What makes a bigger impact on uphill cycling - bike weight or gear ratios?

Thursday guy

Active Member
Which of these two factors are more important when it comes to making uphill climbs easier?

I'm looking at two bikes at the moment. One is about 3kg lighter than the other (10.4kg vs 13.5kg)

But if I got my calculations right (and please do check), the heavier bike has more a favorable gearing for uphill climbs. It has 48/38/28T chainrings and 12-32 cassette, so the lowest gear ratio is 28/32 (0.875). Whereas the lighter bike has 50/34T chainrings and 11-32 cassette, lowest gear ratio is 34/32 (1.06).
 

byegad

Legendary Member
Location
NE England
Both!

Without a low enough gear you can stall, at the extreme you could be standing on the pedals and your weight is insufficient to move the bike forward.

More weight means you need lower gears and will go slower up hill.
 

Boon 51

Veteran
Location
Deal. Kent.
I think there's a trilogy really..

Fitness, bike weight, and gearing..
Rider weight to some extent but not in all cases, if your over weight then yes, if your normal weight or under weight then no.
I became ill when I started riding as I started at 10st 10lbs and dropped to 9 st in just over a month with all the effort, so I would say be careful on that one.
 

matiz

Veteran
Location
weymouth
I would go for the lighter bike it would feel more nimble climbing and 34/32 should climb pretty much anything if you have average fitness
 
Location
Pontefract
Rider weight and fitness blow these two out the water!
Not really helpful if your starting out, fitness takes time.
Personally I would get a lighter bike and fit a triple, and gear it how I want, I can fit 26-30 inner rings, 34-42 middle 46-52 outer rings or I can run a 26/38/50 with a 12-27 rear or a 12-23 or any combo I want, because there is only 12th between each front ring it changes like a dream, but then I ride a 10sp triple Viking weighing 12.5Kg at best.
 

Cubist

Still wavin'
Location
Ovver 'thill
Rider weight and fitness. A light bike is great, and sympathetic gearing is nice, but as I discovered today, first time on the bike for weeks following the enforced layoff I've had, and the extra pounds and loss of fitness make a huge difference. :blush:
 

Citius

Guest
Which of these two factors are more important when it comes to making uphill climbs easier?

I'm looking at two bikes at the moment. One is about 3kg lighter than the other (10.4kg vs 13.5kg)

But if I got my calculations right (and please do check), the heavier bike has more a favorable gearing for uphill climbs. It has 48/38/28T chainrings and 12-32 cassette, so the lowest gear ratio is 28/32 (0.875). Whereas the lighter bike has 50/34T chainrings and 11-32 cassette, lowest gear ratio is 34/32 (1.06).
Of those two factors, gearing beats bike weight every time. Obviously we are talking relative terms here - if the bike weighed 500kg, then obviously bike weight would be a major issue, but let's be rational.

Bike weight is actually a relatively minor consideration, when you take into account your own body weight - because unless the bike rides itself, we have to assume you will be on it at the time.

Don't know how much you weigh, but say you weigh 80kg with your riding kit on. A 10kg bike brings that up to an overall weight of 90kg. So the bike accounts for around 10-15% of the total amount of weight that you have to move uphill. It's not much, really - certainly not nough to be considered a 'major factor'.

Agree with the others who say that the engine is what matters most. It's also cheaper to work on.
 
OP
Thursday guy

Thursday guy

Active Member
Unless your going up mountains i would prefer the lighter bike, is the other one a mtb?
They're both hybrids. But the heavier bike does have much thicker tyres at 42mm, compared to the lighter bike's tyres at 28mm. How much do you think this accounts for the difference in their weights?
 

Citius

Guest
They're both hybrids. But the heavier bike does have much thicker tyres at 42mm, compared to the lighter bike's tyres at 28mm. How much do you think this accounts for the difference in their weights?
Probably quite a bit, but the difference in weight is still not that significant.
 
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