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Any other 1x road climbers here?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Any other 1x road climbers here?

Old 12-09-22, 11:54 AM
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jonathanf2
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Any other 1x road climbers here?

I recently built up a 1x road bike specifically for climbing and something a bit more sturdy for the winter. So far I'm really liking it. I know I'm not the fastest on the flats, but the moment I hit the hills I can really let loose. Also the 1x chainring is so much better for riding down bumpy descents. Chain drop isn't even issue with the longer chainring teeth. Right now I'm running a fairly easy 42t chainring with 165mm crank arms and an 11-32t cassette. I've been thinking of upsizing to an 11-36t so I can attack steeper hills, though I've been able to tackle most road climbs with the current setup. Also I've been considering upsizing my chainring as well, but I feel I can go all-out longer with the 42t. If I'm climbing on the big with 2x 50t (on my other bike), I definitely feel like my heart is redlining faster. I've compared my Strava times climbing the same hills with both my 1x and 2x bikes. In some areas I was faster with the 2x, but I've also PR'ed in other areas with the 1x bike.

Anyways I'm curious if there are other 1x road climbers on here. I'd like to hear your thoughts and gearing choices. Thanks!

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Old 12-09-22, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Right now I'm running a fairly easy 42t chainring with 165mm crank arms and an 11-32t cassette. I've been thinking of upsizing to an 11-36t so I can attack steeper hills. Also I've been considering upsizing my chainring as well
These two changes are diametrically opposed: one gives you lower gearing, the other gives you higher gearing. Why would both be under consideration?

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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
If I'm climbing on the big with 2x 50t (on my other bike), I definitely feel like my heart is redlining faster.
Why would you be climbing on your 50t -- especially if you are "redlining"? Just shift to the small chainring and you'll be able to get about the same gearing that you have on the 1x. Oh, and by the way, pushing a higher gear has the opposite effect of what you're claiming -- it will tend to keep your heart rate a bit lower than spinning a lower gear at higher cadence.

Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
I've compared my Strava times climbing the same hills with both my 1x and 2x bikes. In some areas I was faster with the 2x, but I've also PR'ed in other areas with the 1x bike.
Likely unrelated to your gearing choices.

Last edited by Koyote; 12-09-22 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 12-09-22, 12:48 PM
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Yeah, use your brain. Bigger cassette to attack the hills, larger chainring to go faster on the flats. Plus not all us cyclists are scrawny weenies who attack hills in saddle, some of us actually have muscle to power up with the big chainring.

Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
These two changes are diametrically opposed: one gives you lower gearing, the other gives you higher gearing. Why would both be under consideration?


Why would you be climbing on your 50t -- especially if you are "redlining"? Just shift to the small chainring and you'll be able to get about the same gearing that you have on the 1x. Oh, and by the way, pushing a higher gear has the opposite effect of what you're claiming -- it will tend to keep your heart rate a bit lower than spinning a lower gear at higher cadence.



Likely unrelated to your gearing choices.
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Old 12-09-22, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Yeah, use your brain. Bigger cassette to attack the hills, larger chainring to go faster on the flats. Plus not all us cyclists are scrawny weenies who attack hills in saddle, some of us actually have muscle to power up with the big chainring.
Dude, relax. We're talking about riding bikes up hills.
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Old 12-09-22, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Dude, relax. We're talking about riding bikes up hills.
I just wanted to have a nice chat about 1x road climbing. I only responded in an equal tone.

So let's agree to go back on topic. Are you a 1x road cyclist, I'd love to hear your thoughts.
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Old 12-09-22, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
I only responded in an equal tone.
Not really.
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Old 12-09-22, 01:19 PM
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1x reserved for gravel and cyclocross. Round here there's no need to use 1x for road. 50-34 paired with 11-32 is more than enough for most riding situations. Personally, I have 52-36 paired with 11-28, and again, more than enough for most situations around here. But if you live in really mountainous and hilly terrain, YMMV. How's my 'tone'?
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Old 12-09-22, 02:51 PM
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For climbing? Triples. The gearing becomes dead simple. Going downhill or with a tailwind, you ride in the big ring. Climbing - the little ring. The other 90% of the time, the middle ring.

Another great thing about triples is that you can run a reasonably sized cassette, say a 13-28, with close cog jumps, without having to resort to ridiculous pie-plate cassettes that weight half a kg, cost $200 and have big gear ratio jumps between the cogs.

Running say a 3 x 8 system, with 24 'gears' is that you can avoid 'upgrading' to 12 or 13 or whatever absurd number of cassette cogs required to give you an adequate gear range. Cost: at our local bike Co-op, basically new condition 8-speed cassettes cost $5, and new chains cost $15.

1 x systems may be suitable for aggressive MTB use, where dangerous stuff is coming at you so fast that you don't have the time or spare mental processing power to work a front derailleur. However, on a road system, 1 x makes no sense, except perhaps as a way for the sorry bike industry to create some new crap to sell, and cause some sales buzz. But this has been the story for the last 10 years, where inappropriate & unnecessary MTB gear is ported over to the road bike market. Such as sloping top tubes, fat tires, disc brakes, dropper posts etc.
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Old 12-09-22, 03:15 PM
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I use 48T and 11x36 or 11x34 12 speed cassette and it is pretty hilly here. Normal rides are 60-90 feet per mile.
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Old 12-09-22, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Yeah, use your brain. Bigger cassette to attack the hills, larger chainring to go faster on the flats. Plus not all us cyclists are scrawny weenies who attack hills in saddle, some of us actually have muscle to power up with the big chainring.
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Old 12-09-22, 04:22 PM
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Not a climber but I've set one of my road bikes as 1x and I run 44x12-36. I think you can get away with 42-48t up front and still be respectable on the flats. No 48t for me though as I can't really big-ring up all of the local hills with my 50t double. My 44/36 is like a 34/28 and I've considered going down to a 42t up front to get a slightly lower climbing gear (still running 10sp so 11-40t cassettes have too much gap in my opinion).
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Old 12-09-22, 06:08 PM
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No 1x here. A single chainring would be too limiting for the type of riding I do.
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Old 12-09-22, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Yeah, use your brain. Bigger cassette to attack the hills, larger chainring to go faster on the flats.
Okay, I'll state this as a question: do you realize that a "bigger cassette" (I presume this means a larger cog or two) along with a larger chainring means that your low gear (to "attack the hills") probably won't change much, or may end up giving you a low gear that is actually higher? That's something to consider before you make gearing changes.

You might want to check out a calculator like this one, though there are others on the 'net.

And to reiterate a point you ignored: spinning a higher cadence generates more power and will tax your cardio system -- i.e., easier to "redline" your HR. Pushing a bigger gear at lower cadence taxes your muscles and will, ceteris paribus, have you running at a lower HR. I'm not suggesting that one way is right and the other is wrong...It's just physiology.

Last edited by Koyote; 12-09-22 at 07:13 PM.
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Old 12-09-22, 08:00 PM
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I thought the rule of thumb was for bigger, heavier riders to stay in the saddle while climbing instead of standing. Something like >2lbs per inch you should climb seated.
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Old 12-09-22, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
Best laugh I've had from BF in a while!
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Old 12-09-22, 10:24 PM
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I prefer 3x with close spacing in the cassettes

i know it’s not in fashion these days, but when it is tuned up it is awesome for climbing
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Old 12-09-22, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I thought the rule of thumb was for bigger, heavier riders to stay in the saddle while climbing instead of standing. Something like >2lbs per inch you should climb seated.
I don’t think standing is ever metabolically more efficient than seated, at any body weight.

Common wisdom says to stay seated most of the time, standing occasionally.
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Old 12-09-22, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
I thought the rule of thumb was for bigger, heavier riders to stay in the saddle while climbing instead of standing. Something like >2lbs per inch you should climb seated.
The 2 pounds per inch of height is regarded as the ideal weight for climbing by some people. For some body types this is nearly impossible.

I don't think there is a rule of thumb for who stands during climbs and who doesn't, it depends on the individual, but smaller people generally can stand longer. I climbed a 9 mile canyon with a guy who stood up the whole way and he was not a little fella.
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Old 12-10-22, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
I don’t think standing is ever metabolically more efficient than seated, at any body weight.

Common wisdom says to stay seated most of the time, standing occasionally.
Originally Posted by big john View Post
The 2 pounds per inch of height is regarded as the ideal weight for climbing by some people. For some body types this is nearly impossible.

I don't think there is a rule of thumb for who stands during climbs and who doesn't, it depends on the individual, but smaller people generally can stand longer. I climbed a 9 mile canyon with a guy who stood up the whole way and he was not a little fella.
Personally, I always seem to assplode when I ride standing and end up sitting after a few seconds. Not sure if I just need to train different muscles or what it is.



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Old 12-10-22, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
Personally, I always seem to assplode when I ride standing and end up sitting after a few seconds. Not sure if I just need to train different muscles or what it is.


I don't stand for extended periods, just enough to stretch and get blood flowing. It's something you have to train for. When I've done steep stuff I always stay seated because I'm afraid of breaking something and only stand if I feel like I have to.
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Old 12-10-22, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Symox View Post
I prefer 3x with close spacing in the cassettes

i know it’s not in fashion these days, but when it is tuned up it is awesome for climbing
with availability of 50-34 and 46-30 doubles - paired with 10 spd ... 11spd ... and now 12 spd ... there is little reason for a triple

50-34 or 46-30 paired with 11-28 ... 11-30 ... 11-32 ... 11-34 ... etc ... will provide for climbing and top end

back in the early / mid 90's - before wide availability of 50-34 and 46-30 cranksets - many in my group installed off-road cranks on their road bikes (using just two outer rings)

Last edited by t2p; 12-10-22 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 12-10-22, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post
Yeah, use your brain. Bigger cassette to attack the hills, larger chainring to go faster on the flats. Plus not all us cyclists are scrawny weenies who attack hills in saddle, some of us actually have muscle to power up with the big chainring.
Sounds like your climbs are short and not very steep.
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Old 12-10-22, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by jonathanf2 View Post

Right now I'm running a fairly easy 42t chainring with 165mm crank arms and an 11-32t cassette.
42t chainring ... ???

165mm crank arm length ... ???

neither would be on my list for climbing
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Old 12-10-22, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
Personally, I always seem to assplode when I ride standing and end up sitting after a few seconds. Not sure if I just need to train different muscles or what it is.
Are you clicking up a gear or two when you stand? The higher gear keeps the cadence lower, keeping the aerobic effort about the same as when seated.

I aim for about a 60 cadence when climbing out of the saddle.

Originally Posted by big john View Post
The 2 pounds per inch of height is regarded as the ideal weight for climbing by some people.
I hadn't heard that before. Yours truly comes in at 1.9 pounds per inch.
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Last edited by terrymorse; 12-10-22 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 12-10-22, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Are you clicking up a gear or two when you stand? The higher gear keeps the cadence lower, keeping the aerobic effort about the same as when seated.

I aim for about a 60 cadence when climbing out of the saddle.
Yes

Last edited by Lombard; 12-10-22 at 02:47 PM.
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