Thinking of de-converting- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    ODG
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    Thinking of de-converting

    About halfway through last summer I decided to breathe some life back into my favorite old-school MTB by updating all of the components and converting it into a SS. Compared to the 38 lb SC Heckler I had been pushing around the newly refreshed SS felt incredibly light and nimble. I almost immediately fell in love with riding the bike and my riding experience lived up to the SS hype. Not having to think about when not to shift and what gear I should be in really made the experience enjoyable and it brought back some feelings of nostalgia from my BMX riding days. Not to mention the power transfer and drive train efficiency!

    Now onto the bad. For one, I know this is common but my knees ache terribly, even after a short relatively short 12 mile ride. I was expecting this to stop after a few weeks of riding but to this day if I ride my SS, my knees ache for days afterwards. I feel geriatric after riding my SS and have even gone as far as to take Glucosamine for my knee aches. ;-) It amazes me that I can ride 60 miles on my roady and my knees feel fine but 12 miles on my SS kill them. I also live in a state where a 1 hour drive can mean the difference between flat sandy terrain and mountainous rocky terrain. Riding the SS is not always practical without constantly changing around my gear combination. Not to mention that having a full squish, geared bike is nice when you are riding across baby-head sized rocks. After weeks of riding nothing but my SS I was shocked when I discovered that my performance on my geared bikes (mountain and road) had suffered. I had always heard that riding a SS would make you a stronger rider. I guess that might be true if you are a low cadence pedal smasher but I'm not, I am a fast spinner and the low cadence hill climbs that come along with singlespeeding seemed to hurt me when it came to riding my other bikes. High cadence=less leg and more cardio and Low cadence=more leg and less cardio.....that's the way I've always been told. As of now my SS has become a novelty/neighborhood cruising bike that in theory excites me but in reality just doesn't work.

    For a few weeks now I've been toying with the idea of de-converting the bike and slapping some gears and a derailleur back on it. I guess me posting here is my way of trying to talk myself out of de-converting this thing. Anyone develop any serious knee problems that they attribute to singlespeeding? I'm looking to ride well into the future and I don't want knee issues cutting my cycling days short. Anyone else have any similar experiences and advice on being a SS and geared rider? And ...No, the answer is not converting the rest of my bikes to SS.

    Thanks
    Mike

  2. #2
    Tool
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    Your pushing too much gear. I've had similar problems (25 yo) with fixed gear, but with more appropriate gearing, for my style of riding and the terrain that I ride, I haven't had any problems recently. Of course, if you've already tried that, good luck to ya'. Have fun any way you can.

  3. #3
    Peace & Love
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    Go ahead and make it more user friendly. Who cares if it has gears.....who cares if it has suspension.....who cares if it has Mary Bars......etc.

    If for you the darn knees aren't cooperating at this point then take same time away from single speeding and dont sweat it. I have fun no matter what I ride and at the end of the day that is what it is all about. And you sure as hell should not care what anybody here thinks as you know what is best for yourself.

    I am sure some fully rigid fixed gear MTB riders think I am a girly-man but I ain't here to keep up with anybody. Just take care of yourself, whatever that means, and have run riding the bike.

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Myth buster

    It is an urban myth that SSs are bad on knees. . You only able to apply just so much force from peddling into your knees, which is a lot less than running. If anything SS'ing will make your knees stronger.

    I would say that your knee problems has nothing to do with the SS, but more over your bike setup. Namely seat hight, and fore and aft position.

    Just my $0.02AUD.

  5. #5
    Poorly Disguised Poser
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    I agree with everything posted so far....

    You should take a strong, hard look at your setup....When i converted my first SS, it was an lod junker that didnt fit...and I didnt care because it was an old junker. WRONG. there is NEVER an excuse for a bike that does not fit. It is just plain wrong to do this to yourself.

    Second. Take a good long look at your gear. If you are racing....you may have to change rings every time you ride. if you are having fun....push a gear easy enough to ride any trail in your area. this makes you slower on some trails with lots of flats/downhills, but who cares?.....if your answer is, "I care", You should probably put gears back on.

    SS for me is about fun (not so much speed), and patience. some times i am slow (like during the ride to the trail). but I dont care. the slow sections let me play with higher cadence situations and build different muscle sets.

    Grinding out hard gears may be good for some. I think it may be bad for knees (I guess I do NOT agree with everything posted). anything that puts more stress on YOUR knees that what they typically experience, can and usually does cause pain, and sometimes swelling.

    Running may be more stressful, but I know a lot of people who can not run due to weak knees. so the excuse that it is no worse that running doesnt apply to everyone.

    Do what you like...just make Dang sure that you have fun doing it. And for christ's sake, do it for your own reasons....You are the only one that really matters (at least as far as gears VS. SS is concerned)

    Ken

  6. #6
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    Ditto on the setup diagnosis. I know for a fact that SSing/fixing has made my knees and my quads stronger. I'd also advise you to keep taking that glucosamine - depending on your dosage, you can take up to three a day - but you have to build up a bunch of it before you start to gain the benefits, and you have to take it daily. Read the instructions carefully, but I've found it to be the one supplement I can honestly say has made a noticeable difference in joint health.

  7. #7
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    Please YOURSELF..

    About the worst thing you can do to yourself is to be swayed by the opinions of your peers.

    Don't let what others may think of you, or what you believe that they might think of you, determine your actions.

    Do what is correct and right for you. If you want to run gears...do it...if not, fine.

    One of the worst things you can do to your knees is to run a high SS gearing setup and try to sit and spin it.

    Slogging a too high gear whilst sitting is death to your knees. I often run 32/22 and don't give a F*(# what anyone thinks.

    Standing up and pedaling is part of SS'ing. This is what makes for your strong knees and legs.

    Sitting down and trying to push big gearing just stuffs your knees up.

    Anyways, you do what you think is right for YOU, and don't worry about what anyone else thinks.


    Good luck,



    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rainman
    About the worst thing you can do to yourself is to be swayed by the opinions of your peers.
    well said Rainman.....

    the only statement I take issue with is the one noted above. When it comes to upgrading parts and/or buying new bikes, the peer pressure is o.k. to give into, especially when it involves Titanium or Carbon.

  9. #9
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    sorry to jack the thread

    but it was headed OT anyway.

    Those who take Glucosamine...have you had it tweak your stomach? I tried to take a full dose on an empty tummy, and got ill. then the next day I took a full dose on a full tummy and hurled its contents!

    I now know to take half the daily dose with one meal and half with another. Anyone else have to do this. Its good stuff, but I had to learn how to take it correctly.

    Ken

    PS My doctor claims that anyone who cycles much (SS or otherwise) should be taking Glucosamine (any brand is good because according to him there is only one lab that actually makes the stuff). Those are his thoughts not mine, but I trust him with my knees and other joints.

  10. #10
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    Glucosamine..

    I found that it raised my blood pressure too much and had to stop taking it.

    I had problems at first with SS'ing, but changed to easier to pedal gearing and stood up a LOT to pedal. Now my legs and knees are strong, no more pains in the knees.

    My calf muscle measures 41 cms.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  11. #11
    ODG
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    Thanks for all of the advice. My SS is a bit small compared to the other bikes I ride but I like the combination of a slightly smaller frame and the one gear. It sounds like I may be running to high of a gear...that 32/22 sounds nice I think I may give that try before I decide to slap gears back on the bike. I did notice a common thread in all of the replies was "do what makes you happy and don't care what others think of you" I didn't mean to imply in any way that I was trying to decide whether to be a geared rider or a SS rider. I was really looking for advice on being a geared and SS rider(not one or the other) since riding the SS seemed to hurt my performance on my geared bikes. You guys that ride geared and SS bikes.....do you notice any performance degradation on your geared bikes after long stretches of riding nothing but your SS? I'm wondering if it's advisable to split geared and SS riding 50/50 or something like that? I just don't want to see my high cadence road riding style suffer again from riding my SS.

  12. #12
    ODG
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    As far as Glucosamine goes, I have not experienced any ill feelings from taking it, even on an empty stomach. The only ill feeling I get is when I have to plunk down the cash for a new bottle. That stuff if pricey! The pills that I bought from the Vitamin Shoppe are huge, rough textured and extremely hard to swallow so what I started doing is crushing a pill into powder then mixing it with a small container of orange juice. The crushed pills don't really change the flavor of the orange juice.

  13. #13
    I meant to do that
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    My knees also hurt when riding SS. But my feet are flat. I really noticed how flat they are when cycling, when one day my seatpost bolt broke and I had to pedal standing up about 8 miles back to the trail head. My feet rolled way in (overpronation) and my knees were killing me later. Riding SS I pedal standing a lot and hence knee pain. I got outfitted with inserts to put the arch back in, and I had significantly less pain later. With regular XC riding, where I stand less and spin more, the strain on the knees is less, I guess sitting down keeps me in a more knee-friendly position.

  14. #14
    E !
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    I ride both

    Quote Originally Posted by ODG
    Thanks for all of the advice. My SS is a bit small compared to the other bikes I ride but I like the combination of a slightly smaller frame and the one gear. It sounds like I may be running to high of a gear...that 32/22 sounds nice I think I may give that try before I decide to slap gears back on the bike. I did notice a common thread in all of the replies was "do what makes you happy and don't care what others think of you" I didn't mean to imply in any way that I was trying to decide whether to be a geared rider or a SS rider. I was really looking for advice on being a geared and SS rider(not one or the other) since riding the SS seemed to hurt my performance on my geared bikes. You guys that ride geared and SS bikes.....do you notice any performance degradation on your geared bikes after long stretches of riding nothing but your SS? I'm wondering if it's advisable to split geared and SS riding 50/50 or something like that? I just don't want to see my high cadence road riding style suffer again from riding my SS.
    I would say i am a stronger rider since converting my old bike back to a trail worthy SS. All it took was one riding partner to tell me"man, you used to be faster when you had a singlespeed." I noticed that i said i would split it 50/50 but i find myself on theSS more. I use the gears for the rides that i know are mostly loonngg technical climbs. The gear combo i use pushes me pretty hard but i just stand up and hammer away. It is really a different ride compared to geared spinning. You just gotta get your gearing down to what suits you. What is your gear combo now?
    the - E - dog

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