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Old 06-16-05, 02:12 PM   #1
cydewaze
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Hill training weirdness

This may not make any sense, but I'll ask it anyway.

I have two road bikes. One for long distances, and one for short training rides. The geometry is quite different between the two, but the components are similar. Both bikes have a 53x39 crankset, but the training bike has a 12-25 cassette, while the distance bike has a 12-27. The training bike is also around 3 lbs heavier.

So, the training bike should be tougher on hills, right? Nope.

I rode both bikes back-to-back on the same ride. The ride has one significant hill, and I've noticed on the training bike I can attack it in a 39x23 with no problems. Mixed standing and sitting. When I reach LT, my legs have a slight, even burning that's distributed evenly between my quads and hamstrings.

When I take this same hill on my distance bike, at LT I get an intense burn that's concentrated in my quads only, even if I drop down to a 39x25. At the top of the hill, I'm far more spent than on the traning bike, and I take longer to recover.

My only logical answer for this has been bike fit. The seat tube angle of the training bike is more slack than that of the distance bike, so it positions me farther back. The top tube length is also a bit shorter (both bikes have the same stem length) and the bars are a bit higher in relation to the seat.

The question then is, can a 1/2 degree difference in seat tube angle (assuming I'm remembering my OCLV's geometry correctly) make this much of a difference? Does anyone else have any other ideas on this?
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Old 06-16-05, 04:14 PM   #2
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Try riding the distance bike first and see what the results are. (crossover design)
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Old 06-16-05, 06:59 PM   #3
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Hmmm...
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Old 06-16-05, 08:23 PM   #4
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crank lengths same?
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Old 06-16-05, 09:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dellphinus
crank lengths same?
Yep. Both 172.5.

The training bike has an old square taper BB and the distance bike has a DA 7700 Octalink.

Everything on the distance bike is better. I have NO idea why I feel so much stronger on the cheapie, other than positioning.
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Old 06-17-05, 07:08 AM   #6
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Brakes dragging on the distance bike???

Have you considered/eliminated non-bike variables, such as wind, temperature, how rested you are, etc.?
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Old 06-17-05, 07:27 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va_cyclist
Brakes dragging on the distance bike???

Have you considered/eliminated non-bike variables, such as wind, temperature, how rested you are, etc.?
I'm pretty sure I've eliminated those. I've ridden several rides with both bikes. Of couse it's on different days, but it's now been so many times that it would be a very unlikely coincidence that I would just happen to feel great every single time I've ridden the training bike, and crappy every day on the other bike.

In fact I can even feel the difference on my indoor trainer. Mount the distance bike up and sit and hammer a hard gear, I feel it in my quads. Switch to the training bike, and I feel it evenly. Back to the distance bike and it's back to the quad burn.

If I stand, they feel the same, but sitting they feel SO different. I dunno what else it could be other than seat tube angle.
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Old 06-17-05, 08:36 AM   #8
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On some hills I find I get much more power just sitting 1cm further back in the saddle, so half a degree different seat angle might make that difference. Have you checked to see if the saddle-to-BB measurement is the same?

Also, if you're more upright on the slacker bike, won't that allow you to use your back muscles more? (Which are used for climbing, if I remember right)
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Old 06-17-05, 09:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BryanW
Also, if you're more upright on the slacker bike, won't that allow you to use your back muscles more? (Which are used for climbing, if I remember right)
This is the big thing for climbing. The bigger the angle between your torso ad legs, the more force you can put into the pedals. Remember doing leg presses on the weight machine? They were much tougher when your legs were scrunched against your chest. Same thing applies to cycling.
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Old 06-17-05, 09:43 AM   #10
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Good points. So it's making more and more sense that this is a positioning thing.

I think I'll put the bikes side-by-side and line up the BB spindles. Then do some eyeball comparisons of where the seat/bars are, and how the seat angles compare.
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Old 06-17-05, 10:43 AM   #11
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OK! This is getting more and more confusing.

I just put the bikes side-by-side. First off, I can't eyeball compare seat tube angles because one bike is a Trek OCLV and the seat tube isn't perpendicular to the BB. The tube junction is weird and the seat tube looks like it's slacker than the effective angle is.

But what I did learn baffled me.

- The seat on the Trek (the distance bike) is farther back in relation to the BB than the seat on the training bike. This is actually the opposite of what I thought. It's maybe a full inch difference.

- The seat to handlebar distance is shorter on the training bike. This I knew.

- The handlebars on the training bike are higher than the distance bike. I knew this too.

- The seat is more nose-up on the training bike. It's what I had to do to make that seat comfy, but I've nosed the seat on the other bike up a little too now.

- The bars on the training bike are a little wider. I knew this, and plan on getting ones for the other bike to match. I never noticed how narrow the bars on the distance bike were until I got 42's for the training bike, expecting them to be the same. They weren't.

- the BB to seat distance on both bikes is identical.


So... I'm considering sliding the seat forward on the distance bike and seeing how that goes. Never thought I'd be doing that because I've been under the impression that I'm stronger on the hills when I sit back farther.
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Old 06-17-05, 11:41 AM   #12
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You might want to experiment with your saddle's position on the rails.
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Old 06-18-05, 09:10 PM   #13
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Considering that the geometry and setup is different, and that you do more intense work on the training bike, it may just be that you're body is more tuned to "putting out" on that bike. Small differences can have a lot of effect on what muscles are used.
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Old 06-19-05, 10:38 AM   #14
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Just read your first post again and noticed the mention of burning hamstrings (as well as quads). I think I use my hamstrings hardly at all in a normal seated climb. Have you trained yourself to use them more? If not, then it strikes me that it might be significant.

But that's where I run out of ideas.
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Old 06-19-05, 04:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanW
Just read your first post again and noticed the mention of burning hamstrings (as well as quads). I think I use my hamstrings hardly at all in a normal seated climb. Have you trained yourself to use them more? If not, then it strikes me that it might be significant.

But that's where I run out of ideas.
Thanks. I've run out of ideas too (other than the geometry differences between the bikes) but I did slide the seat on the distance bike forward for today's ride to closer mimic the training bike's position. Can't tell if it helped, because there were too many other variables (like my girlfriend breathing down my neck on the climbs) so it'll take a few more rides to know if it helps.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:25 AM   #16
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I have read all of your posts and it sounds like your training bike is better suited to your riding style. I would venture a guess that if you timed a 20 mile course and rode both bikes as fast as you can you would have a better time on the trainer. You seem more efficient with it and probably expend less energy riding it. If that turns out to be the case, if I was you, I would ditch the so called long distance bike since your are using more energy not less on it.
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Old 09-24-08, 11:35 AM   #17
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Your short training ride bike is feeling abandoned and is jealous of the distance bike you spend so much time on. To compensate and try to win you over it is strivng to make hills easier for you.

It has gotta be the geometry and set up. The differences in where you feel pain says this loud and clear.
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Old 09-24-08, 12:20 PM   #18
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climb the hill standing on both bikes
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Old 09-24-08, 06:24 PM   #19
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What about differences in the stiffness of each bike (bottom bracket)? You said they feel the same when you're standing, but couldn't there also be significant differences in the bottom bracket/rear triangle stiffnesses especially when your in the saddle?
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Old 09-25-08, 09:32 AM   #20
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Try another bike on the hills. Go to the nearest Cervelo dealer for a test ride, using their test ride program. Get the R3 and climb up that hill.
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Old 09-25-08, 10:45 AM   #21
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This thread is 3 years old. He's either bought another bike by now or given up cycling.
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