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What is an ideal bike setup for trail climbing?

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What is an ideal bike setup for trail climbing?

Old 10-13-21, 08:08 PM
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Dr1v3n
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What is an ideal bike setup for trail climbing?

I like to ride on trails (currently I use a gravel bike, not a mountain bike). Many of the trails around here have tons of inclines, some of which are quite steep as they are not required to have some nice grades like the paved roads. I enjoy them, but there are some times where the grade is so steep (probably around 35%+), that even in my lowest gear, I come to a stop and have to hop off the saddle and walk it for a while. The thing is, I really enjoy climbing, but last time I "overdid" it and had some serious glute and back pain after grinding up against a hill and having to hop off 4-5 times, even in lowest gear. The hill Im referring to was actually so steep that I had to lean over the front of the bars in order to prevent the front wheel from popping up on me.

I've never even remotely come close to this occurring during ANY road biking - never had to hop off on a road hill nor have I had this type of pain.

This occurred on a Giant Revolt Advanced that has 32/48, 11x34 and 700x44C WTB Raddlers on it for tires. Amazingly, the tires didn't slip, but my legs did lol.

This got me wondering, would it be possible to set the bike up, or get a bike that is more specific to the task of climbing on dirt trails like this? I imagine first step would be to get even lower gear ratio. Climbing on trails is actually my favorite part of biking... I don't know if I'm a masochist or what but that's a big reason I don't do MTB - I like going up better than down.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:43 PM
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Yeah, lower gearing. Thereís scope for that; get a MTB crank with a 24 or 26 on the inside.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:46 PM
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Modern geometry mountain bikes are good at keeping the front wheel down when climbing. I'd say a modern geo, yet no suspension, mtb.
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Old 10-13-21, 08:53 PM
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Yep. Mountain biking and climbing are not mutually exclusive, current trends notwithstanding. A good modern xc bike will serve the op far better than a gravel bike for the riding he describes.
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Old 10-14-21, 01:49 AM
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I have Giant Revolt Advanced 2. It works well up to about 15 to 20%. I put on 40 rear cassette which helped with the effort but then it's hard to keep the front wheel down. Down hill is no joy on the drop bars above -20%. I still love my gravel bike because I can ride on the road for 30+ miles hit gravel then back on to the road for the 30+ miles.

I want to buy a mount bike but it seems like a mount bike is so limited. Have drive your bike all they way out to some remote place that has steep hills with enough dirt/gravel to make it worth it. I don't want go up and down the same two or three hills etc...


90% of the time my gravel bike has my road wheel set on them. There's just way more roads to ride on vs gravel/dirt.
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Old 10-14-21, 06:11 AM
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An Eagle drivetrain will solve that.
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Old 10-14-21, 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr1v3n View Post
I like to ride on trails (currently I use a gravel bike, not a mountain bike). Many of the trails around here have tons of inclines, some of which are quite steep as they are not required to have some nice grades like the paved roads. I enjoy them, but there are some times where the grade is so steep (probably around 35%+), that even in my lowest gear, I come to a stop and have to hop off the saddle and walk it for a while. The thing is, I really enjoy climbing, but last time I "overdid" it and had some serious glute and back pain after grinding up against a hill and having to hop off 4-5 times, even in lowest gear. The hill Im referring to was actually so steep that I had to lean over the front of the bars in order to prevent the front wheel from popping up on me.

.
If you get the bike that can get you up a 35%+ grade, you should consider climbing competitions
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Old 10-16-21, 12:12 PM
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Since you are talking about 35% grade on dirt, there are a couple of pieces to this… gear inches and lowest possible speed that can be maintained.

From other less steep climbs that you can barely make, what is the lowest possible speed before you lose too much bike stability?

Can you climb at 3 mph, or 2, or 4, without fighting the bike to keep it upright?

Once you figure out the slowest you can go, you can use a gear inch calculator to give you the gearing you need to get there.

But you might not be able to get to that ratio without major drivetrain changes and maybe you just need to get stronger first

John

Last edited by 70sSanO; 10-16-21 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 10-16-21, 12:47 PM
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For serious trail riding and hill climbing I use a singlespeed MTB with 2 : 1 gear ratio
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Old 10-17-21, 07:42 AM
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Funny, I set a bike up just for this. 42/34/24 triple and 11-32 in the back. Rolling in 35mm cyclocross knobby tires. Itís a lot of fun on the local mountain bike trails.

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