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  1. #1
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    conquiering hills; MTB or roadie

    I currently ride a MTB. I recently moved and the result is I live at the bottom of a funnel, no matter what direction I ride I have hills to conquer. Some days I give myslef a break and drive to a top of the hill to begin my ride only to face more hills. I should have really planned my move better.

    Anyways to my question. For those that have ridden both MTB and roadies which do you prefer on hilly paved courses? The MBT wider tires and lower gears or roadie narrow tires and higher gears.

  2. #2
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Low gears and spin up the hill, with either fat or skinny tires.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  3. #3
    Chubby super biker bdinger's Avatar
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    Low gears and skinny tires, definitely.

  4. #4
    Dwindling Roadie
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    I currently ride a MTB. I recently moved and the result is I live at the bottom of a funnel, no matter what direction I ride I have hills to conquer. Some days I give myslef a break and drive to a top of the hill to begin my ride only to face more hills. I should have really planned my move better.

    Anyways to my question. For those that have ridden both MTB and roadies which do you prefer on hilly paved courses? The MBT wider tires and lower gears or roadie narrow tires and higher gears.
    If you have the option to do it, you might want to look into a road bike with a compact crank setup (50 teeth on the big ring and 34 or 36 on the small) and then put a 12-27 cassette on. This combo will let you spin up just about anything! This is what I run and I know what you mean about living in a bowl.

  5. #5
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    MTB with street tires (slicks or similar). Much lower (easier pedalling) gearing for the big hills.

    Note, my MTB is a rigid frame (no suspension). So no energy loss to suspension.
    Last edited by wrk101; 07-26-08 at 10:02 PM. Reason: addl info

  6. #6
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    I have both an mtb and a roadie (OK, a Surly Long Haul Trucker, but it has skinney tires) with mountain bike gearing. The roadie goes up the hills better because, without any suspension, none of your pedaling-energy is being soaked up by the suspension.

    When I climb in granny low with my mtb, I find that the front fork (it's a hardtail) starts to oscillate up with each power stroke, then collapses back down at tdc and bdc. Then back up on the next power stroke, and so on. Eventually, if the hill is steep enough, the oscillation is enough to wheelie the front wheel.

    Doesn't happen with the roadie, because even though you feel the front wheel start to get light, it doesn't get into the oscillation to get it to finally lift.
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  7. #7
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    I can't say I've ridden a road bike, but being in a similar situation as yours (living down in a pit), all I can tell you is that with time you work into being able to do the hills much better than you would when you have started out. It does start getting easier (read less of an issue) with time.

    Keep at it, and you'll get to the point of it not being much of a thought to get where you're going.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hill-Pumper's Avatar
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    MY MTB is a older solid fork model, so the I don't experience the power loss from that. I did notice I a 1-2 mph increase in uphill speed when riding my roadie. Still, the effort to the pedals seemed to be the same. Where I really notice the difference is when I am riding rolling hills, I can get better speed off the backside and use it into the base of the next hill to set myself up for spinning it better. I think if I had slicks on my MTB, it might be more equal, but these are just my observations.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    I currently ride a MTB. I recently moved and the result is I live at the bottom of a funnel, no matter what direction I ride I have hills to conquer. Some days I give myslef a break and drive to a top of the hill to begin my ride only to face more hills. I should have really planned my move better.

    Anyways to my question. For those that have ridden both MTB and roadies which do you prefer on hilly paved courses? The MBT wider tires and lower gears or roadie narrow tires and higher gears.
    It could be worse, living at the top of a hill, it's easier to go uphill when your fresh, then when you have just gone 40 miles....

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by uncadan8 View Post
    If you have the option to do it, you might want to look into a road bike with a compact crank setup (50 teeth on the big ring and 34 or 36 on the small) and then put a 12-27 cassette on. This combo will let you spin up just about anything! This is what I run and I know what you mean about living in a bowl.
    On longer hills, I really appreciate the 30-27 combo that my triple crank allows...

  11. #11
    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input. I did what I thought was the impossible today (or was it crazy). I used a link provided by another thread here, and found the incline to be 5.8 and 5.7% grade for about .8 miles each, then one tapers to about 3% will a couple of flat spots or dips for the next 4 miles. Anyways I rode the one hill and rode the 3% grade for awhile and turned back for home. As I was heading back towards home I thought I would try the second hill. There were other riders out today, which is unusual, but they were on the start of a six day ride, the first day covering 77 miles. I was covering slightly less (ok, a lot less then that ). It was a bit embarrassing to be passing some of other bikers who were walking their bikes up the hill, because you could hear my huffing and puffing up the hill.

    I am considering using smoother tires and see how that works.

    I do want a road bike, hoping it allows me to do longer rides. If I do get a road bike it will either have a triple crank or a compact double. I am leaning towards a compact double if I had a choice. From what I hear there isn't much difference between the compact and triple, except the triple has more overlap on gears while the compact should offer less problems with the FD.

  12. #12
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    If you are gonna buy a road bike for longer distances, you might want to look into touring bikes. Many of which have mountain bike gearing and relativly skinny tires. I started out on a mountain bike, swapped out the knobbies for some semi slicks. Made a big difference for commuting. I gave in and bought a touring bike and I'm glad I did. First day commuting on it I cut my time by 10% with out expending any more effort. There are several realy good touring bikes to look at. Not quite as fast or light as many road bikes, but close. And for me, the comfort makes up for it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbikingman View Post
    It was a bit embarrassing to be passing some of other bikers who were walking their bikes up the hill, because you could hear my huffing and puffing up the hill.
    How is it embarrassing to *ride* a bike past someone who's *walking* theirs? Who cares how hard you're puffing! You're pedaling, they're not.

    Slicks will make a difference.

  14. #14
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    My vote is for the triple crank. Where I live there are lots of rolling hills - very frequent ups and downs, one after the other, and steep - and I find that sometimes I just shift the front up and down between the middle and small ring, leaving the chain somewhere in the middle of the rear cog. That gives me a low enough gear to grind up, then I can just kick it into high range as I go over the top. The gear spread seems perfect for that kind of work.
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  15. #15
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    yaknow...when I upgraded from my schwinn to my Trek, I deliberately went with a triple, because at the time, there were hills I couldn't handle with the double on the schwinn. In retrospect it was the dumbest idea ever. strategy and muscle along with the weight-loss that will eventually come, were really all I needed to handle the hills. I've come to realize that in reality, I don't need my small gear if I attack each hill properly.
    not that any of this helps a hill-start, but
    1, don't be afraid of standing: just try to stand at the right time, and always stand in the hardest gear you can. the goal is to build enough inertia to carry you through something that would otherwise be so agonizing or slow in your low gear that you might as well walk, as well as to get you to a speed that you can spin at in your lowest middle gear.

    2, preload inertia, sprint just a little before the elevation sets in.
    3, yes, mashing is bad, but the line between mashing and spinning is razor thin going uphill.

    now, if only I could stay in my 53 more often...
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    It depends, krazy......

    I run a triple myself. I have to spin up the hills....bad knees. The trick is to spin up the hill in the highest gear you can hold 90 or so RPM in, not too low, not too high. I often beat the standing mashers to the top anyway and usually feel better at the top.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." - Immanuel Kant

  17. #17
    Been around a time or two cyclingsource's Avatar
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    to start off your ride having to go up a hill always stinks. getting slicks is a must, keeps the rolling resistance down. i personally like a road bike better for riding. i have found a mountain bike is harder for me to ride up hills on, it just seems easier for me.

    i am not saying i am the worlds best climber and i have encountered some tough hills. i just keep cranking up the hill. when the hill is really tough i pick a spot on the hill i want to ride to before i get off and walk. once i get to that spot i pick another spot to ride to. this way i give myself short distances to ride to.

    this works well for me. i have not had to walk my bike yet!

    keep riding and eventually the hills will be no big deal for you!
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