Alpine Roads
As you can probably tell I'm a great fan of riding in the Alps. The main characteristic of the alpine area is the huge variations in altitude over relativly small distances. Where we're based in L'Alpe D'Huez is 6000ft above sea level. That's higher than anywhere in the UK by some margin and some of the passes in the area go quite a bit higher still. By contrast, Grenoble is at 600ft. On one of our regular routes, the Grande Rousses, we go from St Michel de Maurienne at 1500ft to the top of the Col du Galibier at 8000ft - a climb of around 6500ft over a distance of 22 miles. At these altitudes there's a power loss of up to 30% due to lower atmospheric pressure causing carburation changes. That's part of the reason we've concentrated on larger engined bikes as they can cope better with the variability.

Coming down the other side means you'll be assessing the effectiveness of 70's brake technology and the larger bikes tend to be better endowed in this area. Having said that, the 70's was the decade when Japanese brake technology evolved from the almost universal 8" twin leading shoes at the start to triple discs at the end. Having tried all of the various combinations I'm not certain that all of the later versions were the advance they were supposed to be!

AlpineRoads.com is a site set up by alpine riding enthusiasts and assesses, from a riding perspective, just about every pass of any size not only in France but also in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Italy. On the left side you'll see our area: France / Grenoble .
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