One thing I got out of my attempted hot lap Sunday was the EX’s suspension setup.
Being a bigger guy, and add in my unforeseen weight gain the last month, I can’t set up my suspension like a normal person. Most normal (skinny) riders set up their suspension with sag. Just set the pressure based on how far down your weight activates the travel of shock or fork. So you set up based on the top end. I weigh too much to do that so I have to set up my pressures based on bottom end. Basically riding the damn thing and put in just enough pressure not to bottom out but still get full travel. Its just two ways of doing the same thing.
So when I ride my EX hard like I did Sunday I end up with two sore knees.And thats because I cant take enough sag away. I can set my seat high based on measurements but when I sit on the bike I lose over an inch.
I’ll back up a little bit.
I have bad knees. I guess its from being over weight my entire life ( talk about that later). My right knee has been a candidate for replacement since 2012. My left knee I screwed up with a MTB crash this spring (bad luck) so now I have two screwed up knees. On my road and cross bikes I have been raising the seat to the point of my hips rocking a bit to help my knees out. If I had a dime for every time someone rode up to me and told me my seat was too high. But it helps.
So I apply that to the EX and it does not work. Obviously the seat goes down when I sit on it. So when I ride a bit harder and sit my seat is low and my knees hurt. So it became obvious that I needed to pump up that rear shock. And I will.
Another goofy deal is when I acually raise the seat a ton to offset the sag its so high I can’t get on the thing easily. Its way up there. I look like a clown trying to get on a circus bike. People laugh.
So after I ride I always look at the travel ring as to how far the shock moved. If you look at the pic thats a pretty good setting. Pretty close but not quite all the way. That measurement is my “sag” to others and its what I base my pressure on. Not how far it goes down sitting on it in the store.
Im trying another thing. The oval chainring. The two that come to mind are Absolute Black and Wolftooth. Now this theory has been around for years but its not until just recently that its being applied correctly. Let’s say I have a 30 tooth ring ( I do). When the pedal stroke is at its weakest at top dead center its like a 28 tooth. When the pedals are at strongest point, say 3 and 9 o’clock its like a 32 tooth. So you get a break when you’re at the weakest point and push a bit bigger ratio and the strongest.
Im going to give this a try and I’ll have it on by the weekend. To compare apples to apples I will use a 30 tooth as I am now. Im hoping this helps out my knees especially during seated climbing which is about 95% of my uphill riding now.
So between the chainring, maybe setting my seat a bit higher and cranking up the suspension pressure a bit will help an old guy out here.
And maybe lose a few pound would not hurt (more on that later) (I say that a lot).