Sit down climbing

Maherees

Well-Known Member
Location
Northampton
Hi all,

Yesterday I was going up a > 10 hill for a few miles and no matter what I did I had to keep standing to climb. Which can tire me quicker. Now oddly enough I have a gravel/adventure bike with road tyres that I can sit down and climb quicker the same hill. Some 5 mins according to Strava. And this bike has 650b wheels.
Could there be an issue with road bike as regards geometry? Along the flat it’s quick and confortable.
Thanks
 

vickster

Legendary Member
Gearing identical?
 

ColinJ

Puzzle game developer
Where is the hill? It obviously isn't in Northamptonshire (highest hill 738 ft) and there aren't many hills in the UK with gradients > 10% for several miles!

As vickster suggests - different gearing on the 2 bikes. I can get up 25% sitting down on my mountain bike (22/32 bottom gear) but have to stand up on 8% hills on my singlespeed bike (52/19 gear).
 
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Tigerbiten

Veteran
As a guess your road bike is geared from around 120" down to the mid 30's and your gravel bike is geared from the high 90's down to the low 20's.
This means that you'll run out of low gears and have to stand up much earlier on your road bike than on your gravel bike.
But you will be able to go around 20% faster downhill on your road bike before you need to freewheel .......
 
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Maherees

Maherees

Well-Known Member
Location
Northampton
Where is the hill? It obviously isn't in Northamptonshire (highest hill 738 ft) and there aren't many hills in the UK with gradients > 10% for several miles!

As vickster suggests - different gearing on the 2 bikes. I can get up 25% sitting down on my mountain bike (22/32 bottom gear) but have to stand up on 8% hills on my singlespeed bike (52/19 gear).
Thanks for your reply. No not in Northamptonshire.
 
Hi all,

Yesterday I was going up a > 10 hill for a few miles and no matter what I did I had to keep standing to climb. Which can tire me quicker. Now oddly enough I have a gravel/adventure bike with road tyres that I can sit down and climb quicker the same hill. Some 5 mins according to Strava. And this bike has 650b wheels.
Could there be an issue with road bike as regards geometry? Along the flat it’s quick and confortable.
Thanks
Seated climbing is more efficient, because the more points of contact you maintain with the bike, the more efficient you are. Standing is quicker, as you can transfer more power, but it’s less efficient, so you’ll tire out more easily. The most effective way of climbing, for a sustained period, is to remain seated where the climb is uniform, stand on any kickers, or corners, then get back in the saddle when it goes back to being uniform. You should also find it easier to go for a gear that allows you to maintain a steady power output, at a higher Cadence. Due to the types of muscles that are engaged, and the force which they are engaging at, and the ‘switching frequency’ at a higher Cadence, those muscles ( the fast twitch muscles) won’t deplete their carbohydrate stores as rapidly as they do at a lower Cadence ( at the same power ). The rapid carb depletion mechanism found in the fast twitch muscles at lower Cadence high power pedalling is far more oxygen hungry than the higher Cadence high power approach, so the low cadence high power approach will tire you out quicker. The carb depletion rates in the slow twitch fibres doesn’t vary as much between pedalling modes, but those muscles aren’t the ‘king makers’ during climbing, so the effect is relatively insignificant.
 
There may well be something in the "geometry" argument. On my old "quite square" bike I can stay seated a lot longer than on the more "aero" thing. On the latter I find myself getting out of the saddle for "a bit of a stretch" as the bike is not as comfortable over longer hills / distances.
 

CXRAndy

Guru
Location
Lincs
Your information is vague, name bikes,size and gearing front and rear. Its most likely gearing that allows you to keep ontop of the gear. Seated riding is more efficient but can be a little slower than standing. Standing allows full body weight through pedals.

I tend to Remain seated but when feeling up for a long climb, I will do 2 mins seated 30 secs standing and keep doing it again and again until my legs wont allow standing
 

Tigerbiten

Veteran
The trouble is "seated climbing" only works if you have low enough gears.
I'm from an age where the lowest "standard" gear was only around 35" if you were lucky.
This meant that at speed slower than roughly 6-7 mph, you got out of the saddle to climb.
But once out of the saddle you slowed your cadence down, so you only climbed at roughly 4-5 mph.
I could climb for hours out of the saddle at that speed in that range of gears.
I still do that on steep hills, dropping from my normal roughly 85 rpm to a low energy mode of only around 60 rpm, that way I can climb for longer.
The trouble with a "high" cadence is it only works if it's your natural cadence.
Once you start to overspin then your efficiency goes down the drain and you get knackered quicker.
So once you're forced out of the saddle by the lack of low gears, slow your cadence down to match your power output.
As you get more used to hill climbing and you get fitter, your "hill" cadence will get closer to your "normal" cadence and you can climb faster.
 

Smokin Joe

Legendary Member
A said, it's all down to gearing. Back when bottom gear was 42*21 or 23 at the most you had to get out of the saddle on anything steep to keep the cranks turning. At 66 mispent years now I can sit down on climbs that would have had me honking forty years ago.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
A said, it's all down to gearing. Back when bottom gear was 42*21 or 23 at the most you had to get out of the saddle on anything steep to keep the cranks turning. At 66 mispent years now I can sit down on climbs that would have had me honking forty years ago.
Yes, I remember, 13 - 21 six speed block on the back and 52 - 42 on the front, these days I'd be walking on that gearing.
 
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