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  1. #1
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    The knees have it...

    ...but the back is a close second.

    I have recently come to the conclusion that my '03 Enduro is wrecking my knees.

    Because it's a full suspension bike without any anti-bob mechanism in the shocks, it's difficult to climb out of the saddle. It wallows unless I pedal circles, something that takes a lot of energy to do while standing.

    My knees have been getting steadily worse, but that's only to be expected since I'm 54? I made a concious effort in the last month to do more climbing out of the saddle, and my knees feel better than any time in the last 3-4 years.

    Due to additional problems with my back (I think it's a compressed disk, definitely gets sore with a pounding), riding a hard tail isn't a good option. What I want is a full suspension bike that climbs well out of the saddle, even with fairly poor peddling technique. Ideally, the bike would not require me to trigger a lockout on the shocks, because some of the trails I ride on are as rocky and rooty going up as down. This point could be compromised if I keep my current ride along with a new bike. A '29er would be nice, but not essential. Finally, a somewhat faster bike than I'm currently riding would be nice, but again, not essential. Buying a frame would allow me to make my own compromises on cost and weight.

    What kind of bike should I be looking for? Titus is closing out their 80mm travel Racer-X '29er frames. I'm thinking that the short rear travel would improve the peddling efficiency, but the travel is much shorter than I'm used to. Possible the big wheels would make up for some of the suspension loss?

    Walt

  2. #2
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    I just wanted to mention some things that helped my knees (I'm 49 and started having problems 5 or 10 years ago).
    1. I take a Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM supplement daily.
    2. I used to ride clipless exclusively but a few years ago I set up a couple of bikes with platforms and noticed I didn't have as much knee pain. So I started observing my foot position when riding the platforms and adjusted my cleats to come closer to my natural riding position. This seems to have helped. I still mix up my riding between clipless and platforms (though I still prefer clipless).
    3. I take a dose of Ibuprofen (just one 200mg tablet) before almost every ride (especially long rides). That helps a lot. I don't take it any other time though, because I would hate to build up a tolerance to it, plus it's not good to take to much of that stuff.
    4. Keep the knees warm. I go long pants anything below 65 degrees now.
    5. If you do any running, you may want to stop for a while and see if your knee pain clears up. If all you do is ride, you may want to at least get some walking/hiking time in to balance things out.


    My knees still act up from time to time, but overall have felt better the last few years than they did 10 years ago.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  3. #3
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    Same problems here , I wound up on a Giant Trance . 5 inches of travel can be set up very plush . Fox rp 23 platform allows out of the saddle sprints .

  4. #4
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    I also wanted to throw in that if you want to try to get more life out of your enduro, if you get you shock Pushed , I believe they install a platform damping system as part of the service.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  5. #5
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    Thanks

    I think maybe the issue of a new bike could be left aside if I can improve the resistance to bobbing for my current bike enough. I had heard about PUSHing my rear shock. That makes a lot of sense. Thought about putting a better fork on, perhaps between the two it would do the job.

    I appreciate the tips on knee care too. Possibly moving my cleats back could make a difference? I need the reminder to keep the knees warm, we're heading into fall. I gave up running several years ago due to the back problems mentioned earlier, plus a foot injury. Ibuprofen and the like don't get along with my stomach. Physical therapy has helped a lot. Flexibility + muscle strength balance is my treatment plan.

    I'll think about the costs of the shock upgrades vs. a new bike, thanks for the reminder to look at a different rear linkage.

    Walt

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Possibly moving my cleats back could make a difference?
    Walt
    In my case it was the angle of my cleats. I had them set so that my feet were basically straight on the pedals. When I started riding platforms I noticed that my heels were pointing inward a bit on the platforms, so I adjusted my cleats to reflect this. It seems to have helped.

    Platform damping will help to reduce pedal bob (Push will tune it however you want), but it's still not like a hardtail, and you do risk losing some plushness.

    You mentioned that you were considering a 29er. I don't ride a 29er so my understanding of them may be flawed (and I'm sure someone from the 29er cult will quickly jump in to correct me), but I did have the opportunity to ride your Bluemound trails last year (nice job out there btw) and while I can see how the bigger wheels/tires could help you over some of the rocky stuff out there, you've got a lot of slow technical sections that require a lot of low-speed speed adjustments. I'm not sure a 29er is the best choice for that, especially if you're having knee problems.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  7. #7
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    Walt you geezer

    You have changed the way you deliver power. You are an old guy. That has to be done gradually to allow the musculature to adapt and rebuild around the new movement. Attacking the new stasis with the old high levels of power can cause these problems. Sit and spin for weeks. You are going to have to be patient.

    No one like to hear this as it is no fun. They would rather you get on board the 29'er train. At least the SS'ers have steered clear.

    Stay thirsty my friend.

  8. #8
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    Consider getting a pro fit from reputable shop. They will position your clears, add shims to your shoes, position your saddle in the most optimal position.

    I had knee pains until I got my bikes fitted. First my road bike. Then my mountain bike. Now on my latest, I just took measurements and copied them over to new bike and it's working GREAT!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike
    You have changed the way you deliver power. You are an old guy. That has to be done gradually to allow the musculature to adapt and rebuild around the new movement. Attacking the new stasis with the old high levels of power can cause these problems. Sit and spin for weeks. You are going to have to be patient.

    No one like to hear this as it is no fun. They would rather you get on board the 29'er train. At least the SS'ers have steered clear.

    Stay thirsty my friend.
    You're correct. Putting the option of a '29er into the equation is just making the waters more muddy. There may be a lot of value in '29ers, but the answer to my problems lie elsewhere.

    Not sure what you mean by "You have changed the way you deliver power"? The way I perceive it, my knees not handling the sit and spin way of riding. Changing to stand and grind makes them feel better.

    Or are you talking about the physical therapy needing time to do it's work? It's a distinct possibility that the PT is doing most of the magic. Maybe it just needed time to work, and the stand-and-grind just arrived on the scene in time to take credit.

    The thing that makes me think that it's no coincidence is that I undertook an enormous riding effort at the same time I made the change over from sit and spin to standing and climbing. I rode 6 trails in 5 days (100+ miles, rode 'em hard and fast), then did my fastest training ride of the year (3x6 miles, felt like puking several times), then rode the LaCrosse HPT trails (big steep climbs), then rode to victory (not the fast guy on the team, but really worked hard) in a team 12 hour race. I know if I had sat and spun through those rides my knees would hurt like hell.

    I need to look into bike fitting, the thing that makes me hang back is the best fitters in my area are roadies and I'm not sure that road fitting skills translate into trail bikes. Thoughts?

    Good idea about the cleat angle, I think I've got that part correct. I'm also somewhat more comfortable slightly toes out/heels in. Also a good point about the plush vs platform. I love blasting through rock gardens at Blue Mound and elsewhere, and plush keeps the rubber side down. But it may be a worthwhile trade off to give up some plush for the ability to hammer climbs if it keeps me riding.

    I feel fortunate to still be active, and am bending every effort to keep it going. Thanks for the ideas.

    Walt

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy

    The thing that makes me think that it's no coincidence is that I undertook an enormous riding effort at the same time I made the change over from sit and spin to standing and climbing. I rode 6 trails in 5 days (100+ miles, rode 'em hard and fast), then did my fastest training ride of the year (3x6 miles, felt like puking several times), then rode the LaCrosse HPT trails (big steep climbs), then rode to victory (not the fast guy on the team, but really worked hard) in a team 12 hour race. I know if I had sat and spun through those rides my knees would hurt like hell.

    I need to look into bike fitting, the thing that makes me hang back is the best fitters in my area are roadies and I'm not sure that road fitting skills translate into trail bikes. Thoughts?

    I feel fortunate to still be active, and am bending every effort to keep it going. Thanks for the ideas.

    Walt
    Sounds like over-use soreness. That's some hard pile of miles.

    Being fitted by a roadie is probably better anyway. On a road bike, you pretty much sit in the same position for hours. Better be the right position.

    Your saddle to BB (and obviously pedal) will be your most crucial measurement. Unless you have an FS bike that has a moving bb/seatpost relationship, this measurement will be the same no matter if you ride a road bike or mtn bike.

    The angles that change between a road and mtb is your hip. A TT setup will have angles more in the upper 30s. An endurance road is in the mid 40s. Mtb is going to be in the 50s.

    The fitting I received shot videos of me from the side and from the front. They were able to digitally slow-mo and stop me while I was in a natural pedaling motion with a load. From there, they took angle measurements as well as watched how my knees tracked.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=traffic002]Sounds like over-use soreness. That's some hard pile of miles.

    QUOTE]


    No, that's exactly wrong, but thanks for your thoughts.

    I feel great. Riding fewer miles while sitting and spinning was destroying my knees. The list of miles was to show how much I can tolerate by standing and grinding.

    Thanks for the pointers on bike fitting.

    Walt

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Walt Dizzy
    Riding fewer miles while sitting and spinning was destroying my knees.
    Bad fit caused me pain every time I sat and spun for any duration.

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