What this blog is about

Bicycle commuting, bicycle touring, bicycle racing; bicycle ADVENTURING.
To the grocery store, up a mountain, across the country or to the finish line--
it's all an adventure.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Weight and Gears-- the Truth About Hills

Weight and Gears-- the Truth About Hills from Rebecca Jensen on Vimeo.

Many people over-obsess about the weight of their bicycles. If you're racing-- fine, it makes sense. If you're the person that walks into the bike shop and announces, "I'm not a racer," (which is about 90% of customers) because you feel pressure from the media to be one and think that the bike shop will assume you are one... why are YOU anti-weight, since you JUST told me that you're "not out to set any records."

The riding you want to do is not competitive, you just want to go for some recreational rides after work and on the weekends. You'll ride 20-30 miles on average and occasionally, you'll sign up for a bike event to train for that 60 or 100-miler. The bike you want is one that has a less-aggressive body position (torso is more upright) and is fairly compliant (smooth ride, absorbs the bumps in the road) and can get you up hills (generous gears or lightweight).

One candidate is a bike like the Specialized Roubaix or Ruby. These are bikes with "endurance" geometry, which creates a more upright body position and more stable handling over traditional race geometry. Plus, features like "Zertz inserts" smooth out the ride and the carbon fiber is lightweight, so it's less to carry up hills. The gearing has some easier options than a racing bike, especially if you get a triple (3 rings in the front).

Another candidate with an even MORE upright geometry, MORE stable handling, a SMOOTHER ride and a VERY GENEROUS gear range to tackle the steepest climbs-- is a touring bike! But. A touring bike is HEAVY. Oh no. Now you're not interested any more. But what if I told you that the gears on my touring bike make hills just as EASY as on my light bike, but I just might go slower? What? You want to go fast now? Didn't you say that you're "not a racer"? And isn't that your gut I see hanging over your belt?

*I didn't take footage of myself seated and climbing on the SuperNova, because I can't. Due to the gearing on that bike, I HAVE TO stand up to get up that hill.

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