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  1. #1
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    Good job! And Away we go ... some questions as I start SS'ing

    So I got me a fully rigid KM (niner carbon fork), built up with some nice bits from local shop employee.

    I had tried his bike back in Oct (with stock fork) for a couple hours, loved it, and been trying to decide what steel SS to get this spring. He decided to sell his, so I just grabbed it as I was in analysis paralysis, and it seems you really can't go wrong with a KM even though I was eyeing up some slacker HA bikes.

    Anywho, after 3 rides (1-2 hour), some questions:

    1) Dang, my back gets to hurting during the ride. Moderately technical trails. Running Ardent 2.4 front/2.25 rear tubless, ~27psi, little less up front. Short stem/wide carbon bar. Alloy FSA seatpost. Riding position is a bit more aggressive (bent forward) that my 26" 5.5in FS.

    Been reading that maybe my back just needs to get used to it, but some core work would help? Anything technique-wise I should be looking toward?

    2) Sitting/standing. Running 32/20. I love standing and hammering away on the pedals, but obviously this isnt the most efficient for sustaining energy. I find myself just standing anytime I start going uphill (unless trail is buff), as its harder for me to generate a good cadence seated and I find myself grinding/needing to stand to get over roots n rocks. I know everyone is different, but in general what do peeps strive for sitting/standing mix, technique, etc?


    Also, entering my first race Sunday - 40-59 beginner class (I am 41), 8 mi TT, going with the KM.

  2. #2
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    As far as the back pain thing goes make sure you get the saddle dialed in and give it some time. Going from FS to rigid is going to be a bit of a shock to the body at first. If it continues to give you issues perhaps consider a professional fit.

    Technique wise...you need to learn to loosen up when riding rigid and, of course, be a little more careful with line choice. Other than that it is just like riding a bike.

    Lastly...congrats on the purchase and enjoy the ride!
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  3. #3
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    I've never had to 'dial in' a saddle before; on previous bikes have always set it mid-rail, and level, and never had a problem.

    What should I look out for?

    thanks

  4. #4
    local trails rider
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    For seat posititioning, many take "KOPS" as a starting point. Other's don't quite agree: The Myth of K.O.P.S.
    You could also think of it as a balance thing: does your seat positioning allow you a balanced position when riding?

    On the sitting and standing:
    On a rigid bike you need to stand way more than on a FS bike. If not, your backside and back get all sorts of nasty bumps.

    On a singlespeed bike you cannot maintain cadence. Very rarely anyway. For power, you need to stand up when your cadence slows down. If you try to push a too tall gear while seated, your knees (among other parts) will suffer.

    Sit when you can. Stand when you need to. I'd err on the side of standing more.

    "it IS possible that you are faster or slower than anybody else who is having at least as much if not more or less fun"

  5. #5
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    Are you sure your back pain comes when you're seated? I get lower back pain on my SS for two reasons. One, when I push a harder gear than my strength allows. Two, my bike has a shortish top tube length. With a 90mm stem, the horizontal distance from the crank centerline to the bar centerline is short enough that I end up hunched over the bike when I climb. This is hard on the back. I need to go to a 100mm or 110mm stem to get a little more reach when I'm out of the saddle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Are you sure your back pain comes when you're seated? I get lower back pain on my SS for two reasons. One, when I push a harder gear than my strength allows.
    Similar for me - the worst offender for back pain is when I am maxing out effort, struggling to make it up difficult climbs. I made an effort to change my riding style, dismounting and running/pushing steep hills when I hit that high effort threshold, and that's been better for my back.

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE=sandman012;10248857]2) Sitting/standing. Running 32/20. I love standing and hammering away on the pedals, but obviously this isnt the most efficient for sustaining energy. I find myself just standing anytime I start going uphill (unless trail is buff), as its harder for me to generate a good cadence seated and I find myself grinding/needing to stand to get over roots n rocks. I know everyone is different, but in general what do peeps strive for sitting/standing mix, technique, etc?
    /QUOTE]

    As you ride more, you will get stronger. After a few weeks of regular riding, I can maintain cadence sitting on smallish and/or moderate hills that I would previously have had to stand up for. It's a great feeling when you can start flying up the hills without standing. That said, sometimes I just feel a little more sluggish, and wind up standing more...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    Are you sure your back pain comes when you're seated? I get lower back pain on my SS for two reasons. One, when I push a harder gear than my strength allows. Two, my bike has a shortish top tube length. With a 90mm stem, the horizontal distance from the crank centerline to the bar centerline is short enough that I end up hunched over the bike when I climb. This is hard on the back. I need to go to a 100mm or 110mm stem to get a little more reach when I'm out of the saddle.
    Not sure when pain starts, but once it does, I wasn't able to isolate to standing or sitting, it just was. Will try and pay attention. I suppose I can also try and move saddle a bit back to see if that help with back as proxy for swapping out stems straight away (and hope I then don't get knee pain lol)

  9. #9
    hispanic mechanic
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    And Away we go ... some questions as I start SS'ing

    Core strengthening will definitely help. When we climb on a rigid single speed, there are a lot of torsional forces working against each other. The lumbar spine suffers unless your core is strong. Start with plank, side plank, and mountain climbers.
    Another thing that helps me personally is working on my flexibility. I try and get at least 2 yoga practices in per week. My lower back feels better, and the scenery ain't bad, either!

    Stick with it, because it definitely takes some time to adapt to the riding technique of a rigid single. I stand a lot, but in a 100 miler, I find myself sitting as much as possible. Some riders just seem to sit more than others.

    How big a boy are you? You might look at lowering the air pressure in you tires. For example, at 190ish I run about 19-20 psi in my front 2.4 Ardent and about 24 in my rear Ikon ( both tubeless.) Lower pressure slowly, because you don't want to go so low you slam your rims or roll a tire off the rim.

    Hope this helps, and welcome to the dark side!

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  10. #10
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    I have a 20" KM with 2.4 Ardents front/back. I run 17psi in the front and 21psi in the rear. Any more than that and it feels like a basketball bouncing down the trail. The KM is fun and fast but the headtube is quite short compared to most other bikes. You might have the bars too low which is causing some muscle strain in your back (ask me how I know). I am 6'2" and really should be on an XL KM but I love the nimble small bike feel of the Large frame. I have a 105mm stem with a setback Thomson post and I run my seat all the way back.

    I agree with others. Riding rigid is completely different than FS. I have two gears: sit and spin or stand and hammer. Once your core is strong enough, standing for long periods of time while riding won't be difficult.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandman012 View Post
    Not sure when pain starts, but once it does, I wasn't able to isolate to standing or sitting, it just was. Will try and pay attention. I suppose I can also try and move saddle a bit back to see if that help with back as proxy for swapping out stems straight away (and hope I then don't get knee pain lol)
    Precisely what happens to me. It comes on slow and it took a while for me to figure out what caused it. Try an easier gear and see if the onset of the pain is delayed or avoided. My primary cause is the gear ratio (and lack of core fitness) with a secondary of the bike fit. I mentioned both to demonstrate that it might not be your saddle position. I.e., if you're pushing a hard gear, you're standing most of the time, so saddle location is meaningless. Another test, does your back hurt if you ride a rail trail/greenway/bike path? (95% seated, but also less effort)

  12. #12
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    thanks for the feedback, few things to think about/try.

    -will def lower tire pressure, see how the bike rides/back feels

    -try and get some more yoga/core strength in (my gym has a 'yoga core' class)

    -see what I can do about part adjustments, but dont have alot of leeway there, maybe I can get the shop to lend me some cheaper used parts to try different stem length, riser bar (no steerer tube length to work with) .... and will want to give myself some more time with above points first anyway

  13. #13
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    1) Pain is a sign of weakness running in fear of your SS awesomeness.

    2) Because all the weakness hasn't left your body yet- you will often have to transition from sitting to standing rapidly to aid in your digestive track shitting it out.

    3) Sorry, your a SS rider now. You cannot show up to a "core" yoga class unless your intent is banging every hot girl in the room. Try one of these exercises instead:

    Evil Wheel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmPxIUt7AEw

    Leg Raises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmc94Hi1Y0A

    L-Sits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_lQj_6yYvk

    Also do some pull ups. Not chin ups. Pull ups. Palms facing away from your face.

  14. #14
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    Different things work for different people. I bulged a disc in my back (L5/S1) in 2000 because my saddle was too high. Could barely walk. Couldn't ride. Since then I've really paid attention to proper bike fit. And posture. I took up singlespeeding the year after I bulged my spine -- SS didn't hurt me at all because my bike fit me perfectly. Did a 100 mile race on SS two years later. From not knowing if I'd ever be able to ride a bike again to endurance racing SS in just two years... make sure your bike fit is spot on and then just immerse yourself in it.

    I'm 6'3" with a 36" inseam, so yeah, long legs. I tend to move my saddle all the way forward so that my butt is forced to perch on the fat part of the saddle. I hate sitting on the narrow nose (though there are times when it's inevitable...) For backs, saddle a little low is better than saddle a little high; for the knees, the opposite is true. Find the right place. Very important.

    It's not necessary to say "fully rigid." Rigid means rigid. "Hardtail" means front suspension. You're riding rigid. Best of luck.

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  15. #15
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    I read a very interesting article on sheldon brown's website yesterday regarding saddle pain. His theory is that it is caused by weak legs--in short, we sit in the saddle too much when our legs are fatigued, which transfers more shock to our rear ends and spines. This would of course be an even greater issue for someone not used to rigid bikes.

    When you're riding a rigid bike, your legs, and to a lesser extent your arms, are your shock absorbers. You have to be both strong and pliant at the same time, or you'll have a bad time of it. It's both a skill and a fitness thing, imo.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscott View Post
    1) Pain is a sign of weakness running in fear of your SS awesomeness.

    2) Because all the weakness hasn't left your body yet- you will often have to transition from sitting to standing rapidly to aid in your digestive track shitting it out.

    3) Sorry, your a SS rider now. You cannot show up to a "core" yoga class unless your intent is banging every hot girl in the room. Try one of these exercises instead:

    Evil Wheel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmPxIUt7AEw

    Leg Raises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmc94Hi1Y0A

    L-Sits: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_lQj_6yYvk

    Also do some pull ups. Not chin ups. Pull ups. Palms facing away from your face.
    And this is why people either hate or love SS

    I do plenty of strength training, and not enough stretching ... so going to just concentrate more on core and stretching for a bit.

    So the yoga core class + 'good views' seems like a win win.

    Will check out those exercises, thanks Spartacus

  17. #17
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    And Away we go ... some questions as I start SS'ing

    Before I started riding again (I had a 20 year break), I was having really bad lower back pain from years of sitting in front of computers. My core was weak and nothing would touch the pain - no over the counter meds at least. It was very bad, so I started doing some core and back workouts which very slowly started to help. Than I started mountain biking again on a single speed; riding did way more for my back and core than all the other workouts combined and was much more fun. Now, my core is good and I'm mostly pain free and all I do is bike and hike. If I didn't single speed, I'd be addicted to pain killers perhaps! Ride you bike, you'll learn to stand for long periods of time and get better.

  18. #18
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    I picked up a used Total Gym (Chuck Norris indorsed) for 150 bucks (vs gym/yoga classes) to suppliment riding and it's been worth every cent. Plenty of YouTube vids to support my claim as well. It's badass, plain and simple .
    2012 KONA UNIT, 22"
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  19. #19
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    And Away we go ... some questions as I start SS'ing

    I have two total gyms, one is rigid and one is a hardtail.

  20. #20
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    So I did my first race this weekend (2nd place beginner in my age group, 3rd overall beginner) ... set the seat back a bit, and took a few more psi out of the back tire (down to 20psi on my pump). Back wasn't as achy, but course wasn't as technical as what I had been riding on.

    Wondering if my 50mm stem might be problematic? Would stretching out a bit more (70MM?) maybe help here some (per someone's opinion at the race)?

  21. #21
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    back pain: keep your back straight.. that is to say, not arched. imagine a 2x4 strapped to your back. you still lean forward, but bend at the hips and keep your lower back flat. this helps me.

    sitting vs standing: my hartail/rigid rule: if you are not pedaling, you should be standing - if you are not standing, you should be pedaling. stay seated as long as you can when starting up a climb. stand when you can no longer maintain a steady cadence. standing when you are not pedaling reduces the beating you take from the trail too. lets you allow the bike to follow the terrain, not your whole body.

    one more tip for new SSer's: momentum is your new best friend. build speed before you climb.
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  22. #22
    Ride,Smile, Pedal Damn it
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    When my back is hurting. I start up on sit ups. After a week i'm good. I would try 100 a day. If you can only do 20, do em 5 Xs ect.

  23. #23
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    I wouldn't waste time and money changing out parts until getting a professional fit. For the sake of your body and giving yourself the ability to keep riding get it perfect the first time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelscott View Post
    1) Pain is a sign of weakness running in fear of your SS awesomeness.

    2) Because all the weakness hasn't left your body yet- you will often have to transition from sitting to standing rapidly to aid in your digestive track shitting it out.
    BTW- this


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