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Your slowest acceptable cadence up big hills.(10 posts)

Your slowest acceptable cadence up big hills.128
Apr 17, 2002 11:31 AM
I have the old 600/Ultegra group with (if I'm recalling correctly) 52/42 in the rings and it must be 13-25 (??) through the cluster.

I'm concerned I'm in poor form up steep hills, and am trying to get better without hurting myself or developing bad habits. (I can't judge grade, but say a 1/4 mile up an average steep hill even for a car- does 25 degrees off a 180 degree sea level flat make sense? I don't know the rise and run and all that, which is why I frame it as a relation between YOUR slowest acceptable standing cadence up your biggest hill and mine, slo I can get some sort of feel for where I'm at. But I do mean steep. )

Two solutions from the LBS folks: put a 39 small up front or...get stronger.
So of course I opt for the second for now as I'm planning to upgrade relatively soon (Zurich for now, but amazing how frequently the upgrade plan changes, and keeps upgrading all the time)

I don't want to injure myself and I do a rather hilly course (love hills, hate hills).
So I'm just wondering what others do up hills if you can't spin in a granny gear to rest.

At the slowest on the steepest hills I'm doing like 9-11 mph at like 65 rpm, Ok tell me if that sounds whacked but I believe it's accurate. i know that's a slow rpm, doing 85-90 on the flat. And I'm basically out of the saddle up these three dasterdly hills and at I least feel comfortable, you know, no knee pops or ankle or back pain, it all seems to be just good muscle pain, mostly quads, arms and lower back. I've read 60 is the bare minimun in any circumstance (generally speaking.)

Any way, I'm just curious what others do in similar situations and wheather I should really consider getting a 39 small up front now, as the LBS guy says thats an easy do....but can just as well stick with the current set up.


recent to real road but athletic...

ok, too long a post...But, alas, I don't knkow where else to turn.

re: Your slowest acceptable cadence up big hills.Dave Hickey
Apr 17, 2002 12:29 PM
I'd go for the 39t front. You can buy one for less than $20. I was amazed at the difference it makes. I don't have cadence on my computer but, I spin at a fairly high cadence. I use a 12-25 rear and a 53/39 front. I find I rarely use the 25t(I'm in Dallas). My ideal combo for climbing the hills around here are 23/39.
I don't have a cadence counter either so my estimate128
Apr 17, 2002 12:43 PM
is based on watching the minute cycle of the computer and counting. Not too easy really.

Dallas eh? Seems there must be some really sweet, long flat rides down there...

Thanks for your info., much appreciated....
we have a few hills in dallas. sort of...EpicX
Apr 17, 2002 5:08 PM
thank god i'm not in florida. then again, the beach, the weather...sigh
Whatever gets me to the top without falling over. nmBrooks
Apr 17, 2002 12:55 PM
second that! nmJS Haiku Shop
Apr 17, 2002 1:20 PM
Sounds fine to me.McAndrus
Apr 17, 2002 1:06 PM
I don't see anything wrong with your climbing cadence. My flats cadence is a little higher than yours - 95-105 - but my climbing cadence is in the 85-60 range, depending on the climb's pitch.

You mention a 25 percent grade. I'm not good at estimating them either but a 25 percenter is a mother.... One of the toughest hills in North Carolina is called Grandfather Mountain and it's peak is a 19 percent grind.

I ride a 42-52 chainring and 12-21 cassette setup in rather hilly country and change to a 39-52/13-26 when I get to the mountains.

Also, it's natural for cadence to slow down on climbs. I don't have the research in front of me but it's actually more efficient for the leg muscles. This link has an interesting article in the Cycling section on climbing.
re: Your slowest acceptable cadence up big hills.Chen2
Apr 17, 2002 2:29 PM
A 25 degree slope is equal to a 46.6% grade. I don't think you're going to climb that on your bike. I agree with your LBS guy, go for the 39 tooth chain ring. I like to climb hills at 85 rpm, but can't always do that, depends on how tired I am.
Minimum cadence possible is .25 revolutionsjs5280
Apr 17, 2002 3:13 PM
measured on the horizonal plane ;-)
Going really slow.ZvierBoy
Apr 18, 2002 3:46 AM
This is one is a story of a supper low cadance...

I have 52/39 with 13-26 Record 10 speed set up. The area I live I can choose a variety of terrain: from flat, hills to the mountains.

Anyhow, on flat I can spin 95-105. About a month ago now, I climbed a mountain where the distance from somewhat before the base to the top is 12-14km, I can not recall the exact number at the moment. According to a map the climb is 1000m+. For about a 4rth of the distance I had no problem keeping it about 75-60 but then the cadance started to decrease. It got to a point where with the 39 up front and 26 in the back my cadence reader started to show 0! Watching the cadence read out I figured the that for anything bellow approx 30 rpm the computer was showing 0...

Yes I could have figured out the cadence based on the speed and gear ratio but I guess I am somewhat afraid to face the reality. :-) Just like you stated it, have to get stronger and leaner still.

Regardless of the speed up, the satisfaction of having climbed that hill/mountain was sufficient enough to not worry too much about the cadence. I've climbed this hill twice, both times from a different side. The time described here was definetely the harder one even though it was the second run up this particular mountain.


just did a search and found a website with distances and altitudes and a chart for the route i wrote about. The 0 rpm part was between Almese and Colle del Lys.