Hills are too hard, do i need a better chainset?

My current bike has a 34-50 tooth chainset, and an 11-26 tooth cassette. I ride around 80 miles a week, and in the summer I will be attempting Mount Ventoux in provence. Where I live is fairly hilly and I can manage getting up the big hills providing that I get out my seat and knuckle down. However the thought of climbing for 13 miles in this way under an unforgiving sun is daunting to say the least. I've tried to find a chainset with an "easier ratio" of teeth, however so far I haven’t found anything with fewer teeth than mine. Is there anything you can recommend that will help, other than persistent training?
Thanks
Tim
 

jamesxyz

New Member
You could change the cassette (mine has a 27 tooth) maybe up to a 28 even.

You can get smaller chain rings as on tourers for example. I too live in a hilly area and nothing beats a) practice and :laugh: losing body weight (I lost 2 stone to enable me to climb better) and c) a lighter bike - carbon if you can afford it.

Having said that I believe Ventoux and other big Tour climbs have a lower average gradient thatn many in Britain - they're just very long. You can stop and have a rest too you know!! No shame in that.
 

GazK

Über Member
Location
Wiltshire
I imagine the cheapest and easiest way is a new cassette with a wider range (say 11-32), possibly coupled with a long cage rear mech if (as is likely) your current mech hasnt got the capacity for a wide range. Cheaper and easier than buggering about with your chainset.
 
OP
T

timwhiting

New Member
Losing weight would take my bmi to underweight ha, thanks though. Would replacing my current cassette with the same model but more range still work with my derallieur, and would a different model still work?
thanks
 

GrasB

Veteran
Location
Nr Cambridge
You could look at a 29/44 MTB crankset, with your current cassette you'll lose 1 gear at the top of your range but gives you 2 more at the bottom of the gear range. This won't be cheap however, you'll be looking at around £140 new ebay bargains not withstanding.
 

Fab Foodie

hanging-on in quiet desperation ...
Don't underestimate the Ventoux sun, it finished me off just before half way :laugh:.

I'd practiced plenty of long and steep climbs in the foothills of the Pyraneese, but either early morning or late evening. When I arrived at Ventoux after a 3 hr drive it was noon, windless and 100F. Whatever I did, I couldn't shed the heat at a rate that matched the exertion.

If you can... set-off early
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
Fab Foodie said:
Don't underestimate the Ventoux sun, it finished me off just before half way :wacko:.

I'd practiced plenty of long and steep climbs in the foothills of the Pyraneese, but either early morning or late evening. When I arrived at Ventoux after a 3 hr drive it was noon, windless and 100F. Whatever I did, I couldn't shed the heat at a rate that matched the exertion.

If you can... set-off early
How much did you eat and drink?
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
A chap at the Solihull Club said the Ventoux climb was like doing a 100 km Audax at the max speed, non stop in the blazing sun.

I reckoned it would be 1000 kCals/hour for 3.5 hours.
 

GazK

Über Member
Location
Wiltshire
timwhiting said:
Losing weight would take my bmi to underweight ha, thanks though. Would replacing my current cassette with the same model but more range still work with my derallieur, and would a different model still work?
thanks
That depends - what rear mech do you currently have? If you choose the cassette and a new rear mech from the same company, and check the capacity of the rear mech, they will work together.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
Road bike rear mechs normally have a range to 28t on a long cage so if you wanted a big cassette you would almost definitely have to change the mech.
 

accountantpete

Brexiteer
Hills find out any weakness in your bike set up. If the frame is heavy and it flexes or if your wheels are heavy and the spoke tensions are not right then you will waste a lot of energy.

I'd have a look at some lightweight factory wheels and 20-23mm tyres that will take 120psi at least(depending on your weight).
 

gavintc

Guru
Location
Southsea
It is the end of May, if you are struggling with 34 -26, you really need to do some hill training if you intend to climb Ventoux this summer. Alternatively, do the easy route from Sault. I had a 50/34 and fitted a Shimano 12-27 cassette for my first attempt up Ventoux. It is relentless, hot and at times it seems airless with the lack of breeze in the trees.

So, in summary; improve your training regime - more miles and more hill miles and look for a cassette with a larger outer sprocket that will find your wheel.
 

Flying_Monkey

Toll Collector on the Road to Nowhere
gavintc said:
So, in summary; improve your training regime - more miles and more hill miles and look for a cassette with a larger outer sprocket that will find your wheel.
I agree. In fact, I might reconsider trying to do Ventoux this year if you are having real trouble on hills now and take on some lesser targets (for example, some moderately hilly sportives) with a view to developing better hill-climbing technique and power for next year.
 
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