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    Sore knees?

    Just got my new MTB and went on a relatively easy ride with my son. It did involve a lot of riding over rocks etc...going up steep hills with rocks. I can ride 100 miles a week on my roady and not suffer any knee soreness. Did anybody else have sore knees when first riding on the trails? I do have a prior knee injury so that obviously would contribute, and the main reason I went with FS as a newbie. But like I said no issues on my roady. I am fitted perfectly to the bike as well.

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  2. #2
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    Hard to say what's wrong seeing you were fitted to the bike. My recommendation is to visit your doctor and see what they can do. Perhaps there is something internally wrong that's surfacing now considering you had a prior injury. Does generalized pedaling down the street cause your knee to hurt or is it when you are doing certain things on the bike?
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    Personally, I would do a few more rides and see if the soreness stays or goes away. Your body can adapt to various bike geometries to a point but it won't happen in one ride. Even if you've done a proper bike fit, the geometries between the two bikes are not identical. I was on mountain bikes for 20 years (usually just one bike for a few years at a time), then for various reasons switched to a road bike about a year ago and took a break from mtb. I got back on my existing mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and got sore knees after the first ride. It still took me by surprise because prior to the break I'd ridden this bike for about 4 years with no issues. But that also tells me it's just a matter of body readjusting to the geometry again. I think it's the minor differences in reach and seat tube angle that have an impact on how your knees feel after the first couple of rides. And the cleat position on the shoes if you use clipless pedals.

    As a side note, I once switched from concave to convex flat pedals. The convex shape caused me quite a bit of pain in the feet for the first few rides, bad enough that I nearly switched back to the old pedals. But I tried it for a few more rides, the body adapted, and the pain went away.

    If your knee pain doesn't go away after the first few rides and you use clipless pedals, I'd start by playing with the position of the cleats on your shoes, and forward/aft position of the saddle on the seat post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Hard to say what's wrong seeing you were fitted to the bike. My recommendation is to visit your doctor and see what they can do. Perhaps there is something internally wrong that's surfacing now considering you had a prior injury. Does generalized pedaling down the street cause your knee to hurt or is it when you are doing certain things on the bike?
    I can do 100 miles in a week on my road bike. General riding down the road is fine on the MTB. It was my first time hitting the trails, ever. Lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by vicrider222 View Post
    Personally, I would do a few more rides and see if the soreness stays or goes away. Your body can adapt to various bike geometries to a point but it won't happen in one ride. Even if you've done a proper bike fit, the geometries between the two bikes are not identical. I was on mountain bikes for 20 years (usually just one bike for a few years at a time), then for various reasons switched to a road bike about a year ago and took a break from mtb. I got back on my existing mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and got sore knees after the first ride. It still took me by surprise because prior to the break I'd ridden this bike for about 4 years with no issues. But that also tells me it's just a matter of body readjusting to the geometry again. I think it's the minor differences in reach and seat tube angle that have an impact on how your knees feel after the first couple of rides. And the cleat position on the shoes if you use clipless pedals.

    As a side note, I once switched from concave to convex flat pedals. The convex shape caused me quite a bit of pain in the feet for the first few rides, bad enough that I nearly switched back to the old pedals. But I tried it for a few more rides, the body adapted, and the pain went away.

    If your knee pain doesn't go away after the first few rides and you use clipless pedals, I'd start by playing with the position of the cleats on your shoes, and forward/aft position of the saddle on the seat post.
    This makes me feel a bit better! Im trying to be more active and not blame my knees lol. I also wanted a switch to keep riding interesting. I ride my road bike almost every morning, but now my knee is too sore from the MTB.

    The geometry is very different and makes sense your body has to adjust. Thanks for the reassurance! I am riding flats but go clipless on the roady. I am not having any foot pains at the moment. I am still playing with the seat placement as well as this bike has a dropper post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant View Post
    This makes me feel a bit better! Im trying to be more active and not blame my knees lol. I also wanted a switch to keep riding interesting. I ride my road bike almost every morning, but now my knee is too sore from the MTB.

    The geometry is very different and makes sense your body has to adjust. Thanks for the reassurance! I am riding flats but go clipless on the roady. I am not having any foot pains at the moment. I am still playing with the seat placement as well as this bike has a dropper post.
    Is that the Defy Advanced road bike? I used to have one and I didn't like it. Too heavy! I now ride my Trek Emonda SL6 and love it! I'm fixing to get a set of Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3s for my Emonda soon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    Is that the Defy Advanced road bike? I used to have one and I didn't like it. Too heavy! I now ride my Trek Emonda SL6 and love it! I'm fixing to get a set of Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3s for my Emonda soon.
    Yep the defy advanced. I believe itís just under 20LBS. I like it considering itís carbon and under $3K.

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    Hard to tell from the pic, but the saddle looks higher on the mountain bike. Is the pain in the front or back of the knee?

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    I wouldn't worry, you'll almost certainly be able to sort it.

    I would be looking at fit. Where you want to be on the bike for riding rough stuff is not the same as for road riding. Try moving stuff.

    Also, consider flat pedals. For trails I find it best you have your foot further forward than the typical clipped foot position for road. I think a lot of people do. With flats your foot will naturally find the most comfortable place to sit. That alone can make a big difference.

    Do you lower the saddle when off road?

    I think if you mess with all of these things you'll get it. If you don't get knee pain on the road there isn't really any reason why you should off it.

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    Def check out fit and maybe talk to doc, but it can take time to adapt when using a body part differently. The usual recommendation is not to push through pain as the resulting irritation and inflammation can make it worse. Best to work up gradually stopping just short of pain and gradually increase duration or intensity.
    Do the math.

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    Yeah I donít feel the pain until the next day so in the moment I donít realize how hard Iím pushing it.

    I have meniscus pain in my knee. Two surgeries showed no injury but just muscular tension. Hurts like hell to be just muscular but whatever. Road cycling has actually helped with my knee issues. The more I ride the less it hurts. After a few days of no riding itís all stiff and aches.

    I suspect once I find the sweet spot on my bike fit all will be well like it was on my other bike. Also I may need to adjust the suspension as well. We did it quickly at the LBS but it probably could be fine tuned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant View Post
    Yeah I donít feel the pain until the next day so in the moment I donít realize how hard Iím pushing it.

    I have meniscus pain in my knee. Two surgeries showed no injury but just muscular tension. Hurts like hell to be just muscular but whatever. Road cycling has actually helped with my knee issues. The more I ride the less it hurts. After a few days of no riding itís all stiff and aches.

    I suspect once I find the sweet spot on my bike fit all will be well like it was on my other bike. Also I may need to adjust the suspension as well. We did it quickly at the LBS but it probably could be fine tuned.
    Have you done any strength training for your knee or physical therapy?
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    Looks like you even have a Little Giant Ladder
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    Saddle height and position is the likely culprit, especially since you're switching to flats. They'll put your foot in a different position from the clipless so gotta take that into consideration. When I ride clipless, the pedal spindle is usually under the ball of my foot but on flats it's farther back (yours may differ depending on setup/riding style). Other differences like pedal/shoe sole thickness should also be taken into account.

    The other thing to think about is the fact that you're out of the saddle a lot more off road, which can stress muscles/joints differently than just spinning on the road. It's always a good idea to take it easy until you're adjusted when doing a new sport (yeah, they're both bikes but as mentioned, how you ride them is quite different).

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    Mountain bike geometry has dramatically changed in the last few years, and bike shops tend to be very slow to adapt. It concerns me any time I see someone has been "fit" to a modern mountain bike. That often means some lbs guy stuck in the early 2000's is trying to fit you like we used to fit 26ers with 100mm stems.

    Its safe to say if your knees hurt, your fit is wrong.

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    FWIW: The shops I frequent are staffed by cycling nuts who live on the bleeding edge. They're ahead of the curve if anything.
    Do the math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    The other thing to think about is the fact that you're out of the saddle a lot more off road, which can stress muscles/joints differently than just spinning on the road. It's always a good idea to take it easy until you're adjusted when doing a new sport (yeah, they're both bikes but as mentioned, how you ride them is quite different).
    What he said, plus more torque application and less spinning

    My second season of MTB underway after being a roadie for a couple of decades. Lots more going slowly and powering through obstacles. Lots less high rpm, low torque scenarios. That's what made me sore for a while!

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    Saddle too low, sore knees.
    Pushing a harder gear, sore knees.
    Riding with flat pedals, where you mash down but canít spin, sore knees.
    Pushing heavier bike with flat pedals up steeps, sore knees.

    I have a Defy Advanced, love that bike. Had to upgrade the wheelset though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    Saddle height and position is the likely culprit, especially since you're switching to flats. They'll put your foot in a different position from the clipless so gotta take that into consideration. When I ride clipless, the pedal spindle is usually under the ball of my foot but on flats it's farther back (yours may differ depending on setup/riding style). Other differences like pedal/shoe sole thickness should also be taken into account.

    The other thing to think about is the fact that you're out of the saddle a lot more off road, which can stress muscles/joints differently than just spinning on the road. It's always a good idea to take it easy until you're adjusted when doing a new sport (yeah, they're both bikes but as mentioned, how you ride them is quite different).
    Quote Originally Posted by North Coast Joe View Post
    What he said, plus more torque application and less spinning

    My second season of MTB underway after being a roadie for a couple of decades. Lots more going slowly and powering through obstacles. Lots less high rpm, low torque scenarios. That's what made me sore for a while!
    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyAsheville View Post
    Saddle too low, sore knees.
    Pushing a harder gear, sore knees.
    Riding with flat pedals, where you mash down but canít spin, sore knees.
    Pushing heavier bike with flat pedals up steeps, sore knees.

    I have a Defy Advanced, love that bike. Had to upgrade the wheelset though.
    Thanks guys! I am still playing with the fit. I just ordered a new saddle so that will change things. Also my suspension is not tuned to my style, which can change things once I get my shock pump. I feel like I need to get the suspension right before making any other mechanical adjustments. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    The spinning comment vs torq is probably what did it. I was spinning like crazy up the hills and rocks on my first MTB ride LOL. I am still sore and stiff in the knee from that ride 3 days ago.

    Looks like some more tweaking of the bike and perhaps getting my body in shape and used to MTB riding.

    Question....I would like to continue road cycling. Do you know anybody who does both, and how their body adapts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelMTB View Post
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    where on your knee does it hurt? the specific location will tell you a lot. no fitting is perfect and some are downright lousy, so don't assume that the fit advice you got is bulletproof. it might need adjustment. also, I don't believe that the bike measurements on a road bike transfer over to a mountain bike very well, if at all. you simply don't ride mountain bike trails the same way you ride a road bike. so start with a blank slate when fitting a mountain bike.

    IME, pain at the front/ below the kneecap means your saddle is a little low.

    I wonder if pedaling position on your road bike is not ideal for mountain biking with flat pedals, so the transition is forcing your to use different muscles.

    I don't think fitting a bike and tuning suspension has a significant correlation in that direction. fitting a bike all starts with the BB as a reference point: saddle height, saddle offset, effective stack/ effective reach (height/distance from BB to grips) and the cockpit length (distance from saddle to grips, harder to measure if you change the saddle) are static because the front triangle does not change shape. once you have that dialed in for your proportions, it will put your center of mass in a general place, and you can adjust suspension settings based on that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    where on your knee does it hurt? the specific location will tell you a lot. no fitting is perfect and some are downright lousy, so don't assume that the fit advice you got is bulletproof. it might need adjustment. also, I don't believe that the bike measurements on a road bike transfer over to a mountain bike very well, if at all. you simply don't ride mountain bike trails the same way you ride a road bike. so start with a blank slate when fitting a mountain bike.

    IME, pain at the front/ below the kneecap means your saddle is a little low.

    I wonder if pedaling position on your road bike is not ideal for mountain biking with flat pedals, so the transition is forcing your to use different muscles.

    I don't think fitting a bike and tuning suspension has a significant correlation in that direction. fitting a bike all starts with the BB as a reference point: saddle height, saddle offset, effective stack/ effective reach (height/distance from BB to grips) and the cockpit length (distance from saddle to grips, harder to measure if you change the saddle) are static because the front triangle does not change shape. once you have that dialed in for your proportions, it will put your center of mass in a general place, and you can adjust suspension settings based on that.
    Thank you appreciate it. As I said above I am still tweaking the bike fit. I didn't say my current setup is bulletproof.

    I will have to go back to the LBS because my dropper post is too high at the full up position. My feet almost come off the pedal when seated.

    As for knee pain its hard to describe. Its deep inside the knee and sometimes right over the knee cap tendon. I was in the USCG as a heavy weather boat operator and my knees took quite the toll!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant View Post
    I would like to continue road cycling. Do you know anybody who does both, and how their body adapts?
    Probably quite a few of us. I do more road hours than MTB. I have great back roads where I live but have to drive to good trails.

    I get more aches and pains road riding. Your body is sitting in the one position for long periods. That's why I'm sure you'll be fine. It took me a while to get used to flat pedals on the mountain bike, I hadn't used them in years and they felt pretty sketchy at first, but I wouldn't go back now.

    The mountain bike always feels weird when I first get onto in, the fit etc is so different for my road bike, but yeah, I can switch between any of my bikes no problem. And when I'm riding it in the right place, each of my bikes is my favorite bike ;0)

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    Get a second look at your bike fit. If that does not help, see a doctor. It could be an injury or just that you're using different muscles now and you need to strengthen those to adapt. Either way, no one in a bike shop is going to help. Look for a sports-oriented physical therapist.

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    Could try your road pedals & shoes to rule that part out.
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    Thanks for posting this thread - it's of interest to me as I'm hoping getting into this sport can help me strengthen my knees. Time will tell, as I first need to build my endurance. Went for my first test ride on pavement a couple days ago and was almost dead after 15 minutes! Although it did include a good sized hill, but boy am I out of shape!

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    OP, curious now a few weeks later, are you still experiencing the pain? Curious as thinking that besides setup/fit, the other thing that comes into play is that on an MTB you're standing more than on a roadie, constant up out the saddle, back down, up etc, so it will take some time for the legs/knees to get accustomed to that - hated my first HT for a month because my quads weren't accustomed to the amount of standing a HT requires, after that, loved it as the muscles built and got accustomed to the standing.

    I
    ll be honest, just browsed the thread, so not sure if it was mentioned, but did you check your saddle position relative to the BB and take into account suspension sag? This is the one big thing for me to feel comfortable on any bike, my addle needs to be within a 1/2" or things don't go as well as they should, the variance being to accommodate rigid, HT, or FS as the fork sagging will bring you forward, on an FS the rear sags more than front, so will move you back relative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Giant View Post
    I will have to go back to the LBS because my dropper post is too high at the full up position. My feet almost come off the pedal when seated.
    Holy spitballs. Any seated climb will just kill your knees with that setup. Full up should be right where your road bike is or very slightly lower (since you said that's where you have no problems). I hope the LBS got you sorted, and that they didn't send you out the door like that to begin with.
    Last edited by noapathy; 6 Days Ago at 09:01 PM.

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    I would recommend stretching. It helps with any activity that is intensive on your knees and it will also help them be more agile and will reduce the risk of injury.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelvinbenedictmtb View Post
    I would recommend stretching. It helps with any activity that is intensive on your knees and it will also help them be more agile and will reduce the risk of injury.
    Static stretching - just say no. A 10 minute warmup is a much better choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by njperry View Post
    Thanks for posting this thread - it's of interest to me as I'm hoping getting into this sport can help me strengthen my knees. Time will tell, as I first need to build my endurance. Went for my first test ride on pavement a couple days ago and was almost dead after 15 minutes! Although it did include a good sized hill, but boy am I out of shape!
    We were all there at one point. I was the same way. I couldn't ride over 2 miles whether it was trail or street. You will get there soon enough
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    Missed this. Most definitely not good, surprised you're not also feeling pain in your hamstrings as well if you're reaching that much. If you want to go ride and can't get to the shop, just ride with the post dropped a bit to see if it helps aleviate your pain.

    Quote Originally Posted by noapathy View Post
    Holy spitballs. Any seated climb will just kill your knees with that setup. Full up should be right where your road bike is (since you said that's where you have no problems). I hope the LBS got you sorted, and that they didn't send you out the door like that to begin with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Giant
    I will have to go back to the LBS because my dropper post is too high at the full up position. My feet almost come off the pedal when seated.
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