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Climbing tips for the sizeable gentleman

FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
edited June 2010 in MTB general
Hi all,

I have an 09 Anthem X3 and love the thing, however I have a problem with climbing. At 14.5 stone keeping weight over the wheels shouldn't be a problem yet when I stand the back wheel sometimes spins and if I sit the front wheel seems to lift.
Can you suggest any techniques that I can focus on whilst slogging up a climb, or even any upgrades to the bike that may prevent me being left behind!!
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Posts

  • spud-facespud-face Posts: 120
    unfashionable as they are, i swear by my bar-ends for long climbs. being a bit more stretched out seems to help with breathing; it feels like while there's more weight over the front to keep the wheel down, the power's being transmitted diagonally down \ to the rear wheel so that it behaves too; plus having your arms in the -holding a pint- position means you can bring the guns into play. This could well be me cod-scienceing a justification for using the things though. small-man syndrome and a vicious competitive streak also works wonders IME . :oops:
  • Matt NMatt N Posts: 160
    sit as far forward in your saddle as possible and lean forward over the handlebars without getting out of your seat. if this doesn't i tend to crouch so that i'm standing but in the centre of the bike, don't forget to constantly be moving your weight from front to back depending on terrain. e.g. to get over a log on a climb, weight back to get the front wheel up, then quickly everything over the front and pull the back up.
    if you still struggle with grip you could try some new tires, obviously i don't know what you've got already but they can make a big difference. you could also try running your back tire on a lower pressure or indeed your shock on a lower pressure as it'll give more grip on loose climbs

    hope that helped
    If calsberg made bikes... they'd probably be the best bikes in the world

    ’My Spesh’
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    Matt N wrote:
    sit as far forward in your saddle as possible and lean forward over the handlebars without getting out of your seat.

    This works pretty much everywhere for me. Seriously, right on the nose- it won't be comfortable (read- feels like sitting on a traffic cone), but that's just more encouragement to get up the climb faster! Also, pull back and down on the handlebars, keeps the front wheel down. Finally, for problems with breaking traction, practice spinning smoothly in perhaps a lower gear, keeps drive the rear wheel as smooth as possible.
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    Don't worry about being left behind.

    I'm 14.5 stone too. I'm not a fast climber, but I can climb pretty much anything. Its not about being fast its about getting it done.

    For steep climbs, remain in your seat, put your weight over the front and just keep peddaling. You'll soon find that weight distribution is important.

    On monday I watched an inexperienced friend go over the handlebars because his back end lost traction. It was funny to watch though.
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    cgarossi wrote:
    On monday I watched an inexperienced friend go over the handlebars because his back end lost traction. It was funny to watch though.

    Over the bars on a climb is always an impressive feat
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    He was putting so much of his weight over the front, the slip pushed him over.
  • FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
    edited June 2010
    Thanks for the tips guys, much appreciated.
    I went out on Monday and had no problem with several small climbs until I got to the big one from Mickleham upto Box Hill road (if anyone knows it). Really steady to begin with and pretty easy, then nearer the top it starts getting really steep and rocky and I found that I had nothing left in my legs to attack the steep bit. Guess I'm just not used to it, thats the first time I've attempted it this year but already looking forward (kinda) to the next try!
  • bike-a-swanbike-a-swan Posts: 1,235
    cgarossi wrote:
    He was putting so much of his weight over the front, the slip pushed him over.

    Last time I managed something like that the sudden loss of traction somehow ended up with all of my weight slamming the end of the bar into my knee. Not spectacular, but flippin' painful!
    Rock Lobster 853, Trek 1200 and a very old, tired and loved Apollo Javelin.
  • cavegiantcavegiant Posts: 1,546
    I am a bigger guy too, the advice here is spot on.

    One thing to consider is that it require tremendous power to be able to smoothly spin the back wheel while standing. When you do this more you will get smoother and more likely to keep rear wheel traction.

    So to sum up, stick with it, it will get easier as you get fitter.
    Why would I care about 150g of bike weight, I just ate 400g of cookies while reading this?
  • paully617paully617 Posts: 139
    My top tip of all time is when you are climbing, move your thumbs from under the grips to ontop of the grips next to your index fingers. This will bring your elbows in automatically and prevent any wobble steer.

    Also get fwd on the saddle and just grit your teeth and go for it nice and steady. If you feel the need to stand for a bit (i do often) then bang up through a few gears as you 1st stand up. That way it will be equally hard to pedal giving you the same amount of traction for the effort but because you will be using a different muscle group than that used sitting, it will come as a nice break for a bit.

    I weigh 15.5st and i find this method helps
    Trek Remedy 9.8 2013
  • Stevo_666Stevo_666 Posts: 52,926
    I've found the same on my Anthem when doing climbs on loose/gravelly type surfaces. I'm not sure how much the standard tyres have a bearing on this (mine a Racing Ralphs which don't have a lot of tread).

    Technique-wise, I find a combination of (a) shifting your weight back/forwards until you 'feel' the best grip and (b) paying attention to how much force you are applying to the pedals tends to do the trick for me.

    And if you practice these climbs enough times you'll lose weight, so it becomes a self-rectifying problem :wink:
    "I spent most of my money on birds, booze and fast cars: the rest of it I just squandered." [George Best]
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    Think tactically too.

    If you see a steep bit coming up, try and relax as much as possible before hand, then apply power when its needed. Don't go all out from the start and pace yourself.

    If you see a bit that requires that extra power, think ahead and try and prepare yourself for a bit of extra exersion.

    For me, I set targets up ahead. Concentrate on getting to one point, then the next, then the next etc, it helps keep me focused.
  • hoochylalahoochylala Posts: 987
    cgarossi wrote:
    Don't worry about being left behind.

    This. Id rather be the guy who clears the climb at a slower pace than the one who goes flying up for the first 50% then either runs out of energy or has to stop on account of poor technique.

    Few tips I use are, firstly trying to spin in a lower gear to keep momentum even and improve traction, secondly when i'm feeling like I need a bit more 'help' I drop my heels, then once this doesn't feel like enough I rotate my hands back towards me so my knuckles are facing me more so I feel like I am pushing the bars rather than pulling them. These combined with sitting as far forward as possible works for me........most of the time :D
  • FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
    Thanks for the tips, gives me some things to try at the weekend!
  • RealManRealMan Posts: 2,166
    hoochylala wrote:
    cgarossi wrote:
    Don't worry about being left behind.

    This. Id rather be the guy who clears the climb at a slower pace than the one who goes flying up for the first 50% then either runs out of energy or has to stop on account of poor technique.

    I did it the complete opposite way, where I would fly up the first couple of climbs, and then die for the rest of them. First to the top on the first few hills, last to the top for the rest. But then I found that I was first to more and more, last to less and less. Then came rides where I was first on all.

    People who climb slowly are boring lol. I love it when I can race someone up the hills.
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    Good for you RealMan :roll:
  • agg25agg25 Posts: 619
    As said weight forward, but I think equally as important is to keep pedalling consistent and smooth. If you don't have clip in pedals these can make a big difference as you're not just pushing down in bursts which can cause slippage, you get to use all your leg muscles too not just the quads.
    A longer stem can also put your weight forward more over the front wheel.
  • RealManRealMan Posts: 2,166
    agg25 wrote:
    If you don't have clip in pedals these can make a big difference as you're not just pushing down in bursts which can cause slippage, you get to use all your leg muscles too not just the quads.

    +1. Although I'm sure someone who knows all about physics will be along to disagree.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 12,998
    RealMan wrote:
    agg25 wrote:
    If you don't have clip in pedals these can make a big difference as you're not just pushing down in bursts which can cause slippage, you get to use all your leg muscles too not just the quads.

    +1. Although I'm sure someone who knows all about physics will be along to disagree.

    Dear God no!
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
    agg25 wrote:
    A longer stem can also put your weight forward more over the front wheel.

    I thought about this, but I'm worried it may make the handling worse??
  • cgarossicgarossi Posts: 729
    What size is it now? You dont need anything more than 100mm imo.
  • agg25agg25 Posts: 619
    Longer stem will make the handling not quite as twitchy and "steery" but will help stability and climbing. Everyone has their own preference. My Cube has a 120mm stem and climbs like a mountain goat, in contrast my commuting Rockhopper has about a 50mm or less. Most people suit around 70-90mm I'd say.
  • FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
    cgarossi wrote:
    What size is it now? You dont need anything more than 100mm imo.

    Think its 100mm.
  • Dirtydog11Dirtydog11 Posts: 1,621
    Frowson wrote:
    agg25 wrote:
    A longer stem can also put your weight forward more over the front wheel.

    I thought about this, but I'm worried it may make the handling worse??

    It wouldn't do much for rear wheel traction either.

    If you haven't already tried, remove a few spacers from under the stem, the front end on trances are quite high IMO. It should help by putting more of your weight over the bars but will have minimal effect on rear traction when climbing seated.

    If it doesn't help, you can always put them back.

    It might be worth checking rear sag, how much are you running should be around 10-13 mm for a Trance IIRC
  • cloudynightscloudynights Posts: 351
    just get bigger thighs :D
    anthem x with many upgrades
  • paulboxpaulbox Posts: 1,203
    I'm also a bigger chap... I say that if you are lifting your front wheel on climbs you should style it out & wheelie up the hill. Makes people think you're not worried about getting up there quickly... :wink:
    XC: Giant Anthem X
    Fun: Yeti SB66
    Road: Litespeed C1, Cannondale Supersix Evo, Cervelo R5
    Trainer: Bianchi via Nirone
    Hack: GT hardtail with Schwalbe City Jets
  • tptvmbircntptvmbircn Posts: 782
    i'd pay to see that mate haha, i'm in the 9.5 - 10 stone catagory and weight forward i can even lift the back wheel so its down to technique. I generally sit on the nose with weight a bit forward and spin the pedals.

    as for pace, never be tempted to chase up hills if you're finding your cutting out, stick to the pace and build up gradually. Hill's are a metal thing, great for training but never rush them as i've even killed a few locally and threw up at the top going too fast!
  • Duggan13Duggan13 Posts: 75
    Some excellent tips here guys, I'll be trying some of these at the weekend
  • FrowsonFrowson Posts: 17
    Hill's are a metal thing, great for training but never rush them as i've even killed a few locally and threw up at the top going too fast!

    Mate of mine did that once. He insisted it was to do with the beer he'd had the night before but we weren't buying it!
  • rudedogrudedog Posts: 523
    lol - I ended up hyperventilating and almost fainting after challenging myself to get to the top of a really big hill once.
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