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I have an MTB which I bought about 9 or 10 years ago (was worth about £160 when  new- so it's pretty crap compared to what the rest of you got)
Its 14.5kg ''light'', I have recently upgraded tyres to low rolling resistance schwalbe hurricanes and it made a really good difference as to how fast I can get it to roll+ I managed to shed 550grams just from upgrading the tyres  4

I still like the bike very much ,it's the perfect fit for me and all that,or I just haven't tried anything else in my life so I don't know what a better bike feels   21  But when there are some incline, I just feel dead after a 1-2 minutes climbing one and have to do it standing up,sitting=no chance even on the lowest gear. + I sweat like crazy from climbing.

Now I'm just wondering if it's my shit form/experience/stamina ( I'm 1.86m/ 77kg and fairly active so I can't really complain about anything)
Or it's just easier to do it with a better bike?
Or it's the exactly same heavy work whatever bike you have?

Those who have tried/have more than 1 type of bike what's the actual difference between each of these types of bikes when it comes to climbing up an incline?

-Crap cheapo 15kg mtb like mine
-Expensive 10kg Mtb
-Decent sub £1k 10kg Road/CX bike with good gears?

How would you describe the difference in feel/hard work between those 3 types of bikes?

16 comments

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peted76 [1078 posts] 7 months ago
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The difference in how it feels to ride a mtb with big knobbly tyres up a steep hill and a road bike is 'muchly'.

However it's quite possible that that's mainly because you're in a 'different position' on each.. wide arms upright position on a mtb, narrower arms lower position on a road bike. 

 

Either way, at the top you'll still be chewing your handlebars either way, becuase.. well this fella summed it up.. “It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond.

 

Borrow a bike offa someone and have a go, or nip to a shop for a test ride to find out for yourself.

 

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Argos74 [481 posts] 7 months ago
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The difference between my late 80s steel MTBeast and 9kg flat bar road bike is... not that much apart from speed. And even then it's marginal. Some days I'm flying up cliffs on the beast, some days crawling up mild inclines on the skinny bike. As personal preference, I prefer flat bars as aero doesn't matter on hills, and I breathe better with my arms out. Dasjusmedoe. YMMV. As peted76 says above, try a different bike and see how it feels.

My general advice on hills is do lots of them. Settle into a steady cadence, and step up the gears if you find yourself spinning out. The more you do, the greater your tolerance for pain, and the harder you can hit them.

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Johnnyvee [151 posts] 7 months ago
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I have a fairly heavy mtb and a just over 10kg gravel/Road bike. They both go up hills pretty easily depending on terrain, tyres, gearing etc. 

Most of the difference is down to the motor - ie you.

I've worked hard to get better than I was and it transfers easily between the bikes. Best bit if advice is take it easy and try not to kill yourself - pacing seems to be key as does spinning in easier gears.  Both will improve the ride.

Differences are mtb is comfier and slower - big tyres, wide open arms and slack geometry. Road bike pretty nimble but you're set up to ride that quicker anyway.

Being active and fit are also a little different to cycling specific fitness.  If you went out three times a week and built up the distance a bit each week you'd soon notice a difference. 

Just my view - I am sure many will disagree.

 

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VeloUSA [250 posts] 7 months ago
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BehindTheBikesheds [1863 posts] 7 months ago
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peted76 wrote:

The difference in how it feels to ride a mtb with big knobbly tyres up a steep hill and a road bike is 'muchly'.

However it's quite possible that that's mainly because you're in a 'different position' on each.. wide arms upright position on a mtb, narrower arms lower position on a road bike. 

 

Either way, at the top you'll still be chewing your handlebars either way, becuase.. well this fella summed it up.. “It never gets easier, you just get faster” – Greg LeMond.

 

Borrow a bike offa someone and have a go, or nip to a shop for a test ride to find out for yourself.

 

Going up the hills the OP mentions this arm position makes next to bugger all difference.

 

To the OP, you replaced with semi-slick type tyres, however with all due respect unless you're wanting to go off road as well then you'd be better off with full on slick MTB tyres, something narrow like a 559-28 (Continental make these and Schwalbe)

However you're spending a lot of money to make a difference on what is ultimately a lower end bike.

You have to weigh up what it is you ultimately want to do, have a road bike and spend a couple of hundred quid on a good used rig which will be easier to get up the hills on road or lighten up the MTB you have which will cost more and still not get down to even 12kg spending several hundred pounds.

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Canyon48 [930 posts] 7 months ago
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As a great man once said, "it never gets easier, you just go faster"!

That said, I find my lightweight road bike climbs uphill faster than my winter bike for the same effort.

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CygnusX1 [801 posts] 7 months ago
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Previous comments have covered the general differences .

Can you lock out your suspension, and if so have you done so? A lot of the energy you expend climbing is soaked up by the suspension.

Look for a dial on the top of the forks, if you have a full suspension, the rear suspension should have something similar.

You could also shed weight and permanently ' lock out' the forks by swapping to a rigid fork set.

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kevvjj [383 posts] 7 months ago
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You haven't said what your gearing is... I would hazard a guess that a 10 year old bike worth £160 probably doesn't have particualrly low gearing. A 22 front with a 34 rear will get you up most stuff but you will notice the heft of a 14.5kg bike comapred to a 11 kg MTB...  

I have three bikes, a lightweight roadie, a mid-weight gravel bike (cyclo cross tyres) and a 11.5kg MTB hardtail. On a 'road' climb, without fail the roadie does the best times, followed by the gravel bike and then the MTB. 

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alansmurphy [1803 posts] 7 months ago
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That bike price bracket of that age you'll probably find only a mother could love.

 

If what you want to ride isn't due to change too much and you don't go off road much then I'd consider a hybrid. I moved from commuter to lycra lout with a Boardman Comp hybrid at around the £400 mark. You feel as 'natural' as on your mtb but the speed is close to a racing bike, certainly uphill where i still can't beat some of my Strava times when now using nearly £2k worth of road bike...

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Yorkshie Whippet [637 posts] 7 months ago
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I hate to say this, it possibly is not the bike but you.

Like others I'm guesing you have a 22/32/42 chainset coupled with with a 32-11 cassette. using the 22 will give you much lower gearing than a road bike, 34 at the front and 28 possibly 32 at the back.

Put it this way, my silly light road bikes with 34/28 gearing will comfortably get me up 10% for a few miles or allow me to grunt up 25% for short periods of time.However the 32/46 on full sus allows me to be comfortable on climb 25% any steeper as GPS stops registering as I'm that slow. Yet on flat I'm limited to 18-20mph on mtb.

The weight loss might help but possibly not enough. You plus bike=102kg, lighter bike may get overall weight under 100kg. 

Also look at your riding style, as mtbs are geared more towards climbing you maybe working at or near 100% on the flat,arriving at the climb and not having anything in reserve. Try slowing down on the flat and see if it makes a difference on the climb.

Finally look at your clothing. Riding steep or long hills is going to make you work hard and sweat hard. It sounds like you are possibly over heating rather than struggling, consider fewer layers, breathable stuff or even simply unzipping.

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kil0ran [851 posts] 7 months ago
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The easiest gear on any road bike is likely to be much harder than the easiest gear on your MTB. However, road bikes tend to be more efficient position-wise as you usually climb whilst seated and you're not lobbing the bike from side to side. Saddle height makes a huge difference to power output and I'm guessing your MTB will have it lower overall than you would on a road bike.

It might be that you're built to put out power rather than to spin like crazy. Whilst I've got a 1:1 (well, 34:34) gear combo I find that I don't use it that much, the sweet spot for me is around 34:30 - lower cadence, higher power requirement. I also know I can bail quickly to 34:34 if I have to which gives me more confidence to stick with a longer climb. 

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Simon E [3297 posts] 7 months ago
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"But when there are some incline, I just feel dead after a 1-2 minutes climbing one"

It sounds to me like you're going into the red and can't sustain that level of effort for long. Do you have access to a HRM? Even if you're healthy and not overweight, if you aren't accustomed to doing that kind of sustained effort on an incline it will be really tough going.

A lighter bike will always feel considerably nicer to ride, especially uphill, even if in reality it doesn't get you up a climb much quicker (2 secs quicker per kilo lost for every 100m of vertical ascent). An e-bike is the only way it will feel easy.

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Absoluteblack [2 posts] 6 months ago
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In our opinion FWIW, road bikes  - in their popular classic form are well overgeared for most average riders. Specced to reflect the gearing choices of Elite level riders who train 24/7/365 to spin big gears up hill. Even without Salbutamol.

For most riders, its just a constant battle to find a gear that can be pedalled with any sort of grace or panache up the sort of steep 'straight up' hills we have here in the UK. 

It's why compact and super-compact cranksets have become popular, along with longer cage rear derailleurs which allow a wider ratio rear cassette to be employed. All of which gives average riders a chance to adapt their bikes to reflect 'normal' physical ability. All good we say.

The bike industry is catching on and more road bikes are getting options for lower overall gearing. The growth in popularity of Cross/Gravel/Adventure style bikes with more mountan bike style gear patterns is helping riders climb hills with more ease too. This style of 'RoadTB' gearing is, we hope going to encourage more riders to ride more. 

We of course, believe that oval rings help climbing too. Aiding traction on steep and loose climbs and helping to smooth the typically choppy pedalling style that time pressed mortal riders often have. 

Whatever you ride, make sure you do actually ride it! 

AB

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PRSboy [221 posts] 6 months ago
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Hopping from my MTB to my road bike the other day, the real difference for me was actually on the flat at speed... 32kmh on the road bike is easy, but is a big effort on the MTB.

Chances are your MTB will have lower gears, so you will spin faster.  On the road bike you will likely spin slower, so yes its lighter but it might feel harder work, albeit faster overall.

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CXR94Di2 [2078 posts] 6 months ago
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Always climb within your own comfort zone/ hr.  If you go beyond this, you will blow up, suffer until you have stopped and recovered.  Weight is key overall, or lack of it.  I raced last night and though Ive improved immensely I was no match for the lighter body weight riders over Watopia mountain.  I did catch a few on the way down and destroyed them on the flats.  But time lost on climbs is never the same time gained on the flats.

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SingleSpeed [429 posts] 6 months ago
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It's all realtive and like everyone has said before  'it's never easier just faster' all that said I do make a point of chasing down every group of roadies always giving them a jovial Good Morning chat as I overtake them on hills 34/18 MTB. 

In some respects the SS MTB is easier to climb on than the SS Road bikes because the wider bar gives you much more force you can exert through the pedals...but nothing really climbs like the Zero 7 with gears and plastic wheels that thing virtually accelerates up the hills!