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Splash
03-26-2016, 10:44 PM
Hi there.

What are the critical characteristics of a good climbing road bike frameset?

I read that a taller head tube and relatively long wheelbase contribute to both comfortable and efficient climbing, in and out of the saddle.


Splash

MattTuck
03-27-2016, 12:21 AM
splash, what do you mean by "climbing bike"?

There are bikes that are specialty built for climbing. The primary focus of such a bike is light weight. People sometimes use these for specialty hill climb races like Mt. Washington in NH. Often times, they'll get ride of the large chain ring, and might go with just a friction shifter on the downtube. Probably just one brake lever/caliper on the front wheel. Possibly, they cut off drops. Since going up hill is a slow affair, people don't care much about handling. Lightness and a energy transfer are the two things people focus on.

Dead Man
03-27-2016, 12:50 AM
Stiff! And light

All else is moot, if we're talking strictly uphill only

But it gets a lot more complicated if you gon b coming back down hill, fast, on that same bike

Splash
03-27-2016, 03:01 AM
yeah - thanks

I am talking for ride days :

https://www.alpineclassic.com.au/public/index.php/1-day-rides/320km-ultimate
https://www.bicyclenetwork.com.au/peaks-challenge-falls-creek/the-route/


uphill and downhill.

i have the oltre xr (1) setup with race gear (standard crank set and 6.7 rim wheelset).

Not wanting to change this setup and rather get another bike primarily setup for days in the saddle climbing and descents - compact crankset, even 2.1 SES wheelset and light stiff frameset.



Splash

happycampyer
03-27-2016, 05:51 AM
The Bianchi Oltre is more than capable as a "climbing" bike--it was designed for Pro Tour racers and punters alike to ride up and down mountains. Although you didn't ask for it, the simple way to make your bike a climbing bike would be to change your crankset and wheels, and maybe your cassette, but that would be on the "climbing" wheels. Figure out what gearing you would likely need--would 34-29 be adequate?--and go from there. The 6.7s are not desirable as climbing wheels due to the weight and their high profile, which will catch crosswinds on descents. Switching to 3.4s or 2.2s would make sense, since you wouldn't have to switch brake pads or make major adjustments to your brakes. If you wanted to, you could raise your handlebars slightly by moving a spacer under your stem (if you have the room on your steerer) or by flipping your stem up if it's currently down.

But you've come to the right place if you want a complicated and expensive solution to a relatively simple problem. You could go for a lighter frame, allthough frankly the Oltre is plenty light. If you want a bike that is slightly more upright and has a slightly longer wheelbase, you could keep it in the Bianchi family and get an Infinito. Or a Cervelo R3, Colnago C60, another Oltre, etc.

Splash
03-27-2016, 06:30 AM
Thanks HappyCamper.

As mentioned in earlier post, I did not want to alter my existing race setup on the Oltre XR.

All I was wanting was a recommendation for another frameset to suit a climbing setup.

I was keen on a very stiff and lightweight frameset. Looked at the early Colnago Extreme Power frame sets but very hard to find :-(

I have another bianchi - 928, but not sure if this was a suitable lighter and stiff frameset for serious hill climbing?

Looking at a cheaper CAAD9 frameset and putting all the outlay components on it - Thoughts?


Splash

1centaur
03-27-2016, 06:57 AM
I don't think Extreme Power frames are that stiff or that light (I have one) compared to frames made in the last several years. If going back to older Colnagos I would pick the CX1 over the EP - lighter and stiffer. I also think Colnago's slack HT angle provides for more confident descending than steep angles; if I had to pick between a long wheelbase (which is tough to find in production bikes) or a slack HT I would take the latter (though in a custom I would take both).

Climb01742
03-27-2016, 07:20 AM
This is very unscientific but both times I did the Mt Washington hillclimb, the most popular frame I saw was a C'dale CAAD. No other frame was even close.

CAADs are light, stiff and cheap. In order, here is what I'd prioritize for a climbing bike:

1. Put a climbing-trained strong rider on it.
2. Put a climbing-trained strong skinny rider on it.
3. Put a climbing trained strong skinny rider on it with a power meter.
4. The right gears.
5. Light low profile alloy hoops.
6. A wind proof vest for descents.
7. See points 1 thru 3 again.

:beer:

kramnnim
03-27-2016, 07:46 AM
Any of the pro level, non aero frames would be excellent. Doesn't seem like cost is an issue but the Evo himods are among the cheaper of the sub 800g frames.

Splash
03-27-2016, 08:35 AM
Thanks

How does slack HT angle and longer wheelbase provide for more confidence for hill climbing and descents?

Which Caad was observed to be more popular at the mt Washington hill climb - caad9 or caad10?

Interesting point about wind proof vests during descents.

Looking into the evo frame sets - looks interesting.

How well would the enve ses 2.2 compare to light alloy hoops on ascents and descents from a braking, spin up and stiffness point of view?



Splash

kramnnim
03-27-2016, 08:52 AM
Carbon braking surface will always be worse.

ultraman6970
03-27-2016, 09:05 AM
For climbing bikes i would go aluminum derosa like a dual, planet or the original merak.

In carbon Hmm... all kuota can climb.

FlashUNC
03-27-2016, 09:09 AM
What happycampyer said. You have the bike already with a setup you like.

Just tweak some parts and you're good to go.

OtayBW
03-27-2016, 09:21 AM
Forest...trees...

sandyrs
03-27-2016, 09:31 AM
For climbing bikes i would go aluminum derosa like a dual, planet or the original merak.

In carbon Hmm... all kuota can climb.

The rider is the one who does the climbing. All the bike has to do is not fall apart under them.

I'm firmly on team "how hard is it to swap a crank, just use your Oltre" but here's another idea if you're not short on cash:

Another Oltre.

You don't want your bike you do 320km rides on to be less than as good as your "A" bike. If you love your Oltre why not score another one?

ultraman6970
03-27-2016, 10:01 AM
I do not climb the stairs, there is a reason I mentioned those derosas and kuotas :D

93legendti
03-27-2016, 10:18 AM
It's not the bike, it's the glutes

unterhausen
03-27-2016, 11:41 AM
It's not the bike, it's the glutesif it's not the glutes, it's really low gears. A couple of years ago, the super rando series I did featured a lot of long, steep hills. The 200k featured 4 miles of climbing, with the last half featuring some really steep parts which led to a lot of strong riders walked significant parts of it. I felt like a zombie for the next 10 miles after that climb. One the hills on the 300km ride is 2 miles at 19 percent grade. I emailed the organizer asking if he was going to do that again
He had ridden the 2mile, 19 percent grade hill with us and decided to take a different approach.

I'm still preparing a bike with mtb gears, because it just seems prudent given the tendency of organizers to design some really "epic" courses.

Nags&Ducs
03-27-2016, 12:41 PM
The rider is the one who does the climbing. All the bike has to do is not fall apart under them.

I'm firmly on team "how hard is it to swap a crank, just use your Oltre" but here's another idea if you're not short on cash:

Another Oltre.

You don't want your bike you do 320km rides on to be less than as good as your "A" bike. If you love your Oltre why not score another one?

How boring is that!?!?!? Same frame ha! 😎😆

Not a bad idea really, unless you are like most of us here in that we like to collect different bikes for different purposes, however slight those differences may be. 😉

bobswire
03-27-2016, 12:43 PM
Climbers Bike tools.

http://i67.tinypic.com/qoj2hz.jpg

Sprinters Bike tools.

http://i63.tinypic.com/2s8pw2h.jpg

1centaur
03-27-2016, 12:49 PM
HT angles and longer wheelbases for descents: Depends on the rider, but the opposite is viewed as quick handling and therefore suitable for situations where lots of quick handling is required. If you are doing lots of quick handling on a descent then something is going wrong with your technique. You are already moving fast on a descent, and when I go down hills I have found it far more relaxing to have slower steering, more stability and arguably the weight a little farther back. Relaxing is what I want on a descent, not nervous steering. But hey, pros descend on every geometry, so it's not like it's impossible.

ergott
03-27-2016, 01:00 PM
Colnago geometry is known for being very stable at high speed (some call it slow steering). If you are itching to get a different bike for mountainous ridings I can't think of a better choice. After that, get the gearing you need. Finally unless you are using tubulars, skip the carbon clinchers and get a light set of alloy wheels instead. Not hard at all the get alloy clinchers under 1500g.

happycampyer
03-27-2016, 02:20 PM
Maybe I should be a little clearer in what I meant (and what has been echoed in several responses after mine). Unless you are building a bike for a specific event like the Mt. Washington hill climb that MattTuck describes, you don't want a "climbing bike" so much as a bike that is geared etc. for long climbs and descents. Imo, this is less about the bike and more about the wheels, gearing and maybe--maybe--how you adjust your fit.

I personally prefer the slacker geometry of Colnagos, and my custom bikes have somewhat fortuitously shared that style geometry (I say fortuitously because I was unaware at the time of purchase of those bikes that their designers shared a similar design philosophy to Colnago).

I just don't like bikes with quick steering. I don't race crits and don't have a "crit" bike. So, if you get a C60 and put a compact crankset on it, a wider cassette and light wheels (and for now, lets assume the same fit as on your Oltre), if you're like me, you're going to say, "Wow, this Colnago is really nice! I even prefer it to the Oltre on shorter, punchier rides, with the 6.7s on it..."

Or maybe you're the polar opposite of me, and you say, "These guys are out of their minds! This Colnago steers like a wheelbarrow and I need to sell it when I get to the bottom of the hill..."

Eventually, 5, 10 bikes later, you figure out what you really like (geometry, fit, stiffness, etc.) and the next thing you are having Bob Parlee or Nick Crumpton (or Bob and Nick) build the perfect uber-light "climbing" bike(s) for you.

Peter B
03-27-2016, 02:32 PM
Legs and fitness will overcome any bike benefit. Once you have those (or perhaps as incentive to work on them) ring up Rob English (http://www.englishcycles.com/custombikes/custom-superlight-road-bike-v3/).

Splash
03-27-2016, 04:31 PM
Thanks guys,

Very much appreciate all of your input,

Interesting dilemma,

Granted, one can never be too fit and yes it is a given that fitness and form is the key. But, I am really mindful of safety and bike specifics for different applications. I once rode my oltre setup in an event coasting down a hill at around 85km/hr, surrounded ny other riders on a steep descent and wobbling so bad (without any crosswind) I had to brake and stop.

My oltre is a very fast twitchy bike with steep HT and shorter wheelbase, better setup for undulating terrain, with the 6.7 enve tubulars and 53/39 11/25 setup.

Yes, I have often thought of using same setup for the primary hill events, but I feel I would need to change out too much just for these events - crankset, rear cassette, front and rear derailurer, chain, wheels, brake pads and still be left with a fast twitchy frame set with a steep HT and shorter wheelbase. Then, change everything again back to previous setup after hill climb event. Perhaps this is normal and accepted?...

Or, do I just simply HTFU, get much fitter , grow those glutes and use the same setup without changing any thing?

Interesting to read the Colnago bikes are suited to climbing and descents, with relaxed HT and longer wheelbase. Researched the Cx1 then the M10s then the C59....

Splash

Joachim
03-27-2016, 04:32 PM
You need to put as much effort in dropping the kg's from you 90kg body weight as you do in finding a climbing bike. Body weight reduction for a super heavy climbing ride, will mean a lot more than trying to get your bike 2kg lighter. Combine both and it will be great. If you still rather stick with a higher body weight, get a Cannondale Evo hi-mod

Splash
03-27-2016, 04:48 PM
Thanks Joachim - totally agree,

I once got down to 80kg and know I can do it again fairly easily.

Those cannon dale hi mod egos look pretty good. What is it about those frame sets that make them ideal for hill climb days?


Splash

FlashUNC
03-27-2016, 05:02 PM
Yes, I have often thought of using same setup for the primary hill events, but I feel I would need to change out too much just for these events - crankset, rear cassette, front and rear derailurer, chain, wheels, brake pads and still be left with a fast twitchy frame set with a steep HT and shorter wheelbase. Then, change everything again back to previous setup after hill climb event. Perhaps this is normal and accepted?...



If you want to buy a new bike, just buy a new bike.

If you have an Oltre XR, I'm guessing you're components are fairly modern too. You shouldn't need to swap the FD if you go to a compact crank. If you're going to a 27 or 29 large cog in the rear, you shouldn't need to swap the RD. And if you're going from deep ENVEs to a more shallow ENVE, you shouldn't even need to swap pads. In fairness, you may need to change a chain.

It ain't the major surgery you're presenting. But we all justify our bike purchases in strange ways.

Splash
03-27-2016, 05:20 PM
Thanks Flash.

Yes, I went all out and bought the latest and greatest at the time...Campy EPS, SR Ti, enve ses 6.7 tubs, etc.

Perhaps I could get away with these change-outs on the same frameset if i don't need to change both derailurers...?

I may have to learn more about or to overcome and handle the inherent fast twitchiness of the bike.....


SPlash

FlashUNC
03-27-2016, 05:26 PM
Yeah, if you've got EPS, you're not swapping out derailleurs. Only one type exists for the electronic groups. But the front works with any crank type, and the rear accepts a pretty wide gear range.

Splash
03-27-2016, 05:40 PM
Thanks Flash.

What adjustments would need to be made to the EPS settings and derailurers if i changeout the crankset and rear cassettes?

Splash

FlashUNC
03-27-2016, 05:42 PM
You'll have to tweak the height of the FD and maybe do another adjustment of the whole system, but that should be it.

Lionel
03-27-2016, 05:44 PM
All of this is nonsense. Splash was right to get a whole new bike !

ergott
03-27-2016, 06:06 PM
Common drivetrain for lots of climbing is 50/34 front and 11-28 rear. Both would work with your existing parts after some adjustments.

Swapping 6.7s to 2.2s doesn't require any setup change.

Once you have the lower gearing I bet you will like it enough to to keep it on the bike all the time. I replaced my last standard crank with a compact and I'm not looking back.


Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

Splash
03-27-2016, 06:25 PM
yeah, its the tweaking of the EPS (after changes to crankset, rear cassette and chain) that makes me nervous...I have the manual but still not sure..how hard is it?

what about the inherent race frame setup on the bike frame itself - and it's twitchiness down steep descents - how to combat that?

Er gott - How well do you keep up with fast group rides on your compact?


Splash

PaMtbRider
03-27-2016, 06:26 PM
The Bianchi 928 that you already have is where you should spend your money. Put the proper gearing and some light weight alloy clinchers on it and climb away. I believe the 928 is an earlier version of the Infinito. It doesn't have the vibration cancelling countervail technology but has similar "endurance geometry" as the Infinito.

Splash
03-27-2016, 06:45 PM
The 928 is an interesting choice for this... It is the 2006 928 RC -
http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/latest-bikes/road-bike/bianchi/928-carbon/prd_366488_5668crx.aspx

Will consider..


Splash

Peter B
03-27-2016, 06:48 PM
yeah, its the tweaking of the EPS (after changes to crankset, rear cassette and chain) that makes me nervous...I have the manual but still not sure..how hard is it?

what about the inherent race frame setup on the bike frame itself - and it's twitchiness down steep descents - how to combat that?

Er gott - How well do you keep up with fast group rides on your compact?


Splash

50-11 is 120 GI
53-11 is 127 GI
At that point you're already in full tuck descent anyway and nipping at 45-50 mph. For all points in between its just ratios and they'll match.

Splash
03-27-2016, 06:50 PM
thanks Pete.

What is 'GI'?

Splash

Peter B
03-27-2016, 06:56 PM
From Wikipedia: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gear_inches)

Gear inches is one of several relative measures of bicycle gearing, giving an indication of the mechanical advantage of different gears. Values for 'gear inches' typically range from 20 (very low gearing) via 70 (medium gearing) to 125 (very high gearing); as in a car, low gearing is for going up hills and high gearing is for going fast.

'Gear inches' is actually the diameter in inches of the drive wheel of a penny-farthing bicycle with equivalent gearing.

And an online calculator, courtesy of the master of all things bicycle related (http://sheldonbrown.com/gear-calc.html).

cadence90
03-27-2016, 06:57 PM
Thanks Flash.

Yes, I went all out and bought the latest and greatest at the time...Campy EPS, SR Ti, enve ses 6.7 tubs, etc.

Perhaps I could get away with these change-outs on the same frameset if i don't need to change both derailurers...?

I may have to learn more about or to overcome and handle the inherent fast twitchiness of the bike.....


SPlash

Time to simplify, again, as has been stated in your Guru post and here already several times.

Physical component upgrades applicable to making a road frame more a "climber":
1) Compact crankset (50/34; 50/35; 52/36...this is COMPLETELY dependent on your preference) with the appropriate FD/RD.
It sounds like with your EPS, all you need is the crankset itself, nothing else. As ergott just wrote, you probably will end up using just the one frame/crankset, especially given #2.

2) If you want a wheelset suited for more extensive climbing, you have 2 options:
a) sell your current wheelset, and buy a lighter wheelset with an appropriate cassette.
b) keep your current wheelset for flats, training, etc., and buy...a lighter wheelset with an appropriate cassette.

That's really it, as far as component changes go. Anything else is piddly.

Mental component upgrades:
Nobody here or anywhere can tell you what frameset to buy. A bunch of people have already commented on this. What some like, others hate, re: all those subjective issues such as comfort, handling, responsiveness, etc.

There is no perfect "climbing" frameset for everyone. Only you can determine that, by actually riding different frames. If you really start to believe in manufacturer PR, online literature, etc., you're in the wrong rabbit hole.

The only person in the universe who can tell Splash if another frame is a better climber/descender/handler/etc. than his Oltre is...Splash hisownself.

That is simply the reality.

EDIT: Nevermind, Pete already answered the GI question in a very clear manner.

Splash
03-27-2016, 07:08 PM
Great stuff guys!

You are all very patient with me and it is a great learning environment!


Splash

ergott
03-27-2016, 08:08 PM
Er gott - How well do you keep up with fast group rides on your compact?


Splash

I'm on the sharp end of things or off the front when I want to. The gears are tall enough. Just a matter of #shutuplegs

Heck, I bring my 27lb disc bike with dyno front hub on the group ride when I really want to get a good workout.

:beer: