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  1. #1
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Hills were hard today

    There was a time when I set the gearing up on my main road bike with 34/27 as the lowest gear to enable me to get up the steepest hills in my area. None of the hills are longer than 1 mile and vary between 8 and 15% gradient. That 34/27 was fine but I did puff a bit on the 16% nasty. However for the flatter rides I changed the cassette to 12/25 as the wide ratios on the lower gears used to bug me a bit. This was done with the spare set of wheels but when the TCR came along- I found that this bike did hills easily. So I now had a bike for the flat-Boreas- and the TCR for hills. But I wanted to get back to the mountains and lower gears were going to be required. Got a triple 50/39/30 and set it up with the 27 cassette and a few longer steeper hills were done although I haven't got back to the mountains yet.

    Then the Pinnie came along and this is the bike I ride most of the time now. Good all round Cheap(er) bike and it is adequate. Not set up for hills or flat rides but does both.

    Till today. Took the Pinnie out on one of my hillier rides and it is 2.400ft over a 30 mile route. Most of that climbing comes in about 8 miles so you have time to warm up- sweat a bit and then can relax after a coffee. 1st hill and 1,000 ft of climbing over a couple of miles and the last bit is 15%. That was not nice and I put it down to laziness. Fast downhill and 400ft climb at 12 to 15% and a bit easier. Down into Eastbourne and decided to have coffee later as the last hill is a loop that brings me back to the cafe with a diversion. 1 mile at constant 12% and I admit that I stopped about 2/3rds up. Was going to turn round but just rest and get going again. I was out of the saddle and struggling for that last bit.

    I may not be fit but it is a long time since a hill has defeated me. I may slow down a lot but I always ride them. Got home and cleaning the bike up and that rear cassette looked a bit small. Couple of months ago I loaned my wheels to a mate as he was doing a 3 day tour and wanted a spare set to carry in the sag wagon. Took the handbuilts off the Pinnie as I knew they were true and had good tyres on them. I had put on a 12/25 cassette as I knew it was a flattish ride. Apparantly his bike is set up to take a 12/23 and he had put his own cassette on. He did not use the wheels on the ride and just returned them back to me---and forgot to change the cassette over.



    Those hills killed me today and I can confirm that there is a world of difference between your lowest great being 34/27 and 34/23. Especially when you set yourself a toughish ride with a few good hills in and you know you are not fit. Next time I tackle that ride it is going to be on the TCR with the triple and the Tiagra 12/30 is going on. I would rather have gears to spare than run out of them like today.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  2. #2
    Recreational/Utility bjjoondo's Avatar
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    Totally understand, that's why I haven't tried a road bike as of yet. With having two forms of arthritis that effect the ligaments and tendons around the knee (and most major joints), I find I'm much worse than you as I actually NEED my 38/32, (can go to a 28/32 as it's a triple), on the trekking hybrid or better yet my 32/32 on my utility hybrid, (note: I pull a utility trailer with my 32/32 and can go down to 22/32 with the triple). I can make the area big hills but it's SLOW going even with my current gearing, when I look at the road bikes, 11-25/26 gearing I just know, I'd be walking up a lot more steep hills here for sure!!
    Take care, RIDE SAFE, have FUN!
    B.J. Ondo
    2011 Jamis Allegro 1

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjjoondo View Post
    Totally understand, that's why I haven't tried a road bike as of yet.!!
    I only went road in 2006 and up till then I was riding MTB's with 44/32/22 and 11/32 gearing. I used those bikes on Metrics and Century rides with slicks fitted as the only mod. I even did local rides on the road with them with Knobblies on and I do have a marker hill that I still use to gauge performance. That marker hill was not easy on the MTB and I did use 22/32 at some point on the hill. First road bike and I got a triple--52/42/30 and 12/26 cassette. That hill was hard on the road bike- but no harder but was quicker. Later on I got a Compact Double with 50/34 crank and 12/27 gearing. Still hard but no harder than the triple or the MTB but a lot quicker.

    With gearing being higher on the road bikes- You are tempted to think that hills would be harder. They are not-Or need not be. The bikes are more suited for the road and work better on the black stuff. Gearing can easily be changed and if you have mountains then I would suggest a triple and the you can get the 1 to 1 ratio on them by fitting a 12/30 cassette. Even compact doubles can get lower gearing than you would ever need (Unless it is mountains again) by fitting the 12/30 cassette. The big problem in changing to a road bike is fear. My fear led me to a Triple crank and is the way to start if you have hills. But a bit of training and a compact double will suffice for most--Especially with that 30t ring on the cassette.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Hi Stapfam - could you share your hilly route in a .gpx file? I might try it next time I'm over that side of the pond

  5. #5
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Hills for this old fatboy are hard every​ day!
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  6. #6
    Man of constant sorrow Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Those hills sound bad. Much over 16% grade and my ears start bleeding. It often doesn't take that much.
    Possunt quia posse videntur. St. Dudel: Epic is stupid that you get away with.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Stap, When I bought my Klein it came with a Standard road crank and a 12x23 rear cassette. I was so impressed with all the Dura Ace stuff on the bike I didn't want to change anything. The cassette was even a Dura Ace. I headed to a local little 13 percent hill about 3/4 mile long. Just before the bottom of the climb I shifted into 38x12 spun as fast as I could go and attacked. I didn't get 300 feet before I was in 38x23. I got to the top of the hill and almost fell off of the bike sucking air so hard I was afraid I would suck gravel off of the ground. I still have the cassette but it isn't mounted to any wheel set.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    I roadified a hybrid, and I swear it's still my fastest bike but still has the torque for the worst hills
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
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    This time of year as winter begins to assert itself, it seems my body begins to lose interest in riding the bike. My level of enthusiasm is lower and the most pronounced effect is that my top speed is lower by several mph. This signals that it is time to ski and or walk more.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    That slowing down in the winter is probably due to the extra weight that is required in the Extra layers we put on. Reckon we ought to get acclimatised by using the all in one Birthday suit that weighs virtually nothing. Can't wear mine as it needs ironing.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  11. #11
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    At least your gearing issue isn't going to cost you money. I needed a new large gear ring on my triple. The LBS told me they couldn't find another 50 Ultegra but a 53 "was pretty close and would work fine". In my ignorance I agreed to let them install it. Mistake. A Dollar Wasting Mistake.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Slowing in Winter is also due to the denser cold air. I read that air resistance accounted for about 65% of effort. During cold weather we have to overcome greater resistance. Denser air, more effort to maintain same speed in warmer times, or same effort as warmer times will result in slower speeds since we're counteracting a denser medium.

  13. #13
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    Changed over to a triple (52-39-30) and a 12-30 cassette. Seems like a very good combination. The 30 up front is effectively a granny and the 12-30 is reasonably spaced; not as well spaced as the 13-25 my son uses (with his 53-39), but he's got 30 years on me!
    Rick T
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    That slowing down in the winter is probably due to the extra weight that is required in the Extra layers we put on. Reckon we ought to get acclimatised by using the all in one Birthday suit that weighs virtually nothing. Can't wear mine as it needs ironing.
    .

    At our age everyone needs some ironing. what I did when I built the Tarmac was get a SRAM WIFI rear derailleur. When I got the wheels built the builder said they had good luck with a 11x36 rear casette. I knew it would take a 32 because that was why I bought it. But now I have wheels with 12x25, 12x27, 11x28, 11x32 and 11x36. 34x36 is as good as my MTB gears.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

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