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  1. #1
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    Single speeding knees?

    This has been my first year on a SS and I have about 10 races in and many training hours since April. It has been suiting me well and I have even kicked a little ass from time to time.

    Yesterday we had a longish race on some pretty bumpy and technical terrain in northern Wisconsin. About 15 miles in to our race yesterday, my left knee decided it had had enough. Whenever I would stand up to grind a climb, the outer and forward area of my knee would feel like something was trying to tear, like it couldn't support the force. I sized up my situation and decided to ride the remainder of the lap essentially one-legged and abandon the race before I screwed myself out of the rest of my season.

    Today the pain is only when I test with one-legged squats really, slight discomfort when walking. Has anyone had knee problems that they attribute to singlespeeding? I want to believe that changing my saddle height is what did it, or maybe even a cleat. I have never had knee or joint problems before no matter how terrible my bike fit and have been pretty durable no matter what I try and do to myself.

    I am really pretty bummed and don't know what to do/think. I could use some similar experiences or advice if any has any. Thanks

  2. #2
    mudnthebloodnthebeer
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    I think it's likely that existing biomechanical issues could be exacerbated by the forces imposed by SSing, but it hasn't been my personal experience that my somewhat fiddly knees have suffered additionally for lack of gears. I'll qualify that by saying that I just don't do climbs on the bike where every pedal stroke is a struggle-the body english required for slow speed ascending on even moderately technical terrain can put your knees in positions that are incompatible with putting pressure on the joint. Riding a bike uphill at walking speed doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    Also, the streets are full of horizontal dropouts...

    BSNYC

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by unstuckpilgrim
    This has been my first year on a SS and I have about 10 races in and many training hours since April. It has been suiting me well and I have even kicked a little ass from time to time.

    Yesterday we had a longish race on some pretty bumpy and technical terrain in northern Wisconsin. About 15 miles in to our race yesterday, my left knee decided it had had enough. Whenever I would stand up to grind a climb, the outer and forward area of my knee would feel like something was trying to tear, like it couldn't support the force. I sized up my situation and decided to ride the remainder of the lap essentially one-legged and abandon the race before I screwed myself out of the rest of my season.

    Today the pain is only when I test with one-legged squats really, slight discomfort when walking. Has anyone had knee problems that they attribute to singlespeeding? I want to believe that changing my saddle height is what did it, or maybe even a cleat. I have never had knee or joint problems before no matter how terrible my bike fit and have been pretty durable no matter what I try and do to myself.

    I am really pretty bummed and don't know what to do/think. I could use some similar experiences or advice if any has any. Thanks
    Exact same circumstances for me - I raced 24 Hours in the Sage last weekend and on my last lap my left-knee was in extreme pain. I could barely put any weight on it to walk down a techy section. This past Tuesday I got on my road bike and had to turn back - it was just too painful to pedal. I've been icing, popping IB and staying off the bike since. My knee is now feeling much better (no more pain walking up/down stairs) and I'm going to attempt a short road ride this evening. I normally ride "shorter" than most people with respect to saddle-height, so I'm adjusting my saddle up a cm or so and see what happens.

    My thoughts/fears are the same as yours - Moab is coming up and I already paid :-).

    Good luck - I think all you can do is rest....

  4. #4
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    I'm pretty sure that it all comes down to saddle height and crank length.

  5. #5
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    I took the bike downstairs tonight for the post race cleaning and lube and noticed my post had slipped nearly 2 inches. I am cautiously optimistic that this was my problem. So I'm going to be ordering a more manly clamp like a Salsa liplock. Anyone know the O.D. of a Raleigh xxix seat tube?

  6. #6
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    27.2 seatpost size. Order up a thomson pst too while you are at it

  7. #7
    Harrumph
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    SS is not harder on the knees directly, but if you have any other fit issues they will become very apparent. Check that your cleats too, thats a common knee killer. The other thing I'd say is get to the gym and work out the Hamstrings. I've got some crappy knees and the last Ortho I saw told me that my problems are not helped by the relative over development of the quads compared to the hammys. If you balance out the legs and learn to use the hammys in the peal stroke, that whole peddle in circle thing, you'll have a stronger pedal stroke and happier knees. This has helped my ITB tendonitis, lack of cartilage under my right kneecap, and torn Miniscus. I ride and race a fixie with a pretty big gear and the only pain is in my lungs.
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

  8. #8
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    The only issue I've found is that once you ride SS a lot you tend to develop a fair amount of power - so you can turn a pretty big gear going up pretty steep hills, and maybe not even have to get out of the saddle.

    I tweaked my patella tendon a couple of years ago grinding up a very steep road climb (30%) turning 2:1 and sat down for a lot of it. It took a good few months for it to settle down and I still feel it occasionally. But it's nothing that a more sensible climbing technique (ie climbing in a mix/variety of positions) and good pre and post ride stretching won't solve.

    Sometimes with SS you do put higher strain on your joints and soft tissues - so you just need to be sensible about it and spot when you're putting things at risk.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt H
    27.2 seatpost size. Order up a thomson pst too while you are at it
    Thanks! I already use a 27.2 Thomson post. I just need a good collar and Salsa measures those on the O.D. of the seat tube, rather than the I.D. which would be the post size. I don't own a caliper to take the measurement, and Raleigh doesn't post specs on their site. I'm sure I can figure it out since it is not quite advanced rocketry. Thanks for the replies.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB
    The only issue I've found is that once you ride SS a lot you tend to develop a fair amount of power - so you can turn a pretty big gear going up pretty steep hills, and maybe not even have to get out of the saddle.

    I tweaked my patella tendon a couple of years ago grinding up a very steep road climb (30%) turning 2:1 and sat down for a lot of it. It took a good few months for it to settle down and I still feel it occasionally. But it's nothing that a more sensible climbing technique (ie climbing in a mix/variety of positions) and good pre and post ride stretching won't solve.

    Sometimes with SS you do put higher strain on your joints and soft tissues - so you just need to be sensible about it and spot when you're putting things at risk.
    I must admit I am terrible at remembering to stretch. I have every gram of pre-race carbs calculated and timed appropriately, but still can't seem to pull off a simple thing like stretching.

    I have also been experimenting with overgearing/undergearing, trying to figure out where my personal powerband really is. For the races where I was horribly overgeared, like (36x14 29er), I may have been slower but experienced no discomfort. For this past race I ran quite a bit smaller than usual at 32x16 so was doing quite a bit of bouncy spinning at the lead out. I am still hoping that an improper saddle height for high cadence spinning coupled with a sloppy spin is what did me in. Time will tell.

  11. #11
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    Well, my knees ain't so great, and I really notice it when I SS. Just ice 'em, NSAID's, give 'em a few days rest, you'll hopefully be OK. It does get better. If it doesn't don't keep riding until you have it checked by somebody knowledgeable about sports injuries. DONT do one legged squats, or anything that really loads the posterior of the patella (except riding SS, of course. That's asking for knee probs. Might need to drop your gearing slightly. That can help a lot.

  12. #12
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    Nobody measures their clamp by the seatpost size, as it is the seatpost tube on the frame that determines the size of the clamp.

    OK, to word it better: The clamp is determined by the OD of the seatpost tube of the frame.

    Generally speaking... 27.2 seatpost on a steel frame will use a 30mm collar and a 27.2 post on an aluminum frame will use a 32mm collar. Hope this helps.


    Quote Originally Posted by unstuckpilgrim
    Salsa measures those on the O.D. of the seat tube, rather than the I.D. which would be the post size.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanB
    The only issue I've found is that once you ride SS a lot you tend to develop a fair amount of power - so you can turn a pretty big gear going up pretty steep hills, and maybe not even have to get out of the saddle.
    Turning the big gear seated could be the problem. Trying to turn a SS gear seated puts more stress on your knees than it does by standing. In the past that is where I found most of my knee pain coming from.
    "Life is a F@#^ing story problem, get used to it - my son.

  14. #14
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    Here is a link to another thread, with quite a bit of info on knees and singlespeeds.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...ighlight=knees
    "Life is a F@#^ing story problem, get used to it - my son.

  15. #15
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    Forgive my ignorance, but how does the cleat position affect your knee? I am asking because my knee acts up from time to time from ACL surgery years ago.

  16. #16
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    Your cleat position affects the position of your whole lower leg and foot. Too much twist, cant or wrong fore/aft position can muck things up, and your knee is going to take that stress.
    "Life is a F@#^ing story problem, get used to it - my son.

  17. #17
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    My knees used to hurt so bad that I would have a hard time walking after long rides on the singlespeed. Got to the point where I decided to go see a physiotherapist. Turned out that the muscle imbalances in my leg were so bad that everything was pulling on the kneecap and the surrounding tissues. She also said my IT band was way too tight and set to work breaking it down which is about the most painful thing I can remember feeling in a long time. She then prescribed a set of basic exercises and stretches to keep it from getting too out of whack. Since then things have been pretty good. As long as I stretch and ice after rides I don't experience too many problems. Have a look at these links and see if any of them can help you out.

    http://www.topbike.com.au/pdfs/ba-ma...mma-colson.pdf

    http://www.topbike.com.au/physio.htm

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