Author Topic: In low gear and can't ride up hill!  (Read 1169 times)

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Offline Charlie Parker

In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« on: May 25, 2013, 05:03:06 am »
Hi, I weighed everything and I'm well under 40 lbs. But I tested my bike with everything and its really difficult to ride up hills. Is that normal? are my legs just out of shape? is this what I should expect? I don't even think I will be using any gear besides the first lol

The weight is distributed 40/60 on front and back
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 05:18:01 am by Charlie Parker »

Offline staehpj1

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 05:20:37 am »
What is your lowest gear?  How steep and long is the hill?

It is generally possible to grind up most any road hill given a low enough gear.  On the other hand, contrary to popular opinion, walking a hill here and there isn't the end of the world.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 06:46:17 am »
Charlie, is this a 2008 Jamis Aurora with stock gearing?  If so, you've got a 25" low gear.  A 20 gear inch low is the target I like, so you're missing the two lowest gears.  You might be able to have your LBS change the crank out for a mountain triple to get those low gears; should run about $100, and it's possible you'll lose some crispness in the shifting (although I personally haven't noticed it).

Even so, Pete is right.  There's going to be some combination of load, fatigue, hill length, and steepness, where the smart thing to do is get off and walk.  That's why most tourists with clipless pedals have mountain bike pedals and shoes, so it's easier to walk.

Offline freightbike

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 09:27:55 am »
If you are pushing a bike up a hill, it might be prudent to switch off sides now and again. I pulled a hamstring pushing a loaded touring bike up a steep hill in S.E. Minnesota.
May the wind at your back always smell like home.
                  MORG

Offline staehpj1

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 10:04:59 am »
Even so, Pete is right.  There's going to be some combination of load, fatigue, hill length, and steepness, where the smart thing to do is get off and walk.  That's why most tourists with clipless pedals have mountain bike pedals and shoes, so it's easier to walk.

I used to try to avoid ever walking the bike, but these days I actually like to walk for a bit sometimes just for the change of pace.  I do that once in a while when I could make it up just fine riding.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 01:07:58 pm »
You must tell us what model of crankset you currently have and what size of chainrings.  And you must tell us what size cassette you have on the rear wheel.  Number of cogs and largest cog.  Giving the model year of the bike and/or components would also help determine what type of bottom bracket you have.

Offline csykes

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 05:42:30 pm »
If you have not been riding often with regular long/steep hill climbs, your legs will feel weak.  Additional saddle time with rests in between will help.  As the others stated, you may be over-geared.  You don't want to grind your gears; pedaling in lower gears at a higher cadence will be easier on your body even if it feels unnatural at first.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 08:38:41 am »
You need to supply more detailed information to get sufficient correct answers to your question. There are hills and then there are hhhiiiillllllsss. Some are long and gradual. Some are short and abrupt. Some are long and steep. How about a one in four. Does that describe your hill or is it a one in twenty? Then there is the subject of your gear ratios. There is also the human factor. Are you the 90 pound weakling in Charles Atlas advertisements, or are you Lance Armstrong's worst nightmare? It's kind of like asking--How long is a pieceof string? or How high is up? 

Offline John Nelson

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 01:25:48 pm »
No, it's not normal. Yes, your legs could use more training. No, it is not what you should expect. In addition to stronger legs, you also need lower gearing. You'll get there.

Offline Charlie Parker

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 02:01:50 pm »
Sorry guys. It was the wrong gear. I can go up no problem. It's been really rainy here so I didn't get to play Round with it. So I quicky tested it out in the rain with all my gear and had a panic attach cause i couldnt move more than 2 feetuphill ha. But I testrd it out today and its going great!

Offline csykes

Re: In low gear and can't ride up hill!
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 09:21:21 am »
Glad you figured it out.  In general, use your big chain ring for flats and downhills, the middle ring for small hills and rolling territory, and your inner chain ring for the long steep hills.  You should make the majority of your shifts using the rear cassette gears to adjust for speed, cadence, etc, while using the front rings for major changes in terrain. You should avoid cross-chaining: big-big, small-small gear combos as that puts a lot of stress on your drive train, when you are in the extreme combinations, it's a signal to go to a different chain ring.