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Thread: Winter climbing

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    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    Winter climbing

    Hi SS people. Tourist from the racing forum, here.

    I'm building up a new winter SS with two different chainring/cog combinations, for two specific purposes.

    One purpose is hard training rides with my team. My current 42/16 (70 gear inches) is right for this. We hit some >5% hills, but nothing more than about 7-8 minutes long. The hills hurt, but they are supposed to.

    I also want to be able to do long rides through the mountains where I live. These are 20-30 minute climbs of 7-10% on crappy, slushy, sandy, salty roads. This means going as small as possible without making it too frustrating when not climbing -- after all, only half the miles are uphill. I'm thinking of trying 39/19 (55 gear inches) initially.

    I'd be interested to hear of other riders' experiences with mountainous terrain on a singlespeed, especially in the winter.
    Ninny

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    Personally, I'd probably still go with the 42x16, or maybe slightly lower, but not by much. I use a 42x16 for winter commuting, and I also use the same gear for long distances. Winter clothing might slow you down a bit generally, but slush doesn't slow you down that much when climbing.

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    Morton Nagrom_'s Avatar
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    If the question is to ever gear down, the answer is always gear down.
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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Well, I've never lived in a truly mountainous area, but if I did I'd ride a multi-speed geared bike of some kind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coluber42 View Post
    Personally, I'd probably still go with the 42x16, or maybe slightly lower, but not by much. I use a 42x16 for winter commuting, and I also use the same gear for long distances. Winter clothing might slow you down a bit generally, but slush doesn't slow you down that much when climbing.
    This....
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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
    This....
    So, you could handle 20-30 minute climbs on a 7-10% grade and rough roads in a 70 inch gear ? I'm truly impressed !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
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    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    So, you could handle 20-30 minute climbs on a 7-10% grade and rough roads in a 70 inch gear ? I'm truly impressed !
    The gearing I ran for a while on the road was 42x15 and had no such issues with long climbs with steep grades mixed in. Since went to 50x18 in order to have a better chainwrap, but it is still close to the gear inch that 42x15 is.
    Quote Originally Posted by scrodzilla
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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
    The gearing I ran for a while on the road was 42x15 and had no such issues with long climbs with steep grades mixed in. Since went to 50x18 in order to have a better chainwrap, but it is still close to the gear inch that 42x15 is.
    So, did you steadily climb 7-10% grades for 20-30 minutes ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    I'm building up a new winter SS with two different chainring/cog combinations, for two specific purposes.
    Should be doable. I use a "dingle"drive on my SS mtb with a quick release and it takes no time to change gears going from road to dirt (the vertical dropouts do help a lot). 55 gear inches is low so you will just have to see if it is suitable for you on the flat.
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    ÖöÖöÖöÖöÖö Dannihilator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    So, did you steadily climb 7-10% grades for 20-30 minutes ?
    Yes, I've done bigger grades than 7-10% for 20-30 minutes, 10% not that big of a deal for me. Steepest I've done in NJ was about 21%, which was out in Warren County. County I live in steepest grade is 16% percent (hunterdon). BUt to be fair and honest, I love climbing and suffering.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    So, did you steadily climb 7-10% grades for 20-30 minutes ?
    Can't speak for Dannihilator, but speaking for myself, yes. Many times, and for longer than 30 minutes, for that matter. I have been riding brevets and other long distances on a 42x16 fixie for years, and long climbs like that are common. Getting into a reasonably comfortable rhythm at super low RPMs is its own skill, and I make no claim to be a fast climber. But given a comfortable rhythm, I can keep it up for a good while.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    So, did you steadily climb 7-10% grades for 20-30 minutes ?
    I'm lucky to have some pretty good climbs right outside my door but still be able to avoid them when I don't want them. with that said, the reason I bought a multi gear road bike was to climb steep grades and
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    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    Great info, thanks. I think I'll set it up 42/40 in the front and 16/18 in the back for lots of options, that should give me 4 gear choices hopefully without needing a chain tensioner (or at least 2 choices).

    Looking forward to seeing how these climbs feel with the various gears, and depending on the results, I might remove one of the chainrings, or one of the cogs, or both.
    Ninny

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    Senior Member Spoonrobot's Avatar
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    What is your goal?

    I think if you're going to be doing training rides with a racing focus you should use a fixed gear as opposed to a single-speed. These threads may be of interest to you.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...d-Gear-Bicycle

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...olding-me-back

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    for dynamic hybrid logics prooftheory's Avatar
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    Seriously, what is the point of a single speed training bike? If you think it helps somehow, just don't shift.

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    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    Seriously, what is the point of a single speed training bike? If you think it helps somehow, just don't shift.
    Preference, isn't that why we are all here?
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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    for dynamic hybrid logics prooftheory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairnet View Post
    Preference, isn't that why we are all here?
    Touche. But it sounded like he thought there was some training benefit for it. I probably just read that into his post.

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    Veteran Racer TejanoTrackie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    Touche. But it sounded like he thought there was some training benefit for it. I probably just read that into his post.
    There's a definite training benefit in spinning a very low fixed gear in the winter to get your leg speed back after mashing big road gears during the racing season. I can't see much advantage in mashing a not so low SS gear up mountains. Maybe it's some sort of MTBer macho thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dcv View Post
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  19. #19
    Riding like its 1990 thenomad's Avatar
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    While recovering from the nastiest chest cold of the year I'm planning my training (should have started already!) for a 50 mile all uphill fixed gear event 5,000ft total climb.
    I have a base of fitness, not what I've had in the past, but will have over a month of serious training time to get up to speed. I'd previously sold a bike I was going to use so have been back on gears for a half year.
    I'll be getting a fixed rear wheel and have a few cogs I want to try out. I previously hung at 70gi all the time but didn't do any real dedicated climbing routes. Really great all around gear though. Fast spinning keeps me on the wheels of the weekend roadies.

    I may try 65gi and see how it goes.
    I've been considering 55gi to just spin up the hill but may be too stupid on the downhills.

    How have others done with hard hill repeats (5-10 min each?) vs longer hilly rides as training for a climbing event?
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    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prooftheory View Post
    Touche. But it sounded like he thought there was some training benefit for it. I probably just read that into his post.
    The training benefit is that the bike will get ridden in conditions that I'd prefer not to take my other bikes out in. Last week I did 5 hours through the slushy mountains on my cross bike, the next day when the rear der wouldn't move and I realized I had to recable the bike I thought, hmm a bike without derailleurs, that can take full, real fenders, would be more appropriate for this use.
    Ninny

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    Senior Member Germany_chris's Avatar
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    Or you could lube stuff like cables, parallelograms, chains etc. like people have been doing for 60/70 years.
    I'm an angry angst ridden anarcho-punk socialist you should just generally disregard my posts--Germany_chris

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    Fresh Garbage hairnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TejanoTrackie View Post
    I can't see much advantage in mashing a not so low SS gear up mountains. Maybe it's some sort of MTBer macho thing.
    Lol I'm not good enough yet to risk chain, derailleurs, and hangers. It is rather macho when I want it to be.
    Quote Originally Posted by Scrodzilla View Post
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    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    If the goal is to avoid maintaining derailleurs but you still need more than one gear, how about using a 3-speed hub? Spoilsport, I know.
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    My vote is 42/18t.

    My biek has a 42 ring up front and 15/18t fixed cogs in the rear, which I will utilize depending on the climbing on my route and the intensity at which I wish to ride.

    "Your beauty is an aeroplane;
    so high, my heart cannot bear the strain." -A.C. Jobim, Triste

  25. #25
    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
    Or you could lube stuff like cables, parallelograms, chains etc. like people have been doing for 60/70 years.
    I'm pretty set on building a winter singlespeed. Low maintenance, built in big gear or high cadence work, and I have almost everything I need (except the frame) sitting in the bike shed. I built up a 42x16 singlespeed a couple of winters ago on an aluminum road bike frame but I gave the frame to a friend in need, so now there's an empty spot in the stable. I was intrigued by the idea of putting more than one chainring/cog on there.

    I appreciate the climbing/gearing advice, some of you guys mash some big ass gears up hills.
    Ninny

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