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Re: Right bike for hills!?

10 October, 2016 12:43PM
If you are wanting to use a pannier, then you will probably need a bike with a rear carrier (alternatively low-rider mounts on the front wheel). Touring bikes usually have suitable mounting points, and are available with both straight and dropped handlebars - look at the Dawes range.

What gears you need depends very much on your strength and level of fitness (Tour de France riders manage with only 2 chain rings, but they are extremely fit and strong). A fit lady of my acquaintance bought a new bike last year: despite advice she only got two chain rings, but after walking up a few hills quickly had it changed to three chain rings.

Theoretically you could get a good range of gears with only two chain rings, but they would have a massive difference in size and changing gears would be complicated because you would need to shift front and back nearly simultaneously. The use of three chain rings can give a good range of gears and standard configurations don't usually involve any complicated gear changing. See the Wikipedia article 'Bicycle gearing' for a little more theory.

One thing I have noticed is that many people have chain rings which are too big for their strength. For example the chain ring sizes 28-38-48 often results in a very high top gear which many people aren't strong enough to use. My advice is to have gears where the second to top gear is something you can just use on a flat road without any wind (the top gear is for going fast down hills, or on the flat with the wind behind you), while the bottom gear is one which will easily get you up the steepest hill you regularly encounter. You are going to have to experiment a bit to find a gear combination which is suitable for you; hopefully a good bike shop will let you try out a few options.

I'm quite happy to discuss various options in more detail if you wish, but you do need to experiment a bit to get some idea of your strength.

Another (quite expensive) option is to consider a hub gear with 11 or 14 speeds - the latter has the same range of gears as a typical hybrid bike with 24 speeds. Such hub gears are simpler to use than derailleurs, and don't wear out as quickly (with a 9-speed chain, due to wear, I generally need to change the chain about every 1000 miles).

- Murray
Subject Author Posted

Right bike for hills!?

lily4242 27 September, 2016 01:48PM

Re: Right bike for hills!?

Murray R Langton 10 October, 2016 12:43PM

Re: Right bike for hills!?

Angela 23 December, 2016 01:31PM


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