Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Skill question: How to shift during hilly sections?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Skill question: How to shift during hilly sections?

Old 12-14-05, 10:38 PM
  #1  
BackInDaSaddle
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Skill question: How to shift during hilly sections?

I live in a hilly section of Los Angeles. Frequently, these are short up and down dips. I try to shift down (front chain ring big, back little) to get momentum, but may need to do a drastic shift (little ring front, big back) to finish making it up the hill. The gears can really jam around and crunch in the process. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Is riding frequent up/down hills just that way? Or should I not try to gain momentum down and keep the bike in the gearing that will reflect what will get me up and over the hill?
BackInDaSaddle is offline  
Old 12-14-05, 11:01 PM
  #2  
cooker
Prefers Cicero
 
cooker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toronto
Posts: 12,798

Bikes: 1984 Trek 520; 2007 Bike Friday NWT; misc others

Mentioned: 75 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3588 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 21 Times in 19 Posts
Originally Posted by BackInDaSaddle
I live in a hilly section of Los Angeles. Frequently, these are short up and down dips. I try to shift down (front chain ring big, back little) to get momentum, but may need to do a drastic shift (little ring front, big back) to finish making it up the hill. The gears can really jam around and crunch in the process. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Is riding frequent up/down hills just that way? Or should I not try to gain momentum down and keep the bike in the gearing that will reflect what will get me up and over the hill?
You don't want to be shifting when you're pedalling slowly and with effort on an uphill. I try to shift to a low gear early on the uphill, which sometimes means temporarily having to get into too high a cadence, because I don't want to stall trying to shift as I grind to a halt in too big a gear. Standing up can get you through some short climbs. To lessen that crunchy feeling as you change gears on a tough uphill, you may have to ease off on pedal speed/torque, which it means you quickly start to lose momentum, so don't leave it too late.
RGC
cooker is offline  
Old 12-14-05, 11:40 PM
  #3  
MMACH 5
Cycle Dallas
 
MMACH 5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Gar, TX
Posts: 3,778

Bikes: Dulcinea--2017 Kona Rove & a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 3 Posts
Just like cooker said, ease up on the pedal torque when shifting.

Also, I don't know why it would make a difference, but it seems like my bike shifts smoother if I don't shift both front and rear DRs and the same time. Meaning, I make sure that the chain is fully engaged on the rear cog before moving the front DR.
MMACH 5 is offline  
Old 12-14-05, 11:59 PM
  #4  
khuon
DEADBEEF
 
khuon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Catching his breath alongside a road near Seattle, WA USA
Posts: 12,234

Bikes: 1999 K2 OzM, 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
One thing that might help if you want to take an analytical approach to it is to map out your gear development and find your overlaps. You can get these by going to one of the many online gear calculators and inputting the number of teeth in your gears.

Try to hit those overlaps during shifting so as to minimise cross-gearing. Use the overlaps as the transition points for the front chain rings. You'll want to hit the gear sequences that allow you to transition out of the big ring before you start the incline. Once in the inner/middle or small, you'll find it easier to continue downshifting. If you've done it right, you will have transitioned out of the big ring before you're heavily crossed. Once crossed, you run the risk of dropping if you attempt a front shift with the chain heavily loaded at a high deflection angle. And as a previous poster has mentioned, some drivetrains don't take well to double-shifting so you might have to give yourself more time for the shift sequences.

Practice riding around on level ground and shifting within the overlaps to improve your practice with sequencing through those gears. When done right, you should notice very little change in effort and RPM as you go from one combo to another. Simulate the approach to a hill by transitioning out of the big ring while at the same time maintaining your ratio by upshifting the rear.
__________________
1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte
"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122
khuon is offline  
Old 12-15-05, 02:59 AM
  #5  
The Seldom Kill
imminent danger
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 739
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
As above, the aim should not be to ride in a certain gear but to pedal at a certain, preferably high, pace/cadence. When you know you're going to be slowing down, either by hill of terrain, be pre-emptive in your shifting. The opposite applies when accellerating, bring up your pace and then shift to match the new cruising speed. You're not going to get it right every time but the more you practice this the more instinctive and tighter your gear shifting will get.
The Seldom Kill is offline  
Old 12-15-05, 05:28 AM
  #6  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,949
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Downshift before you start to pedal hard. Approach a steep section in a much lower gear suitable for the slope.
If you want to change on a slope (and there is little traffic) you can reduce the gradient by riding across the lane. This will allow you to maintain some speed when you releave pressure on the pedals.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 12-15-05, 08:31 AM
  #7  
bluecd
synapses firing
 
bluecd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: leesburg, va.
Posts: 682
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
i have not used a gear calculator but have found something that works for me when switching from the big crank ring to the small one and visa versa.

when switching from the small ring to the big ring, i switch 2-3 gears larger in the back.

when switching from the big ring to the small ring, i switch 2-3 gears smaller in the back.

seems to keep the transition pretty smooth.
bluecd is offline  
Old 12-15-05, 09:08 AM
  #8  
dstrong 
Senior Member
 
dstrong's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Awesome, Austin, TX
Posts: 4,141

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix, Interloc Impala, ParkPre Image C6

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 189 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 5 Posts
I ride a lot of hills here in Austin and know that I still need to work on my shifting technique.

The first thing to remember about your gearing is that, if you ride a triple, you effectively have three "ranges" of gears. Think about moving between the ranges and not so much about the relative ratios between all the different combinations.

From your original post, it sounds like you may be "mashing" to try to build momentum, using your large front and small rear combination and just pressing harder on the pedals. As previously mentioned, try to focus on using the appropriate combination to keep your cadence fairly high...you can still build momentum by pedalling harder and faster.

Let's take an example that might fit your situation:

You're riding along on the flats in your big front and middle rear combination. You're pedaling around 80 - 90 rpm. Up ahead is a hill that's long enough that you know that you won't be able to power over it, so you need to get ready for it. Before you reach the hill, you'll want to think about getting to the middle ring up front (assuming a triple) so that you have a lower range of gears available for the hill. So...you have two choices. To maintain approximately the same effort and cadence, you can either drop one/two cogs smaller on the back and then drop the front to the middle ring (this will slow your RPM initially then take it back up) or you can drop the front ring to the middle and then drop one/two cogs smaller in the back (this will result in you pedaling faster initially, then slowing back down). At this point you'll be poised to use all the cogs in the back as the hill starts to steepen. You can start moving to successively larger cogs in the back, remembering to ease up slightly on the pedals for each shift. As you crest the hill you can start running back down through the rear cogs and, if appropriate, switch back to the large ring if you're back on the flats or transitioning to a downhill.

Hope that makes sense. The key is anticipation, which is something that a lot of recreational riders don't think about.
__________________

2014 Specialized Roubaix2003 Interloc Impala2007 ParkPre Image C6 (RIP)

dstrong is offline  
Old 12-15-05, 11:00 AM
  #9  
Keith99
Senior Member
 
Keith99's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,866
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by BackInDaSaddle
I live in a hilly section of Los Angeles. Frequently, these are short up and down dips. I try to shift down (front chain ring big, back little) to get momentum, but may need to do a drastic shift (little ring front, big back) to finish making it up the hill. The gears can really jam around and crunch in the process. I feel like I am doing something wrong. Is riding frequent up/down hills just that way? Or should I not try to gain momentum down and keep the bike in the gearing that will reflect what will get me up and over the hill?
First get the terms right. Otherwise you will confuse yourself and others. Big in front/small in back is a high gear. Shifting into a higher gear is upshifting, not downshifting.

Just to add to the plan ahead and shift front and back seperately. By planning ahead you can shift one or two gears at a time. Shifting more than 2 at a time increases the chances of trouble. Shifting under load increases the chances of trouble. Shifting front and back at the same time increases the chances of trouble. So waiting until you are strugling and then shifting front and back several gears is just asking for trouble.

Also when you shift I would suggest shifting at least a couple of gears in the back first and then shift the front. Ideally be in the middle of the back when you shift the front chainring. You want to avoid being in large/large or small/small. Shifting into either under load can create the problems you describe.
Keith99 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.