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  1. #1
    Senior Member dcdomain's Avatar
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    Noob Question: Cyclocross and Hill Climbs

    I'm currently riding a 2005 Lemond Poprad 52cm (http://2006.lemondbikes.com/2005_bikes/poprad.shtml) and pretty much use it as a road bike (sorry guys). I don't know if I'm just weak, using bad form (did some reading to try to correct myself) or if it's the lack of gears, but on long steep hill climbs, I can't seem to find a low enough gear to allow me to just spin. Even on the lowest gear I have to get up to use my body weight to push the pedals down.

    Are cyclocross bikes made for hill climbs? From what I've read cyclocross tracks seem to be rather short so there wouldn't really be one long steep hill. There might be a short steep hill that you could charge and other obstacles might be built to force the rider off the bike.

  2. #2
    hehe... member thatguy's Avatar
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    Cross bikes already have a lower gearing than traditional road bikes. Your lowest gear is probably 36-25 or 36-26 which is pretty low. If you want to go lower you'd have to start looking at a triple front or a mountain bike cassette out back or both. The long wheelbase will help with climbing too. So, short answer: It's not the bike's fault.

    Fact is, some hills are just steep enough that you're going to have to stand and hammer up them. Just keep doing it over and over and over and over. It will never get easier, but you will get up them faster.

  3. #3
    Senior Member dcdomain's Avatar
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    Thanks thatguy. Guess I'll have to just keep doing them over and over. I tried looking into the gearing, it states that the crank set is a Bontrager Race Cross 46/38 and the cassette is an SRAM PG-950 12-26, 9 speed. So in theory I'm looking at 38 - 26?

    On another note: I only rode my bike a few times this season so far and I noticed that everytime I'm on the highest gearing on flat land, the chain is coming off the cassette. I'm guessing I may have damaged my rear derailleur?

  4. #4
    hehe... member thatguy's Avatar
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    That's correct, the lowest gear you have is 38-26. You could swap in a 36 tooth inner chainring, but it's not going to make a huge difference.

    As far as the chain coming off, I'm guessing the limit screw is set too high on your deraileur. This allows the deraileur to move too far to the outside. I doubt it's damaged. You can have a bike shop look at it or give it a shot yourself if you're feeling hands-on. You can learn more about it here: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-adjustment.html

  5. #5
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    Since the inner ring is a 38 and the specs don't specifically say it has a compact crankset I suspect you can't go any smaller. Standard road doubles with 130 BCD don't allow for rings smaller than 38 teeth, a compact would allow down to a 34 or 36. This year I put an 11-32 on the rear of my Jake the Snake to help be more comfortable on Seattle's hills. I'm glad I did it. Now my lowest gear is a 39x32. CX bikes do tend to be geared lower than a comparable road bike w/ a standard double, but that doesn't mean they're geared low enough for the average person on a serious hill. Hills are short in CX races, and a generally designed to be run up.

  6. #6
    hehe... member thatguy's Avatar
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    Did the 11-32 fit under the stock deraileur or did you need a long cage mountain bike deraileur? This is another thing to keep in mind if you go lower than a 27 or so.

  7. #7
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    I could have fit the 11-32 with the stock 105 deraileur but clearance was very tight. I opted for a mtn deraileur (deore LX). The log cage isn't necessary, a short cage mountain deraileur would work fine, it still is designed for larger toothed cogs. The new XT shadow deraileur looks pretty sweet and very low profile to help protect it from falls.

  8. #8
    Senior Member dcdomain's Avatar
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    Thanks! I'll check on that limit screw tonight...

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