1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    How do you improve climbing?

    I see riders climb hills like it's nothing, while I'm on the side struggling and having to stop. How do you guys improve in climbing better aside from riding more? Do you work out using free weights? Is there a certain way to climb with your bike?

  2. #2
    spec4life???..smh...
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    Look a few threads down where this is already being discussed.

  3. #3
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    i finally climbed a hill after i learned to shift to a lower gear and just have enough momentum going to the hill so i can keep spinning my legs till i make it up there ... if that doesn't work rarely i will try to stand up and push my way up the hill but most of the time i end up walking if my speed drops enough.

  4. #4
    spec4life???..smh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Devil-
    i finally climbed a hill after i learned to shift to a lower gear and just have enough momentum going to the hill so i can keep spinning my legs till i make it up there ... if that doesn't work rarely i will try to stand up and push my way up the hill but most of the time i end up walking if my speed drops enough.

    Are you hikeing or are you bikeing....

    Sry had to say it thats what i ask my ridin buddies all the time when they get off and push, all in good fun...

  5. #5
    i also unicycle
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    it depends on why you're failing at climbing. do you just get winded and/or run out of gas? then riding more and shifting earlier might fix your problem. do you constantly spin out and fail at having enough traction to keep you moving forward, then practicing keeping your weight back, but keeping pressure on the front wheel is probably what you need. either way practice will help.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
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  6. #6
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    don't be ashamed to use your granny gear.

    seriously though, climbing is a combination of skill, strength, and endurance. all of those things can be improved upon with practice. those guys climbing are probably just seasoned riders who wen through what you're going through at one point.

    i generally try to keep my butt on the seat at all times, so that i don't spin the back tire and lose traction. i've also picked up from MTB magazines that climbing with a slower cadence can be better for bike control, and also reduce the risk of spinning out the bike tire.

  7. #7
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    Thanks markf! I think I just need to ride more and stay on low gear. I'm not used to spinning.

  8. #8
    Just Ride
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    Yeah, stay in a low gear and sitting down. No problem in using a low gear to get up hills. Better then the guy in high gear who can't make it up.

    Just keep practicing until you find what works best for you.

  9. #9
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    Hi,

    If you're climbing (a steep hill), make sure that you are in a low gear (can be the lowest). In this gear you should get to the top of the hill easily. But now, shift one gear up and start riding standing up on your pedals (don't sit on your saddle). just play with this and see what works best for you. This way of climbing looks like you're dancing on those pedals. Lance Armstrong rides this way on steep climbs (maybe you've seen this?).

    When i climb i'm always in a lower gear than the other riders, so i make more round per minute with my pedals, but i'm getting to the top easier en faster. Don't try to ride with a too high gear (it hurts more and the speed is getting lower and lower). I still don't get it why some riders won't shift down, even when they're almost standing still?

    If the climb is "normal" i sit on my saddle and ride; when the hill is getting steeper i shift one gear up and ride standing up. When the climb it too long, i shift down again and ride sitting. This way of climbing really work out for me.

  10. #10
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    Riding a lot is really what helped me. No matter which way I go from my house, I have to climb a hill. The more I climb, the better my cardio endurance gets.

    I also agree with those who suggest downshifting, finding a low gear in which you can grind away, and then just peddling at your own pace. Don't worry about going up fast. Just try to find a gear and a pace that you can sustain. Then, the more you ride, the better you'll get.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by spec4life
    Are you hikeing or are you bikeing....

    Sry had to say it thats what i ask my ridin buddies all the time when they get off and push, all in good fun...
    hahaha i have asked myself that a few times as well while carrying the bike up a hill ...

    i am still hit or miss on climbing hills .. one day i can get up em no problem at all, the next time i hit that hill tho, about halfway up it i am stalled out and having to hop off the bike.

  12. #12
    Lone Wolf McQuade
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    Sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do!
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    I should be out riding....

  13. #13
    Rod
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    It would help if you would describe what type of hill. Is it a simple hill that's hardpack? Is it a loose hill with lots of rocks? Does the hill get steeper beyond a certain point? If it's a simple hill that's firm under your tires the guys have already given you some really good advice. You basically just need to use a lower gear until you gain enough strength to muscle up the hill in a bigger gear. If you like to stand while climbing you need to find the sweet spot so you can stand without losing traction. It takes time.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  14. #14
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    Granny <3

  15. #15
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    In my opinion endurance is the most important factor. Without endurance all the skill in the world, even strength, won't help for long. So, the best way to get better at climbing is to do a lot of it. This may sound obvious but I've ridden with guys who aren't good at climbing so they shy away from it and never get better.

    Jay-You're here in the South Bay, right? Fortunately there are some great places to train for climbing. My advice is to find a place with a good, but doable, climb, like Quicksilver. If Quicksilver is too big head over to Fremont Older. The key is to find somewhere that's not too overwhelming. Go specifically to climb. In other words, take the most direct route to the top. Do the same ride at least once a week and time yourself each time. Every time try to do a little better, push yourself. It may sound a bit boring but consider it training. Then you'll be in better shape for the longer, more fun, rides.

    Every Tuesday night I ride Quicksilver and do exactly what I describe above. My climbing has improved drastically. The other thing I do that I find has helped a lot is that I run 2-3 miles on days I don't ride. It's different muscles but really helps with the cardio endurance.

  16. #16
    too tired to be clever
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    I eventually have made climbs that I couldn't do. I always tell myself I came to ride, not hike. If I have to stop, I stop. But I restart and climb again until I have to stop. Sometimes I only make it .1 miles before I have to stop.

    It's usually been my heart rate that causes me to stop, and it wouldn't slow down while hiking, so I may as well let it settle, then try riding again. The upside is that I have developed some skill at getting started in sketchy spots, in addition to getting some cardio capability. I still am looking ahead for the next reasonably level spot on a climb, so in case I have to stop, I can get restarted.

    I do think any kind of aerobic exercise will help with the stamina needed for riding, so running, or an eliptical machine, or anything else you can do will help.

  17. #17
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    When im climbing I try my best to use, middle cog front instead of the lowest of gears using the bottom cog front, for a gradual, smoother climb, I have always done it like this because you seem some riders pedalling their heart out in a low gear, better off doing less rotations of the pedals slower I think...........and also, if it is technical or rocky, I will conserve my energy for these rocky sections, hitting them hard so Im not stopped or bogged down by them because they are the sections that take all your strength..nothing like hittin a rock and it stopping you dead!.... may be not the right way of doing it...but thats my way and it works for me.....
    Hold on 2 your f***n fillings !!!!!

  18. #18
    pedal pusher
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    Endurance has tons to do with it, as do muscular development, weight of your bike/equipment, lung capacity, etc. But the one thing that gets me up the meaning of hills is aggression: "It me or you, hill, and it AIN'T GONNA BE ME, FU---R!!!" I kinda learned that years ago in the gym while nearly trapped under the legpress rack. Sometimes you just have to grab that hill and wring it's f'ing neck. Once you make it to the top, let the happy thoughts come back.

  19. #19
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    I'm still a beginner, but some advise that's helped me is to climb the hill diagonally, that is, don't go straight up, rather go up at an angle. Obviously, this only really helps for wide trails. Just steer left and then right and then left - this effectively reduces the angle at which you're climbing, making it easier. As you get better, you'll need to swerve less.

  20. #20
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    I'm not a great technical climber but I try to improve. I've got this one hill that I use as a benchmark for my progress. I have always aproached the climb thinking I should be in a very low gear and I should stay on the seat as much as possible. Using those techniques I gradually improved but always spun out at the same spot.

    One day I got really PO'd and attacked it in a higher gear and mostly standing. I made it well past my usual spinout point and only stopped when I ran out of gas.

    I realized after that I was trying to rely to much on finesse and not enough on power. When I got PO'd and just attacked it with pure power I had much better results.

    Now I try to find the right balance of power and finesse. If possible I like to stand but am getting better at recognizing the spots where I need to get my weight on the seat to avoid a spinout. I also find that my technique while standing is gettin better and that I don't have to sit as often.

  21. #21
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    Bring the seat up and stick it in a comfy gear...play with these until you find a sweet spot
    if the grade gets bad sometimes you gotta just stand up and mash...click it 1-3 gears ahead of what you were in due to the increased power when you stand up and just push it...

    if you find yourself climbing alot clipless pedals might be a worthy investment due to the ability to be able to pull....comes in handy...click it up a gear and just stand up and do full cycles with tons of power


    lastly switchbacks...if you are climbing these suckers my advice is simple...bring it up the side....make a wide turn and dont get sucked into the middle line...dont lean and just bring er around

    you can only read so much...best to get better at climbing is just do it
    Lean back, Hit both brakes, And ask yourself, Do you feel lucky today?

  22. #22
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    At first I loved fast smooth decents (hopefully with jumps), then I started to love steep technical decents (scarey but fun), now I am finally getting some joy out of difficult climbs. You know, if you were still a kid all you would be thinking about is getting to the top so you could go down fast. You need to work on the climbs to be a good rider, but if you wanna walk some just do it. I do attempt the hard climbs if the mood strikes me, otherwise I just walk it sometimes; the main thing is you gotta want it bad, put er in granny and own that climb (also a lot of the dudes passing you probably know the perfect line on that particular climb, watch the line they are taking).

  23. #23
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    I almost never stand when climbing. I try and hit the hill in 2-3 gears above my lowest so that I have something to fall back to when I am slowing down. Also, like DesertDave said, there is no shame in stopping, just as long as you start again.

  24. #24
    Hardtail Warrior
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    Easy, get clipless pedals. They make climbing tremendously easy IMO. I think there is only one hill that I haven't been able to climb up since I've had them. Using these pedals and the techniques that have been previously mentioned are a winning combination. That being said, I'm still not 100% sold on clipless pedals because I feel a little bit less in control of my bike, specifically on my downhill. I've been holding my brakes way more than I want to lately. I'm hoping that over time I get better with them. Hijack over.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by opivyattack
    Easy, get clipless pedals. They make climbing tremendously easy IMO. I think there is only one hill that I haven't been able to climb up since I've had them. Using these pedals and the techniques that have been previously mentioned are a winning combination. That being said, I'm still not 100% sold on clipless pedals because I feel a little bit less in control of my bike, specifically on my downhill. I've been holding my brakes way more than I want to lately. I'm hoping that over time I get better with them. Hijack over.
    i noticed a substantial difference to climbing with clipless...its not like wowzorz what a diff...but its there if you swap back to plats...

    going downhill i find rather comforting being clipped in....until you realize that you are endoing and your left foot refuses to get out xD
    Lean back, Hit both brakes, And ask yourself, Do you feel lucky today?

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