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Gear ratio for hills

How easy is it to change from a double to a triple set.

I currently ride a double with a 50/34 front and 13-24 rear.

While this is ok for 90% of my rides, I really struggle going up any serious hills. Alomst to the point where walking would be faster.

If I was to change to a triple on the front would this see a significant change.

Or do I just have to accept that I have the leg strength of an 8yr old girl, and just keep trying.



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    MGMG Posts: 470
    Dont change the chainset, thatl cost a fair bit. Just change the rear cassette (rear sprocket set) maybe to a 13-27 that should make a good difference for a fraction of the cost. If youre not confident doing the work yourself, just take it to your local bike shop or.....................dare I say it..............Hal....(retch).....fords.
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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    How heavy are you?

    How steep are the hills?

    What happens to your heart rate?

    34 x 24 is pretty low already.. the danger of changing to a lower ratio is that you will just stay within your comfort zone - i.e. maintaining your level of fitness, rather than developing it a.k.a. training. Unless you are possessed with great mental strength (or doing a nice flat TT) then most road cycling is within the comfort zone - at best building up endurance, rather than developing strength.

    If you are heavy, then look at loosing weight. It make also be helpful to use a gym weight programme to build up some strength in your quads/glutes.

    Try to pick a short hilly route, and use that to really attack the hills - a heart rate monitor can be helpful to gauge the level of effort you are putting in to it. Hill riding is really essential to build up strength.

    You could also look at using a turbo trainer to work on strength (pushing the biggest gear at, say 90 rpm, for as long as possible. Do that as an interval.

    My advice is to look at other aspects of your current level of fitness/training plan before changing anything. After all, you may just be on the verge of a break through - often it only takes a little but of effort to make the difference. It is a lot harder to push yourself on the bike, than it is when running, so keep at it! Good luck too[:)]

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    I would have to agree with that Jack, to go any lower than 34 x 24 would be a bit extreme.

    I have only recently gone lower than the traditional road set up of 52/42 x 12/21.

    I now run:

    52/38 x 12/21 (8 spd) on my winter/training bike.

    52/42 x 12/23 (10 spd) on my road bike.

    53/39 x 12/23 (10 spd) on the TT/Tri bike.

    Also you may have to check with your bike shop if you rear mech has enough range to go any lower without compromising your higher gear as there is a limit of difference between the two.
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    TTX PROTTX PRO Posts: 225
    sounds like an ok setup,u could try what mg said 13-27 or you could try 12-28.
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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Changing the rear cassette may also involve getting a new rear mech ie short cage to medium cage & lengthening your chain.

    Changing from double to triple will probably mean a new bottom bracket, rear mech and chain.

    Try a compact and take advice from a good LBS

    You should get up any hill with a 36 - 38 on front and 25 on rear if not then TRAIN BETTER

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    my friend kicked my ass last year at the ironman france.

    he never did more than 50 k in a cycle in training for it.his secret? 40 of those 50 ks where up hill and hard.

    i was out doing long 100m rolling rised with the odd hill.

    no good.

    train on the hills, excell on the flats.
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    treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    I think there is a point there! Train on the hills!
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    im doing all hills this year.

    40 and 50 k a ride. mostly steep hills. i also have extra weight strapped onto the bike, which i am now used to.

    i plan to keep this up, with only 2 90/100 milers b4 my ironman.

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    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    Agree so much!

    I've never really thought about it, but that is my experience. Fortunately, where I live, you can't avoid the hills. So all my routes are hilly. I hardly do any mileage at all, but am relatively OK. I hadn't really thought about why - I've just instinctively gone for the hills - mainly because I love climbing!

    But, there is such a difference between "touring" and "training". And training (i.e. making it hurt) is really hard to do without hills. All you bike rides (solo ones) tend to end up as tours, unless you are really really focussed. Traffic lights, road junctions, downhills; all break the rhythm.

    Hurray for hills
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    im with you jack.

    its simple. you cant tour on hills. especially with a heavy bike/wheels/rucksack whatever.

    your putting in the work just to keep moving. no touring here.
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    JulesJules Posts: 987
    I need to find some hills it's very flat round my way, my climbing is pathetic.

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