First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .

    I realize this is a MTB forum, but I went on my first group ride, which was a 15 mile road ride for charity. I was on my 2013 Rockhopper Comp with 2.35" Big Apples, with a locked-out fork. The route was changed last minute to a route with monster hills. Everyone except me was on a road bike.

    I did not expect to be able to keep pace with the road bikes, but I nearly ran some of them over going downhill. I guess the momentum is insane with a big, heavy bike, and heavy tires. But climbing, I was absolutely embarrassed, and way beyond my max HR.

    One guy waited up and rode with me, but the other guys were way, way, way ahead.

    My MTB should climb easier b/c of the gearing. I get that it's heavy, and I'm a relatively inexperienced Clyde, but. . . even on a solo road ride this weekend, I had a very hard time on the big hills.

    My question would be. . . Do you guys think going clipless would help this? Would there be anything else I could do to make climbing a bit easier on this bike? I'm truly using it just as a road bike for now, as there really are no trails close-by.

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    The usual answer is lighter wheels get you more performance per buck than any other modification.

    Lighter tires are cheaper than wheels.

    Walt

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    First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .

    Start with lightweight, smaller slick tires. No need for a 2.35" tire on road.
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

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    Thanks. . . Do you guys think lighter wheels are even noticeable to someone weighing in at 290? Or is it more about the rolling weight?

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    rotational weight + rolling resistance. My 2.35 nevegal is slow as hell and I'd never keep up to a road bike uphill.

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    Road bike on the road: so much easier than MTB. I have un Spec cyclocross for the road and it's far from being a featherweight but it's at least 50% easier/faster, especially going up or on flat road.

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    heavy bike and heavy rider means slow up hills and fast downhills. It takes twice as much effort to ride up a hill as some 145lbs rider. That applies even if both are fit as it just simple weight. On the flats it is not so bad since speed is mostly air drag, but you will feel it on every climb.
    Joe
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  8. #8
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    Its all in your tires pal. 2.35 chunky tread will give a wealth of resistance. also you want to up the psi if on roads.

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    I've got a buddy who's a very strong rider. He's in the 240-250 range. He rides with pretty fast folks on the road and mtb, but as soon as the ride bucks uphill, he falls off the back. Road bike or mtb, it matters not. Moving that weight uphill takes a lot of work.

    Your bike choice didn't do you any favors. While having low gears available means you have the ability to crank uphill at a very slow pace without blowing yourself up, it does not mean you'll get up the same hill faster than someone on a road bike with taller gears. A lighter rider on a road bike with fast tires and tall gears is going to fly uphill compared to anyone on a low geared mtb. The caveat for you is that unless you're a very strong rider already, just changing bikes won't automatically make you faster on that same route. You need the strength/weight ratio to push those gears in addition.

    Given your situation, changing a single component isn't going to make an appreciable difference with this situation. Changing to an actual road bike would be a more noticeable difference, but if you're inexperienced and have lower fitness to go along with that, you're still going to hurt/be slow on the climbs. For now, I'd continue to ride what you've got and build your base miles. Find some mtb trails when you can. They're fun. If road biking is really what you're going to be riding most, it would be worthwhile to get a dedicated road bike in the future. As you build mileage and increase the intensity of your rides, you will build fitness and your bike strength. Go out there and ride those hills on a regular basis and notice how you get faster on them over time. You'll drop weight and that will help you get up them faster still. Clipless will help with your pedaling efficiency at some point, when you decide to make that leap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briley View Post
    I was on my 2013 Rockhopper Comp with 2.35" Big Apples, with a locked-out fork. The route was changed last minute to a route with monster hills. Everyone except me was on a road bike.

    but I nearly ran some of them over going downhill. I guess the momentum is insane with a big, heavy bike, and heavy tires. But climbing, I was absolutely embarrassed, and way beyond my max HR.

    Do you guys think going clipless would help this? Would there be anything else I could do to make climbing a bit easier on this bike? I'm truly using it just as a road bike for now, as there really are no trails close-by.
    Basically going up hill it is power to weight ratio and you were on the losing side in that battle basically every pound counts big time.

    As far as going downhill fat guys always go faster....

    If you want to keep up get a road bike with clips (yes clips will help), but just as important is the weight savings.

    Oh and lose a few pounds.....best done by trying to chase young light guys up big hills.

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    Rotating weight is irrelevant to climbing; it's only all up weight that counts. Light wheels feel livelier, but they don't go up hills any faster than making any other part lighter.

    Heavier tires usually have more rolling resistance so that's definitely important but no more so on hills than on the flats, other than they are lighter overall.

    The only time having lighter wheels is important for climbing is if you need to sprint to a finish at the top; they will accelerate faster but at a steady speed make no difference.

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    I agree with Nate. Ride uphill more often and loose more weight. Equipment upgrades will help very little at this point. If you instead would´ve had a road bike and those roadies were riding mtbs with big tire, it is more than likely that the results would have not changed that much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Rotating weight is irrelevant to climbing; it's only all up weight that counts. Light wheels feel livelier, but they don't go up hills any faster than making any other part lighter.

    Heavier tires usually have more rolling resistance so that's definitely important but no more so on hills than on the flats, other than they are lighter overall.

    The only time having lighter wheels is important for climbing is if you need to sprint to a finish at the top; they will accelerate faster but at a steady speed make no difference.
    Soooooo much wrong with ^that^ post, that I won't pick it apart.

    Rotational weight (wheels/tires) is HUGELY important in climbing. Think of climbing as accelerating. Lots of the same physics in play here.

    At 290... hell, at 190, climbing isn't going to be your forte. As was earlier stated, climbing is all about weight and power. While the flats are all about wind profile and power. Ever wonder why Cancellara crushes the flats... and cracks in the mountains? He's around 175-180. And, why Contador has to be protected on the flats... and crushes it in the mountains. He's about 135 pounds.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

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    Thanks very much, all. This is helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Rotational weight (wheels/tires) is HUGELY important in climbing. Think of climbing as accelerating. Lots of the same physics in play here.
    Absolutely. The force of gravity is measured as acceleration, so when you're climbing (fighting gravity), you have to accelerate in an opposite direction to go anywhere.

    For evidence, look at wheel manufacturers. Aero wheels are awesome on the flats. And they're heavier. The aero benefits outweigh the negatives of higher weight. But guess what? They suck on climbs precisely because the weight makes that much difference. And speeds when climbing are not high enough for the aero properties to outweight the negatives of higher weight. This is why ultralight wheels won't be going anywhere.

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    My climbing improved greatly when I lost 50 lbs. If you lose it in body weight all the better but any weight loss will help, wheels/tires are a good place to start. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Soooooo much wrong with ^that^ post, that I won't pick it apart.

    Rotational weight (wheels/tires) is HUGELY important in climbing. Think of climbing as accelerating. Lots of the same physics in play here.

    At 290... hell, at 190, climbing isn't going to be your forte. As was earlier stated, climbing is all about weight and power. While the flats are all about wind profile and power. Ever wonder why Cancellara crushes the flats... and cracks in the mountains? He's around 175-180. And, why Contador has to be protected on the flats... and crushes it in the mountains. He's about 135 pounds.

    I'd study some physics before picking it apart publicly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I'd study some physics before picking it apart publicly.
    Bow out now, dude

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I'd study some physics before picking it apart publicly.
    I'd try actually riding a set of heavy vs. light wheels on a fast group ride before breaking out the slide rule..

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    I'd study some physics before picking it apart publicly.



    Go for a ride with a cinder block tied to your bike and get back to us.

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    Bizarre responses from the physics challenged as usual. I guess I should have known better than to challenge accepted mythologies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Bizarre responses from the physics challenged as usual. I guess I should have known better than to challenge accepted mythologies.
    You are not exactly dropping a bunch of science to dispell these myths. If you are such an amazing physicist, why don't you drop some knowledge on us?
    Its all Shits and Giggles until somebody Giggles and Shits

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    Quote Originally Posted by bulerias View Post
    Bizarre responses from the physics challenged as usual. I guess I should have known better than to challenge accepted mythologies.



    First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .-47ldnv_800.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by briley View Post
    I realize this is a MTB forum, but I went on my first group ride, which was a 15 mile road ride for charity. I was on my 2013 Rockhopper Comp with 2.35" Big Apples, with a locked-out fork. The route was changed last minute to a route with monster hills. Everyone except me was on a road bike.

    I did not expect to be able to keep pace with the road bikes, but I nearly ran some of them over going downhill. I guess the momentum is insane with a big, heavy bike, and heavy tires. But climbing, I was absolutely embarrassed, and way beyond my max HR.

    One guy waited up and rode with me, but the other guys were way, way, way ahead.

    My MTB should climb easier b/c of the gearing. I get that it's heavy, and I'm a relatively inexperienced Clyde, but. . . even on a solo road ride this weekend, I had a very hard time on the big hills.

    My question would be. . . Do you guys think going clipless would help this? Would there be anything else I could do to make climbing a bit easier on this bike? I'm truly using it just as a road bike for now, as there really are no trails close-by.
    Swing your leg over a decent road style bike and pedal for about 5 feet and you'll understand... They just roll... And roll.... And roll.... And roll.... And roll.... And roll.... You're tires are made to grip loose dirt and apparently to bog down on pavement.... There's no comparison.

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    If all you are going to ride is the road I would look into
    getting a road bike. The right tool for the job.

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    I'm the opposite. Primarily a roadie that happens to ride trails too. But mostly road.
    From what I'm reading in the OP the main issue isn't the gear, it's the goal. Measuring your success on the climbs relative to the roadies is just unnecessary punishment. Sure you could blow your heart to smithereens trying to keep up but what's the point? You've got the gearing to move that beast (relatively) up the hill. Pick a gear, find your groove and spin spin spin. Your gearing is a tool you're not using.

    As an aside, unless they're really short, most group rides tend to splinter on steep climbs anyway. Everyone just sort of coalesces back together on the flats. So ride YOUR speed, not someone else's. You'll only hurt yourself trying.

    Re equipment. Unless you plan on getting more serious about road miles, stick with the hopper. It's fine for how you're using it. Yes clipless pedals help - a lot - on the road.

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    There is no silver bullet for going uphill fast or well. Your best bet, IMHO, is to practice and build strength, and perhaps drop some body weight in the process. Clipless will help. So will narrower, slicker tires. But, unless you are already a strong climber, a different bike isn't going to make a big difference climbing. Regardless of physics and the stuff about acceleration due to gravity, overall weight sure seems to matter and you could probably reduce that more by focusing on body weight than by changing equipment.

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    Mine the road group rides I have been on I would be surprised to even see anyone keep up with a MTB. I have never seen it tried though so could be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atl-Biker View Post
    Mine the road group rides I have been on I would be surprised to even see anyone keep up with a MTB. I have never seen it tried though so could be wrong.

    I used to live in a city that had large daily group rides and it seemed like there was always one or two guys on a mountain bike that could hang, but you had to be a pretty bada$$ rider to pull that off. I don't recall seeing any mtb's at the end of any of the longer rides however.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce in SoCal View Post
    There is no silver bullet for going uphill fast or well. Your best bet, IMHO, is to practice and build strength, and perhaps drop some body weight in the process. Clipless will help. So will narrower, slicker tires. But, unless you are already a strong climber, a different bike isn't going to make a big difference climbing. Regardless of physics and the stuff about acceleration due to gravity, overall weight sure seems to matter and you could probably reduce that more by focusing on body weight than by changing equipment.
    For sure, main factors are weight and training, but I disagree that the bike won't do a difference. The first time I tried a road bike, I was on a 30k ride with a buddy, me on my XTR hard tail with slick and him on a Cannondale road bike. I was struggling to keep up until we swap bike... It was a revelation, the cannondale almost pedal itself alone! After 500m I was pulling away... I had always ridden mountain on the road before that so never knew there was such a difference. Weight, ridding position (much more aerodynamic at speed, not such a factor climbing!), rigidity, and of course rolling resistance which is the main factor in my opinion...

  31. #31
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    Yeah, it's all relative. Before I had a road bike, I occasionally did one of Atlanta's intown group rides on my hard tail - locked fork, aired up... I could hang with all but the 6-10 hammerheads that inevitably went off the front. But trying to do the Tucker Ride (24++ avg. mph) on a mtn. bike? I think it'd take a pro to hang on that one.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

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    In my experience, steep climbs where wind resistance is a small factor, are done almost equally on MTB or roadie - provided said MTB is not running mud tires at low pressure. More often, the engine matters the most, although the magazines will suggest that it is impossible to ride X trail or Z miles or hang with group A unless you have the latest and lightest. Pedals won't make your legs any stronger or your lungs any bigger - only pedaling will.

    And as far as weight mattering on a climb - it does. Whether the weight is rotating or not is irrelevant to climbing - it is only relevant to accelerating (whether climbing or not).

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

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    Clipless pedals would help a little also. I didn't see anyone mention them. With clipless pedals, you can push down on 1 pedal you can pull up on the other. It helps with increasing power and reducing fatigue and strain on the 1 leg alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    And as far as weight mattering on a climb - it does. Whether the weight is rotating or not is irrelevant to climbing - it is only relevant to accelerating (whether climbing or not).

    -F
    It sure doesn't seem that way to me. I've ridden bikes with crazy heavy wheels and they feel ridiculously hard to maintain speed with on any grade other than a downward one. Riding with a weighted pack or pannier doesn't feel nearly as hard.

    I'd like to see results of a test using the same rider on a long, steep climb- a few runs done with 20 pounds in a pack and a few more with 20 pounds added to the tires/rims.

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    Quote Originally Posted by briley View Post
    Thanks. . . Do you guys think lighter wheels are even noticeable to someone weighing in at 290?
    There's your answer. It takes a huge amount of wattage to lug that much mass up a climb (the reverse is it's also the reason you kill those guys on the descents). Don't worry about shaving a few grams off your bike. Try losing a bit of weight. I notice a huge difference when climbing even from losing only 5 lbs.

    And clipless pedals would absolutely help, as well.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I'd like to see results of a test using the same rider on a long, steep climb- a few runs done with 20 pounds in a pack and a few more with 20 pounds added to the tires/rims.
    I saw a video recently of exactly that kind of test. They determined there was no appreciable difference to having a lighter (or heavier) bike/wheels versus lighter (or heavier) body weight during sustained effort riding. The thing that affected wattage required to propel the bike a given speed was 'total' weight; whether it was skewed toward bike or rider weight, didn't matter.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrentP View Post
    I saw a video recently of exactly that kind of test. They determined there was no appreciable difference to having a lighter (or heavier) bike/wheels versus lighter (or heavier) body weight during sustained effort riding. The thing that affected wattage required to propel the bike a given speed was 'total' weight; whether it was skewed toward bike or rider weight, didn't matter.

    J.B. Weld said "... added to the tires/rims" not bike. It's long been accepted that body weight and bike weight have essentially the same effect. Those comments - and that test - are referring to non-rotational weight, e.g. frame, bars, saddle... NOT the wheels/tires/spokes, etc. Light wheels make a HUGE difference in climbing, accelerating, etc.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

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    If you're going to try to keep up with road bikers, riding road bikes, you need a road bike. You may be able to climb steeper hills on a mountain bike, but you're not going to be able to climb at the speed these guys go on most roads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    J.B. Weld said "... added to the tires/rims" not bike. It's long been accepted that body weight and bike weight have essentially the same effect. Those comments - and that test - are referring to non-rotational weight, e.g. frame, bars, saddle... NOT the wheels/tires/spokes, etc. Light wheels make a HUGE difference in climbing, accelerating, etc.
    Poor wording on my part. It's true that the rotational mass of a heavier rim and/or tire requires greater torgue, and therefore power, to drive it... my point was that the slight power advantage the O.P. will receive from paying a lot to upgrade the wheels and/or the rest of his bike pales in comparison to the power advantage the he will get by losing a bit of weight. Upgrading the bike and wheels when you weigh 290 lbs is like spitting into the wind.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

  40. #40
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    Having done the same thing, a mountain bike on the road is slow. Being 290 doesn't help either. Rolling resistance is your biggest limiter.

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  42. #42
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    Yes, clipless pedals would help. A lot.

    Get a set & study up on the proper pedal stroke. You're still not gonna catch those roadies going uphill, though.
    No moss...

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    Quote Originally Posted by briley View Post
    I'm a Clyde.
    Quintana can climb, he weighs 130

    First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .-8-11-quintana-wins-659x440.jpg

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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    If you're going to try to keep up with road bikers, riding road bikes, you need a road bike. You may be able to climb steeper hills on a mountain bike, but you're not going to be able to climb at the speed these guys go on most roads.
    Agreed.
    I would ride on the road with my wife, me on a road bike her on a mountain bike. I would be way ahead and constantly waiting. She got a road bike and easily keeps up.

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    On my MTB, I can keep up with most casual road bikes on the flats. My cadence is roughly the same; I'm pushing around the same gearing. I do have more rolling resistance, but that builds strength and endurance, which lets me do the foregoing. Uphill, I'm as fast - and I've got the gearing to keep going when they run out of steam. Downhill, their gearing will let them get away. But, when there is sand on the bike path along the beach where I ride, I don't have to slow down.

    The question is: Do you want a good workout or to keep up?

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by briley View Post
    I'm a relatively inexperienced Clyde.

    Would there be anything else I could do to make climbing a bit easier on this bike?
    290 pounds is too much for a human to weigh, especially one that wants to do well at cycling. Ride more, eat better food, lose weight. It's not about the bike.

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    The guys on the road bikes likely had several advantages over you when it came to climbing on the road:

    Slightly relevant:

    1- Lighter wheels
    2- Better rolling tires (Big Apples are not that bad)

    Reasonably relevant
    3- Better geometry/cockpit for the road (this is often overlooked)

    The 800 lb Gorillas of relevance:
    4- They are road riders who do this all the time.
    5- I am guessing that most do not weigh 290 lb.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

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    Re: First (road) group ride. . .Slaughtered on climbs. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    The guys on the road bikes likely had several advantages over you when it came to climbing on the road:

    Slightly relevant:

    1- Lighter wheels
    2- Better rolling tires (Big Apples are not that bad)

    Reasonably relevant
    3- Better geometry/cockpit for the road (this is often overlooked)

    The 800 lb Gorillas of relevance:
    4- They are road riders who do this all the time.
    5- I am guessing that most do not weigh 290 lb.
    When not climbing most of the rider's energy is dissipated via aerodynamic drag. Frame design and clothing become an issue. But the really big deal is body positioning. When pedaling comfortably on the flats at about 20 mph moving your hands from the hoods to the drops yields an easy extra 1 mph. Descending, moving from a normal position to tucking can yield 5+ mph.

    Wind force increases exponentially with wind speed. Which is why serious (fast) roadies care so much about being aero. It really matters a lot.

    Of course you can try to position your body in the same way on a mountain bike but mountain bikes aren't made to assure max aero of the rider. Same rider will be uncomfortable.

    However, a strong mountain biker will be a very popular lead rider for a group of roadies. They'll appreciate the huge lee that the rider will generate.

    While being aero isn't very important on steeper climbs (unless one is an animal and climbs at 20 mph) but arriving at the climb more rested is a big factor.

    Sent from my LG-E980 using Tapatalk 2

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by borabora View Post
    When not climbing most of the rider's energy is dissipated via aerodynamic drag. Frame design and clothing become an issue. But the really big deal is body positioning. When pedaling comfortably on the flats at about 20 mph moving your hands from the hoods to the drops yields an easy extra 1 mph. ..
    Yeah.. On my road bike I try to move from the hoods to the drops whenever I get to about 20 mph. This gives me an instant 0.5 to 1.0 speed boost. Below 20 mph and unless there is a strong head wind I get more power from being on the hood and having a straighter body position. However after 1 year of riding the road bike I am loose very little power from being in the drops compared to what I used to. This is where getting seat and reach just right are important.

    I don't ride in groups very often, but riding in the draft is worth a couple mph of effort. Meaning that spinning at 20 mph i group feels like running 18 mph solo. So I can see how a good strong rider on mtb bike can hand with group on the flats and possibly on the climbs if use the draft right and the hills have the right profile. The mtn biker will be working harder to maintain that pace compared to him being on a road bike.

    I am always amazed and how fast a road bike can cover ground and climb hills. Everything about a road bike is build to making them fast on smooth ground. Stiff frames and low resistant wheels/tire with close spaced gearing to allow you to micro adjust the ratios to optimize your cadence. All that in a sub 20lbs package. Of course when the pavement runs out is when the problems start.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '19 Ibis Ripmo, XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    The guys on the road bikes likely had several advantages over you when it came to climbing on the road:

    Slightly relevant:

    1- Lighter wheels
    2- Better rolling tires (Big Apples are not that bad)

    Reasonably relevant
    3- Better geometry/cockpit for the road (this is often overlooked)

    The 800 lb Gorillas of relevance:
    4- They are road riders who do this all the time.
    5- I am guessing that most do not weigh 290 lb.
    Yes, these reasons. I just got into road biking last year. Was never into any biking previously. Rode a 25 mile fundraiser with my way out of shape buddy last year. I was also a bit out of shape and weighed 235. He was on a road bike and I was on my 15 year old mountain bike and he was circling back to check on me toward the end of the ride to make sure I wasn't road kill. He told me the above reasoning for my pathetic performance compared to his and the instant I test rode a road bike I could instantly understand and knew I needed one.

    Then I buy road bike and he can't keep up with me on our first ride so this year I joined a group ride that pushes my limits.

    Losing 40 pounds down to 195 has made my climbing immensely better and has provided many other non-biking benefits as well. That's the route I would consider vs losing weight via components on the mtn bike. Body weight is likely low hanging fruit at zero cost.

    If you truly ride roads most of the time consider testing a road bike. I expect you'll be surprised. I would equate it to a crotch rocket vs a hog. In the end you may find a road bike will make the type of riding you do more enjoyable.

  51. #51
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    Showing up for a charity bike ride with a MTB is OK. Don't go on a real group road with a MTB. You just can't keep up. The gearing is wrong, the tires are wrong, the wheel size it wrong. It is just wrong.
    It is the Right of the People to Alter or to Abolish It.

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