Why can't some 'bents climb?



S

Sbtypesetter

Guest
I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a good
climber and why?

-Rick
 
L

Larry Varney

Guest
Sbtypesetter wrote:
> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> good climber and why?
>
> -Rick
>

False. A good climber requires stability, efficiency, and a strong engine. If it wobbles or
flexes, it's not going to climb well. But if the engine is weak, then nothing can overcome that.
Lighter is better, of course, but that's true for walking, running or any other forms of
propulsion, and not just climbing hills with bikes. Same goes for traction. Lose that, and you're
not going to climb (or do much of anything else) well.

--
Larry Varney Cold Spring, KY http://home.fuse.net/larryvarney
 
S

Steve Fox

Guest
Advice for you and others contemplating recumbents and climbing: pay
little attention to what you "hear." Try them yourself! :)

Steve

Sbtypesetter wrote:

>I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
>good climber and why?
>
> -Rick
>
>
>

--
Steve Fox McKinleyville, CA http://Steve2004.crazyguyonabike.com

O \ _____,%) (*)-'------------(*)
 
J

Jon Shinefeld

Guest
Echoing Larry's reply - it is usually the engine and not the bent that is the hill limiting factor.
However, having offered that opinion, on the other side of the fence, I am also riding an old
Raleigh Clubman, with upright bars, Brooks suspension saddle and a 40 inch low gear, and I clearly
do climb faster on this than on my VRex ... and with all the **** I carry, there is not a
significant weight difference between the 2 bikes. This speaks volumes for the advantages of being
able to change the mechanical relationship between the rider and pedals. In other words, sliding
forward on the saddle to help in seated climbing, or, being able to stand and honk to take advantage
of different muscle groups. Jon Shinefeld Philadelphia, PA 2001 VRex 1997 Stumpjumper - currently
still dressed in studded Nokian tires 1982 ish Raleigh Clubman, Carradice and all.

"Sbtypesetter" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
m05.aol.com...
> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> good climber and why?
>
> -Rick
 
P

Peter Sichel

Guest
On 2004-02-29 12:25:45 -0500, [email protected] (Sbtypesetter) said:

> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> good climber and why?

It is true that some bents climb better than others, but I wouldn't jump to the Vision and the Cobra
as the only good climbers. Try some and decide for yourself.

In general, good climbers are lightweight and efficient. Efficiency comes in part from stability
including a stiff frame and good tires. I prefer a solid rear triangle. As for weight, my bike
become a much better climber after I lost 10 lbs. To borrow a phrase, it's not about the bike.

- Peter
 
C

Chris Crawford

Guest
We know that all engines are different and that "it's" .... "not about the bike" ! It would ve nice
if these discussions would limit themselves to which "bike" is a better climber. I believe this the
question asked.

Regards Chris

Jon Shinefeld wrote:
> Echoing Larry's reply - it is usually the engine and not the bent that is the hill limiting
> factor. However, having offered that opinion, on the other side of the fence, I am also riding an
> old Raleigh Clubman, with upright bars, Brooks suspension saddle and a 40 inch low gear, and I
> clearly do climb faster on this than on my VRex ... and with all the **** I carry, there is not a
> significant weight difference between the 2 bikes. This speaks volumes for the advantages of being
> able to change the mechanical relationship between the rider and pedals. In other words, sliding
> forward on the saddle to help in seated climbing, or, being able to stand and honk to take
> advantage of different muscle groups. Jon Shinefeld Philadelphia, PA 2001 VRex 1997 Stumpjumper -
> currently still dressed in studded Nokian tires 1982 ish Raleigh Clubman, Carradice and all.
>
> "Sbtypesetter" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
> m05.aol.com...
>
>>I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
>>good climber and why?
>>
>> -Rick
>>
>
 
L

Larry Varney

Guest
Chris Crawford wrote:
> We know that all engines are different and that "it's" .... "not about the bike" ! It would ve
> nice if these discussions would limit themselves to which "bike" is a better climber. I believe
> this the question asked.
>
> Regards Chris
>
> Jon Shinefeld wrote:
>
>> Echoing Larry's reply - it is usually the engine and not the bent that is the hill limiting
>> factor. However, having offered that opinion, on the other side of the fence, I am also riding an
>> old Raleigh Clubman, with upright bars, Brooks suspension saddle and a 40 inch low gear, and I
>> clearly do climb faster on this than on my VRex ... and with all the **** I carry, there is not a
>> significant weight difference between the 2 bikes. This speaks volumes for the advantages of
>> being able to change the mechanical relationship between the rider and pedals. In other words,
>> sliding forward on the saddle to help in seated climbing, or, being able to stand and honk to
>> take advantage of different muscle groups. Jon Shinefeld Philadelphia, PA 2001 VRex 1997
>> Stumpjumper - currently still dressed in studded Nokian tires 1982 ish Raleigh Clubman, Carradice
>> and all.
>>
>> "Sbtypesetter" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
>> m05.aol.com...
>>
>>> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
>>> good climber and why?
>>>
>>> -Rick
>>>
>>
>>
>>
>

Actually, there were three questions, and none was which bike is a better climber. And I have the
feeling that if someone were to ask which bike is the better climber, we would not be presented
with an answer that was acceptable to all. Subjective opinions and annecdotal evidence, mixed in
with some objective criticisms - but a conclusive answer? Probably not. And besides, the better
climber isn't a bike at all, but a trike.

--
Larry Varney Cold Spring, KY http://home.fuse.net/larryvarney
 
J

Jeff Wills

Guest
Larry Varney <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
> Sbtypesetter wrote:
> > I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> > good climber and why?
> >
> > -Rick
> >
>
> False. A good climber requires stability, efficiency, and a strong engine. If it wobbles or
> flexes, it's not going to climb well. But if the engine is weak, then nothing can overcome
> that. Lighter is better, of course, but that's true for walking, running or any other forms of
> propulsion, and not just climbing hills with bikes. Same goes for traction. Lose that, and
> you're not going to climb (or do much of anything else) well.

FWIW: I rode Chilly Hilly today- one lap around Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. Here's the route
profile: http://www.cascade.org/EandR/CH_Ride_Info_Desc.cfm

I ride a Tour Easy with a front fairing and I weigh 220+ pounds (I've been putting on insulation
this winter). There were only two hills where I got onto my little chainring- and my middle
chainring is 44 teeth. I climbed past plenty of upright riders, too. The Tour Easy climbs fine.

Jeff
 
M

Mike S

Guest
> In general, good climbers are lightweight and efficient. Efficiency comes in part from stability
> including a stiff frame and good tires. I prefer a solid rear triangle. As for weight, my bike
> become a much better climber after I lost 10 lbs. To borrow a phrase, it's not about the bike.
>
> - Peter

I agree with Peter. Best climbing bikes I have ridden have been the Lightning P-38, my Barcroft
Virginia (with the M5 seat) and the V-Rex. The attributes for a good climbing machine for me are a
larger rear wheel, stiff/triangulated frame and relative lightness. But another important aspect is
how comfortable I am on the bike. I am sure the Bacchetta owners will extol the climbing abilities
of the Strada/Corsa/Aero, and the Volae people will proclaim the Team to be king. All nice bikes.
But I am not comfortable on them and that affects my ability to ride them (and to climb). I was also
going to add that a hardshell seat is also a plus but I realize after looking at my choices that
that is not true here, as the three bikes mentioned have different seats ( Ligntning-all mesh, Virginia-
M5, V-Rex-standard RANS). I will say the Virginia, which was a good climber before, became a better
climber after the M5 seat was added. And one last thing, remember that after you climb the hill you
still have to ride the bike home. So of the three I mentioned I prefer the Virginia and then the V-
Rex. The P-38, with its stiffer frame, climbed those hills but then bounced me home. The other two
have a less harsh ride. My opinion only.

Mike S. St. Louis, Mo.
 
H

Harv

Guest
Some bents can't climb because they have fat out of shape lardass motors
like mine. That being said, I think my Speedmachine has a more ergonomic
seat/position than my V-REX and I can climb maybe 1 mph faster. I hope as
the season goes along that number will increase. The SM is a SIGNIFICANTLY
better gravity engine and will plummet downhill at a scary rate.
"Sbtypesetter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> good climber and why?
>
> -Rick
 
J

Jon Shinefeld

Guest
There may be some folks out there who want to believe that one model or another will make them good
climbers. Although this message is implied by manufacturers' advertising, it is simply untrue
because climbing also depends greatly on the rider's fitness, strength to weight, etc. Therefore, a
particular model of bike will not be a *good climber* if the rider is not fit. I believe this
response addresses issues that the original poster's question raises. I hope that others continue to
respond with their anecdotal experiences on Brands X, Y and Z, because it is all good.

Now, of the 9 responses responses to the original query, all but 1 have included discussion about
issues in addition to "WHICH BIKE". Responses include frame geometry and design characteristics,
weight (bike and rider), fitness, biomechanical considerations, gearing, advice to try several
models rather than rely on subjective opinions, comfort and seat design. Four responses included
experiences regarding specific models. This suggests that other experienced recumbists conceptualize
hill climbing as depending on issues more far ranging that subjective opinions about specific models
of bikes. Having thought about this issue more, clipless pedals really enhance hill climbing
efficiency.

If this response is too oblique, feel free to skip to the next message, press the delete key, or by
all means send my email directly to a kill file. Thanks.

Jon Shinefeld Philadelphia, PA

"Chris Crawford" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> We know that all engines are different and that "it's" .... "not about the bike" ! It would ve
> nice if these discussions would limit themselves to which "bike" is a better climber. I believe
> this the question asked.
>
> Regards Chris
>
> Jon Shinefeld wrote:
> > Echoing Larry's reply - it is usually the engine and not the bent that
is
> > the hill limiting factor. However, having offered that opinion, on the other side of the fence,
> > I am also riding an old Raleigh Clubman, with upright bars, Brooks suspension saddle and a 40
> > inch low gear, and I
clearly
> > do climb faster on this than on my VRex ... and with all the **** I
carry,
> > there is not a significant weight difference between the 2 bikes. This speaks volumes for the
> > advantages of being able to change the mechanical relationship between the rider and pedals. In
> > other words, sliding
forward
> > on the saddle to help in seated climbing, or, being able to stand and
honk
> > to take advantage of different muscle groups. Jon Shinefeld Philadelphia, PA 2001 VRex 1997
> > Stumpjumper - currently still dressed in studded Nokian tires 1982 ish Raleigh Clubman,
> > Carradice and all.
> >
> > "Sbtypesetter" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]
> > m05.aol.com...
> >
> >>I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> >>good climber and why?
> >>
> >> -Rick
> >>
> >
> >
 
C

Curtis L . Russ

Guest
On Mon, 1 Mar 2004 14:59:12 -0500, "Jon Shinefeld" <ajshine at
comcast.net> wrote:

>There may be some folks out there who want to believe that one model or another will make them good
>climbers. Although this message is implied by manufacturers' advertising, it is simply untrue
>because climbing also depends greatly on the rider's fitness, strength to weight, etc.

And for the few bike riders that are that new to bike riding that they are unaware that there is a
sizeable human component to the climbing equation, I'm sure that is true. For most people on this
list, they are well aware of that and are asking if there are certain styles of recumbents that
would enhance their ability to climb over other styles, all other things being equal.

That said, my personal experience is that recumbents climb best for a range of body styles and, in
many cases, a range of inclines. Some SWBs have front wheel unweighting problems when it becomes
really steep, as an example. So while there are no doubt certain makes and models that are 'better
climbers', I think some need to step back and realize that just because a certain model works well
for them in the areas that they climb, it may not be best for a person with a different body size or
a different range of rates of climb.

Curtis L. Russell Odenton, MD (USA) Just someone on two wheels...
 
P

Perry B

Guest
Rick,

When I bought my Tailwind I thought recumbents can't climb. I then changed the cranks from 62-52-
39 to 52-42-30 and put on Evo bars. The bike and I could climb without weaving and I could spin
while climbing.

When I bought my V-Rex I thought recumbents can't climb. I then changed the cranks from 52-42-30 to
48-38-24. The bike and I could climb without weaving and I could spin while climbing.

When I bought my Easy Racers I thought recumbents can't climb. I then changed the cranks from 52-42-
30 to 46-34-20. The bike and I could climb without weaving and I could spin while climbing.

I guess some would say the downside of this is that I am no longer geared higher than df'ers so I
can no longer blow by them on downhills. I could care less about that. My Tailwind spins out at
about 38 mph, my V-Rex at about 42 mph and my Easy Racers at about 45 mph. Fast enought for me!

By selling a bent with only road gears and not climbing gears, bent manufacturers help perpetuate
the myth that "bents can't climb hills". They would sell more bikes if they would put
climbing/touring cranks on the bikes and offer road cranks as an option to the inadequate bikers who
have to prove they are faster than everyone else.

As always, YMMV.

Enjoy,

Perry B

[email protected] (Sbtypesetter) wrote in message news:<[email protected]
m05.aol.com>...
> I've heard that the Vision and the Cobra can climb while others can't. True? What consitiutes a
> good climber and why?
>
> -Rick
 
T

Tom Sherman

Guest
Perry B wrote:

> Rick,
>
> When I bought my Tailwind I thought recumbents can't climb. I then changed the cranks from 62-52-
> 39 to 52-42-30 and put on Evo bars. The bike and I could climb without weaving and I could spin
> while climbing....

I really appreciated the 15" low gear [1] on my RANS Wave to Tailwind conversion while climbing
steeper hills [2], as it allowed me to spin at 100-110 rpm while climbing at low speeds.

[1] 0.73:1 hub gear underdrive, 30/28 chainring/rear cog, 47-406 tire.
[2] E.g., Fosse Road on the Bike Psychos Century.

Tom Sherman - Quad Cities (Illinois Side)
 
D

Dave Larrington

Guest
Most Mondays I have cause to climb one of saarf London's nasty little hills; up until last week,
every time I had done so was on an upright with a 22" bottom gear. For the past two weeks I've done
it on the Speedmachine, also in a 22" gear. Faster than on the upright. I also have the benefit on
this bike of having another two gears below that...

--

Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
===========================================================
Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
===========================================================
 
R

Rcpinto

Guest
>Most Mondays I have cause to climb one of saarf London's nasty little hills; up until last week,
>every time I had done so was on an upright with a 22" bottom gear. For the past two weeks I've done
>it on the Speedmachine, also in a 22" gear. Faster than on the upright. I also have the benefit on
>this bike of having another two gears below that...
>
>--
>
>Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/

Sorry Dave..."faster than the upright" ??...that just cannot be! You must be one of those
recumbent zealots who is blinded by the comfort of your bent.

I suggest you reread all the hill climbing posts from the guys who have spent thirty+ years on
uprights and one or two seasons on recumbents to form their opinions!

Rich ;<)
 
D

Dave Larrington

Guest
RCPINTO wrote:

> Sorry Dave..."faster than the upright" ??...that just cannot be! You must be one of those
> recumbent zealots who is blinded by the comfort of your bent.
>
> I suggest you reread all the hill climbing posts from the guys who have spent thirty+ years on
> uprights and one or two seasons on recumbents to form their opinions!

It gets worse, Rich. I estimate that the upright is, when laden with the normal day's STUFF, about
eight pounds lighter than the recumbent...

--

Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
===========================================================
Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
===========================================================
 
M

Mike Rice

Guest
I climb about as well on my Tour Easy as I used to on my 30 year old Schwinn Varsity. Which is not
terribly well, but better each time out. This last weekend's ride I found myself cresting some of
the rollers in the low 20's (mph) on the way home, with a nice tailwind. The same rollers hadn't
been quite as co-operative on the way out. ;-)

Mike Rice
 
D

Dave Lehnen

Guest
Mike Rice wrote:

> I climb about as well on my Tour Easy as I used to on my 30 year old Schwinn Varsity. Which is not
> terribly well, but better each time out. This last weekend's ride I found myself cresting some of
> the rollers in the low 20's (mph) on the way home, with a nice tailwind. The same rollers hadn't
> been quite as co-operative on the way out. ;-)
>
> Mike Rice
>
>

Didn't the Varsity weigh almost 40 lb? My memory may be off, but they were very heavy bikes.

Dave Lehnen
 
M

Mike Rice

Guest
On Wed, 03 Mar 2004 15:39:37 GMT, Dave Lehnen
<[email protected]> wrote:

>>
>>
>
>Didn't the Varsity weigh almost 40 lb? My memory may be off, but they were very heavy bikes.
>
>Dave Lehnen

Yes, it is a heavy bike, and pretty well bullet-proof. The upside is that when I started riding
regularly (and doing Atkins) I lost as much as my new bike weighs ;-)

Mike
 

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