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Road bike vs. mtb for big road climb?

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Road bike vs. mtb for big road climb?

Old 08-06-18, 05:02 PM
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jaycb74
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Road bike vs. mtb for big road climb?

Over 3k climb in Bay Area (Mt Umunhum) , pretty steep in some sections. I have a brand new Domane SL5 disc vs. 2009 Gary Fisher Aluminum mtb. The Domane is way lighter (best guess 10-15 lbs?) and just faster but the MTB has about what I consider 3-4 granny gears on it, the Domane with compact really difficult in steep sections. So for an over 200 lb guy, which would you choose to tackle the beast? Does the weight savings and overall better bike of the Domane help me get up the mountain easier or should I take the granny gears on the older heavier bike?
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Old 08-06-18, 06:03 PM
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I would go with the MTB - the granny gears trump the relatively small weight advantage of the raid bike. The extra ~10 lb is insignificant when considering the combined weight of rider and bike.
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Old 08-06-18, 06:06 PM
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Hmmm... Is this a group ride? And do you have time to train? If you DO, I'd take the Fisher just to get up it and see how it is. Then do some repeaters over the next week. Then I'd try the Domane and see if using the Fisher for training helped.

What'cha think?
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Old 08-06-18, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
I would go with the MTB - the granny gears trump the relatively small weight advantage of the raid bike. The extra ~10 lb is insignificant when considering the combined weight of rider and bike.
Yeah, I agree with you on the gear ratio advantage, but what if getting to the top isn't the end? Or what if it IS the end but only after a 30 mile ride?
If the ride goal is ONLY to summit, one time, then the Fisher will get him there for sure, but if this is part of a bigger endeavor that Domane will REALLY come in handy.
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Old 08-06-18, 06:25 PM
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The goal is just to get to the top, not part of a larger ride, thx!
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Old 08-06-18, 06:25 PM
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I'm training now but at some point, just need to try and tackle it.
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Old 08-06-18, 06:37 PM
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You're gonna kick yourself if you wind up there under-geared at any point on that climb. If you run out of gears, it's game over, pushing time, and no one wants to go down that way.

I have never once gotten back from a ride and wished I had hadn't had my lowest gears.

Interesting story behind the mountain, I had not heard of it. I actually thought for a second you just made up that name, but it's real:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/loca...445198943.html
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Old 08-06-18, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Colnago Mixte View Post
You're gonna kick yourself if you wind up there under-geared at any point on that climb. If you run out of gears, it's game over, pushing time, and no one wants to go down that way.

I have never once gotten back from a ride and wished I had hadn't had my lowest gears.

Interesting story behind the mountain, I had not heard of it. I actually thought for a second you just made up that name, but it's real:

https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/loca...445198943.html
Huh, that IS neat!

Better get going before it catches on fire...
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Old 08-06-18, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jaycb74 View Post
Over 3k climb in Bay Area (Mt Umunhum) , pretty steep in some sections. I have a brand new Domane SL5 disc vs. 2009 Gary Fisher Aluminum mtb. The Domane is way lighter (best guess 10-15 lbs?) and just faster but the MTB has about what I consider 3-4 granny gears on it, the Domane with compact really difficult in steep sections. So for an over 200 lb guy, which would you choose to tackle the beast? Does the weight savings and overall better bike of the Domane help me get up the mountain easier or should I take the granny gears on the older heavier bike?
Make your Domane a hill climber. Put a Shimano 11-34 cassette or SRAM 11-36 cassette on, and crank your derailleur B-screw down. If that isn't enough gearing, put on a 46/30T crank.

Riding that mountain bike will suck. If you have to do that, put some slick tires on it, and lock out the squish.

I want to do that ride too. (Want company? I'm just under 200lbs fwiw.)

Last edited by wgscott; 08-06-18 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 08-06-18, 06:56 PM
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^^^^ This. Get some proper low gearing for you and your hills as needed, not what " everyone else" uses.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:02 PM
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Here's the skinny:

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/445.H...munhum%20north



Here's what is just about doable for me (I have had to stop each time half-way up):

https://pjammcycling.com/climb/430.Alba%20Road

My gearing is 46/30T and 11-34 or 11-36.
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Old 08-06-18, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by jaycb74 View Post
I'm training now but at some point, just need to try and tackle it.
not sure what cassette is on your trek but of it not a 11 31 maybe swap it out I have one on my bmc and a standard up front never had to walk up a hill yet that includes bear mountain in NY so maybe check into that I also have a mountain bike with lower gearing don't think I would make bear on that also I'm a heavy rider at 230 so geared right a road bike is efficient
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Old 08-06-18, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ridingfool View Post
bear mountain in NY
https://pjammcycling.com/climb/751.Bear%20Mountain

Nothing personal, but my commute is worse than that. He's up against a much steeper challenge ...
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Old 08-06-18, 07:19 PM
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Mt Umunhum would easily rate as a Category 1 climb in the Tour de France, the second most difficult rating.

And that last quarter mile looks brutal. It finishes at nearly 15%! You could easily run out of gears even on a triple chainring, and I doubt very few people over 200 lbs could make it up that climb on a double chainring.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
https://pjammcycling.com/climb/751.Bear%20Mountain

Nothing personal, but my commute is worse than that. He's up against a much steeper challenge ...
you are lucky then will I live in NJ not much in the way of hills skyline drive is about the steepest one think its 18 percent grade but not to long love climbing but not much in this area
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Old 08-06-18, 08:20 PM
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I'm going to 2nd the suggestion for a rear cassette change even if it means changing out the rear mech. I had a 12-28 rear cassette on my Shimano 105-based Felt and just could not make it up some hills when riding down in NC. (No problem here in Central Indiana!) So I swapped it out for an 11-36 cassette but my short-cage rear mech couldn't make that size. So I replaced it with a Deore XT MTB rear mech and that was perfect. In some cases a medium-case rear will work and there is also the "Road Link" extender that can be used. I've seen others with even larger cassettes so 11-36 is by no means the limit.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:30 PM
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I took a rigid-framed mtn bike with 1.25" slicks, up/down Mt Evans, and it was well-suited for the ride.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:32 PM
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I say take the mtb after equipping with slicks. Mechanical advantage is your friend.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:49 PM
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Road bike for the road.

First off you SL5 is most like 17-18lbs and a MTB would be in the mid to high 20s.

If your bike is stock I would assume it has a 50/39 compact crank and a 11-28 rear. I would change the inner chainring to a 34T and put a 11-32 on the rear. The 32 rear should fit with the stock RD.
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Old 08-06-18, 09:56 PM
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I originally had a 50/34T compact and a 11-32T cassette. I'm mid-50s, probably 200lbs with my clothes on, and broke my ankle a few years ago. To get up Alba (comparable climb -- a bit shorter but a bit steeper -- rated as less difficult on the links I posted above), I needed to go to a sub-compact crank and 11-34(36) cassette. My kid, who is only 10 lbs lighter but vastly more fit and 21, can fly up that hill with a 50/34T and 11-32 cassette with no drama. So in addition to weight, fitness, age, injury history, etc. can all be factors, but lower gearing can only help at this point.
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Old 08-06-18, 10:40 PM
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I'm close to 50 as well... seems mtb is the way to go for now, maybe get some lower gearing on the Domane in the long run, hard to do after just spending 2.5k on the bike (but worth every penny, love it, first road bike)
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Old 08-06-18, 10:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jaycb74 View Post
I'm close to 50 as well... seems mtb is the way to go for now, maybe get some lower gearing on the Domane in the long run, hard to do after just spending 2.5k on the bike (but worth every penny, love it, first road bike)
I was reading these comments and was wondering if you'd go for the drive train over-haul... Seemed like a bit of an over-correction to me. I mean, do you really want to go through the process of making your Domane a dedicated mountain climber???

How appealing is it to put slick tires on your Fisher? Also, as mentioned earlier, can the suspension be locked out? Finally, is the Domane a no-go without the extensive modification?
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Old 08-06-18, 10:56 PM
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Put a Roadlink on it or one of the Chinese knockoffs that cost $3 on ebay.
https://www.wolftoothcomponents.com/products/roadlink
Then put a cheap sunrace 11-40 cassette on the back off it.
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Old 08-06-18, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DanBraden View Post
I was reading these comments and was wondering if you'd go for the drive train over-haul... Seemed like a bit of an over-correction to me. I mean, do you really want to go through the process of making your Domane a dedicated mountain climber???

How appealing is it to put slick tires on your Fisher? Also, as mentioned earlier, can the suspension be locked out? Finally, is the Domane a no-go without the extensive modification?
No, I'm not going to do that to the Domane, most the climbs on do on it are moderate and I can handle steep stuff in small increments. Yes, I can lock out the suspension so that will be a big help but no on the slicks.
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Old 08-06-18, 11:24 PM
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A road bike is more comfortable, and changing your rear cog to add a few teeth is not that hard. I used to race in Europe, and once rode the Angliru. A few non-climbers (like myself) ran MTB cogs on the back, a couple ran triples on the front.

My current bike runs Dura Ace 7800 on the front, and XTR M986 cog and derailleur on the rear with a 34 tooth gear. It works quite well on the local mountains.
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