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  1. #1
    A Little Bent Hammertoe's Avatar
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    Help Me Build A Hill Climbing Bike

    I plan on doing some hill climbing races next season and will be building up a new bike just for the races. These races run from 3 – 12 miles with average grades of 12%. I will be racing against myself with the only goal of finishing.
    I would like to buy a road frame with a standard 68 mm English threaded BB. My hope is to use a 24 or 26 chainring with no front derailleur (or could run a standard MTB triple) and an 11 -34 cassette with a Deore rear derailleur. Are there any specific suggestions on configurations that would work?

  2. #2
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Wow! That's cool! I've never heard of hill climbing races. I don't know enough to tell you about specific configurations, but it seems like you might be better off going with a tighter cassette (e.g. 11-28) and the smallest chainring you can get (e.g. a 22T mountain granny). That way you'll save a bit of weight and you can go with a short-cage rear derailer. I imagine that if I were doing 12% grade races, I'd care about every last gram

    One other thing comes to mind: think long and hard about the stem, handlebars, and seat that you want to use. Because you'll be climbing most of the time, you'll almost certainly not want the same body position as you would for a race that on is flat or even rolling terrain.
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  3. #3
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    You mean like the Mt. Washington ascent?
    A big part of figuring out your ideal gearing is, what is or will be your range of speeds on these rides, and what's your preferred pedaling cadence for ascending? On this basis you can calculate your ideal gear range.

    edit: I think moxfyre's suggestion is a good one, assuming that your initial estimate of gear range (and his subsequent amendment) is within your ideal gearing range as calculated by range of speed and comfortable cadence.

  4. #4
    A Little Bent Hammertoe's Avatar
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    Ah....I have been fighting with the gearing configurations for some time.....I use this web site: http://www.panix.com/~jbarrm/cycal/cycal.30f.html
    I guess I am still wondering if the mechanics will work. Can the MTB BB and cranks fit on the road frame? I have no experience with the MTB components. Does it have the same standards as road components.
    I am not that concerned about weight. I don't want a 24 pounder but I must do this on a budget. I have a wife watching me do this....
    Yes, Mt. Washington is one of the races but also Whiteface, Mt. Equinox, and Mt. Ascutney. My friend has challenged me. He did the races this year with only 800 miles of training. I have 3700 miles of training. So I will do the races and he will train more....Challenge accepted....

    Edit...moxfyre....Do I guess your at Maryland....I am Alumni and big Terp fan...
    timcupery....do I have to explain why I do not like the color blue....

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    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertoe
    Ah....I have been fighting with the gearing configurations for some time.....I use this web site: http://www.panix.com/~jbarrm/cycal/cycal.30f.html
    I guess I am still wondering if the mechanics will work. Can the MTB BB and cranks fit on the road frame? I have no experience with the MTB components. Does it have the same standards as road components.
    Yes, standard MTB cranks/BBs will fit a road frame, no problem. All MTB BBs are standard English/ISO threaded. The main difference is that most chainrings for MTB cranks are mounted on a 4-arm spider rather than a 5-arm spider. Thus the chainrings are not interchangeable.

    I am not that concerned about weight. I don't want a 24 pounder but I must do this on a budget. I have a wife watching me do this....
    I hear that, I'm a semi-broke grad student

    Edit...moxfyre....Do I guess your at Maryland....I am Alumni and big Terp fan...
    timcupery....do I have to explain why I do not like the color blue....
    Yep! I'm a PhD student in physics and I love it here at UMD. I love the Terps b-ball and lacrosse games! Were you around for the national championship? Tim and I should be mortal ACC enemies, I suppose

    EDIT: On the other hand, I was born in Chapel Hill, and one of my earliest memories is of my dad explaining to me that the sky is Tarheel Blue
    Last edited by moxfyre; 09-18-06 at 08:33 PM.
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  6. #6
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    The color blue makes you imagine flowing rivers, water moving forward

    Your main issue will be chainline. An mtb bottom bracket isn't what you want, for a couple of reasons.
    The main reason for choosing a bottom bracket spindle length is to have the chainrings lined up relatively evenly with the sprockets. An mtb rear hub has 135mm spacing between the locknuts, and a road rear hub has 130mm spacing. So right there you'd want a 5mm shorter bottom bracket spindle (2.5mm shorter on each side) to use an mtb crank with gears that are on a road hub.
    But it gets more interesting. On a typical triple crank, the middle chainring is approximately lined up with the middle of the rear sprockets. In your case, you'll only be using the small chainring (and ideally, you'd only have the one small chainring). And so you'd want the inner chainring to line up with the center of the rear sprockets. So you'd want a bottom bracket axle that's 6-7mm wider on both sides (because you want things symmetrical). So you'd want a bottom bracket axle that's 3.5mm wider on each side (so 7mm wider total) than the axle that ideally fits with the triple while on the mtb. (Chainrings are usually 6-7mm apart.)

  7. #7
    me have long head tube TallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Yep! I'm a PhD student in physics and I love it here at UMD. I love the Terps b-ball and lacrosse games! Were you around for the national championship? Tim and I should be mortal ACC enemies, I suppose
    Well, it's football season right now and neither UNC nor Maryland are much good
    I was at the UNC-Maryland basketball game here at UNC a year and a half ago, when Maryland was ranked 12th, and UNC beat them by 40. I had riser seats on the court for that game, too...

  8. #8
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    Mount water bottles (with straws) on your bars like they did in the TdF 60 years ago

  9. #9
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I remember reading an interview with Ned Overend, who did the Mt. Washington race for his fiftieth birthday and got fourth place overall. He said setting the bike up so that he was quite a bit more upright than his typical road bike setup was a key for him, it helped him breathe better-

  10. #10
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP
    Mount water bottles (with straws) on your bars like they did in the TdF 60 years ago
    Water bottles?!? For a 12 mile climb at 12% grade??? Are you nuts
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  11. #11
    A Little Bent Hammertoe's Avatar
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    I knew this wouldn't be as easy as I thought....BF is an awesome place for knowledge and I love learning as I go along.

    I will look at BB spindle length and keep the spacing in mind. I still have not decided on just one chainring or a full triple. The full triple would certainly be more versatile.

    One other compatibility issue I have. Will a 9 speed 105 STI shifter be compatible with a 9 speed Deore derailleur?

    I was at Maryland when Len Bias played. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard he died. I would sleep outside Cole Field House to get student tickets, I would be right on the floor in the student section and yell at him to get 40 points when he was warming up....
    I remember the Physics Building and Physics 101 (?). Not one of my favorite classes. I was in the Zoology building most of the time.
    Last edited by Hammertoe; 09-18-06 at 08:44 PM.

  12. #12
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertoe
    I knew this wouldn't be as easy as I thought....BF is an awesome place for knowledge and I love learning as I go along.

    I will look at BB spindle length and keep the spacing in mind. I still have not decided on just one chainring or a full triple. The full triple would certainly be more versatile.

    One other compatibility issue I have. Will a 9 speed 105 STI shifter be compatible with a 9 speed Deore derailleur?
    Any N-speed Shimano shifter is compatible with any N-speed Shimano derailer (except for pre-9-speed DuraAce).

    Here's a thought though: if you go for the ultralight purpose-built setup, use a single downtube shifter rather than an STI. You can get a used one real cheap, and the downtube shifters are in a relatively good position when you're going uphill.

    I was at Maryland when Len Bias played. I still remember exactly where I was when I heard he died. I would sleep outside Cole Field House to get student tickets, I would be right on the floor in the student section and yell at him to get 40 points when he was warming up....
    Wow

    I remember the Physics Building and Physics 101 (?). Not one of my favorite classes. I was in the Zoology building most of the time.
    So are you a zoologist then? My dad's a bio prof at Michigan State.
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  13. #13
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    I can think of a couple of other reasons to not use a mountain bike crankset. Road frames with braze-on front derailleurs, as many are, do not allow the front derailleur to be lowered enough for the smaller mtn. chainrings. And the mountain bike front derailleurs are not the same throw ratios as road bikes and can cause some problems with indexing. You are the only one who can determine what gearing is best for you. If it was me for a dedicated climbing bike I would go for very light weight, especially the wheels, and I would use a compact crank with 48/34 chainrings, carbon fiber cranks, and a compact derailleur. The cassette would depend on the race but for long 12% grades I would probably use a Record 13-26 or 13-29 if Campy or a 12-27 D-A if Shimano.

    Al

  14. #14
    A Little Bent Hammertoe's Avatar
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    So much to think about.....The down tube friction shifter is a great idea and much easier to set up....An older frame would be needed to use the friction shifters....

    I graduated with a cell biology degree but can you guess what I am now....think feet

  15. #15
    cyclist/gearhead/cycli... moxfyre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943
    I can think of a couple of other reasons to not use a mountain bike crankset. Road frames with braze-on front derailleurs, as many are, do not allow the front derailleur to be lowered enough for the smaller mtn. chainrings. And the mountain bike front derailleurs are not the same throw ratios as road bikes and can cause some problems with indexing. You are the only one who can determine what gearing is best for you. If it was me for a dedicated climbing bike I would go for very light weight, especially the wheels, and I would use a compact crank with 48/34 chainrings, carbon fiber cranks, and a compact derailleur. The cassette would depend on the race but for long 12% grades I would probably use a Record 13-26 or 13-29 if Campy or a 12-27 D-A if Shimano
    That's all well and good if you've got $5000 to spend and are basically just adding parts to bring yourself up to the 16 lb UCI limit...

    But as Hammertoe said, he's on a budget here . I think that for an optimal price/weight combination a single chainring is gonna be the way to go. In any case, there are plenty of road frames which take clamp-on derailers and I can personally attest to the fact that it's possible to make a road FD index with small MTB rings.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Have you considered a fixed?

  17. #17
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moxfyre
    Here's a thought though: if you go for the ultralight purpose-built setup, use a single downtube shifter rather than an STI. You can get a used one real cheap, and the downtube shifters are in a relatively good position when you're going uphill.
    But do you really want to be taking a hand off the bars to reach down to shift whilst cranking uphill? It would be much easier to have it up close to where your hands already are. It's not much of a big deal on level terrain, but particularly for a rear cassette, you could be shifting up and down a lot on the uphills...

    I'll pre-empt anyone who was about to point out 'well Lance had one on his uphill bike' by pointing out that he only used one for the FD, which one doesn't use as frequently.

    (speaking as someone who has only ever had down-tube shifters, but ordered a set of STI levers on Sunday night)

    Remember though, that with no FD, you'll be able to put on one of those snappy looking Aero Brake levers.

  18. #18
    LF for the accentdeprived
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertoe
    average grades of 12%. I will be racing against myself with the only goal of finishing.
    Any bike with a low granny gear will do

    BTW, if the course is evenly uphill all through (roughly the same gradient, no initial flat section to speak of) you might as well go singlespeed. (Read: definitely go ss) A LOT lighter and a LOT more efficient in terms of getting your power to the wheel. You're on a budget so shedding 2 pounds of weight and saving $150 sounds like a winner. If you pick a good gear, you'll be a whole damn lot faster. Plus you'll be the tough guy in the race and the chicks er... wives love that

    Even if you lose a couple of seconds on a short flat section, the ss setup makes up for it on the slope.
    Last edited by LóFarkas; 09-19-06 at 05:13 AM.
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    You might also look into touring triple cranks like the Sugino XD600, with a cheap square taper BB (Shimano UN-53 or 73). This gives you a standard 110/74 BCD which will take you down to, I think 24T. You could then buy a cyclocross frame which will take 135mm rear hubs (I think this would reduce the dish on the rear wheel, making it a bit stronger to withstand climbing stresses). I'd recommend a Surly Cross-Check (which could then be easily converted to single speed if desired) but it's on the heavy side, which may not be as important if you are only trying to finish and improve against yourself.

  20. #20
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertoe
    I plan on doing some hill climbing races next season and will be building up a new bike just for the races. These races run from 3 – 12 miles with average grades of 12%. I will be racing against myself with the only goal of finishing.
    I would like to buy a road frame with a standard 68 mm English threaded BB. My hope is to use a 24 or 26 chainring with no front derailleur (or could run a standard MTB triple) and an 11 -34 cassette with a Deore rear derailleur. Are there any specific suggestions on configurations that would work?

    Nice. In VT and New England?
    I just set up the new IF with a TA Specialities Carmina (double), 94 bcd so I can put as little as a 30 tooth ring on it, Phil Wood BB. Was not cheap.

    With a Campy 13-29 in back I'll have gears lower than my old triple.

  21. #21
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    I'm about to build a climbing bike myself. It's going to be a single-speed. Then I'll be able to flip the hub and train on a fixie occasionally too (with a different cog and chainring, of course I am reacquiring my original red Bridgestone RB-1 (my first racing bike -- rode it for 100,000 miles) from my brother-in-law.

    The benefit of a single speed (besides the overrated light weight for climbing) is the ideal chainline. You just can't get more efficient on a bicycle. It's really a noticeable performance difference. The harder you pedal, the more a bad chainline slows you down.

    The big climb here in Austin is the King of Jester, and I'll be tossing a 39-23 on there for that race. It's a half-mile hill that rapidly ramps up to 20% and holds it for most of the way. It's really an explosive effort, like a too-long interval. I'm currently riding it at 3:14, so I'm excited to see what I can do on the SS:
    http://www.toporoute.com/cgi-bin/get...OSYKXWOOLIUOIW

    I've discovered from single-speed mountain biking that having only one gear available for a climb works out just great. My SS MTB is an old steel stumpjumper, and I've been able to really turn the screws on my friends with full suspension CF/AL/TI frames and gears. I can take so much time out of them on the climb that the gearing doesn't help them enough on the descents. I lose a bit of time on the flats, but I can still get along fine at 22mph in a 32-18.
    Last edited by waterrockets; 09-19-06 at 06:57 AM.

  22. #22
    the goal
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    Have a look at fixed gear - they have a reputation as very good climbing bikes (allegedly the constant rotation helps to push you feet through the deadspots) and you only need one gear if the climb is fairly constant. Fixed gears are also one of the cheapest ways to lose weight off a bike (which is a good thing in a climbing bike). Specific climbing gear often includes hubs that are so light that they can't be used downhill, as they can't handle braking forces.

    My track bike (which I use on the road) was previously owned by a guy who came 5th in the UK Hill Climb Championships.

  23. #23
    littlecircles bmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets
    I'm about to build a climbing bike myself. It's going to be a single-speed. Then I'll be able to flip the hub and train on a fixie occasionally too (with a different cog and chainring, of course I am reacquiring my original red Bridgestone RB-1 (my first racing bike -- rode it for 100,000 miles) from my brother-in-law.


    Nice. I'm rebuilding my brothers old RB-2 into a 3 speed. Triple up front, and I'm planning on swapping a wheel from my SS on the back. Derailer will locked in place. Looking at gearing options - and hopefully I'll have it done for this winter.

  24. #24
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    Los Angeles has been the venue of several annual hill climb races, but my all-time favorite is soloing up Tuna Canyon, 3 miles at 12%, for which I used a standard 10-speed road bike (Nishiki Competition) with downtube shifters and about a 45-inch low gear.
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  25. #25
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    Wow! That's cool! I've never heard of hill climbing races.
    Never heard of uphill time trials?
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