Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Low gear or stand up?

    The other day I was going up a steep hill and I was in my lowest gear and pedaling like nuts and then these kids just burned pass me up the hill in their bmx and mountain bikes. They were stand/pedaling (and laughing at me.) It made me feel kind of lame. I think from now on I'll skip the low gear up hills and just stand pedal on one of the mid gears. Probably more efficient that way too.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Leigh_caines's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Woolgoolga NSW Australia
    My Bikes
    Long Recumbent, Short recombent, racing bike, MTB, beach bike,Tandem,Fixy.2 twentys and a folding bike
    Posts
    275
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    To hell with the kids...
    stay in your low gear and keep spining...
    it's so much better for your knees.

    I often wonder what those kids knees will be like when they get old... they all ride with their seats way to low

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Youth gives you very flexible and strong joints. When they grow older their knees will likely be like yours.
    PCG

  4. #4
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No no guys, there is nothing wrong with my knees and I am in good shape. I just am thinking that spinning up a hill might not be as efficient as stand pedaling and probably uses more energy.
    Last edited by yamcha; 11-03-07 at 03:18 PM.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,426
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    For a short hill, I can probably get up faster by standing up. Similar to a sprint.

    For long hills, I alternate between spinning a small gear and then standing and pushing a big gear at a low cadence. I do this just to use different muscle groups.

    On really steep, long hills, I stand up and push my smallest gear at a low cadence!
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
    1988 Ducati 750 F1

  6. #6
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    No question that I can get up a hill faster by using a higher gear and standing, but I don't confuse that with efficiency.

    I'd never give up my low gears!

    Speedo

  7. #7
    I found a road bike.
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    My Bikes
    K2 Attack 1.0sE
    Posts
    740
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I stand.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    northern California
    My Bikes
    Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
    Posts
    5,605
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I read in some bike magazine that long about an 18% grade standing or sitting will not matter. That it would be better to just get off and push. Works for me if no cyclists are watching.
    This space open

  9. #9
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    No question that I can get up a hill faster by using a higher gear and standing, but I don't confuse that with efficiency.

    I'd never give up my low gears!

    Speedo

    Nobody is telling you to give up anything and how do you know standing isn't more efficient?
    Last edited by yamcha; 11-04-07 at 09:36 AM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tasmania, Australia
    My Bikes
    GT3 trike,Viper chopper, electric assist Viper chopper,Electric moped(Vespa style)
    Posts
    540
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Do some research, standing is not more efficient but it allows you to deliver more power for a short spell at the cost of burning a lot of energy.
    Efficiency is staying seated and spinning, but it is slower.
    Greenspeed GLR trike
    JC-70 trike
    Avanti Atomic Disc mtb
    Custom electric chopper

  11. #11
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by yamcha View Post
    how do you know standing isn't more efficient?
    Try doing a longish ride standing the whole time. If it was more efficient it would be no trouble at all.

    Speedo

  12. #12
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Try doing a longish ride standing the whole time. If it was more efficient it would be no trouble at all.

    Speedo
    Good point.

  13. #13
    Uber Goober StephenH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Dallas area, Texas
    Posts
    10,533
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    One problem is that muscles do not have equal efficiency at all speeds. You can just push on a stationary wall and tire your muscles without moving the wall. Result is zero efficiency. Applied to biking up a hill, if you are doing it in high gear, you just about HAVE to go up it fast- trying to do so slowly actually tires you out even more. It's a major strain on the legs (and a good workout for them). However, you can totally exhaust your legs going up the first hill and be going really slow on the second one.

    Net result: If the hill is something you can go up in high gear without unduly tiring yourself, great, do it. If not, spin at whatever speed works best for you. If you're spinning like nuts, maybe you need to upshift some instead of using the lowest gear and pick up some speed.

    Bicycling with a seat too low can be very tiring- it's an inefficient position for the legs. Riding a typical BMX bike up a hill without standing could be a major challenge for that reason.

    On my old cheap mountain bike, putting too much load into the pedals would tend to make unpleasant sounds and movements in the chain/ rear sprockets- not sure if they were bending the derailleur sideways and trying to shift or just hopping a tooth- but it wasn't good. Maybe that's not an issue with a higher quality bike, but you are putting a lot more stress into the drivetrain when you go up in higher gears.

    Yiou can't worry too much about what other people do. There will always be somebody fitter and faster, or trying harder. You may be on the 10th mile of your trip and get passed by a guy that left his house 30 seconds ago. And he may ride like mad for 5 minutes and then stop and rest for a half hour, you just don't know. Just pick a gear and a speed that suits you and go with it.

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    546
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Stephen, your post was very good! Could you please comment on this thread too, I want to know what you think.

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Try doing a longish ride standing the whole time. If it was more efficient it would be no trouble at all.

    Speedo
    It seemed to work quite well for Lance Armstrong!
    PCG

  16. #16
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by pismocycleguy View Post
    It seemed to work quite well for Lance Armstrong!
    PCG
    Really? Which race did he stand the whole way?

    Speedo

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedo View Post
    Really? Which race did he stand the whole way?

    Speedo
    What champion do you know of who sat down the whole way?? and won the Tour de France??
    PCG

  18. #18
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by pismocycleguy View Post
    What champion do you know of who sat down the whole way?? and won the Tour de France??
    The point, if you bothered to read through the thread, was over whether standing is more efficient. Over the same course and same speed, you would burn more energy standing the whole way.

    Interestingly, I believe that Miguel Indurain used to stay in the saddle for most of even the most serious of climbs.

    Speedo

  19. #19
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Pismo Beach, CA
    Posts
    114
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Indurian, sat most of the way, but not all of the way. There must be something to standing?
    PCG

  20. #20
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Western Washington
    My Bikes
    2-many...2 road bikes, 2 fixed wheels, 3 tandems, 2 recumbents, 2 cyclecross, 3 mtb, 4 folders
    Posts
    231
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by pismocycleguy View Post
    Indurian, sat most of the way, but not all of the way. There must be something to standing?
    PCG
    Standing is better for acceleration - watch bike racers on the track or in road race field sprints or break-aways on the mountain stages and you will see the riders stand as they want fast acceleration. It also uses slightly different muscles than sitting and spinning so that too is good in a race.

    I have a friend who has spine problems that force him to only ride standing. We did a week long tour in Northern California and I was in awe of his ability to stand all day long as he rode. I was in good shape but could never ride standing all day long like he did. I have to sit to keep riding all day.

    For me there is no question that for long distance riding sitting and spinning is more efficient, but for quick acceleration nothing beats standing. Having a couple of recumbents one of their weaknesses is climbing. After about 1000 miles on the recument I could still ride faster up hills on a regular road bike. I decided one of the good things about a normal bike is that you can stand and use your body weight to help drive the pedals, something which is not possible on a recumbent. Especially for short steep grades I like to stand while I climb, but for long hills I prefer to sit and try and spin.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Speedo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Boston Area
    My Bikes
    Univega Gran Turismo, Guerciotti, Bridgestone MB2, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Serotta Ti
    Posts
    1,998
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Cone View Post
    Standing is better for acceleration - watch bike racers on the track or in road race field sprints or break-aways on the mountain stages and you will see the riders stand as they want fast acceleration. It also uses slightly different muscles than sitting and spinning so that too is good in a race.
    Quote Originally Posted by Pine Cone View Post
    For me there is no question that for long distance riding sitting and spinning is more efficient, but for quick acceleration nothing beats standing.
    +1

    It's not standing I have a quibble with. It is the idea the it is more efficient than sitting.

    Most bikes are geared so high today that, when faced with a very steep big hill, riders have little choice but to stand. I am an experienced, but aging, rider. My bike has touring gears, the lowest being 19 inches. I made the following interesting observation when riding with some stronger riders on a tour this summer. On shallow hills I could keep up with the stronger riders when we were all sitting. On moderate hills, they ran out of gears, stood and would drop me. On really steep hills, they would struggle even with standing, and I could keep up staying in the saddle.

    There's a lesson in there somewhere....

    (edit) Oh, and to tie this back to folding bikes, the reason I have such low gears is that the bike is a folder with 20 inch wheels. (end edit)

    Speedo

  22. #22
    Senior Member jnb-rare's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    My Bikes
    Dahon Mu SL
    Posts
    126
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Another consideration: climbing out of the saddle can put more stress on the folding/extra long parts of a folder, particularly when one's technique isn't good. Even while seated, new riders often 'haul back' on the handlebars when trying to power up a hill in a higher gear. When standing, however, I've seen some riders throw a lot of weight onto their bars -- forwards and backwards and side to side -- not great for a long, folding handle-bar post.

  23. #23
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    NW
    My Bikes
    To many to list. I like them all!
    Posts
    529
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh_caines View Post
    To hell with the kids...
    stay in your low gear and keep spining...
    it's so much better for your knees.
    I agree with Leigh_caines. I know I have bad knees now.
    Ciao,
    Timothy

  24. #24
    Senior Member social suicide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Marquette
    Posts
    648
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I own two folders, a '68 Schwinn run-a-bout and a '69 Legnano, both bikes are equipped with 3 speed hubs and stick-shifts. I would NEVER trust the "boys" with this combo.......so I never stand up.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •