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'Bents + Bad Knees = ???

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'Bents + Bad Knees = ???

Old 01-31-07, 05:37 PM
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ibimus
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'Bents + Bad Knees = ???

Hello! I'm trying to pick out a bike for my 45 day trip to either Italy or New Zealand.
I'm only 17, but I have the knees of a 45-year-old (serious injury in the past messed up both knees pretty badly.). Are recumbents any easier on the knees than a regular bike? I'm planning to wear a brace on the worse of the two knees, so that will add a little support, but I'd still like to choose the easier option.

Your opinions?
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Old 01-31-07, 05:48 PM
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I don't know but my wife, who broke her leg and tore up one knee pretty badly last year, will be watching for the replies.

I can tell you this.......The recumbent exercise bike doesn't bother her at all.......now going down stairs for the better part of eight months was another matter.

Last edited by Opedaler; 02-01-07 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 01-31-07, 05:54 PM
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Properly done, cycling whether upright or bent can be one of the best exercises for knees. But bents are no better in that respect than regular bikes. And, if you do it improperly, such as mashing or splaying your knees while you pedal, bents can be worse.
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Old 01-31-07, 06:47 PM
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It's better to spin and not mash on a recumbent. Especially if you enjoy the scenary too much and don't see that hill coming up - and end up having to walk the bike up because you didn't shift down when you were supposed to.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:53 PM
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You'll have to look at gearing the bike like a traditional tourer or mountain bike. The granny gear or small chainring is going to be very important and the smaller the better. Try to get as close to 24T.
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Old 02-01-07, 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ibimus
Hello! I'm trying to pick out a bike for my 45 day trip to either Italy or New Zealand.
I'm only 17, but I have the knees of a 45-year-old (serious injury in the past messed up both knees pretty badly.). Are recumbents any easier on the knees than a regular bike? I'm planning to wear a brace on the worse of the two knees, so that will add a little support, but I'd still like to choose the easier option.

Your opinions?
Keep your cadence high and gearing low if you are climbing.....

Best advice I can give!
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Old 02-01-07, 10:05 AM
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As said before, spinning instead of mashing is the only way for healthy knees. Now, as for me I rode uprights for 30+ years and only switched to a bent last year. I've found that, for me, spinning is much more natural on the bent. My knees usually hurt most of the summer on uprights. They didn't bother me a bit last summer on the bent.
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Old 02-01-07, 11:04 AM
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I am 55 with the knees of a 55 year old. The Bent is great for my knees. Just don't mash gears that are too big. Start slowly and build strength.
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Old 02-01-07, 04:28 PM
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Ditto to what everyone else said. Spin those pedals and you should be fine.

Of course, you should also consult your doctor about this before heading out...
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Old 02-01-07, 10:40 PM
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Beside spinning if you have bad knees I would consider going down to shorter cranks, as they make you spin because there is less leverage to mash with.
You can also push hard without as much pain due to the shallower angle the knee operates through, if you go to 155 or the such, you will need to lower the gearing due to lack of torque but on the plus side when you are used to them your cadence will be so high that you can go very fast with lower high gears.
They take some adjusting to so if you go that route change them well before you leave.
My shorties (152's) are on a trike, I don't know how they would feel on an upright.
But the main thing is SPIN the faster the better with bad knees in my experience.
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Old 02-02-07, 08:47 AM
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Yes, forgot about short cranks, another good idea. You may also want to look into getting a set of Rotor Q-rings.
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Old 02-02-07, 09:11 AM
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You may also want to look into getting a set of Rotor Q-rings.[/QUOTE]

What are and where do you get "Rotor Q-rings?
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Old 02-02-07, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Opedaler
You may also want to look into getting a set of Rotor Q-rings.
What are and where do you get "Rotor Q-rings?[/QUOTE]

Rotor Q-rings are ovalized chainrings. They help improve efficiency by effectively lowering your gear ratio when you can't apply as much power to the pedals, and increase your gear ratio when you're in the power stroke. Not only does this help you climb hills, it also may further improve your spin, thus sparing your knees. They're a little pricey, but from reports I've read, anyone who has them noticed a measurable difference.
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Old 02-02-07, 10:06 AM
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Tha advantage of Q-Rings, as applied to bents, is that they are adjustable. You can modify where the largest chainring diameter falls in your pedal stroke.
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Old 02-02-07, 11:11 AM
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Neat.....thanks!
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Old 02-02-07, 12:55 PM
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While we're on this subject..... what about pedal extenders? I noticed that they're called "knee savers".
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Old 02-04-07, 01:57 PM
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Can't offer that one type of bike is better for knees than another. But another tip is to keep your knees warm, ie; knee warmers below say 55/ 60F, & start slow (smaller gears) until you've warmed up.

Bike type might rely soley on how YOUR put together. If you can, try them both, then train alot before you go.

~Roger
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Old 02-04-07, 04:41 PM
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Pedal extenders are for those whose feet naturally point outward a lot. For those folks, their heels may be constantly hitting the crank arms or even the chain stays; and the way to 'fix' the problem is to move the pedals out away from the arms. That's what pedal extenders do. I say 'fix' although it doesn't fix their stance, it lets them pedal without impedance. I suppose someone with very heavy legs, who couldn't get their legs together in line with the pedals would also benefit. For those who don't have problems, pedal extenders needlessly put their feet wider, which may cause hip stress.
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Old 02-19-07, 04:22 PM
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As others have posted, train to spin. The problem with recumbents is, you can push as hard as you want and ruin your knees without even noticing, so you need to develop a mental reflex of always trying to find the smallest gear you're comfortable spinning at.

I also agree with shorter cranks : for some reason, shorter cranks are almost always a good idea on a recumbent. My knees are shot too and I can't ride a recumbent with standard cranks without developing knee pains. I usually ride 150mm cranks, or 130mm cranks to spin faster and increase my top speed. If you ride a bent and your knees are sore, you should definitely consider shorter cranks. Mounting them certainly was an epiphany for me.
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Old 02-19-07, 09:35 PM
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I don't have the greatest knees either. This forum is great. DO NOT MASH the pedals you will be sorry. Spin spin spin. Gears gears gears.
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