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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

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Old 08-07-12, 08:36 PM   #1
Tandem Tom
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What makes a frame good for climbing?

As I was out for a club ride tonight and we were climbing some hills I was wondering about something. What makes a frame better for climbing? As a newbie I am still learning and it was taking my mind of the hills!
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Old 08-07-12, 08:48 PM   #2
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Reasonably light, minimal bottom bracket flex, minimal lateral (side-to-side) chainstay flex. The same things you look for in any good road bike.
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Old 08-07-12, 10:48 PM   #3
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In steel if you find a road bike with super short chain stays, those generally climb better than the ones with longer chainstays (AKA tourism frames).

In carbon it depends but I have to agree with bike pro.

The last thing, if the rider can't climb the stairs to have the best climber frame is meaning less.
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Old 08-07-12, 10:55 PM   #4
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It says "R5 VWD" on the top tube.
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Old 08-07-12, 11:19 PM   #5
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Definitely look for a Sneaky Pete NOS system.

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Old 08-08-12, 05:31 AM   #6
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if it has engine inside is good, otherwise it's trash
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Old 08-08-12, 05:44 AM   #7
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it depends on who is sitting on it.
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Old 08-08-12, 05:51 AM   #8
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only one person can ride fast on climbs, and he is back, Alberto Contador!
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Old 08-08-12, 06:11 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
In steel if you find a road bike with super short chain stays, those generally climb better than the ones with longer chainstays (AKA tourism frames).

In carbon it depends but I have to agree with bike pro.

The last thing, if the rider can't climb the stairs to have the best climber frame is meaning less.
Agree -- short chainstays result in less flex. The advantage of carbon over steel in this area, is with carbon they can design the chainstay to be very stiff laterally, yet have some flex vertically to improve the orerall ride. With steel, a short-stiff chainstay normally results in a rougher ride.
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Old 08-08-12, 06:22 AM   #10
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Thanks for the replies!
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Old 08-08-12, 06:26 AM   #11
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What makes a frame good for climbing?
Light, stiff, short chainstays, and slightly setback seating position. A bit longer top tube can help as well on steep climbs.
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Old 08-08-12, 06:58 AM   #12
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It says " Zero 7" on the top tube.


FTFY

Seriously, what makes a bike a good climber is the engine.

Next, and far less important, is the weight of the bike. A 13lb bike will climb a fraction of a mile per hour faster than a 15lb bike, but it's less than .1mph on most grades. The difference between a 13lb bike and a 20lb bike starts to be enough that you can feel it.

The next arguably important factor is BB stiffness.



A stiff BB will make a bike feel more respnsive, and like the power is being transmitted to the road. However, there's substantial debate about whether BB flex actually slows you down at all, given that the BB flexes back. If it makes any difference, it's small.


As for chainstay length, I think this relates back to the perceived advantage of stiffness. Back in the days of standard sized steel tubes, shorter chainstays were stiffer than longer ones, making a shorter chainstay bike stiffer, and therefore feel more responsive. With oversized metal tubes, and CF, you can make chainstays of varying length about as stiff as you want, so IMHO, chainstay length is not going to affect how fast a bike climbs in any measurable way.


So when it comes to climbing, light is good and feels good, stiff at least feels good, but once you have a decent bike it's really only the rider that matters.
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Old 08-08-12, 08:16 AM   #13
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"but once you have a decent bike it's really only the rider that matters" <---- super true
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Old 08-08-12, 08:22 AM   #14
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I'd also say that the whole "climbing bike" thing is a myth. You need gearing that is appropriate to the pace you like to climb, and that's about it.

If you want to be better at climbing hills, the solution is to climb more hills. The more you climb, the more you will get mentally acclimated to climbing.
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Old 08-08-12, 08:39 AM   #15
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I'm not a good climber so any bike won't work for me.

On the other hand different styles of climbing favor different bikes. If I'm sitting then chainstay length, BB stiffness, some other stuff isn't as critical. If I'm standing (powering up a shorter climb, accelerating on a long climb, accelerating out of a switchback) then a shorter chainstay and higher BB stiffness is good. Climbing is a subset of "riding" - any time I stand I like those features, and any time I sit those features seem much less important.
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Old 08-08-12, 08:43 AM   #16
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I'd say a thin yet somewhat muscular frame. Definitely no gut or guys "too fat for this sport" like me.

Wait, are we talking about the bike?
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Old 08-08-12, 08:58 AM   #17
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long chainstays can be really felt on a MTB when scrambling up a steep, rocky or rooty trail. I have never observed much difference between chainstays on the road, but it also seems to me that road chainstay length has a lot less variation than MTB.

most road bikes are 400-415mm chainstays. long chainstays that cause climbing issues are more like 440-460.
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Old 08-08-12, 09:04 AM   #18
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It's all highly relative...

Remember that 1 lb = 455 gr. 10 lb = 4550 gr.

Losing 10 lb of gut is about the same as... 5 Cervelo R5ca, 3 sets of Zipp 404's, about 70% of Merlin's Zero7 complete bike... etc.

You get the picture.
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Old 08-08-12, 02:07 PM   #19
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I've raced super flexy frames (Vitus 979) and very stiff ones (Cervelo R3). They feel different but the stiffer one doesn't make me faster up climbs.
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