If there is one thing guaranteed when road cycling, it’s that at some point or another you will encounter a hill - usually on a long and winding country B-road. Although hills can be hard work, they provide some of the most intense exercise on any bike ride, and at the top there’s usually a pretty amazing view to admire.
Whether you are climbing the roads of Majorca or the Alps, or just tackling the hill at the bottom of your road, there’s a few things your bike needs to do to, to allow you to climb a hill without running out of energy.
Weight is one of the most important things to consider when climbing up hills, and the lighter a road bike is, the better. All road bikes are relatively light, but the availability of carbon fibre road bikes has revolutionised how much road bikes weight, with carbon fibre bikes giving you the best possible chance of allowing you to take steep hills in your stride.
Depending upon budget, there are some insanely lightweight bikes available, however bear in mind that many competitions have minimum weight restrictions on road bikes.
Another incredibly important factor in climbing hills successfully is gearing and the correct setup of gear ratios on your road bike makes a massive difference in your ability to climb. When it comes to pedalling uphill, it’s easier when you are able to turn the pedals more times to achieve one revolution of the back wheel. This means that you use less energy on a single rotation of the pedals, which makes slower travel uphill easier. A good road bike typically has two chainrings at the front, allowing you take advantage of gearing which makes your life easier.
As the saying goes, what goes up must come down - and that’s especially true when it comes to road bikes. It’s all very well flying up a hill, but you also need to be prepared to be able to travel downhill at high speeds. Good brakes on a road bike are therefore a must, disc brakes are desirable, and are fitted to most high end road bikes.
All road bike manufacturers have now dipped their toes into creating super-lightweight road bikes, so a lot of the choice boils down to budget and preferences. You can view our full range of road bikes here, and remember - carbon fibre and aluminium are the materials of choice for climbers.