How many of you have been "fitted" to your MTB?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    How many of you have been "fitted" to your MTB?

    As the title said, how many of you have gone through the fitting process for your MTB(s). Over the last few weeks I have started getting some pain in my right knee. I have had my last two road bikes fitted but over the years have never had this done on a Mountain Bike. I go in for a MRI on Wed and see a Doctor on Friday to see what if anything is going on. Unfortunately I think it may stem from riding a fixed gear road bike over the last few months, to try and improve muscle strength and cadence. Stupidly I learned the hard way a few times that you cannot freewheel a fixed gear bike (Duh) and feeling like my legs were going to be ripped off. So that bike went back to a freewheel with a more knee friendly 47x18 gear.

    So what is the consensus of MTB community, is a fitting worth it for your off road rig(s)?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvm051
    As the title said, how many of you have gone through the fitting process for your MTB(s). Over the last few weeks I have started getting some pain in my right knee. I have had my last two road bikes fitted but over the years have never had this done on a Mountain Bike. I go in for a MRI on Wed and see a Doctor on Friday to see what if anything is going on. Unfortunately I think it may stem from riding a fixed gear road bike over the last few months, to try and improve muscle strength and cadence. Stupidly I learned the hard way a few times that you cannot freewheel a fixed gear bike (Duh) and feeling like my legs were going to be ripped off. So that bike went back to a freewheel with a more knee friendly 47x18 gear.

    So what is the consensus of MTB community, is a fitting worth it for your off road rig(s)?
    Fitting is definitely important on a mountain bike. You don't want to buy a mountain bike where the top tube is higher than you balls. Hope that helps.

    TD

  3. #3
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    I'm actually going in this week to endurance rehab to get my bike set up properly for me. Let me know if you want more Info
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbkracr
    I'm actually going in this week to endurance rehab to get my bike set up properly for me. Let me know if you want more Info
    I would be interested. Shoot me a PM when you have some time. I'm guessing this is not covered by insurance?

  5. #5
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    Preface with the fact that I have not been MTB fitted.

    However, I used to ride road bikes and have been fitted on them. I used to ride fixed gear for a couple of years and was fitted on them. And I have knee issues which have resulted in countless months of PT (and I guess technically your PT never really ends).

    With that said, I can tell you that there are so many factors that contribute to knee pain that in my opinion you are better off figuring out why you have pain and working on fixing the issue. Once you have a good handle on what is wrong, you can determine if your bike fit plays into the issue.

    For example, I have a gnarly case of patellofemoral pain syndrome (I think my doctor actually said "worst he has ever seen"), which causes severe pain after long rides. This is primarily a factor of genetics and imbalanced leg muscles. There is nothing proven that I could do to my bike to make this less painful (some theories on higher seat height, but anecdotal). Instead I just have to do PT, manage my mileage and use anti-inflammatory meds.

    On the other hand I also have a severe case of Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which for me was aggravated by improper foot position due to using clipless pedals. Going to flats and allowing my knee to track more naturally has helped in alleviating the pain.

    Also, sometime it isn't fit, but technique that is an issue. Again, with ITBS I have found that if you pedal with your knees more toward the top tube, your IT band has less contact with the lateral femoral epicondyle and you can ride longer without pain.

    Finally, it is worth noting that fit techniques recommended for patellofemoral pain (such as higher seat post height to ensure as little load on knee while bent) are in contradiction to some fit techniques for ITBS (such as lower seat post height to ensure as little epicondyle contact as possible).

    Anyway, the idea being that I would have hated to spend a lot on a "fit" before I knew what was wrong and how I needed to address the issue.
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  6. #6
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    Well said!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by beardedstealth
    Preface with the fact that I have not been MTB fitted.

    However, I used to ride road bikes and have been fitted on them. I used to ride fixed gear for a couple of years and was fitted on them. And I have knee issues which have resulted in countless months of PT (and I guess technically your PT never really ends).

    With that said, I can tell you that there are so many factors that contribute to knee pain that in my opinion you are better off figuring out why you have pain and working on fixing the issue. Once you have a good handle on what is wrong, you can determine if your bike fit plays into the issue.

    For example, I have a gnarly case of patellofemoral pain syndrome (I think my doctor actually said "worst he has ever seen"), which causes severe pain after long rides. This is primarily a factor of genetics and imbalanced leg muscles. There is nothing proven that I could do to my bike to make this less painful (some theories on higher seat height, but anecdotal). Instead I just have to do PT, manage my mileage and use anti-inflammatory meds.

    On the other hand I also have a severe case of Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which for me was aggravated by improper foot position due to using clipless pedals. Going to flats and allowing my knee to track more naturally has helped in alleviating the pain.

    Also, sometime it isn't fit, but technique that is an issue. Again, with ITBS I have found that if you pedal with your knees more toward the top tube, your IT band has less contact with the lateral femoral epicondyle and you can ride longer without pain.

    Finally, it is worth noting that fit techniques recommended for patellofemoral pain (such as higher seat post height to ensure as little load on knee while bent) are in contradiction to some fit techniques for ITBS (such as lower seat post height to ensure as little epicondyle contact as possible).

    Anyway, the idea being that I would have hated to spend a lot on a "fit" before I knew what was wrong and how I needed to address the issue.
    Thanks for all the info. That cost is what is holding me back from the fitting of three more bikes. Considering the cost of a fitting is around $125-$150 per bike, which considering two of the three bikes are only worth a few hundred more than that is hard to swallow. I did use a few of the online fit tools to adjust my seat height, and centered my saddle on the rails. Today I have been stretching the hell out of my legs and iced them after a moderate paced ride on my single speed road bike with platforms instead of: my usual Speedplay road shoes. Depending on what the doctor says on Friday, I may take out my full suspension bike with platforms until I can at least verify the location of my cleats on my Mountain shoes. Funny thing is that the cleats on my mountain shoes have not moved since I purchased them over a year ago. I still think I injured my leg when accidently thinking I could freewheel on a fixed gear bike getting used to it, or just plain overuse. The Dr I am seeing according to his website used to be the head physician for the Cardinals, so after all the stuff he has seen, mine should be a easy diagnosis hopefully

  8. #8
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    If you are interested, there have been (could still be- haven't looked in awhile) websites and books that show you the basics of fitting yourself with a friend helping. That would at least tell you if you are in the ball park of the "fit range".

    I did that and saw I was way out of whack and after changing it noticed quite of bit of difference over the next couple of weeks. I noticed other muscles being a little sore the first slow climby rides I did as well.

    Now, I didn't have any pain issues. I went to get fitted to get that last little bit of power I like I found with the home fit. There was a difference felt and I feel it was the use of muscles in a new way or new muscles. That could be a cause of pain. in your situation, it really sounds like things went wrong on your commuter/fixie/ss. If you haven't, stop riding that for a bit and see if that helps. Going to the doctor is always a good first step. Let us know!
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  9. #9
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    OK, so I'm setting up my appointment with Wolfgang for either thrusday or friday. It sounds like they use some pretty serious high tech stuff to really dial in the fit such as motion capture and computer analysis, lazer beams, strobe lights, fog machines, you get the idea.....I need to confirm this but I think they mentioned that if you ARE experiencing pain then your insurance will most likely cover it. I mentioned to him about this thread so he may even post here with all the info himself. I will keep you updated.
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  10. #10
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    Core exercise is essential for all us bikers, yet so few do them. Can avoid lots of musculoskeletal problems by doing them. Just my $.02

  11. #11
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    What core exercises?
    Straight is better than flat.

  12. #12
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    I had a pro fitting done at Bicycle Ranch along with the sports medicine guy due to some IT band issues. This was done last April...prior to which, I was unable to bike more than 30 miles or 4500 vert gained on the day before having severe IT problems (intense pain). After the fitting and after the stretching regime the PT gave me based on analysis of how I'm built and my goals...I started ratcheting up the mileage on the summer culminating in my 1st long distance race, 88 miles with 10k vert.

    I think the fitting was important because they identified a few issues which they were able to adjust with an asymmetrical cleat position on the shoe and when combined with a disciplined stretching program...led to me being able to start cranking out the miles.

    I think that if you're spending a lot of time on the bike, cranking out miles....then it's worth it to go for the whole enchilada with the PT and fitter. If you are a casual rider doing most of your rides in the 20 miles or less range...then using the online resources to get you in the ballpark is good enough.




  13. #13
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    Nope...not fitted...just try to set myself up so that my leg, in the "down" position, is slightly bent, and in the "flat" position, there is a "plumb line" from my knee down to the contact point of my cleat. Or something like that. Everything hurts at some point or another, and I just attribute that to the fact that on long rides, everything hurts at some point or another...
    Ride more; post less...

  14. #14
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    I was fitted for my road bike when I had the patella femoral pain syndrome last season. I just took the measurements and moved them over to my MTB. Once the damage is done you are going to be in pain for a while. A good bike fit isn't going to magically fix the issue so you can continue to ride pain free. You have to heal up first which means stop riding for a while and do strength training. I also use a foam roller to help massage my quads and hamstrings (this is something I do after any ride which involves lots of steep climbs).

    My road to recovery was to stop road biking and start mountain biking. With mountain biking you are less likely to develop repetitive issue because of how much you change the position on the bike. I also stopped doing endurance rides (more then 2 hours). Also I had to stop hammering all the time and just start spinning more. By the time I could ride my bike again I was just happy to be on 2 wheels (it took me about 6 months to fully recover).

    For me the two things I check are saddle height (83 mm if I'm wearing clipless pedals and 84 mm if I'm running my platforms) and knee over pedal axel. For me I have to have my knee either directly over the pedal axel or just slightly behind it (I use a plumb bob to check this).

    Good luck... knee pain really sucks!

  15. #15
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    Today I tried to setup my seat to the same height on the other bikes as my fitted road bike, but first I looked at some of the online sources regarding saddle height, and my fitted bike was pretty darn close to the website info. So I adjusted the saddle on my other bikes, and will be trying them out assuming the Doctor lets me ride.

    BTW does anybody know of a few good websites for stretching routines for cyclists?

  16. #16
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    I was fitted by DNA when I bought my Stumpy...

  17. #17
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    any shop that has decent mechanics will be able to give you an eyeball fit in about 5 min, and it will be free if you are a customer. Mike at Rage helped me today - just rolled in en route to buying some stuff, asked him to check out my posture on my newest bike, we made 1 tweak and it helped. At least start out with a $20 fit before spending 150 on a laser fit, if you are new to this that will get you enough better cheaply.

    There are about 10 different variables in fit, it helps to have a good understanding of them so you can make sense of types of feelings and pain with certain variables. There are many websites and pictures, its not that hard. Then once you are close, either with a plumb and a little help from a friend or you local LBS, make 1 little tweak at a time and soon you are golden. What is most important is that you are comfy and pain-free, not what the lazer fit says. tape and colored pencils are your friends!

    I do think a more measured fit on the roadie is more important than the mtb since you move around so much on the mtb, but have had no problems with a decent fit from the shop when i bought the roadie, and then my own tweaks from there. I think foot position and saddle height and fore\aft is the most important as far as your knees. Start from your cleats, work up to your knees, then get your arms and back and wrists comfy.

    I do not SS, but absolutely everyone says that it can be harder on your knees - mostly cause you are forced to do more mashing and less spinning. this is no differnet from how you are told not to ride a roadie - spin, dont mash.

    tls36 is right about core - everything feels better with a strong core.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball
    I do not SS, but absolutely everyone says that it can be harder on your knees
    Total myth. So that makes everyone minus 1
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvm051
    So what is the consensus of MTB community, is a fitting worth it for your off road rig(s)?
    I usually hurt more from the mtb crashes, scrapes, bumps etc: than from poor fitment..
    on the roadie though (like many others have said) it makes a big difference.

    Developed right knee pain after a sat. am 'hammerfest' that was really hard to get rid of.

    It was a combo of seatpost being slightly too low, and the right cleat on my shoe
    aligned slightly outward.

    Right knee has had issues since h.s. football (hyperextension) so the road bike has
    to be right on in order to avoid pain.

    Biggest MTB issue is the seat ups/downs and getting it back to a comfy XC
    riding height. Gravity Dropper seatpost would cure that I suppose, but they're
    pricey.

  20. #20
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    Use the Competitive Cyclist Online "Fit" Calculator

    At least for a roadbike, it gets you in the ballpark range of being close to fitted.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enel
    Total myth. So that makes everyone minus 1
    Please explain why you think this to be a total myth. It seems to make sense that spinning easier applies much less stress on the knee joint than grinding on a big gear.
    Getting out there one day at a time.

  22. #22
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    Does your knee hurt above your knee cap or behind your knee. If it's behind the knee your seat is too low or your cleat position (side-to-side) is off. Above the knee cap and your seat is too low. Hope this helps.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tls36
    Core exercise is essential for all us bikers, yet so few do them. Can avoid lots of musculoskeletal problems by doing them. Just my $.02
    Totally agree with you. I had some knee problems for a while even after getting my fit right. After a few weeks of strength training I noticed a huge difference and no knee pain.

  24. #24
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    After meeting with the doctor, he diagnosed my knee with Patella Femoral Syndrome and arthritis. Damm only 32 and already have it. Since I was heavy most of my life, he said that that could have contributed to some of the reason I have it, along with biking and age. He wants me to avoid as much climbing due to the load it places on the knee, but I figure if I go on a ride that involves more climbing than flat or descending I will just take the geared bike. I may also look into installing a rear derailleur on the Mary SS. Also going to try out platform pedals on my next mountain bike ride and see if that helps. But with summer on its way, hopefully it will recover with more of my outings being on the road bike. If I don't feel any better in 6 wks, he mentioned surgery as a option to clean up the damage behind the knee cap.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jvm051
    After meeting with the doctor, he diagnosed my knee with Patella Femoral Syndrome and arthritis. Damm only 32 and already have it. Since I was heavy most of my life, he said that that could have contributed to some of the reason I have it, along with biking and age. He wants me to avoid as much climbing due to the load it places on the knee, but I figure if I go on a ride that involves more climbing than flat or descending I will just take the geared bike. I may also look into installing a rear derailleur on the Mary SS. Also going to try out platform pedals on my next mountain bike ride and see if that helps. But with summer on its way, hopefully it will recover with more of my outings being on the road bike. If I don't feel any better in 6 wks, he mentioned surgery as a option to clean up the damage behind the knee cap.
    I had the same diagnosis. Doctor sent me to PT for 8 sessions where they focused on strength training. They also massaged my patella tendons a lot and used ice/stems on them. When I was done with PT I still had the same amount of pain as before. I went back to the doctor and he did some tests for arthritis and mobility test. In the end he finally gave me a number for a psychiatrist and suggested the pain was in my head and was due to stress.

    That pissed me off and I started ignoring the pain and riding my ass off. I figured if it wasn't in my head I would end up going back to the doctor with real damage for him to fix. If it was really in my head then it would stop hurting. It stopped hurting so I guess I was crazy.

    When I get tired and stressed out my knees start to hurt again. I usually take a few days off and relax and the pain vanishes. I've also learned to focus on just riding the bike for fun and not pushing myself so hard. Before I got hurt I was riding about 150 miles a week.

    Probably not the same issue you have though

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrankyMonkey
    I had the same diagnosis. Doctor sent me to PT for 8 sessions where they focused on strength training. They also massaged my patella tendons a lot and used ice/stems on them. When I was done with PT I still had the same amount of pain as before. I went back to the doctor and he did some tests for arthritis and mobility test. In the end he finally gave me a number for a psychiatrist and suggested the pain was in my head and was due to stress.

    That pissed me off and I started ignoring the pain and riding my ass off. I figured if it wasn't in my head I would end up going back to the doctor with real damage for him to fix. If it was really in my head then it would stop hurting. It stopped hurting so I guess I was crazy.

    When I get tired and stressed out my knees start to hurt again. I usually take a few days off and relax and the pain vanishes. I've also learned to focus on just riding the bike for fun and not pushing myself so hard. Before I got hurt I was riding about 150 miles a week.

    Probably not the same issue you have though
    Well he did not mention that it was in my head yet, but I do ride at least 150 miles a week between road and MTB. The last few weeks I have only been on a bike twice. Today was the first day I went on a road ride and ran at a high cadence for 16 miles than shut it down. I'm typing with the ice bag on. Unfortunately I'm one of those people that will focus on my damm knee now that there is a issue.

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