Stelvio - gearing?

proto
proto Posts: 1,483
edited February 2019 in Workshop
Off to Bormio and the Stelvio in the summer, getting a bit nervous. I can get round the Chilterns - Whiteleaf, Kingston hills etc. - on a 34 x 27. I’ve managed Tourmalet and Galibier on 34 x 29 (lowest official Campag ratio, although might squeeze 34 x 30 on)

Stelvio is over 20km long, ave 6% but some killer section of 10% near the top.

Anyone been up and able to suggest gearing needs?

Comments

  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Sounds like your gears will be fine to me. I used 34*27 and don't really remember anything being particularly steep. We rode it from Bormio as avalanches had made the other side impassable.
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  • shipley
    shipley Posts: 549
    Get yourself some Potenza ! I’ve just swapped out Ultegra 10 speed on my C59 for some 11 speed potenza giving me 34x32 for my trip to the Pyrenees next month.

    You could get away with just the shifters, rear mech and cassette. Try Vanilla bikes, mine was a Black Friday bargain.
  • boblo
    boblo Posts: 360
    Yep, 34/27 should be fine. I can't recall anything extraordinary and I used that gearing.
  • proto
    proto Posts: 1,483
    Thanks for replies. Feeling a bit more comfortable now.

    @shipley, I’ll Be taking my C59 but it’s electronic only and running SR EPS. So, 34 x 29 it will be!
  • C59 EPS rider here too, and I run a 50/34 12/29 in the Alps. It’s an entirely personal preference but I find the 29 enough to give me a spin on the worst ramps. I had to rent a bike with a 32 on the back for a few days last summer (long story) and hated the 32 cog. It felt too weird.
  • cougie wrote:
    Sounds like your gears will be fine to me. I used 34*27 and don't really remember anything being particularly steep. We rode it from Bormio as avalanches had made the other side impassable.

    It isn't particularly steep, but I found that being in the Dolomites previously warped my perspective. 15km at 8% becomes just a steady climb, whereas a hard climb is a few km over 10%. I was fine on 34 x 28 on the prato side of the Stelvio (and it is fantastic).

    Don't forget lights - there's one tunnel on the descent to Bormio that is treacherous.
  • gethinceri
    gethinceri Posts: 1,515
    I'm going out with some pals in September, I'll be using 34/29 Campag.
    If you've got a 27 on there now you won't need anything other than a 29 cassette, if you're really concerned get a Centaur cassette (I think there's a 12-32) and you MIGHT need a hangar extender which will cost you a couple of quid.
    My pals are pensioners and they'll be using 34/32
  • proto
    proto Posts: 1,483
    Gethinceri wrote:
    I'm going out with some pals in September, I'll be using 34/29 Campag.
    If you've got a 27 on there now you won't need anything other than a 29 cassette, if you're really concerned get a Centaur cassette (I think there's a 12-32) and you MIGHT need a hangar extender which will cost you a couple of quid.
    My pals are pensioners and they'll be using 34/32

    I’m a pensioner .......
  • stueys
    stueys Posts: 1,332
    proto wrote:
    Thanks for replies. Feeling a bit more comfortable now.

    @shipley, I’ll Be taking my C59 but it’s electronic only and running SR EPS. So, 34 x 29 it will be!

    You'll be fine, I did 2 sides of Stevlio in one day on 34-28, and I like to keep my cadence up. There aren't really any steep bits, it's just long. The steepest section is the final 2km from Bormio side where it kicks a bit, but at that point you can see the top which dulls the pain.

    Make sure you do Gavia whilst you're there, it trumps Stelvio in my humble opinion. And if you fancy Mortirolo then gear down....;-)
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    The Gavia is a slog from Bormio. We couldn't get to the top at the end of May due to snow. Stelvio was much more enjoyable with the snow gates stopping the motor traffic.
  • gethinceri
    gethinceri Posts: 1,515
    proto wrote:
    Gethinceri wrote:
    I'm going out with some pals in September, I'll be using 34/29 Campag.
    If you've got a 27 on there now you won't need anything other than a 29 cassette, if you're really concerned get a Centaur cassette (I think there's a 12-32) and you MIGHT need a hangar extender which will cost you a couple of quid.
    My pals are pensioners and they'll be using 34/32

    I’m a pensioner .......

    You're not invited.
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    I'm going in July with two mates. Hiring bikes there, we're in our 50's and slow so at least 32's on the back.
    We did Cingles on Ventoux last year with 32's (Just) so should be OK.

    Our plan is is two Stelvio ascents from Bormio to Swiss side and back.
    Can anyone recommend scenic coffee shop ride for second day?

    Grazie.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • I have not done it, but if I went, I'd fancy this: https://www.epicroadrides.com/cycling-i ... lian-alps/
  • term1te
    term1te Posts: 1,462
    meursault wrote:
    I'm going in July with two mates. Hiring bikes there, we're in our 50's and slow so at least 32's on the back.
    We did Cingles on Ventoux last year with 32's (Just) so should be OK.

    Our plan is is two Stelvio ascents from Bormio to Swiss side and back.
    Can anyone recommend scenic coffee shop ride for second day?

    Grazie.

    Both sides of the Stelvio are in Italy. If you want to go into Switzerland, you'll need to turn off and go over/down the Umbrail pass
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    34 x 29 might be ok, depends how strong you are. Before my trip to Mont Ventoux I fitted a Potenza 11-32 cassette and bloomin needed it, although the climb there is an unrelenting 10%-11% so steeper. Also fitted an Alpe D'Huez Road Fairy which pushes the derailleur further from the axle - its needed with a 32T cassette but shifting isn't quite as smooth as it used to be.
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  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I have not done it, but if I went, I'd fancy this: https://www.epicroadrides.com/cycling-i ... lian-alps/

    Yes ! We did that climb too. Pouring down with Rain but you hit warm on that climb. Do remember to take foul weather kit even in the summer.

    Check out my activity on Strava: https://strava.app.link/9lnA8LIrwU
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    Term1te wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    I'm going in July with two mates. Hiring bikes there, we're in our 50's and slow so at least 32's on the back.
    We did Cingles on Ventoux last year with 32's (Just) so should be OK.

    Our plan is is two Stelvio ascents from Bormio to Swiss side and back.
    Can anyone recommend scenic coffee shop ride for second day?

    Grazie.

    Both sides of the Stelvio are in Italy. If you want to go into Switzerland, you'll need to turn off and go over/down the Umbrail pass

    yes, this one https://www.cyclinglocations.com/stelvi ... limb-alps/
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • I’ve been on cycling holidays to Bormio twice, and would thoroughly recommend it. As regards gearing, the first time in 2011 I took a triple (lowest gear 30 x 27) and in 2017 I took compact (34 x 29).

    With the exception of the Mortirolo, nothing is too steep. I think the steepest on Stelvio is on the south side on the approach to the hairpin at the big waterfall where it nudges 14%. I decided to grind out 39 x 27 on my first ascent in 2011, but used smaller gears every time since.

    One thing nobody else has queried is your schedule. If you are planning on doing back to back big rides and cramming 15000m+ of climbing into six or seven rides, then fatigue will become a factor. I didn’t have great fitness when I went in late August 2017 and the gear I tried to use the most was the one I didn’t have – i.e. something smaller than 34 x 29!

    As others have mentioned, it’s probably wise to take some clothes to cover cold descents. On my 2017 trip, it rained for three days and was snowing above about 2000m. Thankfully things improved after that, but I was glad I packed a Perfetto, arm warmers and overshoes!

    I know this is in Workshop, but I thought I’d list some of the rides from Bormio, in increasing distance and enjoyment! The ride I haven’t been brave enough to tackle yet to is add the Passo Tonale in between the Mortirolo and the Gavia. One day, maybe.

    Route Distance Climbing
    Bormio - Bormio 2000 - Bormio 12 miles 725m
    Bormio - Pradele - Valle di Fraele - Lake Cancano - Pradelle - Bormio 22 miles 850m
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio 28 miles 1525m
    Bormio - Passo Gavia - Bormio 32 miles 1450m
    Bormio - Stelvio - Bormio - Bormio 2000 – Bormio 41 miles 2250m
    Bormio - Stelvio - Prato allo Stelvio - Stelvio - Bormio 60 miles 3350m
    Bormio - Umbrail - Santa Maria - Prato - Stelvio - Bormio 64 miles 3150m
    Bormio - Passo di Foscagno - Passo d'Eira - Livigno - Punte del Gallo - Punt la Drossa - Ofenpass - Santa Maria - Umbrail Pass - Stelvio - Bormio 71 miles 3150m
    Bormio - Mazzo - Mortirolo - Ponte di Legno - Passo Gavia – Bormio 72 miles 3100m
    Bormio - Tirano - Berninapass - Passo d'Eira - Passo di Foscagno - Bormio 83 miles 2975m

    Be seeing you!
  • proto
    proto Posts: 1,483
    All really helpful, especially @CaptainFagor. Many thanks