Puzzled over big gear climbing

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Carrera, Jun 8, 2004.

  1. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    A recent U.K. publication sets the stage for this year's tour de France, rates each competitor's chances and gives many details about individual riders.
    This is what puzzled me:
    It's said that Jan Ullrich grinds his way up hills with big gears while Armstrong spins his way uphill in smaller gears. I know this might sound a trivial question but which gears can be called "big gears."
    To my mind "big gears" are usually the ones that link to the big crank. I once tried climbing on my big cog and found I could get up steep hills O.K. but that it wore your cogs down. I usually coupled my big cog with the lowest ratio cog on my wheel in a way that the chain pulled at an angle. Is this how Ullrich and Indurain climbed?
    I experimented and found my most comfortable climbing gear is my third lowest (or possibly my fourth). Usually when I see a big stretch of hill in front I gear down to third and make the climb. However, this wouldn't be what I would interpret as a "big gear."
    Does anyone have any idea which gears some of these lower cadence guys use? And does anyone on this forum climb on the big cog?
     
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  2. squarewheels

    squarewheels New Member

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    I guess they mean bigger gears for Jan ie 39/15,16,17,19 Whereas Lance 39/19,21,23.

    Some bigger riders find it easier to push bugger gears at a relatively low cadence most natural climbers spin fairly fast (often in a gear that you or I couldn't turn satnding up)

    What does it mean for us mere mortals? Not much. Probably better for most of us to stick with a lower gears. I tend to pop up a gear or two when I get out of the saddle to maintain speed as I stretch a bit and give the bum a rest.

    Tim
     
  3. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    The definition of big gear climbing – pertains to use of large front chainring and small rear wheel sprockets.
    The front chaining is normally either 52 or 53 tooth set.
    The rear wheel sprocket can be anything from 9 tooth through to 25 tooth.

    The inner front chain ring is normally 39 (but can also be 42).

    When publications speaks about climbing in the big ring – they are usually referring to the sprocket on the rear wheel.
    The lower the sprocket (rear wheel), the higher the gear.
    For example, in 1969 Eddy Merckx was said to have used the big ring to climb the Tourmalet : he used at 53 (front) and 13 (rear wheel sprocket).
    This is a gigantic gear to climb the Tourmalet (it’s an enormous gear, in fact).
    For every turn of his pedals using 53x13 gear, Eddy traveled 345 inches or 28 feet.

    Armstrong (or Roche is another good example) would probably chose to use 39 (front)
    and perhaps 17 or 19 on the rear sprocket to climb the Tourmalet.
    39 x 17 is a lower climbing gear than 53 x 13 (it’s a lot lower !).
    For every turn of his pedals using 39x17 gear, LA travels 194 inches or 16 feet.

    Why one cyclist prefers to use a “big climbing gear” (Merckx) instead of a “small climbing gear” is down to personal choice and each riders ability to turn a big gear.
    Merckx was obviously able to cycle comfortably up the Tourmalet using a massive gear – the ability to do this is exceptional.
    Whereas LA and others prefer to use a smaller climbing gear (smaller relative to Merckx gear, that is) which suits their ability to climb.
    At the end of the day, it is a question of which gear suits which rider.
     
  4. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    My own bike very much lacks the smaller gears. My third lowest gear will get me up some steep hills but I need my very lowest gear for the monster climbs. I watch my bike computer and noted that today I was going up a moderately steep hill at 13 mph instead of the usual 12 mph (assuming my computer is reading my wheel size correctly).
    I prefer to peddle fast in a gear that doesn't cause me to strain too much but I do stay seated quite a lot and push from the hips.


     
  5. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Your phrase smaller gears is confusing ?
    When you use the phrase small gears - what are you referring to ?
    Are you referring to those gears on your rear wheel which are furthest from the rear wheel ?

    If you are referring to those gears that are physically the smallest
    on your rear wheel - these are the "biggest" (heaviest) gear
    our your bike.
    (the rule is the less teeth on a sprocket/chainring - the higher (heavier) the gear is).

    From what you have posted above - I think you are saying that your bike lacks low gears (that is sprockets on the rear wheel
    which have many teeth and are closest to your rear wheel).

    Your setup should have a rear selection of 23 tooth sprocket
    (physically a large sprocket closest to your rear wheel).
    This would be a very low (light) gear and can be easily rotated.

    Your set up should progress (from the rear wheel outward)
    with 23-21-19-17-15-13-11 (teeth) per sprocket.
    11 will be the smallest sprocket and will be the highest (heaviest)
    gear.
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Your phrase smaller gears is confusing ?
    When you use the phrase small gears - what are you referring to ?
    Are you referring to those gears on your rear wheel which are furthest from the rear wheel ?

    If you are referring to those gears that are physically the smallest
    on your rear wheel - these are the "biggest" (heaviest) gear
    our your bike.
    (the rule is the less teeth on a sprocket/chainring - the higher (heavier) the gear is).

    From what you have posted above - I think you are saying that your bike lacks low gears (that is sprockets on the rear wheel
    which have many teeth and are closest to your rear wheel).

    Your setup should have a rear selection of 23 tooth sprocket
    (physically a large sprocket closest to your rear wheel).
    This would be a very low (light) gear and can be easily rotated.

    Your set up should progress (from the rear wheel outward)
    with 23-21-19-17-15-13-11 (teeth) per sprocket.
    11 will be the smallest sprocket and will be the highest (heaviest)
    gear.
     
  7. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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    The Col du Tourmalet has an average gradient of 7.4% over 17.1 kms. In terms of combination of length of climb and gradient it is up there with the most challenging. The Tourmalet is a "Hors Catagorie" climb (meaning beyond categorisation) , the most difficult of all.

    More relative to the difficulty, over the last 10kms the average gradient is over 10%.

    If someone "said" that Eddy Merckx was using a 53x13 gear on the Col du Tourmalet I would check the date of that information. Was it April 1? :)

    A 53x13 gear calculates to 50kph per 100rpm. I would suggest that Eddy would have been grinding away at as low as 30rpm to handle that gear. A most inefficient cadence that would have really stressed his muscles to make them appear that they were filled with concrete.
     
  8. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Slight typo : it was 53x17 and not 53x13.

    If someone "said" - you're a doubter eh ?

    Ok : let's cut to the quick here, pal.

    Page 33 February 1998 Cycle Sport Magazine
    "1969 TDF : Eddy Merckx is seen fiddling with his gears at the bottom of the Tourmalet. His rivals assume that he has a problem with his gears.
    Merckx changes his gearing from 53x13 to 53x17 :and takes off
    at the head of the bunch alone.
    HE IS ONLY TO BE SEEN AGAIN 140 KILOMETRES LATER IN THE VILLAGE OF MOURENX, WHERE HE WINS THE STAGE BY 8 AND A HALF MINUTES".

    If someone "said" -
    Lucien Van Impe "the most explosive piece of climbing that I have ever seen was on Stage 17 Luchon-Mourenx in the 1969 TDF.
    Eddy Merckx appeared to be having trouble with his gears.
    We thought 'there might be a chance to get away here!'.
    Merckx passed me by - I was using 39 - he was on 53 and I would swear it is was either 15 or 17"

    If someone "said" -
    Indeed.
    Felice Gimondi :
    "Stage 17 in the '69 TDF was where Eddy Merckx proved just how
    great a cyclist he was going to be become.
    His first tour - he outclimbs the climbers using the big ring - I have never seen anything like that before or since.
    You know following his accident at Blois (where Merckx broke his
    pelvis) Merckx always said that he wasn't the same climber afterwards.
    Take it from me - what he did that day was phenomenal"

    If someone "said" - rsad your history pal before having a go at people.
     
  9. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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    Slight typo : it was 53x17 and not 53x13

    It was a slight typo error repeated 4 times, so it was not a typo. 3 times as "53x13" and once in a near accurate calculation of 28 feet for the roll out/performance of a 53x13 gear using a 700c wheel/tyre.

    I am a doubter when someone "said" a statement of fact that is implausible. You have just proved with your own references your statement of fact was incorrect and therefore, as originally presented to the forum, implausible to me.

    So it is a 53x17 and not a 53x13 and he took off on this gear at the start of the Col du Tourmalet, as observed by other competitors

    Now the picture starts making sense.

    If you had stated these facts, and found your own error, I would not have queried your claim. Your claim was that Merckx rode a 53x13 up the Tourmalet. That, by your own references, was in error.

    Your claim:For example, in 1969 Eddy Merckx was said to have used the big ring to climb the Tourmalet : he used at 53 (front) and 13 (rear wheel sprocket).

    But in actual fact, as you have corrected, Merckx took off from the start in a 53x17 (check the start profile and you will find it is 2.5% gradient and in one part 0.8%) never to be seen again (to see what gear he was using when the gradient became substantially steeper - in parts in excess of 11%). You are relying on the observations of another rider or riders at the start who he left far behind.

    Where is your evidence he rode the 53x17 all the way to the top? That is what you are now implying.

    I am not doubting that Merckx was an exceptional and powerful climber but he would be incapable of riding that big a gear ALL the way up a 17km HC climb.
     
  10. squarewheels

    squarewheels New Member

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    Guys,

    Does it really matter which gear professionals used ( I agree 53/13 for the Tourmalet implausable 53/17 is incredible). If Mercx was competing today a coach would probably have him sit on an ergometer and make him see the errors of his 'grinding' ways!

    It's what works best for you.

    For most of us a low spinning gear is most appropriate. For the tourmalet that would put most of us on a triple chainring set up or 25plus at the back just to survive.

    If you want to test out what the best gear is find a long steady hill and try pedalling up it at different ratios at the same speed recording your heart rate with a monitor. Assuming your condition and the road/weather conditions are the same your best gear is when you have the lowest heart rate. Alternatively see which gear gets you up quickest in a eyeballs out assault. Obviously that will only give you the gear for one hill but its a starting point.


    Tim
     
  11. the brother

    the brother New Member

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    I think that talking about big and little or high and low gears can be a bit confusing.
    When talking about high and low I am comparing to a car with 1st gear being low and 5th being high.

    I have always thought that big and little gears refers to the gear ratio, ie chain ring size devided by rear cog size.

    As far as Eddy Mercx is concerned I'll leave that to the others to argue about.
     
  12. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    I'm pretty rusty on gear specifications but it might help you if I share that the mechanics at my bike-shop said they could fit me a cassette that would provide me with lower gear options - without the need for a triple. What happened is that one of the sprinters (a guy aged around 55) said the hill I'd been climbing recently should be done in lower gears than I actually have on my bike. I've no idea what cassette I presently have but I do know it can be lowered somewhat.
    I climbed the biggest hill in this particular region on my present lowest gear - which was certainly an experience. You have to really push like hell just to keep the wheels moving which means that after some minutes you start to breathe pretty hard. I guess that if I lowered my gear options I would have to peddle more quickly but with less muscular power. Whether this would make the task harder or easier I have no idea. My ambition is to get all the way up this hill in my present lowest gear but not to wind up gasping and on my knees at the end of the climb.
    However the case may be, all my climbing is done using my last four lowest gears (if you know what I mean). I can get up pretty steep hills using my big cog but as the chain runs at a slant I stopped doing it in order not to wear out the teeth on my cogs. I was assuming that Ulllrich and Indurain were climbing in the tour using the big cog and am curious as to whether this might be the case. I heard that hills in the tour de France aren't really that steep at all, compared with what you'll encounter in the north of Spain near Pamplona or San Sebastian.


     
  13. Ted B

    Ted B New Member

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    Talk of bigger and smaller gears isn't referring to the physical size of the cog, but rather the distance traveled per pedal revolution. In this context, a smaller gear is like a lower gear on a car, etc.

    In short, turning a smaller gear shifts the workload toward the cardiovascular system. Turning a larger gear shifts the workload toward the leg muscles.
     
  14. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    In relation to the typo – I copied and pasted 53x13 measurement accidentally.
    (53x13 is mentioned as being the gear that Merckx was in at the bottom of the climb).

    It doesn’t take away from the fact that Merckx was using a huge gear, 53x17.
    I was putting forward an observation about the use of big gears, vis-à-vis, smaller gears.
    To support the point, I posted the Merckx example on the Tourmalet in 1969.

    Your initial reply to my post was derisory – you add in something about 1st April etc.
    Then you provided us with some stats about the Tourmalet and how no one can cycle up the Tourmalet using huge gears.
    You claim that because someone “said” that this happened, it doesn’t prove that it actually happened.

    I then went to the trouble of providing you with three independent corroborations
    from Cycle Sport, Lucien Van Impe and Felice Gimondi stating that Merckx was using the big gear on the Tourmalet at stage 17 of 1969 Tour De France.

    You then come back with the nugget that because no one was with Merckx all the way up the Tourmalet, how can we be sure that he used a heavy gear all the way up the Tourmalet ?
    You can’t comprehend anyone being able to use a huge gear on a gradient of 11%+, you state that there is no way that Merckx could have climbed the entire Tourmalet using 53x17 !
    You state that it is implausible for anyone to be able to do this !
    How do YOU know that Merckx didn’t use a 53x17 all the way up the Tourmalet ?

    It’s your opinion and with all due respect, I would place more value on the view
    of two TDF winners (Van Impe and Gimondi) who were there when this happened, rather than the view of someone from Australia posting to a Forum 25 years later, quite frankly.

    For the record, Dancelli – who finished second to Merckx on that stage – is quoted in LeMonde the following day, after the Tourmalet stage :

    “at the foot of the Tourmalet, Merckx geared down from 53x13 (my original, initial typo) to 53x17.
    I was directly behind Merckx in the bunch and I saw him gear down.
    I thought that he was having problems with his gears because he was pulling at his (gear) lever.
    I was part of the bunch with Van Impe, Gimondi, Poulidor and several other riders.
    Merckx quickly accelerated to the head of the bunch. As we climbed the Tourmalet, the bunch began to split. Merckx’s pace never changed, he pushed the same gear.
    Gradually, the bunch was reduced to a half dozen people. I quickly realised that instead of Merckx slowing, we began to slow and his (Merckx) tempo remained constant.
    I had to gear down just to be able to stay with at Merckx wheel.
    After several kilometers, none of us could hold him. He simply rolled on up the Tourmalet ahead of us”
    So Danceille says Merckx “pushed the same gear (53x17)” prefaced by “as we climbed the Tourmalet”
    Dancelli doesn’t say that Merckx altered his gearing from 53x17 “as we climbed the Tourmalet” – Dancelli states that “Merckx pushed the same gear – his pace never changed”.

    The whole point of this topic was to compare the use of big gears relative to small gears.
    I agree with Squarewheels, it is essentially immaterial if Merckx used 53x13, 53x17 or whatever, to climb the Tourmalet.
    However, in questioning the veracity of my account of this, I have referred you to the sources from where I got the Merckx example.

    If you don’t chose to accept the words of Gimondi, Van Impe and Dancelli : that’s your business.
    If you prefer to rely on your own opinion rather than the view of the people who were competing against Merckx on that day, that is your prerogative.

    Perhaps they all got together and fabricated this story – because it doesn’t fit your plausibility theory.
    After all, no one can cycle 11%+ gradients using a big gear now, can they, Velo ?

    If you want to discuss the use of gear ratios on the Tourmalet – perhaps you should start a separate thread ?

    PS If I have learnt anything about Eddy Merckx – it’s that Merckx was capable of doing things that neither you or I or anyone else has ever been able to replicate on a bike.
    Nothing would surprise me about what Merckx did on a bike during his career.
    Maybe, Merckx just felt simply very very good that day.
     
  15. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Carerra,

    I obviously don’t know what you rear wheel sprocket setup is (this can be referred to also
    as a cassette) but, based on what you are telling me, I would agree with the 55 yo guy who suggested that you do need some lighter gears (lighter being gears in which you can pedal more easily when going up hill).

    The lighter gears on your bike are the ones which are the biggest (physically) on your rear wheel – closest to your wheel.
    These gears normally have 19-23 teeth per gear (sprocket) and are the biggest (physically) on your rear wheel.
    The setup that you have probably doesn’t have a 23 tooth gear – it sounds to me that it needs one to be fitted.
    This can be easily done.

    When you are climbing, there is always going to be some “stress” on your legs, lungs etc.
    But this “stress” should not be at a level where it is impossible to turn the pedals.
    In your case, it sounds like you are cycling on the very lightest gear possible on your bike, yet you are finding it very difficult to turn the pedals as the hill goes on up (by the way, this is no reflection on your cycling ability – climbing, all climbing, is hard).
    So you need to have a lighter gear fitted to your bike to allow you to climb more easily.

    What I suggest that you do is this.
    Stand behind your bike and look at the gears on your back wheel which is closest to your wheel (looking from left to right).
    Then take off your back wheel and count the number of teeth (teeth being where the chain interacts with the gear.
    If there are less than 21 teeth on the gear closest to your rear wheel – you need to get a 21 tooth gear fitted and I would suggest that you also get a 23 tooth gear as well.
    While you are at it – I suggest that you should also count the number of teeth on the chainset at the front.
    To do this, got to where the pedal crank meets the chainset, and physically count the number of teeth on each chainring.
    Normally you have 52 or 53 teeth on the big ring and 39 (or 42) teeth on the smaller (inner) ring.

    When you are climbing, you need to ensure that your chain is on the 39 (or 42) chainring on the front.
    And at the back you need to ensure that your chain is running on
    the sprocket (gear) which is closest to your wheel.
    This will be the lowest (lightest/easiest) gear in which to cycle uphill.
     
  16. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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    In relation to the typo – I copied and pasted 53x13 measurement accidentally.

    You only did that once then cos you must have typed this "For example, in 1969 Eddy Merckx was said to have used the big ring to climb the Tourmalet : he used at 53 (front) and 13 (rear wheel sprocket)." Where is the post and paste error there?

    Also, how did you calculate a 28 feet roll out applicable to a 53x13 gear if it was always your intention to use 53x17 and the 53x13 was only a copy and paste glitch?

    It doesn’t take away from the fact that Merckx was using a huge gear, 53x17.

    But only at the start of the Tourmalet climb where it is relatively flat. The Col du Tourmalet attains its HC category over the last 10 kms of its 17.1 km length. It's average is 7.4% but at the end the gradient is over 10%. So you can guesstimate that there must be some real low values at the start to drop the average to 7.4%.

    (1st kilometre 2.5% and 2.3%. 2nd kilometre has a 0.8% grade)

    After several kilometers, none of us could hold him. He simply rolled on up the Tourmalet ahead of us”
    So Danceille says Merckx “pushed the same gear (53x17)” prefaced by “as we climbed the Tourmalet”
    Dancelli doesn’t say that Merckx altered his gearing from 53x17 “as we climbed the Tourmalet” – Dancelli states that “Merckx pushed the same gear – his pace never changed”.


    Yes, over the flatter and easier early kilometres until Merckx dropped them and went out of sight.

    However, in questioning the veracity of my account of this, I have referred you to the sources from where I got the Merckx example

    Your quotes to substantiate your initial 53x13 claim only cover the initial part of the climb.

    How do YOU know that Merckx didn’t use a 53x17 all the way up the Tourmalet ?

    How do YOU know that he did?

    It’s your opinion and with all due respect, I would place more value on the view of two TDF winners (Van Impe and Gimondi) who were there when this happened, rather than the view of someone from Australia posting to a Forum 25 years later, quite frankly.

    We are both in 2004. So does a post from Ireland have more forum credibility than one from Australia?

    Perhaps they all got together and fabricated this story – because it doesn’t fit your plausibility theory.
    After all, no one can cycle 11%+ gradients using a big gear now, can they, Velo ?


    We are not talking about WMDs here. No conspiracy theory. It is implausible to climb all the way up the HC category Tourmalet in either a 53x17 or 53x13 gear.

    According to Bernard Hinault in his book (released 1986), Merckx had a 53/44 front combo with 6 rear cogs (Hinault had 7, we are blessed with 8-10). Hinault says the 44 was Merckx favourite climbing gear. His rear combo was 13-19. So, if he used that rear combo, he had only one gear left (at an inefficient chain angle) after the flatter start before changing down to his climbing 44 chainwheel.

    For all your quotes, Limerickman, all you can declare is that Merckx used a 53x17 gear at the beginning of the Tourmalet on the flatter section. No point in speculating about the remainder.

    Maybe we will run into each other at Munster while watching the Wallabies and continue this debate over a Guinness :)
     
  17. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Velo,

    let me re-iterate this.
    53x13 was used by EM at the start of the climb.
    Dancelli says that he saw Merckx gear down to 53x17 and he (EM)
    went to the front.
    Dancelli says that he tried to stay with EM for several kilometres
    - with EM using 53x17 - before he (Dancelli) couldn't keep up with him.

    Neither of us were there !
    Realistically, we only have the accounts of people who were there
    to go by.
    You obviously know your Tourmalet and it's profile- and I accept that to cycle up gradients using a 53x?????, is mindblowing stuff.

    But it's certainly possible that Merckx could have cycled up the entire Tourmalet using a very high gear ?
    Put it this way, it doesn't come as a great shock to me (at least)
    that this type of feat is being attributed to Merckx.

    I accept what your saying - it is freakish that someone could
    try to cycle these gradients using this gear ratio.
    But why would three people say that he did so ?

    Either way - I'm not going to fall out with you over this because
    neither of us could cycle the Tourmalet on a 53 !

    Yes, if you happen to be in town, I'll have a pint with you and I
    will gladly show those articles !
     
  18. Carrera

    Carrera New Member

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    Hi!
    I'll have to do this count while I'm at work and find out how many teeth my cogs have. I never counted them so far but will try and let you know what I've got.

    "In your case, it sounds like you are cycling on the very lightest gear possible on your bike, yet you are finding it very difficult to turn the pedals as the hill goes on up (by the way, this is no reflection on your cycling ability – climbing, all climbing, is hard)."

    I don't find all climbing hard and can go on endlessly if the hill isn't very steep. However, I know of hills that are both staggeringly steep as well as long - hence my gear focus. As the situation stands with my present gears I can power my way up the steepest hills using all out physical effort. If I had lower gears (as you recommend) I imagine my muscular effort would be reduced, and I could make more use of aerobic capacity or spinning. As things stand I can endure maybe 10 minutes of maximum leg power (going up pretty fast) before my breathing begins to escalate. The thing is I know it's possible to do this hill in the high gear I'm using and recover at the top. I have the muscular power to get up there but how long can this all out effort be sustained unless a person is extremely fit? Yes I have gotten all the way up such hills at my peak last year but I was literally on my knees at the end and then suffered the bonk so I could hardly get myself back home. Of course, I still need these lower cogs you suggest but it would be great if I could perform well in a higher-range first gear. I weigh 180 pounds (maybe a little more) so I'd be quite content to be able to climb in higher and lower gears simultaneously.
    A cyclist once shared with me that a peleton rode up that hill one Sunday morning and it destroyed the group - with the exception of one rider (an old school friend of mine). Most of the riders floundered or dropped out but this one guy just went hell for leather, climbed the hill and left the whole group behind. He certainly has my admiration.



     
  19. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

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    Carrera,

    Ok - count the number of teeth on the two chainrings beside the pedals on your bike.
    And also count the teeth on two gears closest to your rear back wheel - on your back wheel.

    Without knowing this detail, i can't realistically help you.
    So as soon as you have these numbers, post them here and we'll
    take it from there.
     
  20. VeloFlash

    VeloFlash New Member

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    We are not progressing a debate if one party is relying only on speculation that Merckx "could" have used a 53x17 all the way up a HC climb. It is common sense that if he used a 53x17 at the commencement of the climb on the flatter sections he would have had to change down as the road went skyways.

    Merckx was a rider who was percentage points ahead of his contemporaries. Not a multiple of their ability.

    He ran a 53/44 13-19 set up, according to the Badger, Bernard Hinault.

    If he was in a 53x17 his next lowest gear would have been a 44x15. The 53x19 is lower than a 44x15 and should not be used because of the acute chain angle from the big ring. The 44x14 is the same as the 53x17, also pointed out by Bernard Hinault.

    Limerickman, one of the problems of gear changes in those days was the friction shifters (index shifters came in about 1980). When changing down you had to listen and feel for the next lowest gear and ease off on the pedal power while doing so. I understand that many riders stalled out on major climbs with friction shifters when they could not or did not ease off to find the next lowest cog.

    A rider of Merckx experience would not have entered the final 10k's of a climb, when it got much steeper, in the big ring with friction shifters, knowing he had the equivalent gear in the little ring with 4 lower support cogs.

    Another point.

    The Col du Tourmalet is the middle mountain on a three mountain stage - Tarbes to Luz-Ardiden - 141.5 km.

    Col d'Aspin being a Cat 1 climb and Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden being HC climbs - too steep to be categorised.

    Would any rider in their right mind use the strategy of using a muscle and back stressing big ring gear, if they could, up a 17.1 km HC climb knowing thay had another similar HC 14km climb (Luz-Ardiden) to finish the race?
     
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