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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just started commuting to work from a new apartment. Unfortunately, the first five minutes of the trip are a pretty brutal hill that ideally wouldn't leave me so sweaty. Right now, I'm riding a single-speed Schwinn Cutter, a bike which is not only too big for me (in seat tube length, not necessarily in top tube length) and is also something like 25lbs or maybe more when you include my lock. I'm looking at replacing it with a Wabi Classic, which weighs in at an amazing 19lbs and will no doubt fit better. My question: can I expect this bike to make the hill any easier? Of course, I know that getting stronger will make the hill easier, but I need all the help I can get!

http://www.wabicycles.com/classic_bike_spec_sapphire10.html

Any responses would be greatly appreciated,
Robert
 

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Walk up the hill with a back pack that weighs 25lbs. Then walk up it with one that weighs 19lbs. Will you notice the difference? Sure. Will you suddenly rocket up the hill like =insert pro cyclist here==? No.

The larger a percentage of your total weight the bike accounts for, the more you'll notice the weight drop. i.e. if you weigh 300lbs, you're not going to feel a damn thing with a 6lb lighter bike. If, on the other hand, you weigh 135lbs like me, then you'll notice it a lot more.
 

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Yo no fui.
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Try upgrading the bike's motor.
 

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Bike weight is not the issue. If you have a "pretty brutal" 5-minute climb on your commute route, and you don't want to sweat, you need some low gears. A SS or fixie is not the right tool. Switching to another single-speed bike that's a few pounds lighter will not help significantly.

I'm not disparaging fixed or SS riding. I commute on a fixed-gear almost every day. But my route is pretty flat -- and I like to sweat (I have a place to shower and change when I get to work).

Something has to be compromised here.

A better-fitting bike is always nicer, of course.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the responses so far. I realize that the question seems like a bit of a dumb one, and that bike weight won't help nearly as much as a change in gear ratio in getting up this beast. But the hill isn't horrific; its just bad enough to where the difference made by a better fitting, lighter bike might be enough. I'm in really good shape because of doing this climb and I guess I just need to figure out if a better fitting single speed will make this tolerable enough or if I'll have to break down and get some gears. Anyway, keep the opinions coming. (And let me know if anyone has ridden the Wabi Classic...)
 

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old school drop out
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As others said, 5 pounds will make some difference, but not that much. To climb the hill you need to get your bike, you, and whatever you are carrying up the hill. For me that would add to about 200 pounds. If I lost 5 pounds off o f the bike, I now need to get 195 pounds up the hill. Yes that is easier, but still not easy.

A gearing change will help a lot more.

If you want to see how much easier/harder it is, carry a 5 pound backpack with you the next time you climb it. See how much of a difference you notice.
 

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+1 on what everyone else said.

The single / fixed thing is cool, sure, but it means out of the saddle, hard, and, yes, sweaty, commuting.

I find riding with a bag amplifies these effects.

Yeah, 6 pounds is nice, but will be noticed mostly with a stopwatch, if the geometry of the bike is similar.

When I go from my 26-pound commute rig to my 16-pound race bike, I notice it, for sure -- but these are apples to oranges comparisons.

Even on the race bike, with a big ol' gear, it's hard to go up "brutal" hills. I suffer just as much, I just get to the top quicker...
 

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I commuted for over 5 years on what is now called a hybrid. When it was new (1991) a Specialized RockHopper was a mountain bike. I would suggest that you look on craigslist or eBay for a used mountain bike, ones as old as mine are inexpensive and the gearing will help you.
 

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therearegoats said:
My question: can I expect this bike to make the hill any easier?
Not appreciably.

Of course, I know that getting stronger will make the hill easier, but I need all the help I can get!
So use more modern technology, perhaps 1940s era (Simplex introduced the first cable operated derailleur in 1938).

Or be the first on your block with a Sturmey-Archer S3X 3-speed fixed gear hub.
 

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a better pair of wheels will make just as much difference and probably cost less
 

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classiquesklassieker
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therearegoats said:
Thanks for the responses so far. I realize that the question seems like a bit of a dumb one, and that bike weight won't help nearly as much as a change in gear ratio in getting up this beast. But the hill isn't horrific; its just bad enough to where the difference made by a better fitting, lighter bike might be enough. I'm in really good shape because of doing this climb and I guess I just need to figure out if a better fitting single speed will make this tolerable enough or if I'll have to break down and get some gears. Anyway, keep the opinions coming. (And let me know if anyone has ridden the Wabi Classic...)
So you want to use the hillclimb as a method of (fitness-oriented) exercise and you want to not sweat while doing it?

There are too many constraints already.
 

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therearegoats said:
No. As I said, this is a commuting issue. It's no fun to be sweaty at work.
How long is your commute? Is there any to clean up or change at work? People come up with a lot of creative ways to deal with these things.

It may not be nice to be sweaty at work, but it is very nice to use your commute as part of a daily exercise routine, if you can work it out.
 

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Sweaty..

therearegoats said:
No. As I said, this is a commuting issue. It's no fun to be sweaty at work.
Well, then, why are you mashing a single-speed bike up a steep hill?

Back in the old days of lots of bikes for utility, all of them singles, people would just walk up the steep parts, so I read.

These days, they make lots of gears. To make a steep-hill no-sweat easy, you need a LOT of it, though. Last year I commuted on a 34-lb touring bike with a 30x32 low gear.

This year I have a 26-lb steel commuter with a 34x25 low gear. That gear is pretty small, but up the 15% hill to my house, I still find myself working a bit. I have a shower at home, so it is all right...
 

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If you aren't riding at an elite level, bike weight is not a particularly consequential factor for hill climbing. Gearing and fitness are the two overwhelmingly major factors.

I don't know squat about your fitness, but depending on the grade, a "steep" hill on an old single-speed cruiser is going to be a grunt, period.
 

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Have you played with your gear ratio?

A couple more teeth on the cog will make a climb easier. When I had a singlespeed, I had it at 5:2. You lose some top-end speed, but get to keep your bike.
 
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