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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 01-26-10, 07:41 PM   #1
scale
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knees and gear ratiios...

i ran a 48x17 all last season and starting getting some knee pain and soreness. im runinng mks platform pedals with no clips...

Im curious to know if i go up to 48x18 (70gi) if that will make a noticeable difference at all in knee strain

honestly i never had a problem with the 72gi setup i have right now.....not many hills here and im not running fixed....i have a freewheel on the back.

I have farted around with the seat height / fore/aft and all that but nothing doing. I figured going up on gear in the rear might help maybe?

ill pound out 24 - 35 miles in a ride....maybe it is just from over use?
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Old 01-26-10, 07:52 PM   #2
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are your knees warm when you ride?
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Old 01-26-10, 08:00 PM   #3
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ah.....

well typically yes .....summer and im always sweating buckets.....and the temps are definately in the warm ranges.


Also...and maybe this is what you meant.....
I do notice that my knees are hot after my ride...not sore but warm. As strange as that sounds....nobody has ever been able to give me an answer on that one
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Old 01-26-10, 08:15 PM   #4
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I'd try again with the seat. Slide it back a few more MM.

If the bike is properly fitted, you shouldn't be having overuse injuries, especially riding freewheel.
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Old 01-26-10, 08:55 PM   #5
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roger that...

im starting to think ive got some knee disorder.....

i just cant get this sucker dialed in. ill keep trying.
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Old 01-26-10, 09:26 PM   #6
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ah.....

well typically yes .....summer and im always sweating buckets.....and the temps are definately in the warm ranges.


Also...and maybe this is what you meant.....
I do notice that my knees are hot after my ride...not sore but warm. As strange as that sounds....nobody has ever been able to give me an answer on that one
Ah, no, actually when you knees get really cold they'll hurt. Seeing as it's winter in the northern hemisphere and I don't know your location, I assumed you were posting from a cold area.


maybe your legs are twisting due to imbalanced muscles?
try to keep your feet straight when putting power down.
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Old 01-26-10, 09:44 PM   #7
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that could be.

I rode for a bit just now on the trainer and noticed that my feet are equal and paralell with my crank arms as far as toe / heel goes. Im not pointing in or out with either toe or heel. The tops of my legs are equal distances from the top tube on both sides... and fairly close but not knock kneed or close to rubbing the top tube. Things appear fairly straight but it is hard to tell.

One thing i did notice is that i could feel the muscle on the top of my leg starting to burn where it attaches to the inside of the knee cap. My knee appears to be angled outward. They are not straight ahead. I assume this is normal because i have never looked at anotehr persons knees closely.


That said...my tops of my legs start to burn and i notice that the outer side of my calf muscle does the the same lower in my leg. Not the calf muscle itself but the mucsle that appears to run next to it (hell maybe it is the calf....i dont know). My point is it almost seems like the inter part of top femer muscle burns and the outer part of the calf burns. It isnt central to either muscle group.

dont get my wrong....the rest of the muscles burn too but now with the same intensity.

Im wondering if this bit of extra pressure (burnning) is a result of twisted legs due to weirdo muscle development ??

The pressure on my foot appears to be equal all the way accross. ive farted around with the cleat far right and left positions. IM wondering if foot beds or somthing like that could help center the muscle groups better to centralize the pressure / muscle burn?

I might be out in left field here but it seems to make sense.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:09 AM   #8
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Save your knees and pay for a proper fitting at a bike shop.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:14 AM   #9
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Save your knees and pay for a proper fitting at a bike shop.
+1,000,000

Go to a bike shop that serves the road race or tri community. They usually have the best fitters. You will pay around $100. But, I can almost guarantee that they can help diagnose your problem and that' $100 would be a hell of a lot cheaper than surgery.

Other tips:
- Get clipless pedals with float. I recommend Speedplay Zeros or Shimano SPD-SL for riding fixed. This will also help in the fitting process mentioned above.
- Easy on teh skidzzzz. STRIKE THAT. I just re-read and noticed that you are riding a freewheel.
- Put on the 18t cog. This will help in the mean-time, but not solve the problem.

Remember, you only get one set of knees...until you buy another set. So take care of them.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:16 AM   #10
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Read this for starters

http://www.cptips.com/knee.htm

I was having pretty bad knee pain towards the end of the summer and switched to 165 cranks. I can bang out 300km in a week and have zero discomfort now
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Old 01-27-10, 12:21 AM   #11
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I just re-read and noticed that you are riding a freewheel.

Maybe it's all of the mashing, mashing, mashing with no full circle pedal action. I'm sure that clipless pedals and some increased pedaling efficiency will lighten the load on the mash-muscles, increase your efficiency and power output, while increasing your overall cycling experience. As it's been said, once you go clipless, you never go back.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:29 AM   #12
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Upper thigh pain could be a saddle thats too low...this can be harder on your knees, as well. Calf pain sounds like foot/cleat position. A lot going on there...definitely get fitted. Post a pic of your riding position (pedals @ horizontal & @ vertical) if you get the chance.
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Old 01-27-10, 07:47 AM   #13
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ill get some pics up when i have time. Ive got to get to work now but maybe tonight.

For the Single speed im thinking of going clipless. How are the m-324 pedals? They have clips but also alow you to flip them and ride on the platform side if you dont want to ride clipped in.

I notice with my regular road bike i get the same result with clipless pedals. Same soreness etc. Im wondering if that isnt my issue.

I notice while riding clipped in i focus on scrapping the bottom of my foot off at the bottom of the stroke and my up stroke. Id say the top of my stroke as it rounds over the top is the weakest spot for me in my stroke.
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Old 01-27-10, 09:47 AM   #14
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A few things:

I think your ratio is too tall for SS. Your top end isn't limited by your ratio like it would be FG, so you'd generally go with something a little lower. I think that spinning fast gives your knees a workout, which ultimately strengthens and conditions them, as opposed to grinding out tall ratios at a slower cadence which causes a lot of friction in the ball and socket junction of your knee (which generates heat). When I was doing some moving work, my knees would always be hot- slow, high-load movement was really tearing them up. Spinning along at 120rpm doesn't feel like it is damaging me in that way.

The fit is a key part of this. The bike I'm finishing building now has a short seatpost on it so I can't put the seat quite as high as I want it, and even riding less than a mile to school it hurts my knees. I feel it most on top of my thigh right above the kneecap. I think the front/back adjustment of the seat mostly affects how stretched out your arms are and how your wrists fare, while the height is key for your knees. Maybe go higher with your seat? You want good leg extension. Like they said above, I'm sure a pro could get you set up right in one go, but I've never done that and I feel like I've figured out what needs to happen over time, with my setup.

Clipless would help to keep your feet positioned right and would help a lot to give you an even stroke all the way around, but it would sacrifice a lot of the convenience the bike offers now. As far as choosing a system, I don't have much experience but I do like the Candy pedals I've got now from Crank Bros. You should give a high priority to float. One nice thing about my pedals is they feel pretty loose and I can angle my foot very easily, which might be annoying except that there's a platform to them that makes up for the looseness in terms of security. I suspect that the regular Eggbeaters would feel disconnected on the downstroke.

I use 165s also, and like them. That's be another move towards smooth spinning, away from mashing, which will probably be good for you.

Let us know what you figure out!
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Old 01-27-10, 11:48 AM   #15
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"I notice with my regular road bike i get the same result with clipless pedals. Same soreness etc. Im wondering if that isnt my issue."

And your knees - do they hurt, too, when you ride your road bike?


"i ran a 48x17 all last season"

What was this season? You mean last year?


"starting getting some knee pain and soreness. "

Was there some time interval when you didn't ride?


While getting a pro fitting would be great, it's not something most people and do, and most people seem fairly comfortable on their bikes. And if you've been riding all along without problems until recently, with pain only now showing up, then try to figure out what you're doing differently from before.

My first and probably only guess, based on the assumption you stopped riding for a while, is that you're simply overdoing it - as in "ll pound out 24 - 35 miles in a ride....maybe it is just from over use?" - yeah, it could be you're simply overdoing it. What happens when you ride easy? If you feel fine, then ride easy for a while and gradually increase how hard you push yourself.

And/or use a smaller cog for a while. There's a reason a lot of stock bikes come with 42x16 gearing, and not with gears that are a lot higher or lower. 42x16 is a good starting point for most people. If you've taken some time off, you might just need to build yourself back up to your taller gears.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:07 PM   #16
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thanks for the reply

i think im running 170s now for crank length. I havent found much in the way of 165s out there. Id like to find some to try first.

DO you think changing from a 17 to an 18 in the rear would help or be noticable at all? that woudl bring me from 72gi to 70gi on the SS.

As for my geared road bike....

ive got it where i think it should be. I was cranking out some spinervals dvds the other night. There were doing this thing were the would do 100+ for 1 minute (easy gear), then 80 - 90 for 1 minute (medium gear) , and then 60 - 70 for 2 minutes (hard gear). There were a few sets of this.
My knees could feel it the next day.

Ill be back on the trainer tonight on the road bike with some pics / video...so you can check out where im at and i can get a better look at my riding position myself.


Let me ask this:

So im watching the Tour Down Under race and i notice that this riders look like they have a pretty low seat as the leg seems bent at the bottom of the stroke more than your typical rider. They are in an extremely agressive stance....im just wondering if they also ride with a more flexed leg? I have to imagine they are riding for max power output from the full stroke so maybe this is normal.

Ill post some pics tonight to show where im at.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ismellfish2 View Post
I think the front/back adjustment of the seat mostly affects how stretched out your arms are and how your wrists fare, while the height is key for your knees.
Front/back position would be for alignment of bottom of knee > ball of foot > pedal spindle. From there, stems and bars for adjusting reach.
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Old 01-27-10, 12:56 PM   #18
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Let me clear up some of my grey areas see below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by icyclist View Post
"I notice with my regular road bike i get the same result with clipless pedals. Same soreness etc. Im wondering if that isnt my issue."

And your knees - do they hurt, too, when you ride your road bike?
--> yes....pretty much the same result on my geared road bike


"i ran a 48x17 all last season"

What was this season? You mean last year?

-->YES.....last warm season


"starting getting some knee pain and soreness. "

Was there some time interval when you didn't ride?

-->No.....i was pretty consistant all the way through the warm months from april to late sept early oct with ride frequency being about 3 to 4 times per week at this distance. Some shorter...and some longer.

While getting a pro fitting would be great, it's not something most people and do, and most people seem fairly comfortable on their bikes. And if you've been riding all along without problems until recently, with pain only now showing up, then try to figure out what you're doing differently from before.

-->Agreed I can ride this thing all day and night but the next few days is when i feel it. Somthing is off....or over used.

My first and probably only guess, based on the assumption you stopped riding for a while, is that you're simply overdoing it - as in "ll pound out 24 - 35 miles in a ride....maybe it is just from over use?" - yeah, it could be you're simply overdoing it. What happens when you ride easy? If you feel fine, then ride easy for a while and gradually increase how hard you push yourself.

And/or use a smaller cog for a while. There's a reason a lot of stock bikes come with 42x16 gearing, and not with gears that are a lot higher or lower. 42x16 is a good starting point for most people. If you've taken some time off, you might just need to build yourself back up to your taller gears.
Agreeed. I figured a 18t cog on the back with my 40 on the front woudl give me the close to the same GI ratio.

I must say last season was my first consistent riding season.....ill bet i hadnt been on a bike regularly for 5 years. I rode....just not as far....not as frequent and on a different style bike entirely.

This is my first time on a SS or road bike........and for such great distances. Im in pretty good shape and have been on bikes all my life but this was the first year i tried (and got extremely addticted) to both road and SS riding. So much so...i dont want to stop.

Ive ridden mtb and bmx plenty in the past but that is a whole different animal ......didnt have any troubles with that.

Road bikes fit my lifestyle more now living in suburbia etc. More asphalt.

I must say after my riding last year was over.....i had calves \ legs of steel. I was impressed.

I absolutely cant wait to get back out there once it warms up to start riding again.
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Old 01-27-10, 06:35 PM   #19
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after my riding last year was over.....i had calves
:O

mine are so freakin stubborn
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Old 01-27-10, 06:54 PM   #20
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hehe....


here are the videos

Front
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCVBZHTHabU


back
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwyLxvB7eeA


thoughts / input?
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Old 01-27-10, 07:02 PM   #21
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Looks like your seat is still too high



best pic I can get,, unfortunatley
Attached Images
File Type: jpg pedal.jpg (60.3 KB, 15 views)

Last edited by hairnet; 01-27-10 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 01-27-10, 07:14 PM   #22
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seriously....?

i guess i cant feel the rocking but i can see it a bit. I cant tell because of the quality of the camera.

Im going to dump it down more and see how i end up.

I do have a slight bend in my leg. I generally ride with a pointed toe vs a flat one.

In this setup i can get my heels on the pedals and pedel backwards with my heels on the pedals. My legs are fully extended but i can do it. When i clip in..i get the slight bend in the knee. I read somewhere that this is a good starting point.

IM going to dump it more and see what happens.
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Old 01-27-10, 07:18 PM   #23
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idk, I could be totally wrong
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Old 01-27-10, 07:38 PM   #24
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dumped it more...

Side
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9ZvYf-BeIg

and

Back

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Tq0WrARqk0


Feels a bit cramped and short but im wondering if its that im just not used to it? I feel a bit more power but maybe thats just in my head...

im watching some CTS spin videos and they do have quite the bent knee at the bottom of the stroke....

I was always was afraid of being too far down....
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Old 01-27-10, 07:40 PM   #25
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OP - How tall are you, what is your inseam and what is your frame size (seat tube from center of BB to top of top tube)? I'd like to see a photo of you sitting on the bike, pedal at bottom with crank parallel to the seat tube, leg completely straight (ankle dropped as far as possible). Keep your hips straight (don't lean) when doing this, ball of foot over pedal axle.
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