Uphill riding is cycling up steep hills or high places. It is different from flat or commuter riding. So, the rider has to adopt a different strategy during uphill riding. This different technique starts from gear shifting. Because using the right gear can give you the joy of hilly track, and mountain biking. To know which gear will make your uphill riding fun and comfortable, you have to go to the end of my article.
What Is Uphill Biking?
Uphill biking means cycling towards the Uphill. That means it is cycling from the plain to the mountain or a high place and has to ride against gravity. So, at this time, a rider must exert much power. Also, reaching the final destination requires paddling with determination.
What Is Gear Ratio?
Gear is a tricky part of uphill riding. Choosing the right gear makes your riding much easier and less strenuous. But new bikers are often confused about gear selection which is normal. Though beginners to pros need to have a good understanding of the gear to stay safe while riding higher.
- The number of gears of a bike is known by multiplying the number of cogs and chainring.
For example, a bike has three chainrings and seven cogs, so the bike has a total of 27 gears.
Now coming to the main point, the gear ratio of a bike depends on the ratio of teeth of cog and chainring. And, the gear ratio is obtained by dividing the number of teeth of the chainring by the number of teeth of the cog. For example, a bike chainring has 50 teeth, and a cog has 25 teeth. Then the gear ratio of that bike is 2. Once the paddle is pressed, the wheel turns two times.
Which Is Better: High Or Low Gear For Uphill Biking?
Undoubtedly, low gear is better for uphill biking as it provides more power while cycling, and higher gear helps fast riding.
When you are riding uphill, you have to face many obstacles and paddle hard. Riding uphill like this for a long time makes a rider tired quickly. So, s/he should use easy gear to make her/his riding tireless and comfortable. In this respect, the most accessible gear on a bicycle is low gear.
Benefits Of Low Gear:
- The lower gear has a small chainring in the front cassette and the biggest cog in the rear cassette.
- Lower gear helps to paddle easily. This means that even if you paddle for a long time, you won’t waste much energy, and you won’t get tired.
Therefore, lower gear is better for uphill riding. In this strategy, bikers can do uphill riding tirelessly and spend less energy.
Preferable Low Gear Ratio For Uphill Biking
As we already know that low gear is best for uphill riding. Here, low gear means small chainring and big cog.
The chainring has fewer teeth, and the cog has more teeth.
- 43/13, 49/16, 48/16, 46/16, and 48/17 are suitable for riding on flat roads and slightly higher areas, and these are popular too.
But for riding in relatively higher areas, more low gear is required.
- 50/34, 40/34, 36/34, 34/32, 34/30, and 32/20 gear combinations are best for going uphill.
By using low gear, bikers consume less energy and can ride without fatigue. Though it is difficult to say precisely which is the best gear for you because gear varies from person to person based on physical ability, mindset, and stamina.
Suitable High Gear Ratio For Uphill Biking
In uphill riding, one has to ride with determination. So, most riders choose low gear. And it is wise not to use higher gear while riding uphill without any extreme necessity.
But if the speed is not as expected in low gear, then you can use a higher gear.
- High gear means big chainring and small cog on a bike. By tightening the high gear chain, the speed of riding increases even though the biker exerts extra effort to paddle it.
And, gear selection varies based on rider ability as different cyclists feel comfortable in different gear ratios. But 48/17 is a good high gear ratio for uphill riding.
So, What Is The Best Low Gear Ratio For Uphill Biking?
When it comes to uphill riding, low gear comes into the main discussion. Without this one, the other is incomplete, immobile, unimaginable!
Low gear means small chainring and big cog on the bike, which indicates a small ratio—the smaller the ratio, the lower the gear.
- When the number of teeth of cog and chainring is equal, like 34/32, then it is 1 gear.
- 1st gear is the lowest, 2nd gear is slightly higher than 1st. Thus, gear continues to increase.
In uphill biking, riders have to work extra hard because they have to ride against gravity. As low gear makes paddling easy, reducing this discomfort for riders, various types of low gear can be used based on the height of the hill and the distance of the journey.
- If the altitude is high, the gear will be low.
- And if the altitude is low, the gear will be increased.
Moreover, the most convenient and popular gear ratio is 34/32, which means the 34/32 gear ratio is a good or the best low gear for uphill biking.
The Bottom Line
Uphill riding requires keeping your limbs active and fatigue-free to ride against gravity for long periods. So, cyclists should use low gear so that they can paddle easily in low gear, and don’t need to provide extra effort.
There are low gear combinations of different ratios. And, a rider can use any low gear according to his needs, preferences, distances, and physical strength. Nevertheless, if the biker feels s/he is not getting good or necessary speed in low gear, s/he can increase the gear and ride in high gear.