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  1. #1
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Fit and Knee/Muscle Pain

    I've been riding a 85 Schwinn World Tourist around lately. I like the bike a lot but I'm having problems getting my knee/legs to be completely comfortable. I'm asking in this forum because I'm thinking that the squish may be a factor.

    So far I have moved my seat up and down. I've readjust the handlebars. I've moved the seat up and down.
    ...I was actually able to get a comfortable leg feel after I put too high of a tilt up in the nose. It squashes the bits, so I cannot keep it like that.. I do have a bad knee. But this pain is more like a cramp in that muscle that wraps around the knee and heads up into the thigh area.

    I've watched a hundred fit videos. I get the idea. What I'm missing is how to do this on a bike that isn't a road bike..and you know...fits the squishy people better. Right now my handlebar stem is as high as it can go safely. I think the seat is at the right height.

    Any tips or ideas? If you need pictures, I can bother my guy tomorrow.
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  2. #2
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    I can't really envision your setup, but in my experience knee and muscle pain is frequently caused by having the seat too low.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    The way I set my seat height is-
    Get moving on the bike-
    Put HEELS on pedals.
    Adjust upmost so that you can pedal just barely without rocking the hips.
    Add 1/8" for each shoe size over 9.
    This will get you VERY close!


    I've also got a "bad knee" and simply had to go to shorter cranks. Both my bikes now have 165mm arms. That's considered "short" for my height, but it works. Sometimes 5mm is like a foot IF you have a bum knee.

  4. #4
    Abuse Magnet arex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I can't really envision your setup, but in my experience knee and muscle pain is frequently caused by having the seat too low.
    +1.
    "I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create." -- William Blake

  5. #5
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    You can also have knee pain from a saddle that is too high! The unscientific rule of thumb is that pain in the front, seat too low, pain in the back of your knee is possibly a seat too high.

    Are you mashing too much (slow pedaling a hard gear)?

    A couple of representative pictures of you pedaling from a side view would probably be helpful.

  6. #6
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    It's pain at the side of my knee. Feels almost like a cramp. It's just on the one side, too.

    I tried that heel trick, Bill Kapaun. Thanks. I might need to pull the seat up yet more.. but it's high as is. Maybe the bike is just too small????
    How much seat tube needs to be inside the frame for a secure seat?

    It still feels cramped while turning and with my knee up. With my other bike I was able to resolve that cramped feel by sliding the saddle back about an inch. This bike still feels a bit cramped so matter which way I adjust the saddle, fore or aft! I've even managed to clip my knee with the handlebar..

    I'll try to get a picture tonight. I lack a trainer and it's dark and nasty out, but I can balance in the kitchen.

    EDTA, I don't mash. I generally stay in 3rd or fourth gear, the larger sprockets but not the largest. Enough for a slight push at a slow pedal but able to climb hills without much trouble.
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by katsrevenge View Post
    How much seat tube needs to be inside the frame for a secure seat?
    Most seat posts have a minimum insertion line inscribed on them. If not, then a good rule of thumb is to ensure that the seat post extends past the junction of the seat tube and the top tube. I'd want the bottom of the seat post to be a half-inch, or better yet an inch, below the ST/TT junction but you may be able to get by with less...

  8. #8
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    It's sounding like the bike is too small. You didn't specify any sizes for the bike or you.

    My hybrid is too small and I had the seat post right at the minimum insertion mark. I wasn't comfortable with that, weighing 240, so I got a 400mm post to replace the 350mm one.

  9. #9
    Getting older and slower!
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    I would suggest you go to your local bike shop and ask them for help. You might even need a complete bike fit, but probably not. But you aren't giving us enough info to really assist you.

  10. #10
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    DSCN0156.jpgDSCN0150.jpgDSCN0151.jpg

    OK, I've adjusted the seat up, as suggested by sticking my heel and straightening up the leg. And, had I time to go change into something other than baggy black cotton dress and bulky wool black sweater I would have. My guy is doing a lot of overtime this week and he wanted sleep. I'm squishy, as you can see, and I carry the squish in the thigh/bum area.

    I'm 5'3", BTW. The bike is a 17 inch frame, 27" wheels. I measured from middle of BB to top of the red tube.Typical woman's frame size. This is why I'm having trouble with the idea that the frame is small... I've ridden kids bikes comfortably. I'm short, LOL.

    Right now the seat post has something like four inches in the frame.
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  11. #11
    just pedal donalson's Avatar
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    no real input beyond... I've got a fairly squishy bum myself... makes getting the saddle height a bit more difficult I've found

    also dig the old city bike... looks to be a schwinn? that bike is begging for some old school folding bike baskets... makes it perfect to run down to do a bit of grocery shipping

    20130514_180128.jpg
    mtbr clyd moderator

  12. #12
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    You said you have a bad knee. If you have pain for a few weeks that doesn't go away, especially if it persists when going up or down stairs, I'd see a doctor if at all possible.

  13. #13
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by donalson View Post
    no real input beyond... I've got a fairly squishy bum myself... makes getting the saddle height a bit more difficult I've found

    also dig the old city bike... looks to be a schwinn? that bike is begging for some old school folding bike baskets... makes it perfect to run down to do a bit of grocery shipping

    20130514_180128.jpg
    It's a lot better now than it was when I posted this thread. That heel trick is a keeper!

    She's an old Schwinn, a World Tourist, and almost as old as I am. I love the way it rides, other than the side knee pain thing. Nice and zippy.

    I actually do ride it to shop all the time. I've got a few bags I tie to the rack.

    It's my project bike (and right now my only bike as I sold my big cruiser to help finance a new bike, LOL). It has a front freewheel and will eventually be updated to a single speed/three speed. I'll even add a chain guard and a kitschy crocheted skirt guard... and a new paint job as this one is half nail polish.

    ETA, The pain only happens when I ride. I get off, I'm fine. I ride more than a few miles, I hurt. I get off the bike, I'm fine again. My knee is bad in the sense that it sometimes just collapses. Doctor was clueless the last time I was in and told me to loose weight. And, we all know just how easy that can be.
    Last edited by katsrevenge; 04-16-14 at 01:38 AM. Reason: new response
    Just one of those dirty pinko commies some people worry about.

  14. #14
    Senior Member MikeRides's Avatar
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    I had a issue with extreme muscle tightening above my knee when I first rode 20+ miles. At the 20 mile mark, I couldn't bend my leg without being in excruciating pain. I later found out it was from "mashing" or pedaling slow in too high of a gear. I switched to a lower, comfortable gear and haven't had the issue since. I also found myself riding further and even slightly faster at that gear.
    "Just ride it until the wheels fall off!"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by katsrevenge View Post
    It still feels cramped while turning and with my knee up. With my other bike I was able to resolve that cramped feel by sliding the saddle back about an inch. This bike still feels a bit cramped so matter which way I adjust the saddle, fore or aft! I've even managed to clip my knee with the handlebar..
    If your upper body is feeling cramped, it looks like it's because you have a short stem and a swept back bar. You might want to go a few centimeters longer on the stem, and/or handlebar with less sweep back. You want stem length to adjust for reach; sliding the seat is more for weight distribution relative to how bent over you like to ride. Sliding the seat affects the reach of course, but you want the saddle right for pedaling, then pick the stem for the reach, not screw with the seat position for it.
    Last edited by stephtu; 04-16-14 at 08:17 PM.

  16. #16
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    My two cents. You can adjust your seat all day long, up and down. I have found most knee pain is associated with not stretching. You need to stretch your TI band which will alleviate most pain on the outside of the knee. The inside and top of the knee is usually pretty limber. Go search for TI band stretches....might help.

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