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Old 08-19-06, 07:30 PM   #1
Martian Biker
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Hills easier with road or touring bike?

Hi:

A road bike generally has higher gear ratios than a touring bike does, but is lighter in weight. When riding on hills, which bike offers a better sense of "easiness"? My gut feeling is: in short distance a road bike may prevail, but in long distance it is probably the other way around. Right?
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Old 08-19-06, 07:44 PM   #2
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I would think by far it has to deal with steepness of the hill. If you don't have a low enough gear on a road bike you will be walking up that hill. I would think a touring bike, with lower gearing than a traditional road bike, would in almost all circumstances feel "easier", but probably not faster.
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Old 08-19-06, 08:54 PM   #3
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most touring bikes are road bikes.
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Old 08-19-06, 09:11 PM   #4
Erick L
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I'd rather have MTB gearing than a 2-3lbs lighter bike with a road triple.
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Old 08-19-06, 10:32 PM   #5
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Well, I have all three types. And, lots of hills right outside my door. In fact, I have to go up the same 1 mile hill every time I leave to bike anywhere. So, my comparison is sort of a controlled experiment, I suppose.

I can't quote you the actual gearing back there on the cassete because I've never looked, but I know the chainrings are as follows:
Trek 830: 48/38/28 with huge gears in back Dry weight: 31#
Trek 520: 52/42/30 with big gears in back Dry weight: 25#
Sequoia Elite: 52/39/30 rear 12-25 (I don't know why mine has a 52 ring-50 is stock) Dry weight: 23#

Easiest, but slowest: Trek 830. But it will haul like truck when loaded and I don't feel like it's loaded.
Next: The Sequoia. Can't haul a thing on it. It's my "sport" bike. I dash up fast, then ask for oxygen.
Last: Trek 520. With lower C-rings, would probably equal the mtb except that the old 830 has a trump card going for it. OvalTech (BioPace). Nothing beats it on long hills when you have a load on or the bike is no lightweight.

I've never ridden a sub-20# bike before, but those are the only type that out run me on hills. They are usually piloted by strong men half my age. BioPace, baby!
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Old 08-20-06, 03:15 AM   #6
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My best most expensive bike is a racer triple (once had a full blown Cannondale touring bike) now using a MTB for tours.The best bike uphill primarily is whatever has the lowest gears, secondarily the stiffest frame. so gear down till its slower than walking .

The best bike downhill is whatever has the longest wheelbase (for stability/ safety/ confidence.

Sure racing geometry is a stiffer frame, all else equal, but if the gearing is way higher it won't climb nearly as well as the more relaxed framed tourer, unless you're in shape to the extreme of Floyd or Lance.

In other words, I vote touring bike for mountains.

Just my opinion, YMMV.

O.C.
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Old 08-20-06, 02:24 PM   #7
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I don't think you have to be Lance to benefit from lighter wheels and less weight. At 49 I climb much faster on my road bike than on an mtb or touring bike. I love the way it accelerates immediately and it is easier to keep up a faster speed. I don't have much experience climbing long hills with more than 10 % elevation so it may well be different when it gets really steep.
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Old 08-20-06, 03:26 PM   #8
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Oh, these are quick and great insights. Thank you all !!!
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