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Lose more weight on 22-36 or 34-36 up a hill?

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Lose more weight on 22-36 or 34-36 up a hill?

Old 05-08-19, 08:14 PM
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Obeast
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Lose more weight on 22-36 or 34-36 up a hill?

I am building a new gravel bike and I want to install my mtb triple but I am deliberating whether I should try the road compact. I struggle with 34-36 up a steep hill but I manage well with a 22-36. If for no other reasons than weight loss, would I be better off with the 34-36 set up for the easiest climbing gear over time? Would I get stronger and lose more weight over time if I struggle more with a harder gear ratio?
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Old 05-08-19, 08:44 PM
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I think having lower gears can make it tempting to take the easy way up. Unless your climbs are really long, it's better fitness wise to challenge yourself more. As long as you can make it up your climbs, your gear is low enough.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:57 PM
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I would go with whatever gearing lets you climb with decent cadence (~90) when going hard.

If you're climbing a steep hill the calories burned will be pretty much the same regardless of speed or gearing.
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Old 05-08-19, 09:31 PM
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To an excellent approximation, the amount of energy you burn climbing a hill is equal to the product of the mass of you and the bike times the height of the hill times the gravitational acceleration constant, so it doesn't matter what gear you do it in. Power, however, is the amount of energy you burn per unit time, so you use less power if you are in a lower gear that enables you to ride more slowly. Since you lose weight by having a caloric deficit, not a power deficit, it really should not matter (except you might have time to do more climbing if you do it in a higher gear).
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Old 05-08-19, 09:44 PM
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Put the 36 up front, and 22 in the rear.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Obeast View Post
I am building a new gravel bike and I want to install my mtb triple but I am deliberating whether I should try the road compact. I struggle with 34-36 up a steep hill but I manage well with a 22-36. If for no other reasons than weight loss, would I be better off with the 34-36 set up for the easiest climbing gear over time? Would I get stronger and lose more weight over time if I struggle more with a harder gear ratio?
You won't lose more weight by using a more difficult bailout gear ratio. You will lose more weight by burning more calories than you consume.

Whatever gearing ratio you need to allow you to ride more and therefore burn more calories is what you should go with...if your only basis for crank choice is burning calories.

With a 40mm tire(typical gravel size), a 22/36 ratio gives you a bailout of 16.86 gear inches. That's absurdly low for a bike which isnt carrying gear(like fully loaded touring) and I'm sure you can climb a wall with thst gearing.

34/36 is 25.98 gear inches. Very low, but I can see that not being low enough for some gravel roads.



Why not just get a subcompact adventure crank that splits the difference with 46t and 30t rings?
That gives you an easier bailout than your proposed double.

On flat road you are going 4.5mph when you spin at 90rpm using 22/36. Slower when going uphill at that cadence.
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Old 05-08-19, 11:00 PM
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Are you riding this on gravel? How steep are the climbs? On steep climbs, you can keep more tire traction sitting than standing so on very steep and loose surfaces, you can be riding the low gear when you have to walk the high gear. (Been there, done that - with the high gear. Gotten beaten up very loose climb that hit 18% a few times by a woman in a lower gear. I was muscling a 36-24, stalled and crashed. No damage but I had to walk the rest of those pitches while she rode.)

Regarding weight loss - it's tough to find climbs long enough to be significant. Now, muscle-wise, the gear you choose is real. For example, a tour I did had a 2 mile hill with grades to past 14%. I was riding a fix gear. I fully intended to stop and turn my wheel around to low gear before that grade, but riding without electronics, I goofed. So I muscled up those two miles in a 42-17. (The photo of my logo to the left was taken at the steepest pitch.) That took every bit of muscle in my body. That afternoon when I touched my forearm with soap in the shower, it hurt!

Muscling the harder gears will give you more incentive to lose weight - I promise. But the muscle you add will weigh more than the fat you've burned so you have to either ride more or eat less. Ride the bigger gears and use that incentive? You win.

Now there is also the training effect - you can use bigger gears as you get stronger, and the deterrent effect -defeating yourself with too big a gear can be a setback that keeps you from riding; obviously not good. Also with gears too big, you can injure yourself, both short term and long term. Listen to your body, especially your knees and be willing to humble yourself and move the gears down if they (or other body parts) say so.

This is advice from a skinny guy who has climbed all his life (and lives for/loves it) but has seen some real setbacks. If you want to get serious, get the cassettes, chainrings and tools to play with so you can make changes after rides that have been eye-openers (like, that hill was easy, I need to go higher on the gears or, no, my knees really didn't like that; better move down). We don't stay in one place. Not if we really ride.

Good question to be asking. A real part of this is learning what kind of climber you are. There are many different climbing styles. A poster above talks of gearing to maintain a cadence of 90 RPM. I'm a born mountain goat; the guy my fellow racers didn't like to see at the start of hilly races. I've never climbed at 90 RPM. 70 is more like it. In my photo I was probably at 25 and no one caught or passed me. You have to find out what works. Do you sit or stand? (You will find this becomes more of a question as you lose weight.) Long sits, short stands for a quick break? Or maybe you are like me; that when you get your weight down you will find your body lives to get out of the saddle and dance. There are all types. Sometimes we change as time passes. Get out there and climb. See what works. Don't be afraid to make mistakes. That gearing wasn't it? Learn from it and try again. (Go big on your derailleurs. Very little penalty if you go to higher gears and easy to put lower gears on.)

Ben
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Old 05-09-19, 03:51 AM
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Weight loss is achieved through diet, it makes no difference what gear ratio you have on your bike.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:55 AM
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One thing to consider is your knees, if you are carrying a lot of extra weight, whether luggage or dietary baggage, you don't want to be mashing, so pick gearing that allows you to spin the cranks going up hill.
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Old 05-09-19, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
You won't lose more weight by using a more difficult bailout gear ratio. You will lose more weight by burning more calories than you consume.
+1

I lost weight in the western mountains while riding across the country unsupported with a low gear of 22x34. I then gained weight during the midwest portion of the trip riding the same bike. Why? Because I was still eating like I was riding in the mountains.

The OP knows the formula.

/thread

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Old 05-09-19, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
To an excellent approximation, the amount of potential energy you achieve climbing a hill is equal to the product of the mass of you and the bike times the height of the hill times the gravitational acceleration constant...
You actually burn more than this amount, owing to mechanical [in]efficiency of the body, converting chemical energy consumed to mechanical work performed. A trained athlete might be over 25% efficient. So you've burned four times the potential energy quoted above.
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Old 05-09-19, 05:58 AM
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Whatever makes you want to ride the thing again the next day and keeps you free of injury is what's going to help you lose weight.
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Old 05-09-19, 06:35 AM
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Lower gears will let you ride further. You might be able to ride all day at 60% power, but a couple of 95% efforts going up hills (because of higher gears) will wipe you out. That might be good as interval training, but you won't get the weight loss benefit because you'll have to quit sooner.
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Old 05-09-19, 06:39 AM
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My first road bike had a triple. Since moving on from it, the only place where I have found a triple really useful is on our road tandem.
With a 2x10 configuration having an 11-36 cassette, depending on the crank spiders, you can change your front chain rings out to get a ratio that works best for you.

As an example, we had our mountain tandem set up with
- A 5 arm spider with 34/50 chain rings with an 11-36 cassette
- A 4 arm spider with 22/38 chain rings with an 11-36 cassette

Same bike. A swap in spiders and slight change in the front derailleur but drastically different ratio profiles.
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Old 05-09-19, 07:03 AM
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Which gear do you find more enjoyable?

Years ago one of the exercise gurus was asked whether it mattered to ride indoor on a trainer or outdoors on a real bike. The engineering and the biology work out to be about the same. Psychology is another story. When the timer on the trainer rings do you stop or do you continue on because you're still having fun?

If you get off on struggling to the top of a hill in a higher gear, do it. Personally, I'd generally rather cruise up in a more manageable gear. Whichever makes you want to go out again tomorrow is always going to be the better weight loss gear.
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Old 05-09-19, 07:16 AM
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22 x 36 is pretty darn low for any gravel road riding I have ever encountered. That is the very low end of common MTB gearing.

If you want to go with your MTB crankset, you could try to run something like a 26t granny (maybe even a 28t if you can find one), but you need to be sure your frame will clear that.

I am going to guess that it makes no difference in weight loss. But with the lower gearing you can always move up a gear if it actually matters.
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Old 05-09-19, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Lower gears will let you ride further. You might be able to ride all day at 60% power, but a couple of 95% efforts going up hills (because of higher gears) will wipe you out. That might be good as interval training, but you won't get the weight loss benefit because you'll have to quit sooner.
I believe studies show that you get some disproportionate weight loss from high intensity interval training with less time than endurance, but that's with a very tough program of hiit. I agree that a couple of hill climbs at a higher gear is quite unlikely to trigger this high calorie burn enough to offset the decrease of calorie burn in endurance mode if the hill climbs make him quit sooner.
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Old 05-09-19, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
22 x 36 is pretty darn low for any gravel road riding I have ever encountered. That is the very low end of common MTB gearing.
Just to add. We run that ratio on our mountain tandem that we use for bikepacking. My wife is not the strongest rider so sometimes we need to dip into the "Low" gearing.

Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I believe studies show that you get some disproportionate weight loss from high intensity interval training with less time than endurance
There was a study where they took 2 groups of women. One group did high resistance riding on trainers for 40 minutes a day and the other group did high cadence low intensity riding on trainers for 20 minutes a day. The higher cadence group averaged greater weight loss. I would have to dig around to find that study.
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Old 05-09-19, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bakerjw View Post
Just to add. We run that ratio on our mountain tandem that we use for bikepacking. My wife is not the strongest rider so sometimes we need to dip into the "Low" gearing.


There was a study where they took 2 groups of women. One group did high resistance riding on trainers for 40 minutes a day and the other group did high cadence low intensity riding on trainers for 20 minutes a day. The higher cadence group averaged greater weight loss. I would have to dig around to find that study.
The evidence is a pretty mixed bag, and none of it shows dramatic benefits to HIIT. Point I was making was the climbing he was describing is not anywhere close to HIIT, so it probably isn't even worth considering the weight loss benefit of different gear combinations.

I like this article, although I find that I lost a lot of weight working out and eating more after maxing out my weight loss by diet alone, but working out and riding much more than the article discusses:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7...re-exaggerated
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Old 05-09-19, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
You actually burn more than this amount, owing to mechanical [in]efficiency of the body, converting chemical energy consumed to mechanical work performed. A trained athlete might be over 25% efficient. So you've burned four times the potential energy quoted above.
Yup. The amount of energy is heat plus work. The work part is about 25%. It might be a bit smaller fraction if you use a higher gear, because presumably you are generating more heat.

The other fun fact is that more massive people burn up more calories.
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