Who's had knee issues?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Who's had knee issues?

    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ

  2. #2
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    Only hurts on the gearie...

    I get knee problems on my geared bike - sharp pain down the front/sides of the knee after a few hours. And I've been having some problems with knee pain running too - but I think I've got that sorted now.

    Never had any knee problems SSing (virtually all my riding now)... my guess is that knee problems really originate from some bike-fit problem and that my SS fits me much better than my geared bike. My SS has more layback on the seat than the gearie (which has virtually none).

    Maybe for some people the extra stresses of SSing exacerbates fit problems - but no SSing friends of mine have had knee problems they associate directly to SSing - so much so that they tend to dismiss it as a myth perpetrated by the gearie majority ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ
    I must be weird, but I've actually noticed less knee pain since I started riding the SS. My right knee has always given me trouble. I suspect it is becuase I am building up slightly different leg muscles since I have to stand on most of the steeper climbs. This makes me love single speeding even more!

    I'm certainly no expert, but I suggest you ease up on your gearing a little so you're not mashing when you sit... or perhaps stand more often. Do your rides involve a lot of climbing?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ
    I have the same "problem" as the other two posters: No knee problems on the SS (190mm cranks), pain on the gearie (road bike, 175 mm cranks). I had open-knee ACL reconstruction in 1982 and my knees get painful if I do not exercise and they get really strong on the SS.

    If you are getting pain on your SS lower your gear, stand more on the climbs and try longer cranks.
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  5. #5
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    Sometimes I sit badly (in a chair I mean) and feel a twinge, but the only problems I've ever had riding was as a result of a slipping seatpost. I'm pretty certain I would have more problems as a result of staying seated more on a geared bike. I did have a bad knee years ago from hiking. Also use pedals with lots of float.

    I've never heard of anyone who attributed their problems to the one gear - usually to a poor-fitting frame, slipping seatpost, cleat position etc.

    Of course a Doctor might tell someone with bad knees to avoid singlespeeding, but then Doctors tell patients to stay in bed with flu - that doesn't mean that getting out of bed gave them flu.
    Wibble

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by shiggy©®™
    I have the same "problem" as the other two posters: No knee problems on the SS (190mm cranks), pain on the gearie (road bike, 175 mm cranks). I had open-knee ACL reconstruction in 1982 and my knees get painful if I do not exercise and they get really strong on the SS.

    If you are getting pain on your SS lower your gear, stand more on the climbs and try longer cranks.

    This is an interesting trend! A little history here. I have a rigid (duh) geared road bike, a FS geared MTB and my new HT single speed. I am beginning to think that the rear suspension contributes to my knee problems. Perhaps the minute changes in pedaling motion with the suspension kicking in exacerbate my knee problems.

    I experience the most pain on my FS MTB. Minor pain on the road bike (usually at some point during a long 3 hr ride) and very little pain on the SS. It's never so much pain that I can't keep riding... more that I scale back the power output on that leg for fear of doing some damage. My knees are never swolen after a ride and rarely do they hurt after the ride, just during it.

    I run Speedplay road pedals on my road bike and up until very recently had Speedplay frogs on my FS bike. I switched over to Eggbeaters on the FS bike a few months prior to getting the SS. Now I have Eggbeaters on both of my MTB's. The change to new pedals and a slightly more aft positioning of the cleats for my MTB's did help some, but the SSing and road biking seems to feel best on my knees.

  7. #7
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    I used to do a bit of running ten years ago...

    ...but had to give it up because my right knee *really* started hurting about 10 minutes into my usual run. I was always leery of the orthoscopic procedures the "medical community" have that supposedly will help bad knees, loose cartlidge etc, so I forewent any surgery.

    After that I turned to mountain biking and I haven't ever really had a problem on either a gearie or especially an SS. Although I have noticed if my saddle is too low and I grind away on hills while seated (on my geared bike in the past) then I will start feeling a bit of pain in the 'ole knee bone. I think that if you overly exert your leg without allowing it to nearly fully extend, this strains the knee and causes pain/problems. Therefore, I feel that keeping a saddle height that allows your leg to fully extend on your power stroke will help prevent any sore knees. And as far as SS is concerned, the myth that they cause bad knees is all hype. I've never had knee problems on my SS at all. In fact my knees (and legs in general) feel much stronger after SS-ing for a few months, even better than gearie riding. Standing up and fully extending the legs while mashing, I think is therapeutic and strengthening for the knees.



    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ

  8. #8
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    Smashing Knees

    Does smashing the knee into the stem or top tube and flaying skin on cable stops count? Sometimes happens when I'm riding up steep, rocky trails that require vein popping efforts from the legs. Bicycle momentum comes to a screeching halt, but the body keeps moving until it finds something hard and metallic to "rest" against.

    Everytime this happens I tell myself "Gotta get a stem pad.", or "Gotta cover those cable stops.", but somehow I never get around to following up.
    Last edited by Loudpawlz; 03-11-2004 at 01:16 PM. Reason: 'cause I kant typ or spelll

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it?

    My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me.

    jJ
    My first ride on the SS, nearly 3 years ago, was a long ride with a lot of climing and with 180mm cranks over the usual 175 on the FS geared thing I had been sporting up until that point. Halfway into the ride, I began to notice some dull pain in my knees. After that, I worked my way into SS a little slower and the pain decreased. Later I switched to 175mm cranks on the SS along with a larger better fitting frame and the pain disappeared. Now, occasionally I will get the same dull pain if I haven't been riding much then suddenly go out to a big ride with a lot of climbing. The road bike, 172.5mm cranks, can cause the same dull pain after very long rides, 60-70+ miles.

    --Billy


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiggyJ
    Who out there has had trouble with their knees that they attribute (at least partially) to the singlespeed? Did it make you reconsider gears? What'd you do about it? My knees are killin' me. My singlespeed is callin' me. jJ
    Rethink your preconceived notions.

    SS doesn't do any harm to the knee. The rider who fails to set up the SS correctly might make knee **strain** easier to achieve, but the **strain** isn't the SS's fault. It's a gearing or fit issue. Too big a gear is hard to turn. Bad saddle height or position can stress the knee.

    SS is not about putting the world's most "manly" gear into practice. It's about picking a gear that works without overstressing your muscles or fitness... and it's about getting off and walking when you don't have the strength or fitness to ride that danged hill.

    Anyone who continues to believe the old wives' tale of "SS is hard on the knees" is working under bad assumptions.

  11. #11
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    Upset

    I used to do a bit of running ten years ago... ...but had to give it up because my right knee *really* started hurting about 10 minutes into my usual run. I was always leery of the orthoscopic procedures the "medical community" have that supposedly will help bad knees, loose cartlidge etc, so I forewent any surgery.
    WHAT?

    you're kidding, right?

    Arthroscopy isn't a con job. I have two well-repaired knees that offer perfect living proof as to the efficiency and effectiveness of arthroscopy. Obviously your fear of medical doctors and hospitals has your mind clouded on this question.

  12. #12
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    I had ACL reconstruction (due to soccer) and a few months after that the docter told me the best thing I could do for it is ride, ride, and then ride more.
    The Mountain Bike Guy from Joplin MO

  13. #13
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    I think SS has helped my knees

    Bike setup is key.In think SS has helped my knees that have been week since I was a kid.
    I've been inside too long.

  14. #14
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    same for me...

    No knee pain from riding the SS and the two fixies.

    Pain only comes back (and only in the right knee) when I'm riding geared.

    To me, it seems like I get no pain when riding SS and fixed because of the constant variation of cadence and force. Frequent changes in position (in saddle, out of saddle, etc) also seem to help.

    On the gearie, I seem to maintain a much more consistent cadence and I climb in the saddle a lot more, which seems to make things hurt.

    Or, maybe when I'm rinding SS and fixed, I'm in pain in other ways and don't notice the knee...

  15. #15
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    Knee bone connected to the leg bone...

    No, I'm not kidding. I realize that arthroscopic surgery can and does work...I guess. It's just that I've known a few people that have had it done, and none of them seem to have been clearly, conclusively and permanently cured of their pain and/or restricted motion. I've never encountered a person who has had it done who has piped up 5 years after the surgery proclaiming "These knees are clean!"

    That's not to say it doesn't have merit or that there are no success stories. But for me, in general I will avoid surgical procedures at almost all costs unless I'm virtually *certain* it will be beneficial and/or I'm permanently debilitated and/or in unrelenting pain. Right now, although I can't run for any length of time, I can walk and ride all day long without pain. In the future, I may have to rethink things, but for now that's good enough for me.

    Your mileage may vary...


    Quote Originally Posted by gonzostrike
    WHAT?

    you're kidding, right?

    Arthroscopy isn't a con job. I have two well-repaired knees that offer perfect living proof as to the efficiency and effectiveness of arthroscopy. Obviously your fear of medical doctors and hospitals has your mind clouded on this question.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MTBguy
    I had ACL reconstruction (due to soccer) and a few months after that the docter told me the best thing I could do for it is ride, ride, and then ride more.
    How is the riding in Joplin, MO?

    --Billy


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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy-Stardust
    No, I'm not kidding. I realize that arthroscopic surgery can and does work...I guess. It's just that I've known a few people that have had it done, and none of them seem to have been clearly, conclusively and permanently cured of their pain and/or restricted motion. I've never encountered a person who has had it done who has piped up 5 years after the surgery proclaiming "These knees are clean!"

    That's not to say it doesn't have merit or that there are no success stories. But for me, in general I will avoid surgical procedures at almost all costs unless I'm virtually *certain* it will be beneficial and/or I'm permanently debilitated and/or in unrelenting pain. Right now, although I can't run for any length of time, I can walk and ride all day long without pain. In the future, I may have to rethink things, but for now that's good enough for me.

    Your mileage may vary...
    All I can say is, you don't know much at all about science, even less about biology, lesser yet about medicine, and absolutely nothing about orthopaedics. Your fear-mongering and wishy-washy attitude are proof.

    Arthroscopy was an accepted surgical technique over 20 years ago. Orthopaedists have perfected it to the point they can do total ACL reconstructions and most rotator cuff-related surgery almost completely via the arthroscope. Success rates DESTROY what existed pre-arthroscopy. This is all provable, without consulting any source that would be interested in advancing your local MD's income.

    I'm sorry you suffer, and that you see yourself worthy of some peculiar martyr status. A **qualified** sports orthopaedist such as my orthopaedist here (Drs Michael Schutte and Larry Stayner) could help you return to pain-free activity.

    Ahhh well, the world needs Chicken Littles, I guess.

  18. #18
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    Single Speedin' Knee Pain? Say it isn't so!

    Pulled from the singlespeed archives:

    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD align=left colSpan=2>"My experience from all types of bikes..." </TD></TR><TR><TD width="100%" colSpan=2>Knee Pain: When I run 180mm cranks.
    When my saddle is not positioned correctly.
    When I do not have float in my pedals.
    When I climb hills after a long time off the bike.
    http://forums13.consumerreview.com/c...1Y.10@.ef859b5

    TD




    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gonzostrike
    All I can say is, you don't know much at all about science, even less about biology, lesser yet about medicine, and absolutely nothing about orthopaedics. Your fear-mongering and wishy-washy attitude are proof.

    Arthroscopy was an accepted surgical technique over 20 years ago. Orthopaedists have perfected it to the point they can do total ACL reconstructions and most rotator cuff-related surgery almost completely via the arthroscope. Success rates DESTROY what existed pre-arthroscopy. This is all provable, without consulting any source that would be interested in advancing your local MD's income.

    I'm sorry you suffer, and that you see yourself worthy of some peculiar martyr status. A **qualified** sports orthopaedist such as my orthopaedist here (Drs Michael Schutte and Larry Stayner) could help you return to pain-free activity.

    Ahhh well, the world needs Chicken Littles, I guess.
    Damn dude, chill. No need to flame the guy...he's just expressing his feelings and opinion the subject. This board used to be clear of flaming, what happened?!?!

    --Billy


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  20. #20
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    "The Knee Thing Once and for all"!!!!!

    Pure myth from the cycling mags.SS cured my knee problems

  21. #21
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    Joan of ACL

    Gonzostrike, I now understand why you have named yourself as you have. I guess what I've said has struck some kind of nerve in you, because your reaction is overly aggressive and defensive. I don't know why that is. Are you an ACL surgeon? Are you having ongoing problems with your knees and possibly the ACL surgery hasn't worked out for you? Why do you now have a continual need to see the doctor you referenced? I mean, once you're cured, you're cured...right? Why would you need to keep seeing him once you've been taken care of?

    But you're wrong that I don't know anything about science. And I suspect I know more about surgical procedures and their "outcomes" then you do. I've been under the knife more than once, and it doesn't always have the Brady Bunch episode conclusion like you imply it does. Any elective surgical procedure should be weighed very heavily before taking the plunge. If a person who is able bodied, and can ride a bike and walk all day without pain, then it is not unreasonable for that person to decline/postpone ACL surgery. And in so doing it doesn't make me a "fear mongerer" or "wishy washy" or "martyr status" or a "chicken little". It makes me an intelligent, well informed person who makes his own decisions concerning his own health care. I'm not led around starry eyed by a doctor, and I don't do every single thing they say/suggest just because he/she has a PhD (like so many ordinary people do). And if you have a problem with that, then the problem is entirely yours. But I think it's fairly obvious there's something going on with you that you're not letting on about. Something that has made you a bitter and aggressive person, which probably means something bad.

    Are your knees *really* ok?



    Quote Originally Posted by gonzostrike
    All I can say is, you don't know much at all about science, even less about biology, lesser yet about medicine, and absolutely nothing about orthopaedics. Your fear-mongering and wishy-washy attitude are proof.

    Arthroscopy was an accepted surgical technique over 20 years ago. Orthopaedists have perfected it to the point they can do total ACL reconstructions and most rotator cuff-related surgery almost completely via the arthroscope. Success rates DESTROY what existed pre-arthroscopy. This is all provable, without consulting any source that would be interested in advancing your local MD's income.

    I'm sorry you suffer, and that you see yourself worthy of some peculiar martyr status. A **qualified** sports orthopaedist such as my orthopaedist here (Drs Michael Schutte and Larry Stayner) could help you return to pain-free activity.

    Ahhh well, the world needs Chicken Littles, I guess.

  22. #22
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    Ok, geeze this board is hot. Here's my take. I had knee pain in my right knee only. Knew I had a weak right knee from hockey and riding only seemed to make it hurt more. But I knew it wasn't SS or the FS rig, it was somewhere in my setup. Measured everything twice on both bikes, measurements were fine. Duh me, turns out to be my cleat on my right shoe was forward by 2mm more than the left and hence not putting the weight of my foot completely on the ball of my foot. I was putting the pressure more towards the front of the ball and towards my toes. Never really thought of it until yesterdays ride when the pain came and I stopped and thought it through.

    I can't say that riding ever gives a "bad" pain, only improper bike set-up or in my case 2mm of cleat mis-alignment.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy-Stardust
    Gonzostrike, I now understand why you have named yourself as you have. Are your knees *really* ok?
    Hoo hah. Blunt answers = angry?

    As to my "name," it's a nickname an old girlfriend gave one of my old mtn bikes. Has nothing at all to do with me.

    My knees are fine.

    What makes you think I have to keep "going back to" my doctor?

    Why are you equating orthopaedic practice with chiroquacktic?

    I'm vocal about this issue because I've trashed both knees repeatedly in the many sports I've played or participated in. I'm unlucky in that I was born with loose-ish ligaments and tendons. I've also severely injured both shoulders.

    So, I go to my orthopod for actual injuries and their care -- not for bogus "follow-up" or some ridiculous chiroquacktic "you must see me 3x week for 6 months if you want to improve."

    My continued participation in mtn biking and alpine skiing at high levels at age 43 is due to exemplary orthopaedic care, and I'm grateful for it. I will defend quality orthopaedic surgery any time it's attacked. I'm proud of my MDs and recommend them to all my friends who suffer knee and shoulder injuries. Maybe you have some fear of medical care, but I don't. And, I'm not a "professional patient" either, so you can drop that assumption like a friggin' hot potato, charlie!

    enough. you obviously think all MDs are quacks. I guess it's a weird world you live in.

  24. #24
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    what happened? someone called orthopaedics quackery.

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy
    Damn dude, chill. No need to flame the guy...he's just expressing his feelings and opinion the subject. This board used to be clear of flaming, what happened?!?!
    why does Ziggy need to slam orthopaedists? hell, good orthopaedists are the reason I still ride MTBs and alpine ski. that's why I'm seeming mad... I'm just annoyed that someone thinks HE knows better about orthopaedic surgery than its practitioners. I don't like false information being provided as "true."

    In your mind, is standing up for truth reprehensible? If so, I think the problem lies within you and not me.

  25. #25
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    okayyy

    i can understand both ziggy's hesitation, and gonzo's point of view ... though perhaps not the antagonism. i don't think he was "attacking" orthropods, just expressing his own disinclinations.

    ziggy, what exactly is the problem you have with your knees? acl, mcl ... what? same question, gonzostrike? and what procedures got recommended to each of you? in my experience surgery is also good, but not necessarily for every kind of injury ...

    my wife was an elite-level alpine ski racer who destroyed her mcl ligaments in both knees. several surgeons recommended procedures, but two other specialists who also happended to be avid skiers said not to risk it, as surgeries for her specific injury were not always successful - in fact, another friend of ours who opted for the procedure had things get worse. but, this was a very specific mcl injury.

    gonzo - out of interest, what did you have done with your shoulders? i have a pair of magnuson-stack w/ blankart repairs ... sadly not orthroscopic (big ass invasiveness instead).

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    i can understand both ziggy's hesitation, and gonzo's point of view ... though perhaps not the antagonism. i don't think he was "attacking" orthropods, just expressing his own disinclinations.

    same question, gonzostrike? and what procedures got recommended to each of you? in my experience surgery is also good, but not necessarily for every kind of injury ...

    my wife was an elite-level alpine ski racer who destroyed her mcl ligaments in both knees. several surgeons recommended procedures, but two other specialists who also happended to be avid skiers said not to risk it, as surgeries for her specific injury were not always successful - in fact, another friend of ours who opted for the procedure had things get worse. but, this was a very specific mcl injury.

    gonzo - out of interest, what did you have done with your shoulders? i have a pair of magnuson-stack w/ blankart repairs ... sadly not orthroscopic (big ass invasiveness instead).
    Right knee: partial ACL tear 1977 (pickup football). 2d tear 1983, diagnosed w/ arthroscopy (lacrosse practice). Complete tear 1985 (skiing). Open Slocum-Hay ACL reconstruction w/ patellar tendon graft, Dr Richard Ray (Pittsburgh PA) 1985. Surgical staple removal and scar tissue cleanup, 1986.

    Left knee: full ACL tear 1998 (indoor soccer). arthroscopic reconstruction by Dr Michael Schutte (Missoula MT) 1999.

    Right shoulder: complete 3d degree sternoclavicular separation, 2002 (DH crash). diagnosis by Dr Schutte. Minor rotator cuff tears and impingement, 2003 (DH crash). diagnosis by Dr Larry Stayner (Missoula MT, Schutte's partner)

    Left shoulder: fracture of scapula, 2003 (DH crash). diagnosis by Dr Stayner.

    I've also had wrist and hand injuries treated by various orthopods. My results of medical treatment ALWAYS have been positive, mainly because I seek qualified MDs and am strict about following their directions.

    In my experience with my own injuries and those of friends/fellow athletes, the incidence of quckery has been very slim. Most failed MD treatment has been a result of the patient's unwillingness to follow the MD's advice.

    I don't know what Ziggy's problems have been, but it's sure sad to see someone so convinced that orthopods are quacks and grifters.

  27. #27
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    What gears for my knees?

    I'm interested in giving the SS thing a try but I have a history of knee problems. I was a mogul skier growing up and trashed my knees. I had arthroscopic surgery on a torn meniscus a year ago (this is just information, I DO NOT want to debate whether I should have had it or not). Biking has been a big part of my rehab. I was having problems from over use. Mostly Patellafemoral and IT band stuff. I was advised to stay off hills for awhile but now I've built up the muscle strenght and climb all the time.

    The main thing I was told and have read is to keep a high cadence for knee health. I was also told to get out of the saddle every now and then.

    My first question is if SS is a good idea for my knees. Obviously the opinion on this list will be in favor.

    Second question: what gearing would people recommend so I don't put too much pressure on my knees but also don't turn flats into spinning class? I live in the bay area and all the riding around me involves lots of climbing and decending.

    I'm considering the Bianchi SS and I'd put a Marzocchi Comp MX on it.

    Thanks,
    Surfpriest

  28. #28
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    Well before you go and spend the money on a dedicated SS, just put your geared bike in the middle ring and the 16tooth or 18tooth rear cog and never shift. I ride my SS more than my geared and people always ask about it, and are interested. I have them ride with me on their geared in 32 front 18 rear and they usually say "F this" after 30 minutes and say that SS isn;t for them.
    I don't think knee issues are a problem as long as the bike is setup properly. It might be worth the $75 for your reputable local LBS to size you up correctly if you decide to buy the SS.

    As for gearing I like 32:17 or 34:18. Right now I'm running 32:17, great in the single track woods and for fire road climbs.

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