitness. Lately I have been doing the hills with a buddy of mine from way back. I set up his mountain bike as a road bike by going with the 1.5 tires 80 psi and a 42 inner chainring. he still has a 24 for a low and a 48 for a high in the front and in the back he has got a eight speed cassette. with a 11-28
I changed over my red road bike a little to by dropping the 52-45 that was stock on that old Campy Grand Sport and dropped a 35 in that place so I have a usable two step. if I jump down off of the 52 to the 35 then I have to up shift the upshift cogs two notches to cover the gear range. it really likes to clime with that set up .
But now I hav a chance to make a nother
 

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retromike3
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
the hill and I

Grated I am older and fatter than I used to be, but up until last year I was able to get up a certain hill with a bigger gear. I think my fitness is definitely the case. No my hart monitor no longer works(batteries dead) but when I really push it physically I know when I have gone to far and I try to keep it below that threshold. I went though some operations on my feet this spring and was ordered off my bike for two months

So after about three weeks I went back slowly mainly riding on my 66 cc motor assist bike(its a 1994 Giant mountain bike I converted over for road use and it has a 34 single front chainring with a eight speed cassette on the back that's a 11-30. When I go into "stealth mode" I peddle the bike like normal. When I have to get there quick I let out the clutch and I am gone. I still pedal it and it does have two completely separate drive systems.

Now I am trying to get to the point were I was last year when I was in better shape. and I now am trying to ride my road bike up that dreaded hill again.

used to do a steep hill in my Neighborhood every week to "test" my fitness. Lately I have been doing the hills with a buddy of mine from way back. I set up his mountain bike as a road bike by going with the 1.5 tires 80 psi and a 42 inner chainring. he still has a 24 for a low and a 48 for a high in the front and in the back he has got a eight speed cassette. with a 11-28
I changed over my red road bike a little to by dropping the 52-45 that was stock on that old Campy Grand Sport and dropped a 35 in that place so I have a usable two step. if I jump down off of the 52 to the 35 then I have to up shift the cogs two notches to cover the gear range. it really likes to clime with that set up .
But now I hav a chance to make another change its a newer crank made by Cannonade and its got a 44 32 22 set of chainrings and it starts out with a lower chainring and then adds a bail out to that list. With a inner 22 vs a 35 the ability to pull stumps or drop into the ,let's just relax and think about it mode comes to mind. It also has a 95 inch top gear and thats almost big enough to go places. This way I am trying to ride more and walk less.

Mike
 

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Ok, that makes sense. Being off the bike for 2 months will cause a drop in fitness, even if you were supplementing with another activity. Sounds like it will just take a little time to get yourself back to that same fitness.
 

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I do a lot of climbing and use a compact 50/34 front with a 12/27 rear cassette. Most of the people I ride with use the same. Some use a 53/39 front or an 11/25 cassette. A 24 front sounds like a touring or mtb chainring.
 

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My main bike is set up with a 52/39; 12/24 and I do pretty well in the hills. Sometimes I wish I had a 27 in the rear. I do have a triple I can break out if I know the hills are going to get really ugly; but I try my hardest to stay away from doing that. I want to build my climbing and I feel I have the best chance with my double.
 

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GiddyUp
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A 35/32 is a very low gear. If you are having trouble in this gear I would say it is your fitness, especially if you used to be able to do it in stronger gears.
 

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I agree. I would think that would be low enough for just about anything.

As an aside concerning gearing, this past weekend, me and friend did an 82 mile ride with about 4500 feet of climbing that all came in 3 hills. Some sections of these climbs would hit and sustain 17 to 20% grades. I have 50/34 front and 11/25 rear gearing. My friend has 53/39 and 12/23. We both have several years on these set-ups. So, it's what we are used to. We did the climbs together, at about the same pace, it was just I was able to spin at a higher cadence on these than he was. Like I said, we both went up the hills at the same speed; however, I was much fresher at the end of the ride and wanting to do more. He was done.
 

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GiddyUp
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Nice ride Xela, climbing is alot of fun. I picked up a new set of primary wheels. I run a 50/34 and decided to go with a 12-27 cassette, from a 12-25. Only gears that changed are the last two, the rest of the cassette is the same. I figure I could use the help when I'm in the hills.
 

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retromike3
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274 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
just when up that hill today

Ok I did go up that hill today and while I was getting ready to turn off to that hill I talked to a fellow rider and he said he had tracked it with his GPS and at the top of the hill it was indeed a 20% grade. Now I did stop a few times while I was going up it and I am planing on doing it again on Thursday. I did forgot to turn on my Iphone route tracker on the way up but I lost about a thousand feet on the way down by another route.

I forgot about the rest of the climb to skyline, all I remembered was the first part of the hill. There still was another five miles of climbing that I had forgotten about.

I changed over my gearing to a mountain bike compact drive and I did use it for that one stretch. I have a 22-32 low that seemed to do the job but did most of my climbing with a 32-26. I remember doing that hill all the way up in my middle chainring(a 42)and one day I beat a model T going up that hill. But that was thirty pounds and almost twenty years ago.

mike
 
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