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Thread: Hills and Bents

  1. #1
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Hills and Bents

    Where I ride, it's all hills. I spend most of my time on my commuter bike which I converted from a mountain bike in the low gear, or coasting.

    I'm starting to look seriously at a bent and wondered which bikes bent riders favor for a hilly environment.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    You understand that just about any bent will be slower than a good upright road bike, right? After that realization, hill climbing is all about power to weight. A good-climbing bent has GOT to be light weight, and it has to be one that is efficient for *you* to pedal.

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    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    ya just got to know how to work the machine. Depends on the hill whether or not you will be slower or not. 5 mile climb............ yeah slower. 300 to 500 ft climb.............way faster in general.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBV7-h6sIyo
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    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    New to bents this year. Made it up all the southern Indiana hills on day one of the Hilly Hundred this year on my pretty-low-geared Rans Tailwind (38-50-60, 11-32, 20" wheels). Consistenly a bit slower uphill than recent years on my Novara hybrid, 700C with 38-46, 11-34 gearing.

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    some bents climb better then others too and it is not always a weight issue. I am faster on my gold rush then on my hepcat and they weight the same. though some of the lightest bents are the fastest but it is not just because of weight.

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    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    Where I ride, it's all hills. I spend most of my time on my commuter bike which I converted from a mountain bike in the low gear, or coasting.

    I'm starting to look seriously at a bent and wondered which bikes bent riders favor for a hilly environment.
    I prefer the trike. No speed records but I never fall over
    Today is a great day to ride!

  7. #7
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    A trike is great because you can climb a hill at whatever speed you like, and not worry about falling over.

    As far as 2-wheel bents go, the one I hear mentioned over and over is the Lightning P-38. Something about the triangulated frame and the seating position makes sure that all of your power goes into spinning that rear wheel. Of course, there are lots of other great climbers out there, and the thing you should look for is a nice, straight chainline without significant direction changes, and no "air gaps" that could turn the bike's frame into a spring when you're cranking hard.
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    Ric
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    I don't agree or disagree with what has been posted. I know of too many bents riders that are faster in hills then upright roadbikes or (roadies.) I think it depends on the rider. A weekend wonder most likely won't be as fast in hills, but if you take someone who rides say five days a week and is an experienced rider, he can be as fast if not faster. I think it all comes down to the indivdual on the bent.
    Last edited by Ric; 12-22-06 at 09:07 AM.
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    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    I have never been fast on ascents. Even 20 years ago as a Cat2 and 145#, I was a dismal climber. Having said that, I'm pretty sure that I climb about as fast on my bents as I used to on an upright. The only difference that I've found is that on an upright, I could stand over those really steep sections without downshifting. Even then, I'm not sure that I'm all that much slower now.

    The old adage still applies, bent or upright: Practice, practice, practice.

    Dennis
    Dennis T

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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    I know that bents may be a little slower. I didn't know if some are considered better climbers because of gearing or pedal position.

    Here's a pic of my second steepest grade.


    My steepest one I walk up, not because of being unable to ride it, but that it tears up my knees to do so.

    Trikes sound tempting, but considering my commute contains sections like



    I think I want to hold off on getting a trike.

  11. #11
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    I think I want to hold off on getting a trike.
    Get a Greenspeed and you can ride in that ditch!
    After all, they were made to conquer the Outback!

    (might need a knobby tire oin the rear wheel though! )

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    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas


    I think I want to hold off on getting a trike.
    Yep, that looks about like the terrain I take my Actionbent trike on too... uphill of course!
    Today is a great day to ride!

  13. #13
    Ric
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    If that's the only reason you have for holding off on buying a trike, you need to talk to some Trike riders. You will find traffic gives you alot more respect and room than you will ever get on any upright bike or bent that you try to ride, ask anyone. My riding is 99% roads just like your pictures and in high traffic areas and I prefer riding my trike over my bent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    Where I ride, it's all hills. I spend most of my time on my commuter bike which I converted from a mountain bike in the low gear, or coasting.

    I'm starting to look seriously at a bent and wondered which bikes bent riders favor for a hilly environment.
    There are two things that determine how good you'll be with a bent on hills (steep or otherwise).
    The most important one is you. If you want to be good on hills, you'll work hard on them, get stronger and be as fast or faster than you would be on your upright. Doesn't matter what level rider you are, if you want to be fast on hills, you can be, it depends on how much work you want to put into it. If you want to be more relaxed on hills, than any bent with gear inches in the mid teens will likely be a good place to start.
    The second one is bottom bracket height in relation to seat height. This one has an effect, but like anything else, if you get strong enough, it doesn't matter that much. If the BB is high or higher than the seat, on a steep hill, you're pushing up against the weight of your legs in addition to the effort to push on the pedals, and it makes it a little tougher. If the bottom bracket is low or lower than the seat, as you head up the hill, your legs are flatter, or even lower than the seat, which allows more effort to go into the pedals rather than push your legs up against gravity. A more upright seating position allows you to use your glutes more, which also allows you to apply more power to the pedals.

    In the end though, bents only climb as good as the engine.

  15. #15
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    I used to be slower uphill on my trike but last time I did a longer uphill (nearly 2 hours of climbing) on both the rike and MTB with slicks (not at the same time ) the climbing time was identical even though the MTB is 6 kg's lighter, both slow.
    If you have a dodgy knee get MTB front rings and shorter cranks ( I run 152), I use this on my trike and even when my knee is particularly bad I can still go out and hammer and every ride includes hills way steeper than pictured.
    Oh, and I would ride my trike on those rides with out question.
    Good luck
    Last edited by geebee; 12-22-06 at 01:27 AM.
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    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trsnrtr
    The old adage still applies, bent or upright: Practice, practice, practice.
    At first, I was much slower on my bent. I mean, my muscles really weren't ready for the new position. I lost 10 minutes on my hour-long commute! But after adjusting to my bent, I'm good as new.

    Oh, and it's very hilly around here. One thing I recommend, if you're a commuter switching to a bent, get used to the balance and using a mirror before getting out in rush hour traffic. You don't want to swerve, especially at low speed climbing hills.
    No worries

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    Recumbent Ninja
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    My p-38 lets me climb up some mountains without much issue, and mine is only a 7 speed. Once you get a good climbing bent, it's all about the engine!

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    lowracer ninja master lowracer1's Avatar
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    of course if he is walking those hills on an upright, he will be walking up them with a bent too. how bout a trike with electric assist.
    chris@promocycle.net

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    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    "of course if he is walking those hills on an upright, he will be walking up them with a bent too. how bout a trike with electric assist."

    Not necessarily, He states that he walks them due to a bad knee, a low geared trike and short cranks maybe slow up a given hill but if the gearing is low enough no sealed hill is unclimbable as stability is a non issue.
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    Senior Member Shaman's Avatar
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    Unless you use the Bionx "matched power output", batteries wouldn't last long on a hill. Bionx is sort of unique in this sense since you can choose for the system to match 50%, 100%, or 200% of your power input. The regenration circuit is also nice as it will help recharge your batteries on the other side of the hill. It will slow you bit, but for most of us non-speed-demons, it is free energy on the downhill. Then again, you are luggin around an additional 15 pounds where ever you go.
    Today is a great day to ride!

  21. #21
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback.

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    <>< SoonerBent's Avatar
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    I got my Corsa about a year and 1974 miles ago. At first I climbed a little slower than on my upright, then about the same and now I think I'm faster climbing on the bent. I'm basing this on the group I ride with on Saturday mornings and how I climb compared to them. I never timed hills and I don't have an upright to compare directly anymore. But based on who in the group I can hang with now vs the past and the gearing/cadence I'm turning I'm faster now.

  23. #23
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Along with everything that's been written so far in this thread, there's this curious attitude among some bent riders that the bike should automatically make them faster everywhere. Climbing better requires work, no matter what your platform. Along with that means sweat, burning lungs and legs, and high pedal pressures at sometimes low rpms. If you avoid riding hard because you don't want to stress your knees, you may get a little better at climbing due to better technique, but you won't reach that breakthrough in performance due to being stronger.

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    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlazingPedals
    If you avoid riding hard because you don't want to stress your knees, you may get a little better at climbing due to better technique, but you won't reach that breakthrough in performance due to being stronger.

    I understand. But with knees, you are going to be riding on them for decades and a little respect is due.

    Pain in the knee was slowing me down. But better slow than not pedaling at all.

    But I got a Futuro knee support which is helping a lot. I think that the climbing was causing a fluid build up and this pressure from the support keeps that from happening. Since then, my revs have improved. And this morning I surprised myself by going most of the way up my major hill in the 2nd lowest gear instead of lowest, still with high revs. I wasn't trying to gear up, I just didn't realize that I wasn't in my usual gear.

    But just pushing harder, without taking care of my knee wouldn't be wise.

  25. #25
    bobkat
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    I drive my bent (a LWB) like a car with too small of an engine, that is, gear down and keep the RPM's up! Actually, because of weakness in one knee due to a stroke and disc problems, I changed out my chain rings to a smaller ring and went to shortened crank arms. This has worked great for me, but may or may not work for anyone else. Got the chain rings and shorter crank arms from Bikesmith Designs/Mark Stonich in Minneapolis. Works extremely well for me and fits my riding as I've long found the only way to keep my power up with my weak leg is to spin at a much faster cadence than just about anyone else, even other bent drivers.
    I haven't found a hill I can't climb yet, well, not many of them anyway, but by gearing down and spinning I make it up them almost as fast as my DF bretheren. I can still hit over 40mph in the top gear without spinning out which is plenty fast for me.

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