Hand Position On Steep Climbs

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Wayne Plunger
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Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Wayne Plunger » Fri Sep 20, 2019 09:24 am

So always willing to learn off more experienced cyclists or seek opinion.

I was going up this climb yesterday, average according to Strava, 12.3% with some parts in the late teens.

One thing until yesterday I had never really considered on climbs was hand position. On lesser climbs I usually just spin up in my own time with my hands in the centre of the bars so to speak. However when I got to the really steep bit I found being on the hoods gave me a bit more "pull" for want of a better term.

Is there an accepted most economical / efficient hand position or is it just what suits the individual?

MrB123
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby MrB123 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:18 am

Use the hoods on steep stuff. I think you get a bit more leverage from your arms in that position (hence why MTBers used to use bar ends back in the day) plus you'll be out of the saddle a fair bit so you won't have to change your hand position when you stand up.

keef66
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby keef66 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:40 am

Never really thought about it TBH but I naturally find myself grabbing the hoods on steeper stuff

Fenix
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Fenix » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:21 am

Can't see that it matters - I'm not sure what I do apart from trying to haul on fenceposts to get me up faster

Shirley Basso
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Shirley Basso » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:26 am

I use the tops. Opens the body up to breathe better and something to pull against.

Careful of lifting front wheel

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homers double
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby homers double » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:40 am

I think the natural body position (as I've just tested on my desk) would be to use the hoods.
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DaveP1
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby DaveP1 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:50 am

Definitely the hoods, or even the drops for some Pantani style. :) Would move your weight forward too, slightly, to help keep the front wheel down.

LakesLuddite
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby LakesLuddite » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:54 pm

Just do what feels natural - as long as you're getting up the hill then it's working. Personally I'm on the tops until the gradient gets above 12-15%, then I'm usually out of the saddle, en danseuse.

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Step83
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Step83 » Fri Sep 20, 2019 13:17 pm

I generally alternate from hoods to bars, main thing is you go a touch forward in the saddle.

End of the day if you get up there without stopping it doesnt really matter.

Pilot Pete
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Pilot Pete » Fri Sep 20, 2019 13:39 pm

Shirley Basso wrote:I use the tops. Opens the body up to breathe better and something to pull against.

Careful of lifting front wheel


Eh? What is ‘opening up the body’? And how does being on the tops (hands closer together) facilitate that rather than being on the hoods, which would mean the hands were further apart? Do you have any evidence to back up this claim?

I’m with those who advocate whatever feels comfortable. And 12% isn’t exactly steep to the point that you have to worry about the front wheel coming up or need to be honking on the pedals out of the saddle swinging the bike from side to side.

I’ll often change hand grips from tops to hoods and maybe back again as the climb progresses. When it really ramps up to 20%ish + I may well stand for several pedal strokes at which point I will generally be on the hoods. I try to stay seated as it is more efficient and especially when it is wet I will try not to stand at all to keep the weight over the rear wheel to prevent wheel spin. Having a low enough gear to facilitate this is the key - I’m fine on 34/28 getting up just about everything seated around these parts with the occasional stand up to relieve the pressure and get the blood flow back to the nether regions.

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Imposter
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Imposter » Fri Sep 20, 2019 14:10 pm

Pilot Pete wrote:
Shirley Basso wrote:I use the tops. Opens the body up to breathe better and something to pull against.

Careful of lifting front wheel


Eh? What is ‘opening up the body’? And how does being on the tops (hands closer together) facilitate that rather than being on the hoods, which would mean the hands were further apart? Do you have any evidence to back up this claim?


As above. 'opening up the body to breathe better' is a bit of a false premise. Firstly, because as Pete suggests, your hand position is no wider (in fact it's probably narrower). Secondly, hand/arm position has no particular relevance to the body's ability to 'breathe better. If that were the case, time triallers and team pursuiters on tri-bars, or track riders on 33/38cm bars would struggle..

Shirley Basso
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Shirley Basso » Fri Sep 20, 2019 14:28 pm

Just means I can sit up a bit easier rather than forward and low on the bars.

My setups are all very comfy over long distances, but seeing as aero is less of a concern on long climbs, it means I can sit up.

Width of bars has nothing to do with it.

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darkhairedlord
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby darkhairedlord » Fri Sep 20, 2019 15:04 pm

I never use the tops. Usually y hoods or the palms on the horns.

Matthewfalle
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Matthewfalle » Fri Sep 20, 2019 15:59 pm

whatever you are most comfortable with.
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bonk king
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby bonk king » Fri Sep 20, 2019 17:00 pm

For me, when tackling the really steep stuff, I find that left hand on the saddle and right hand on the bars works a treat.

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darkhairedlord
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby darkhairedlord » Fri Sep 20, 2019 17:52 pm

Get the butler to ride the bike up the steep bits while sipping gin in the rolls.

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Asprilla
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby Asprilla » Sat Sep 21, 2019 10:34 am

Pilot Pete wrote:
Shirley Basso wrote:I use the tops. Opens the body up to breathe better and something to pull against.

Careful of lifting front wheel


Eh? What is ‘opening up the body’? And how does being on the tops (hands closer together) facilitate that rather than being on the hoods, which would mean the hands were further apart? Do you have any evidence to back up this claim?

I’m with those who advocate whatever feels comfortable. And 12% isn’t exactly steep to the point that you have to worry about the front wheel coming up or need to be honking on the pedals out of the saddle swinging the bike from side to side.

I’ll often change hand grips from tops to hoods and maybe back again as the climb progresses. When it really ramps up to 20%ish + I may well stand for several pedal strokes at which point I will generally be on the hoods. I try to stay seated as it is more efficient and especially when it is wet I will try not to stand at all to keep the weight over the rear wheel to prevent wheel spin. Having a low enough gear to facilitate this is the key - I’m fine on 34/28 getting up just about everything seated around these parts with the occasional stand up to relieve the pressure and get the blood flow back to the nether regions.

PP


12% not that steep? Bloody felt it last time I went up the Mortirolo.

Of course, it depends on the length as well as the steepness and for a long climb I use the tops. Its a more upright position that takes stress off your core and hip flexors.
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NitrousOxide
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby NitrousOxide » Sat Sep 21, 2019 13:12 pm

If I'm putting some power effort in, then I'll be on the hoods, plus probably out of the saddle (if my cadence drops to below ~75rpm).

But from memory, I have pootled up the local "wall" https://www.strava.com/segments/19974352 that hits ~20% in my Cube's lowest gear (34/32), sitting down and holding the tops... However, I almost certainly would have had my arms very bent while doing this, so still putting a bit of weight over the front wheel.
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JamesEs
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby JamesEs » Sat Sep 21, 2019 14:54 pm

When it's steep enough that aero becomes less of a consideration, I find it easier to get more power out with my hands on the tops (no idea why); when it's really steep, I need my hands on the hoods and weight further forward to stop the front wheel lifting.

ibr17xvii
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Re: Hand Position On Steep Climbs

Postby ibr17xvii » Sat Sep 21, 2019 17:34 pm

Shirley Basso wrote:I use the tops. Opens the body up to breathe better and something to pull against.

Careful of lifting front wheel


This is what I struggle with on the really steep stuff no matter where I place my hands.


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