February 24, 2019 at 9:55 pm #257598
<p style=”text-align: right;”>What’s up guys I’m looking for a little advice. I bought a bike(2018 DB R1) and been riding about 6 months now. I’ve been hitting this trail near me thats alot of fun but it’s a good 600ft or so climb and I can do it but by the time I get to the top my legs are toast. I do rest a while before descending but at the bottom half of the descent my legs are again feeling very fatigued. I want to climb and do it again but physically unable too. I was running a 1×10 11-42 with a 30t chainring and just switched to a sunrace cassette with 11-46 which seemed to help but still I cant climb it again. Is this something that just takes time to get used to or is it my bike, do I need a 1×12 or can I switch to 28t chainring. Any advice is greatly appreciated.</p>
February 24, 2019 at 10:42 pm #257599
I honestly wish there was another way to say this but… you just need to keep at it, and it will get better with time. You went in the right direction with the gearing, but I wouldn’t suggest going lower.
At your experience level, you’re likely still finding your best cadence (pedaling rhythm). Everyone is a little different; I’m a spinner and tend to stay around 90 rpm, I have friends who ride more at the 60-70 rpm end of the spectrum. If you find you’re more of a “masher” I’ve read the oval chainrings can help, less so if you’re a spinner.
Also, are you positive you have your seat height set properly? I know I feel like absolute crap if mine is even 1/4” low.
Those are just a couple things to consider. If you already have, again with experience you’ll just learn to “embrace the suck”… Who knows, you might find you have that masochistic tendency that makes you a pure climber…
February 25, 2019 at 7:21 am #257607
I would second what Phonebem said. Keep at it, it gets easier. If you can do it more often the gains come quicker. Six months isn’t that long if you hadn’t been riding before. My experience with my local hard climb was one day I suddenly noticed I could do it. I think it was a combination of losing weight and stronger legs, but it was a great feeling.
February 25, 2019 at 8:41 am #257629
Great reply Phonebem.
Your gearing sounds reasonable, and I second checking your seat height. Do you have a dropper post? If so, raise the seat position up a little and see if that helps.
It sounds like leg strength is the limiting factor, but also make sure you’re not maxing out your heart rate on the climb. Get into a comfortable rhythm, which might mean slowing down on the climb a bit.
Even if none of these things work, keep at it and you’ll definitely get stronger!
February 25, 2019 at 8:51 am #257631
If you never use the high gear, changing to a 28t chain ring might help a little, but that is getting so low it might not. For the most part, what everyone else said, check your seat height, make sure you are getting proper leg extension, and just keep riding. A 30t chain ring with 46t low gear, is very close to the same ratio as a 32t with a 50t low gear, which is standard on most 1×12 bikes.
February 25, 2019 at 2:11 pm #257663
I live in Durango CO which has high altitude and long steep technical climbs and my bike weighs 33 pounds. I have a 26T chainring and a 10-50 cassette on my 29+ aluminum full-suspension bike. This gives me a 16 gear-inch low. I don’t care that I give up some of my high end, because I only top out when going down hill on pavement. I’ve never been on singletrack when I didn’t have a high enough gear.
Get over being the most macho pushing the biggest gear and cut yourself some slack. Mountain biking is supposed to fun, not a chore. Go for a 24-26T chainring. You can always switch back to the bigger chainring if you get more fit. My 29+ hardtail has a 10-42 cassette and a 22T chainring which also provides a 16 gear inch low. I’ll sacrifice some high end for a super low granny gear any day. As an added benefit, if you have a low granny gear, it will make you want to ride further and more often. Getting to the top of climbs all spent and wiped out (or having to hike-a-bike) sucks the will to ride right out of a person.
You can also push your saddle all the way forward which aids climbing. This increases the seat tube angle. Enduro bikes come with steep seat tube angles because doing so improves climbing. Also consider putting on a longer stem which also aids climbing. Add about as much extra stem length as you pushed your seat foward.
One of my biggest gripes about most new bikes is that they come with gears that are way to high. The stock gears might be fine if you are young, very fit, thin, ride at low altitudes, ride a light-weight bike, and seldom ride long, steep, technical climbs. However, for the rest of us some lower gears are much appreciated.
February 25, 2019 at 5:05 pm #257666
Jorge, first – welcome to the sport! With respect to the climb you’ve mentioned it’s 600′ but over what distance? Is it technical in any way (i.e. rooty or rocky)? Is the grade pretty consistent or is it very steep in sections? These issues can provide greater insight.
With climbs, your (physical) limiting factor is typically (a) your cardio where your heart rate starts to approach your max (feels like “I have to stop because I can’t breathe”) or (b) your legs are lacking the strength/power (i.e. you feel like you just can’t turn the pedals anymore). Because you indicated your legs are fatigued when you are descending after resting at the top I suspect it’s a leg strength/power issue. You can go 1×12 or change your chain ring, improve your saddle height – all of which may help somewhat. But based on the info you provided I would work on building leg strength. I do several sets of weighted squats and deadlifts 2-3 times per week and it definitely has had an impact. (NB: It doesn’t have to be crazy heavy but it should challenge you). I also add in some plyometric exercises as well such as box jumps which helps build power, especially when you need burst of power to get over a technical section. On the bike, you may want to include a day every so often where you ride in a higher gear or two than normal which will also help increase leg power. BTW, I think Jeff and the team are planning an article on strength training very soon.
No matter what… keep at it! There were climbs I do now that I never believed I would be able to do when I first started. And this is one you’re already doing!
February 26, 2019 at 1:41 pm #257732
<p style=”text-align: right;”>Thanks for input guys it sounds like what of you makes since that my legs need strengthening and using 28t chainring might help as I hardly ever run out of top end gears. I do have a dropper and played with seat height and it did help to get it just right. I have not yet played with saddle position or stem length yet but I’m going to try it see if I notice change. But I’m going to have say it’s my leg strength isnt quite what it needs to be so I’m looking forward to that article about strength training. Again thanks for the replys.</p>
June 10, 2019 at 8:59 pm #263934
Low and slow. Take a break or as many as it takes then work on eliminating the breaks one at a time.Once you can do the climb straight through move up a gear and go as far as you can before dropping back. Before you know it you will be climbing hills you couldn’t do but be three gears higher. Cardio ,leg strength, technique and time will get it done.
June 18, 2019 at 12:18 am #264398
I find technical climbing is engaging and the focus makes me forget the suffering. A long fire road is my worst enemy. It is easy to begin hunting for the solution to every little problem, gnats, flies, i need sunscreen, i need a new seat or padded shorts, better shoes, lighter bike…but at some point just knuckle down and grind. Plow hard and push. Sweat in your eyes? Ignore. Girlfriend being a bitch lately? Ignore. Turn into a gorilla and damn the torpedos. Technical single track helps to keep you in the game. Kick that climbs ass!
June 18, 2019 at 1:13 pm #264455
My crank has both 64 bcd and 104 bcd on it. I kept the original 22t small ring and put a 30t narrow-wide as my main ring. My main 1st gear is 30/40 on a 29er.
I didn’t know if I would ever use the 22t (which I can move to by hand) since the climbs in OH are generally not that steep and aren’t long. But this past weekend I was in PA and was facing a 400 ft climb over 0.8 miles. It took me walking a bit to remember that I had the 22t option but once I dropped into that gear I was good to go. My concern was I wouldn’t be able to keep enough weight on the front end or loose my balance spinning out.
The funny thing was if I could get any momentum, like a dip in the trail, there was no point in pedaling because I wouldn’t be able to engage the rear hub. So I couldn’t build speed for the next incline.
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