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  1. #26
    we be rollin' hybridbkrdr's Avatar
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    I don't know what the specific knee problem is, but in my case, I can do leg lifts. Like laying flat on the florr and lifting one leg at a time the height of a can of soup up and down for 40 seconds each leg.
    Feeling Good by David Burns

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stix Zadinia View Post
    and so they tell me to wear these components out and wait to replace everything altogether.
    And that's kind of weird, since I would assume they'd be eager to sell me more stuff instead.
    i go through ~4 chains per cassette. if you swap your chains often you can avoid replacing more expensive dt components.

    10 speed kmc chain: ~$18
    sram 1070 casette: ~$75

  3. #28
    Senior Member H.S.Clydesdale's Avatar
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    +1 on the shorter cranks. My guess is this will help. What is your inseam and what size bike are you riding? This should help decide if you may need shorter cranks. If you are tall, then probably not, but otherwise shorter cranks could be the solution.

    Also, keep cranking the seat up. You need to keep raising it until you feel yourself needing to "slip-off" slightly in order to reach the pedal at the bottom of the crank circle. At that point, you lower it a tad, and then your spot on.
    Bike 1) 66cm 1987 Nishiki Sport + Nexus 7 IGH + Velocity Chukkers + 200mm cranks
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  4. #29
    Senior Member kmv2's Avatar
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    Determine your type of knee problem and correct your riding, or do exercises to fix the problem.

    A couple of physiotherapist sessions can help find the problem and give you a plan to solve it.

    For me cycling, my cleat position was bad on my shoe and my pedals had bad float. The pain went away instantly.

    For running, pain felt at the knee was actually from my iliotibial (IT) band and some excercises/stretches the physiotherapist gave me helped that. That took a bit of time.

    Most health plans should cover this at least in some part.

  5. #30
    bragi bragi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stix Zadinia View Post
    ..other than stop riding, if possible!

    Now that my commute is getting longer and I've been at it for almost a full year, I've started to develop equal pain on both my knees. I've already taken some measures I believe could help the knees: For instance I started out riding in tight jeans (which were very uncomfortable and pressed on my legs, btw), but now I'm using comfy sweats instead; I'm sitting more on the saddle while riding (even though I find it uncomfortable sometimes), I've set up the saddle higher too, and I'm finally starting to realize the benefit of avoiding high gears and a low cadence (I think I was really messing up on that one)..

    My bike originally had a Shimano M171 (42/34/24) triple crankset, now I'm using a double crankset on the outer SG B52 ring.. Should I go back to the original crankset or something similar? (I sold the original). This new crank is uncomfortable to use on the lower gears because the chain wasn't changed (lengthened) by the mechanic who changed the crankset, and so it's too short for the bigger ring, but everyone at the shops keeps telling me to just 'wear out everything before thinking of changing anything on the drivetrain'.

    Is there any advice or tips to follow? I'm kind of weary now since my commute is probably going to keep getting longer anyway (work-related issue). I'm absolutely in LOVE with riding, but I'm starting to get more worried as the discomfort (slowly, but steadily) keeps on turning to pain.


    Thanks much for your advice
    Go to a reputable bike shop and get a professional fit.
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  6. #31
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    You don't need more muscle, you need to learn how to spin! Mashing gears is probably the biggest cause of knee problems along with seats being too low. Cold weather is also a factor, so make sure you wear tights or knee warmers when temps are below 60 F.

  7. #32
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    Where is your knee pain? Under the kneecap, on the inside, outside, or behind the knee? Describing your symptoms will lead to a better recommendation.

  8. #33
    Keepin it Wheel RubeRad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    To the OP: Here's a random website I googled about knee pain. It lists several things I was looking for: pain in the front of the knee suggests seat may be too low. In the back suggests it may be too high.
    I believe that is a commonly-understood rule of thumb (and it is I think accurate!) but I would add from my own experience (and research): if the pain on the outside of the knee, the problem is irritation of the "IT band" due to the feet being forced to rotate "inwards" (left foot forced CW, right foot forced CCW). In my case I am duck-footed, so a straight hips-over-knees-over-ankles-over-balls (of the foot) alignment twists my feet unnaturally (for my skeleton). Aligning my cleats the way my feet want to be causes heelstrike on the cranks. The problem was solved with pedal extenders, to achieve a wider, what's it called, Q-ratio or something. (I suspect an inverse rule of thumb might also apply, if you are pigeon-toed, then a straight cleat alignment might cause pain on the insides of the knees)

    Somebody above linked to kneesavers, that is a fully-customizable option you might need to turn to if you have this problem, but I would first try a cheaper option. There's a guy on eBay that sells pedal extenders for $20-something shipped. Just search for "pedal extenders". Only one size, so if that doesn't work for you, you might turn to the higher-priced kneesavers; they offer a lot of sizes and I believe they will custom-make any size you want.

    (If your pain is not on the outside of your knees, or if you don't have duck feet, then this advice doesn't help you. Just learn to spin instead of mash as everybody else up there said!)

  9. #34
    Senior Member Stix Zadinia's Avatar
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    Thanks again everyone for your responses.

    The pain is all around the kneecaps (that's how I can best describe it); it sort of comes and goes. Yesterday (Tuesday), I had a tough commute (first time I had to go out of the city, round trip, into the countryside) so I was scared because I had pain the night before, however I'm not having pain right now (Wednesday) even though I rode today as well. As of the past two or three weeks I haven't even touched the last 3 upper shifts -I think-, so that may or may not be why I'm not having worst pains now, I'm guessing it's a cumulative thing, right?

    About the saddle, it's already all the way back on the seat post, and about two weeks ago also I raised it almost to the same height of the stem, I don't want to raise it further I think, because it becomes uncomfortable when I'm pedaling 'outside' of the saddle, or 'standing on the pedals', if you will (it gets in the way of the inside part of the legs).

    I don't have wide feet, do I still benefit from pedal extenders? As in having the legs spread apart a little further improves posture?

    One thing I've been wondering for a good while now is if I could benefit from "wider" platform pedals (wider front to back, not side to side) so I can have a larger portion of the feet in contact with the pedals, transferring movement. My bike still has the stock plastic pedals but I don't really know what pedals to upgrade to. Btw I use this Shimano shoes with the option for cleats, I'm not sure I'd feel very safe 'locking' myself to some pedals though. But maybe it could help with the feet posturing? I don't know if using something with toe clips would be better for me, because my feet keep moving all over the pedals (specially with rain or moisture).. Or I guess maybe having the feet changing position on top of the pedals is better for relieving stress from the knees?

    Any suggestion for pedals? Don't really know what to look for.
    Last edited by Stix Zadinia; 02-20-13 at 10:32 PM.
    Why does the wind always blow cold, and always the wrong way? -Pain

  10. #35
    Senior Member Stix Zadinia's Avatar
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    I'm not tall (5' 6.1"), my inseam is 2' 8.7", the frame size on my bike is 16''-42cm.

    I think perhaps I might have been better off with the 18'' (suggested for my height as well); the bike feels somewhat small to me sometimes, and I can't hunch over as much as I'd like, even with the saddle all the way in the back.
    Why does the wind always blow cold, and always the wrong way? -Pain

  11. #36
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Some good advice. What I would do, and some of this will repeat the prior advice:
    - Raise seat to the correct height. Place your heels on the pedals, and pedal backwards, the seat should be as high as it can be, your leg fully straight and just reaching the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, without your hips having to rock from side to side to reach the pedal. When the balls of your feet are on the pedals, your knees will be slightly bent and your ankle slightly flexed. This is very important. A low seat is very bad for knees. Imagine getting down in a crouch with your knees deeply bent, and trying to waddle for a mile, your knees would be in agony. Riding with a low seat is equally bad.
    - Do not pedal with any significant force, at a cadence any lower than 80 rpm. It will feel like you are spinning your legs too fast. Get used to it. Pedaling with high force at a low rpm, "mashing", is another prime cause of knee pain. Pushing too much force through your knees hurts them, so instead push half the force, twice as often. You'd hurt yourself lifting 50 lb, but you could lift 25 lb twice no problem.
    - When climbing, try to stay seated and spinning a low gear at 80 rpm or more. Standing pedaling is hard on the knees too. Same principle as above. You stand in order to push more force, but that is what you don't want to do. You may need to change the gearing. Find a new bike shop.

    That should help a lot. But I think you should go further and use clipless pedals.
    - With platform pedals, you can only push down, with your quads and that works your knees hard.
    - With clipless pedals, you can pull back, using the hamstrings. You can pull up, with your hip flexors. You can push forward. Those are not as strong as pushing down, until you build up those muscles. But it takes some pressure off the quads and knees, and eventually you will "pedal in circles" and be much more powerful than when you only stomped down.
    - Most types of clipless pedals have float, which protects your knees. For commuting, SPD work well. There are pedals with SPD on one side and platforms on the other.

    By the way, you won't have to spin 80+ rpm forever. I do all those things - spin fast, mash slow, sit, stand, stomp down, pull back/up, etc. Your knees can take a certain amount of mashing/stomping. You need to know how to do the other stuff, to avoid forcing your knees to do more than they can. So force yourself to do the spinning/pulling thing exclusively until it comes as naturally as mashing/stomping, then you can start to mix it up.

    Even if you didn't have knee issues, you'd want to learn to spin. When you exert force with your muscle, the energy stored in the muscle is used up. Your body can only replenish that energy at a certain rate. If you exert a lot of force and deplete faster than you replenish, rather quickly you will be exhausted. If you exert less force and deplete at a lower rate, so that you can replenish just as fast, you will be able to keep going and going for hours, as long as your cardio system keeps blood pumping and you keep eating. The saying is, "you want to ride with your heart and your lungs, not with your legs." For anything but short dashes, that is true.

    By the way, it sounds like your bike might be too small for you, if there is not enough room between saddle and handlebar. The closer to horizontal your torso is, the less wind resistance, and when you get around 20 mph wind resistance is a big deal (or, riding into a headwind). Around 45 degrees is often a nice compromise between being aero and comfort/seeing traffic. If you can't get your torso down, maybe a longer stem will help. I agree with getting your bike fitted. By a good shop.
    Last edited by jyl; 02-20-13 at 10:48 PM.
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  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by ezdoesit View Post
    Invest in a good bike fit someone who is certified in bike fitting and that will get rid of your problems-spend the money it will be the best dollars you spend.-
    Two thumbs up! I've had a guy who's certified fit all of my bikes (my commuter, my tandem and my new road bike), makes all the difference. I used to have knee pain while riding my commuter and a couple of adjustments and it fits like a glove!

  13. #38
    Senior Member Stix Zadinia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    Some good advice. What I would do, and some of this will repeat the prior advice:
    - Raise seat to the correct height. Place your heels on the pedals, and pedal backwards, the seat should be as high as it can be, your leg fully straight and just reaching the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, without your hips having to rock from side to side to reach the pedal. When the balls of your feet are on the pedals, your knees will be slightly bent and your ankle slightly flexed. This is very important. A low seat is very bad for knees. Imagine getting down in a crouch with your knees deeply bent, and trying to waddle for a mile, your knees would be in agony. Riding with a low seat is equally bad.
    - Do not pedal with any significant force, at a cadence any lower than 80 rpm. It will feel like you are spinning your legs too fast. Get used to it. Pedaling with high force at a low rpm, "mashing", is another prime cause of knee pain. Pushing too much force through your knees hurts them, so instead push half the force, twice as often. You'd hurt yourself lifting 50 lb, but you could lift 25 lb twice no problem.
    - When climbing, try to stay seated and spinning a low gear at 80 rpm or more. Standing pedaling is hard on the knees too. Same principle as above. You stand in order to push more force, but that is what you don't want to do.

    That should help a lot. But I think you should go further and use clipless pedals.
    - With platform pedals, you can only push down, with your quads and that works your knees hard.
    - With clipless pedals, you can pull back, using the hamstrings. You can pull up, with your hip flexors. You can push forward. Those are not as strong as pushing down, until you build up those muscles. But it takes some pressure off the quads and knees, and eventually you will "pedal in circles" and be much more powerful than when you only stomped down.
    - Most types of clipless pedals have float, which protects your knees. For commuting, SPD work well. There are pedals with SPD on one side and platforms on the other.
    Thanks for that advice, I think you've summed it up quite nicely, everything makes a lot of sense.

    What can be done to improve the comfort on the saddle? I'm using the original one (Bontrager) which is small, but I've been wondering if it's a good idea to put a foam cushion on top of it so I have less issue with it.
    Why does the wind always blow cold, and always the wrong way? -Pain

  14. #39
    Senior Member Stix Zadinia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OlyBiker007 View Post
    Two thumbs up! I've had a guy who's certified fit all of my bikes (my commuter, my tandem and my new road bike), makes all the difference. I used to have knee pain while riding my commuter and a couple of adjustments and it fits like a glove!
    This would be ideal of course and I will keep looking, I think the guy who sold me the bike had a better idea about this kind of thing than the people on the shops I frequent (which are closer to home).



    * ..Then again, he did sell me the 16'' frame...
    Last edited by Stix Zadinia; 02-20-13 at 10:49 PM.
    Why does the wind always blow cold, and always the wrong way? -Pain

  15. #40
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Foam cushions don't do much for saddle comfort, if you're riding any significant distance.

    There is another thread now on picking a saddle, there are some thoughts there.

    Small adjustments of the saddle angle can make a big difference. Really small, like 5 degrees or less.
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  16. #41
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    From my experience (when it comes to knee pain and cycling, I unfortunately have a lot):

    First, this is a complex problem with many possible causes. See a physiotherapist or sports physician and identify the problem!

    Second, spinning is good advice and all, but bike fit is actually a lot more relevant to knee pain. If your current fit causes your legs to move in a pathological way, all the gearing down and spinning in the world won't do you any good; and if you get a good fit to your bike, you may well be able to pound away on the pedals (within reason) to your heart's content without inflicting injury.

    Third, do not just assume that your saddle is too low and keep raising it if pain continues. A too-high saddle is actually a very common source of injury, partly because cyclists are hyper aware that a low saddle can cause injury and overcompensate for it. Get an experienced bike fitter to check you out! And be careful - I had an inexperienced fitter that set me back literally for months or years because he had me raise my saddle when the problem was that it was too high to begin with.

    Finally, rest and give your knees time to heal. That means time off the bike. You need any inflammation to go away to actually know if you've fixed the problem. Be patient. Knee injuries are slow to heal because of low blood flow to the area.

    Good luck!

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