How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?

    I'm curious to know how often folks use their giant cog in the back when riding or climbing?

    A related question is, when *should* you use it? (A technique question!)

    I've been MTBing for many years...and over the years, I've generally found that using my big cog kinda sucks. Yes you have a lot of torque, but you move at a snail's pace—so slow that I find it difficult to remain upright without dabbing.

    Maybe put differently, it seems that as you go bigger and bigger in the back, you reach a point of diminishing returns, because you're spinning like mad and barely moving.

    I'll readily admit, though—my perception may be because I have shitty shifting technique and just don't fully understand exactly when to use my giant cog and when not to?

    I was talking with a friend who told me that the "proper" technique is to never ride in your giant cog...except for just the **couple seconds** it takes to get over a big rock or root or something. He said when you hit the obstacle, you instantly shift into your giant cog, get over the obstacle, and instantly shift back to a smaller cog.

    I've never really done this, partly because as a rule, I don't like shifting with massive pressure on the cranks. I always feel like I'm destroying my drivetrain when I do that.

    But what I do kinda sucks, which is, I'll see the obstacle coming up—shift onto my giant cog, get over the obstacle, then keep spinning madly a while longer in my giant cog until I get to a section where I can relax a bit and shift back down to smaller cog.

    So what is the "correct" technique?

    NOTE: I'm talking about normal human riders here—not superstuds with Olympic Legs of Steel who can ride over anything on your smallest cog, LOL.

    Scott
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  2. #2
    Nat
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    I use it whenever I need it and don't use it when I don't. I don't think there's any rule of thumb other than that.

  3. #3
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    Go climb to the top of 401 Trail in Crested Butte. You will quickly realize that those huge cassettes exist for a reason.

  4. #4
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    Okay...but what do you think of the "QuickTorque" shifting technique? (Shifting onto your biggest cog for all of 2 seconds to get over something then immediately shifting back down.)
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  5. #5
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    I don't usually use it for obstacles, because it's usually hard to maintain traction in that gear. Also I tend to use momentum as much or more than pedaling for obstacles.

    I like the big gears for really steep climbs, especially with hairpins in the middle.

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  6. #6
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    any climb that is really steep that I can spin.

  7. #7
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    Forgot about the traction point—that's true (as a reason not to use the giant cog). And I agree 100%—I'd rather use momentum and speed to get over obstacles.

    But what sucks is when you're on an incredibly steep slope AND you have to climb over big rocks and roots. (That's typically when I walk—without shame.)
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat View Post
    I use it whenever I need it and don't use it when I don't. I don't think there's any rule of thumb other than that.
    That’s exactly my rule of thumb.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Okay...but what do you think of the "QuickTorque" shifting technique? (Shifting onto your biggest cog for all of 2 seconds to get over something then immediately shifting back down.)
    Your friend is dead wrong. The pie plate is for spinning up steep and sustained climbs, or when you're cashed out. It is most assuredly NOT for high-torque obstacles or moves; in fact, you always want to drop down a cog or two to get enough torque to bite on the move or obstacle. You'll spin out on those moves with the pie plate.


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  10. #10
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    I ride in whatever gear it takes to keep a comfortable cadence and heart rate. If that's the granny ring, so be it.

    Sure it's better to crank up a hill, but only if you don't blow up in the process. The rest of us mortals, know when it's time to sit down and spin, to keep something left in the tank after the peak.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Your friend is dead wrong. The pie plate is for spinning up steep and sustained climbs, or when you're cashed out. It is most assuredly NOT for high-torque obstacles or moves; in fact, you always want to drop down a cog or two to get enough torque to bite on the move or obstacle. You'll spin out on those moves with the pie plate.
    Thanks. This makes perfect sense to me.
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  12. #12
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    Never, using the big cog is a sign of weakness.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Never, using the big cog is a sign of weakness.
    I thought that was wearing a .

    Oh wait; wrong forum...


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I'm curious to know how often folks use their giant cog in the back when riding or climbing?



    I was talking with a friend who told me that the "proper" technique is to never ride in your giant cog...except for just the **couple seconds** it takes to get over a big rock or root or something. He said when you hit the obstacle, you instantly shift into your giant cog, get over the obstacle, and instantly shift back to a smaller cog.


    Scott

    Your friend is not to bright, sounds like a noob

    Here we all use the 50t on a daily basis, its a must not an option when going 30 miles and climbing 4000 feet.

    Hell we have a 3 mile climb thats a 1000 foot, and much of you dont need the 50, but no one is going up the steep sections in anything but the 50.

    The real question is what size chainring does one use, most mortals her use a 32t, I did most of the year, but the steep climbs at the end of the day would kick your azz, so I went to a 30t oval chainring.

    Ya if you never climb you dont need a bail out gear.

    shifting liker your buddy recommends will get in you in trouble here, some cases maybe, but its not a rule that applies to a wide use of terrain

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I'm curious to know how often folks use their giant cog in the back when riding or climbing?

    A related question is, when *should* you use it? (A technique question!)

    I've been MTBing for many years...and over the years, I've generally found that using my big cog kinda sucks. Yes you have a lot of torque, but you move at a snail's pace—so slow that I find it difficult to remain upright without dabbing.

    Maybe put differently, it seems that as you go bigger and bigger in the back, you reach a point of diminishing returns, because you're spinning like mad and barely moving.

    I'll readily admit, though—my perception may be because I have shitty shifting technique and just don't fully understand exactly when to use my giant cog and when not to?

    I was talking with a friend who told me that the "proper" technique is to never ride in your giant cog...except for just the **couple seconds** it takes to get over a big rock or root or something. He said when you hit the obstacle, you instantly shift into your giant cog, get over the obstacle, and instantly shift back to a smaller cog.

    I've never really done this, partly because as a rule, I don't like shifting with massive pressure on the cranks. I always feel like I'm destroying my drivetrain when I do that.

    But what I do kinda sucks, which is, I'll see the obstacle coming up—shift onto my giant cog, get over the obstacle, then keep spinning madly a while longer in my giant cog until I get to a section where I can relax a bit and shift back down to smaller cog.

    So what is the "correct" technique?

    NOTE: I'm talking about normal human riders here—not superstuds with Olympic Legs of Steel who can ride over anything on your smallest cog, LOL.

    Scott
    I see the “so slow you can barely stay upright” thing in just about every discussion on gearing, and I really don’t understand it.

    People have been throwing shade on granny gears for as long as I’ve been riding. My first MTB had a 28x28 low gear. I remember our scoutmaster explaining that 1:1 ratio meant that we could ride up any slope we could walk.

    If you’re spinning like mad and barely moving, then yes, you are probably in the wrong gear. I definitely see riders default to their lowest gear any time the trail inclines, or stay in it where the grade slackens. If they dropped a few cogs they wouldn’t work any harder but would move faster. I’m a masher and willing to push a bigger gear than a lot of my friend, but there are many inclines that have me on my largest cog.

    I’m in complete agreement with waltaz on your friend’s technique suggestion.

  16. #16
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    Never. The single speeder in me climbs out of the saddle. I'd be happy with nine speed really.
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  17. #17
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    When I need it or want it.

    Nothing original in my answer. I like to climb. Sometimes I like to climb a bit easier. I can not imagine my biggest cog making me so slow that I would fall over.

    I just ordered a bike with a 52 tooth cog. I'll have to report back if I fall over. I'm not expecting problems over my current 50 tooth.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SingleSpeedSteven View Post
    Go climb to the top of 401 Trail in Crested Butte. You will quickly realize that those huge cassettes exist for a reason.
    Or the climb up Teocalli. Or the climb in the middle of the Dyke trail. And there's that one spot towards the top of Doctor. In fact, if you want to justify having bought an Eagle cassette, just go ride in CB.

    I use my full range all the time, but that's because I generally refuse to drive my car to ride my bike.

    A point the OP is missing with the question requires the chainring size too. If you're running say 24/52, then yeah, you might fall over. I run 34/50, and am nowhere near falling over even when my cadence dips down to 60rpm.

  19. #19
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    I'd say it's pretty terrain dependent. For my local trails, I run a 36 chainring and 11-42 cassette and am hardly ever in the 42. We only average about 400ft of climbing per 10 miles of trail. But I was on a trip where we averaged 1000 feet per 10 miles and I was in the 42 quite a bit, especially on those steep, uphill switchbacks.

    BTW, I don't understand your friend's suggestion. I have never been able to clear technical obstacles with a burst of power in the granny gear. I usually spin out . I usually drop a gear and lay down a burst of power because you get better momentum.

  20. #20
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    Seems like a part of this equation is mashing versus spinning. Is it true that spinning is more efficient? And as a goal, should I spend hours doing leg presses to where I can jack up my car using only my legs (and mash my way up anything in a high gear)?

    Or am I better off learning to make my feet a radial blur and spin like mad?

    (I know it doesn't have to be all or nothing either way...just wondering generally what people prefer, and what physics says?)

    From the top Google hit on spinning v. mashing:

    "The prevailing theory is that spinning is a more efficient use of your strength and energy. Many cyclists revert to mashing, however, because it feels faster. But, not only does mashing produce more lactic acid, it predominantly uses what's called fast-twitch muscle fibers, which fatigue faster than slow-twitch fibers (used in spinning)."

    At a glance, it seems like most of the info online about this is based on road biking—seems like it may be very different for MTB?
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  21. #21
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    I dunno. What length of ride are we talking about? I mash all the time when I ride locally because it helps me gain strength and what am I saving my legs for? But I dial in back when I am going to ride five hours on hilly terrain on a mtb trip. And I have found that all that mashing pays off because my legs are stronger so I can do five hours with lots of climbing and no cramps.

  22. #22
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Okay...but what do you think of the "QuickTorque" shifting technique? (Shifting onto your biggest cog for all of 2 seconds to get over something then immediately shifting back down.)
    It depends on what comes after the top of that obstacle. If the trail keeps going steep up then you might need to keep it in big cog.

    It also depends on how steep the slope is approaching that obstacle. If you're already in big cog and your heart rate is pinned just to keep moving then you might not have any choice in the matter. You're already in your lowest gear. You also might not be able to upshift a cog or two and lay down a burst of energy. This reminds me of movie scenes when there's a car chase and both vehicles are seemingly going max speed but then the fleeing car suddenly out of nowhere finds another gear and drops the chasing car. Why didn't he just go faster in the first place??? Because he was already pinned and so are you. Shift all you want. You're about to get off and walk.

    It also depends on elevation. If you live at elevation 300' then take a trip to Crested Butte where the trails start at something like 9000' then you're probably not going to be able to avoid your big cog.

    It all depends on the immediate situation.

  23. #23
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    It depends. In a nutshell (for me) mash over short climbs and spin up long ones. Mashing & standing can produce more power short term but is more costly from an aerobic standpoint. It can be a delicate balance.
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  24. #24
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    OP, if your low gear is too low, swap out your chainring for a bigger one.

    Alternately you can switch to a 11spd drivetrain (assuming you're currently on Eagle?) or something with less range. There are good options for wide range 9 and 10 speed drivetrains now a days. I just put Box One Prime 9 on my new hardtail with a 11-46 cassette and love it!

    Really what I came here to say is Gears Are For Wimps. Ride a SS and HTFU.
    SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  25. #25
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    When I went to a 1x setup a couple years ago, I determined what chainring to use differently than most people do.

    Using the cassette I would use in the back which had an 11 for the smallest cog, I figured out the longest gear I could get using the different sized chainrings available for my setup (which was 26, 28, 30, 32, and I think 34).

    Then, I determined what was the most equivalent gear in my existing 2x setup for each of the 5 chainring choices I had.

    My idea was not to see what is the lowest gear I needed, but what was the highest. So I went out and paid attention to what I actually needed in terms of a longest gear.

    Turned out that the 26 x 11 with my 29" tires could get me going into the low 20's mph range before I spun out which was plenty fast enough for me. If I am going 20+ mph on singletrack, that gets my full attention and is all the thrill I need. YMMV.

    So what that means is I have a very low gear that I don't need to be in much, but it is there when/if I need it. I ride in the middle of my cog more than I otherwise would, which I think/hope provides me with greater cassette lifespan.

    Anyway, maybe overthinking it, but that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

    So in answer to your question, I only use my lowest on really steep or technical sections, or if I am gassed and just hanging on.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Seems like a part of this equation is mashing versus spinning.

    No not at all. its a matter of a flat lander not understanding what it takes to climb long steep hills.

    One cannot mash up 3-5 mile canyon grade, well mortals anyway. And expect to keep going another 25 miles after that.

    We have small sections one mashes up to conserve energy, so both are required. There is no versus

  27. #27
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    After logging 100 miles on my new FS bike that came with a 32t ring and a 12speed 10-50 SRAM cassette, I realized that 32x50 is unusable for me for anything other than playing around.
    I’m so used to the ‘stand and mash’ 32x19 singlespeed that I can pretty much climb anything in 32x42. I’ve even tried to use the 50t for 13-15% grades and I just can’t climb anything that is even remotely technical because I’m pedaling 70 rpm and still moving at walk speed. There’s no torque to loft the front wheel and even a fraction of a second pause to time a pedal strike results in a stall out at that grade.

    I’m not bragging at all, I know my trails aren’t crazy steep, I live in Phoenix, but with a 32t ring, neither of my top 2 gears (42 or 50)get much use.

    I just bought a 34t ring to try and make that 50t pie plate useable on a trail. I considered a 36, but my e13 bash guard won’t cover a ring that big and my bb is pretty low, I don’t need less ground clearance.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    It depends. In a nutshell (for me) mash over short climbs and spin up long ones. Mashing & standing can produce more power short term but is more costly from an aerobic standpoint. It can be a delicate balance.
    Well said

    I love rollers where you can mash just a few strokes to get you up and over, and you can get in a rhythm that saves energy. Sucks when your dead dog tired and hit these and have to spin over at that slower tired pace and work harder.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impetus View Post
    I know my trails aren’t crazy steep,

    That is it in a nutshell. If they were steep, you have no choice.

    I did a 32 for a year and finally got wise and went to a 30 so the steep long sections would not kill me as bad. It really helped out

  30. #30
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    I live in hilly place... All trails have a steep'ish approx. 40 min climb (+/-5 min) to start the ride.

    I try to only use the biggest cog when I'm not really feeling it.

    Usually I can manage w/ 2nd-3rd largest cog.

    For technical climbs, I'll always drop down (bigger to smaller cog), as you'll clean more on a harder gear.

    I run Oval Chainrings on all my bikes. Which aides in technical climbing & climbing in general.

    Another pro tip, when climbing start in gear you think you can manage and only deviate 1 cog either side, i.e. don't lose momentum by faffin around... sliding your chain all over your cassette.

    Instead if you go up your cassette, one cog & you think it's not enough (short pinch climb), stand and mash your way up.

    PS - Ovals help you keep a smooth cadence also.

    PSS - I love me some Oval

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  31. #31
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    Broad strokes.

    Most of the time, I am not in my largest gear, even on steep climbs.

    Unless I'm super tired...
    the conditions are super power sapping...
    I'm an elevation I'm not ready for/adapted to...
    The climb is very extended...

    I'm on 1x11, with a 30t chainring, and 42-11 cassette, on a ~36lb 29'er.

    The really low gearing works on non-technical stuff pretty well. But, like others, I find that anything more technical on a climb needs a combination of more speed/power/body movement than sitting and spinning in a low gear allows.

    And there are definitely times I wish I had more gear range (both slower, and faster).

    I think from a mechanical perspective, I'm pretty sure the chainline is better in the middle of the cassette. But I'm not sure how much that honestly matters, unless you spend a huge amount of time in the most extreme gears.

    From an emotional/rider perspective, I don't like being in my bailout gear, unless I'm pretty toast/out of energy already. I prefer to keep it for the truely steep bits, or when I'm really tired.

    Its kind of like suspension travel. I'm ok with bottoming out, but I prefer not to bottom out all the time, and to keep a bit in reserve for truely noteworthy hits.

  32. #32
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    I use it when needed.

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  33. #33
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    I rarely use it. I run a 10-46 cassette and a 32t chainring, which is the largest chain ring my frame will take. I was going to run Sram Eagle, but decided that since they do not make a smaller cassette than the 10-50, there is no reason to go there.
    I live at 6800' above sea level and all my rides go up from there. My average rides, I climb around 3500'+.
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  34. #34
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    I don't use it much...until I have to use it.

    We are extremely adaptable and I find that the actual gear size doesn't matter that much, whether it's 36, 40, 42, 44, it all kind of works the same to me (body conditions to what you have available on the cassette). But when you get real tired, the bail-out gear is indispensable. I don't find it really matters much about what terrain or where, I ran the same 11-36 gear combo climbing to Colorado peaks that I did at sea level, but it definitely depends on the person. The other good reason to keep cadence up (and use an easier gear) is that it's more efficient in the long run, you'll go faster in a race (and therefore cover more distance) with a higher cadence. It often doesn't "feel good" to turn the cranks that fast, but it's generally the better way to go. This doesn't include technical stuff where you HAVE to downshift to get the traction and body English necessary, but on sustained climbs slow revolutions are generally slower. Of course there's the opposite when you find the guy that's pedaling away furiously managing to make a hardtail or fatbike "bob".
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    That is it in a nutshell. If they were steep, you have no choice.

    I did a 32 for a year and finally got wise and went to a 30 so the steep long sections would not kill me as bad. It really helped out
    I should qualify-
    There *are* those climbs that benefit from a 32x50, they just aren’t what’s around here. I rode with my cousin last year in SoCal, and it was very different than AZ- we ground our way up probably 5 miles of (IMO) rather smooth but sh***y fire road at like 18% grade, which was rewarded with a really really great long downhill. There’s plenty of 2k ft climbs, but it’s a shallow grade and 8 miles long.
    Around here, you ride up the trail, you ride down the trail. It’s punchy and steep and then it’s flat, and then it’s punchy. (Knee-high square rock ledge?). We’re not fortunate enough to have graded climbing trails.
    There is very very little grinding here.

    I’m not starting a peen-measuring contest, just commenting that it’s different in a way that makes ultra low tractor gears a waste.


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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    That is it in a nutshell. If they were steep, you have no choice.

    I did a 32 for a year and finally got wise and went to a 30 so the steep long sections would not kill me as bad. It really helped out
    I think this is all down to what you have and what you have had.

    I am currently riding the trails that you have described...climbing 2k in the first 5 miles, and then up and down after that. Averaging 25 milers right now. And I'm riding 36 to 36 low.

    Was it you that told the OP to HTFU, or was that someone else?

    Ah, it was Onespeed. No matter. HTFU.

    The bike I'm building up right now will be running 34 to 10-51. I think that is going to be plenty low for me.

  37. #37
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    Op, have you mentioned yet what size front ring you are riding in?

    A few others have mentioned that you might want to step it up in size 2 or 4 teeth.

    I will say that you have to train yourself to not go to that bail out, especially if you are pedaling and crawling along so slow you can't not dab as you said. That means that you really have no business being all the way down in that gear at that point.

    Train your mind to think that your 3rd gear is your last. Treat that like it is your bail out. You'll be surprised at just how long you can keep pedaling in that gear, and not need to shift down at the faintest hint of lactic pain.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I think this is all down to what you have and what you have had.

    I am currently riding the trails that you have described...climbing 2k in the first 5 miles, and then up and down after that. Averaging 25 milers right now. And I'm riding 36 to 36 low.

    Was it you that told the OP to HTFU, or was that someone else?

    Ah, it was Onespeed. No matter. HTFU.

    The bike I'm building up right now will be running 34 to 10-51. I think that is going to be plenty low for me.
    We would be friends in real life, how have we not bumped into each other on here before?
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    We would be friends in real life, how have we not bumped into each other on here before?
    This is real life, we are just separated by the interwebs.

    Lol!!

  40. #40
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    I'd use the biggest cog in the back if the climb had no traction issues (e.g. pavement, dry granite slab) nor pedal strike issues, and I didn't care about my pace being lots slower, as if I wanted to take it easy. It's called a granny gear for a reason. Maybe if I wanted to keep my heart rate down in the "fat burning" or "active recovery" zone, rather than at threshold...

    I consider the advice that your friend is giving you to be akin to "the blind leading the blind". If there's any bumps, I'd rather build extra momentum before I hit them to prevent a stall and/or a loss in balance, and try to smoothly resume a pace I can manage efficiently. A bonus of being in a higher gear is that I can trust it to be less likely to make the rear wheel slip, compared to the granny gears, so I can be confident in putting out power with less than perfect form.

    I wonder if it being referred to as "bail out gear" was originally meant for the ride itself, such as if someone has bonked, and has no energy to push hard, and is physically limited to "fat burning" mode, and manages to complete the route thanks to having a lower/easier gear. I often witness this when someone tries to pace off of fitter riders, doing mileage and vert they're not accustomed to.

    36x36 is pretty impressive, but gotta consider the crank length, wheel size, bike weight, rolling resistance, suspension losses, and difficulty of the terrain (traction issues). Traction issues raise the difficulty of a mellow grade climb by a huge amount; it's real flex when you can bike up something that is difficult to even hike up without getting all bent over with arms out for balance.
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    I don't live near mountains, but it's certainly not "flat" here. the biggest gear spread I have ever used was 32x11-36 on a 29er, and I only used the 36t once or twice. it was too spinny. then I just went back to always being in the "wrong gear" and never looked back. I don't think about it much because it's not an option. either I stand up and mash my way up the hill, or I walk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I think this is all down to what you have and what you have had.

    . And I'm riding 36 to 36 low.

    .
    No, not even close.

    LOl you would factually be walking not riding those gears up our hills.

    We are talking about roads where 4/4 is required they are so steep

    I had a 32 X 36 and I had to walk it up most of the steep hills.

    and you ARE not going to be doing our 30 mile rides with 4000 feet of climbing with that range, no one here is, and we have some sick talent here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    or I walk.
    Our trail system? you would walk a lot

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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post

    36x36 is pretty impressive, but gotta consider the crank length, wheel size, bike weight, rolling resistance, suspension losses, and difficulty of the terrain (traction issues). Traction issues raise the difficulty of a mellow grade climb by a huge amount; it's real flex when you can bike up something that is difficult to even hike up without getting all bent over with arms out for balance.
    I don't know if that's about me, but I'm just riding what I had back east and that was pretty punchy anaerobic stuff. Up/down and aggressively at that. Actually when I set that bike up, I ran the XTR 2x 38/26 to 11-34. Continued to ride that when I moved to Colorado 3 years ago. Never left the 38t. Then thought, let me get with the times (way after the times, lol!!) and went 1x with a 36t. Then when replacing chain and cassette, decided to throw on the 11-36. Way I look at it is, it worked before all the business about needing super low this and super low that. So I just pedal. No excuses.

    I'm building a bike now. Top Fuel C with more travel than I've ever had (120 lol!!) and I'm going to be running 34 to 10-51. I kind of think it's going to be too low for my liking, we'll see.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Our trail system? you would walk a lot
    Doubt it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post


    No, not even close.

    LOl you would factually be walking not riding those gears up our hills.

    We are talking about roads where 4/4 is required they are so steep

    I had a 32 X 36 and I had to walk it up most of the steep hills.

    and you ARE not going to be doing our 30 mile rides with 4000 feet of climbing with that range, no one here is, and we have some sick talent here.
    You bud, need to stop talking like you know everything. Because you clearly don't.

    I don't care that YOU needed to walk with a 32/36. I don't. And I'm riding most likely the same 4000 feet that you are.


    I love that you put in the "factually", LOL!!!! That must make it true.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Our trail system? you would walk a lot
    No, I was talking about my trail system. Why would I be talking about yours?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    No, I was talking about my trail system. Why would I be talking about yours?
    Because he's the be all, end all....or something

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    Please tell us, Outhouse, what is your 'trailsystem'? Because if our trailsystems are even remotely close, you need to stop typing and giving advice to the op.

  50. #50
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    i pedal in the biggest cog when i get tired of pedalling in the next smallest one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    We are talking about roads where 4/4 is required they are so steep
    1 what? I gotta know!

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post


    No, not even close.

    LOl you would factually be walking not riding those gears up our hills.

    We are talking about roads where 4/4 is required they are so steep

    I had a 32 X 36 and I had to walk it up most of the steep hills.

    and you ARE not going to be doing our 30 mile rides with 4000 feet of climbing with that range, no one here is, and we have some sick talent here.
    It all depends on the engine, the climb/grade, and what they're acclimated to. Sounds like you've never been to Pisgah. 37 miles and 8000 feet and these people are doing it on SS through some insanely rough terrain. Their blue trails would be double black in other places.

  53. #53
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    To answer the OP's question, I avoid the biggest cog in the back. It's my bailout gear that I try to never use for a couple reasons.

    1. It's aluminum. Those nice cassettes use an aluminum cog to save weight, which means it wears faster.

    2. I may need a lower gear on my insanely long rides chasing very fast people or just have a bad day

    3. Replacement of the cassette or the one cog is expensive.

    I recommend buying a smaller chainring in the front if you use your big gear a lot. With a 30x10 I can easily ride 24 mph on my way to the trail.

  54. #54
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    in all seriousness, i'm running shimano XT 30 x 11/46.

    almost all my riding is in the san francisco bay area, my longest rides are generally 30-35 miles with 4K elevation, give or take.

    fire roads, long, ugly boring fire roads make up 98.9 percent of our climbing out here and some of them have some painfully steep pitches, like hill 88 in the marin headlands and a few locations along eldridge grade on mt tam. steep pitches like these are where the 46T on my bike gets used.

    otherwise, i try to meander along at a truly pathetic pace in my 37T.

    i went down to a 30 from the stock 32 on my first 1x bike and i'm at the point where with a 46 as my big cog, i might want to try giving a 32 front a shot again, due to the fact our climbs are mostly long and gradual in the parts of marin i ride.

    i guess it all depends on preference.

    experiment and settle on what works best.
    Last edited by shekky; 07-29-2020 at 07:50 PM.

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    OP here—good discussion, thanks! I’m riding a Giant Anthem 29er with NX Eagle drivetrain, 11x50 and a 30t chainring. I haven’t ridden enough different bikes and setups to know how changing that would affect anything.

    And I get the advice to avoid the pie plate—I think many riders sort of do that intuitively (because you know that’s it so you better save it). I’m certain rider weight has more impact on all this than fitness. I’m more on the Clydesdale side at 5’11” and 225lbs. I’m in pretty good shape yet I see friends who are skinny little runts clean climbs better than me when I know they’re in no better condition—it’s just physics and the greater energy required to move more mass up a hill. (But I’m not sure how that impacts gearing, LOL.)
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    Smile

    Im just a dad who is having fun. Dont get paid to ride. So if i can ride more or longer than im interested.

    The simple answer is use the 50 to make life easier! That can be a long slow fire road or a gradual climb section where your purposely in recovery mode before you Shift to a hard gear and punch it or drop into a big fast down where you want fresh legs.


    A rider only has so much power and torque to give. Gears dont change that. Choose a gear that works with your engine and particular power demand for that time.

    Personal preference and style combined with trail conditions will affect your gearing choices. Eg. Dont see many downhillers running a 50 tooth.

    A higher cadence allows you to apply more Average power. Downshift and rev up with an easy power output and cruise up a section without fear of stalling and have extra power in reserve should you need it. Eg. Switchbacks.

    An easy gear gives More mechanical advantage and a hard gear gives less. A harder gear doesnt give more traction. You have or dont have traction. Its just harder to exceed your traction limits in a hard gear. Eg. Havent spun out too much in my 10 tooth. So i generally attack a technical up section out of the saddle with momentum and know i can bang a quick downshift if i need.

    Im only confident of the fact that i have more to learn. The more i learn the easier, safer and more fun biking becomes.

  57. #57
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    Guess a certain frame of mind helps.

    I always try to question my current condition, trying to predict how big of a gear I can push up an upcoming climb. The climb itself is predictable, but many other hard to predict factors make each act of climbing unique. If I pick one gear, and I give it punchy burst of intensity to spin circles @ 80+ RPM, my mind will have me try the next higher gear to see if I can sustain it.

    If I overestimate my condition, and try to use the same gear I built momentum in during the flat leading up to the climb, I try to reach deeper to get it to spin a more efficient RPM and hold it for a moment before shifting down to an easier gear. This is where I find big steps between gears to be annoying, since it tends to feel too easy for a moment. If it feels easy after shifting down, I may take a good breathe before switching back to the higher gear, and roar out with an effort to try and spin up the gear back up to an efficient RPM to spin circles. I typically get mixed results, sometimes shifting back immediately, or sometimes holding it a bit longer until I get exhausted.

    I usually am smug from my efforts when I overestimate myself, but the time it takes to recover from it makes me have doubts about trying it again any time soon. What separates tough types from complacent types is how they respond to these doubts. Do you opt to do it again, or do you opt to take it easy for awhile (even taking a day off)? The impressively talented ones are the ones that persevere to progress. It doesn't matter what method they used--they could've progressed despite laziness, or progressed beyond the typical pattern of grinding out hard repetitive work until burnout wipes it out.

    Basically, the difference in frame of mind somewhere between A) getting serious before the start and checking if I can push a bigger gear, and B) checking if I still have an easier gear left to retreat to before getting serious.
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    Rode up a trail called "Space Mountain" this afternoon for the first time. I used the 50T like most of the ride up. I have a 30 up front.

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    I use my granny gear on every ride, even commutes. We have hills, I use low gears. For two of my bikes, my lowest gear is 22/36 (about same ratio as 28/46). I use the lowest gear liberally. On the third bike, the lowest gear happens to be 26/36. I'll ride the same stuff, but I always wish I had the lower gear. Strain on knees, Achilles tendons, back--who needs it?

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    Every ride. By I hunt out the steep so i can then ride steep back down!

    FYI my dinner plate is 46T

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    not up this mountain

    about 10km from where I am is a mountain with a sealed road and other traffic it climbs to over 1010m. when I go up in the morning the sun can be beating down at over 30c even by 9.30am. The ride to the top is about 20km, you can go a lot further and I have videos of this.
    The gradient is not super steep but does vary on the climb. I consume 1.5 liters of water getting up hill.

    I have never had to get into the largest gear at the back going up here and coming down can be fun.

    Oh Giant Rincon (GI) entry level bike...here is one video of the ride..mostly down hill the climb is a struggle for me.

    https://youtu.be/TmaRJMToXdY (up and downhill)

    https://youtu.be/0jzlso8xpwc (down hill ride only)

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    If you're not using your biggest climbing gear, your bike is geared too low. It's like suspension. If you never bottom it out occasionally, it's set too hard.

  63. #63
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    Where I ride, we only have short, steep hills. I try to make the most of my momentum and almost never use the bailout gear (32 x 42) unless I’m tired or approached the hill wrong. Not because I’m against using or anything; I’ll use it if I need it.

    One more thing—isn’t my 42 actually my smallest gear? It’s the largest cog, but the smallest gear, right?

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by celswick View Post
    One more thing—isn’t my 42 actually my smallest gear? It’s the largest cog, but the smallest gear, right?
    Haha—I have no idea. This is one of the most confusing things in biking (in terms of what people actually say). I think it’s “higher” gears versus “lower” gears, and I’ve always assumed “higher gear” = smaller cog, and “lower” gear = bigger cog, but I might be wrong. :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Haha—I have no idea. This is one of the most confusing things in biking (in terms of what people actually say). I think it’s “higher” gears versus “lower” gears, and I’ve always assumed “higher gear” = smaller cog, and “lower” gear = bigger cog, but I might be wrong. :-)
    Dang, there's a lot of stuff to teach before some can talk about gear ratio, gear inches, and gain ratio too, not to mention how people number their gears.

    Now I'm getting conscious about whether or not people understand what torque is, enough to comprehend what people mean when they talk about higher torque and what expect (like being more prone to slipping)...

    Heck, there's still belief that longer cranks are better since they offer more leverage, without understanding that +5mm of crank length is about the equivalent -1t on the chainring regarding how your power is translated to forward propulsion. It's all a series of levers, including the wheel size...
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    Since the days of having a gear display on our shifters are gone (at least with most decent competent levels), I honestly don't know what gear I'm in at any given time most of the time. I just shift up or down as the needed calls for.

    SWriverstone, I get what you're saying about "snail's pace... difficult to stay upright". My experience too when I first rode with a 50 in the back. As time passed, I found I gained the ability to effectively track stand and hop. Not an intentional goal, it just evolved. And it didn't really slow things down. In fact, I clear those situations quicker because before big cogs, track stands and and hops, I was bailing and walking. Big gears really improved my extreme steep technical rock crawling.
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  67. #67
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    Slow, steep technical climbs. Granny gear becomes relevant real quick.
    Ride

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Haha—I have no idea. This is one of the most confusing things in biking (in terms of what people actually say). I think it’s “higher” gears versus “lower” gears, and I’ve always assumed “higher gear” = smaller cog, and “lower” gear = bigger cog, but I might be wrong. :-)


    It goes back to gear inches. Big gear (e.g. 100 inches) vs small gear (e.g. 20 inches)
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  69. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Dang, there's a lot of stuff to teach before some can talk about gear ratio, gear inches, and gain ratio too, not to mention how people number their gears.

    Now I'm getting conscious about whether or not people understand what torque is, enough to comprehend what people mean when they talk about higher torque and what expect (like being more prone to slipping)...

    Heck, there's still belief that longer cranks are better since they offer more leverage, without understanding that +5mm of crank length is about the equivalent -1t on the chainring regarding how your power is translated to forward propulsion. It's all a series of levers, including the wheel size...
    Can we add torque at the crank vs torque at the hub vs torque at the wheel into the mix? Also chain tension increases the smaller the cog... Discuss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Your friend is dead wrong. The pie plate is for spinning up steep and sustained climbs, or when you're cashed out. It is most assuredly NOT for high-torque obstacles or moves; in fact, you always want to drop down a cog or two to get enough torque to bite on the move or obstacle. You'll spin out on those moves with the pie plate.
    Agreed, I find it is better to use speed and body language to roll over any obstacle that can be rolled over. If I am pedaling over an obstacle I tend to pedal strike.


    Also, the biggest rear cog is great when you are climbing a long sustained climb AND you have your kid on the bike......

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-jak-n-dad-16-sml.jpg  

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    I'm still running 2X drivetrains on my go-to bikes. The low gear on each is 22 (ring) x 36 (cog) (which means slightly lower gear-inches on the 29er as compared to the fat/plus bike). I don't even shift out of the 36T ring in Ohio, unless I'm on my fatbike going up a giant hill in 6" of wet snow.
    I have used it in PA, TN, WV, NY, and GA, esp. when I'm pooped.

    There is a pipeline right of way near me that I have not had the legs to be able to climb yet this year. I think I can do it now that my fitness has improved, but I haven't had the chance to try. I will be in 22-36 on the 29er for that one. I might even video the attempt.

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  72. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    ...
    Also, the biggest rear cog is great when you are climbing a long sustained climb AND you have your kid on the bike......
    Yeah, there is that.

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  73. #73
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    In my case, the use of the granny ring is a 1/1 correlation with how many super-steep climbs there are in a given ride.

    For instance, if there are 8 really steep climbs, then it gets used 8 times.
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    I use my large (42T) cog all the time. If your largest cog is too low. Get a larger ring. They call it gear ratio, not gear size. It's the ratio, not the size, that matters.
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fleas View Post
    Yeah, there is that.



    -F
    YEAH DUDE!


    Not an MTB, but I use the crap out of my largest cog on my 7-Speed Fuji City Cruiser when in this configuration:

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-klure-bike-train.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Dang, there's a lot of stuff to teach before some can talk about gear ratio, gear inches, and gain ratio too, not to mention how people number their gears.

    Now I'm getting conscious about whether or not people understand what torque is, enough to comprehend what people mean when they talk about higher torque and what expect (like being more prone to slipping)...

    Heck, there's still belief that longer cranks are better since they offer more leverage, without understanding that +5mm of crank length is about the equivalent -1t on the chainring regarding how your power is translated to forward propulsion. It's all a series of levers, including the wheel size...
    Totally agree Varaxis. Heck, I’ve been riding for decades and I still don’t understand gear ratios! Part of the problem is relativity: much of the existing information online on this topic assumes a much higher level of knowledge and experience than most of us have.

    What’s needed is a really good, super-basic primer on gear ratios, and how different ratios actually feel on the bike when you’re pedaling.

    I’m also suddenly wanting to learn more about oval chainrings. I’ve known they existed for a few years, but have no clue why some people think they’re better?
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  77. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Heck, there's still belief that longer cranks are better since they offer more leverage, without understanding that +5mm of crank length is about the equivalent -1t on the chainring regarding how your power is translated to forward propulsion. It's all a series of levers, including the wheel size...
    That is very interesting. I had not even thought about that.

    I have 170mm crank arms on my current bike and pedal/crank arm strike the ground and rocks way too much. To the point where I have to actively think about stopping pedaling for certain sections of trail where I know I have hit the ground in the past.

    I am interested in dropping the length of my arms to 165mm or 160mm. What you are saying then if I go:
    * From 170mm to 165mm crank arms it is like adding a single tooth to my tallest rear gear?
    * From 170mm to 160mm crank arms it is like adding 2 teeth to my tallest rear gear?


    I have a 2x10 setup on my ride now. I am not certain how many teeth in my tallest gear on the rear sprocket. I can count em when I get home.

    How would the shorter crank arms play into the other gears on the rear sprocket, would it be a 1for1 equation with them as well?
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    I am running a 28t chainring with a 11-42 cassette. I find the 42t useful for steep climbs that aren't really technical. A lot of my local climbs are at least somewhat techy so the big gear is mostly for resting in gaps between features on the climb. Once you have to come out of the saddle, I find that shifting into a harder gear is need.

    I had an oval chainring but didn't really notice any difference.
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  79. #79
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    We the people ...

    I've been in my 50t once, in the lbs parking lot testing gears when I purchased the bike. I understand and appreciate the need for the gears in Colorado, Utah, and places with mountains. Unfortunately the pandemic cancelled all of our 2020 road trips and I ride in the midwest.

    Bike set up: 1x12, 34t chainring, 10-50t cassette.

    My previous bike had a 2x10. I still rarely used the granny even when we rode in Colorado (Buff Creek, Tres Hermanas, LotB, Crusty Butt-Lupine, 401, GJ/Fruita-Loma trails, Bookcliffs, etc.) and Moab. Old bike set up: 39t/26t chainrings, 11-36t cassette.

  80. #80
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    Any future bikes I build will likely use X01 11 speed. That's what I think about the pie plate.
    I'd switch back already if I could keep my AXS on an 11 speed.
    Hoping that Sram releases a weight weenie wide ratio 11 speed AXS at some point. Something like a 9-45 11 speed that was 150 grams lighter than the 12 speed, would be ideal.

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  81. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    That is very interesting. I had not even thought about that.

    I have 170mm crank arms on my current bike and pedal/crank arm strike the ground and rocks way too much. To the point where I have to actively think about stopping pedaling for certain sections of trail where I know I have hit the ground in the past.

    I am interested in dropping the length of my arms to 165mm or 160mm. What you are saying then if I go:
    * From 170mm to 165mm crank arms it is like adding a single tooth to my tallest rear gear?
    * From 170mm to 160mm crank arms it is like adding 2 teeth to my tallest rear gear?


    I have a 2x10 setup on my ride now. I am not certain how many teeth in my tallest gear on the rear sprocket. I can count em when I get home.

    How would the shorter crank arms play into the other gears on the rear sprocket, would it be a 1for1 equation with them as well?
    It's about 1 tooth for 5mm of crank arm length on a 32t front chain ring that's typical of a 1x drivetrain.

    I didn't check a gear calculator but I would assume for a cassette if you're running a 36t big cog you'd probably need 2 or 3 more teeth for equivelant gearing by going 5mm shorter on the crank arms.

    To make shorter crank arms work well it is best to stay at a bit of a higher cadence. Your effective "power stroke" is now shorter since the pedaling circle is smaller.

  82. #82
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    I use my 46t almost constantly on climbs and I'm running a 30t front ring and 27.5 wheels. Yes, the speed isn't much faster than walking pace. No, I can't go faster without blowing up my heart rate forcing me to stop. I probably could go fast and use an 11-42 cassette if I had a fast XC but bike I refuse to give up downhill fun and ride a 33Lbs Enduro bike.

    We also have gradients pushing 30% in some spots and sustained climbs upwards of 15%. I need my 46t cog at about 10% gradients .

  83. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    It's about 1 tooth for 5mm of crank arm length on a 32t front chain ring that's typical of a 1x drivetrain.

    I didn't check a gear calculator but I would assume for a cassette if you're running a 36t big cog you'd probably need 2 or 3 more teeth for equivelant gearing by going 5mm shorter on the crank arms.

    To make shorter crank arms work well it is best to stay at a bit of a higher cadence. Your effective "power stroke" is now shorter since the pedaling circle is smaller.

    I think it might be worth giving it a try.
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  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    I think it might be worth giving it a try.
    Definitely worth trying. When I do upgrade to 1x12 I'll be dropping to 165mm cranks. The 51t cog on the back will give me the low gear I need to go with shorter cranks. Currently using 170mm but I also like to spin where I can instead of mashing on the pedals.

  85. #85
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    I think the last time I used it was when installing a new chain.
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  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    Never. The single speeder in me climbs out of the saddle. I'd be happy with nine speed really.
    My 9spd has a 42t low gear.
    I usually climb in the 34front/28rear.
    My single speed usually runs 32/22.

    I'll use the 42 for maybe 1min total on a 3hr ride.
    Rides are usually about 2,000ft per hour.

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    How often do i use it? At least 80% of my rides. Regardless of the bike or gear range. Well sort of....slightly less on my 2x10 29er. Nearly every ride that isn't flat with the plus tires 1x12.

    When to use it? I don't understand the question.Use it when you aren't strong enough.
    Some days I'm really tired and the climb is more difficult than I want. So what, shift to 1st gear (1x12). Some days I ride the same hill in 3rd gear (1x12).
    Other days I climb the steep hill (hunkered over the bars, struggling to keep enough weight on the seat, etc. It's almot not possible for me to climb in the 2.8" 1x12 without using 1st. The difference is mostly, how many pieces of that hill do I need 1st and/or for how long do I need to.

    Cadence isn't always a consideration. A lot of people say that either the low gear must be impossible because you will fall over from going to slow, or you'll spin too fast.
    If you're going up super steep and can't pedal fast because you aren't that strong, you are not spinning fast in that gear. You're still mashing, just going really slowly (but I have to admit to having never ever fallen off my bike from going 'too slow').

    Last weekend my bike saw a lot of the 50t. I'm not in the same shape. My body never feels good on a ride any more. Hell, I barely have any skill for some reason. I powered as far as I could until I got off to push.
    Running a very worn out IKON in deep moon dust full of rocks (actually a dirt bike park) was too hard to even walk up, never mind every pedal stroke of the 50t spinning out below me.

    Get out, ride your bike, enjoy first gear. Don't feel any shame!
    Happy riding!!

  88. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    Any future bikes I build will likely use X01 11 speed. That's what I think about the pie plate.
    I'd switch back already if I could keep my AXS on an 11 speed.
    Hoping that Sram releases a weight weenie wide ratio 11 speed AXS at some point. Something like a 9-45 11 speed that was 150 grams lighter than the 12 speed, would be ideal.

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    Dremeling off the pie plate from a 12s would leave an 11s 10-42. Not sure how much weight that would save.

  89. #89
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    I mash instead of spinning. My lowest gear on 2 of my bikes is 32x32, so I am in that gear pretty regularly with all of the hills around here. When I'm on my 2x10 bike I rarely shift lower than 22x30 unless I'm bonking at the end of an all-day ride or riding fully loaded for bikepacking.

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    Every ride, every steep climb I am in that 50.

    Weighing ~225 and riding steep terrain I tend to enjoy spinning a high cadence. Unlike most I run a 26T Oval (yep) with a 50 out back. I can usually pass a lot of people while they mash away, just spinning a high cadence, love it!.

    Probably go 28T once I go the 52 cassette route....

  91. #91
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    Every ride! My biggest climbing gear in back is currently a blue, 20t, Wolftooth cog. It's also my only gear in back. We can get 100 feet of climbing per mile here. Everything good hurts a little

  92. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Every ride! My biggest climbing gear in back is currently a blue, 20t, Wolftooth cog. It's also my only gear in back. We can get 100 feet of climbing per mile here. Everything good hurts a little


    You are wrong. Several posts on this thread have made it clear that is impossible.
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  93. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    You are wrong. Several posts on this thread have made it clear that is impossible.
    Yeah, and we're still waiting...with bated breath...to find out just where it is impossible.

  94. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Yeah, and we're still waiting...with bated breath...to find out just where it is impossible.
    Patricia Ann Byrom forsest preserve in Virginia

  95. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Cadence isn't always a consideration. A lot of people say that either the low gear must be impossible because you will fall over from going to slow, or you'll spin too fast.
    Yeah that is an interesting thing for people to claim.

    I recommend anyone who feels this way to find a gentle hill, drop it into the lowest gear you got and practice cadence and balance. It takes just as much skill to go slow as it does to go fast, just different types of skills.


    I mostly ride with a kid on my bike, I am 225lbs and with an extra 20-25lbs of moving child on the bike climbing the hills by me in anything other than my lowest gear requires muscles and lungs I do not possess.

    That said, I was able to ride Solo on Tuesday and powered up a hill I would normally need my lowest gears for in much higher gears at a much higher speed.
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  96. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by d365 View Post
    I ride in whatever gear it takes to keep a comfortable cadence and heart rate. If that's the granny ring, so be it.

    Sure it's better to crank up a hill, but only if you don't blow up in the process. The rest of us mortals, know when it's time to sit down and spin, to keep something left in the tank after the peak.
    I am this way too. The cadence and "distance per pedal stroke" is how I judge my comfort level.

    Now, my "granny gear" is only a 36t, so I only have a saucer compared to some of the plates that are current now.

    and to get over a large obstacle in the middle of a climb, I go to a smaller cog in the book long before the obstacle, and try to gain speed to float over the obstacle and get momentum for afterward. I could never go lower once I have that cadence and power set up
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  97. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Every ride! My biggest climbing gear in back is currently a blue, 20t, Wolftooth cog. It's also my only gear in back. We can get 100 feet of climbing per mile here. Everything good hurts a little
    100-150’ per mile is *perfect* singlespeeding ratios. 32x19 or 20 is the perfect gearing for it too. We have a couple rides here in PHX that exceed that, and it borders on “suck”.


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  98. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    You are wrong. Several posts on this thread have made it clear that is impossible.
    Anyone can have smaller cogs with smaller diameter rims.

    Wont fly with 29" inch rims and steep trails.

    Some of these superman peddlers in here, im sure want us to bow in their presence, but mortals need the large cogs on steep climbs.

  99. #99
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    Patricia Ann Byrom forsest preserve in Virginia
    This is my backyard, literally ride from my house


    https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/c...ecreation-area

  100. #100
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    This ride is basically 2 big climbs, and 2 big downhills. Starting low point at 6k’ of elevation, high point is about 7k.

    I was on 29x3.0 wheels. I don’t consider myself an especially strong rider, I’m merely pointing out what you think is impossible...isn’t.


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  101. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Anyone can have smaller cogs with smaller diameter rims.

    Wont fly with 29" inch rims and steep trails.

    Some of these superman peddlers in here, im sure want us to bow in their presence, but mortals need the large cogs on steep climbs.
    C’mon. I’m in my 50s. Never been a racer. Never played any elite level sports. Was the fat kid in elementary school.

    I’m not saying I clean every climb, but nobody “needs” a 50t cog out back to thoroughly enjoy their 100-150ft/mile ride.

  102. #102
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    Anyone turning their nose up at the granny gear either doesn't ride the trails that necessitate it or they are a pro. And pros ain't wastin' their time bickering on these boards.

  103. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    We can get 100 feet of climbing per mile here.
    400' in half a mile, is not the steepest climb we have, but it kicks my butt, even with a 32/50t

  104. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post

    I’m not saying I clean every climb, but nobody “needs” a 50t cog out back to thoroughly enjoy their 100-150ft/mile ride.
    I agree, I am with you full hearted, im 57 and healing a broken collar bone and 2 ribs and 2 bones that attach to your vertebrae, from my last wreck 2 weeks ago.

    but thats not what "they" are talking about

    400 feet in half a mile, after riding 25 miles and climbing 3000 feet, on a 29er, you might enjoy that 50t quite a bit

  105. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    400' in half a mile, is not the steepest climb we have, but it kicks my butt, even with a 32/50t
    Kick ass - I’d probably run gears there, too. Rock it!

  106. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Anyone can have smaller cogs with smaller diameter rims.

    Wont fly with 29" inch rims and steep trails.

    Some of these superman peddlers in here, im sure want us to bow in their presence, but mortals need the large cogs on steep climbs.


    I don't mean top get in a cog waving contest but whenever I hear that you absolutely need (x) gear on (y) trail I have to call bs. There's some crazy mo-fo's out there.

    Everyone should use what works for themselves. Low gears are best for most for sure.
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  107. #107
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    Fitness. I wish I had the leg(s) I had in high school. I was a roadie in high school and weighed 100 lbs less than I do now. My last 12 speed was a trek chro molly road bike in 87. I never pedaled lower than 10th gear for thousands of miles from Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Quebec, Canada.

    Fast forward 35 years or so, have knee surgery, and wish I would have ordered a 28 tooth chainring, instead of a thirty tooth for my eagle drivetrain. I sit and spin everything, because I can’t stand up to pedal yet. Don’t know if I’ll ever regain the my quad strength.

    I change gears constantly. That’s why I have a 12 speed tranny. Use whatever gear you need to keep moving.

  108. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biohazard74 View Post
    Slow, steep technical climbs. Granny gear becomes relevant real quick.
    Answer = hike-a-bike

    Or... look out for the dh'ers approaching - coz me thinks you're on a one way system!

    PS - occasionally when I'm tired (shift worker, sometimes I ride with me homeez (after a 10 hour night shift and only 4 hours sleep), I'll find myself on 50t and I'll be like 'Hell No!! Granny ain't here!! And I'll drop into the next cog down. For a little suffer-fest.

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  109. #109
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    back in the day when i rode one of the early santa cruz superlight models, i never really was able to get into the granny most of the time unless i got off and physically put the chain down there. i just never was able to make 3x9 work properly with that bike. sometimes i just HAD to grind in high gears up painful sections because it was easier than dealing with the chain not going down there or dropping off.

    something makes me think running a 48T big ring using an XT front derailleur had something to do with the shifting issues on the superlight.

    back then, i think high middle for me was 34-32, and the drivetrain was 48/34/22(?) x 13/32. i might be wrong, but i think i'm close.

    little did i know back in 2000-2001-2002 how 1 x 11 with a 46 bailout would almost entirely eliminate chain-dropping-and-bottom-bracket-grinding in my life.

    know how this information relates to this conversation i don't know, sometimes i smoke weed and think about stuff like this when i clean my bikes...

  110. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impetus View Post
    100-150’ per mile is *perfect* singlespeeding ratios. 32x19 or 20 is the perfect gearing for it too. We have a couple rides here in PHX that exceed that, and it borders on “suck”.


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    I run a 34x20 when I ride the White Tanks but dont neccesarily enjoy it 100% of the time.
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  111. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    Okay...but what do you think of the "QuickTorque" shifting technique? (Shifting onto your biggest cog for all of 2 seconds to get over something then immediately shifting back down.)
    I am the reverse. I find it easier to got smaller cog and stand for hitting something. More torque and less pedal strokes. Then sit back down and spin in the big cog to get the heart rate down. Big cogs are great for long non technical climbs where you can just spin it out.
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  112. #112
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    I use it on long, sustained steep climbs, especially when I'm gassed. In the Wasatch, you climb over 2000 feet to get to the bottom of "Puke Hill" that tops out around 9500 feet or so. The sustained hard section is about a mile with the last 1/4 mile being the steepest. I'm usually in first for that, unless I shuttle up and then it's surprisingly doable in 2nd and 3rd., so freshness is a factor, for sure.

    Climbing up to Burro pass in Moab is another place I'll definitely be in first.
    That sort of thing.

    Otherwise, now that I think about it, I never use it (1x12 on a 29er with a 30t oval).
    I actually had to put a larger chainring on my wife's bike so that she could use 1st gear, otherwise she was going too slow to balance.

  113. #113
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    The bike I ride most often is a 29" hardtail with a 28T front ring and an 11-42 cassette. I use the 42T cog on almost every ride, because most of our climbs are very steep. It is not uncommon to climb 2500-3500 feet in less than 5 miles on our trails. I don't care who you are, standing and mashing on a taller gear for that long is unsustainable.

    I could actually use a 44 in the back and that would be about perfect. For me, the length of the ride and the vertical absolutely matter, but also, it depends on how big of a week I've had in terms of rides without recovery days. After climbing 9000 feet or more in 3-4 days, I need a lower gear.

    In certain parts of the country though, I don't need those low gears. Moab, for example. Very easy climbing, for the most part.
    I only ride loam:)

  114. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    In certain parts of the country though, I don't need those low gears. Moab, for example. Very easy climbing, for the most part.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_xnEMAdruc

  115. #115
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    I only ride loam:)

  116. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post

    I’m not saying I clean every climb, but nobody “needs” a 50t cog out back to thoroughly enjoy their 100-150ft/mile ride.
    much steeper, more like 13% + grades that are often rocky and or clay mud

  117. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I don't care who you are, standing and mashing on a taller gear for that long is unsustainable.
    Some of these superman riders here, magically refuse to accept reality here.

    Can I make it up a single hill on a smaller cog? sure, but no one can do it al day or on long climbs

  118. #118
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    Most of the SSers are on rigid bikes that climb dramatically differently than a full sus.

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  119. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Some of these superman riders here, magically refuse to accept reality here.

    That's a fact, they ride up mountains using smaller rear cogs than many here can imagine.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  120. #120
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    I use my biggest climbing gear, SRAM Eagle GX 30x50 all the time on my trail bike. It gets me up steep pitches and saves my knees.

    My bikepacking bike has a Eagle 32x50 that I also use all the time on very steep, multi-mile climbs.

  121. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Some of these superman riders here, magically refuse to accept reality here.

    Can I make it up a single hill on a smaller cog? sure, but no one can do it al day or on long climbs
    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    That's a fact, they ride up mountains using smaller rear cogs than many here can imagine.
    So, answer me this you guys, since you are so sure that riding what we all rode before is pure fiction...

    What were you riding before? Did you do shorter rides? Did you ride less vertical? Or are you just old now, and think that what's new is all that makes these rides you do possible?


    Because it's pretty funny, the more things 'advance' the more I keep reading people on the 'internet' saying that what was absolutely possible (and done every effing day) on the gear we rode back in the day, isn't possible today without the new geo, gearing, dropper, etc. etc. etc... yadayadayadayadayada.

    Me thinks some of you guys better be using some really good waterproof grease on your bottom brackets...so that the kool-aid doesn't spill out of your frames.

  122. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    much steeper, more like 13% + grades that are often rocky and or clay mud
    Show me, show all of us the data for your 13% grades.

    I totally believe that your climbs can hit that. Mine have sections that exceed it. But that's just it. They are 'SECTIONS'. It isn't sustained. I'll wager that if it was sustained you wouldn't be swinging your genitalia about your rides with a 51, but rather you'd be the darling of the E-bike forum.

    Tell the truth.

    If you think your rides are impossible without your gearing at your 2000 average elevation, try coming to 10,000. I think you might take up crochet, or like I said, become the darling of the E-bike forum.

    I'm just gonna keep doing what you say isn't possible.

    Rolling my eyes so hard they're staring through the back of my skull.

  123. #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    So, answer me this you guys, since you are so sure that riding what we all rode before is pure fiction...

    What were you riding before? Did you do shorter rides? Did you ride less vertical? Or are you just old now, and think that what's new is all that makes these rides you do possible?


    Because it's pretty funny, the more things 'advance' the more I keep reading people on the 'internet' saying that what was absolutely possible (and done every effing day) on the gear we rode back in the day, isn't possible today without the new geo, gearing, dropper, etc. etc. etc... yadayadayadayadayada.

    Me thinks some of you guys better be using some really good waterproof grease on your bottom brackets...so that the kool-aid doesn't spill out of your frames.



    You misunderstand me, I agree with you. I know single speeders who grind up slopes that others couldn't imagine doing without their 50's.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  124. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    You misunderstand me, I agree with you. I know single speeders who grind up slopes that others couldn't imagine doing without their 50's.
    I guess I did then J.B. Thanks for clarifying that, and sorry for bunching you in with the chamber pot

  125. #125
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    I use my 51 all the time. Is it necessary to make the climbs, absolutely not. I have done all climbs on smaller gearing many times. However, it sure is nice to have the option to not be breathing out my eye balls.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  126. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I use my 51 all the time. Is it necessary to make the climbs, absolutely not. I have done all climbs on smaller gearing many times. However, it sure is nice to have the option to not be breathing out my eye balls.
    This. Thank you.

  127. #127
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    As someone that likes to ride a rigid SS, I also like to use the big gear 30/42 when I'm on my FS bike. Sometimes it's nice to spin along slowly up the hill instead of mashing.

  128. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Show me, show all of us the data for your 13% grades.

    I totally believe that your climbs can hit that. Mine have sections that exceed it. But that's just it. They are 'SECTIONS'. It isn't sustained. I'll wager that if it was sustained you wouldn't be swinging your genitalia about your rides with a 51, but rather you'd be the darling of the E-bike forum.

    Tell the truth.

    If you think your rides are impossible without your gearing at your 2000 average elevation, try coming to 10,000. I think you might take up crochet, or like I said, become the darling of the E-bike forum.

    I'm just gonna keep doing what you say isn't possible.

    Rolling my eyes so hard they're staring through the back of my skull.
    I'm not part of the people you wanna hear from but figured it would be fun to share this.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1633319
    KOM is 4.8mph at 326watts

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1508699

    https://www.strava.com/segments/25184113
    This last one averages 10% but includes the downhills and flat sections in it. There is sustained climbing around 20% and pitches upwards of 30%. I find Lynn trail in the first link much easier to climb than this last segment! Oh yeah, this is the easiest way up Patricia Ann Byrom forest preserve.

    I'm pretty sure they've all been climbed on single speeds but only by people who can put out power numbers that rival world tour pros.

    I also mountain bike primarily for the downhills. I'm not wasting any more energy than I need to on a climb even if that means going just about walking pace.

    Edit, can't believe I forgot this legendary climb! https://www.strava.com/segments/742679

  129. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I'm not part of the people you wanna hear from but figured it would be fun to share this.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1633319
    KOM is 4.8mph at 326watts

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1508699

    https://www.strava.com/segments/25184113
    This last one averages 10% but includes the downhills and flat sections in it. There is sustained climbing around 20% and pitches upwards of 30%. I find Lynn trail in the first link much easier to climb than this last segment! Oh yeah, this is the easiest way up Patricia Ann Byrom forest preserve.

    I'm pretty sure they've all been climbed on single speeds but only by people who can put out power numbers that rival world tour pros.

    I also mountain bike primarily for the downhills. I'm not wasting any more energy than I need to on a climb even if that means going just about walking pace.

    Edit, can't believe I forgot this legendary climb! https://www.strava.com/segments/742679
    Good stuff Fajita. Good old east coast. I saw Bishops name in there. Have you ridden these?

    Oh, and I'm not on a single speed if that's what you're thinking.

    Edit: fully reading your post...

    I ride primarily for the ride. Where I came from is the east coast. Was mainly riding in South Eastern Pa. Punchy, techy climbs and techy descents, repeatedly. Honestly, that is my absolute favorite. I'm in the rockies now. Starting at 8000 to 10,000 and going up for miles from there. It's not my favorite trail style. Up, up, up, and then rather mundane down, down down. But, it's what is here. And I have what I have, which is a hardtail with a 36 to an 11-36. And 13% is AVERAGE, not some grade to brag about. My new bike (almost done with the build, snow's gonna be flying by the time I'm done) is going to have 34 to 10-51. I'll see what I think of it. I think it's going to feel very odd, and I might end up wanting to step down the cassette size.

  130. #130
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    Fatbike with 26"/4.8" tires. chainring if oval 26T and 11-46 cassette. I ride the 46T a lot. In winter in the snow a lot, and also in summer on trails. Sometimes I ride for a few hours and that makes me use the larger cog a lot.

    My largest cog is made of aluminum and you can tell it gets used a lot (still shifts fine, though)

    I even contemplated upgrading to an 11-51. On the other hand, I only have to walk my bike when the technicality becomes too difficult, not necessarily due to gearing. Although even lower gearing may help.

    Yes, I'm weak and slow.
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  131. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    So, answer me this you guys, since you are so sure that riding what we all rode before is pure fiction...

    What were you riding before? Did you do shorter rides? Did you ride less vertical? Or are you just old now, and think that what's new is all that makes these rides you do possible?


    Because it's pretty funny, the more things 'advance' the more I keep reading people on the 'internet' saying that what was absolutely possible (and done every effing day) on the gear we rode back in the day, isn't possible today without the new geo, gearing, dropper, etc. etc. etc... yadayadayadayadayada.

    Me thinks some of you guys better be using some really good waterproof grease on your bottom brackets...so that the kool-aid doesn't spill out of your frames.
    I think most of us were riding 26" bikes with 2.1" tires. The gearing required wasn't nearly as steep as a 29er with 2.6 tires. And it wasn't nearly as fun on the downhills. Times have changed.

    Anyone who has ever taken a spin class can tell you that an average rider puts down more watts for longer periods by spinning than by grinding in a hard gear.

  132. #132
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    Quote Originally Posted by ungod View Post
    I think most of us were riding 26" bikes with 2.1" tires. The gearing required wasn't nearly as steep as a 29er with 2.6 tires. And it wasn't nearly as fun on the downhills. Times have changed.

    .
    exactly

    Many of the hills I go up at 13 degrees, I can make up and not use my 50t when its smooth. The long ones im forced to its not a choice when its 13 percent for a 1/2 mile

    Another section that would require a 4/4 is only a 1/4 mile at 13 degrees, but its hard chunk and gravel from a old 130 year old stagecoach road. Thee is a small amount if technical climbing required

  133. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    . And 13% is AVERAGE, not some grade to brag about. .
    Comprehension is key

    Having to use a 50t up a 13% climb, after 30 miles and 4000 feet of climbing is sort of the opposite of bragging.

  134. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Comprehension is key

    Having to use a 50t up a 13% climb, after 30 miles and 4000 feet of climbing is sort of the opposite of bragging.
    Ah, now it's about comprehension.

    You see, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you're doing your best to not drop your nuts while attempting to pick up the goal posts and move em.

    Your whole viola number has been about it "not being possible" to climb the hills being spoken about with anything but what YOU do it with. Then cue the passive aggressive snark about 'supermen' and what have you, because your 13%+ (you were absolutely bragging) is impossible for you to fathom turning cranks without mashing or standing. I'm sorry bub, but the more you jump from one foot to the other, the more I think you just might be what your screen name implies, and that's full of sh!t.

    I personally can climb what you can not, with what would probably make you want to quit riding if you had to use it. Not bragging, wasn't bragging from the beginning. Just honestly stated what I have and what I do with it. You can't fathom it without thinking that someones a superhero, because you have the audacity to think that you're the 'benchmark'. You are clearly far from it.

  135. #135
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    Quote Originally Posted by ungod View Post
    I think most of us were riding 26" bikes with 2.1" tires. The gearing required wasn't nearly as steep as a 29er with 2.6 tires. And it wasn't nearly as fun on the downhills. Times have changed.

    Anyone who has ever taken a spin class can tell you that an average rider puts down more watts for longer periods by spinning than by grinding in a hard gear.
    This was never the argument, and that goes without saying. However, it is FAR from impossible. 36 to 36 wasn't a hard gear that long ago. Ponder that. What changed? The rides? Or the riders? Think about it.

  136. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I guess I did then J.B. Thanks for clarifying that, and sorry for bunching you in with the chamber pot
    Yep, 13% with 32f/22r gearing is doable on a single speed no worries.
    For me, 8-10% I can keep it up for 45min.
    13% and anything loose on the trail is going to cause loss of traction if you're standing and grinding.
    Spinning? Is that where you're doing more than 60rpm?

  137. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    This was never the argument, and that goes without saying. However, it is FAR from impossible. 36 to 36 wasn't a hard gear that long ago. Ponder that. What changed? The rides? Or the riders? Think about it.
    The gears changed and gave us a choice.
    Some took the blue pill, some took the red pill.
    Some took both with a shot of whiskey.

  138. #138
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Good stuff Fajita. Good old east coast. I saw Bishops name in there. Have you ridden these?

    Oh, and I'm not on a single speed if that's what you're thinking.

    Edit: fully reading your post...

    I ride primarily for the ride. Where I came from is the east coast. Was mainly riding in South Eastern Pa. Punchy, techy climbs and techy descents, repeatedly. Honestly, that is my absolute favorite. I'm in the rockies now. Starting at 8000 to 10,000 and going up for miles from there. It's not my favorite trail style. Up, up, up, and then rather mundane down, down down. But, it's what is here. And I have what I have, which is a hardtail with a 36 to an 11-36. And 13% is AVERAGE, not some grade to brag about. My new bike (almost done with the build, snow's gonna be flying by the time I'm done) is going to have 34 to 10-51. I'll see what I think of it. I think it's going to feel very odd, and I might end up wanting to step down the cassette size.
    I've ridden all of them on a 34lbs Enduro bike with 160mm of travel. Lynn trail has a section I need to hike. I could ride it but heart rate just blows up making it hard to fully recover for the downhill. Same goes for after the last switchback at Sherando. P.A. Byrom is a whole lot of hike-a-bike for me but the downhills are pretty much what you'd find on a diamond run in the bike park. I only rode Horse Trough Hollow once and remember it being insanely hard but that was also 15 miles into a 35 mile ride.

  139. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    Edit, can't believe I forgot this legendary climb! https://www.strava.com/segments/742679
    Love it...I looked up guys in my age bracket (I'm 68). It was pretty sparsely populated, with only one guy who did it way back in 2015!
    With a KOM of 16:02 and he's the one "mature fellow" that did it in 49 flat. Not bad.
    I'm guessing he used his granny gear.

  140. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    Love it...I looked up guys in my age bracket (I'm 68). It was pretty sparsely populated, with only one guy who did it way back in 2015!
    With a KOM of 16:02 and he's the one "mature fellow" that did it in 49 flat. Not bad.
    I'm guessing he used his granny gear.
    The guy with the KOM is an extremely fast local racer who trains with Jeremiah Bishop. My PR up that segment is 39 minutes haha! Definitely granny gear the whole way with some rest stops.

  141. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by NordieBoy View Post
    Some took both with a shot of whiskey.
    Love this!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    I'm curious to know how often folks use their giant cog in the back when riding or climbing?

    A related question is, when *should* you use it? (A technique question!)

    I've been MTBing for many years...and over the years, I've generally found that using my big cog kinda sucks. Yes you have a lot of torque, but you move at a snail's pace—so slow that I find it difficult to remain upright without dabbing.

    Maybe put differently, it seems that as you go bigger and bigger in the back, you reach a point of diminishing returns, because you're spinning like mad and barely moving.

    I'll readily admit, though—my perception may be because I have shitty shifting technique and just don't fully understand exactly when to use my giant cog and when not to?

    I was talking with a friend who told me that the "proper" technique is to never ride in your giant cog...except for just the **couple seconds** it takes to get over a big rock or root or something. He said when you hit the obstacle, you instantly shift into your giant cog, get over the obstacle, and instantly shift back to a smaller cog.

    I've never really done this, partly because as a rule, I don't like shifting with massive pressure on the cranks. I always feel like I'm destroying my drivetrain when I do that.

    But what I do kinda sucks, which is, I'll see the obstacle coming up—shift onto my giant cog, get over the obstacle, then keep spinning madly a while longer in my giant cog until I get to a section where I can relax a bit and shift back down to smaller cog.

    So what is the "correct" technique?

    NOTE: I'm talking about normal human riders here—not superstuds with Olympic Legs of Steel who can ride over anything on your smallest cog, LOL.

    Scott
    I use mine every ride, but Im not that strong. There are many technical obstacles where you cant make it if you are too low of a gear. You need a certain minimum speed to make it up and too much torque causes you to spin out. going slow doesnt matter if you can trackstand. You should be able to stop, go backwards a bit, pedal forward and stay balanced.

    If you arent dabbing, you are doing fine.

    For me it is the opposite, I generally ride in my lowest gear, then will occasionally shift up to make it over a rock.

    What kind of elevation gains/linear mile are you riding?

  143. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    It all depends on the engine, the climb/grade, and what they're acclimated to. Sounds like you've never been to Pisgah. 37 miles and 8000 feet and these people are doing it on SS through some insanely rough terrain. Their blue trails would be double black in other places.
    one of my hardest rides was haleakala, 10000 feet in 25 miles. I had never ridden a road bike gearing before (I think the lowest gear was my middle gear) and was not used to continuously spinning for hours. The roadies dropped me in the 1st mile.

  144. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by Impetus View Post

    This ride is basically 2 big climbs, and 2 big downhills. Starting low point at 6k’ of elevation, high point is about 7k.

    I was on 29x3.0 wheels. I don’t consider myself an especially strong rider, I’m merely pointing out what you think is impossible...isn’t.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    24 miles and 3400 ft is actually 12 miles and 3400 ft + 12miles of downhill.

  145. #145
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    Quote Originally Posted by goodmojo View Post
    24 miles and 3400 ft is actually 12 miles and 3400 ft + 12miles of downhill.

    Only if you're riding a loop.
    This probably is, but if you shuttle or ride point to point, no.

  146. #146
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    I did a double climbing lap over the weekend. It's only 2,000' climb per lap (all up then all down). On a fire road.
    My fitness is crap right now.
    I used 1st gear a lot on lap #2. A 6.5 mile climb ranging from 4% to 10%.
    I don't think I used 1st on the first lap but it wasn't optional on the 2nd lap.
    The first lap was 50% shade at most. 30 minutes spent up top recording video, etc. (I'd never been up this climb before). Wiped off the chain and down I go.
    At the bottom I wiped the chain again. But then my chain kept shifting to the small ring when in the two lowest gears in the back while on the larger ring. I ended up in the small ring a lot due to that, which only made it easier to get to 1st anyway. haha

    I almost called it quits at 3, then at mile 4 (2nd time up) I wish I had called it quits but now I'm too close to the top to go back.
    It didn't help any being in full sun the 2nd trip. And 105 degrees for the last 3 miles to the top.

    2x10 drivetrain, FS 29er.

  147. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I'm not part of the people you wanna hear from but figured it would be fun to share this.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1633319
    KOM is 4.8mph at 326watts

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1508699

    https://www.strava.com/segments/25184113
    This last one averages 10% but includes the downhills and flat sections in it. There is sustained climbing around 20% and pitches upwards of 30%. I find Lynn trail in the first link much easier to climb than this last segment! Oh yeah, this is the easiest way up Patricia Ann Byrom forest preserve.

    I'm pretty sure they've all been climbed on single speeds but only by people who can put out power numbers that rival world tour pros.

    I also mountain bike primarily for the downhills. I'm not wasting any more energy than I need to on a climb even if that means going just about walking pace.

    Edit, can't believe I forgot this legendary climb! https://www.strava.com/segments/742679
    Now you got me curious. I'm up for some challenge and I see some potential climbs like that near me on Google Earth, but don't see any sign of them on the Strava heat map.

    https://www.strava.com/heatmap#15.41...67144/hot/ride

    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-p5fk5b4.jpg
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  148. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I'm not part of the people you wanna hear from but figured it would be fun to share this.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/1633319
    KOM is 4.8mph at 326watts
    Holy Crap, 1,130 feet of elevation gain in 1.34 miles..... that is nuts.

    I am stoked to do 1000 feet of gain in 10 miles, makes me feel like a hero...
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    On a whim, I just checked one of the climb trails in the area, just to see how my area compares to places with "real climbs".

    1070ft of climbing in 2 miles. So not quite the 1100ft in 1.34 miles like the above, but still pretty decent. At least its pretty consistent in its grade, and tops out around 17%.

    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/master-link-52966/

    My actual local trail system is actually much steeper in grade, but way shorter in length. The county actually came out and measured the climb back to the parking lot at over 20%, and it looks like Trailforks data shows that climb, and the one into the main trail system as having grades of 26% and 32% respectively. But each are pretty short. Being something like 100-120ft of climbing.

    https://www.trailforks.com/trails/main-trail-36299/

    Maybe noteworthy, maybe expected, but when when I climb the trail at Tiger Mountain (first link), its long enough that I do dip into the first gear in parts (especially if I'm not fresh).

    My local trail is much steeper, but I can actually muscle up both of those climbs in 4th gear if I'm motivated. I'm pretty toast when i get to the top when I do that though.

    It just points out the difference between shorter punchy climbs, and the kind of longer sustained grinds where the lower gearing can really help out when you're tired.

    I've currently got a 30t chainring, and 42-11 cassette on a really heavy (~37lb) 29'er enduro bike. The 42 has been enough for pretty much anywhere I've been... but there have been times I've wished for a 46t, or maybe 51t. But if I went to 51t, I'd likely go 32t on the front.

  150. #150
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    Every time I ride, locally. Sometime I ride in Indiana when visiting the folks, but up in the mountains, or down in the foothills where I seek out the steepest climbs, I use my 30x45 every time.
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  151. #151
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    After reading through this thread, I must ask - I won a state level NORBA hillclimb race on a singlespeed once, 8.2 miles and 2:1 on 26"

    Do I win?
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  152. #152
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder View Post
    After reading through this thread, I must ask - I won a state level NORBA hillclimb race on a singlespeed once, 8.2 miles and 2:1 on 26"

    Do I win?
    I think anyone that wins a hillclimb contest on a single speed, gets automatically entered into a drawing to ride with Chris Akrigg. The only catch is you have to ride uphill the whole time.

    I think thats how the internet works anyway.

  153. #153
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Holy Crap, 1,130 feet of elevation gain in 1.34 miles..... that is nuts.

    I am stoked to do 1000 feet of gain in 10 miles, makes me feel like a hero...
    I'm stoked to ride the downhill that follows but feel like a total loser trying to climb up that thing . There are always lots of rest breaks to get my HR back down and that's only from grinding along as slow as I can manage which is only slightly faster than walking pace.

    One fast CAT1 XC racer around here made it a life goal to clean that climb. It took him a few years to get there and the right dirt conditions to get the grip for one steep pitch.

  154. #154
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder View Post
    After reading through this thread, I must ask - I won a state level NORBA hillclimb race on a singlespeed once, 8.2 miles and 2:1 on 26"

    Do I win?
    We have this https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shenandoah_100 which uses some of the segments I posted earlier. There is a single speed category. Totally different event than a hillclimb event though!

  155. #155
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    Well, I suppose you can describe any steep eroded climb as being "technical", if you try riding it with a 32x51. It really is more challenging in this gear, mostly because it only goes like 3 MPH.

    When you're going slow, the front wheel will be more prone to wander left & right, since the "auto-centering" effect of the steering is proportional to your forward speed. You might get stuck in the dreaded pattern in which you overcorrect the wander, such as if it seems to be heading off the trail, and end up overcorrecting the overcorrection(s). Once your rear tire gets dragged into something that it can't get decent traction on, like the loose stuff in the cupped part of erosion, you'd be forced to dismount.

    When you're going slow, it takes a lot less to end your momentum. A smaller bump than expected could probably stop you in your tracks. Pausing your pedaling for half a second, perhaps due to pedal strike hazards, can also do it. Momentum is your friend against many of the things that would end up dismounting you...

    Those who are climbing in higher gears are better off, technically, as long as they can find a way to transfer power through. That granny gear is just there for mental support, the way I ride. I'd be afraid to even attempt some routes, if I didn't have it. I typically shift into it to know how many gears to shift up from it to make a better attempt at a technical climb.

    IMO, a HUGE reason why geared bikes struggle with this is because bike makers design the BB area super stiff. They believe that an instant response to pedal input is more desirable. Racers perhaps agree with this feel, that stiffer is more efficient, but not singlespeeders. SSers seem to like steel, but don't use correct terminology to explain why. It's because they have small springy tubes that store energy in them under heavy pedal strokes. They might not spurt up the climb with strong looking strokes, but they seemingly pull ahead with a smoothness that defies their heavy mashing--the steel frame returns that stored energy back into the cranks to continue pulling forward in the dead zone.


    ^ This stored energy effect is very noticeable on a steel FS frame with a cantilevered BB shell (just hanging off the downtube, not supported by the seat tube). I can load a ton of weight on the bike (strapping 10+ lbs of dense metal bars to the downtube) and put on boat anchor tires and it mashes up hills with little drama, and well below painful pressure levels on my knees. The frame basically soaks it up the force instead of my knees...


    ^ evidence of how much flex there is in the frame, that the crank can contact the chainstay when hammering.

    Feel free to call steel frame lovers delusional, we won't judge back. We just feel like we know something you don't and it's so good that we might want to selfishly keep our secret. Kind of feels good that people don't figure it out, and scratch their heads wondering why we can mash up something, despite predicting that it would be impossible. Proving to others that the impossible is possible through a physical demonstration has its own unique satisfying feeling...
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  156. #156
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    Not very often. Usually it is when I'm completely spent and just trying to get back to the trailhead, am in the 2nd lowest gear (but don't realize it) and encounter a super sandy steep uphill section. But I'm in Florida, so I have a little less climbing time.

    As to OPs comment about not shifting under heavy pressure, when you're in those super low gears, the whole point of using them is that you can get that extra torque from the gearing without applying the same power to the cranks. Shifting in those two super low gears is mostly smooth and effortless. Try it, you'll like it.
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  157. #157
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    ...IMO, a HUGE reason why geared bikes struggle with this is because bike makers design the BB area super stiff....

    Feel free to call steel frame lovers delusional, we won't judge back.



    I think you're delusional. I know a few competent riders who ride ss's. 2 are on aluminum frames and the other has carbon, all 3 would still be fast on steel.
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  158. #158
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    Quote Originally Posted by Klurejr View Post
    Holy Crap, 1,130 feet of elevation gain in 1.34 miles..... that is nuts.

    I am stoked to do 1000 feet of gain in 10 miles, makes me feel like a hero...
    Here are just two of our equivalent climbs. There are literally dozens of these sorts of climbs in the area. 1 mile and about 1000 feet of elevation gain isn't very unusual in the hills here.

    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-screen-shot-2020-08-07-6.52.39-am.jpg

    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-screen-shot-2020-08-07-7.00.53-am.jpg

    Everyone uses their smallest gear at some point in these climbs. The fastest riders hold a higher cadence and/or just one gear higher. The speed difference isn't substantial if you were to watch two riders of different fitness pass by a fix point, it is just that carried out over distance and time it makes a big difference in over all time. But you already knew that! haha!

  159. #159
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    That's pretty crazy at altitude!

    6 miles of 8% sounds pretty nice but not at 10k feet above sea level.

  160. #160
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    Glorieta is no joke. Seriously though, Jagged Axe is probably my all time favorite trail.

  161. #161
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post


    Everyone uses their smallest gear at some point in these climbs. The fastest riders hold a higher cadence and/or just one gear higher.
    Exactly what I said about our location

    Dont worry superman will be here soon to argue about how he is faster then you, and that you have no idea what you are talking about LOL even though you see what everyone else running on a daily basis.

    Our trails are similar. but much lower elevation. I lived at 8000' for 3 summers and used to love running at that elevation. Felt great when you came off the mnt and ran. Seemed like you had energy to burn

  162. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    Exactly what I said about our location

    Dont worry superman will be here soon to argue about how he is faster then you, and that you have no idea what you are talking about LOL even though you see what everyone else running on a daily basis.

    Our trails are similar. but much lower elevation. I lived at 8000' for 3 summers and used to love running at that elevation. Felt great when you came off the mnt and ran. Seemed like you had energy to burn
    I never said I was the fastest.

    I live and ride 5 days/week at 7,000. So does everyone else who lives and rides frequently here.

    Not sure what you problem is, but whatever it is I wasn't there to give you the obvious chip on your shoulder.

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    There's an app for that...

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    Quote Originally Posted by beastmaster View Post
    I never said I was the fastest.

    I live and ride 5 days/week at 7,000. So does everyone else who lives and rides frequently here.

    Not sure what you problem is, but whatever it is I wasn't there to give you the obvious chip on your shoulder.

    LOl My criticism was not at you my friend. I posted the same thing about our hills here which are straight up and down steep canyons. All I see is guys on their largest cogs. I had to walk a 36t up many hills myself.

    Superman jumps on here and insults me and others telling me how much faster and stronger he was then me and how everyone can climb these steep hills on much smaller cogs.

    Im no pro far from it, but I can climb 4000 feet and ride 30 miles, so im not green either. Thing is when you live in the steep canyons magically you get an idea what others ride with.

    I agree with you 100% and its the same thing i see here. I was giving you a friendly warning about superman who should fly in shortly with insults

  165. #165
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    I ride in an affluent part of norcal. It seems like everyone is on carbon bikes with eagle drivetrains.

    The fast guys are on big front rings, thats the only real difference. People freak out about the visual size of the rear cassette, but a 50t paired up with a 38t chainring isnt really low. 30/42 is lower, and thats about my limit for here. Most people around here seem to just run 30 or 32/50.

    30/46 on a 27.5 bike is about perfect here, and I use it every single ride, for 90% of my ride. I'm a low cadence rider, and even with that gearing I'm blasting by hikers and nowhere near tipping over.

    Theres only so much long smooth climbing you can enthusiastically do. Strong or not, I think theres a lot of value in having a relaxing gear to get to the top of a slog of a climb. It sucks to be totally gassed from mashing out all the boring parts of the ride.

  166. #166
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by One Pivot View Post
    I ride in an affluent part of norcal.

    . Most people around here seem to just run 30 or 32/50.


    .
    Im from Auburn and that is exactly what I see You are so on the money, I started with a 32 and went to a 30 running a eagle gx

  167. #167
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outhouse View Post
    LOl My criticism was not at you my friend. I posted the same thing about our hills here which are straight up and down steep canyons. All I see is guys on their largest cogs. I had to walk a 36t up many hills myself.

    Superman jumps on here and insults me and others telling me how much faster and stronger he was then me and how everyone can climb these steep hills on much smaller cogs.

    Im no pro far from it, but I can climb 4000 feet and ride 30 miles, so im not green either. Thing is when you live in the steep canyons magically you get an idea what others ride with.

    I agree with you 100% and its the same thing i see here. I was giving you a friendly warning about superman who should fly in shortly with insults
    Yawn.


    You are clearly a very insecure person. I don't have a problem whatsoever with what you use to ride where you are. I have stated what "I" use, because it's what "I" have, and you've gotten your frilly lace completely bunched up because you obviously think you're the man, and anyone that does it differently (read: with more grit and strength) is a threat to your ego. So, you keep saying how it's impossible, or that I'm superman, and you do it in a passive indirect way while engaging other people, because you're too much of a ponce to say it straight to me.

    **(And what is even more illustrative about that, is that you wait DAYS, each time, to respond in this passive aggressive coward way to my responses to you, as you clearly have no real rebuttal. You're an impotent weasel.)


    Oh, and I insulted no one but you, as you had it coming. Proof is in the comments.

    You're 57... such a shame how insecure you are, a child really. I doubt you'll ever get it together at this point. You'd think you'd find yourself on your 30 mile rides (which are really not a big deal bud, but you keep talking about them.) Have you no shame, or self awareness?

    I'm done derailing this discussion with you.

  168. #168
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I think you're delusional. I know a few competent riders who ride ss's. 2 are on aluminum frames and the other has carbon, all 3 would still be fast on steel.
    Judging by your answer, it seems like you're far off from "getting it". It's not material type that I'm pointing out is the issue, it's stiffness at the BB area.

    Aluminum and carbon can achieve the same thing I claimed to have noticed about steel, but manufacturers seem insistent on curving the seat tube back to connect at the BB and using oversized downtubes. Non-steel examples that seemingly leave room to flex include the '20 Spec Enduro, Marin React2Play, Canfield Bikes, and Knolly (maybe Santa Cruz too?). Just gotta address the fatigue from the flex, and spread the load out so it's not so concentrated around small fragile areas. Kind of tough on a HT, since the driveside CS to BB joint is already a weak point.

    How it relates to this thread is how this "engineered flex" makes it feel easier to climb, even in a higher gear. Pressure that would otherwise be on your body's joints is instead stored in the frame. Basically, it's an argument that this flex is not inefficient, but actually desirable. Reviewers often word the effect's feeling as pedaling in a way that was surprisingly pleasant, beyond expectations based on the bike's weight and perceived toughness and purpose. I'd go as far as arguing that it's not the linkage design that has earned them their rep of being surprisingly pedal-friendly, but it's the chassis rigidity at the BB not being so high.

    Guess this is my "conspiracy theory" about the industry making their frame's BBs overly stiff and creating an opportunity to sell big cassettes and lighter & lower friction/drag parts, to riders happy to buy relief to the pressure on their knees. Doesn't get easier, you just get faster, eh? That or I'm part of some underground/minority counter-culture that shames gram counters, praising the virtues of neo-classic design.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-enduro-grey-1.jpg  

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    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-p4pb14366937.jpg  

    How often do you use your biggest climbing gear in back?-form3_portfolio_feature_knolly-warden-2.jpg  

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    I can see BB flex being useful for low cadence mashing. The energy that went into flexing the BB cannot be lost as the flex will unwind toward the end of the power stroke feeding power back into the drivetrain.

    That Canfield looks like it will chew up pivot bearings in no time with BB flex though.

    I would love to try a SS with my mediocre climbing ability but I can't afford another bike at the moment. I imagine getting a HT down to 20lbs or so with a SS drivetrain would be a sweet bike for those who like climbing.

  170. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Varaxis View Post
    Guess this is my "conspiracy theory" about the industry making their frame's BBs overly stiff and creating an opportunity to sell big cassettes and lighter & lower friction/drag parts, to riders happy to buy relief to the pressure on their knees. Doesn't get easier, you just get faster, eh? That or I'm part of some underground/minority counter-culture that shames gram counters, praising the virtues of neo-classic design.


    ^that's a heck of a conspiracy theory!


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  171. #171
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    The conspiracy cyclists are usually unwilling to accept that riders will pretty much buy things no matter what, and demand new items on a regular, steady basis. We have heavy consumer driven demand, nothing is actually pushed on us.

    Also, bikes are overwhelmingly sold as a whole. No need to "make" someone buy a new standard/bb/crank/gearset/cassette, it'll all come on a complete bike as a package.

  172. #172
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    Yea, I see it as a subscribership to incremental improvement, where people stay connected to industry news, anticipating regular updates. Reminds me of Intel's tick tock model, like introduce something new, then make it lighter, stiffer, less draggy, less prone to failure, more rider-friendly...

    The new stuff that seems "radical" usually comes with a story about the process of how it came to be. Like the Spec Enduro's suspension came with a story about doing a ground up redesign. 27.5 and Boost came with marketing that was heavy about the process of their conception, with how they had to pitch/sell the ideas internally within the company and industry. The Fox 38...

    I just question stuff. Like is boost really as wide as they could make it without increasing Q factor? The chainring has room to go outboard more. I suppose it's an issue with heel strike for tall riders, that still pedal on the balls of their feet, perhaps also from lessons learned about 135 vs 150 hubs on DH bikes.

    All sorts of replies in this thread that sort of have an attitude that climbs can be done without such tech, yet a lot of defensive ones that claim to use and misinterpret going sans tech as being an ego flex. My perspective is to try and explain both sides with my own theory. There are certainly bikes that are way better at climbing bikes than others, but there hasn't been anyone who could figure out the precise reason, often crediting weight, geo, susp, tires, or whatever.

    It's less painful on the legs when riding a bike that has more flex at the BB, which makes it easier to push higher gears. It makes low traction climbs considerably easier too. There's a GCN video that explores if stiffer bikes are faster, that finds that the flex isn't as inefficient as people imagine. Just offering it for consideration. The seed of thought has been planted. When you try to climb something with strong effort, figure out what gives out first. If your legs are giving out due to excessive pressure on your joints, before your HR is maxed out...
    "The challenge is not in developing new ideas, but in escaping old ideas."

  173. #173
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I can see BB flex being useful for low cadence mashing. The energy that went into flexing the BB cannot be lost as the flex will unwind toward the end of the power stroke feeding power back into the drivetrain.
    This reminds me of an article that Keith Bontrager wrote about flex, and how it did not necessarily detract from your forward propulsion.

    Man, I think I read that some 20 years ago now, and I'm not sure if he'd written it then or earlier. Was a humorous, enjoyable read. I'll see if I can find it on the web.

  174. #174
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    Found it. STIFFNESS

  175. #175
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fajita Dave View Post
    I can see BB flex being useful for low cadence mashing. The energy that went into flexing the BB cannot be lost as the flex will unwind toward the end of the power stroke feeding power back into the drivetrain.
    But some of it is. You can't get back 100% energy, hence why there's such an emphasis on BB stiffness in any area of cycling that is heavily dependent on power delivery, like XC racing, road racing, etc. The metal doesn't return 100% energy (no material does), so with every flex, you lose a bit. We may not be talking about a lot of watts, but the worse the flex, the more that will be lost. Over a long period of time or distance, it can matter to people.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  176. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    But some of it is. You can't get back 100% energy, hence why there's such an emphasis on BB stiffness in any area of cycling that is heavily dependent on power delivery, like XC racing, road racing, etc. The metal doesn't return 100% energy (no material does), so with every flex, you lose a bit. We may not be talking about a lot of watts, but the worse the flex, the more that will be lost. Over a long period of time or distance, it can matter to people.
    I can't imagine it would equate to anything meaningful though If the flex were draining any meaniful amount of energy I would think steel frames would start to get warm around the BB area due to the energy lost to flex. If the flex helps with fatigue you could end up with a net gain over long rides.

    My current road bike has a bit more flex in the top tube and seat post than my old one. I do feel a bit better on long rides with the new bike but there were a lot of other things that changed between the two despite both being aero road bikes. I do absolutely hate the extra flex for sprinting though. I just feels terrible with the bike squirming all over the place.

  177. #177
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    I tried to use my big climbing cog yesterday but it fell off the cassette.

  178. #178
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    But some of it is. You can't get back 100% energy, hence why there's such an emphasis on BB stiffness in any area of cycling that is heavily dependent on power delivery, like XC racing, road racing, etc. The metal doesn't return 100% energy (no material does), so with every flex, you lose a bit. We may not be talking about a lot of watts, but the worse the flex, the more that will be lost. Over a long period of time or distance, it can matter to people.
    I wonder how much. Metals in their elastic ranges have very little loss.

  179. #179
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    This morning I used my biggest climbing gear for as long as I could before getting off to walk it.

    It was only about a mile worth of walking though.

  180. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by TylerVernon View Post
    I wonder how much. Metals in their elastic ranges have very little loss.
    I would think it's a bit more complicated than just metal springing back, things like BB cups, crank bolts or interfaces, the crank axle within the shell, chain angles, etc., if not as straight and stiff as possible, there'll be binding on these, and you'll get most of the energy back, but again, with each cycle, you are taking away a tiny bit, some to natural loss of the spring and some to binding/friction of these other parts. I remember that for certain size bumps, you can do just fine with coil springs and NO damper, simply because the bumps are in the frequency range and within the natural damping provided by just the springs and sliders/bushings. Back in the day, Speedsprings sold "upgrades" for this. For this discussion, I am disregarding the fact that it was a terrible idea when things got faster/bigger, just that in a certain speed range, they could absorb bumps very well. Obviously there's some friction there, but not much. I'd imagine it's very similar with the drive train, flexing all over the place is going to inherently mean some rubbing and binding and that's going to mean energy loss.
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  181. #181
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    There’s only one time that I use my biggest climbing gear. When the second biggest gear just won’t do.


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  182. #182
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    This reminds me of an article that Keith Bontrager wrote about flex, and how it did not necessarily detract from your forward propulsion.

    Man, I think I read that some 20 years ago now, and I'm not sure if he'd written it then or earlier. Was a humorous, enjoyable read. I'll see if I can find it on the web.
    I remember that same piece. He did the math a bottom bracket spindle flex, and how much kinetic energy was or wan't being converted into thermal energy.
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  183. #183
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    Quote Originally Posted by juan_speeder View Post
    I remember that same piece. He did the math a bottom bracket spindle flex, and how much kinetic energy was or wan't being converted into thermal energy.
    Yup! I think what really got me chuckling when I first read it was his describing Sean Kelly noodling his way up through the pack. Just really loved reading his stuff.

  184. #184
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    More often than I do in front!

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    I use my lowest gear a lot. More every year. The hills are very steep here. Still rocking a 3x10 so no aluminum cogs to worry about. Lowest is 24x36, which is no longer low enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by Google via SWriverstone View Post
    "The prevailing theory is that spinning is a more efficient use of your strength and energy. Many cyclists revert to mashing, however, because it feels faster. But, not only does mashing produce more lactic acid, it predominantly uses what's called fast-twitch muscle fibers, which fatigue faster than slow-twitch fibers (used in spinning)."
    Muscle fiber composition is a big factor. Those with predominantly fast-twitch muscles tend to be mashers, slow-twitch people have to spin or walk.

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