Getting taken up the pass

Swap notes about technical issues

Moderators: Philip Whiteman, Andy Terry

Post Reply
User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Getting taken up the pass

Post by GrahamGamblin » 16 May 2011 15:36

Hello all. My uncle has invited me up to the Lake District in July to have a ride up some of the big passes including Hard Knott and Wrynose. Pretty fearsome climbs. Given that I can't borrow John Hitchcock's legs for the duration, I suspect that I will need to gear down a bit from my current low of 34-27. My question is, would I be better off fitting a triple chainset (meaning a new shifter as well), or fitting a mountain bike block on the back? Are there any technical difficulties with either solution?
Or should I simply get out my walking boots and leave the bike at home? :oops:
Graham

User avatar
Philip Whiteman
Posts: 1794
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 16:17
Real Name:
Location: Drayton, Worcestershire

Post by Philip Whiteman » 16 May 2011 16:03

I done this a few years ago on a normal triple. It could probably be done with a 38/28 providing you keep to the outside of the curves. But a road triple would be sufficient.

The thing you have be aware of is braking. The steep descents on dry and warm conditions may cause the blocks and rims to run hot. When I rode this route some years ago, I had to dismount and walk off Hardnott.

User avatar
Andy Terry
Posts: 856
Joined: 20 Nov 2006 14:27
Real Name:
Location: Bromsgrove, Worcs

Post by Andy Terry » 16 May 2011 16:43

your rear mech will have a maximum size sprocket it can take, so a mountain bike cassette (32 , 34 or even 36) might not be possible

User avatar
CakeStop
Posts: 1230
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 21:57
Real Name: Steve Smith
Location: Birmingham

Post by CakeStop » 16 May 2011 19:23

I'm not sure what the risks are so I hesitate suggesting you 'try this at home' but I think you can sometimes get away with being outside spec's. For a couple of specific hilly audaxes I used a cassette including a 32 sprocket with a Shimano rear derailleur for which the quoted max was 27 I think, maybe 28. I could see why it wasn't meant to be (just a chains width gap between largest sprocket and top jockey) but on the basis that I was only going to use it a few times on two rides and I was never going to use the large-large combo I decided to take a chance and it worked out fine. Mind you, I also had a triple chainset, I guess with a compact double you'd have to make more of a conscious effort never to use large-large.

edit - if you decide you don't want to risk it, it might be cheaper & easier to fit a rear derailleur with a longer cage than to change the chain set and front derailleur.
Eat cake before you're hungry

Missiles
Posts: 164
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 13:29
Real Name:
Contact:

Post by Missiles » 16 May 2011 20:14

It was many years ago now but I recall tackling Hardknott and Wrynose with an ordinary double chainset and a fairly ordinary cassette such as 12-27 or it may only have been 12-25.

I didn't manage to ride up them but I don't think I had to walk very far. People seem to forget that walking is always an option. Those hills are stupidly steep - it's no shame to walk and it's only the sportive MAMILs who seem to think their cycling prowess is proved by riding up hills like that.

Personally I'd take walking boots to the Lake District. Riding in that terrain holds no appeal for me at all.

Ruth

Rod Goodfellow
Posts: 70
Joined: 21 Nov 2006 15:55
Real Name:
Location: Blackburn,UK or Lake Wales,Florida

Post by Rod Goodfellow » 16 May 2011 20:48

I've done both hills both ways on 42x28 when I was only middle aged.However on one occasion whilst riding to work at Sellafield with loaded panniers I fell off up the west side of Wrynose as it was difficult to steer and balance when the front wheel lifts off the road despite using a 125mm stem.It's steeper than 1in 3 on the inside of the hairpins which you may be forced into by oncoming traffic

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 17 May 2011 09:52

Thanks for the replies. I already have a long cage rear derailleur, so I think I can get away with a 32 sprocket. I'd prefer to go this way if possible because I don't want to spend out on a triple chainset, shifter and front mech when I will hardly ever use them. Just wanted to check whether there were any technical issues I might not have thought of.
Ruth - you're right of course, I don't want to get too macho about getting up big hills, but even if I walk some of the biggies, lower gears will make the rest of the ride more enjoyable.
Graham

User avatar
CakeStop
Posts: 1230
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 21:57
Real Name: Steve Smith
Location: Birmingham

Post by CakeStop » 17 May 2011 10:14

GrahamGamblin wrote:I already have a long cage rear derailleur, so I think I can get away with a 32 sprocket.
Worth a try then. I reckon if I can get up anything on 30x32 then you'll be able to do the same on 34x32.
Eat cake before you're hungry

User avatar
AlanW
Posts: 1095
Joined: 31 Dec 2007 13:55
Real Name: Alan Weaver
Location: Who knows......

Post by AlanW » 17 May 2011 10:39

I have ridden them both two up on a motorbike, scared the living daylights out of me!!

In fact, one horror story that wil remain with me for ever. There were a large group of us doing a coast to coast run, and most of us were riding BMW bikes, which have servo assisted brakes.

Plus most of us were riding two up and also with panniers loaded with luggage etc

We came to one of the many steeply banked and upward facing hairpin bends, remembering that you have to take the outside route as the inner section of the hairpin is just to steep to ascend.

My friend (who was also riding two up and with luggage) managed to stall just after the hairpin, and because the engine had stalled he consquently had NO brakes!

The combined weight of the bike and no servo assistance resulted in them rollng backwards towards the edge. He was shouting (screaming) to his wife on the back to bail out before the bike dropped over the edge!

They contined to roll back a few feet unable to stop, then he just had to make the awful decision to literally drop the bike on its side otherwise it was going over the edge.

But this forced everyone else to stop on the steepest part of the climb, utter carnage!!
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 17 May 2011 12:54

:shock:
Well, if I find myself lying down by the roadside, I can always blame my servo-assisted brakes... not my legs.
Graham

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 26 May 2011 13:35

Right, stage two - I've purchased a mountain bike cassette, 11-32 9 speed, seems to fit nicely and the rear mech can cope with it (just); but it is taking the place of a 10-speed cassette, and so I have a 10-speed shifter. So... is it possible to adjust cable/stop screws etc so the shifter will work with a nine-speed cassette, or do I need a 9-speed shifter?
And while I'm at it, will the current 10-speed chain be okay, given that this is only for a couple of rides, or should I purchase a 9-speed chain as well?
Thanks again
Graham

User avatar
Philip Whiteman
Posts: 1794
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 16:17
Real Name:
Location: Drayton, Worcestershire

Post by Philip Whiteman » 26 May 2011 13:38

I think a 10sp chain will be too narrow for a 9sp cassette.

User avatar
AlanW
Posts: 1095
Joined: 31 Dec 2007 13:55
Real Name: Alan Weaver
Location: Who knows......

Post by AlanW » 26 May 2011 14:09

Philip Whiteman wrote:I think a 10sp chain will be too narrow for a 9sp cassette.
I am pretty certain that is correct.

Plus, I'm thinking that the spacing is narrower on the 10sp cassette than on the 9sp cassette, which would suggest that the 10sp shifters "may" not work with a 9sp cassette?
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

User avatar
CakeStop
Posts: 1230
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 21:57
Real Name: Steve Smith
Location: Birmingham

Post by CakeStop » 26 May 2011 19:00

If we're talking shimano, I believe the amount of pull is the same on 9 & 10 speed sti's so the shifters should be fine.

I'm pretty sure that you need a 9sp chain for a 9sp cassette though.

edit - the chain is narrower and the sprockets thinner but the spacing is the same.
Eat cake before you're hungry

User avatar
Philip Whiteman
Posts: 1794
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 16:17
Real Name:
Location: Drayton, Worcestershire

Post by Philip Whiteman » 26 May 2011 19:36

Sorry to be blunt, but....

By the sounds of the it, with the amount of trouble you are going just get a couple of hills, I would probably say it is not worth the hassle. Just try to cycle as far as you can get and walk the troublesome bits.

User avatar
Bagbear
Posts: 14
Joined: 15 Dec 2007 12:34
Real Name:

Post by Bagbear » 26 May 2011 20:49

You can use a 10 speed chain on a 9 speed cassette but not the other way round as the wider 9 speed chains will not sit properly on the narrower 10 speed cassette !

The problem you have is that the 10 speed shifter is set to the 10 speed cassette spacing (and you cannot adjust this) so will not be compatible with the 9 speed.

Its either a 9 speed shifter or look for a large 10 speed cassette. The largest one I have is a 11-28 which when used with a compac will get you up any hill without too much trouble.

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 26 May 2011 21:07

Thanks again everyone. It is all Shimano. I'll experiment with the current shifter, but if it doesn't work, I think I'll take Phil's advice and make the best of the current setup. Swapping cassettes and chain is not much bother/expense, but more faffing around than that is probably not worth it. (Apart from the fun of bike tinkering :D )
Graham

User avatar
CakeStop
Posts: 1230
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 21:57
Real Name: Steve Smith
Location: Birmingham

Post by CakeStop » 27 May 2011 00:11

I 'd give it a go and see if it works. Sprocket - sprocket distances according to Sheldon are as follows...

Shimano 9-speed 4.34 mm
Shimano 10-speed 3.95 mm

I've read elsewhere that you can get away with a difference of up to 0.6mm for the shifting to still work OK.
Eat cake before you're hungry

User avatar
AlanW
Posts: 1095
Joined: 31 Dec 2007 13:55
Real Name: Alan Weaver
Location: Who knows......

Post by AlanW » 27 May 2011 06:20

CakeStop wrote:I've read elsewhere that you can get away with a difference of up to 0.6mm for the shifting to still work OK.
I don't know because I have never tried it, but personally I would question that because 10sp works on a very close tolerance?

I have just measured a Ultegra 9sp cassette and a 10sp Ultegra cassette with my vernier. The 9sp is 36.75 mm while the 10sp is 37.85 mm, outer edge to outer edge.

So 1.1 mm difference between the two, that would suggest that it wouldn't work?

But Phil is right, to save all the hassle and expense, walk up the hills its a lot easier!! :wink:
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

User avatar
CakeStop
Posts: 1230
Joined: 17 Nov 2006 21:57
Real Name: Steve Smith
Location: Birmingham

Post by CakeStop » 27 May 2011 08:48

No, that's the difference across the complete cassette. Tolerance of 0.6mm is sprocket centre - spocket centre. This tolerance is what allows some people to mix campag & shimano in certain combinations.

It'd be quicker to change the cassette & chain and see if it works than to theorise about it.
Eat cake before you're hungry

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 27 May 2011 10:35

Thanks Steve and Alan for this research on my behalf! Field testing to follow.
Graham

User avatar
Philip Whiteman
Posts: 1794
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 16:17
Real Name:
Location: Drayton, Worcestershire

Post by Philip Whiteman » 27 May 2011 11:39

Here are my memories on the pass:

West to East

Hardnott to Cockley Beck - the first part of the climb, approx 100m from the Brotherilkeld telephone box is ruddy hard. It eases off and is quite rideable until you reach two nasty switchbacks just before the fort but can ridden on the outside. The insides are 1:3. The gradient eases but remains steep until the final steeper pulls onto the summit. The decent is nasty with many switchbacks and needs to ridden with extreme care.

Cockley Beck to Wrynose - a nice gradual ascent start for most part but it steepens towards the top with some switch backs. Not as bad as Hardnott but your legs will hurt by this stage. A steep descent but not as problematic as Hardott. Care still needs to be taken.

East to West

A long hard pull to the top of Wrynose. If you are feeling strong on normal gears then it is just about possible.

The ascent from Cockley Beck to the top of Hardnott is probably the worst of all climbs over these passes. Even with MTB gearing it would be a challenge and requires a large degree of stamina.

Pillocks

Descending car drivers do not respect ascending cyclists so be prepared. Plus some car drivers are incompetent at handling their vehicles when using this route.

Another hazard comes in the form of the road through Little Langdale to the foot Wrynose Farm. It is winding, narrow and the bends are often blind, so take care.

Other than that, it is a lovely route and you will enjoy it if only for the view.

Image

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 27 May 2011 12:49

Thanks for that Phil. Sounds like a challenge, but I will walk if I have to and focus on enjoying the beauty of the area.
Is that a tandem in the bottom of the photo?!? :shock:
Graham

User avatar
AlanW
Posts: 1095
Joined: 31 Dec 2007 13:55
Real Name: Alan Weaver
Location: Who knows......

Post by AlanW » 27 May 2011 13:20

GrahamGamblin wrote:Is that a tandem in the bottom of the photo?!? :shock:
Either that are they are "very" close friends. :shock:
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 02 Jun 2011 18:39

Final word on this, at the risk of being boring - found a simple and elegant solution on Sheldon Brown: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/derailer-ad ... #alternate
Small adjustment to the cable routing increases the pull from the shifter, effectively lining up a ten-speed shifter with a nine speed cassette (with one extra "useless" click at the end of the sequence). So all I have to do is swap the cassette and re-route the cable. It's literally a ten-minute job, and it seems to work fine. Ten-speed chain seems ok too. Sorted.
Graham

User avatar
AlanW
Posts: 1095
Joined: 31 Dec 2007 13:55
Real Name: Alan Weaver
Location: Who knows......

Post by AlanW » 02 Jun 2011 20:33

GrahamGamblin wrote:Final word on this, at the risk of being boring -
To late... :wink:
"You only need two tools: WD40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD40. If it moves and it shouldn't, use duct tape"

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 08 Aug 2011 13:56

Well, it all worked and got me up Hard Knott (West to East) and Wrynose (East to West), and various hills in between. Phil was right, the descents were worse than the climbs and I did walk a short section of the downhill from Hard Knott.
Graham

User avatar
Philip Whiteman
Posts: 1794
Joined: 19 Nov 2006 16:17
Real Name:
Location: Drayton, Worcestershire

Post by Philip Whiteman » 08 Aug 2011 14:03

Brilliant. Did your rims over heat on the descents?

User avatar
GrahamGamblin
Posts: 130
Joined: 02 Jun 2008 15:39
Real Name:
Location: Stirchley

Post by GrahamGamblin » 08 Aug 2011 14:10

No, I kept the speed low and pulsed the brakes regularly so no long hard braking was required. It was not a thrilling mountain descent but it was safe! But there was a section of poor surface which I didn't trust, which was where I got off and walked.
Graham

Post Reply