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  1. #1
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    Do all bikes climb great?

    I'm getting tired of hearing how great every bike climbs. Maybe it's time to set the bar higher. Who's got an all mountain bike that doesn't climb very well. I've got a Yeti ASR5c and it climbs okay. It would probably climb great if I was in better shape.

  2. #2
    GAME ON!
    Reputation: saturnine's Avatar
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    if you were to line up every bike on the market at the bottom of a hill, you'd find that none of them go anywhere. bikes don't climb, riders do.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  3. #3
    Give it a crank
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    It's because riders think a bike is a great climber if the get to the top of a climb. They find something else to ride when a bike doesn't climb as well, and you never hear about a climb that never happened.

    Nice sarcasm by "saturnine", +rep.

  4. #4
    Climbs = necessary evil
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    My 1st gen Nomad doesn't. I recently converted the RS Solo Air to a U-Turn so I could drop the front end on those long climbs not have to fight to keep the front end tracking while climbing.

  5. #5
    GAME ON!
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    it's just simply not quantifiable. if a specific suspension design addresses a specific rider's deficiencies then it would appear that that design is more capable than the others that did not. i know people who can literally climb any grade on any bike so it can't be a matter of one over the other. there are most definitely different designs that work better for different people. granted, i am not aware of any test where a given set of variables were identical and performed in the exact same way with different bikes to definitively conclude the superior design.

    if a single-pivot bike "doesn't climb well" then it is up to the rider to change the way they ride to overcome the bike's faults. to say that a vpp bike doesn't climb very well while hundreds claim it to be one of the best is simply contradictory.

    i have a dw-link bike so it climbs while i read a book but that is beside the point.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  6. #6
    Finally stateside again
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    my stump evo climbs pretty well. no xc marathon machine though. but i did used to pedal my dh bike up hill before i got it so its a dream compared to a 40lb dh bike. but it really is up to the rider and how it makes them feel though.

  7. #7
    some know me as mongo
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    That is a big negative. My nomad carbon is not a good climber, it gets me up the hills within fall but by no means motors up the climbs like a good XC bike. My old XC bike a tomac carbide was a great climber in or out of the saddle, it just flew up climbs.

    I have recently been considering a hardtail 29er AM bike like a Transition TransAM 29 because of climbing. It has much better geo for climbing

  8. #8
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    I think it's 90% to the rider.. I climb the same stuff with my 6.7" AM bike as I do with my 4" XC bike, I just get more tired and slower to the top, but on rocky/technical climbs the AM bike wins.

    However, I did try a 2010 Commenšal Meta and I think it's crap to climb with on the steep stuff.. my guess is that it was due to the slack seat angle, but it probably had U-Turn forks for a reason..

  9. #9
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    difference between bikes is what? 10 - 15 lb max?
    you can make much more difference by loosing your own weight :-)

    And that is naturally easy to do ... as heavier you are as harder it is to climb, as harder it is as more weight you loose, as more weight you loose as easier it becomes :-)

    it is not about bike climbing, it is about rider climbing (weight vs strength)

    you can throw in 2000 dollars and save 2-3lb , you can skip few burgers and make much more difference without any cost at all :-)
    There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can. Henry Ford

  10. #10
    wuss
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salt Yeti View Post
    I'm getting tired of hearing how great every bike climbs. Maybe it's time to set the bar higher. Who's got an all mountain bike that doesn't climb very well. I've got a Yeti ASR5c and it climbs okay. It would probably climb great if I was in better shape.
    People have very different definitions on what "climbs great" means.

    For me my Uzzi VP climbs great as the climbs here are shortish and full of rocks and roots. The rear end has a lot more traction then my previous 4-6" bikes and the suspension allows me to bomb to the climb with full speed even if there where pretty large obstacles on the way.

    If the climbs where long and the challenge was endurance, keeping the front end down or something similar I would probably feel very different. Near my summer house there are. Some long climbs where traction is ok, and I would definately prefer having a more xc bike over there, and would not consider this to climb well if thats where I spent most of my time...

    Some people might encounter both frequently and when they are talking about good climbs they mean the balance between different aspects of climbing.

    And of couse bikes and suspension are getting better and better. Few people downgrade their bikes meaning the one they have now is generally the best they know of.

  11. #11
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    not a lot of experience but here are my two cents, I always rode hardtails and they were supposed to be great climbers, had a Specialized stumpjumper 2004 before moving to a Giant Trance just a few months ago.

    My surprise is that it climbs much better for two reasons:

    1) The front end never lifts in steep trail climbs like my HT did, it should be the opposite considering is not at steep in the headtube. This makes me save a ton of energy since I don┤t have to balance my body for the climb just sit and spin.

    2) The back wheel tracks great with the shock and I never lose traction.

    So I guess any bike that the front wheel stays tracked in a climb will be a good bike.

  12. #12
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    For me, there are two primary types of positive climbing attributes a bike can have; first deals withpower robbing suspension movement, second is traction. Then, other variables can come into play for each rider and bike; like front end wander.
    My MotoLite has always bobbed a bit more than I want on the climbs and I can feel the power being zapped out of me on long climbs. I would label it as an OK to good climber.
    An example, my gen 1 Nomad climbed smooth track like a machine. It had fairly good traction too. The problem was when the climbs got chunky and overly steep. I was constantly fighting the pedal feedback.
    My new El Guapo climbs like a friggin tractor. On the smooth climbs it is barely less capable than the nomad but the traction is much better. When the climbs get technical, it is amazing how this thing just keeps on moving forward.
    I will add that when I moved from a 150mm fork to a 160 mm fork I had to make some adjustments to my saddle position and stem height as the bike wanted to lean back and loft the front wheel, and the front end wandered a lot. After the adjustments, all is well. I mention this because some people might not be able to find fixes to these types of situations and label a bike as a bad climber.

  13. #13
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    mnigro how one would adjust the stem and saddle, saddle a bit more forward and Stem negative? What about headtube angles do you think steeper makes climbing more difficult?

    I ask this because no matter how much I adjusted my HT the front wheel would lift much easier than in my Trance, I┤d like to understand what Geometry changes make this possible. Can this be down to HT from 71" to 69.5"?

  14. #14
    GAME ON!
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    steeper head angle should help with climbing. so should a more upright seat tube.
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  15. #15
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    As others have mentioned, part of climbing is keeping the front end down.

    For seated climbing, this is going to depend somewhat on where the seat is relative to the rear axle (seat tube angle and seat position on the post rails), and whether the rider is on the nose of the saddle or not.

    Handlebar height and position are going to be a factor also, along with front suspension extension, if that is adjustable.

    Rear suspension, in my experience, has effects that cut opposite ways. The Hoerst Link on my old Enduro sucked up a lot of energy, but the tire stayed in contact with the ground under conditions that cause my much more efficient VPP linkage Blur to break loose. Tire width works in equivalent ways.

    For short and steep climbs, having a light bike that accelerates quickly can make a huge difference in performance. Momentum is your friend.

    Rating one bike as being a "better" climber than another crams a lot of factors into one idea.

    Walt

  16. #16
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    My bike sucks at climbing. The marketing was all bs -- I thought it was supposed to make my climbs easy! I still get tired, out of breath, my legs burn, etc, on my new bike. What? I should get in shape? Do you think that will help?

    Like most things bike-related, I think that climbing prowess is probably overstated. It is more about the rider and his legs, IMO. That said, I can feel a little difference climbing on my relatively slack Enduro compared to other bikes I've had. The front gets light when the trail gets steep, and I have to make a more concerted effort to stay forward on it. Only took a couple rides to get used to, no big deal, but at least I could see a little difference in climbing ability.

    But in reality, I hate climbing on any bike!
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
    '13 Felt Z4 for the road

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Liternit View Post
    mnigro how one would adjust the stem and saddle, saddle a bit more forward and Stem negative? What about headtube angles do you think steeper makes climbing more difficult?

    I ask this because no matter how much I adjusted my HT the front wheel would lift much easier than in my Trance, I┤d like to understand what Geometry changes make this possible. Can this be down to HT from 71" to 69.5"?
    Steeper headtubes generally make it easier to keep the front wheel planted. Chainstay length (bike geo) plays a part in this as do other factors.

    In my case, adding an extra 10mm to my stem stack height and an added 15mm in A-to-C height, I could tell a significant difference in how much the front end lofted on climbs, how much the front end wanted to wander and how my weight was transferred to the rear end. I ended up lowering my stem 10 mm by moving a spacer above it (I don't ever cut the steer tube "short" until experimenting for months) and slid my saddle forward about 5mm to compensate for a slightly slacker seat tube angle.

    Hope this helps.

  18. #18
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    LOL, I don't usually visit this forum but saw it in the "new threads."

    My bike climbs great. It's a short-travel hardtail.

    I've been demoing more bikes lately, though.
    Didn't like the Ibis Mojo whatever.
    Didn't like the GT i-Drive.

    Still curious about a platform like the Stumpjumper, though, and I thought the Anthem climbed okay although it didn't do anything for me on the way back down that my little hardtail doesn't.

    I think it's a tough problem. The things that make a bike awesome on the way down interfere with it being solid on the way up.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  19. #19
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    saturnine thats what I thought until I rode a "slacker" angle, all my old bikes used to be XC 71" and the front end always came up in trail climbs, 71" maybe better for pedaling position/efficiency.

    Walt so a steeper seatube angle on a bike will make the front lift less? could that be the reason why some trail bike will climb better in the trail with a seatube of 73.5" against a XC bike with 72.5"?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mnigro View Post
    Steeper headtubes generally make it easier to keep the front wheel planted. Chainstay length (bike geo) plays a part in this as do other factors.

    In my case, adding an extra 10mm to my stem stack height and an added 15mm in A-to-C height, I could tell a significant difference in how much the front end lofted on climbs, how much the front end wanted to wander and how my weight was transferred to the rear end. I ended up lowering my stem 10 mm by moving a spacer above it (I don't ever cut the steer tube "short" until experimenting for months) and slid my saddle forward about 5mm to compensate for a slightly slacker seat tube angle.

    Hope this helps.
    helped a lot thank you!

    I also never cut the steer rather have some spacers on top, but no matter what I did to my XC HT bikes the front always came up very easily on trails, most of the time I would just pedal in a wheelie up to the top or bite the stem.

    Just a couple of rides in a Trance X and I don┤t have to put half the effort in climbs.

    Its hard to be outside of the US, changing a bike is much more expensive and we don┤t have LBS demoing bikes, you have to either buy without testing or traveling to the US hoping to demo and buy.

    So when people say its the rider understand that some people are riding stuff from way back in time like 5/10 years behind the US

    I guess the seat angle could be the most important here, XC bikes have a slacker seat angle and some trail bike are a little more steep. One favors pedaling efficiency and the other weight distribution.

  21. #21
    GAME ON!
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    i think you're messing up slack and steep. xc bikes tend to have a steeper seat tube angle
    RIP Adam Yauch

    "M.C. for what I AM and do, the A is for Adam and the lyrics; true"

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    i think you're messing up slack and steep. xc bikes tend to have a steeper seat tube angle
    Not the case with Giant at least their trail is steeper (73.5) than their XC (73 Anthem/72.5 XTC)

  23. #23
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    Some bikes ARE better at it than others. My HD climbs good, The SLR climbs better, my Tranny hairtail climbs very very good. Yes bikes DO make a difference, but yes, you need to be in somewhat decent shape to start riding and climbing.

  24. #24
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    When is the last time you saw a bike magazine publish a negative review? Same with the online sites.... unfortunately, you can't believe all the crap you hear, you just have to ride the bikes for yourself.

  25. #25
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    I have to say I'm tired of hearing people say the weight
    of a bike isn't important. That it is better for the rider to
    lose some weight. Well I'm 6'1" and weight 155 pounds.
    How the hell do you expect me to lose 5 or more pounds?
    Not everyone is fat and overweight, and yes a lighter bike
    does climb better.

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