Riding Uphill

I just put a 24 x 2.6 knobby on my Torker DX. I had been riding trails with the stock tire that came on the old DX which was 2.3 and relatively slick. The trail near my house is about 4 miles of rolling terrain with some steep technical stuff. My first MUNI ride was today with the new tire and it was sweet on the downhill, but it was a beast trying to ride any uphill. Do I just need to get more fit, or is this just the trade off for better downhill? The uphills I am talking about are ones that I used to be able to get up without hopping. How much uphill are y’all able to ride when you ride trails. Obviously skill is a huge part of it, just wasn’t sure if it is realistic to expect to ride uphill. thanks!


Might wanna try longer cranks if you currently have shorter ones, makes uphill easier (from what I’ve heard…and I also may have that backwards, if so, someone please correct me).

Absolutely true. Longer cranks equals more (MUCH MORE) leverage, for climbing and more control on steep descents. Even 15mm increase may make a huge difference. The down side is that your legs must work in a bigger circle so on the flats you don’t go quite as fast.

some people climb well with short cranks.
Some people climb with big wheels.
A Coker (with 170s) got a faster time on a steep 1/2 mile climb than a Muni with 170s (same rider) Guys like Aspen Mike can climb with whatever. One dude crossed the US on a Sun 24" I believe.

The point is that if you practice climbing, you will become a strong enough climber.

Practice doing rolling hops going up hill, (that will overwork it)
Practice climbing standing up
Practice climbing while staying seated
Practice climbing slow
Practice climbing as fast as possible

All that will make you a good climber on your current equipment.

Re: Riding Uphill

Is your new tyre heavier than the old one? That may explain the
difficulty in climbing even though it may help downhill due to the
increased grip.

For getting better at climbing in general, I will repeat what others
said: ‘practice’.

Also realise that you should lean into the hill when climbing, as
explained at http://www.xs4all.nl/~klaasbil/lean_uni.htm

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

“I’m slowly but surely stealing Wales and bringing it back to my house on the wheel, frame and cranks of my muni. - phil”

climbing uphill has always been a nightmare for me: I usually get washed out before the top of the hill.
so I started to train and to think about what was going wrong: a lot of things but the most important one was I was not sufficiently seated: I almost always stand up on my pedal.
So I started to try not to push heavily on my pedals (which is confusing since you try to go uphill) and things are getting better.
Last week I even succeeded in keeping up with a mountain bike (with my 20"!).
“I think I can… I think I can … I ought to reach the top!” Wooo Woooo!

Of course, the more you practice the stronger and more skilled you become. However, mashing (pushing hard each pedal stroke) vs. spinning can make a big difference, and the longer the climb, the more this matters.

You can climb a hill on a bike in any gear you want, but the lower gears make it easier and more efficient. You can climb on a uni with any length cranks you want, but longer cranks are like a lower gear, and make steep climbing easier and more efficient.

AspenMike and Ben Plotkin-Swing climbed Mt. Washington last summer with 29ers and 165mm cranks. I climbed Whiteface in 2005 with a 29er and 150mm cranks, then did the same race with 165s this summer. The difference between mashing each stroke of the 150s and spinning the 165s was huge and I took over 30 minutes off my time. Admittedly, some of my time savings was due to being a better rider one year later, but the longer cranks made it a breeze (relatively). My 2 cents.

You switched from a narrower, less knobby tire and the same uphill became harder? Did the tire used slip due to loss of traction? Is the surface soft and therefore the thicker tire sank in less distributing frictional forces differently? Maybe the fat, knobby tire is harder to turn going uphill. What you describe is a condition caused by a change in tire only. Klaas’ tire weight explanation is the only one that addresses that parameter so far. Have you considered switching back to see if you regain your previous level of skill? Perhaps the slick tire tread is advantageous in your particular riding terrain.


thanks for all of the suggestions. I am not sure what length cranks are on the DX. I will have to look that up. I feel like what is slowing me down is simply the extra weight/drag of the heavier more knobby tire. (more rolling resistance). I am hoping that with more practice, will come better skill, and more fitness. I guess it is like the difference in riding a XC mountain bike and a freeride bike. I just hope with more time I will be able to ride the same hills that I could with the older tire.

I know the purists will criticize, but I have recently discovered that the addition of an extra wheel, six speed gearbox and an 800cc motor really helps with the hills. :sunglasses:

Burn the witch! :smiley:

The trails I ride in are along a ski hill, and there are lots of uphills. I notice i have trouble with them if I don’t ride them for a few weeks. But when I ride them atleast once a week, then most of the hills are fairly easy. Mind ya, I think my cranks are 175mm, so I can really torque it up.

To make uphills easier on a fat tire, try putting a bit more air in the tire. Low pressure is great for rocky downhills but will suck up a lot of energy from your legs on the uphills. This obviously works better if the trail is a long uphill followed by a long downhill, because then you can just let some air out at the top, but if you can find a higher pressure that is still rideable on the downhills it should help.

When I got my muni, I couldn’t ride it uphill without putting in something like 45PSI… Which made uphill awesome (on asphalt at least) but really screwed up my muni riding… Just get used to it, I couldn’t ride it uphill at first, now I don’t even think about it, except when people tell me I ned more air in my tire :wink:


I appreciate your advice. Thats what I have come to realize. I just need to get out and ride more and it will get easier and easier as I get better, stronger, and more used to the extra “drag” of the bigger tire, and yes…it is sweet for the downhills! Thanks again!