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.
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  1. #1
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    Preporation for a climb

    I am a noob with a tech riding question, I am making a decent and at what part should I start getting my gear lined up for the climb, these are very short hills and what seems to be occurring is as I start the climb I am in too tall of a gear and would like to be lower without any over-pedal/ over spin? That being said I never pay attention to "what gear I am in" ( by number) just looking for the feel of what I can use to make the climb comfortably and without tipping over

    Signed, "I hate eating dirt"

  2. #2
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    A decent what?

    Does your front shifting work well? I don't usually shift in advance unless there's an obstacle or something to really mess with my inertia. I can dump a bunch of gear pretty fast by shifting my front derailleur.

    I've also made an effort to widen my power band some. I like having a multi-speed drivetrain, but if I'm just going to shift back up right away, often I get out of the saddle instead.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  3. #3
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    A few revolutions of 'over-pedal' isn't really a bad thing. low stress on the drivetrain allows for quick, smooth shifts and good chain/cog longevity.
    As long as your drivetrain is reasonably well adjusted, you can adjust 3-4 gears either way in about 2 pedal revolutions, even with trigger shifters.

    You'll get better 'predicting' how many gears to dump as you transition from decsending to climbing as you ride more.
    As Andrw mentioned, getting out of the saddle to hammer out as few dozen feet until your speed stabilizes, or you clear the obstacle is a good skill to cultivate. maybe as important as gear selection is.

    I don't want to sound blunt and calloused, but: You're over thinking this. just pedal the bike and click the shifters as you feel necessary to match desired effort.
    Anyone who's ever learned to drive a manual transmission car has learned how to do it, it's the same principle.

  4. #4
    Old Fart Swamper
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    This won't help but wth,,

    If I start flying up a climb and realize If I pedal I'm just gonna, 'Chop Wood' I wait a second longer and start spinning a steady pretty fast cadence.

    The bike naturally slows up and my spin matches up, power starts flowing, I poor it on and stand when the spin starts to slow up until I start grunting.

    Then I drop onto the granny ring and spin my azz off as I get my chest right above the stem.

    Some where In all this pain I will crest the hill or down goes a foot and I loose the game.. :P
    Scott Spark 760
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    got a better seat, and a dropper post.
    Other than It's Bone stock.
    It Just works :P

  5. #5
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    cool Thanks,, I will work on my descent spelling !

  6. #6
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    1. Pick up a little extra speed prior to the climb
    2. Coast a bit at the start, allowing momentum to carry you part/most of the way up.
    3. Start pedaling again as you slow down
    4. Downshift BEFORE you get to the "I'm in too tall of a gear and can't push the one I'm in anymore" stage. Dumping a lot of gears under heavy power is hard on your drivetrain and you'll wear things out faster and/or be apt to break things sooner. When you do shift, ease up on the pedals a little.

    Through trial and error, you will learn the details better and as you get stronger and become a more skilled rider, you may even get to the point where you are so efficient with your momentum that you won't need to shift much at all for short climbs after a good descent.

  7. #7
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    I personally know what you mean and don't think you are over thinking it. I primarily ride 2 courses and one of them is pretty much all up hill to the top, then all down hill so finding the right gear is not that challenging. However, the other course I ride is somewhat multi-directional and has many sharp ups and downs that come at you very quick. Shifting through these is an art and if you do not plan ahead you will not make it up. I personally have not perfected it so I wouldn't try to offer advice. Also, maybe we are in the same boat as my front derailleur does not dump gears well at all while under climbing stress.

  8. #8
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    Yes NateDubya I get this as my example is a fast transitional change!

  9. #9
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    RE: Preporation for a climb

    IMO you want to keep your cadence consistent so start gearing down when you feel resistence or your cadence slowing. Before hitting the hill attack it by pedaling hard and gearing up to give you more momentum and more gears to downshift when on the hill.
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  10. #10
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    I'd suggest you start paying attention to what gear you're in (not necessarily the exact cog, but you should start getting to know within a gear or two). With this knowledge you'll develop a better sense of what gear you want to be in when you make your approach to the obstacle.
    '05 SC Blur
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  11. #11
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    I use the technique that NateHawk described. One key for me was shifting into a lower gear as I was cranking up before my cadence go too low and I lost all my speed. Downshift early. Also takes a while to figure out when to start pedaling after coasting up so the transition from coasting to power pedaling is smooth.

  12. #12
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    The down is easy. The up requires more effort and thought.

    When climbing, if you shift to a lower gear too early, you'll spin out and lose any power you've got.

    Stay in a mid range gear (everyone is different, but you'll learn what this is for you) and as you approach the hill, stay seated and prepare yourself to work, for example, depending upon factors, maybe three or four from your easiest gear. Give the hill several good revolutions in your current gear. Too hard? Grab one easier gear. Give that gear several good revolutions. Still too hard? Grab another, easier gear. Go through your range before you get to your big/little.

    I see way too many riders trying to grab too many gears too quickly once they've discovered their approach gear isn't the correct one. As others have indicated, set up is key to climbing correctly, and it takes practice. Not loosing your momentum or blowing your cadence out to a silly looking and ineffective 140 rpm is a skill. You'll get better.

    Body position can be a factor too. The steeper the hill but more you need to shift your body forward. If the hill in question is really steep, you'll find your butt well acquainted with the nose of your saddle. Sometimes its just easier, to get our body far forward (or even stand) and just power that f*cker out, ignoring your gear. This for me is true when I'm at the crest. Power over it, ***** at it, Recover from it.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    Preporation for a climb

    For me, pedaling is pretty much my default state.

    It's in the nature of descents that I'll coast some good chunks of them. But anytime I get a chance to grab a few pedal strokes, I do.

    It sounds like maybe some of you are waiting until you start losing speed before you start pedaling? I can see how I'd end up in too high a gear doing that. And I'm not saying I never do - MTB is all about challenge and variety.

    Point being, if I'm pedaling whenever I can, I'm usually not in too far wrong a gear to begin with and I can feel the change in terrain happening in time to react. And maybe this makes me sick, but I feel like I don't get as fatigued.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    Good stuff Andrw
    Scott Spark 760
    I no longer clip In,
    got a better seat, and a dropper post.
    Other than It's Bone stock.
    It Just works :P

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    For me, pedaling is pretty much my default state.

    It's in the nature of descents that I'll coast some good chunks of them. But anytime I get a chance to grab a few pedal strokes, I do.

    It sounds like maybe some of you are waiting until you start losing speed before you start pedaling? I can see how I'd end up in too high a gear doing that. And I'm not saying I never do - MTB is all about challenge and variety.

    Point being, if I'm pedaling whenever I can, I'm usually not in too far wrong a gear to begin with and I can feel the change in terrain happening in time to react. And maybe this makes me sick, but I feel like I don't get as fatigued.
    ^^^What he said.

    Add: On our tandem it is obvious when I shift wrong - stuff breaks! You're not over-thinking it.

    There is a course near us that has short, steep hills with sharp transitions at the bottom. You go down, slam through the tranny, then redline up the other side. It is very difficult to carry momentum on the tandem. If we are in the wrong gear, we will not make it, and the bike simply will not shift under that much pressure.

    Solution (and this takes practice): shift into whatever gear you will need at the start of the climb just as you enter the descent. Yes, I have messed this up many times, but I am learning. It is usually the same gear you would ride on technical flat ground. You can get 1 or 2 single cog shifts before you build so much pressure that your drivetrain will complain about it. If you try to dump 4 gears, something will go bad.

    So say you're in 4th cog on the flats and you hit a short descent into a short climb. Just coast in 4th on the down, then shift 3rd, 2nd, 1st early in the climb.

    If you know that you will be grinding up the climb right from the bottom, you probably don't have much momentum to conserve anyway, so get in your lower gear before you hit the descent. It always helps to shift early, either up or down.

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  16. #16
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    AS these guys have said, CARRY MOMENTUM whenever possible. More speed you have coming in the better. for really short climbs you may have to drop a cog or 2, just lay off pressure on the pedals while spinning, as you get batter you can make this shift quickly before killing all your momentum. As said, dropping too early will cause spin out, your climb just got way harder cause there went your speed. Much of the time on really short stuff I wont even shift, ill set to spin out barely on descent. then spin hard, power up the quick climb. Usually loose some cadence but regained quickly over the top. If I miss that slightly a quick stand and mash a to clear the top. Long stuff i usually drop 2 at a time or as some of my trails have, short steep descents into short steep climbs... like riding waves 2-3-4 times right in a row. those i just use weight/momentum and set gear I need to spin over the top of the next one, dont shift but maybe 1 up or down.

    Theres a couple techinques, youll have to figure out what way you like best, but dont shift under power and especially dont try to dump half a cassette while powering on the pedals. Momentum in any case is your friend the more you have going in and can maintain (without wearing yourself out too soon) over the top the better.
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