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When climbing a hill, how do you downshift?(10 posts)

When climbing a hill, how do you downshift?RoyGBiv
Apr 3, 2002 12:04 PM
What's your preferred shifting sequence?
Do you go through all the rear cogs until you're in lowest gear, then drop the front ring from, say, 53 to 39?
Or do you shift some of the rear gears, then the front ring, then finish off with the remaining rear gears?
Maybe it's a dumb, confusing question, sorry, but I usually go through the rear gears first and save the front chain ring to last.
However, I'm getting a new set of climbing wheels and my LBS said that if I switch back and forth between the old 11-23 wheels and the new 12-27 wheels, I'll need to adjust my shifting while on the latter. He said that in order not to put too much tension on the chain, I'll need to drop the front ring to 39 when in the second or third lowest rear cog (24 or 21) before carrying on to 27.

Any insights and tips are much appreciated.
Brian C.
re: I shift the chainrings early.dzrider
Apr 3, 2002 1:11 PM
Habit from early days when my chain would sometimes fall off the small chain ring. It happened far less often if I was spinning rather than mashing when I shifted.

Occasionally, if I'm going pretty fast at the bottom of a down and up, I'll shift a few gears at a time across the cassette while on big chain ring before going down to the small one.

I'm not sure how much this matters, but it does seem to work better making the more difficult shifts while my feet are moving quickly.
Apr 3, 2002 1:27 PM
shifting front under big load is a recepie for broken chain, bent chainring or fallen off chain.
I do this...MrCelloBoy
Apr 3, 2002 1:38 PM
Drop from the 53 to the 39 about 3 gears from the biggest rear cog and shift down 1-cog smaller as I do it. Then I go up the last 3 biggest rear cogs as it gets steeper. I'll usually drop "up" a gear or two and stand as I get near the top.
Smooth methodAFred
Apr 3, 2002 5:40 PM
because it keeps the chainline straight. Always drop to the 39 before climbing the last few cogs in the cassette, and spin away.
re: When climbing a hill, how do you downshift?guido
Apr 3, 2002 1:45 PM
This is the age old question: when to shift out of the big ring on a climb? Generally speaking, as soon as possible, unless it's a short rise that you can wax in the big ring. Waiting until the going gets hard before making the big shift into the small ring only guarantees an immediate loss of speed, as the legs frantically try to adjust to the rapid increase in cadence.

So the first thing to do is shift into the 39 at the foot of the hill, three, four, five cogs out in the rear (How much can you handle?), then fine tune the rest of the way up by the smaller upshifts, which your legs can pick up more easily under power.
Yup (nm)rideslikeagirl
Apr 3, 2002 4:58 PM
Should have asked this question a year ago. Thanks a lot. (nm)RoyGBiv
Apr 3, 2002 2:25 PM
Downshift? Whazat?Humma Hah
Apr 3, 2002 7:46 PM
I usually just stand up and pedal harder. On longer hills, I drop the cadence, sometimes down to 30 rpm or lower, as needed to stay right at my AT.

Unless, of course, I'm on my MTB. On that, I try to be stubborn and resist the temptation to downshift. I usually give in to gravity, drop a chainring, then drop another if that was not enough, then start dropping cogs in the rear.

Gears make us wimps. Without the gears, I'd probably find I could climb those hills perfectly well with a little more physical conditioning.
Gears make us wimps...guido
Apr 3, 2002 8:32 PM
Rode with a Chinese kid, sometimes referred to as Cato, the character in Pink Panther, me being Inspector Clouseau, but that's another story.

He'd jump off the front and whack up the hills out of the saddle in his large chainring, until the day his seat tube finally separated from the bottom bracket lug.

The moral of the story is: mashing big gears up hills is hell on bottom brackets. But if the hill is short, that's the quickest and probably also easiest way to get the the top!