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  1. FWIW - I put on an oval ring, 2 teeth smaller, and then went from 175 to 165mm cranks, all in hopes of heading off some new, currently occasional but sharp knee pain. I can tell the difference in the ring (duh, 2 teeth of addition gear ratio) but the only thing I feel with the shorter cranks is a sense that they are more stiff - less lever to bend? Don’t notice any decrease in power and in fact am cleaning shit I hadn’t previously, probably because of the smaller ring. Also noticeably less pedal strikes. I went straight for 165mm because I wanted to make sure it was short enough on the first buy. 170mm could be the sweet spot for me, but I have no motivation to try longer since I don’t feel like I lost anything. Pain seems less frequent and decreasing. Hoping that continues but it’s early yet. BTW - I mostly ride steep, slow tech, so have no use for higher gears. I’m 6’. Agonized over spending money on this, but no regrets yet. so +1 for shorter cranks.
  2. Ride the tightest, twistiest, most technical stuff you can find. Then you don’t have to worry about speed. Problem solved... I feel your pain, literally. Had a bad crash about a year ago that, besides broke bones, spooked me a good bit. I do ride slow tech a fair amount and have yet to get hurt beyond flesh wounds <knocks wood>. I seem to get hurt on the non-tech stuff where I’m not paying attention or am too tired Mentally or physically. Speed just ups the damage when you go down. oh, and stay off the pavement. When you hit it, that shit doesn’t give at all!
  3. Another rec for Wes at Velorangutan. Trying before you buy is worth a lot if you aren’t sure what you want, and his prices and service have been excellent.
  4. How frequently do you lube? The bike chain I mean... I ride a lot of steep technical trail with lots of short, punchy climbs and since my fitness is still not there, the miles are pretty low, but frequency is high. Say 3-6 miles and 500-1000’ of climbing, 3-5x per week. Do you lube based on number miles? Rides? Hours? Squeaks? Whenever you are feeling it?
  5. Thought this might be of interest/use for the guardians of our precious resource. I don’t know much about building or maintaining trails, but this is supposedly a science-based study showing that MTB isn’t much different than hiking in terms of trail impact. https://www.singletracks.com/blog/trail-advocacy/a-science-backed-mtb-impact-review-has-arrived/
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