I might have to age out of single speeding.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    I might have to age out of single speeding.

    I'll be 50 this summer and the knees just aren't what they were. I haven't rode since before the holidays, traveling, weather and all that. I'm hoping that once back on the bike, they'll get stronger. Another problem is the very steep terrain here. The bike is 26 and by gearing is 34x20. I went snowboarding yesterday and the knees are fine.

    The thought of parting out and selling my Coconino is sickening. I just bought a Guerilla Gravity 29er but I love single speeding.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  2. #2
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    I'm in Phoenix (I think you are too) and will be 48 next month. All I ride is SS for mtn biking. I have a good friend who is a PT and he's fixed a lot of my pain points. The foam roller works magic and stretching really helps. I also take Relief Factor to help the joints. I've been on that for probably 4+ years now and that stuff really works for me.

    I do have to admit that I ride my gravel bike more than the SS lately. I find it more fun and not so brutal on the knees. I guess that comes with our age but hell no, I'm not giving up my SS.

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  3. #3
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    Maybe try an SS 29 or ease up the gearing? I turn 37 in a few days and am just getting into it. 29 running 32/18. Been riding pima and dynamite trails on mine and it's a blast. Not sure it will be nearly as enjoyable on my regular trails though.

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  4. #4
    Rod
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    Ease up the gearing until you get your riding legs back. What you're experiencing happens to all of us.

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  5. #5
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    I'm 52 and ride SS only. I have been single speed only for almost 2 decades. I can't imagine anything but SS.

    While I certainly don't recover like I did when I was younger and get sore, knee pain isn't an issue.

    I don't think your knee pain is age related. I think it's probably gearing and technique. I would change gearing and ease back into it as others have suggested. Build up your strength and stamina and see if that doesn't help.

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  6. #6
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    Iím in the same boat. I was traveling and was only riding my geared bike for almost 3 months. Iíve been back home and got back on my SS and it was a rude awakening. This was about a month ago and I usually ride 3-4x a week. I thought I was regaining my strength and was able to clean a 30 minute standing climb up my steep local trail. Then yesterday it was extremely difficult and I felt like shit. I even changed my tires to lighter 2.35Ē, not as fat as my normal 29x2.5Ē or 2.6Ē but it felt harder.
    Thankfully itís not my knees, they feel fine itís just my lungs and cardio. My heart rate stayed high the whole ride and I felt like I could hardly catch my breath. My Polar and Strava data said extreme training load!
    Iím a healthy guy and donít smoke, donít drink that much (1-2 beers a week) and Iím only 14% body fat and do high rep strength training with body weight and functional exercises.
    Anyway, it sucks getting old and I hope my rides get easier and I can build back my stamina as it was last year.
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  7. #7
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    I might have to age out of single speeding.

    I've been saying that you years. I'll be 64 in a few weeks. Been riding SS and gears on both road and mountain bikes for decades. I still enjoy the SS bikes as much as I ever have. As I've aged, I've become much more selective on when and where to ride the SS bikes. Geared bikes get the longer, tougher rides and SS get the flat-ish shorter rides. A long time ago I stopped trying to do every ride I do on geared bikes, on one of my SS bikes.

    Things that I've learned:

    -If I've had a layoff, don't touch SS until I get miles back in my legs on a geared bike.

    -Gearing is your friend. Check your ego and go 32 x 24 if you have to (29er). You'll be spinning like crazy but will save those knees.

    -Listen to your body. Sound cliche but if something is not working, back off. Forget the no pain no gain crap.

    -Core work in the gym

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I'll be 50 this summer and the knees just aren't what they were. I haven't rode since before the holidays, traveling, weather and all that. I'm hoping that once back on the bike, they'll get stronger. Another problem is the very steep terrain here. The bike is 26 and by gearing is 34x20. I went snowboarding yesterday and the knees are fine.

    The thought of parting out and selling my Coconino is sickening. I just bought a Guerilla Gravity 29er but I love single speeding.
    Man, don't give it up. I'm 49.
    Make your GG a singlespeed with the Rohloff tensioner.

    All of my full suspension bikes are SS. You might find that the fully helps with the ride, and just choose the right gearing.

    I also always use an oval. Buy a Wolftooth 32T oval and try that with a 18T or 20T cog. - Stainless steel of course.
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  9. #9
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    I've decided on stretching, yoga and a 32t oval ring.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  10. #10
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I've decided on stretching, yoga and a 32t oval ring.
    A solid plan.

    I have to gear down in the early season at the age of 34. I had "spring knee" from pushing too tall of a gear last year.

    I personally can't tell a difference with an oval, but some people swear by them.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbnutty View Post
    I might have to age out of single speeding.

    I've been saying that you years. I'll be 64 in a few weeks. Been riding SS and gears on both road and mountain bikes for decades. I still enjoy the SS bikes as much as I ever have. As I've aged, I've become much more selective on when and where to ride the SS bikes. Geared bikes get the longer, tougher rides and SS get the flat-ish shorter rides. A long time ago I stopped trying to do every ride I do on geared bikes, on one of my SS bikes.

    Things that I've learned:

    -If I've had a layoff, don't touch SS until I get miles back in my legs on a geared bike.

    -Gearing is your friend. Check your ego and go 32 x 24 if you have to (29er). You'll be spinning like crazy but will save those knees.

    -Listen to your body. Sound cliche but if something is not working, back off. Forget the no pain no gain crap.

    -Core work in the gym
    Great advice! I agree, especially the listening to your body and doing core work. I donít really have a flat-ish loop near me but have reduced my gears and could go a bit lower. I havenít tried the Oval ring but might give that a shot too.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rod View Post
    I personally can't tell a difference with an oval, but some people swear by them.
    I was a holdout on the new wave of oval rings. My first mountain bike (Ď88 GT Timberline) came stock with Biopace, so I guess you could say I was a bit jaded

    Then tried an friendís SS with an absolute black ring 4 or five years ago and couldnít get past how weird it felt just pedaling around the parking lot.

    Finally tried a Wolftooth oval on my SS CX bike last year and kicked myself for not making the change sooner. The Wolftooth isnít as aggressively clocked as the AB, so it didnít feel weird - just better. Now both my SS MTBs are sporting Wolftooth ovals as well.

    I personally donít think ring shape is a big factor with senior singlespeeding, but Iíll be 52 next month and donít plan to give back my ovals or add gears any time soon.

  13. #13
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    Oval rings are legit, 53 here and singlespeeding more than ever, gear down if that's what it takes. Ride more
    I've been inside too long.

  14. #14
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    I am 54 and up until this past year, had ridden only a SS for about the last 13 years. Lots of great recommendations here, so probably the only thing I'll re-emphasize is taking it easy when coming back. Not only from not riding, but if you have not been riding SS. Last year, I built up a geared HT and spent a good part of the season riding that bike. When the newness of that finally starting wearing off and I got the SS back out, I found myself in a situation similar to yours. My favorite local trail has lots of steep, punchy hills and I was not used to the different riding position when attacking these hills on a rigid SS. I had to come to terms with laying off the miles and most difficult sections for awhile.

    Rode those trails yesterday with a group of friends, knees felt great and I felt just as strong as ever, so it does come back. Like someone else here mentioned, as you get older, it just takes longer to recover.

  15. #15
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    Iím 53 and ride a mix of SS (~1/3rd of the time) and geared 29erís.

    Riding SS has never bothered my knees and I intend to keep it up for the foreseeable future.

    Iím contemplating swapping out 2x10 for SS on my gravel bike. A number of drop bar commuters on my ~18 mi route to work have done that and say it is much better/simpler and more efficient.


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  16. #16
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    I'll be 62 next month and riding SS for last 10 years. I stop a bit more nowadays, no super long standing climbs, gearing 32x21 on the 29ers except the ROS9+ went down to 30x22 for the 2.8 Vigilantes man those are heavy(~1400gm) to get spinning but slowly building up will probably go back to 30x21 at some point(the larger diameter and weight is noticeable on the plus tires). Knees have never been an issue despite torn meniscus surgery on right knee about 15 years ago. Have had a few setbacks due to crash injuries along the way though, so struggles to get back from those. Try to do a bit of cross training as well, running stairs with hand weights etc.

    As an aside, the Riot makes an awesome SS/FS bike even though it's no lightweight it pedals lighter than its weight. The GT Peace 9R is more of a street cruiser now so much different gearing 36x16 IIRC.
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  17. #17
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    I was a holdout on the new wave of oval rings. My first mountain bike (Ď88 GT Timberline) came stock with Biopace, so I guess you could say I was a bit jaded

    Then tried an friendís SS with an absolute black ring 4 or five years ago and couldnít get past how weird it felt just pedaling around the parking lot.

    Finally tried a Wolftooth oval on my SS CX bike last year and kicked myself for not making the change sooner. The Wolftooth isnít as aggressively clocked as the AB, so it didnít feel weird - just better. Now both my SS MTBs are sporting Wolftooth ovals as well.

    I personally donít think ring shape is a big factor with senior singlespeeding, but Iíll be 52 next month and donít plan to give back my ovals or add gears any time soon.
    My oval is an absolute black 32. Pedaling around was really odd at first on the road, but I couldn't notice it on the trail. My other friends swear by ovals too. I think I'm just one of those guys who can run anything that's remotely close and get away with it.

  18. #18
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    I also have pain going up and down stairs so I'm going to need to do some stretching, something I've neglected. I've always kept my knees healthy since I work in orthopedics doing joint replacements. Off to find a 32t 104 ring. That brings be to another thought. My cranks are 180mm. I have a new set of 175 RF Turbines I might play with. Probably easier to find a ring for those anyway.
    Ripping trails and tipping ales

  19. #19
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    Gears aren't such a bad deal, some people actually manage to have a lot of fun riding bikes with them.

    Shorter cranks wouldn't hurt either.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I'll be 50 this summer and the knees just aren't what they were. I haven't rode since before the holidays, traveling, weather and all that. I'm hoping that once back on the bike, they'll get stronger. Another problem is the very steep terrain here. The bike is 26 and by gearing is 34x20. I went snowboarding yesterday and the knees are fine.

    The thought of parting out and selling my Coconino is sickening. I just bought a Guerilla Gravity 29er but I love single speeding.
    What it takes is moderation in getting back in the groove. I've been dealing with junk knees for many years, as in I need total joint replacement since my joints are faceted, bone on bone.
    Spinning up, let the gears work and give it the necessary time. Punchy? Gear down some. Yus, it will take from the upper end but once you work back up, you can go back to taller gears. All in moderation in an effort to preserve rather than aggravate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I've decided on stretching, yoga and a 32t oval ring.
    Now you're cookin'!! I do this when my joints tell a story. Pain starts, I break out my gear kits and change it up until I can return to taller gears.
    Gear setups;
    I do take the time to change gears for specific rides. Again, preservation and also makes for a better experience for some of my haunts.

    Vader, dont't throw the towel in until ya need one of those stair lifts and a freakin walker, seriously.

    Having built up an RSD MiddleChild last year as a SS, I cannot get enough of it.

    Gear kits are a chain with a cog, set to length, ready to go. Those plastic containers Sram chains come with are handy for storing each cog with its respective chain.
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  21. #21
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    I'm 54 and do most of my riding on the SS. I don't do any mashing while sitting. If I don't stand for hard efforts, knees complain immediately. Also use oval rings, foam roller and lots of stretching.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by td9323 View Post
    I'm 54 and do most of my riding on the SS. I don't do any mashing while sitting. If I don't stand for hard efforts, knees complain immediately. Also use oval rings, foam roller and lots of stretching.
    Agreed. I never exert any real effort while seated. Seated, I'm simply spinning to maintain momentum. Any effort is done while standing. My lumbar can't handle seated efforts and I'll bet my knees would protest too.

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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    I've always kept my knees healthy since I work in orthopedics doing joint replacements.
    Can you share what you do specifically to keep your knees healthy?


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  24. #24
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    I'm almost 52 and ride only SS. I live in a mountainous area so everywhere is up. Most of my knee pain used to come from over-developed and tight quads pulling my knee to the side. Quad stretches, good hip stretches and IT band stretches, plus deep knee bends and lunges have sorted out almost all of my knee pain.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scribb View Post
    I'm almost 52 and ride only SS. I live in a mountainous area so everywhere is up. Most of my knee pain used to come from over-developed and tight quads pulling my knee to the side. Quad stretches, good hip stretches and IT band stretches, plus deep knee bends and lunges have sorted out almost all of my knee pain.
    This...

    I just turned 50 and have been riding SS for 10 years. Iíve consistently been in the gym my whole life and in the last 5 have been focusing more and more on a balanced fitness program to address imbalances and prevent injury.

    Although early in my quest for knowledge, I do believe a comprehensive conditioning program is very beneficial to keeping things mostly pain free.

    In my case, my hips have suddenly been feeling tight and I suspect it might be some quad dominance.

    Iím addicted to SS and plan on riding it for a long time.


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  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by racefit View Post
    This...

    I just turned 50 and have been riding SS for 10 years. Iíve consistently been in the gym my whole life and in the last 5 have been focusing more and more on a balanced fitness program to address imbalances and prevent injury.

    Although early in my quest for knowledge, I do believe a comprehensive conditioning program is very beneficial to keeping things mostly pain free.

    In my case, my hips have suddenly been feeling tight and I suspect it might be some quad dominance.

    Iím addicted to SS and plan on riding it for a long time.


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    I've been an assistant coach for a high school team for five seasons. We have a weekly TRX/Yoga night that is tuned for our season and sport. In the fall we do TRX/Tabata training. It's all about strength and indurance. Lots of core work. In the winter pre-season we switch to Yoga and what used to be called isometrics, but I'm sure they have a fancier name now. Things like lying on your back and trying to walk stairs on the ceiling. Lots more core work.

    I've done different kinds of yoga--not all of it is useful for cycling. Finding someone who can put together a set of poses that are especially good for legs and lower back helps. There are a lot of good hip poses--YouTube is great for that stuff. Look up hip opening poses, outer hip poses. Also IT band stretches are good for MTB.

    Yoga definitely makes me a much better rider. Core adds another big layer, which is hard to grasp until you feel it. When your core is strong, not only do you no longer get lower back pain on long rides, but you can throw the bike around more, and it just becomes snappier. I've been able to push harder on technical downhills, and have had a couple of near bails where I was somehow able to right the bike, and I could feel it coming from core strength.
    Life. It's bigger.

  27. #27
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    50. Been riding SS full rigid since 2004. I stand and mash and pull on handlebars to transfer energy from upper body. Never had any knee problems. Also, I always, use my arms to push myself up from any squatting position when off the bike. Couple of observations:

    Newer geometry with shorter stems and longer wheelbase/fork offset or slacker head tube angle makes it more difficult to involve the upper body when standing while climbing. A longer stem seems to help this. With newer geometry it feels more like flys motion (shoulder muscles) than rowing motion (triceps/deltoids) while standing and climbing. I prefer the later as shoulder muscles seem to weaken more with age.

    I found relief from years of lower back pain and spasms through concentration on proper hip hinge involvement while seated. Mainly because my short hamstring muscles tend to keep my hips from hinging properly. Canít stress enough how this solved my back problems after years of searching and trips to doctors/pt. Takes quite a bit of concentration tho.


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  28. #28
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    I'm 52 and converted my 2x9 road bike to SS (45/19) the other week.
    Our hills suit 32/21 or 32/22 on the 29er. Although my old converted 26" MTB was running 34/20, but that's all I could run on that one.
    Some trails might be 40min of standing and grinding.


    Oval rings for SS gold!

  29. #29
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    Knee problems and single speeding is a myth.
    That only happens if you don't stand up when pedaling hard.

  30. #30
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    - 57 and have both a FSR (Tallboy) and an SS 29er.......I ride the SS as much or more than the FSR but I do go wimpy on the gearing - 32X22 with an AB oval ring.......no problems here.......
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  31. #31
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    56 riding a Unit, never had knee problems. I'm also a trail runner and I'm lightweight, I think that helps. And I have a fixed gear Gunnar Street Dog as well as geared bikes.

    Just spent three months off the bike due to a crash, starting back on the road this weekend but can't risk a fall for a couple more months so won't be mountain biking. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get the legs back.
    This post is a natural product. Variances in spelling & grammar should be appreciated as part of its character & beauty.

  32. #32
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    Just turned 60, and celebrated SSing for 10 years on a rigid 29er with 34x20 and 180 cranks. +1 for all the comments on stretching both pre and post ride. I also have a geared bike I use to get back in riding shape for a month or so after the winter layoff.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    Just turned 60, and celebrated SSing for 10 years on a rigid 29er...
    Nice! A guy in our group (Austin Single Speeders) treated himself to this for his 61st bday.

    #SSendero

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCSS View Post
    Nice! A guy in our group (Austin Single Speeders) treated himself to this for his 61st bday.

    #SSendero
    Awesome stuff!

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    Happy Birthday to HIM!

  36. #36
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    I'm 61, I started riding my SS regularly last year. I am not riding anywhere fast on any of my bikes. I have a knee that does not support standing and pedaling but I like to climb, so have my bike geared 26x21 and have been surprised by what I can get up. This type of riding suits me, the work is in the climbing and I'm satisfied with the pace. Between my SS and my fat bike my others are collecting dust.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaynec View Post
    I'm 61, I started riding my SS regularly last year. I am not riding anywhere fast on any of my bikes. I have a knee that does not support standing and pedaling but I like to climb, so have my bike geared 26x21 and have been surprised by what I can get up. This type of riding suits me, the work is in the climbing and I'm satisfied with the pace. Between my SS and my fat bike my others are collecting dust.
    Sound like youíre single speeding out of aging :-)

  38. #38
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    It's a good life.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by attaboy View Post
    Sound like youíre single speeding out of aging :-)
    Well played!

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    I just got this yesterday. Replacing my seven year old Niner A9C.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails I might have to age out of single speeding.-img_5198.jpg  


  41. #41
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    Having built up an RSD MiddleChild last year as a SS, I cannot get enough of it.

    Gear kits are a chain with a cog, set to length, ready to go. Those plastic containers Sram chains come with are handy for storing each cog with its respective chain.[/QUOTE]

    Post a pic please. The RSD Geo looks really fun. What fork and travel did you choose?

    I havenít gone that slack but definitely slacking it more than my original SS rigs. I donít have back pain probably because I stand a lot and my SS are fully rigid. Plus I do a lot of functional and core exercises with balance when at the gym.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by td9323 View Post
    I just got this yesterday. Replacing my seven year old Niner A9C.
    Post it up when completed please!
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    Quote Originally Posted by td9323 View Post
    I just got this yesterday. Replacing my seven year old Niner A9C.

    I'm about to hit the one year mark with my Sendero (production #1b) here in March. Without a doubt you will love it, enjoy!!
    Pedal through it!

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardmtnbiker View Post
    Having built up an RSD MiddleChild last year as a SS, I cannot get enough of it.

    Gear kits are a chain with a cog, set to length, ready to go. Those plastic containers Sram chains come with are handy for storing each cog with its respective chain.
    Post a pic please. The RSD Geo looks really fun. What fork and travel did you choose?

    I havenít gone that slack but definitely slacking it more than my original SS rigs. I donít have back pain probably because I stand a lot and my SS are fully rigid. Plus I do a lot of functional and core exercises with balance when at the gym.[/QUOTE]

    Fork is a Pike 150mm. The handling is just amazing with this geometry. One thing I don't do well is ride a seat that towers over the bars, just freakin' no!
    I have scoliosis and this bike has no adverse tendencies with it. Getting into the power band is excellent and allows for a better riding posture for the flow trails and such. What this needs is Onyx hubs for real, proper lash free engagement. That is the one place for improvement that would be amazing.

    Fuel economy. 2-3 sammiches per hour!



    I might have to age out of single speeding.-img_1216-2-.jpg

    I might have to age out of single speeding.-img_1228.jpg

    Quote Originally Posted by td9323 View Post
    I just got this yesterday. Replacing my seven year old Niner A9C.
    That frame does look playful and comfortable
    Get fAt, Stay fAt, Ride fAt
    Doctor recommended...

  45. #45
    Uncle
    Reputation: Entrenador's Avatar
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    My 2cents: Oval rings work better than oval cogs. You're welcome.

  46. #46
    Rippin da fAt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Entrenador View Post
    My 2cents: Oval rings work better than oval cogs. You're welcome.
    Great, got an oval ring and now the chain goes from sloppy loose to bow string tight as it's operating!!
    Those oval rings might be nice on a geared or spring tensioner setup tho'.
    Get fAt, Stay fAt, Ride fAt
    Doctor recommended...

  47. #47
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeRune View Post
    Great, got an oval ring and now the chain goes from sloppy loose to bow string tight as it's operating!!
    Those oval rings might be nice on a geared or spring tensioner setup tho'.
    Not my experience with Wolftooth ovals. Depends on what brand oval you run.

    Also, even in area that it's loose, the chain is not going to fall off if the other end is super tight.
    by Silentfoe
    I'm satisfied knowing that what I wear during my "day" job makes me more of a man than you'll ever be.

  48. #48
    Armature speller
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    Quote Originally Posted by BansheeRune View Post
    Great, got an oval ring and now the chain goes from sloppy loose to bow string tight as it's operating!!
    Those oval rings might be nice on a geared or spring tensioner setup tho'.
    They're better on an SS than a gearie.

    Standing low rpm grinding is where they excel.
    Absolute Black even call them "Traction Rings" now.

  49. #49
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    50 and Getting some single track yesterday, stay the course.









  50. #50
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    Killing it on your fully rigid SS! The frame and build looks awesome!
    Seven Sola fully rigid MTN SS
    #1⚙️All year
    Seven Evergreen gravel grinder
    #ride4lifefit4life
    Esker Hayduke hardtail

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