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  1. #1
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    Which bike for hilly ride?

    I have a pretty aggressive ride in a week. 80 miles with 10,000 feet of hard climbing. Not sure if a choice of bike will make any real difference but here are my choices.

    1) Alum. frame Jamis with 50/34 front and Sram Apex 11/32 rear. Weight 19 pounds.

    2) Full carbon Felt 50/36 front and 12/27 rear. Bike weighs 15.5 pounds.

    So which bike would you choose given the options?

  2. #2
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    The Felt. The carbon will support a longer ride with better ride quality and a little less bulk.

    Also, the 50/36 & 12-27 combo should provide a wide enough range for longer 10% climbs.

    You could also move the 11-32 over to the Felt. You might need a longer chain, but chances are that the rear derailleur can accept the 11-32.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Neither as configured. I would put the 34 ring on the Felt. 11/32 is too wide range for climbing and unless there is a lot of steep climbing 34/32 is too low. The 12/27 cassette is a nice climbing cassette with the 50/34 compact double.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    +1 on what Hermes said...

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    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
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    Is this a one day ride with 10,000 feet of climbing? Even if it's over more than a day, that's a huge amount of gain.

    What's the route?
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  6. #6
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Neither as configured. I would put the 34 ring on the Felt. 11/32 is too wide range for climbing and unless there is a lot of steep climbing 34/32 is too low. The 12/27 cassette is a nice climbing cassette with the 50/34 compact double.
    Exactly my choice--Unless it is mountains with long hills and grades above 15% Then I would get a motor assistant.
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  7. #7
    Council of the Elders billydonn's Avatar
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    It depends on how strong your motor is and how much you weigh. With 10k feet of climbing I would give gear selection the most consideration over frame material. I agree that CF is most desirable though.

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    Thanks for the replies. This is a one day ride. For those of you who might know it crosses the Laurel Ridge in PA 4, maybe 5 times. The grades are up to 20+%. This is the 11th year for this ride. http://wpwbikeclub.org/

    On the ride calender Sept 1. "Hills are your Friends"

    I really don't have the time or interest in switching out the drive trains as one bike is Sram and the other Shimano.

    I did a 58 miler last week with 6000 feet of climbing on the Jamis and survived. I think I am going to go with the gearing over the weight savings and see how it goes.

  9. #9
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Thanks for the replies. This is a one day ride. For those of you who might know it crosses the Laurel Ridge in PA 4, maybe 5 times. The grades are up to 20+%. This is the 11th year for this ride. http://wpwbikeclub.org/

    On the ride calender Sept 1. "Hills are your Friends"

    I really don't have the time or interest in switching out the drive trains as one bike is Sram and the other Shimano.

    I did a 58 miler last week with 6000 feet of climbing on the Jamis and survived. I think I am going to go with the gearing over the weight savings and see how it goes.
    You could always switch the wheels, cassette included, from the Jamis over to the Felt. You would need to check the chain length and the adjust the rear derailleur.
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  10. #10
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    http://theclimb.blogs.nytimes.com/20...han-vaughters/

    "Now maybe Rob will tell us he’s doing this precisely because those mountains are hell. You know, the ‘just to see if I can….’ idea. Well, sure, I can try to shave a fully clawed, feral cat, just to see if I can, but the question here is WHY?!"
    Last edited by Dudelsack; 08-25-12 at 07:28 AM.

  11. #11
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    11/32 is too wide range for climbing and unless there is a lot of steep climbing 34/32 is too low.
    Huh?
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Huh?
    Steps between gears are too big to set ideal cadence unless one needs the 32 for steep climbing.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member GFish's Avatar
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    Go for the Jamis with the lower gearing.

    You're obviously concerned about the amount of climbing. Rather then worry if the 50/36 with 12-27 will leave you hanging, grab the gearing you need.

    Personally, I like a large range cassette with a compact 50/34. One reason, is hills still kick my butt and I need the extra low gears. Another is, my cadence ranges between 80 - 100 rpm's and the extra spacing allows me to shift less to find the right gear. Some people may find this odd, but the wider cadence works for me.

    Bottom line......it's your ride, use what'll work best for you.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I am in the same mode as Hermes. Wide spacing on the 32 makes it difficult for getting the cadence right. Beginning to struggle in one gear so change down and wait for speed to drop so that the cadence gets right.

    BUT-if you need that lower gear- you need it. Problem is that once you do change down- you will be reluctant to get out of it.
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  15. #15
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    I thought the whole point of the question was about the steep climbing. On a hard day of climbing, low enough gearing trumps optimum shift spacing imho. The old megarange 7 speed freewheels had such a sever jump to the lowest gear that it was a problem, but the SRAM 11-32 cassette, while not ideal for smooth shifting, is not that bad.
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  16. #16
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    I thought the whole point of the question was about the steep climbing. On a hard day of climbing, low enough gearing trumps optimum shift spacing imho. The old megarange 7 speed freewheels had such a sever jump to the lowest gear that it was a problem, but the SRAM 11-32 cassette, while not ideal for smooth shifting, is not that bad.
    +1 for rolling hills and very steep (+15%) climbs.

    I find that when I use a 12-27 on routes with short-but-steep rolling hills or longer climbs that stair-step with alternating flat and steep sections that I'm shifting more than one cog at a time to stay in a 80 to 100 cadence range.

    When the hill is a steady grade, I like having a close set of cogs so that I can stay within a tight 15% cadence range. But when the road is always changing it's grade, wider spacing reduces the number of shifts needed to complete a climb.

    I'm using four ten-speed cassettes, depending on route;

    11-23 (11,12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23) for flat Illinois routes
    12-27 (12,13,14,15,16,17,19,21,23,27) for mostly flat routes with a few steep climbs
    12-30 (12,13,14,15,17,19,21,23,27,30) for rolling hills with multiple steep climbs
    11-32 (11,12,13,15,17,19,21,24,28,32) for longer routes with steep climbs and 5000 ft of climbing or more.

    Both the 12-30 and 11-32 or worthless on flatter routes. Having a tight set of cogs in the 12,13,14,15,16,17 range is indispensable on flatter routes on a windy day.
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-27-12 at 08:08 AM.
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  17. #17
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Help.

    I apologize for jumping in on this thread, but I have the same question. My ride will be on the 14th of September, returning home on the 16th. It's ~92 miles from northern VA near the Potomac inland over the Shenandoah National Park's skyline drive back down into the valley beyond to Luray. I don't know the total climbing, but I would be surprised if it were less than 4000 feet - I really don't have a guess.

    Available bikes:
    - steel sport touring - 27 lbs - 52/42 and 14-30T 6-speed
    - carbon road bike - 17 lbs - 53/39 and 12-28T 10-speed
    - steel full touring - 30 lbs - 48/36/24 and 13-28T 7-speed

    All three bikes are comfortable. I'm not averse to suffering a little. I don't intend to carry much beyond snack foods, water, and extra tubes/pump/levers.

    I'm leaning toward the sports tourer, thinking that I won't need the bail-out. But the major climbing will be between miles 70 and 84 or so. I can comfortably ride 60-70 miles any day of the week, with a normal amount of rolling hills and short steep climbs.

    I'd like to approach this with confidence - what say you all? Phil

  18. #18
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Help.

    I apologize for jumping in on this thread, but I have the same question. My ride will be on the 14th of September, returning home on the 16th. It's ~92 miles from northern VA near the Potomac inland over the Shenandoah National Park's skyline drive back down into the valley beyond to Luray. I don't know the total climbing, but I would be surprised if it were less than 4000 feet - I really don't have a guess.

    Available bikes:
    - steel sport touring - 27 lbs - 52/42 and 14-30T 6-speed
    - carbon road bike - 17 lbs - 53/39 and 12-28T 10-speed
    - steel full touring - 30 lbs - 48/36/24 and 13-28T 7-speed

    All three bikes are comfortable. I'm not averse to suffering a little. I don't intend to carry much beyond snack foods, water, and extra tubes/pump/levers.

    I'm leaning toward the sports tourer, thinking that I won't need the bail-out. But the major climbing will be between miles 70 and 84 or so. I can comfortably ride 60-70 miles any day of the week, with a normal amount of rolling hills and short steep climbs.

    I'd like to approach this with confidence - what say you all? Phil
    Hi Phil,

    I would put a 50 & 34 compact on the carbon road bike.
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  19. #19
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    Hi Phil,

    I would put a 50 & 34 compact on the carbon road bike.
    I don't have budget for parts to make any changes to the bikes prior to September. Nice try, though, Barretscv - I appreciate the attempt to change the game in my favor.

  20. #20
    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Depends on your conditioning OP. I have been asked similar questions over the years and when you make suggestions you get answers back like " I will just bail and walk that part." Something I obviously hadn't considered as an option.

    Based on your question, tighter gear ratios aren't going to get you through a long day of climbing, that is for well trained and conditioned riders. Take the Jamis and spin the tough, tired legs segments.
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  21. #21
    I need speed AzTallRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdon View Post
    Based on your question, tighter gear ratios aren't going to get you through a long day of climbing, that is for well trained and conditioned riders. Take the Jamis and spin the tough, tired legs segments.
    If you aren't pretty well trained and conditioned, nothing is going to get you through 10K of climbing.
    "If you're riding less than 18 MPH up a 2% grade please tell people Coggan is coaching you."

  22. #22
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    FWIW, if I were the OP I'd just ride the Felt as it is. I have a 50/34 compact double and a 50/36, and I much prefer the latter for the smaller step down between chainrings. And there's really not much that can't be climbed with a 36-27, though obviously that depends on one's level of fitness.

  23. #23
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AzTallRider View Post
    If you aren't pretty well trained and conditioned, nothing is going to get you through 10K of climbing.
    The primary benefit of a deep gear range is that it allows a cyclist to remain seated and spin at a comfortable cadence on steeper section. Many cyclists, of all fitness levels, prefer to sit and spin. Limited gear ranges can require a cyclist to stand and turn the cranks over slowly using muscle groups that can elevate the heart rate and fatigue the cyclist quickly.

    Bradley Wiggins used a long arm rear derailleur and a Shimano MTB cassette on stage 14 of this years TDF: http://bicycling.com/blogs/thisjusti...railleur-hack/

    The article mentions that Wiggins uses wider gearing: "So we weren’t surprised when we spotted a large cassette on Bradley Wiggins’ Pinarello Dogma 2 at the start of Stage 14. After all, the last of the day’s three big climbs, the Category 1 Mur de Peguere, presented the riders with pitches as steep as 18 percent. For a rider like Wiggins—who prefers climbing in the saddle rather than standing—a larger rear cog was the best option to conquer the climb".
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-27-12 at 09:37 AM.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    And there's really not much that can't be climbed with a 36-27,
    by you, where you ride.
    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    though obviously that depends on one's level of fitness.
    ...and how steep the grades are, and the climbing style of the rider (spin vs mash). Since you don't know any of those factors you don't actually know what gearing is going to be enough for him.

    I figure out what's going to be appropriate gearing for a big climbing ride by taking the most difficult section of the ride, figuring out what I'd normally use for a similar climb on my normal rides and adding a cog. I.e. if I normally need a 27t cog to get up x miles at y%, for a long ride I'd bring a 30t. If it's at altitude, add another cog.

    But my 'normal' rides involve a lot of climbing. If yours don't, then you'd want to add another cog (i.e. if you normally use a 25t, get the 30t). If this is your first big climbing ride, go lower still. Its better to have low gears and not need them than to need low gears and not have them. You can always shift up if it doesn't hurt enough.
    Keep in mind that on a long climbing ride riding in a gear that is even slightly too high will make a significant difference in legs fatigue at the end of the ride. Watch the pros climb. Most of them spin.

    The only drawback to having super low gears is the larger gaps between the cogs. You can partially address that by cutting off a cog from the top end. Most people don't actually need an 11t cog, so get the 12-32 instead of 11-32.

  25. #25
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    by you, where you ride.

    ...and how steep the grades are, and the climbing style of the rider (spin vs mash). Since you don't know any of those factors you don't actually know what gearing is going to be enough for him.

    I figure out what's going to be appropriate gearing for a big climbing ride by taking the most difficult section of the ride, figuring out what I'd normally use for a similar climb on my normal rides and adding a cog. I.e. if I normally need a 27t cog to get up x miles at y%, for a long ride I'd bring a 30t. If it's at altitude, add another cog.

    But my 'normal' rides involve a lot of climbing. If yours don't, then you'd want to add another cog (i.e. if you normally use a 25t, get the 30t). If this is your first big climbing ride, go lower still. Its better to have low gears and not need them than to need low gears and not have them. You can always shift up if it doesn't hurt enough.
    Keep in mind that on a long climbing ride riding in a gear that is even slightly too high will make a significant difference in legs fatigue at the end of the ride. Watch the pros climb. Most of them spin.

    The only drawback to having super low gears is the larger gaps between the cogs. You can partially address that by cutting off a cog from the top end. Most people don't actually need an 11t cog, so get the 12-32 instead of 11-32.
    This.... Eric is a climbing machine.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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