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Why do I prefer to climb in my big chain ring?(6 posts)

Why do I prefer to climb in my big chain ring?king of Norway
May 23, 2003 2:52 PM
Lately I've experienced a decided preference for climbing in my big chain ring which I beleive is against normal protocal. I feel that I can climb faster and with less fatigue in the big rather than the small chain ring. When I climb I try to keep a high cadence regardless so I don't believe I'm guilty of gear mashing.

Any thoughts or pros/cons to doing this. I'm a taller rider 6'3" amd I do beleive my fitness level has increased lately. Could there be something there? Any thoughts, similar experiences, or explanations wopuld be most helpful.

Also, is there any reason why I should break this habit?
you must be fastDougSloan
May 23, 2003 3:02 PM
If you are climbing in the big ring, and you keep the cadence up, then you must be fast. That's all there is to it, unless you have a 12-34 in back and doing some severe cross chaining.

With a 23 cog and a 53 in front, the slowest you could be going in the big ring at 80 rpms (the low side of "spinning", I'd say) would be about 14 mph. Do you always climb faster than that?


In any event, I don't think the big ring is faster than the small one; it's the ratio that counts.

you must be fastking of Norway
May 23, 2003 3:11 PM
I have a 53 in front and a 13-26 in the rear. I think I spin at a relatively good pace in the big ring but not as fast obviously as when I'm in the small ring.

It just seems to me that I can take more speed up the hill in the big ring and I don't get as tired(provided the hill isn't super steep) as I tend to do when I climb in the small ring.

I agree with you that the big ring isn't faster but how do you equate the ratios, and I wonder if having longer legs has any bearing on having a pedal stroke where you tick over with less rpms but keep it "longer and stronger" so to speak.
Probably the same reason singlespeeders do it ...Humma Hah
May 23, 2003 3:26 PM
... evidently you don't ride because its easy. You enjoy a challenge, and are not using your gears to make climbing easier. By challenging your muscles harder, they've risen to the challenge.

As long as it is working well for you, and causes no pain, go for it!

If it hurts, stop. At some grade and length of climb, forces on your joints will get too much and your body will tell you ... if that occurs, listen to your body rather than stubbornly refusing to downshift.

A number of us are singlespeeders and fixed gear riders (we even have our own discussion area). Typical chainring sizes on our bikes are up in the 48T range, i.e. reasonably big rings, typically set at 2.5:1 gearing or higher. We therefore ALWAYS climb on the big ring. My theory as to why the "singlespeed movement" is a growing phenomenon is that the itch for personal challenge which makes folks want to ride bicycle gets scratched a little harder by doing it with only one gear. I think you're simply scratching the itch a little harder in your own way.
Are you standing or sitting?firstrax
May 23, 2003 8:53 PM
When I stand I use the big ring. When I sit and spin I use the 39. If I stand in the 39 I tend to stall at the bottom of the pedal stroke. In the big ring I can keep the stroke more circular.
both (nm)king of Norway
May 24, 2003 8:31 PM