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  1. #1
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    climbing with high gear ratio

    Just wondering if anyone on here ride steep technical (rocks and roots and narrow) climbs with high gear ratios?? lets say higher than 2:1 ratio

    my bike (26er) is currently on 34:15 and it's been pretty easy for commuting however when i hit the trails last saturday, I couldn't climb MOST of the hills, there are a few steep and rocky hills and i had to push most of them.

    I'm thinking of lowering the gear ratio but I would really like to know if anyone out there could clean these types of climbs on 34-15 or higher??? reason I'm asking is that I'm a bit reluctant to lower it JUST after my first failure and also cause i commute with my bike most of the time. Thought if someone else could do this (which means it is a mission possible), then I should just man up and keep riding til I can do it instead of taking the easy route.

    So is 34:15 just not meant to do these type of climbs (i notice a lot of people ride less than 2:1) or is it just a matter of rider's ability??

    Thanks everyone in advance =)

  2. #2
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    good god man, 34x15? Jeez, my knees hurt thinking about pushing that. I ride 32x16 (2:1) and I STILL have a bit of trouble going up very steep quick inclines. That extra one or two teeth makes a huge difference.
    Ne quid nimis.
    Nothing in excess.

  3. #3
    one chain loop
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    32:15 is doable on hills and still fast enough on flats. tire choice is important too, the ones with the lowest rolling resistance.
    everything sucks but my vacuum cleaner.

  4. #4
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    Commute and ride off-road with the same bike? You, my friend, sound like a perfect candidate for a dinglespeed.

    Feel the love.

    --sParty
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  5. #5
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    High Gears!

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Commute and ride off-road with the same bike? You, my friend, sound like a perfect candidate for a dinglespeed.

    Feel the love.

    --sParty
    Yea, that or do the 4 tooth rule.

    I also have a 26" full rigid 34/14 gear.
    Very fast! Biggest pain is the cramping on climbs after an hour or so.
    Never had cramping at all with the 32/15 gear.
    Did a race amonth ago with a 32/14 gear and cramped on the climbs after an hour and a half.
    32-34/15 is about the limit for a fast uncramping on the climb gear for 26" IMO.

  6. #6
    a.k.a Slacker
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    I commend all you guys that can turn that type of gearing. I'm on my third ride, doing a 32/20 and I'm still dying.

  7. #7
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    I'm with OhSchitt on this one, except I use 32x16 pretty well. Will say that I have walked a couple of huge hills lately though
    Ne quid nimis.
    Nothing in excess.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhSchitt
    I commend all you guys that can turn that type of gearing. I'm on my third ride, doing a 32/20 and I'm still dying.
    But as you know - there's hills and then there's hills

    What I mean is, it's pointless asking other people what gearing they use and being over-influenced by their answer when they're not you, they don't ride where you ride or do the same type of riding. There are plenty of hills around here that I could happily climb on 32:16 (I'm talking 26er here BTW) but an awful lot that I can't, either because they're very long and very steep, or steep and a very soft draggy surface or whatever.
    My most used ratio is 32:19 - it lets me deal with the climbs the best (too low a gear for some though) and I can still spin out at 15mph on the flats. In winter I usually go as low as 32:21 as most of my riding is in forestry and it's muddy and draggy with plenty of steep pitches and tight switchbacks.
    I'd rather have a gear that will let me ride 99% of the stuff and put up with it being spinny on the level, than the other way round.
    I know that I run lower gearing than a lot of people, but it works for me and, if you can spin well, you can still get around at a fair rate of knots.

  9. #9
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    seems like I'm really running too high and asking for trouble =), guess I may just have to go 34-17 or 18.

    AndyR -
    =) yes I understand it's more of a personal preference and depends on the trail types.. but I just want to see if anyone out there could do those loose steep climbs with high gears so i know im not trying to achieve something that is not possible..(if you know what i mean =P).. sure I can always go lower a gear whenever i can't climb something but then i would have lost my point to riding a singlespeed =D (that's just me)

    Thanks guys for the reply =)

  10. #10
    808+909 = Party Good Time
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Commute and ride off-road with the same bike? You, my friend, sound like a perfect candidate for a dinglespeed.

    Feel the love.

    --sParty
    Or a fixie flip flop rear hub

  11. #11
    SSolo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Commute and ride off-road with the same bike? You, my friend, sound like a perfect candidate for a dinglespeed.

    Feel the love.

    --sParty
    yup..............

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy R
    But as you know - there's hills and then there's hills

    What I mean is, it's pointless asking other people what gearing they use and being over-influenced by their answer when they're not you, they don't ride where you ride or do the same type of riding. There are plenty of hills around here that I could happily climb on 32:16 (I'm talking 26er here BTW) but an awful lot that I can't, either because they're very long and very steep, or steep and a very soft draggy surface or whatever.
    My most used ratio is 32:19 - it lets me deal with the climbs the best (too low a gear for some though) and I can still spin out at 15mph on the flats. In winter I usually go as low as 32:21 as most of my riding is in forestry and it's muddy and draggy with plenty of steep pitches and tight switchbacks.
    I'd rather have a gear that will let me ride 99% of the stuff and put up with it being spinny on the level, than the other way round.
    I know that I run lower gearing than a lot of people, but it works for me and, if you can spin well, you can still get around at a fair rate of knots.
    Useful information can be obtained, but unless you've ridden with the particular person on the trail(s) that are being discussed, it is very hard to get a good direct comparison. But still useful info, just have to call it a guide. And yeah I wouldn't go to high....bettter to spin a lil bit than kill yourself on the climbs....or ya could walk the really tough ones and gear a lil higher.
    Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life son...

  12. #12
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    If you run a high gear long enough you will get stronger, but just as importantly you will learn how to balance at the really slow cadence times.

  13. #13
    a.k.a Slacker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz
    yup..............
    .or ya could walk the really tough ones and gear a lil higher.
    Walk the trails, that's blasphemy! just kidding. I do try to avoid having to do a hike a bike, especially if I'm riding solo - if i'm in a group and don't want to slow them down, I will. I'll stop and rest try to gather my strength a little and try the hill again though.

  14. #14
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    I think you should start from a ratio that match to your optimum performance on a geared bike (if you have one, that is) or the pace of your buddies’, then work toward upping it. Else I would totally burn out, or get disappointed badly. Therefore, I wouldn’t use gear ratios as your absolute scale (at least) initially.

    What I mean is this - I started SS last fall, and at that time I was much slower and got totally wiped on my SS, compared to my geared bike. But I was able to ride most of the foothills steeps somehow, although there was a little walking involved. So I decided to stay on SS. Recently, I started to cut my time by 5~8% on my SS on good days, compared to my geared bike. And I don't have to walk although I still stop a couple of times to catch my breath. But it's getting much better. If I can cut my time by more than 10% later in the year, no walking, and less (or no) stopping, then I’ll take it that I’m getting better and a time to up the ratio. In my opinion, repeatable measureable improvements are better than all-out tryout and burn out. It's a challenge I brought to myself, and I actually enjoy seeing some (slow) improvements. My wife laughs at my time-trial board in my garage. Just my 2 cents.

  15. #15
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    You could probably do it if you were a pro level cyclist. I've seen the Lalondes run 36:16 (29er) on a course that I barely clear everything with 32:18. So it's doable, but you have to not only be strong, but be able to carry your momentum.

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