Better ratio for big hills?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Better ratio for big hills?

    I have the 2010 Gary Fisher Rig (****in love it!) But I as I reach the top of a really steep hill i tend to spin out and cannot finish the hill. The stock gearing in 18/32, any recommendations on a better hill ratio?

  2. #2
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    perhaps you're confused with the term "spin out." spinning out means you're running a really short gear ratio and your legs are pumping like a Mississippi steam boat. usually we spin out on flats and straightaways - not on really steep hills.

    so, what problem exactly are you having?

  3. #3
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    sounds like a lack of traction not spinning- get better tires first then worry about switching gears.

  4. #4
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    My tires are excellent. i need an easier gear for steep inclines
    One gear, one world.

  5. #5
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    so get a bigger cog or smaller chainring. it's a simple concept.

  6. #6
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    Get this one and you'll be fine:
    Ride more!

  7. #7
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    what he said

    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude
    Get this one and you'll be fine:
    Try a 19 or a 20 tooth cog and you should be fine. Then you can experience "spinning out" on the flat sections. Always a compromise but, that's part of the fun.

  8. #8
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    I'd go 20T. I switch off between 33x20 and 22 around here.

  9. #9
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    I just bought a 2010 Rig as well.

    Step 1: toss POS tires in the trash.
    Step 2: install Surly 20t cog.
    Trailwrecker at large

  10. #10
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    agreed, 32x20 is a great gear combo for large hills and 29ers

  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Instead of the idea of a low tread rear and a grippy front tire. I found that grippy front/rear helps a lot more in a SS environment.

    On hilly stuff I just run a 32tx20t and 32tx18t on everything else.
    Mr. Krabs: Is it true, Squidward? Is it hilarious?

  13. #13
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    Give yourself some time to adjust to singlespeed riding before deciding to screw around with gear ratios.

    Plus...gearing is a very personal thing based on your fitness levels, riding preferences, etc. You really can't pick out gears based solely on what other folks use.
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  14. #14
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    I tried several gears on my Niner SIR9 and ended up going with 32/21. Unless you ride lots of flat sections or have massive frog legs, I think 32/20 is the best starting point for a single speed 29er. On my local trails the only flat sections are short and curvy and I rarely find myself running out of gear. I can't imagine trying to ride anything higher geared than a 19 or 20 rear if there are any siginificant climbs. (I know, I know... single speeders like to thump their chests and brag about what a hard gear they are mashing. Whatever.)

  15. #15
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    i ride 32/17 on my 29er, but i also live in Houston which is flatter than... actually, i can't think of anything clever. but it's pretty flat.

    we just have little rollers so i can usually power through them. if i tried riding a 20T or higher, i'd be spinning out about 75% of the time.

  16. #16
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    I ride a 32- 22 which works pretty well for the hills. This is in the Wasatch where hills can be several miles long. Most of the younger locals can get by on 32 or 33 -20. but I want a gear that I can keep on top of .Most of the trails I ride are either up or down so less of a problem with spinning out on the flats.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an
    Give yourself some time to adjust to singlespeed riding before deciding to screw around with gear ratios.

    Plus...gearing is a very personal thing based on your fitness levels, riding preferences, etc. You really can't pick out gears based solely on what other folks use.
    This is good advice. My riding area is very hilly. If something is to steep or to long/steep I just go till I blow then just hike it. No big deal, it's all part of the game. You will earn to stand-up for long sections of climbs. Look for climbs that offer even the slightest chance to recover, it's amazing what 20ft of flat in the middle of a climb will do for you. If the climb is steep and continuos it's going to get ugly, and a 20t is not going to help much. I would keep rockin the 32/18, you will see improvement.

  18. #18
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    I don't know how steep the hills you are talking about it, but in the land of Single-Speed, some hills just might be too steep for you until you get in better shape, unless you compromise the quality of your ride on the regular hills (and flats for that matter) by getting a cog that gets you up the hills.

    Based on the question, I assume you are fairly new to Single-Speed, so make sure you have ridden quite a bit at all the places you plan to ride before you make any decisions about what gear ratio you want. You might change it based on the place you are talking about, and regret it when you ride at the next place. Of course, if you are comfortable switching the cog out regularly, you can figure out what you want for different situations. Personally, I like to stick with the ratio I like, and make it work wherever I ride. Otherwise, I have a geared back I can ride.

  19. #19
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    You guys are weenies. I run 32/18 on crazy steep hills and I'm only 14.

  20. #20
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    So would i if i had 14 year old knees..

  21. #21
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    I ride a 33/21, and find it works pretty good for So Cal.

  22. #22
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    I ride in very mountainous terrain and I ride a 32-20. I find that I would rather spin on the flats and still be able to climb well. The key to the flats is keeping speed..ie. don't brake! I also think that finding your perfect center on the bike will help with traction for steep climbs. Good Luck!!

  23. #23
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    what would you guys suggest for somebody like me that wants to run two sets, a road and a trail set of gears. im on a 29r with 32*18 now. I was thinking of a 16 cog and then getting a big 36 cr for the street then dropping on my 32 cr back for the trails.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannotaim
    You guys are weenies. I run 32/18 on crazy steep hills and I'm only 14.
    and unlike yourself, MOST of us HAVE hair on our balls.
    good luck with your 'crazy steep' 32/18 LOL.
    hopefully you won't damage anything on your body until AFTER your testicales fully drop.
    EricN
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorBob
    what would you guys suggest for somebody like me that wants to run two sets, a road and a trail set of gears. im on a 29r with 32*18 now. I was thinking of a 16 cog and then getting a big 36 cr for the street then dropping on my 32 cr back for the trails.
    I believe that going more than a 3 tooth jump on cog or ring will not allow you to tension the chain properly (read: you cannot take up the slack from the smaller ratio). You would have to experiment to find out chainlength and chainline issues (which should be easy with a MTB crank and cassette style hub).

    my experience from when I lived closer to the trails, I always rode from my house. having a road ratio was nice to keep from spinning out the entire road portion of the ride.
    it was still a PITA to deal with the 'gear change' however, and I eventually just dealt with the road issue by coasting more.
    so my own experimentation running a 'dingle' was basically 'more trouble than it's worth'.

    unless you wanted to shell out big $$ for the DOS ENO solution
    http://www.whiteind.com/cranks/singlespeedcranks.html

    definitely a cool setup, but a bit more than I am willing to spend.
    my personal advice would be 'embrace the spinning'. YMMVH
    EricN
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  26. #26
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    You see, son, there are these little devices called DERAILLERS. They allow you to shift to an easier gear for the hills, then back to a harder gear for the flats...and all while you're still pedaling...
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    ...Just Kidding, Of Course (Please don't flame)

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorBob
    what would you guys suggest for somebody like me that wants to run two sets, a road and a trail set of gears. im on a 29r with 32*18 now. I was thinking of a 16 cog and then getting a big 36 cr for the street then dropping on my 32 cr back for the trails.

    i suggest you get yourself a set of derailleurs.

  28. #28
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    I run 38/11 for everything here in North Georgia, even the 5 mile mountain climbs. My legs are so disgustingly huge that they scare small children. Also, I eat rusty nails and wood chips for breakfast most mornings. My water bottle is an old coke bottle filled with everclear, and my resting heart rate is 2.
    Miles on the trail are a very effective filter for the objectionable particles of the mainstream.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmday
    I run 38/11 for everything here in North Georgia, even the 5 mile mountain climbs. My legs are so disgustingly huge that they scare small children. Also, I eat rusty nails and wood chips for breakfast most mornings. My water bottle is an old coke bottle filled with everclear, and my resting heart rate is 2.
    Pfffh, I took a trip out to the rockies and was riding 44/2, riding straight up the side of the mountain. 38/11...that's for pussies.

  30. #30
    Zach Kowalchuk
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannotaim
    You guys are weenies. I run 32/18 on crazy steep hills and I'm only 14.
    Your a weenie. I run 38/16 on Edmonton hills, not that steep, but still pretty steep. I win.

    Its all prairie and river valley hills over here.
    At the end of the day, my bike is a bike, whether its made for XC singletrack or DH, I can make it do what I want.

  31. #31
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    While you are all way more manly than I (and I'm okay with that), today I rode with 2 teeth less on the rear cog. I went from 36x24 to 36x22. I have a lot of hills to climb. It was harder, but not as bad as I thought. Although I was riding at the easiest place I frequent. No doubt my other rides will be more difficult...

  32. #32
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    It seems counter intuitive, but for long climbs you actually want a bit higher gearing so that you can lower your cadence and heart rate. For short, steep climbs you want the lower gear since you don't have time to find a steady rythm and control your breathing. The 32-20 or so is good for the short climbs and I would say a 32-17 or your stock gear is better for long climbs. Alot of the tire spinning thing has to do with learning to have an even pedal stroke. Clipless pedals can help you learn to move your feet in circles instead of the piston like action of only pushing down that most people do while riding.
    BBI certified, 12+ years as mechanic

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by djriddle
    It seems counter intuitive, but for long climbs you actually want a bit higher gearing so that you can lower your cadence and heart rate. For short, steep climbs you want the lower gear since you don't have time to find a steady rythm and control your breathing. The 32-20 or so is good for the short climbs and I would say a 32-17 or your stock gear is better for long climbs. Alot of the tire spinning thing has to do with learning to have an even pedal stroke. Clipless pedals can help you learn to move your feet in circles instead of the piston like action of only pushing down that most people do while riding.
    interesting, although that does really depend on the steepness of the long climb

  34. #34
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    In Colorado I ran 32-16 on a 2002 FSR everywhere. Mt Herman road (dirt fire-fighting road) leads to the Limbaugh Canyon trail near Monument, Colorado and it is a 5+ mile climb with 2000+ feet of elevation gain from the parking lot to just before the drop into the valley. From the Palmer Lake water treatment building up to the 2nd resevoir is just under 3 miles and 1500+ gain (I dont remember exactly). Both are doable with the right mindset and the patience not to spin out before you find your rythm. Besides conditioning (obvious) climbing is all about a smooth, consistant pedal stroke and controlled breathing. I used to do laps on the 14 mile Limbaugh (three a day) and I had to learn how to conserve energy.

    I suppose it's blasphemous on a single speed mountain bike forum, but if you've ever ridden a road bike on a long, steep climb you will find that you are much better off pushing a 60-70 (or lower) cadence with your slow twitch muscles for an hour than you are spinning your brains out at 120 cadence. The latter will make most mortals see blue spots before passing out.
    BBI certified, 12+ years as mechanic

  35. #35
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    +1 on the small cog for long climbs. as long as it's not too technical, i like to approach the long, steep climbs very slowly. it's easier to get into a rhythm, then just stand and hammer.

    there's a brutal paved hill at a state park i frequent. it's so steep that full-size vehicles will downshift into 1st or 2nd to maintain 10-15mph. it's a very long and very steep hill, and takes a few minutes to get to the top. (i live in houston, so that's a pretty big hill by my standards!)

    i first tried to attack the hill with momentum, and found that i lost steam very quickly. when i approached it a slow crawl, picked up a rhythm, and slowly powered into it, i was able to (relatively) easily complete the hill.

    in fact, i even passed my geared friends who were in super low granny gear, and they started about 20yds ahead with about 5mph on me. the cars were piling up behind us, and from about halfway up they started cheering us on.

    take it FWIW, but i much prefer the stand and hammer method, than the spinout method. physiologically, it may be ideal.

    like djriddle said, it's all about rhythm and the synchronization of your pedaling, breathing, which will in turn prevent a big increase in heart rate and thus maintain your blood oxygen level.



    for reference, i run 32-15 on my 26er and 32-18 on my 29er.
    Last edited by alexrex20; 06-18-2010 at 12:37 AM.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony.delorenzo
    This is good!

  37. #37
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    i much prefer the stand and hammer method, than the spinout method. physiologically, it may be ideal.
    Yes Sir! Much more rewarding. Not to mention it makes you feel like a badass.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  38. #38
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    30 : 16 on a singlespeed....Seems to do the job

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