Pedals and knees- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Pedals and knees

    Hi,

    I am relatively new to single speeding (about 1 year). I am slowly riding it more than my xcross rig, depending on my mood. I enjoy the SS bike a lot. I recently moved to an area with more steeper hills on the weekl;y rides. I can clear the entire trail with my single speed and I muscle through the steep sections, but my knees really the effects later that night.

    I have read that pedals could be part of the problem...I am running Times now. Should I look into new pedals or am I just building up new muscles, etc and the pain will go away? Basically, I do not want to damage my knees (which I feel are healthy) and I enjoy the single speed riding...solutions please?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dude!
    Hi,

    I am relatively new to single speeding (about 1 year). I am slowly riding it more than my xcross rig, depending on my mood. I enjoy the SS bike a lot. I recently moved to an area with more steeper hills on the weekl;y rides. I can clear the entire trail with my single speed and I muscle through the steep sections, but my knees really the effects later that night.

    I have read that pedals could be part of the problem...I am running Times now. Should I look into new pedals or am I just building up new muscles, etc and the pain will go away? Basically, I do not want to damage my knees (which I feel are healthy) and I enjoy the single speed riding...solutions please?

    Thanks!
    Lower your gearing a bit.
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  3. #3
    Faster Than Your TV!
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    Check...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dude!
    Hi,

    I am relatively new to single speeding (about 1 year). I am slowly riding it more than my xcross rig, depending on my mood. I enjoy the SS bike a lot. I recently moved to an area with more steeper hills on the weekl;y rides. I can clear the entire trail with my single speed and I muscle through the steep sections, but my knees really the effects later that night.

    I have read that pedals could be part of the problem...I am running Times now. Should I look into new pedals or am I just building up new muscles, etc and the pain will go away? Basically, I do not want to damage my knees (which I feel are healthy) and I enjoy the single speed riding...solutions please?

    Thanks!
    your saddle height and fore/aft position...too low/far forward can put extra stress on your knees.

    Knee pain is never good and shouldn't be confused with muscle pain, which is often a product of muscle adaptation to new (higher) loads and can thus be considered a "good" pain. Muscle pain should be confined to quads/calfs and maybe hamstrings if you're really pulling up on the pedals on the upstroke.
    "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!'' -- Henri Desgrange, from an article in L'Equipe

    Wrench In the Gears

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dude!
    Hi,

    I am relatively new to single speeding (about 1 year). I am slowly riding it more than my xcross rig, depending on my mood. I enjoy the SS bike a lot. I recently moved to an area with more steeper hills on the weekl;y rides. I can clear the entire trail with my single speed and I muscle through the steep sections, but my knees really the effects later that night.

    I have read that pedals could be part of the problem...I am running Times now. Should I look into new pedals or am I just building up new muscles, etc and the pain will go away? Basically, I do not want to damage my knees (which I feel are healthy) and I enjoy the single speed riding...solutions please?

    Thanks!
    Your BB width can be a source of trouble too. I tried 107mm for a while, but found pain issues, switched back to 113mm, and they went away...

    --Billy


    A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
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  5. #5
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    several possibilities

    Saddle position is important, Cleat position with some pedals, Q factor (width between pedals)affected by type of cranks pedals and bottom bracket, and of course gearing. Any one of these could be the source of your trouble.

    I had some problems on my road bike and I have to run "Knee Savers" spacers between my pedals and cranks. I don't seem to need them on my SS or FS bikes, I use pedals with decent float also. I spent the money one time to be professionally fitted, it was done years ago on my road bike and that's when I was told to get the knee savers. I was able to adapt the correct fit to my other bikes with minor variations. There are several online resources for fitting your bike and position. If you do this yourself and find you need to change your position significantly, do it over time in small increments. A friend of mine was fit at Supergo and the lame tech moved his saddle up about 4-5 cm and back about 2-3 in one swift move, on the first ride my friend pulled a hamstring and was off the bike for weeks.
    Two Wheeled and Too Big

  6. #6
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    Continue...

    Hi

    Thanks for the quick responses so far....

    I am relatively anal about my seat position, etc. However, I did add sometime ago a cane creek thudbuster.

    Too narrow in on the potential problem....I hear a little clicking in my knees on the steep steep climbs, usually when I am in the saddle (not standing up). Should I hop out of the saddle more? I am running 2:1 ratio (32-16). As one member mentioned, I think my bottom bracket width is narrower than on my xcross rig. I never thought of this aspect as being the problem. I never have this problem on xcross rig and at times I mash gears (may be not for the same time period). I try to keep a smooth pedal stroke though.

    Thanks!

  7. #7
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    Stand Up!

    A straighter knee transfers force much better than a bent one. Sitting and grinding is not a good idea. It'll take some time to build the muscles to climb standing at slow cadence for long periods but you can learn it the same way you learned to spin in a low gear on your gearie.

    Practice, Practice, Practice.

  8. #8
    there is no spoon
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    Right on Brandon. Learning how to stand for miles just rocking back and forth Keep the energy of your pedal stroke moving your feet out to the pedals, and don't force your legs.

    And gear down too. Clicking in the knees is something to be avioded.

    Don't sweat it if you can't always make the climbs now. Your in the singlespeed learning curve ( and it is rather steep.)






    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon
    Stand Up!

    A straighter knee transfers force much better than a bent one. Sitting and grinding is not a good idea. It'll take some time to build the muscles to climb standing at slow cadence for long periods but you can learn it the same way you learned to spin in a low gear on your gearie.

    Practice, Practice, Practice.
    Don't worship the pain.

  9. #9
    KgB
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    knee pain

    I get knee pains on my road bike if I push too big of a gear.
    Seat position is also likely but if you have the same setup on a geared bike without pain I would lower my gearing
    I've been inside too long.

  10. #10
    zeebot
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    pedals

    i had spd's last year and my right knee always hurt no matter how i adjusted stuff. switched to eggbeaters recently and havent felt the knee pain since. same bike, same settings etc..

  11. #11
    openwound
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    ditto, on the check...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dude!
    Hi

    Thanks for the quick responses so far....

    I am relatively anal about my seat position, etc. However, I did add sometime ago a cane creek thudbuster.

    Too narrow in on the potential problem....I hear a little clicking in my knees on the steep steep climbs, usually when I am in the saddle (not standing up). Should I hop out of the saddle more? I am running 2:1 ratio (32-16). As one member mentioned, I think my bottom bracket width is narrower than on my xcross rig. I never thought of this aspect as being the problem. I never have this problem on xcross rig and at times I mash gears (may be not for the same time period). I try to keep a smooth pedal stroke though.

    Thanks!
    (out of lurk mode)

    ...saddle height again. When your heel is on the peddle, with the crank in the six o'clock position, knee should be straight (yeah, sorry, i knew you knew that...). And remember that moving your saddle back on its rails is like raising it, and moving it forward is akin to lowering it. Knee pain of the kind you describe is likely due to positioning.

    I've always been just a little leery of suspension posts. I may be smokin' my socks but it seems to me that it wouldn't be a good idea to introduce something that's going to vary your ride height as you ride. Sounds like a recipe for knee pain...

    (back to lurk mode)

  12. #12
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    don't like suspension seatposts either.

    not that i have any good physics or engineering behind my concern to back that up, other than i just don't like the changing height thing. too low = good pain (thank you, trials bike lessons. just don't sit down ever). that's good as in significant, not pleasant, pain.

    also, maybe consider gearing down. i know 2:1 is supposed to be "the" ratio, but i don't like it on my knees, either. i err on the side of spin - 32:18 - and i have pretty strong legs (ran track sprints, played running back, etc) and reasonable climbing form. as my knees are about the only joints i have that don't give me some issues, i try to baby them. probably more than i have to, but ...

  13. #13
    Retro Grouch
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    let me tell you about knee pain..

    Before I went to single speed I thought my knees were going. I rode a number of road Centuries and I started to have major pain in my knees. Two things I found out: First I started to ride more hills in preparation for the Solvang Century that I now ride every year (last year on a fixed gear); and second I went to the gym. I do leg lifts on the machine where you sit and push the weight up. I do 4 sets of 20. I started at about 250 lbs and over 2 years have increased to 400 lbs. My knees no longer bother me at all (I'm 49). Use it or lose it.

    1G1G, Brad

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