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I was taking it easy this weekend after the 200km Grand Slam last week and thought I would try something different. Someone had suggested riding up Norton Summit in the big ring only, so I tried it this morning.
To my surprise, I was only a tad slower than normal taking 22mins and was fresh as a daisy at the top.
Never got out of breath once and was flying past No 169.
Anyone else tried this?
From physics perspective: Yes there is more leverage. But any advantage, gets used up, by what cog you select at the back. Output of work is the same.
As shown by the article, if you pick combinations based on the large cog instead of small - it makes little difference.
Agreed, I've never got the whole climbing in the big gear thing.. Climb in the hardest ratio you like, which ring you're on to make that ratio is irrelevant... "Big ring" sounds tough though ;)
I decided to do it on the Norton's virgins ride and found a similar result to yourself David.
No, not even tempted.
Actually the real issue was about why everyone seems to change to the small ring as they turn the corner to start the ascent. You can hear everyone clicking down.
It's not that steep, so it can be done without having to spin like mad all the way up.
Another issue is why some riders seem to think you have to always ride the big ring on the flat.. You've got 20-odd gear combinations, pick whichever one is most comfortable for the wind/terrain/speed etc... If you'd like your chain etc to last a while it's probably better not to have it crossed up all the time, so riding on the small chain ring with a smaller cog on the back may be better than big chain ring and big cog on the back....
A cadence of 80-90 rpm is ideal in terms of converting your body's power output to torque at the back wheel. Less and you're straining your legs/knees, more and you're going to push your heartrate up for no gain.
Think of a car, you wouldn't try Nortons in 5th or 1st
How you select your gear to suit this cadence is up to you, but as JDL says, look at your chain when u have a 52/25 combination selected (or whatever your largest to largest combo). There will be a distinct bend in it and now you are pushing directly against the sidewalls of the links and twisting the rollers, instead of the rollers being parallel as designed. Do this too often & your chain wear is gonna cost you.
Impressed at 5 repeats up - 1 trip a week is my limit.
And, your experience confirms , in terms of work output - large ring or small ring, produce the same. Provided you choose a suitable back cog, and can cycle comfortably.