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Bike fit and knees as you get older

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Bike fit and knees as you get older

Old 08-19-18, 07:57 PM
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scale
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Bike fit and knees as you get older

I have ridden 2 bikes and have had my saddle height set via a digital caliper at the same height for years. This season as it gets later i have noticed my knees have started bugging me. I know i have a leg length dependency but i have accounted for that. I checked both bikes and the saddle height is spot on to the fraction of a mm according to my caliper.....yet it still feels like the saddle should go up a bit. I thought you were supposed to shrink as you aged. Not sure what to thing but i might try going up 5mm and see how things work out. I just find it very odd considering i have been at this height with both bikes/saddles for many years.
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Old 08-19-18, 08:04 PM
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Did you wash your bike using hot water?

​​​​​​.
.
Have you changed shoes that might have a thicker sole? I wouldn't think shoes would change the leg stroke to that extreme but there is always a first i suppose?
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Old 08-19-18, 08:06 PM
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Your overall height decreases because your spine compresses. Leg length stays pretty much the same unless there's an injury.

I had no end of knee issues from riding with a too-low saddle for many months, having set it by formula. One day I just kept raising it and raising it, waiting for pain behind the knee.

Never came. Left it about 1/8" lower than where my hips would start to rock, which is over 1" higher than what the formula said it should be.

Bike fit is a fluid thing. I'm constantly fiddling with bar and hood angle, saddle angle and setback, seems like everything except cleat position. Haven't messed with those in forever.
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Old 08-19-18, 08:12 PM
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I've noticed if my seat is too high I'll wake up some pain in the upper inner thigh area. The power until the pain happens is noticeably greater... Takes a few good long rides before the discomfort occurs.
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Old 08-19-18, 08:13 PM
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As I have gotten older i have found a higher seatpost is preferable. It's easier on my knees.
I always have a straighter knee at the bottom of my stroke than the racer guys.
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Old 08-19-18, 08:37 PM
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Just a thought but this may be an indication of loss flexibility and/or becoming a bit rounder at the midsection, rather than shorter.

The knee pain is an indication that your stroke is out of whack somewhere, possibly at the top of the stroke. With a loss of flexibility or more mass in the midsection, your knee can kickout at the top. Raising the saddle height opens the hip angle, which can reduce the possibility of having the knee kickout at the top of the stroke. Shorter crank length can also help.
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Old 08-20-18, 07:15 PM
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I've also raised my seat to what is beyond the norm. My arthritic knees appreciate it. Just below rocking level. Spinning also helps.
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Old 08-20-18, 07:27 PM
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Consider shorter crank arms ?
also, fore/aft saddle position, plus saddle tilt ?
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Old 08-20-18, 08:23 PM
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i have always wanted to try out some 165 crank arms as i have short legs but up until this year my saddle height has remained fine for 1000s of miles and quite a few years. I have lost weight so i dont think it has anything to do with that. Ill just have to mess with things until i get it right agian.
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Old 08-20-18, 08:34 PM
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I have experienced the same thing. This year the seat has gone up 5mm after decades of the same seat height.10mm was too high and it bothered me behind the knee. Raised it to address patellar tendonitis. Hasn't gone away, but is much more manageable now.
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Old 08-20-18, 08:56 PM
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As you get older, parts of your body will protest no matter what you do.
It is a fact of life and digital calipers measuring/adjusting a fraction of a mm will not avail you.
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Old 08-20-18, 09:29 PM
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Your bib chamois has squished flat and is not rebounding any more.
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Old 08-21-18, 10:57 PM
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Originally Posted by scale View Post
i have always wanted to try out some 165 crank arms as i have short legs but up until this year my saddle height has remained fine for 1000s of miles and quite a few years. I have lost weight so i dont think it has anything to do with that. Ill just have to mess with things until i get it right agian.
Assuming you were at the ideal leg extension currently, going from e.g., 175 to 165 requires that you raise the seat height by 10 ml (seat height is based on leg extension with the pedal at 6 o'clock). So, you might check out the bike with that in mind to make sure you can raise the bars as well or you might end up with a more aggressive riding position than you started with.
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Old 08-22-18, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by scale View Post
I have lost weight so i dont think it has anything to do with that.
Oh, lost weight part is actually a very important part! As I was loosing weight (lost 70 pounds last year), I was raising my seat higher and higher. Think about it - your natural "padding" thickness reduces as you loose weight, so you effectively start seating lower than before and need to adjust the saddle height accordingly.
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Old 08-22-18, 01:20 PM
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I went with shorter crank arms, and love it. I spin better now, as well. Best thing I did on my bike, and I'm not that old, not that young either. I swapped mine out at 51. Should have done it sooner.
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Old 08-22-18, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by scale View Post
i have always wanted to try out some 165 crank arms as i have short legs but up until this year my saddle height has remained fine for 1000s of miles and quite a few years. I have lost weight so i dont think it has anything to do with that. Ill just have to mess with things until i get it right agian.
Might depend on what type of rider you are - power-sprinterly type or high cadence aerobic spinner?

I don't know

For me ... I don't think it worked.

I bought 165s for my bike as I thought they would be a plus. having shorter legs 29.5 inch inseam, (but a longer torso)

But I really do question whether they work for the type of rider I am more of a power clyde, and not so much of a high-cadence spinner,
I wonder whether I am missing out on some leverage - if I could afford a do-over in my chosen brand and compatibility, I would go 172.5.
But to afford that I would be looking at a serious dollar outlay or a jump in weight from carbon back to steel-luminum. My inner weight and aesthetics weenie balks.
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Old 08-23-18, 02:51 AM
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Bicycle fit isn't a fixed thing. Lots of things can cause the need to change including but not limited to ...

Weight gain
Weight loss
Age
Flexibility increase
Flexibility loss
Injury
Increased fitness
Decreased fitness
Taking up another sport and training different muscles
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Old 08-23-18, 03:28 AM
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Put the caliper back in the toolbox.

There are so many variables in a proper fit to a bicycle.


There is not any single solution to comfort and performance fit in most cases.


Also, things are not static in the body.


Not only age"shrinkage", but fitness level, individual degree of "limberness" and a host of others -

how big your hands are! Very subtle stuff can make a difference.


Comfort is the first rule and the adjustments to get there will take time, especially when you are at the

final fit stage, as it sounds like you are. If you are comfortable on your bicycle, fit makes the experience

better - read that more efficient.


I equate the body to any machine - if the parts do not mesh correctly, not only can there be noise(pain),

but premature wear and long term issues may develop.(Piston and crankshaft)


Have someone video you riding, from all angles.

Examine all the visuals and relate to what your body is telling you - pressure, strain, wiggles, etc.

Look at knees during spin.

Note any movement on the saddle - you should see none.

The best saddle is the one that supports the "Sitz bones" and not have uncomfortable pressure anywhere.

Squishy is good for around the block, but for a longer ride a firm platform will likely be best.

Look at the splay/pronation of your knees - that one tells a lot.




As they say of Eddy Merckx - half man- half bike.


When I fit people:

Feet

Butt

Hands


In that order, as each affects the adjustment of the one following.


Regards,

rusty
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Old 08-23-18, 11:51 AM
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Took up cycling in mid 40's when knees began giving me problems from running. Almost 40 years later - high saddle (almost straight leg on down stroke) and high cadence are the only way I can continue to ride. Had a pro fit about six years ago and knees still good for a hard ride using same saddle position from pro fit. When I started riding a mtn bike I had knee pain every ride - until I set saddle nearly the same height, tilt and horiz. position as road bike. That is what works for me.
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