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Hill Climbing Question

fray329fray329 Posts: 15
edited January 2014 in MTB general
Hi guys im new to mtb and have bought a 2012 Cannondale sl4. My mate and I who has the same bike went out for a ride to Cannock today and did the follow the dog trail.

On the hills I was struggling pretty badly but when we swapped bikes for a bit I didnt struggle as bad. He has a shorter stem, higher rise and wider bars and his seat is lower than mine would these make a bike ride easier when hill climbing? Im trying to find out what made his bike feel easier to climb on than mine.

Ive now added two washers to below the stem and lowered my seat (had to cut the seat post down when I got home). I felt like I had a lot of weight over the front end when I was riding my bike and it hurt my neck to look up and forwards and I was spinning the rear wheel quite a lot. Also it felt like I was stretching too far to the bars.

Im thinking about buying a shorter stem with a higher rise on it but dont want to change the bars really because they are nice race face carbon flat bars :D but I will if I have to.

Im wanting some advise from more experianced riders to help me get the bike dialed in :mrgreen:

Cheers lads James

Posts

  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Is all preference really. If I want to attack climbs out of the saddle, longer reach and narrow bars seem to help. Sit and spin? Doesn't seem to make too much difference as is easier to adapt.
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    Make sure when you added spacers you still have enough steerer tube actually in the stem. Unless you took spacers from above the stem, could be a problem.
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  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,772
    fray329 wrote:
    ... and lowered my seat (had to cut the seat post down when I got home).

    That doesn't sound good!
    If you had to cut your seat post to get the saddle low enough then maybe your frame is too big.

    Is your frame the same size as your mate's?
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  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    Thanks for the replys.

    Maybe I will get used to the position but it felt like I was riding the R6 I used to have which felt a little unnatural on a mtb and it was when I was standing when it was spinning which I was mostly when climbing (maybe my technique is all wrong). I was trying to put some weight on the nose of the saddle too.

    I will check that out now and make sure I havent added too many spacers thanks and no I didnt take them from above the stem I nicked them off my moms bike which she never ever uses.

    Maybe the frame is a little big but my mate had to cut his down aswell and I was the same sort of height as the bloke I bough it off (an inch shorter). Ive got the seat level with the bars now as before the lowest it would go was like 2 or 3 inches above the bars.

    It felt like it was harder to peddle up the hills which my mate also said as soon as he jumped on it.

    Cheers
  • cooldadcooldad Posts: 32,601
    fray329 wrote:

    I will check that out now and make sure I havent added too many spacers thanks and no I didnt take them from above the stem I nicked them off my moms bike which she never ever uses.

    I will almost guarantee you have a problem. Unless the spacers were really, really thin.
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  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    I have removed them now bud thanks
  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    Well ive put on a much shorter stem witch is angled up more and the bike feel much nicer to sit on now. Hopefully it will ride better which I will find out on friday. Im happy im going in the right direction with it anyway!
  • paul.skibumpaul.skibum Posts: 4,068
    Hill climbing is all about traction which comes from being in a position of balance on the bike - if you find the rear wheel is spinning out it will typically because your weight is not driving down the back wheel to allow it to grip (i.e your weight is too far forward). If the bike wheelies and wanders when climbing your weight is too far forward.

    With the bike on a hill your weigh needs to be roughly centred through the middle of the bike. How you ride and how you set up the cockpit and saddle of your bike will allow you to do this. If you ride uphill while standing you have to play with where you are positioning your weight as you power through the pedals. Seated climbing is generally easier to deal with over longer climbs.
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  • Lewis ALewis A Posts: 767
    Tyre pressure could also have a big impact.
    Cube Analog 2012 with various upgrades.
  • spongtasticspongtastic Posts: 3,131
    fray329 wrote:
    It felt like it was harder to peddle up the hills which my mate also said as soon as he jumped on it.

    Cheers

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  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    Thanks for that paul im pretty sure I had way too much weight over the front but the way the bike was it wouldnt let me get my weight back while seated because I was reaching way too much so I was mainly standing. Im hoping now ive swapped the 130mm stem to a stem which is around 50mm or 60mm and lowered the seat it will ride better. Ive done a few miles on the road this afternoon and it definatly feels loads better but will see how she feels off road on Friday.

    Cheers bud my tyre pressures were around 40 maybe a bit below and I dont know what my mates were but they looked to have a lot less pressure in than mine.

    It did tbh mate so I will check all those things out aswell thankyou
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    So try letting some air out, it's free, over lumps and bumps more pressure adds to rolling resistance as the tyre has to roll up and over it rather than squidging round it.
  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    Ill give it a try thanks
  • fray329fray329 Posts: 15
    Well went out in the rain today and did the monkey trail at cannock. The bike feels so much better to ride, was riding up hills I just couldn't do last week. Still think I could benifit from a high rise handlebar though.

    One thing ive noticed is that now im getting a slight bit of play in the head tube. I had a quick go at tightening the cap up but the steering seemed to go a bit stiff then. Im going to clean it tomorrow and have a proper look I only had 5 mins earlier because I was ruined and its freezing in the garage!
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