Hill Speed

New To This
New To This Posts: 40
edited June 2007 in Road beginners
Whats the best technique to tackle hills?

Seated or stood?



  • For me, I prefer to remain seated for longer stretches of hills, getting into the low range of gears for hill-climbing. I try to keep my cadence (revs) at a steady rate (for long hills this is not always possible).

    Only time I get out the saddle is for short, sharp hills - especially from a standing start - for example one local route involves a right turn followed by a sharp climb.

    However, you should experiment for yourself.

    Be nice to grumpy old men (or else)
  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Try starting at the top, it makes it <i>so</i> much easier!!![;)]

  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    I definetely favour staying seated far easier on my legs :D low gear and off I go keep pushing to the top, although I do have a cheats advantage with a 34t at the rear :D only used for the most daunting of hills.

    I use standing up only for inital acceleration at times and very short hills.
  • peejay78
    peejay78 Posts: 3,378
    i stay seated as long as possible, but stand in order to up the ante or if i need to find a rhythm, or have no choice.

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  • Noodley
    Noodley Posts: 1,725
    well that would depend on how long the hill is and how steep the hill is.
  • PhilofCas
    PhilofCas Posts: 1,153
    a mixture of both, whatever suits you, for me approx. 75% seated/25% stood up.
  • freddered
    freddered Posts: 391
    It's more effecient to stay seated and spin but it's quicker (if your lungs and legs don't pop first) to stand up and honk up it (in a higher gear normally).

    So I guess it depends on whether you want efficiency or speed.

    You'll find that most experienced cyclists can tell at the base of a hill what technique they'll prefer.

    Me, if I can honk it in about 10-20 seconds I'll probably go for it. Any longer than that I'll stay sat down and plod up it.

    All comes down to personal preference BUT the great man (That's Lance) taught himself to sit down and spin up hills, only standing up when he needed to drop someone or demonstrating that he has a very high Lactic Acid tolerance (See Jan Ulrich's purple face)
  • gaterz1981
    gaterz1981 Posts: 503
    stand and sprint up them in a high gear. then sit down when your lungs and heart give out and you vision goes blue & sparkly.

    I sit as far as possible then stand nearer the top. only have a 25 cassette, did do the first few months of the year on a 21 cassette....ouch.

    I work hard because millions on benefits depend on me
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  • gbb
    gbb Posts: 1,240
    Short, even moderately steep hills (depends what youre used to) i get out the seat, push push as hard as i can, and change down as the resistance builds...but maintain good speed.
    Changing gears while pedalling hard out of the seat may not be recommended....but i find theres a point at which i can change smoothly without easing off too much....but i wouldnt want to get it wrong.
    Then top the hill and pedal steady for a minute to recover.

    Chill out, fer Christsakes....

    Chill out, fer Christsakes....
  • pw1brown
    pw1brown Posts: 243
    I find it better to start off gently (always sitting), and put more effort in nearer the top - if I've any juice left by then.
  • overmars
    overmars Posts: 430
    Hmm... I live up a hill. When I first moved here (bit more than a year ago) I would sit when riding up it in the lowest gear. But only when reading this thread did I realise that I'm now standing up and a good few rings away from the low gear!

    I guess when you get used to it you can vary your technique.

    So the short answer is: live on top of a hill!

    The obstacle is the path
  • Chris James
    Chris James Posts: 1,040
    As has already been said, it all depends on how long and steep the hill is.

    When i was a kid I lived in Chester on a 'hill'. I put it in inverted commas because the kids at my school called it Handbridge Hill, I used to go up it in top gear (of five!).

    Now I live in a village, on a hill where most of the roads up it are 1 in 7 or steeper. Quite long too. I always ride seated and almost always in bottom gear unless I am very fresh. Partly because I am knackered before I even start the hill , due to all the other hills around here!

    For short hills, where you can get up easily out of the saddle, you want to pick a slightly higher gear and attack it. Long drags I find easiest to select a low gear and spin as best you can, certainly try to get a rhythm going.

    The problem I have with honking up hills is that it is fine for a short spell but I find I don't recover that well (maybe I am not fit enough?) so lots of honking gets very tiring. As someone on here's tag line says, he who spins fast lasts longest. So for longer Audax type rides then seated spinning is a good idea, for an hour long blast then it matters less.
  • monty_dogcp
    monty_dogcp Posts: 382
    Too many variables to define hard and fast rules - it depends on both your fitness, your strength and the hill itself. Contrary to opinion, lastest research indicates there is very little difference in efficiency between standing and seated- but your fitness has a big bearing. Generally, for steep stuff >10% getting out of the saddle is better as you can sustain a higher power output, whereas for less steep and longer climbs, staying in the saddle and employing the glutes and quads is less intensive. Use both techniques and learn to switch as it will be less tiring overall.
  • domtyler
    domtyler Posts: 2,648
    Mind over matter, hills are your opportunity to push your body past its limits and then a little bit more. One day you will look down at your speedo at the top of a large hill and see 20mph and know that you have 'arrived', well I have convinced myself that i'll get there one day anyway!

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