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Road bike gearing for So Cal mountains?

Old 05-22-20, 11:18 AM
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bikeme
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Road bike gearing for So Cal mountains?

I just rode GMR/GRR to Mount Baldy with a 34/28 and was pretty good for the most part but I could tell I was working harder than similarly fit friends. Going to the ski lifts with it was brutal. Im going to do more of our areas big climbs like this range, Gibraltar, BIg Bear, etc. Im thinking of getting an 11-32 (I have Ultegra 11). What gearing do you folks use?
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Old 05-22-20, 03:29 PM
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calamarichris
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The ski lifts are brutal even if you're riding a mountainbike with a triple.

About 10 years ago, (in the middle of my powermeter honeymoon) I couldn't believe how easily I was FLYING up GMR/GRR. It was so much easier than it was back in the 80's when I was a skinny triathlete teenager. I started envisioning being a late-bloomer, one of those 40-year olds who turn pro and stun the world!

Then it hit me on the drive home: back in the 80's, I was making that climb with a 42-21, as we all did back then, NOT the 39-27 I had just used that day.

A compact 34 should be fine, but the ride from Baldy Village to the chairlifts is going to be brutal with anything other than an E-assist bike. That's why we do it. 8D
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Old 05-22-20, 09:36 PM
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ooga-booga
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if you can squeeze an 11-32 cassette onto your steed(s)...d it. gmr/grr to baldy is 22+ miles so a longish climb. baldy grades ridiculous. gmr/grr not too bad
but a few miles before cow saddle enroute to baldy, if you haven't been crushing it lately, you're gonna need that bailout gear to recover simply due to attrition.
there are quite a few long climbs in socal where the bailout gear would come in handy because going uphill 10+ miles ain't easy even if you're pumped to do it:
gmr/grr, blg pines to ach to dawson, lone pine canyon, the 39 (especially to dawson), the length of ach in either direction, the 33 starting in ojai, the 38 up to onyx,
the 330 up to onyx, the 18 from lucerne valley (loooong) up to onyx, the 18 from lake gregory area to big bear lake, the 243 to idyllwild, the 74 (then 243) up to idyllwild from
palm desert or hemet, montezuma grade from borrego springs up to ranchita, pine valley to mount laguna store, kitchen creek, east grade of palomar mountain,
south grade of palomar mountain, gibraltar and east camino cielo from santa barbara. death valley np has dante's view climb, daylight pass and towne pass.
probably forgot one or two or three.

so those super longish grades along with ridiculous shorter but substantial grades like potrero, westlake blvd/hwy23, las flores, deer creek, corral creek in the
santa monica mountains (sammos), mt. baldy, forest falls in the san bernardinos (san berdoos), palm springs tram grade along the way. this ain't florida.
you wanna ride a majority of the best scenic roads in socal? gear up for the mountains. you won't regret it. did/done most everything in socal with a 34 x 27
as a bailout gear. grinder style doable but definitely not recommended if you can rock a 11-30 or 11-32 instead.

Last edited by ooga-booga; 05-22-20 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 05-23-20, 08:29 AM
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CAT7RDR
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Rode up GMR-GRR to Mt Baldy Village yesterday with a 34-27. Thought about the Ski Lifts but remembered doing it with a triple on my MTB last year and sucking major gas then going into stitches the last two miles. My light bike has a 50/34, 11-34 combo that would be appropriate for the Ski Lifts.

Good job bikeme getting to the top with a 34-28 combo.

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Old 05-23-20, 08:42 AM
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Lemond1985
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Not familiar with this specific climb, but I like to have a 1:1 gearing ratio (for me 34x34) for the really steep stuff. If that's not a low enough gear, than I'm just not trying hard enough. YMMV.

I find that if I use a triple, and drop into the granny gear, all that happens is that my spinning rate increases, and my speed goes way down. There's something about pedalling such a tiny ring that seems inefficient. And I really don't feel any better. But hey, for the couple of grams a granny ring weighs, why not have one just in case?
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Old 05-24-20, 02:23 PM
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I love the ski lift portion of that ride it's alot of fun and time flies also I would recommend getting the easiest gears you can since spinning is more efficient than grinding at like 60 rpm
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Old 05-25-20, 01:54 PM
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TrojanHorse
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Well, having a 32 back there is a nice warm blanket in case things get ugly. If you don't need it, you don't have to use it. One of my bikes has a compact 34 up front and 11-32 in back and that's the bike I grab for ski lifts, tramway and a few streets near my house just because the slope gets unfriendly.
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Old 05-27-20, 01:12 AM
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bikeme
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Originally Posted by DeathCurse7 View Post
I love the ski lift portion of that ride it's alot of fun and time flies also I would recommend getting the easiest gears you can since spinning is more efficient than grinding at like 60 rpm
At one point, before Iron Gate St., I was at 46rpm and 4.4 mph, lol! I'm getting the 11-32!!
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Old 06-15-20, 12:52 PM
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I have the Campy Super Record 52/36 paired w an 11/32
For me, that's more than enough range for GMR/GRR, but the last few miles on Mt Baldy road before the ski lifts, I wish I had something lower so I could keep a higher pedal cadence
Those last few miles are brutal for me
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Old 06-16-20, 11:27 AM
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I have done the ski lifts three times. Once in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

First time was with a mid compact (52/36) and an 11/28 cassette
Second time 50/34 and 11/28
Third time 50/34 and 11/30

IT NEVER GETS EASIER!

Those last four miles are grueling. Will attempt again in the fall.

I think the new default 50/34 and 11/28 will work in most places, but you might need something lower for roads like Baldy Lifts and a few climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains like Decker, Deer Park, etc...
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Old 06-25-20, 03:21 PM
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Beachgrad05
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I can only dream about doing the ski lifts right now even on my 34-32 combo. I am getting lighter tho so maybe someday it can be more than a dream. Right now getting to Baldy Village is good for me. I might even join on 4th of July!
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