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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-04-09, 09:16 PM   #1
LilPooPoo
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Are fixed-gear bikes unhealthy for your knees?

hmmmmmm?

edit: wow, i'm sorry if i came off as a troll. i'm just really skeptical about riding fixed-gear as an alternative to driving.

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Old 06-04-09, 09:22 PM   #2
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I have heard both good and bad things for wether or not it is good for your knees.
My guess is equally good and bad.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:25 PM   #3
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soon they'll release a study that fixed gears cause cancer...
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Old 06-04-09, 09:27 PM   #4
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the inevitable low cadence mashing isnt great for you.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:49 PM   #5
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Not with a 42/16. Maybe the motion helps.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:53 PM   #6
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it's how you use it.

if you mash really hard with a lot of resistance it's bad for you.

if you keep a good/high cadence and spin with proper fitment, the circular motion can strengthen your supporting muscles around the knees and keep the joint ligaments healthy.

of course, prior history and injury can throw all that out the window if your knees are weak and if the fit is off or the gearing is even slightly too high for just one little stint, you can do damage far beyond any benefit you'll get from it.
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Old 06-04-09, 09:56 PM   #7
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Not with a 42/16. Maybe the motion helps.
at times, its lower than ideal.
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Old 06-04-09, 10:33 PM   #8
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I don't get where people get stuff like "if you mash really hard with a lot of resistance it's bad for you." from, no offense cc.

Ever do squats in the gym? Way, way more physically demanding than riding a bike. If my knees can handle repping 250 lb ass-to-the-grass squats with no problem, I don't see how riding a bike with not nearly as much resistance cause damage.
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Old 06-05-09, 12:20 AM   #9
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Again !???? Didn't we just do this? Maybe it's like Groundhog Day and I'm reliving the same posts over and over again.
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Old 06-05-09, 12:28 AM   #10
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I don't get where people get stuff like "if you mash really hard with a lot of resistance it's bad for you." from, no offense cc.

Ever do squats in the gym? Way, way more physically demanding than riding a bike. If my knees can handle repping 250 lb ass-to-the-grass squats with no problem, I don't see how riding a bike with not nearly as much resistance cause damage.
squats are more physically demanding but it's not repetitive motion. it's like tennis elbow. also, you're less likely to be out of alignment when you're squatting.

that said, it was the second part of my post that was most important- if your knees are weak from skateboarding early in your life like me, you'll know that mashing hard up a hill is a lot worse for your knees than just riding fixed around some relatively flat areas with a tough gear and a lot of resistance and gravity to overcome.
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Old 06-05-09, 12:49 AM   #11
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I don't get where people get stuff like "if you mash really hard with a lot of resistance it's bad for you." from, no offense cc.

Ever do squats in the gym? Way, way more physically demanding than riding a bike. If my knees can handle repping 250 lb ass-to-the-grass squats with no problem, I don't see how riding a bike with not nearly as much resistance cause damage.
Do 100lb squats for 10 minutes and tell me how your knees/quads/glutes feel. Then do it for a half-hour... then for an hour. Or do 50lb squats for 2hrs. It's a different type of stress on the joint than doing heavy weight for short periods.

And if you think squats in the gym are more demanding that cycling, go do a cat 1 climb and get back to me.

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Old 06-05-09, 12:55 AM   #12
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Fixed gear bikes are as unhealty for your knees as any bike that's poorly fitted.

Overgeared training has its place, but too much of it can lead to stress/overuse injury in the knees/hips no matter if you're on a FG or roadie.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:03 AM   #13
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I just started riding a fixed gear (one of many bikes), and my knees seem to be sensitive to the back pressure when I slow down or stop. I notice it every time I ride fixed. I'm hoping that will go away eventually.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:10 AM   #14
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use your brakes if putting on backpressure hurts... doesn't sound that safe to me
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Old 06-05-09, 02:15 AM   #15
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I just started riding a fixed gear (one of many bikes), and my knees seem to be sensitive to the back pressure when I slow down or stop. I notice it every time I ride fixed. I'm hoping that will go away eventually.
Then I suggest using a brake.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:15 AM   #16
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hmmmmmm?
It's unhealthy for your knees if you select the wrong gear.
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Old 06-05-09, 02:25 AM   #17
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Fixed gear bikes are as unhealty for your knees as any bike that's poorly fitted.

Overgeared training has its place, but too much of it can lead to stress/overuse injury in the knees/hips no matter if you're on a FG or roadie.
+1

H*ll, you can injure your knee sitting on the couch (I actually know a guy who did this). Then there are guys that race dozens of miles a night at tracks around the country with no issues.

The key is a good fit.

Remember, small pains may grow to full-on injuries. Start with a small gear and graduate to larger ones. $20 for a larger cog (to make a smaller gear) is much less expensive than surgery. Besides, the spinning will burn more fat
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Old 06-05-09, 02:52 AM   #18
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I think we just got trolled. **** me
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Old 06-05-09, 02:57 AM   #19
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I don't get where people get stuff like "if you mash really hard with a lot of resistance it's bad for you." from, no offense cc.

Ever do squats in the gym? Way, way more physically demanding than riding a bike. If my knees can handle repping 250 lb ass-to-the-grass squats with no problem, I don't see how riding a bike with not nearly as much resistance cause damage.

While it's true that the non-weight bearing aspect of cycling can actually be good for your knees....squats is in no way a linear comparison. Pretty much any orthopedic surgeon will tell you that squatting, either with or without weights is not a favorable action for your knees. Add a bunch of weight...you may blow, you may not, but it's not good for them. Feel free to ask the one who just scoped my knee six weeks ago. His recommendation for rehab....cycling with a good relatively high cadence. Along with stretching and other stuff. It has been shown time and time again that "big gear mashing" over extended periods of time can do damage to the knee, it's not a myth. That being said...some people just can take the abuse and not have serious adverse effects, you may just have really really good knees and have no problem...someone else though may tear themselves up quickly.
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Old 06-05-09, 05:24 AM   #20
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BF copypasta.

this question sucks.
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Old 06-05-09, 05:54 AM   #21
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squats are more physically demanding but it's not repetitive motion. it's like tennis elbow. also, you're less likely to be out of alignment when you're squatting.

that said, it was the second part of my post that was most important- if your knees are weak from skateboarding early in your life like me, you'll know that mashing hard up a hill is a lot worse for your knees than just riding fixed around some relatively flat areas with a tough gear and a lot of resistance and gravity to overcome.
Ha, it took a while for my knees to strengthen for cycling, that's for sure.

So in reply to the OP:
When I was somewhere around 16-17 I was in several sports, skateboarded for the past 4 years, snowboarded for around the same, and was a fairly avid biker (on a dept store mountain bike, haha). I didn't think that much about skateboarding around a parking lot for an hour doing flatland crap.
A friend of mine (who was a serious road cyclist, the fastest kid on the soccer team, and an overall athlete) started skateboarding. One night while just playing around on little curbs and stuff, after around 20 minutes of him attempting to learn an ollie, his legs were killing him. He asked us how the hell can we skate for hours a day.

The point of this story? I was told once that the only way to train for something is actually do it. And whatever "it" may be, it will get easier with time.

The first 7 miles ever on my fg had my a** hurting, my knees aching, and my glutes throbbing. Now I don't think that much of a 30 mile ride with occasional hills and some headwinds.
/super long reply
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Old 06-05-09, 07:38 AM   #22
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My city is so hilly I am pretty sure my knees are going to be dead by age 30 no matter what I do. :|

When I first made the switch from road bike to FG, my knees hurt, but that went away after about 5 days. They generally don't hurt anymore unless I've been mashing for over two hours up and down hills. It's also really only my left knee which I think is due to the fact that it's the knee that's taken all the damage both times I've been hit by a car.
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