Riding - Mauna Kea

Just wondering if many people have tried the ride up Mauna Kea. I have listened to TR podcast, just wondering on people’s bike & gearing choice. Thanks

I rode my Cannondale SuperX from Waikaloa to the top in June 2019. 50/34 and 11-34. Gearing choice is one aspect, tire choice is the other. I ran gravel tires, a dry Dirty Kanza appropriate tire (fine center with off center lugs). The 4 miles after the visitor center is loose gravel and steep which is where tire choice hurts. I went up at a 4 w/kg FTP, and live at 5,000 ft so acclimation wasn’t as big of a deal. My Leadville time was 8:48 last year. All that is to benchmark strength. I ended up walking most of the gravel with the above set up. If I had two bikes on the island, I would have gladly swapped to a hard tail MTB and could have road the whole thing. YMMV.


Thanks. That’s a great ride. From what I’ve been able to find, most people have been forced to walk gravel section. Would you have liked more gears ? Or more the Tyre choice for the gravel section. I’m looking at hiring an open up from big island bike tours which has a 28 x 10/42.

This is one I really want to climb, I climbed Mt. Washington 3x(it is a true beast but I love it) and I hear how hard Mauna Kea is and I want to climb it. Now it is just a matter of going from the east coast to Hawaii. For gearing I would think a compact with a climbing cassette which has a 32 on could work

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@Michael_Frost, 28 x 10/42 sounds dreamy. Definitely the type of gearing I’ll use next time (aka June 2020). Just don’t ride slicks, the gravel portion will suck if you do. After that it’s all good and paved.

I’m planning for May 2020. Hopefully the road will still be open and protesters are letting people through. All the best for for your 2nd time up.

Where you able to do it?. How was it?. Thx

I am headed to Hawaii in 2022. Last week of February through first week of March. Doing some initial research it doesn’t look like it is feasible to ride Mauna Kea this time of the year. Looking for some feedback on this.


I did it in the middle of March . Very lucky with weather as can be unpredictable. They grade the road on certain days which would make the gravel section easier on that day.

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