Hill climbing gear ratios

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by JoeAAA, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. JoeAAA

    JoeAAA New Member

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    I recently bought a Specialized Sirrus Expert road bike (the bike name doesn't fit the rider yet). It has 24 speeds -- a 52x42x30 chainring and Shimano HG-50 Tiagra 8-speed 12-25 cassette. My old Trek mountain bike was EASY on hills compared to this setup. Other than losing more weight (workin on it) and training like the dickens, I don't want to get frustrated every time I hit a steep hill. I live in an area with lots of hills. Are there any other gear ratios that would fit my bike to make hills just a bit more manageable? I think the bike store said I could move to a 13-26. Would one tooth make a difference or are there any other gearing alternatives?
     
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  2. Mercxstrom

    Mercxstrom New Member

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    well you can prolly try using a mountain bike cassete 32-12
     
  3. HammerHead

    HammerHead New Member

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    That's what I would do. You might need a new rear deraileur/new chain. I think you need a long deraileur to accomadate the larger rear cassettes. (?)
     
  4. Mercxstrom

    Mercxstrom New Member

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    well he has a triple rear deraileur(i think) so he doesnt needs anything else other than the 32-12 cassette. With a normal short cage derailleur you can prolly use up to 28-12 but if you have the long cage one you can prolly go for 32-12
     
  5. ant evans

    ant evans New Member

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    Just get fitter. Wide ratios compromise your ability to learn to ride at the right cadence on the flat, especially with an 8 speed. If 30-25 is too high, you won't lose much time getting off and walking, and you'll get a bit of a stretch, which is important when you are building muscle.
     
  6. JoeAAA

    JoeAAA New Member

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    One of the bike shops said he could put an Ultra Integra 12-27 gearset on to replace my 12-25 for like $65. He said that would make a difference in hill climbing ability. I think I will try that. While I will get in better shape, my knees will still be 52 years old and steep hill climbing is tough on the knees, especially when pedaling slowly.
     
  7. HammerHead

    HammerHead New Member

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    make sure your seat hight is adjusted correctly. I have knee problems and I found that keeping the seat as high as possible has helped.
     
  8. Kristian

    Kristian New Member

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    Sounds like you have some wopping great hills over there. If 30/25 isnt low enough! Have you been set up on your bike properly? That could make a fair bit of difference, in the short and long term.
     
  9. szr660

    szr660 New Member

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    I used to race years ago, but hated the hills and for that reason gave it up! But...I now have found the secret which is change into the lowest gear, keep your pedals spinning, and do the same ride over and over. Before you know it you will be thinking how FAST can i get up this hill, not just can i get up it!.
     
  10. Snarl

    Snarl New Member

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    Your gearing appears to be fine and should present no problems. A lower gear may help slightly but saddle time will most likely solve your problem for you. The Ultegra 12/27 may help if you have the money, either way good luck and let us know how it goes !!
     
  11. prestonjb

    prestonjb New Member

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    1) You will need a new rear-derailleur if you go above a 12x27. It is not the longer cage but the longer body that allows the top pully to clear the big gear.

    I don't use a triple because I don't like the extra mini front ring and need to control shifting and such and so forth.

    However I did install a XTR rear derailler so I could mount a 13x32 on the back. I find that a nice match with the 53x39 crank to do climbs like Assault on Mt Mitchell and Six Gap Century.

    But I can say from what I read that you will want to keep the triple and get a mountain bike cassette and mountain bike rear-derailleur (8-speed you will need an Alivio or simillar)... and a new chain.

    BTW: the largest casette that the 9-speed road shimano stuff can use is the 12-27.
     
  12. Fooz

    Fooz New Member

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    You can run a 8 speed casette on the new Shimano XT stuff. I run 8 speed casette on a 9speed Shimano Deore XT rear-derailleur without any hassles.
     
  13. hillclimber

    hillclimber New Member

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    It sounds like the problem may be technique, and not your setup. I would try repetition on the smaller climbs. Do not be concerned with mileage. Look for a ride that has rolling terrain, easy climbs with flats mixed in. Find some moderate climbs and do repeats on them, Lance does that to! You need to get strong and it takes time. Be patient, and work up to it. You should get used to anticipating the climb ( spinning, cadence) and get better at using your gears.
    20 years ago, I used to ride a 13-21 5 speed freewheel in the mountains. I now ride a 12-25 9 speed cassette and a 53/39 crank (Ultegra).
    I am an old fart, and I will be doing a 2.5 mile climb next week in the mountains. You can get there. Good Luck!!Pay attention to tire pressure too, underinflation means more work !!!
     
  14. prestonjb

    prestonjb New Member

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    Yea I think when using a mountain bike rear derailleur you can place the cable on one side to get 8-speed and the other side to get 9-speed. So if you have a 8speed road bike you can put a XT or XTR 95x series and they will still work... Of course if you have a 9-speed setup your all set anyway!

    Don't think that switching the side of the cable binder bolt works for road rear derailleurs...
     
  15. Aztec

    Aztec New Member

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    I'd say you already have pretty low gearing ar 30-25! I doubt you'd feel much difference dropping down to a 27 cog.

    I just got back on the bike after many years off, and thought that the Campy 12-29 w/ 52-39 crank wasn't low enough. 420 miles and 3 months later and I no longer think that. The 39-29 combo is as low as I'll need as I continue to get fitter. And I live in very hilly country. Granted, I'm not carrying a lot of superfluous weight so it's easy for me to say...
     
  16. infinitive one

    infinitive one New Member

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    one thing i find which helps on the hills is the way you pedal pusing down and then pulling up while the other leg is pushing down so that both legs are working all the time this is only possible if you have some way of keeping your feet attached to the pedals such as toeclips
     
  17. BugMan

    BugMan New Member

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    Someone once told me a tip for grinding up a long steep climb - do 20 pedal strokes focusing on pushing down, then 20 strokes pulling up, then 20 strokes out of the saddle. It really works - each rep utilizes a different set of muscles and alternately works them and then rests them. It was hard at first because not all the muscles were equally fit, but after a while it became 2nd nature
     
  18. hillclimber

    hillclimber New Member

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    Think tempo...pedal pressure, and anticipation on gear changes. I am 53, so I understand...find someone who can climb, and ride some easy hills with them...pay to attention to shifting...you mention slow speed being tough on your knees....you may need to find an easier pedal motion...spin more....be patient, if you are working too hard, maybe you should try shifting earlier...:cool:
     
  19. coolworx

    coolworx New Member

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    What is your cadence in that 40+ gear inch "low gear"
     
  20. scituatejohn

    scituatejohn New Member

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    I have a 39/53 in the front and 12-34 in the back on my road bike. I used to live in a somewhat hilly area in Northern Georgia, and I sometimes found myself reaching for a lower gear than the 39 front / 34 back provided; If I lived in the Appalachians or the Rockies, then I would definitely want lower gears. I seldom used the 53/12 combo when I was in Northern Georgia, but when I did, I went so fast that I didn’t think it was safe. Smaller chainrings would have been more ideal for me, but 38 is the smallest available chainring for the 130 BCD crankset that I have, so I never changed them. I now live in a relatively flat area (Eastern Massachusetts), and I never use the 39/34 or the 53/12, so I am wasting two of my gears, and I am considering changing to a 14-30 cassette if I can figure out how to make one in that odd pattern.

    I think that getting the gearing that makes you comfortable is a good idea. It will get you out on the bike more often, and risking the health of your knees or over exerting yourself is not worth it. I hear that spinning is more efficient than pushing anyway.

    The 12-27 cassette is a nine-speed cassette. You want to get an eight-speed cassette to match your eight-speed shifters. You could get a 12-28 XTR M900 cassette and use the same rear derailleur you have now, but this will only give you only one lower gear. If that is not low enough for you, then you could get a mountain bike rear derailleur and a 12-32 XTR M900 cassette; if you don’t want to spend a fortune make sure that you get M900 instead of the M950; the M950 cassettes are titanium and cost a lot more. A 34 teeth cog is available; to get this, buy an 11-30 8-speed cassette (LX or XT, perhaps others?), a first position 13 teeth cog, and a 34 teeth cog; have the bike shop remove the 11 and 13 teeth cogs from the 11-30 cassette, and then have them put a 13 teeth first position cog in front and a 34 teeth cog in back; they should be able to figure this out. Depending on how your rear derailleur hangs on your bike, you might be able to get your existing Tiagra rear derailleur to work with a 30-tooth cog; your bike shop should be able to make a 14-30 cassette for you, and they could recycle your spacers and some of your cogs.

    You could also change your chainrings. Your current top gear is very high. The 52/12 gear is 117 inches. You probably don’t need this high a gear, so you might consider ditching it. The smallest inner chainring that you can get is one with 24 teeth, and the smallest middle ring that you can get has 38 teeth. To avoid going outside the limits of your front derailleur, you could get 26-38-48 chainrings. Make sure to get ramped and pinned chainrings for the middle and outer position as this will help your shifting. I see from Specialized’s website that your bike has a Shimano Deore front derailleur, so going to smaller rings shouldn’t hurt front shifting performance. If you only change the chainrings, and keep the 12-25 cassette, then you will have a 28-inch low gear which is a little lower than the 32-inch gear you have now. If you go to 24-38-48, then your lowest gear would be 26 inches, but this may be too wide a range for the front derailleur to provide good shifting; perhaps someone here has tried it and will let you know how it worked out.

    Replacing your crankset might be more cost effective than changing your chainrings. You can probably find a whole crankset for the price of three individual chainrings, and you could get some of your money back by selling your Tiagra crankset. A 110/74 BCD crankset should do the trick. You could get one with 24-34-46 chainrings. Perhaps you could find one that uses the same bottom bracket as the Tiagra triple crankset to avoid the cost of a bottom bracket?

    If you choose to keep your Tiagra rear derailleur, change the cassette to 11-28 (these are from the nineties and should still be available for cheap: SRAM, XT, LX, or cheaper Shimano), and change the crankset to one with 24-34-46 chainrings, then this will give you plenty of gearing choices and a wide range too. This will give a low gear of 23 inches, and a high gear of 112 inches. That should be plenty.
     
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