Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Westwood MA (just south of Boston)
    My Bikes
    2009 Trek Soho
    Posts
    2,163
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    folder for hill climb?

    I'm doing some hill climbing this summer (including Mt. Washington in NH) and am torn between my trusty Xootr Swift and a more traditional road bike.

    I love the folder for many reasons but especially because it's easy to get Really Low Gearing with the small wheels. I currently have a 24t chainring with an 11-32 cassette on 406 wheels, for 14 gear-inches.

    All of my cycling buddies tell me I'm insane and that I should use a "real" bike for the hills. I suppose I could get an 11-36 cassette plus rear derailleur (for $200) but even then the gearing wouldn't be quite as low.

    moreover, I could be totally out to lunch on this, but anecdotally it feels like the folder has an easier time getting going on an uphill. not that I plan to stop much, but it seems easier for some reason. no strong opinion on which is less likely to have the front wheel lift off the ground on really steep parts though.

    the road bike is a bit lighter, to be honest...

    so should I just ignore the "advice" of my biking buddies? I'm inclined to , but maybe they know something I don't.
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    NW,Oregon Coast
    My Bikes
    7
    Posts
    40,198
    Mentioned
    28 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    IDK about your specific bike, but once the gear reduction ratio is so low
    the momentum drops off so quickly when you try to restart on a hill
    that it is a challenge to get your other foot on the pedal, particularly
    clipping in.

    mid 17" low .. less than that or steeper than rideable,
    walking keeps my heart rate reasonable.


    bikes: road 700c 24/28, tour 24/34
    R'off.. trekking 26", 16/38, BiFri 20" 16/53,
    Brompton 16" AW3& mountain drive 2 speed, 15/54(21.6)

    Prev test bike: mountain tamer quad [46-36-26-16] 26" MTB
    Last edited by fietsbob; 06-29-12 at 09:03 AM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Urbana, IL
    Posts
    20
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The conventional wisdom holds that lighter wheels (less rotating mass) are better for climbing. It seems to me that the Xootr would be the better choice because your 20" wheels will be lighter than your 700c.

    Your anecdotal evidence might lend some credence to this theory. I'd stop listening to your buddies and start listening to your legs.

  4. #4
    idc
    idc is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Virginia/DC
    My Bikes
    GT road, Kona Jake disc, Wabi Special FG, Swift Folder, beater 26" MTB, Genesis Day 00
    Posts
    1,418
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Do some test riding on both, and decide based on that! Have your cycling buddies tried your Swift?

    I know jur has done some serious climbing on his modified Swift.

    I've done a decent bit on my Swift as well (it's not quite stock either). I would say if you are doing a long steady climb at a reasonable gradient, and correspondingly long descents I'd choose the big wheels. If you're doing more rollers with more acceleration/stops and some steeper grades I would prefer the folder. I don't know if my folder's wheels are any lighter than my road bike but the smaller size wheels are nice for varied climbing, and out of the saddle stuff. My Swift is 5-6 lbs heavier than my road bike though...

    Really though I don't think it'll make too much difference.

  5. #5
    jur
    jur is offline
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    6,165
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The problem with roadies is, they don't really know about folders - they all think that folders are toys and are much more difficult to climb with. So I get continuous comments like, "you're doing THAT with THIS!?" And always the same question, "Isn't it hard to climb with those little wheels?" Even salted riders with much experience will not realise what it takes to climb - #1 is and always will be the engine. Oh, with a super-light bike you might shave off a few % of your climbing time, but if you can't do a climb with the Swift, even the best roadie won't help you out either.

    So my advice is, stick with the Swift, you will appreciate and use the lower gearing. While your buddies are experiencing excruciation grinding their roadbikes up Mt Washington in the lowest gear, you will be spinning easily.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  6. #6
    lowlife bottom feeder BassNotBass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Lou-evil, Canned-Turkey USA
    Posts
    1,851
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    ... All of my cycling buddies tell me I'm insane and that I should use a "real" bike for the hills...
    Any 'cyclist' who regards a good and competent folding bike as less than a 'real' bike should be regarded as the ignorant person he/she is. I've toured the Presidentials (you should be aquainted with them), Rockies and Scottish Highlands on a folder and I've never wished that I had a 'standard' bike.
    I plan on living forever... so far so good.

  7. #7
    weirdo
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Reno, NV
    Posts
    1,956
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    so should I just ignore the "advice" of my biking buddies? I'm inclined to , but maybe they know something I don't.
    ...or maybe you know something that they don`t.

  8. #8
    in cog neato itsmoot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    350
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You can keep a decent cadence up with small wheels due to the super-low gearing available. While my friends have to stand and mash up a hill, I can spin at 70-80 rpm. Then when we reach the top I'll often hear "man you were pedaling awful fast, NOW don't you wish you had bigger wheels?". It's all a matter of perception and they're in the dark, having never tried a small-wheeled bike.
    I have the heart of a young boy. I got it on eBay.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Ozonation's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    My Bikes
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne DTT in Awesome Green; Brompton M6R (reduced gearing) in Sage Green; GT Timberline Hybrid (10 years old!)
    Posts
    935
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by BassNotBass View Post
    Any 'cyclist' who regards a good and competent folding bike as less than a 'real' bike should be regarded as the ignorant person he/she is. I've toured the Presidentials (you should be aquainted with them), Rockies and Scottish Highlands on a folder and I've never wished that I had a 'standard' bike.
    I'm not familiar with Presidentials, but which folder do you have?
    Rivendell Sam Hillborne and Hunqapillar; Brompton M6R Sage Green; Salsa Mukluk 3 FAT Bike; Nerdy Academic; Nikonian; Wing Chun; and a Patridge in a Pear Tree.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    59
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Having the correct gear inches tailored to your strength and riding style is all that matters esp on climbs. We have a few Dahons and homebuilt mini velo bikes. My favorite is still the wife's bike with a 30t ring in front and an 11/34 cst on 406mm wheels. I can climb the steepest of hills in the San francisco area sitting down. Spin smoothly and lean forward so the wheels won't lift. I remember an electric bus tailing me one time up Sacramento st from the water to taylor st. Bus driver gives me a thumbs up as he passes me on the summit.

    On the downhill, you just have to coast as the gears won't be high enough on a single ring 30t crank. Enjoy the climb

  11. #11
    Senior Member alhedges's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Naptown
    My Bikes
    NWT 24sp DD; Brompton M6R
    Posts
    1,126
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Everything else being equal, people on small-wheel folding bikes should have the advantage when climbing.

    Descending, less so...

  12. #12
    Loves to suffer freighttraininguphill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Northern California
    My Bikes
    Specialized Langster 42x16 SS, Peugeot mixte 42x16 FG, Specialized Dolce Triple, Trek Wahoo 29er, Bike Friday Pocket Companion folder, TerraTrike Rover
    Posts
    2,633
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use my Bike Friday Pocket Companion for hill climbing whenever a full-size bike is impractical to transport to the start of the ride. I'm almost convinced that it climbs better than my Specialized Dolce Triple road bike. I put mtb gearing on both bikes. On the BF all I had to do was replace the stock 30t small chainring with a 24t.

    I have also climbed the steepest streets in San Francisco with the BF. Here's a thread with pictures and video of my latest SF fun.

    Here's my original SF climb thread, with steeper hills. The only hill I failed to climb was the 38% Broderick Street, and I blame the engine for that, not the bike.

    One more thread with pics and video of steep climbs.

Posting Permissions

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