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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have knee osteoarthritis and have always been concerned about the front of my knee being over the spindle/axle of the pedal when the pedal is 90 degrees to the ground. This allows me to ride pain free. I don't stand too much so much of my pedaling is in the seated position when on level or climbing. Does anyone have the same problem and experience with the new geometry where the front end is stretched out and the seattube is more upright which brings one's knee farther forward? Lot's of new bikes out there which entice but fear of having more knee problems keeps me on my 2015 Pivot M429.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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I tore my MCL in my left knee late last year (a Grade 1+ strain). I also previously experienced low back pain following rides with rowdier downs. Zero issues with my Druid. My back pain is non-existent (even after 5 hours in the saddle) and zero knee pain. That said, I suspect things may differ between bikes given that every bike is slightly different geo-wise.

Still getting used to the steep STA though on climbs. I still have the odd time when my rear tire breaks loose on steep dry techy climbs because I keep nudging forward in the saddle due to decades of habit.
 

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Kops aint everything, and there are many kinds and causes of knee pain. I suggest you start googling cycling and knee pain and try to figure out exactly what your problem is and how to you might try to address it.

I had Patellofemoral pain when I was doing high mileage road riding. A fit, specific VMO exercises, and dialing back for a while before ramping up again cured it. If you look at the various positions people ride in from recumbent supine to recumbent prone and everything in between, you might see how KOPs is irrelevant. It is a decent starting position for the traditional riding position, but nothing more.
 

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This issue comes up a lot. There's a lot of people who think they must follow KOPS. There's a lot of people who have zero issues not following KOPS. My recommendation is to rent some modern bikes with a long dropper. Why a long dropper? So you don't run your seat too low as a compromise between pedaling and standing. Raise your saddle until it's too high then drop 5mm at a time until it's not too high. Some people don't realize how much higher their saddle could be. That should give you some idea if your knee will hurt or not.
 

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Not a role model
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When I'm pedaling uphill, in the saddle, are my knees still over the spindle with a plumb bob?

When I'm pedaling out of the saddle, my knees are almost always in front of the spindle. The effective seat angle would have to be 90d to even come close to mimicking my out-of-saddle pedaling position.

What is KOPS supposed to suggest?

What do recumbent riders do? Angle their seat depending on how high their cranks are?

I wouldn't blame new geo, like steep STA, on knee pain; I'd be more likely to blame overly stiff/harsh frames (esp at the BB), stiff/harsh cranks, and even harsh/excessive pedal kickback on knee pain.

It's fair game to blame steep STA on excessive hand pressure though, since it is rotating your seated position up and forward.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
When I'm pedaling uphill, in the saddle, are my knees still over the spindle with a plumb bob?

When I'm pedaling out of the saddle, my knees are almost always in front of the spindle. The effective seat angle would have to be 90d to even come close to mimicking my out-of-saddle pedaling position.

What is KOPS supposed to suggest?

What do recumbent riders do? Angle their seat depending on how high their cranks are?

I wouldn't blame new geo, like steep STA, on knee pain; I'd be more likely to blame overly stiff/harsh frames (esp at the BB), stiff/harsh cranks, and even harsh/excessive pedal kickback on knee pain.

It's fair game to blame steep STA on excessive hand pressure though, since it is rotating your seated position up and forward.
I wouldn't call it blaming but more "asking" if anyone had knee pain with newer geometries. In my case, arthritis is the primary culprit but difficult to understand if you don't have it. I ride pain free 3-4 times/week averaging 30-40 miles provided I follow some guidelines such as knee position. It's walking I have a problem with...lol
 

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I have knee osteoarthritis and have always been concerned about the front of my knee being over the spindle/axle of the pedal when the pedal is 90 degrees to the ground. This allows me to ride pain free. I don't stand too much so much of my pedaling is in the seated position when on level or climbing. Does anyone have the same problem and experience with the new geometry where the front end is stretched out and the seattube is more upright which brings one's knee farther forward? Lot's of new bikes out there which entice but fear of having more knee problems keeps me on my 2015 Pivot M429.
Bike fit is about balancing the load between the quads and the glutes/hamstrings. Some people are more sensitive to this balance than others. I'm very sensitive. I've have the same frame as yours waiting to be built up (even though it's been superseded), because I know that it's STA will suit me, vs the very steep STA's on current bikes.

Have a look at Steve Hogg's articles (he's a world renowned Australian)
 

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Bike fit is about balancing the load between the quads and the glutes/hamstrings. Some people are more sensitive to this balance than others. I'm very sensitive. I've have the same frame as yours waiting to be built up (even though it's been superseded), because I know that it's STA will suit me, vs the very steep STA's on current bikes.

Have a look at Steve Hogg's articles (he's a world renowned Australian)
Best reply. You'll see hate for KOPS because it's meaningless in isolation, but i find it to be a handy data point for comparative purposes.

I have a knee injury, and 10 years ago i needed the slackest possible seat angle... and an imperceptibly low saddle would leave me hobbling around the next day. All my bike set-up was driven by only being able to pedal from 1 precise position. Over time i gradually pushed my saddle forward and down, and now it's mostly a non-issue.

It would be impossible to ride new seat angle geometry 5 years ago, and now i just find it 'not preferable.' I didn't go in to detail about my knee because idk much about arthritis. :)
 

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Best reply. You'll see hate for KOPS because it's meaningless in isolation, but i find it to be a handy data point for comparative purposes.

I have a knee injury, and 10 years ago i needed the slackest possible seat angle... and an imperceptibly low saddle would leave me hobbling around the next day. All my bike set-up was driven by only being able to pedal from 1 precise position. Over time i gradually pushed my saddle forward and down, and now it's mostly a non-issue.

It would be impossible to ride new seat angle geometry 5 years ago, and now i just find it 'not preferable.' I didn't go in to detail about my knee because idk much about arthritis. :)
I had a similar experience. Kept tweaking seat position rearward for almost a year, trying to ease off the knee pain. Finally decided to start over and moved seat forward to a touch forward of KOPS and voila...knee pain all gone. Need to remember you may need to raise your seat as you adjust it forward.
 

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Hi maverickc_c, you might find these posts interesting:

https://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/steep-sta-saddle-setback-1104189.html#post14116289

https://forums.mtbr.com/general-discussion/setup-saddle-handlebars-first-1103774.html#post14109323

Also, if you have a bad case of UGI (upgrade-itis), then you could keep your current bike and upgrade it :cool: e.g.:
  • have the shock and fork custom tuned
  • buy a new shock and fork
  • have the bike and fork custom painted
  • drop some weight off it (e.g. new 9.8 dropper, light carbon rimmed wheels, XT or XTR 1x12 drivetrain
  • 1x drivetrain if you don't already have it
  • try the latest generation of carbon rims that are both stiff and comfortable (Zipp and Crank Brothers)
  • try wider 30mm (inner width) rims if you haven't already
  • try the latest generation of 29x2.6 tyres, some love them. Bontrager and Maxxis tyres great reviews (so do Schwable, but their weight :eekster:)
  • try the new SQLabs swept back bars, 12 or 16 degrees (check NSMB.com for insightful reviews and reader's comments)
  • you could even upgrade yourself and pay for some skills coaching!
 

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New bikes have been heavenly for my old self. That includes a knee wearing out, shrinking height, and chronic pack pain. I still have two custom old school bikes and ride others. One of the most important or best things for my knees have been switch to Five Ten shoes on flat pedals, and even better when the pedals are the convex vs concave like OneUp or Canfield pedals.

Riding style is part of keeping it comfy and in control. I'm out of the seat more, dropper is a must. I sit with dropper high when climbing but otherwise carve the bike like skis, pump and pop it with rollers, and get the feet off the pedals for balance and comfort.

Basically, a long, slack, low, short stem wide bar bike has made me feel comfy and in control while many my age gripe about it. When I get on my old bikes or racer type bikes many my age have had or seem to like I shake my head to think I felt that was correct. That was only correct if your mindset and riding type was to sit and crank away miles or a race like huffing and puffing to lay a turd.

I will also switch up the riding to address body part pain and age. Yesterday my Apple Watch again confirmed 1.5 hours of mostly session riding on the low risk jump line and flow stuff really was exercise just as if I did more of a trail ride. The problematic knee and back were happier. If the pain is really bad I do a combo road and gravel ride on a touring bike often swapping clip/cleat type pedals for flats.

On new bikes, delay gratification and try lots of stuff. That's surprised my more than once now. My current favorite bikes are not ones I'd have thought I would like. Trying lots of bikes didn't just open up my ideas to fun and comfort. It was a reminder of how the bike engine is more important than fancy stuff.
 

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I went from being able to ride a few days a week, due to knee pain, to riding as often and long as I want without knee pain, and its a direct result of my new steep STA bike. I get on one of my "old" bikes and immediately identify that the slack STA's of these bikes was a major contributing factor to stress on my knees. My mileage has increased significantly this season. YMMV, but for me and my physical dimensions, its been a really, really big deal.
 

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Lots of good info in this thread.

My $.02--I only ever have pain in my right knee. It had been going on for a decade before I decided to have a professional bike fit. Found out my right leg is 3mm shorter than my left leg. Found a way to either shim my cleat or use an orthotic sole, problem solved. That was 16 yrs ago, havent' had knee pain since.
 

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I am fortunate that I seem to be able to handle a pretty large variety of bike positions and not have any issues. Unfortunately many people aren't as lucky.

I would suspect that if you were going to have an issue with a steeper seat angle it would be due to the sudden change in position rather than the position its self. Should you decide to switch bikes you might want to start by first moving your seat on your old bike forward a mm or so each week prior to getting your new bike. Once you get a new bike start with the seat back and then slowly move it to a more forward position.

The effect of a steeper seat angle is really going to depend on your leg length. If you have short legs then it is a minor change. However, if you have long legs then a steeper seat angle is going to be a big change, but people with long legs really struggle to get their knee over the pedal on older MTBs.
 

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bingemtbr said:
Found out my right leg is 3mm shorter than my left leg. Found a way to either shim my cleat or use an orthotic sole, problem solved. That was 16 yrs ago, havent' had knee pain since.
Curious- did a bike fitter determine that "one leg is longer than the other" or did a doctor confirm using x-rays that one or more bones is literally longer than the other? It could be either way, but I think it's important to be aware of the difference and who to trust for a long-term solution.

I find that many, many bike fitters will identify abberations and asymmetries on a rider and adjust the way the bike fits to accommodate for those issues, rather than deal with the underlying issue as a medical professional would.

A medical professional will measure those same abberations objectively, and most will just give you drugs for pain. A GOOD medical professional will determine if the problem is that your body is out of alignment, and adjust your body to align it and teach you how to maintain it through home excercise.

For example, I paid for a highly recommended bike fitter to set me up and he slid my cleats all the way up under my toes to force me into a KOPS position on a bike with a steep seat tube (rather than rotate the eccentric BB back or move the saddle) and put a shim under one cleat because "one leg is longer than the other."

Then I went to a really though sports physio/ chiropractor who analyzed x-rays and found that all the bones in my legs were proportional, my my pelvis was tilted on two axis, making one leg effectively longer than the other. After some adjustments and a ton of home workout, I was able to even it out so I did not need wedges, spacers, gimmicky insoles, etc.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Science and tech aside, I am 5'11", 185 pounds, 34 inch inseam. As I mentioned above, I injured my left knee towards the end of last season in a fall (Grade 1+ strain to my MCL). For over 6 months, I could not get more than 4 hours sleep because I was waking in pain. While anecdotal only, it does warrant mention that riding my Large Druid has not only been pain free, but possibly rehabilitative as well, as I now have ZERO pain 100% of the time.

That is THE most pain free bike I have ever ridden, which have now included 5+ hour rides. I am convinced it is due to the geo and steep STA (although again, all of this is merely anecdotal).
 

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The effect of a steeper seat angle is really going to depend on your leg length. If you have short legs then it is a minor change. However, if you have long legs then a steeper seat angle is going to be a big change, but people with long legs really struggle to get their knee over the pedal on older MTBs.
Speak for yourself.

Definitely not a minor change for my legs, on the short-medium length side of things.

Actual seat tube angles on some bikes have gotten as slack as head tube angles, which mean 66d or slacker. They just offset the seat tube forward of the BB by ~80mm to measure steeper on the geo charts, but you could end up with similarly slack STA as before if you are long legged, compared to a non-offset straight seat tube with 73-74d STA.

Can't generalize with this topic. This fact is definitely not nit-picking. Compare something like the La Sal Peak to the Hightower...
 

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My 75º SA, while not extreme, has been significantly more comfortable to me in almost every aspect. I ride the saddle at mid-rail, but the main adjustment I made was moving my cleats backward a lot from where I used to have them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Hi maverickc_c, you might find these posts interesting:

https://forums.mtbr.com/29er-bikes/steep-sta-saddle-setback-1104189.html#post14116289

https://forums.mtbr.com/general-discussion/setup-saddle-handlebars-first-1103774.html#post14109323

Also, if you have a bad case of UGI (upgrade-itis), then you could keep your current bike and upgrade it :cool: e.g.:
  • have the shock and fork custom tuned
  • buy a new shock and fork
  • have the bike and fork custom painted
  • drop some weight off it (e.g. new 9.8 dropper, light carbon rimmed wheels, XT or XTR 1x12 drivetrain
  • 1x drivetrain if you don't already have it
  • try the latest generation of carbon rims that are both stiff and comfortable (Zipp and Crank Brothers)
  • try wider 30mm (inner width) rims if you haven't already
  • try the latest generation of 29x2.6 tyres, some love them. Bontrager and Maxxis tyres great reviews (so do Schwable, but their weight :eekster:)
  • try the new SQLabs swept back bars, 12 or 16 degrees (check NSMB.com for insightful reviews and reader's comments)
  • you could even upgrade yourself and pay for some skills coaching!
Some interesting links that had relevance to my questions. Yeah, I go thru new bike-itis every year about this time. Last year was the SB100 and now the Ripley but I know deep down these new bikes won't make me faster or a better rider especially at my advanced age. I wish I could turn back the hands of time and upgrade myself. I have to quit watching Youtube. LOL I have upgraded several items over the years the latest being a Fox34 SC fork. Great improvement!
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.
 

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Some interesting links that had relevance to my questions. Yeah, I go thru new bike-itis every year about this time. Last year was the SB100 and now the Ripley but I know deep down these new bikes won't make me faster or a better rider especially at my advanced age. I wish I could turn back the hands of time and upgrade myself. I have to quit watching Youtube. LOL I have upgraded several items over the years the latest being a Fox34 SC fork. Great improvement!
Thanks for the suggestions and encouragement.
Were you running a 130 or 120mm fork before you changed to the 120mm StepCast? In what ways is the SC better? If you switched from 130 ->120mm, what difference did it make?

Interestingly, I came across this thread/post about using a Manitou McLeod shock on a m429T. It could be a great upgrade (noting that it has be shimmed-down to fit. Manitou can do this or one can do it one's self).

https://forums.mtbr.com/pivot-cycles/more-travel-rear-mach-429t-1101239.html

"When reading this keep in mind I use the bike for traditional XC style riding. Not "downcountry" or what some may call trail trail riding or enduro or anything like that.

I found the DPS to be severely lacking in small bump compliance over both isolated rocks and roots and longer "washboard" type stretches. On the isolated bump situations I liked to describe it as being reactive instead of proactive. No matter what combinations of settings I tried I couldn't get the DPS to suck up or smoothly track over the impact. Instead what it did is buck or kick my rear end up in the air and then cushion the landing on the backside. Also, I found the DPS to be lacking in mid-stroke support. In G-out situations on banked corners and rollers on flow style trails the bike would easily sink way too far into its travel.

Swapping over to the Manitou Mcleod completely solved all the above complaints and has literally transformed my 429 Trial into new and improved bike."


There's lots of info on this thread (noting that the initial bugs were sorted out)
https://forums.mtbr.com/shocks-suspension/manitou-mcleod-rear-shock-956836-post11827007.html
 
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