What Percent Gradient To Use Lowest Gear On?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by JamesAA, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. JamesAA

    JamesAA New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    1
    I was on a short climb that ranges in gradient between 6.5% to 10%, and I was in the lowest gear the whole time. Is 7-8% not really steep enough to be using the lowest gear?

    I don't have a very expensive back. I'm not sure what the gear ratios are but it does have 21 gears (3 and 7), even thought I know there are some combinations we'd actually never use.

    Also my average speed was about 5.8-6.0 mph. That's pretty slow right? What should I be targeting on these climbs for a "good" speed? I could've gone faster but my HR would've gone into the anaerobic zone and then I wouldn't last as long. So I intentionally kept my speed under 6 mph cause that's where my HR was a comfy 148 bpm, which I can do all day long at that rate. 160 bpm is when things start to feel "hard" for me.
     
    Tags:


  2. Sunflogun

    Sunflogun Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    22
    Now now, I have no idea what you're talking about here. Whenever it's too heavy I just put a lighter gear.
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,011
    Likes Received:
    176
    Going fast up hills isn't rocket science. You train hard, you get fit and you get skinny.

    In order to go faster up hills you can do one of three things:

    - Lose weight. This is the really easy one.

    - Do intervals and generate more power for a shorter time. Go up the hill hard, turn around, rest on the way down and go for a little ride at the bottom to ease up the legs prior to the next effort up the hill. This is a quick and fairly "easy" way to get quicker in a short space of time. Repeat a few times.

    - Do lots of aerobic training and get quicker everywhere. This does take time but ultimately it's the best foundation for performance on the bike. If the hills you're talking about are about 10 minutes or less then this and intervals will help greatly.
     
  4. JamesAA

    JamesAA New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yes I know lol but thanks. My weight is already low and I'm already in good shape. I wanted to know if using the lowest gear on a 21 grear bike (3, 7) is common for decent cyclists at 8-10% gradients. I was on the lowest gear on the 10% grades and I was thinking better cyclists wouldn't have to be in the lowest gear.
     
  5. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2006
    Messages:
    2,214
    Likes Received:
    39
    James, rather than worry about what gear you're in, or what gearing a pro cyclist would use, think about your cadence on the climbs. Use your gears to select the cadence you want, and don't worry about what someone else would use.

    Next time you're out on the hill, count your cadence. Easy way to do this is just to count the number of times your right leg goes down on the pedal for 30 seconds, then multiply by 2 to get your revs per minute.

    For example, I was climbing my home hill this morning, which is mostly 10% with a short 14% section. Legs felt fine, so I was comfortable climbing up at 4 mph. I was in my lowest gear,a 30/27 combination, which gave me a cadence of 50 rpm. If I wanted to work harder up the hill, I'd just pedal faster. 75 rpm cadence would have me climbing at 6 mph, but would mean I'd have to put out 50% more power....not something I wanted to do this morning on my way home.
     
  6. limerickman

    limerickman Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Messages:
    16,131
    Likes Received:
    115
    DHK is spot on to suggest concentrating on cadence.

    It matters little what gear one uses on which gradient, generally.
    What is more important is being able to maintain an optimal cadence for the climb that you're attempting.
    Find a gear ratio which allows you to pedal a climb at a cadence which taxes you without exhausting you. And repeat.
    As your body becomes more acquainted with climbing adjust your gear ratio to a higher gear, to allow you achieve a cadence which taxes you without exhausting you.
    Over time and with consistent practice, you will gradually be able to use higher gears to climb.

    To improve one's climbing speed, you need to increase your power output. The more power you can generate the easier it becomes to climb which means that you begin to climb more quickly for longer.

    Power to weight is a subset of the improving power output discussion.
    If you can lose weight and train regularly doing climbing, you should see your power output increasing, making climbing easier.
     
  7. Khatib22

    Khatib22 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2015
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    1
    I think that 8% is the perfect sweet spot. I talk form personal experience and a few friends I bike with and we all agree that 8% is the best blend between push and pull on the pedal.
     
  8. Sunflogun

    Sunflogun Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2015
    Messages:
    400
    Likes Received:
    22
    Well, I just stand up and pedal and if I feel it too light I put on a heavier gear. I try to optimize my weight and movement, usually works out fine.
     
Loading...
Loading...