Why is road biking so hard?



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S

Steve B

Guest
Hi,

I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on Thursday,
and have been on two rides. I LOVE
it.

Here's the problem/question...

**Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**

Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
speed Ultegra set up.

Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this affect
my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy other ideas?
Get in shape and lose some pounds?

I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.

Any ideas?

Thanks!
 
D

Doug Huffman

Guest
What you do with what you have is more important than what you have. Work with the bike you have
until it is easy. By then you will have enough experience to move to the next step in your evolution
as a cyclist and not as a conspicuous consumer.

"Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi,
>
> I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> it.
>
> Here's the problem/question...
>
> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
>
> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> Thanks!
 
O

One Of The Six

Guest
The easiest thing for you to do would be change the back to a 12-27, or get a 13-30 from Sheldon
Brown. You might need a rear deraileur also.

"Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi,
>
> I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> it.
>
> Here's the problem/question...
>
> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
>
> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> Thanks!
 
A

Ari

Guest
Honestly, if you're already riding it very often and your purpose for riding is to become/stay
healthy, I would just keep riding it. You can become surprisingly fit in a small amount of time.

However, if you just ride along at a leisurely pace and think that the extra effort will
discourage you from taking rides, then by all means change the gearing. Riding in comfort beats
not riding at all.

Best advice would be for you to make this decision in a few months. If you still think it's too hard
then change the gearing.

"Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi,
>
> I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> it.
>
> Here's the problem/question...
>
> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
>
> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> Thanks!
 
A

Ari

Guest
can someone help me out, I lost the decoder ring needed to read cryptic posts.

"Doug Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> What you do with what you have is more important than what you have. Work with the bike you have
> until it is easy. By then you will have enough experience to move to the next step in your
> evolution as a cyclist and not as a conspicuous consumer.
>
>
> "Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > Hi,
> >
> > I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> > Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> > it.
> >
> > Here's the problem/question...
> >
> > **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
> >
> > Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> > gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> > speed Ultegra set up.
> >
> > Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> > affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> > other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
> >
> > I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
> >
> > Any ideas?
> >
> > Thanks!
 
D

David L. Johnso

Guest
On Mon, 17 Feb 2003 22:33:58 -0500, Steve B wrote:

> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**

The cheesy answer would be to ride more.
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing?

Look at the bolts. You can get a 38 to fit. BFD. There are three options:

1) get a wider cassette
2) get a crankset with a smaller bolt circle, so you can use a smaller inner ring
3) Get a triple.

A Shimano-type mountain-bike crankset will probably work well. You can leave the granny off and use
it as a double. But you would want to get a bigger big ring. These should be available, but maybe
not from Shimano.

I don't know whether your Dura-Ace shifter works for triples, but it's easy to see by trying for
that second shift.

If so, how small
> should I make it? WIll this affect my shifting?

Not badly. It works better with Campy, since they aren't so fussy as Shimano with the front shifter,
but a compatible crankset should work.

> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.

I used to live there. Great hills for riding. I can't believe that I rode all over there with my old
bike: 52/42 crankset, 14-18 cluster. But that was a few (like 30+) years ago.

--

David L. Johnson

__o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand _`\(,_ | mathematics. (_)/ (_) |
 
W

Wayne T

Guest
"one of the six billion" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> The easiest thing for you to do would be change the back to a 12-27, or
get
> a 13-30 from Sheldon Brown. You might need a rear deraileur also.

Also, If you replace the 39 with something smaller, you may have to replace the 52 with something
smaller as well. I can't remember the numbers but there is a maximum jump you can make from the
smaller ring to the larger. It might be 14 teeth. I'm sure some of the very knowlegeable here could
answer that.
>
>
>
> "Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > Hi,
> >
> > I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> > Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> > it.
> >
> > Here's the problem/question...
> >
> > **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
> >
> > Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> > gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> > speed Ultegra set up.
> >
> > Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> > affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> > other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
> >
> > I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
> >
> > Any ideas?
> >
> > Thanks!
 
D

David Ornee

Guest
"Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi,
>
> I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> it.
>
> Here's the problem/question...
>
> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
>
> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> Thanks!

I think the wisest choice would be to see if you can get another cassette. You could go to the shop
where you bought the bicycle and ask them to swap one for the lowest workable cogset that will work
with your existing RD (probably a 27). Make sure to ask them to check the chain to see if it is long
enough when the new cassette is installed. Other changes are more significant in complexity and
$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Enjoy the challenge of the hills, but save your knees.

David Ornee, Western Springs, IL (wishing I could be riding California hills)
 
O

One Of The Six

Guest
"Wayne T" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> "one of the six billion" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > The easiest thing for you to do would be change the back to a 12-27, or
> get
> > a 13-30 from Sheldon Brown. You might need a rear deraileur also.
>
> Also, If you replace the 39 with something smaller, you may have to
replace
> the 52 with something smaller as well. I can't remember the numbers but there is a maximum jump
> you can make from the smaller ring to the larger. It might be 14 teeth. I'm sure some of the very
> knowlegeable here could answer that.
> >
> >
> >

You can't change the front inner ring to anything smaller than 38 teeth without getting a new crank.
(although doing so is a good solution. I live in a similarly hilly area and I use a 34/48 in front
with a 12/25 in back, you don't need to do anything except change the crank and bottom bracket, I
sure wish there were a wider selection of 110 bcd doubles around)
 
T

Terry Morse

Guest
Steve B wrote:

> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.

The easiest and cheapest solution is to replace your current cassete with one that has a wider
ratio. I don't know for sure, but you may also need to replace your rear derailleur, depending on
which cassette you get. On group rides, I'm seeing more and more wide range cassettes with XT
derailleurs on double-chainring road bikes these days. A couple of stock 9-speed cassette sizes to
consider (13-25, 12-27). Both of these probably have lower gearing than what you have now.

You can play with Sheldon Brown's gear calculator to help you find the cogs that might suit you:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/gears/

Sheldon's custom "century special" cassette (13-30) is another option.

--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
 
E

Eric A Holeman

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, Steve B <[email protected]> wrote:

>I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on Thursday,
>and have been on two rides. I LOVE
>it.

Sounds like yer off to a good start.

>Here's the problem/question... **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**

What do you mean by "hard"?

>Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
>gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39.

If you're used to climbing hills with a 22-tooth mt. bike chainring, 39 is going to be a workout,
and while it will get easier, it's nice to have low gears available for climbing hills, despite what
other posters to other threads claim. Yes, you can certainly adjust your gearing, though 130 mm
bolt- circle-diameter chainrings of the sort your Ulcera setup requires don't get much smaller than
39 teeth, if at all. Anything smaller would require smaller cranks or switching to a triple.
Happily, this solution isn't as expensive as it useta be, but you'll still have to change out the
bottom bracket, crank, front derailleur and front shifter gizmo, and this is easily sounding like
$150 - $200.

If you only have two rides in and the bike still looks new, perhaps the shop you bought it from will
consider taking it back and letting you buy a triple-equipped bike instead, which is what they
should have sold you in the first place.

Alternatively, you can always watch for a cheap triple-equipped bike on Ebay--a few months ago you
could have picked up my nice low-end Specialized for $150 or less. Others will undoubtedly pop up.

--
---
Eric Holeman eholem1 at uic,edu Chicago Illinois USA
 
W

Watimena

Guest
Are you from America?

If so I understand why you did not get that last post. You see Americans get conditioned to consume
from a very young age........

Anything that goes against that is either cryptic and not worth the effort to think about, or
it's Communism

Jeremy

"ari" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> can someone help me out, I lost the decoder ring needed to read cryptic posts.
>
>
> "Doug Huffman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]...
> > What you do with what you have is more important than what you have.
Work
> > with the bike you have until it is easy. By then you will have enough experience to move to the
> > next step in your evolution as a cyclist and
not
> > as a conspicuous consumer.
> >
> >
> > "Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > news:[email protected]...
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> > > Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> > > it.
> > >
> > > Here's the problem/question...
> > >
> > > **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
> > >
> > > Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> > > gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> > > speed Ultegra set up.
> > >
> > > Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> > > affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> > > other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
> > >
> > > I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
> > >
> > > Any ideas?
> > >
> > > Thanks!
> >
>
 
M

Mike S.

Guest
"David L. Johnson >" <David L. Johnson <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> On Mon, 17 Feb 2003 22:33:58 -0500, Steve B wrote:
>
> > **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> The cheesy answer would be to ride more.
> >
> > Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> > gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> > speed Ultegra set up.
> >
> > Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing?
>
> Look at the bolts. You can get a 38 to fit. BFD. There are three options:
>
> 1) get a wider cassette
> 2) get a crankset with a smaller bolt circle, so you can use a smaller inner ring
> 3) Get a triple.
>
> A Shimano-type mountain-bike crankset will probably work well. You can leave the granny off and
> use it as a double. But you would want to get a bigger big ring. These should be available, but
> maybe not from Shimano.
>
> I don't know whether your Dura-Ace shifter works for triples, but it's easy to see by trying for
> that second shift.
>
> If so, how small
> > should I make it? WIll this affect my shifting?
>
> Not badly. It works better with Campy, since they aren't so fussy as Shimano with the front
> shifter, but a compatible crankset should work.
>
> > I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> I used to live there. Great hills for riding. I can't believe that I rode all over there with my
> old bike: 52/42 crankset, 14-18 cluster. But that was a few (like 30+) years ago.
>

Knees, we don't need no stinkin' knees! Straight block or nothing dammit!

Mike

>
> David L. Johnson
>
> __o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand _`\(,_ | mathematics. (_)/ (_) |
 
M

Michael Macclan

Guest
Eric A Holeman wrote:
> If you're used to climbing hills with a 22-tooth mt. bike chainring, 39 is going to be a workout,
> and while it will get easier, it's nice to have low gears available for climbing hills, despite
> what other posters to other threads claim. Yes, you can certainly adjust your gearing, though 130
> mm bolt- circle-diameter chainrings of the sort your Ulcera setup requires don't get much smaller
> than 39 teeth, if at all. Anything smaller would require smaller cranks or switching to a triple.
> Happily, this solution isn't as expensive as it useta be, but you'll still have to change out the
> bottom bracket, crank, front derailleur and front shifter gizmo, and this is easily sounding like
> $150 - $200.
>
> If you only have two rides in and the bike still looks new, perhaps the shop you bought it from
> will consider taking it back and letting you buy a triple-equipped bike instead, which is what
> they should have sold you in the first place.
>
> Alternatively, you can always watch for a cheap triple-equipped bike on Ebay--a few months ago you
> could have picked up my nice low-end Specialized for $150 or less. Others will undoubtedly pop up.

I spent a lot of time reading about gearing before going out and buying a new bike myself. I think
that Eric's advice above is a perfect presentation of the factors you need to consider.

Just a couple of extra points though. Is the bike set up for you correctly (saddle height, handlebar
reach etc.)? Are you using all the gears on the bike? (Sounds silly, I know, but you might be trying
to do something unnecessary.)

Two rides aren't a lot if you've not cycled for a while, perhaps the problem will disappear when you
get fitter. However, if it really is very hilly where you are then fitting a triple chainwheel or
changing the bike for one with a triple sounds like the best solution.
--
Michael MacClancy
 
R

Robert Strickla

Guest
> > Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> > gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> > speed Ultegra set up.
> >
> > Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> > affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> > other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
> >
> > I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
> >
> > Any ideas?
> >

I'd recommend to do what I did which was to swap my 53 our for a 50 (since the 53 was rarely put to
good use) and to use an XT rd with an 11-30 cassette. Now I find I use both chainrings about equally
and have a lot of room on the lower end for hills. Ebay was really helpful in doing this cheaply.

Rob Strickland
 
M

Michael Macclan

Guest
Robert Strickland wrote:
>
> I'd recommend to do what I did which was to swap my 53 our for a 50 (since the 53 was rarely put
> to good use) and to use an XT rd with an 11-30 cassette. Now I find I use both chainrings about
> equally and have a lot of room on the lower end for hills. Ebay was really helpful in doing this
> cheaply.
>
> Rob Strickland

Just put on a triple and be done with it. The new Zurich comes with a triple as an option. Ignore
anything you might read from purists who tell you not to have a triple. When you get a bit stronger
you can always put the double back on.
--
Michael MacClancy
 
A

Ajames54

Guest
On 17 Feb 2003 19:33:58 -0800, [email protected] (Steve B) wrote:

>Hi,
>
>I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on Thursday,
>and have been on two rides. I LOVE
>it.
>
>Here's the problem/question...
>
>**Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
Snip...
>Any ideas?
>
>Thanks!

There is one thing I always try to impress on mountain bikers who are transitioning to road ... SPIN
... in most cases Mountain Bikers are prone to push a higher gear at a lower cadence that would a
roadie. This makes hills higher that they need to be. Before you start buying more kit, try training
yourself to drop a gear and increase your cadence.

When you hit a hill don't wait until your muscles tell you it is time to drop a gear ... drop the
gear and increase your cadence a bit... as your cadence drops, drop another gear. Eventually you
will get to a point where you can go up and down hills (and through the gears) without changing your
cadence more than about 5 rpm.

It is tough to retrain yourself you may want to get a computer with cadence ... others would
probably pick a different target but I usually suggest aiming for 80 rpm ( but since I have never
ridden with you and never seen you I could be way off).
 
D

Derral

Guest
you can change your rear cassette to a 11-34 mountain bike, and use a mountain bike rear
derailer, either an XT or LX will work with your Ultegra Shifter, I've did this, it gives you
good climbing ability.

"Steve B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi,
>
> I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> it.
>
> Here's the problem/question...
>
> **Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
>
> Granted, I am getting back down to my fighting weight, but I am wondering if I can change my
> gearing to make it a little easier. I've got a two-ring set up with a 52 and a 39. It's a nine
> speed Ultegra set up.
>
> Can I make the second ring smaller for climbing? If so, how small should I make it? WIll this
> affect my shifting? Can I add a third ring? Based on posts, this seems hard and expensive. ANy
> other ideas? Get in shape and lose some pounds?
>
> I live in Berkeley, so I've got lots of hills and climbs. Up and down.
>
> Any ideas?
>
> Thanks!
 
T

Terry Morse

Guest
Michael MacClancy wrote:

> Just put on a triple and be done with it. The new Zurich comes with a triple as an option. Ignore
> anything you might read from purists who tell you not to have a triple.

I'm not a purist, but I still think changing over to a triple is ill advised. It's just too
expensive an option, when a similar range of gears can be obtained with a new cassette and rear
derailleur.
--
terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
 
R

Robin Hubert

Guest
"ajames54" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> On 17 Feb 2003 19:33:58 -0800, [email protected] (Steve B) wrote:
>
> >Hi,
> >
> >I am a newbie to road biking, from mountain biking. I JUST bought a used LeMond Zurich on
> >Thursday, and have been on two rides. I LOVE
> >it.
> >
> >Here's the problem/question...
> >
> >**Why is road biking so hard, and how do I make it easier?**
> Snip...
> >Any ideas?
> >
> >Thanks!
>
>
> There is one thing I always try to impress on mountain bikers who are transitioning to road ...
> SPIN ... in most cases Mountain Bikers are prone to push a higher gear at a lower cadence that
> would a roadie. This makes hills higher that they need to be. Before you start buying more kit,
> try training yourself to drop a gear and increase your cadence.
>
> When you hit a hill don't wait until your muscles tell you it is time to drop a gear ... drop the
> gear and increase your cadence a bit... as your cadence drops, drop another gear. Eventually you
> will get to a point where you can go up and down hills (and through the gears) without changing
> your cadence more than about 5 rpm.

Why complicate things for the poor fella? Cadence features on computers are just a distraction and
no-one needs them. BTW, what's Jobst's hill-climbing cadence? I even wonder if he knows ....

>
> It is tough to retrain yourself you may want to get a computer with cadence ... others would
> probably pick a different target but I usually suggest aiming for 80 rpm ( but since I have never
> ridden with you and never seen you I could be way off).

And how do you "know" what the best cadence is, for anyone but yourself?

Robin Hubert
 
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