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-   -   What makes a good-climbing frame? (http://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/97144-what-makes-good-climbing-frame.html)

drroebuck 04-04-05 12:23 AM

What makes a good-climbing frame?
 
Was hit by a car two weeks ago. My old C'Dale CAD3 is toast. Since then I've been taking my C'Dale hybrid on longer road rides. This thing is a tank; I think it must weigh 30+ pounds, but I'm guessing.

Yesterday, I started riding with my friend's Simonetti: a steel frame with DuraAce 9sp gruppo. Without being able to compare them side-by-side, I think the Simonetti is heavier than my CAD3 (it's also 3 cm bigger than the CAD3, and yes it's therefore terribly uncomfortable).

Now to the point. On climbs, the Simonetti seems to just carry me up the hill. I always thought that all things being equal, the lighter the bike, the easier the climbing. But that doesn't seem to apply here. Is geometry a factor, such as head-tube angle? Or is it just because I'm used to the stupid hybrid? I wasn't really considering a steel frame when it comes time to replace my CAD3, but the way this thing seems to climb ...

ivan_yulaev 04-04-05 12:59 AM

Well, the best climbing frames all have something in common: a good engine.

Maybe the high-pressure tyres in the Simonetti are the difference? Gearing?

my58vw 04-04-05 01:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev
Well, the best climbing frames all have something in common: a good engine.

Maybe the high-pressure tyres in the Simonetti are the difference? Gearing?

And a engine that can conserve power until it is needed...

forum*rider 04-04-05 01:10 AM

IMO geometry is a huge factor. Different seat angles and whatnot change what muscles you use and how well you can breathe.

For me a big factor in how a frame climbs is how the bike itself handles. I prefer bikes that have twitchier steering to bikes with more stable steering, no particular reason, it just feels better to me. Maybe its because I'm a smaller rider.

berny 04-04-05 02:09 AM

If you climb standing I'm guessing geometry would have little if any input but if you remain seated then it's a whole different ballgame. Also a bike with the correct geometry, will perform better if you are correctly fitted to it. Then you'll perform at your absolute best.

Thylacine 04-04-05 02:12 AM

Having a 58kg Spaniard sitting on it.

Otherwise....doesn't matter a rats. Light wheels on the other hand....

jabike 04-04-05 04:25 AM

My touring bike (steel) is not a good climber. My Lemond Buenos Aires (steel/carbon)does a much better job. Yes, my touring bike is a lot heftier, but I don't think that has as much affect as geometry. One thing I have noticed about every bike that I felt was a better climber is the relationship of the rear wheel to the seat tube. Good climbers seem to have the rear wheel in very close proximity to the seat tube. I guess you are probably sending more of you power directly to the rear wheel.

cryogenic 04-04-05 04:27 AM

shorter chainstays would put the rear wheel closer to the seattube and from what I've been told, shorter chainstays do offer better acceleration and climbing. I tend to agree with Thylacine that a light set of wheels make a bigger difference. Less rotating weight after all.

MichaelW 04-04-05 05:28 AM

The hybrid bar position is usually too high to make for effective climbing. Most climbers seem to prefer riding on the hoods positioned a few inches below the saddle. If the hybrid bars are level or higher than the saddle, you will be effectively tipped back, or will have to hunch down to counter the incorrect weight placement.

drroebuck 04-04-05 08:27 AM

Thanks as always for the input.

Interestingly enough, my CAD3 had DA drivetrain with identical gearing, as well as Vreds that I kept pumped to 130 psi. The Simo has Vittorias that I pumped to 120.

Also, like I said, the frame is too big for me, so I'm sitting much farther back than I would. I'm definitely using different muscles; I can feel it during and after my rides.

He's got CXP33s, and I have Cosmos. Is there a big weight difference?

terrymorse 04-04-05 10:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MichaelW
The hybrid bar position is usually too high to make for effective climbing. Most climbers seem to prefer riding on the hoods positioned a few inches below the saddle.

I prefer climbing on the tops. It gives me a little more leverage on the pedals. I only use the hoods when I'm standing.

I noticed in last year's l'Alpe d'Huez TT that Lance rarely moved his hands off the tops.

geneman 04-04-05 10:50 AM

light wheels, stiff bottom bracket, leverage while in the saddle, engine, phychology, breathing technique.

but most of all ... the color of the bike ... everyone knows that red is that fastest color of bike frames ... duh!

Mark

drroebuck 04-04-05 12:03 PM

But my c'dale was red, and his Simo is black. :-)

Well, my guess is that maybe his wheels are lighter, but the biggest reason would be a perception thing coming from the hybrid.

Just a little perplexed, and want to make sure that I get the right frame when I replace my bike in the next few weeks.

ImprezaDrvr 04-04-05 12:12 PM

My steel Orbea is lighter than my old CAAD3 'Dale was, but that's not what makes it more comfy in the climbs. It fits me better, plain and simple. A lot of that is due to the fact that I've learned a lot about what fits me well to begin with over the years. If you're positioned well, you'll climb better. Could it be that your 'Dale was too small for you and you need something between it and the bike you rode?

The_Convert 04-04-05 12:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by geneman
light wheels, stiff bottom bracket, leverage while in the saddle, engine, phychology, breathing technique.

but most of all ... the color of the bike ... everyone knows that red is that fastest color of bike frames ... duh!

Mark


dont let patriot hear you say that.... all that time on the blue. :p

26mi235 04-04-05 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cryogenic
shorter chainstays would put the rear wheel closer to the seattube and from what I've been told, shorter chainstays do offer better acceleration and climbing. I tend to agree with Thylacine that a light set of wheels make a bigger difference. Less rotating weight after all.

Lighter wheels, except that they make the overall bike+rider lighter do not particularly help on cllimbs, as you are not suddenly accelerating the wheels to gap another rider. I would be interested to see someone make a convincing case for this, but I am extremely skeptical (and climbing was my forte 20 years ago). I agree with Terry that I like to climb with my hands on the tops (unless it is a short sprinter's hill where short-term power is everything). It opens the breathing and is a more efficient position using the efficient leg muscles that can deliver a fair bit of power over the thousands of revolutions involed in a long climb. (As a P.S., my new Fuji Pro is lighter and has has allowed me to climb better so far, but these have been short climbs and the improvement might be as much from the stiffness on these short power climbs.)

Don't forget balance, which seems like a silly comment but may be why a few climbers like Richard Virenque can climb standing while for most of us the position is too inefficient. Maybe you are better balanced on the "too big" bike while climbing and that this is a more efficient position for you. In fact, it would be surprising that the position that you have trained in is inferior to this new position unless something important is going on. In which case, you might want to evaluate what is the best size and positioning arrangement for you.

Good luck, there are few more promising situations than when something new produces unexpected and positive results -- you might really be on to something that is effective for you.

drroebuck 04-04-05 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 26mi235
Good luck, there are few more promising situations than when something new produces unexpected and positive results -- you might really be on to something that is effective for you.

Thanks. Someone else mentioned longer crank-arms, which I'm almost positive the Simo has. That seems to make a lot of sense and, along with switching from the hybrid after a couple weeks, seems to be the most likely reason. On my new bike I'll get the same length. And you're right, if it's indeed the crank arms: I'm fortunate in a sense to have been able to find this out.


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