In my last podcast I talked about the Hammerschmidt system and how much I really like it. Like I mentioned in my podcast, once I learned how to tap into it properly it changed how I rode the trail. My biggest lesson was to get over my macho idea about just pushing through my big gear up front when climbing and instead popping down into the 24 tooth chaining and using all the gears in the rear.

However, I’m not using it to make life “easier”, I’m still using it to stand up and jam. Here is a question I answered about this last week…

Q: Hey James,

I listened to the most recent podcast.  Very cool to hear more info about the Hammerschmidt.  I was going to look into them, but my bike (Pivot Mach 5) doesn’t have the ISCG tabs, so I’m out of luck for now.

Anyway, I wanted to ask a question based on some of the comments you made in the podcast.  You mentioned that the Hammerschmidt made it really easy to start using your granny gear vs. muscling through in a bigger ring.  Given that, how has your seated vs. standing pedaling been affected?  I often feel like standing and the granny don’t mix well as it seems I overpower the stroke.  So, when I stand, I typically push up to a harder gear.

With the Hammerschmidt, are you dropping to a granny that is more conducive to spinning or do you say “granny” only in relation to how you used to push a bigger gear?

A: Yeah, I just mean dropping into the smaller gear but standing and pedaling like I normally would. Once you get used to using your smaller cogs in the rear that you never used with your normal granny you realize that you can still get a lot of tension on the pedals.

I pedal the same way, I’m just not juicing my legs trying to muscle through big gears to get things wound back up after shifting or scrubbing some speed. I can upshift more now on climbs knowing that it isn’t the momentum killing event it once was. The smaller gear ratio changes make it a lot easier to “fine tune” your pedal stroke and effort level.

Since my legs aren’t getting juiced on that big gear I have more to put into pumping, cornering and basically flowing the trail. I’ve found that standing climbing in my granny gear is almost effortless and I can stand more on climbs. It really lets me maximally apply the best of both worlds to the trail. It is a great tool that changes how you can ride the trail.

-James Wilson-

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