singlespeed and saddle height....?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    singlespeed and saddle height....?

    i tend to ride with my saddle a little lower (a couple cm's) than ideal cause i can toss the bike around more and get behind the saddle easier.
    it also makes the occasional bail easier.
    now, i know that a lower saddle is not good for the knees as-is single speeding aggressively offroad.
    are these 2 things combined gonna double up the knee problems?
    what's your saddle height like?

  2. #2
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    Wow, I didn't realize Paul Davis wore corrective lenses.

    Anyway, I run my saddle at 2 different heights. One is about 2cm below roadie height and the other is down about 6cm from that. I don't have knee troubles.

  3. #3
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    On rolling single track and technical stuff as well as climbs and downhill, I ride with the seat really low. I'm standing about 80% of the time I guess. I raise it to nearly roady high on flats and rolling hills as well as the road ride home. I keep it low on climbs because if it gets technical or too steep and I have to bail I like lot of bail room. No knee trouble here but could use a hip replacement (not ss related).

  4. #4
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    I have my saddle slightly lower than normal and of course being ss i stand alot ... no knee problems ... despite being a grown up of 53
    Having the seat too high can lead to some pain down there ...
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  5. #5
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    i keep my seat at the same level on my rigid ss as i do my geared 1x9. no issues.
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  6. #6
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    If you're standing 80% of the time, a lower saddle might make sense, but otherwise I don't see any reason to run a different saddle height on a ss. Running the 'optimal' height for seated pedalling makes more sense, IMHO.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by veloreality
    i keep my seat at the same level on my rigid ss as i do my geared 1x9. no issues.
    Me too

  8. #8
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    I keep my seat at the same height on all my bikes. I always was under the impression that you lose power when the seat is either too high or to low.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by RicanMTB'r
    Me too
    Me three.

    SSing is not bad for knees. Please, OP, don't start or fall for such a rumor.

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  10. #10
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    Seat is at the same height on SS or geared. It's as high as possible without restricting my movement when standing, which ends up being about an inch lower than optimal.

    I think single speed being bad for the knees is a myth. The most strain is put on the knees when they're bent, and the more bent they are, the worse it is. The leg and knee can take an amazing amount of force without issue when straight. With a geared bike, you usually sit and spin up the hill, and you're applying a fair amount of force at the top of the stroke, where your knee has the most bend in it. However, on a single speed, you're standing almost immediately upon hitting a climb, and you're applying power with your knee straighter.

    Personally, I had knee pain on and off when riding a geared bike. No pain since switching to a single speed two years ago.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad mechanic
    Seat is at the same height on SS or geared. It's as high as possible without restricting my movement when standing, which ends up being about an inch lower than optimal.

    I think single speed being bad for the knees is a myth. The most strain is put on the knees when they're bent, and the more bent they are, the worse it is. The leg and knee can take an amazing amount of force without issue when straight. With a geared bike, you usually sit and spin up the hill, and you're applying a fair amount of force at the top of the stroke, where your knee has the most bend in it. However, on a single speed, you're standing almost immediately upon hitting a climb, and you're applying power with your knee straighter.

    Personally, I had knee pain on and off when riding a geared bike. No pain since switching to a single speed two years ago.
    makes sense to me
    Quote Originally Posted by ISuckAtRiding View Post
    The dude is like 120lbs, tops lol he can run any tires he wants without issues, i'm sure.
    :D

  12. #12
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    + 1 for the disbelief in the knee pain myth.

    I tend to have my seat a bit higher than recommended because it makes the lift off for climbing quicker.
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  13. #13
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    well, i personally know of 2 people that have recently switched to ss and have developed tendinitis.
    i have ridden mtb for awhile now (geared) and went to ss a few months ago and have developed some knee pain (after changing nothing in the fit/geo of the bike).
    so i guess the myth is in my head?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny the boy
    well, i personally know of 2 people that have recently switched to ss and have developed tendinitis.
    i have ridden mtb for awhile now (geared) and went to ss a few months ago and have developed some knee pain (after changing nothing in the fit/geo of the bike).
    so i guess the myth is in my head?
    After fighting knee problems for 20 years, I am fairly aware of what is going on. I recently switched to SS, and despite some rather grueling climbs, my knees are holding together well. There have been a couple of instances where I tweaked them a little or could otherwise feel bad form. I quickly corrected my form in these cases. They are the same type of form issues I have seen, jumping, lifting, or biking in the past.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny the boy
    well, i personally know of 2 people that have recently switched to ss and have developed tendinitis.
    i have ridden mtb for awhile now (geared) and went to ss a few months ago and have developed some knee pain (after changing nothing in the fit/geo of the bike).
    so i guess the myth is in my head?
    Sounds like you simply haven't adjusted your technique from geared to single speed. Stand up to pedal sooner, and don't try to just power through a climb sitting down. If you try to stay seated, you'll be slower and will strain your knees.

    "Stand up on a climb a lot sooner than you think you have to" is one of two pieces of advice I always give to someone when they're trying single speed for the first time.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by the old fool
    I have my saddle slightly lower than normal and of course being ss i stand alot ... no knee problems ... despite being a grown up of 53
    Having the seat too high can lead to some pain down there ...
    This old fool agrees with that old fool - I ride my ss with my saddle just a little lower than my old geared FS... I stand for most of the harder climbs, and like to ease the load on the A-B-C a bit... In fact, since I started riding SS my knees have been better than they have in years. Rarely have knee pain. Lowered the saddle on my road bike about 3-4mm also, and do stand a bit more on it now for steeper climbs.
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  17. #17
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    I think the knee problems are more related to other issues like clip and shoe angles than to saddle height. There's the age old myth at the gym where you shouldn't bend your knee past 90 when squatting or you'll seriously hurt yourself, but that has much more to do with the position of your feet putting a compromising angle on your knee. In those terms, when you lower your saddle your knees can have a tendency to be pushed outward slightly possibly causing repetitive stresses not in line with how the knee is designed to bend. Add those slightly 'off' angles to the increased pressure of mashing a large gear while sitting...

    Anyway, I run my saddle low and if I sit and mash too long it does start to cause a little knee pain. Remember, pain is your body's way of telling you to pay attention to what your doing. I never have any issues when standing, so that's what I do whenever I need to put the power down. If you can sit and push your SS gear up every hill, you should go up in gearing (or become a quadriceps model)...

    I could raise my seat and probably address the issue, but then I'd lose freedom of movement on the bike on technical trails which I feel is more important than being able to sit down the whole time. Besides, who wants to sit on a rigid bicycle on bumpy trails anyway?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by ATBScott
    This old fool agrees with that old fool - I ride my ss with my saddle just a little lower than my old geared FS... I stand for most of the harder climbs, and like to ease the load on the A-B-C a bit... In fact, since I started riding SS my knees have been better than they have in years. Rarely have knee pain.
    Wot he said.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnny the boy
    well, i personally know of 2 people that have recently switched to ss and have developed tendinitis.
    i have ridden mtb for awhile now (geared) and went to ss a few months ago and have developed some knee pain (after changing nothing in the fit/geo of the bike).
    so i guess the myth is in my head?
    Can't beat anecdotal evidence

    I suspect their problem is they are trying to ride SS using geared habits.

    Get out of the saddle when you have to do the big efforts. Many geared riders find this difficult at first which may explain their problems. What works for Lance on a road bike ain't necessarily the best technique on a SS on a steep hill.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Can't beat anecdotal evidence

    I suspect their problem is they are trying to ride SS using geared habits.

    Get out of the saddle when you have to do the big efforts. Many geared riders find this difficult at first which may explain their problems. What works for Lance on a road bike ain't necessarily the best technique on a SS on a steep hill.

    Anecdotal evidence is at least some sort of evidence.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minimalist
    Anecdotal evidence is at least some sort of evidence.
    It's the only sort we have...

    I don't know any long term SS riders who do have knee problems.

    Of course, that could simply be because those who did never made it to the longterm stage...
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  22. #22
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    the funny thing is, i've been riding fixed gear and single speed road bikes for years...no problems at all.....geared road bikes and mountain bikes for a while, too....
    but now i'm getting problems with a ss mtb.
    oh well...i'll try to stand up and adjust.

  23. #23
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    I could see a ss road bike not aggravating knees as badly since the seat can be higher and the hills aren't, generally, as steep. But what do I know? I haven't been on a road bike in 10 years.

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