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I recently partially converted my HT to a 1x9er (32T, 11-34), I removed the front derailleur though I still left the 22T chainring on the bike just incase I needed to climb anything steep. Nevertheless, I have some questions regarding climbing techniques.

So I assume that everyone riding a single speed or 1x9er are mostly climbing out of saddle correct? Even on the lowest gear I assume climbing in saddle would generate a lot of strain on your knees? Assuming most of the above is correct, what are some tricks to maintain front and rear traction when climbing something steep out of saddle? I tend to just lose traction or tire out quickly. Thanks in advance.
 

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i don't really think it's any different technically speaking from a full geared bike, until you get to your lowest gear, in which case it effectively turns into a low geared SS. 1:1 or lower for most. to keep things from slipping/wandering you need to find that magic spot of keeping the back end planted and having enough weight on the front wheel that its holds its like. if your rear tire is constantly slipping, you clearly need more weight towards the back.
 

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I ran a 1x9 for quite a while on two different bikes.

First: you've only lost three gear ratios vs a 3x9. Even losing those lowest three gears, I found that it didn't make much difference in what I could climb seated. Sure, it wasn't as easy, but it was doable. Good use of proper seated climbing technique is even more important on a 1x9 because it will help you be able to stay seated more of the time. Sliding forward on the saddle and getting your chest closer to the bars is helpful. Good seat height is very helpful.

Second: I run an SS now and the amount of standing climbing on an SS is an order of magnitude higher than on a 1x9. 32x20 is a good low SS gear, but that is only in the middle of an average cassette. I'm not trying to make SS sounds manlier, just want to make sure you aren't worried about standing all the time. Also, standing climbing in and of itself is not necessarily bad for your knees.

As for standing technique, there are things you can do.
Pulling up hard on the handblebars can give you more leverage to push on the pedals, but I noticed that it also makes the bike act as a lever of sorts with your feet as the fulcrum so that the force you pull up on the bars helps push the rear wheel down.
Also, like markf said, pay attention to your weight distribution. Standing up straighter or leaning back helps weight down the rear wheel.
Tire selection is also important. If your trails are loose and you are fighting on the border of traction, then a rear tire with more bite could make a nice difference.
Check out the ss forum for more wisdom in this area.

Personally, the only situations where I missed the lowest gears were steep 1000ft fireroad climbs, but those suck anyway. I moved on to SS, but if I could have a geared bike right now it would absolutely be a 1x9.
 

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Garlock said:
Here's a tip, say sorry to your derailleur and put it back on the bike.
Here's a tip, say sorry for assuming your setup would suit him better.

To the OP: when I ride my FR bike it's a 1x9 set up. I climb out of saddle with it for the most part. I actually prefer climbing out of saddle though. All the things boomn said are good advice as well. If you feel you're loosing traction in the rear, pull back on the bars and it will transfer a **** ton more weight to the back and help you get up the loose stuff.
 

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Unless you're predisposed to knee issues thanks to poor genetics or a low block while playing football, your knees should be fine. Yes, Single Speeders stand to climb hills. It sounds like you're still suffering withdrawl when it comes to sitting and spinning via the 22t.

Try this exercise.

Pick a hill you need a 22t on. Time yourself from start to top spinning the 22t. Then time yourself standing in that 32x28 (or whatever) while standing. Then time yourself in that 32x but get off and run with the bike at the point where it gets toughest to grind in that 32x.

You know what, it doesn't matter how fast you get up as long as you get up. If you have to put more muscle into it riding 1x9 than 3x9 the you have a choice. Do you consider riding a bike a pleasure activity or exercise? Someone less sensitive might say "man-up already."

But not me.
 

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I run the same 1x9 gear combination and I climb most hills in the saddle. I slide forward on the saddle as the hills get steeper. I only stand when it becomes too steep to remain seated, or if I want to power up a hill quickly. I have no issues climbing most hills this way. My bike is 29lbs of full suspension as well.
 

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Tubedriver said:
Once you get used to standing and grinding/hammering up hills, you will find that all the folks spinning 130rpms in the granny gears start to look really silly. :D
This...plus whenever I would switch to the granny gear, I would need to stand at some point and the peddles would just spin and not hold me up or would lose traction. 1x9 rocks.
 

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I climb just about everything in the saddle on my 1X9 Heckler. Only the steepest of steeps do I have to jump off. I do find myself having to keep more speed (aka momentum) up hills so I tend to climb really fast now compared to my 2X9 buddies who just laze up the hills and get there when they get there. I pretty much only stand if it's a very short, very steep section. I also have a 3X9 Ti hardtail that I find makes me lazy and maybe even slower. I find myself dropping into that granny at the drop of a hat rather than powering up. Maybe I need to get rid of the small ring on that bike as well to keep from being lazy.
 
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