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For example, is this a good climbing bike?

Can I have your general thoughts about the bike geometry? I know it is an aero frame but do you think it would be also good for climbing?

enter image description here

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  • 27
    What makes a bike good or bad for climbing? The cyclist in the saddle. Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 22:09
  • 4
    @Andrew - or a E-Bike :)
    – mattnz
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 7:36
  • 3
    @mattnz For a suitably small hill! Wouldn't be my choice for Alpine touring. Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 17:22
  • I expected this question to be about full-suspencion XC bikes.
    – NikoNyrh
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 16:33

4 Answers 4

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This is not an especially aero bike, although it does have some aero-looking feature (which does not mean it was in fact aerodynamically optimized). There's also nothing about it that makes it inappropriate for climbing.

At the very high end of the bike business, many bike companies offer aero bikes and climbing bikes, the climbing bikes being lighter. But the UCI imposes a lower limit on weight (6.8 kg), and some companies are able to make aero-ish bikes that are right against that limit, so they have consolidated on a single high-end road model.

But even when climbing, an aero bike can confer more advantage than a light bike, so offering a "climbing bike" may be more about catering to rider perceptions than reality. Even a fairly big added weight won't slow you down that much on a climb.

Furthermore, very few of us are riding at such a high level that we can really take advantage of the weight savings of a "climbing bike"—or have pared away all the excess weight from our bodies.

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  • 1
    A 65kg cyclist going from a 9kg bike to a 5kg bike will be ~6.7% faster on pure uphill sections. That’s definitely noticeable. Losing 7% body mass (without reducing your power output) or increasing your power output by 7% (without gaining mass) can be very hard or impossible.
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 8:36
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    Ooops, that should have been 5.4%. But still, noticeable, especially for lighter riders. (which also makes the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum bike weight kind of unfair for lighter riders, especially women)
    – Michael
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 9:33
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    The point of the first link is that pure uphill sections do not exist.
    – ojs
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 11:58
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    @Michael those numbers look off. Did you just look at the total work done to overcome gravity, ignoring aerodynamics drag and rolling resistance? Also note that a 9kg to 5kg drop in bike weight would be extreme. Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 16:14
  • From anecdotal experience, high flex/torsion stiffness is a benefit for the toughest climbs.
    – Stian
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 12:13
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The gearing looks to be a compact or subcompact chainring, and the rear cassette looks about a 28~30 tooth large. So its perfectly good gear config for climbing.

Riding up hills fast is all about weight, power and distribution of that weight. However, being a bit heavier means it takes a bit longer, you can still ride up hills. A 5/10/15 kg bike takes about 21.48 / 21.60 / 21.72 minutes to climb 330 metres over 10 km at 150W, for a total difference of 15 seconds according to http://bikecalculator.com/

Any bike beats no-bike.

Personally, geometry comes into it for me - a long seat post means steep hills are quite "front-lifty" so a well-sized frame helps.

As long as you find the bike comfortable, then it's a good bike for you. Climb hills when you have to or want to.

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  • a long seat post means steep hills are quite "front-lifty" Indeed, And short chain stays make it worse. I have a Ridley Fenix I've set up with more of an upright/touring fit. It has a taller head tube than I'd want on a racing bike so it's great for that, but it's a pure racing frame with little trail and a short wheelbase - riding "no hands" is not safe on this bike. There's a hill I've done repeats on that hits 17%, and that bike feels like it's going to fall over backwards on the steep parts. This bike doesn't look to have short chainstays - it looks like it has a slack seat tube, too. Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 22:17
  • That bike calculator website uses some funny math. Perhaps I’m wrong, but using the simple W = mgΔh formula and P = E/t, I get a time of 216 seconds to carry 10kg up 330m with a power of 150W. That would imply a 216s difference between the 5kg and 15kg bikes…the estimate of 15s given is an order of magnitude off.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 22:44
  • @MaplePanda yeah that doesn't seem right. I used a 100 kg rider and a 5/10/15 kg bike, and 150W over a 330 metre climb over 10 km horizontally, leaving all the other options as default. So its 105/110/1115 kg total,.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 1:07
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    @AndrewHenle getting off subject here - but I have twice tried a "long" bike. First effort was an old ebike, criggie.org.nz/pictures/bikes/longdog2.jpg and second was simply riding a tandem solo. Both climbed surprisingly well, but being hacks they were heavy in their own right. A good light roadbike with extra long stays would be an excellent climber but be "unresponsive" in turns so not a racer.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 1:12
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The saddle looks quite low for the size of the bike. Check if the saddle is really at the right height for the rider.

Rather short seat stays and a high bar position will shift the centre of mass aft. This could give quite some trouble climbing steep sections from the saddle. You spot this immediately when it feels almost as if your front tyre is lifting of the tarmac when pushing hard.

If neither is an issue, then your bike looks perfectly fine for climbing.

After most climbs there's a descend. Check brakes, quick releases, and your headset bearings before enjoying the speed down.

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Edit: This answer the original question "What do you think of this bike". The question has been changed since then.

It looks like it's wrong size for its owner. The saddle is a bit low and tilted forward and the handlebars are too high. Personally I don't like that style of "ergo" bars because they don't allow me to reach forward when leaning down on drops. I'm not sure why the "aero" tubes would make it worse for climbing, but tilting the whole bike backwards doesn't really help with the handlebar position.

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  • If you're going up a climb though, wouldn't you want a more upright position? Say you're going 7mph up an 10% incline. Self-induced wind resistance will be negligible, so it seems like it would be more important to be able to breath better than to be tucked down out of the wind. Note that I'm probably wrong here, but it just seems counterintuitive that you would want to be tucked down for a hill climb, so it would be interesting to hear the reasoning behind this.
    – kloddant
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 21:50
  • @kloddant First, read the parts about unintentional wheelies in other answers. Second, pure uphill rides do not exist so it would be nice to have a bike that is suitable for descending, headwinds and sprinting on the flats too.
    – ojs
    Commented Feb 1, 2022 at 22:39

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