Advice on avoiding knee injury on fixed wheel

andynewman Posts: 51
edited February 2008 in Road general
Recently decided to convert an old bike to a fixed wheel to sheild my road bike from the worst of my commute through the winter. Also keen to find out what all the fuss is about.
Have to say, Im really enjoying it. Feels like a great workout. Also, there is some truth about feeling 'connected' with the bike - which I thought was a lot of posturing nonsense before I started.
I have a few hills on my ride, and controlling speed on these places quite some strain on my knees. Im concerned that Im going to damage myself. Any advice on how to reduce the risk of this?
FYI, I do use a brake - as am not an idiot, nor poser. Also worth noting that I am a knacker at 105kg. Trying to lose as much as possible for the Dragon Ride


  • meagain
    meagain Posts: 2,331
    If by "a brake" you mean in the singular, then use two! Less strain on knees (and safer if that is of any priority). Other than that, question of knees and fixed an interesting one. Received wisdom used to be that fixed not good for knees. And yet when discussed more than once and at some length on "old" C+ Fixed Community, this wisdom did not seem to be borne out by quite wide and varied experience.

    My knees are not in good shape (!), but the 3 -4 years of fixed riding I did until a year ago seemingly had no adverse effect whatsoever.
    "Cancel my subscription to the resurrection."
  • my knees are awful - i had my legs crushed in an industrial accident and have had 3 dislocations and find riding fixed is no problem at all.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Yup - 2 brakes will take the strain off your knees, particularly if you have to deal with downhills. Likewise, means you can run a lower gear and therefore means you put less strain on the knees.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • I read on this site that you shouldnt run a rear brake on a fixed. Im glad to hear thats a load of rubbish.
    Thanks chaps, I'll slap one on in the morning
  • don_don
    don_don Posts: 1,007
    I definitely agree on having two brakes, especially somewhere hilly like Bath. Gear-wise, I find the difference between generally happy knees (65" gear) and complaining knees (71" gear) to be fairly small, so maybe some experimentation is necessary.

    I do find I spin out a bit quickly on the downs, but the brakes sort that out. I also like to be able to keep a nice cadence going at about 30kph which is fine for longer rides and in traffic.
  • A brake is always handy, but as with many things about fixies stopping the problem before it occurs is the key. Going up hills you have to know your region and gear appropriately. Going down, I try and get my legs in control of the cadence before it runs away from me. You are probably more likely to tear something off its mounts before you trash your knees descending but as you have probably discovered your legs have a rotational V max (unable to exceed) speed. At this point you feel as if you are about to be launched off the bike. For me I estimate it is in the 130 rpm band, i'll get brave and put a cadence computer on one day. You have to control your fixie at all times, that is part of the joy for me, as you say, at one with your bike
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • AndyGates
    AndyGates Posts: 8,467
    If you're spinning out too soon, fit a smaller cog. :)

    Also practice letting the bike 'run out' - relax your legs, concentrate on the fore-back movement of your feet (or all-round if you're actually skilled, which I ain't) and let it fly.

    When you can't attenuate your speed comfortably without a brake, that is exactly the time to use the brake!
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    Advice for kilted riders: top-tubes are cold.