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Biting the dust on hills

Old 04-13-09, 11:02 PM
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Saberhead
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Biting the dust on hills

Yeah thats me on an incline, while everyone else rides 100 miles per hour past me.

Those of you who got a bike already built, did you change your gear ratio or stuck with what you got?
If you live in a hilly area, what gear ratio are you riding?

I'm considering changing the back cog (thats what people have suggested?), Im struggling so hard up hills, it's nearly impossible. I thought if I had kept what I had I would get used to it as time went on and eventually become more fit and be able to do it, but it's been over a month and I'm still having to walk up the super steep hills.
Anyone else have the same problem or will it just take time for me to shape up and build strength?
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Old 04-13-09, 11:17 PM
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What gear ratio are you using now? I use a pretty low gearing compared to many other fg riders. 48x19 - about 66 gear inches. I like to spin at a higher cadence and I find the lower gearing good for city riding. Accelerates quickly in stop and go traffic and easier on the knees. Adjust your gearing if you need to and just keep riding, you'll get stronger.
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Old 04-13-09, 11:24 PM
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If you do a lot of hilly climbs but also have some flats I've found 46 x 16 and 46 x 18 (as flip-flop) to be pretty useful. The only thing you have to worry about with 46 x 16 is the 1 skid patch, but if you avoid skidding and save your knees, it's not a big deal at all.

46 x 19 is really low.

I ride 46 x 15 / 14, in Richmond, VA, some hills
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Old 04-13-09, 11:27 PM
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Im using 71 gear inches. It feels fine on flat, and starting and stopping was a slight pain at first but Im used to it now. But its almost not worth it because there are so many hills in Seattle, and I have to ride a very long, steep one up to my house, and I just cant seem to do it.

If it makes any difference, my fitness level is probablly much less than many of the people on here. I do ride my bike everyday for at least an hour or more and use it to go pretty much everywhere, I just figured after a month Id be able to at least go up the hills without getting so exhausted.
Do you recommend going lower?
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Old 04-13-09, 11:55 PM
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my girlfriend runs 42 x 18 = 63 and is able to make it up all the hills and bridges easily. keep in mind you'll spin out faster going down hills the lower the ratio. i run around a ratio in the low 70s. also remember good technique makes a big difference: building up good momentum and really attacking the first half of the hill, pulling well with your arms into the stroke and finally standing and mashing if necessary. there's good info out there on proper riding technique that makes your ride more efficient...
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Old 04-13-09, 11:56 PM
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Going lower is at least worth a try.

I live in Seattle too when I was first riding I was on 83 for a while, went to 71 after a few months from a suggestion from a friend, and found that to be a lot less taxing on the hills. Do you know anyone running lower or that has a cog you could try out?

Some of its building the strength/endurance climbing, but you may benefit from a bit smaller as well.
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Old 04-13-09, 11:56 PM
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Lower gearing is worth a shot. You're not getting much work in walking that bike up the hill. Try going up 2 teeth on your cog. Give that a try, you can always go back to the smaller cog. Who knows, you might like the lower gearing and spinning at a higher cadence.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:00 AM
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Originally Posted by idiq View Post
I ride 46 x 15 / 14, in Richmond, VA, some hills
Yikes...46x14, that's practically track gearing.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
my girlfriend runs 42 x 18 = 63 and is able to make it up all the hills and bridges easily. keep in mind you'll spin out faster going down hills the lower the ratio. i run around a ratio in the low 70s. also remember good technique makes a big difference: building up good momentum and really attacking the first half of the hill, pulling well with your arms into the stroke and finally standing and mashing if necessary. there's good info out there on proper riding technique that makes your ride more efficient...
I agree, and I think a part of my problem is riding technique. I will check out the info and take your advice!

Originally Posted by Sll View Post
Going lower is at least worth a try.

I live in Seattle too when I was first riding I was on 83 for a while, went to 71 after a few months from a suggestion from a friend, and found that to be a lot less taxing on the hills. Do you know anyone running lower or that has a cog you could try out?

Some of its building the strength/endurance climbing, but you may benefit from a bit smaller as well.
Im on 71 too, but as I said, Im probablly way less fit than I could be and maybe if i just keep at it, in another couple weeks Ill get better.
Since you live in Seattle, you know that hill that becomes a brige on 12th going towards Beacon Hill (towards Pacific Medical Center) up to 14th and all that? I live up there and its such a pain getting up it, I'd probablly benefit from going a tad lower.


Originally Posted by lukewall View Post
Lower gearing is worth a shot. You're not getting much work in walking that bike up the hill. Try going up 2 teeth on your cog. Give that a try, you can always go back to the smaller cog. Who knows, you might like the lower gearing and spinning at a higher cadence.
Haha I know, its pretty silly. Ill give the going up two teeth a try. If Im not mistaken I think I have a fixed/fixed wheel, Im sure I can get another cog on there from a friend to try it out. I wish I could muster is up and just deal with it but Im sick of walking up that damned hill.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Sll View Post
Going lower is at least worth a try.

I live in Seattle too when I was first riding I was on 83 for a while
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Old 04-14-09, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by brooklyn_bike View Post
my girlfriend runs 42 x 18 = 63 and is able to make it up all the hills and bridges easily. keep in mind you'll spin out faster going down hills the lower the ratio. i run around a ratio in the low 70s. also remember good technique makes a big difference: building up good momentum and really attacking the first half of the hill, pulling well with your arms into the stroke and finally standing and mashing if necessary. there's good info out there on proper riding technique that makes your ride more efficient...
Good advice here. I was riding 72 gear inches with a 48x16 setup, but I switched to 47x18 for the huge increase in skid patches, so now I'm riding 70.5 I think. There are some steep hills around here but especially on a fixed gear, it's all about having momentum going in to help you up the rest of the way.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:22 AM
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Yeah I know it, I live up on Beacon Hill also. You're taking the hill to the left or right of the medical center? The right side would be monster to have to do every day. When I first was riding it I walked once on the left hill but realized I was just giving myself a mental block, and just had to keep pedaling even if I felt slow. I get to ride the left to my place, and have only taken the right once or twice. It gets better, and if it helps I see a lot of people walking, majority of them with choice of gears too. You're not alone on it.

Last edited by Sll; 04-14-09 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Sll View Post
Yeah I know it, I live up on Beacon Hill also. You're taking the hill to the left or right of the medical center? The right side would be monster to have to do every day. When I first was riding it I walked once one the left hill but realized I was just giving myself a mental block, and just had to keep pedaling even if I felt slow. I get to ride the left to my place, and have only taken the right once or twice. It gets better, and if it helps I see a lot of people walking majority of them with choice of gears too. You're not alone on it.
Ugh that hill on the right...I gave up on that one. Im glad Im not alone. The left one is a lot easier, but still arrrghhh! BTW: What are you riding? Maybe I've seen you around here before, seems rare that I see fixed riders up here. Ive seen one guy riding a white frame with drop bars and one kid will bullhorns, thats it though. I lived in Cap Hill but dont know a lot of people around here.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:47 AM
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I got a almost black frame with drops, I've only been riding since the start of winter so more people are bound to show up with the weather, but I don't think I have seen any one on a fixed out this way. I know they're around it just seems I only see them from Kings St. and northward.
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Old 04-14-09, 12:54 AM
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Is another advantage/disadvantage to using slightly lower gear ratio skidding easier? Or does that just depend on your technique/strength?
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Old 04-14-09, 12:59 AM
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48x17 and go up hills but at a really slow pace and usually out of breath at the top of the hill. If I was just commuting I'd try a lower gear but I like to get a nice workout when I ride.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by exhumed View Post
48x17 and go up hills but at a really slow pace and usually out of breath at the top of the hill. If I was just commuting I'd try a lower gear but I like to get a nice workout when I ride.
I use 48x17 as well. It was a pain at first, but after a few rides of all-out anaerobic exertion the hills started getting easier, now (2 months after getting the fixed) I can do the last mile of my commute (500 vertical feet) quite easily.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:45 AM
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42x17 gets me around pretty much everywhere in the u-district.
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Old 04-14-09, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Saberhead View Post
Is another advantage/disadvantage to using slightly lower gear ratio skidding easier? Or does that just depend on your technique/strength?
Yeah lower gearing helps with skidding. Also If your at 71 gear inches I'd just suggest one or two less teeth on your cog, anything more and you have to spin to much going down the hills (unless you don't care).

BTW What bike do you ride? I live up on Cap Hill and every now and then see some female riders.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:05 AM
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Originally Posted by inertiadreamer View Post
Yeah lower gearing helps with skidding. Also If your at 71 gear inches I'd just suggest one or two less teeth on your cog, anything more and you have to spin to much going down the hills (unless you don't care).

BTW What bike do you ride? I live up on Cap Hill and every now and then see some female riders.
I have a hard time skidding with this current gear ratio I have too so from the looks of it I should go a tad lower. I dont really mind spinning faster, Ill just have to experiment with the size and see what I think. Im sure Ill dig it though.

Im in Cap Hill a lot by Seattle Central. Ive seen two or three female riders over there continuously but dont know em. I ride a black IRO Angus with gold bullhorns and gold velocitys. I havent gone to any events or anything, I wanted to go to Fast Friday but ended up being lazy that night. What about you?
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Old 04-14-09, 02:05 AM
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I've been running 42x19 (60.4 GI) lately. LOL. It's good for working on the ol' spin.

Climbing is no problem at all.

I'm probably going to move up to a 44t chainring to get a little more top end though.

Last edited by croscoe; 04-14-09 at 02:09 AM.
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Old 04-14-09, 02:47 AM
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51/19 ~70gi great all round ratio
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Old 04-14-09, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by idiq View Post
The only thing you have to worry about with 46 x 16 is the 1 skid patch, but if you avoid skidding and save your knees, it's not a big deal at all.
46 x 16 gives 8 skid patches, see http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=468351

Maybe you were thinking of 48 x 16, which gives just 1
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Old 04-14-09, 08:56 AM
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I have a 46/17, which provides the most skid patches. I love it. Not too spinny, but not too heavy for the climbs. I started out 46/16, and it was hell for a while but I got used to it.
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Old 04-14-09, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by jch3n View Post
42x17 gets me around pretty much everywhere in the u-district.
38x17 and 42x17 are my normal ratios.

Last 7/10 of a mile home.



I take the long way around on the track bike.
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