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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey folks,

Need some input. I feel that I am a decent rider. I tend to be the faster rider of out group any time we go on the trails. However, my weakness is climbing. I tend to be the guy that is one of the last people up a major hill.

I've often used my bike as an excuse to my demise. You see I ride a 21 spd Gary Fisher Tarpon. This is their entry level bike. My granny gear in the front is at 26t and I've upgraded my rear cassette to have the largest ring to be a 34t. Most of my buddies ride a 24spd bike with the granny gear @ 22t and the largest rear ring is 28 or 32.

The funny part is, I have another buddy that his bike's gear ratio is identical to mine and when we do climb side by side, neither of us can pass each other up. It seems like we can't go faster even though we try to pedal faster. It's like being stuck in 1st gear on your car.

My legs are strong,but I am wondering if the gear ratio on my bike is affecting my efficiency in climbing? I have some strong and big legs which my claves have been described as two pieces of London Broil Steaks.

But what do you guys think based on your own experiences?
 

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Dunno....

Perhaps, try a taller gear every week. Get out of granny as soon as you can. Most hills taper off before they crest, allowing you to grab another gear or two. If your cardio is up, stand up and jam. If I get ready to stand, I usually shift up a gear or two so I don't spin out.

And what the heck is a clave?
 

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Work on your spin. If you can spin really fast you can climb faster. Alternately, lose some weight. If you're carrying some excess pounds those will really slow you down over a climb. Having a really low gear is helpful on really steep stuff but if you want to climb faster you need to be able to crank a taller gear.
 

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XCdude
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If you are a little heavy loose some weight, the best way

imapodaddy said:
Hey folks,

Need some input. I feel that I am a decent rider. I tend to be the faster rider of out group any time we go on the trails. However, my weakness is climbing. I tend to be the guy that is one of the last people up a major hill.

I've often used my bike as an excuse to my demise. You see I ride a 21 spd Gary Fisher Tarpon. This is their entry level bike. My granny gear in the front is at 26t and I've upgraded my rear cassette to have the largest ring to be a 34t. Most of my buddies ride a 24spd bike with the granny gear @ 22t and the largest rear ring is 28 or 32.

The funny part is, I have another buddy that his bike's gear ratio is identical to mine and when we do climb side by side, neither of us can pass each other up. It seems like we can't go faster even though we try to pedal faster. It's like being stuck in 1st gear on your car.

My legs are strong,but I am wondering if the gear ratio on my bike is affecting my efficiency in climbing? I have some strong and big legs which my claves have been described as two pieces of London Broil Steaks.

But what do you guys think based on your own experiences?
to beat your buddy is to use the middle chain ring, granny all you do is spin an go nowhere. I know that the middle ring scares you but trust me you can, start using it after a month or so, you will be using it all the time and playing with the rear cogs. Doing this will develop strenght and speed ,also your buddies will panic when they go to granny and you power by them using the middle. :D It does hurt at first, but hey you want to be faster.
 

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I train on hills

About a month ago, I decided to start hill training. Really hard climing hill training. Not up a pavement strip, but loose, gravelly dirt that is steep and long. I do this every night for 90 minutes straight.

My hill climbing has gone way beyond what I ever thought I would be able to do.
One key that I have learned is that hill training really builds the legs. If you really want to climb fast, use a higher gear. I now use 1-3 gears higher for climbs than I would have used to use, and as a consequence, I climb better and MUCH faster.

It used to be a knee jerk reaction to pull for the granny gear on the hills, but that doesn't get you up them faster.

Use the highest gear your legs will allow, and SPIN!!!

Train doing this for a few weeks, and you'll blow past them on the hills.
 

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ShawnsJekyll said:
About a month ago, I decided to start hill training. Really hard climing hill training. Not up a pavement strip, but loose, gravelly dirt that is steep and long. I do this every night for 90 minutes straight.

My hill climbing has gone way beyond what I ever thought I would be able to do.
One key that I have learned is that hill training really builds the legs. If you really want to climb fast, use a higher gear. I now use 1-3 gears higher for climbs than I would have used to use, and as a consequence, I climb better and MUCH faster.

It used to be a knee jerk reaction to pull for the granny gear on the hills, but that doesn't get you up them faster.

Use the highest gear your legs will allow, and SPIN!!!

Train doing this for a few weeks, and you'll blow past them on the hills.
Yep I agree. You must use higher gears to get faster. I fell in the spring and bent my rear derailleur somewhere. Anyway after I'd bent it back straightish I couldn't shift into the granny anymore. Only the second to largest cog. I left it that way until a few weeks ago. The first few times in the lowest gear I would spin out or lose control and dab. So I don't use it anymore. Haven't used it in months really. Now I'm starting to use only the middle ring. I plan on getting much faster with this method. I've heard of some pros who don't use a small ring. They only have 2 rings on their bikes. I heard that Tinker Juarez was doing that at Mt. Snow in Vermont one year. Some steap ass climbs there too.
 

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XCdude
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Most pros dont even have a granny gear is not need it

otis24 said:
Yep I agree. You must use higher gears to get faster. I fell in the spring and bent my rear derailleur somewhere. Anyway after I'd bent it back straightish I couldn't shift into the granny anymore. Only the second to largest cog. I left it that way until a few weeks ago. The first few times in the lowest gear I would spin out or lose control and dab. So I don't use it anymore. Haven't used it in months really. Now I'm starting to use only the middle ring. I plan on getting much faster with this method. I've heard of some pros who don't use a small ring. They only have 2 rings on their bikes. I heard that Tinker Juarez was doing that at Mt. Snow in Vermont one year. Some steap ass climbs there too.
if you have a speedo on your bike, put the bike on the granny gear and spin as fast as you can you will see that you really dont go that fast, a couple of revolutions on the middle ring and you are going just as fast. There was a couple of pics I saw this year from sea otter and the pros were riding up a hill on the big ring, oh yeah. :)
 

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this might be a dumb question but

I agree that you climb faster in your bigger ring..however..I always thought that those bigger gears burn your legs out faster..then again, spinning away in your granny can waste extra energy. How do you find that balance between fast climbing without burning your legs out? On a short ride, I know the answer- but what about a long ride (i.e.100 miles).
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
imapodaddy said:
Hey folks,

Need some input. I feel that I am a decent rider. I tend to be the faster rider of out group any time we go on the trails. However, my weakness is climbing. I tend to be the guy that is one of the last people up a major hill.

I've often used my bike as an excuse to my demise. You see I ride a 21 spd Gary Fisher Tarpon. This is their entry level bike. My granny gear in the front is at 26t and I've upgraded my rear cassette to have the largest ring to be a 34t. Most of my buddies ride a 24spd bike with the granny gear @ 22t and the largest rear ring is 28 or 32.

The funny part is, I have another buddy that his bike's gear ratio is identical to mine and when we do climb side by side, neither of us can pass each other up. It seems like we can't go faster even though we try to pedal faster. It's like being stuck in 1st gear on your car.

My legs are strong,but I am wondering if the gear ratio on my bike is affecting my efficiency in climbing? I have some strong and big legs which my claves have been described as two pieces of London Broil Steaks.

But what do you guys think based on your own experiences?
Hey guys thanks for all your input. I will definitely try using the middle gear while climing and start working on my strenght and endurance. I'm actually excited to see how much of a difference it will make in my climbing ability in just a few weeks.

RL
 

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Looks like

there is a camp that says you cna climb faster if you use a bigger gear and peddle harder. It's funny, there is a lot of sports analysis that sound like that: "if you want to win than you have to have to pitch well, hit well, have good defense and do all the little things." Brilliant.
The 90 minutes of practice sounds best to me. The bigger gears come later.

By the way, the Oxford Dictionary defines "claves" (pronounced cla'-ves) as the bifurcated aspect of the male anatomy which hangs below the top tube and catches in your spokes as you incline the bike, often slowing you down. This effect is also exacerbated as the bike falls off line and can cause dab. Closely related to Vincent Prices "Tingler," it is only visible by the owner when in extreme duress while climbing but no one has ever really seen it because they are too busy busting a hump. Often mistaken for cojones or huevos. Curiously enough, the "claves" is very responsive to regular workouts and will scoff at a premature use of stiff gears. The "claves" is less troublesome with smooth tires and is said to contribute the ease of climbing ANY steep on a road bike. This effect is masked by a total lack of traction on anything but pave.
Keith Bontreger has nothing to say on this subject.
 

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XCdude
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Is not dumb, when I started I was a granny gear guy too

porterjack said:
I agree that you climb faster in your bigger ring..however..I always thought that those bigger gears burn your legs out faster..then again, spinning away in your granny can waste extra energy. How do you find that balance between fast climbing without burning your legs out? On a short ride, I know the answer- but what about a long ride (i.e.100 miles).
but I noticed that it was going so slow that walking made more sense. I started to use the middle ring more and more, at first is really hard but I went in long climbs 2+ miles long and did it keeping an eye on the cadance also about 60rpm or so thats a happy medium. With time you will be stronger and I mean really strong. Thats one of the reason that ,mtb racers that train on the road are so strong, they dont have a granny gear to fall back on. :rolleyes:
 

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you need to learn your own musculature's optimal climbing method.

when I started mtb riding, I was a rookie XC racer. I thought my road riding and skinny legs meant I had to be a "spinner" who lived for the granny gear on climbs.

now, 15 or so years later, I'm still skinny but have learned that my legs enjoy steady loads that I'd call "just slightly difficult" and a crank rpm of about 70-80. I rarely use the granny gear. middle rings are my best friends. I learned the secret by experimenting with different gear combinations, standing vs sitting, riding singlespeed, and by learning how to engage different muscles to "rest" the ones that you're tiring out.

if all you want to do is "beat your friend," you're not going to have much luck focusing only on beating him on the climb. as with most athletic endeavors, fundamentals serve to allow higher caliber performance. so more riding, and especially more hill climbing, would help you become a stronger climber, which in turn helps to make it more likely that you can skunk your buddy on that killer climb.
 

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There's nothing wrong with the granny ring. Use the 22x14 (12-27 cassette 3rd sprocket from smallest) and it'll do 11mph+.:) A 26x14 will go faster than that.

The 22x27 (4mph approx) is still quite a bit quicker than walking especially on difficult ground uphill.

The best bet for climbing if possible is to start off slow and then lift the pace towards the top of the climb.

If you're the stronger rider for the rest of the ride are you tiring yourself out before you reach the hills? Trying too hard at the beginning of a ride can really blunt your climbing speed.

Apart from that it's just practice really.

It's not very polite for a group ride but if you're a lot stronger on the flat sections drop everyone a few miles before the climb. Then get enough of a lead that you can ride the climb at your own pace without being caught before the top.:)
 

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Oh and don't just one ONE gear

The other point I forgot to mention is that there is no rule that says you have to stay in one gear for the whole climb. That's crazy. I pick the gearing that allows me to go fastest given the hill steepness, strength, energy level and abilities. There is a balance between all of those elements that tends to shift with physical fitness endurance and strength abilities, so it's every changing.

I have to emphasize again though, the gearing isn't what really helped me, it was doing it 90 minutes every night that did.

It somewhat goes back to the old phrase "Its not the bow, it's the indian".

Cheers mates.
 

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During tonights ride the light went on.

I don't know how many posts there have been like this where someone wanst to beat someone else. Natural. Okay.
What I am feeling, though, is that the question gets asked but the answer is expected to be a "tip or trick," or that there is some techinque that is being missed.
What all of these posts fail to acknowledge is the power and skill of the person who is beating you. When a guy beats you in a race it is seldom because he has some clever inside scoop.
Go out and work hard. Alot.
 

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If your main problem is hills, then work on going up hills... more hills, longer hills, steeper hills. Try to push it in one gear higher than normal and keep it there even if cadence slows, but try hard to keep cadence up. When this gear feels normal, move to the next higher gear. Race hills, time yourself and watch improvement. Sprint flats, grades, hills. Sprint often even when your riding a good pace...keep sprinting, sprinting, sprinting and just when you can't take anymore, sprint again.
 

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SS worked for me...

I started getting back into riding last year on a geared road. Then I got an SS and started doing the same routes/hills. At first it was hard, then after some weeks it got much easier. So easy that I moved from a 36:18 to a 44:18. I agree, the taller gear actually makes you faster on the hill. It's just a different mindset.

How does it translate? Took my geared CX on singletrack w/ some buddies few months ago. Same singletrack that I used w/ my Stumpjumper. I climbed faster on my CX on a taller gear than I EVER could on my MTB. I never would've been able to do that w/ just straight MTB rides.
 

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Lose weight, no joke 10 or 15 lbs makes a huge difference

imapodaddy said:
Hey folks,

Need some input. I feel that I am a decent rider. I tend to be the faster rider of out group any time we go on the trails. However, my weakness is climbing. I tend to be the guy that is one of the last people up a major hill.

I've often used my bike as an excuse to my demise. You see I ride a 21 spd Gary Fisher Tarpon. This is their entry level bike. My granny gear in the front is at 26t and I've upgraded my rear cassette to have the largest ring to be a 34t. Most of my buddies ride a 24spd bike with the granny gear @ 22t and the largest rear ring is 28 or 32.

The funny part is, I have another buddy that his bike's gear ratio is identical to mine and when we do climb side by side, neither of us can pass each other up. It seems like we can't go faster even though we try to pedal faster. It's like being stuck in 1st gear on your car.

My legs are strong,but I am wondering if the gear ratio on my bike is affecting my efficiency in climbing? I have some strong and big legs which my claves have been described as two pieces of London Broil Steaks.

But what do you guys think based on your own experiences?
I was 195 LBS last year now I'm 180 LBS and notice I climb much faster, if you know any roadies get them to give you training advice, roadies know fast and how to drop weight, for instance a favorite roadie trick, ride on an empty stomach (except coffee and water) in the mornings and you will burn mass fat while riding and be burning mass calories all day long.
 
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