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Going up a hill on a recumbent

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Going up a hill on a recumbent

Old 08-01-22, 06:49 PM
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Mhiniker
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Going up a hill on a recumbent

Wondering if there's any trick that'll help me maintain a better speed up the hills. Trying to work my leg strength in the off time, but just wondering if there's anything I can focus on to be more effective?

I found best to keep front gear in 3rd/High and rear in highest gear my muscles can maintain.

Last edited by Mhiniker; 08-01-22 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 08-01-22, 07:44 PM
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Not really except just ride hills as much as you can. Bents suck on hills was my experience,
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Old 08-02-22, 05:07 AM
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Kind of like Steve B says: Just keep practicing. You do need to down shift and keep your RPM up. I try to ride at 100 RPM and slowly grind to the top.
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Old 08-02-22, 07:30 AM
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Ar you new to recumbents? Most long-time riders will tell you that switching from a conventional bike to a recumbent bike or trike was a surprise as to how much harder it was to climb hills. You can't stand on the pedals and you are using different muscles to propel a recumbent so there is an acclimation period. The more you ride, the easier it will become to climb the same hill. As to the correct cadence, that is an individual thing. Even after years of riding recumbent bikes and trikes I can not maintain a 100 rpm cadence for long. I use the same cadence climbing hills as I do on the level. My computer does not show the cadence but I know what is comfortable.
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Old 08-02-22, 12:56 PM
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You don't give a location, so I have no idea what kind of hills you have, or what kind of recumbent you have. Sometimes powering up and over short hills works well;and when it doesn't, maintain a good spin at whatever power level you can maintain. Regardless, I always try to go into the hill at my best cruising speed. Hitting the brakes to stay behind uprights at the bottom is s sure way to lose any supposed advantage you may have. They'll clatter down, and then stand on their pedals and drop you just as you're trying to downshift to adjust for their drop in speed.
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Old 08-02-22, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
You don't give a location, so I have no idea what kind of hills you have, or what kind of recumbent you have.
Southern Minnesota mostly, but travel is often enough, so I guess I was just trying to get help/an idea for now. I was military, & only took up full time regular biking after a motorcycle accident left me with one bad knee, now been replaced & a few years! Running half Marathons(dozens), two fulls, & other various long distances was my thing. Now with the knee being what it is, I have my 2016 Ice Trike VTX, provided by America's Fund, to keep me moving!

The heat index stayed too high for me too hit any hills today, but I am hoping to start putting forward effort soon!

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Old 08-02-22, 10:31 PM
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More upright seating helps, I think.

But really it's just leg strength and cardio fitness. So how to you maximize that?

Go out riding with your upright friends in hilly terrain, leveraging your ego to drive you deep into sufferland. Repeat.
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Old 08-03-22, 04:36 AM
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On short hills in rolling terrain, I take advantage of the superior aerodynamics of my bent by increasing the speed leading into the hill.

On long hills, speed is simply a function of power and weight. Bents are heavy. Keep riding and your power will increase. It is really that simple although one could do specific training, it might just be best to give it time to get fitter and fitter.
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Old 08-03-22, 08:09 AM
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I will say that trikes in general tend to be worse at climbing than 'bents in general. My M5CHR loses very little to uprights until the grades get crazy. I can't stand.
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Old 08-03-22, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
On short hills in rolling terrain, I take advantage of the superior aerodynamics of my bent by increasing the speed leading into the hill.

On long hills, speed is simply a function of power and weight. Bents are heavy. Keep riding and your power will increase. It is really that simple although one could do specific training, it might just be best to give it time to get fitter and fitter.
Yeah on rolling hills of just the right size you can use momentum and careful application of power to scream. When I lived in the midwest, there were sometimes miles and miles of that kind of terrain. I enjoy that more than the flats. Now I live in the PNW, climbs are long grind-it-out affairs. It's no coincidence my 'bent is hanging in the garage while I mostly ride my upright. Interestingly enough, my climbing speed is higher but my thighs have shrunk. 'bent is all legs.
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Old 08-03-22, 12:11 PM
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One of the problems of living in the Midwest is the lay over period in the winter. I lived in four different Midwestern states for about two decades so remember waiting forever for Spring to arrive so I could resume cycling. The last time I visited Wisconsin the summer temperature was near 100 and the humidity oppressive. I was hoping for a cool period with dry weather. It's one thing you can't order while choosing a vacation. It sure is nice to be able to ride all year long so you minimize the loss of fitness.
You have a very high quality trike. It's not a matter of trike weight that you might have with an entry level trike (heavy and limited gear range). You could put me on your fast racing trike and I would not break any speed records. I'm not fast on my Catrike 700. If I keep at it, the hills seem to get less steep the more I ride.
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Old 08-03-22, 01:09 PM
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As someone once put it, you train the hill. Every time you get to a hill, you hit it hard. By mid-summer the hills will see you coming, recognize you, and lie down in submission. I think the logic is backwards, but it works!
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Old 08-03-22, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Yeah on rolling hills of just the right size you can use momentum and careful application of power to scream. When I lived in the midwest, there were sometimes miles and miles of that kind of terrain. I enjoy that more than the flats. Now I live in the PNW, climbs are long grind-it-out affairs. It's no coincidence my 'bent is hanging in the garage while I mostly ride my upright. Interestingly enough, my climbing speed is higher but my thighs have shrunk. 'bent is all legs.
My Vastis lateralis (Spelling?) got much larger riding my M5 chr.

I think I might pull the bent out and ride it more. Just DNF'd a 1200k, the upwrong POS destructed......well, it was mostly my fault. I'd really like a velomobile, either a Bülk or the A9 but the A9 seems to get no love.
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Old 08-03-22, 05:34 PM
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Daytime humidity is too high, so I did some hill training on my stationary recumbent. Plowed through 6 mi in 20 minutes, for a normal ride on my stationary I do 5 mi in 20 minutes. Definitely a good muscle workout and RPM training. Trying to keep it up at the higher intensities.

Though I was only able to keep up an average of 63 revolutions per minute...

Oh & although I've had the bike since '16 I've only recently been getting out on longer hillier rides.

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Old 08-07-22, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
I will say that trikes in general tend to be worse at climbing than 'bents in general. My M5CHR loses very little to uprights until the grades get crazy. I can't stand.
OTOH on super steep hills, on a trike you can just stop, and start off again when rested. Bent bike or trike just gear down and spin. On short hills I just speed up before I get there and hammer up them. It builds leg strength. And leg strength on a bent is different than on a DF, it take a lot of miles to get "bent" legs.

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Old 08-07-22, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
OTOH on super steep hills, on a trike you can just stop, and start off again when rested. Bent bike or trike just gear down and spin. On short hills I just speed up before I get there and hammer up them. It builds leg strength. And leg strength on a bent is different than on a DF, it take a lot of mile to get "bent" legs.
Stopping is something I've always avoided, from the time I ran, to just keep moving forward is key! It affects me too much mentally if I were to have to stop.

Gearing Down: exactly, but to what? My Bent is a 3-10. I did 3-1 to get up the worst local hill the first time, & now finding I just need to start moving up through the 10, as I can while I'm on it, usually to no more than three or four on the sprocket. It's certainly what seems to be working so although this is my original question it is answered. Thank you!

I've only been getting out recently on serious rides with bike groups so the 'bent legs are coming and I can tell
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Old 08-07-22, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
OTOH on super steep hills, on a trike you can just stop, and start off again when rested.
You can do that anyway, even with a 2-wheeler. It doesn't get you to the top any faster, though. The last time I had to stop and get off, the grade was something like 24%. That was hard even to walk up.

You need to learn more about gears than to note that you have a 3x10 system. From what I could find, the VTX has 26/36/48 chainrings and I could not find what cassette it comes with. If your current gears aren't low enough for you, you may have to change front, back, or both.

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Old 08-07-22, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
You need to learn more about gears than to note that you have a 3x10 system. From what I could find, the VTX has 26/36/48 chainrings and I could not find what cassette it comes with. If your current gears aren't low enough for you, you may have to change front, back, or both.
Ah, indeed. My 2016 has Chainrings;48-36-26: 11-36: 10 SPEED cassette. As far as how it works for me, I regularly find play through most the gears! The one I touch the least, & I mean never really is the 26 up front!

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Old 08-08-22, 09:19 AM
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With my trike that has 30 40 50 chain rings and a 34 low, I have never walked up a hill.

And on a trike if you do have to stop, you can remain clipped in, and when rested off you go. The start up is no problem at all, with no wobbling around trying to get clipped in.

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Old 08-17-22, 11:29 AM
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My best strategy for hills is to hit them at speed, push a bit extra - as much as you're capable of maintaining - and downshift to keep your cadence comfortable. The lower your cadence, the more you'll use up your leg muscles because they're only good for a certain number of maximal efforts.
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Old 08-19-22, 09:28 AM
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If not already using clipless pedal/cleat systems or straps, then do something to afix your feet to the pedals so you can push/pull on both sides in order to increase energy transfer into the crank. At the same time, any maybe it is obvious, you can push your shoulder back into the seatrest in order to use the pedals as more of a stepper while climbing, despite you cannot stand up to pedal on a recumbent. Both those actions help with energy transfer into the bike, but the behind that you have to be able to sustain the additional energy output, so a bit of training as mentioned above. I am not that ambitious so I use the described method of heading in fast and shifting down periodically to maintain cadence at whatever energy level I feel like giving on a particular day.
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Old 08-19-22, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Wilbur Bud View Post
If not already using clipless pedal/cleat systems or straps, then do something to a fix your feet to the pedals so you can push/pull on both sides in order to increase energy transfer into the crank. At the same time, any maybe it is obvious, you can push your shoulder back into the seatrest in order to use the pedals as more of a stepper while climbing, despite you cannot stand up to pedal on a recumbent. Both those actions help with energy transfer into the bike, but the behind that you have to be able to sustain the additional energy output, so a bit of training as mentioned above. I am not that ambitious so I use the described method of heading in fast and shifting down periodically to maintain cadence at whatever energy level I feel like giving on a particular day.
I like how you've answered & described it. I do not yet, but have been meaning to go track down a pair of cleats for my pedals. Though an American standard 14 men's shoe size is going to be difficult to find the right cleat for, it seems to be the top end of the few that carry it. Would love to hear if somebody has experience in that range? Just got a new chain & rear derailleur, just have to get smarter about keeping it in the right gear for the hill I'm on. With the Arm Amputation and loss of balance from motorcycle accident, I use all of my seat/backrest & even headrest, especially when I pushback trying to put in a little more effort for the hills!

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Old 09-27-22, 08:28 AM
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I finally acquired my first pair of Cleats, & have fallen bonkers in the ease & difference! My impaired knee has been Loving it as well!
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Old 09-27-22, 09:37 AM
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I'm too cheap and don't want to have to wear special shoes so I just run a piece of double sided velcro thru the front slots on my pedals and over my foot; works great to let me pull and also keeps my foot from bouncing up on big bumps (I have rear retention as well). I don't know if it would release if I dump over, but the odds of that given that I am a conservative rider are pretty slim. Easy to undo if I want to get up to walk around. It's possible the more i get used to it the more I might consider getting those pedals which have clipless on one side and platform on the other, but I do like my 5-10 shoes a lot.
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Old 09-27-22, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Mhiniker View Post
I finally acquired my first pair of Cleats, & have fallen bonkers in the ease & difference! My impaired knee has been Loving it as well!
I've been considering changing to clipless, but have held off because I'm reluctant to have to change shoes when arriving at my ride start point (which I get to by car). Nevertheless I'm still considering trying clipless. I'd be interested in hearing more specifics about your experience with your new cleats with regard to your "ease and "difference". What specifically is easier and how are they different from what you used before?

Thanks!
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