Hopping/Jumping with Bad Knees

Are there any riders out there that have issues hopping because of their knees? I have bad knees. Can’t run 50 meters. But, I can ride my 29” muni hard for an hour without any knee issues (thanks to my brake). As I get good enough to go down more and more aggressive terrain on the 29”, I can’t help but want to purchase a 24” muni. I’ve read the threads that talk about skill improving for riders who ride a variety of wheel sizes and ride with different riding styles.

I can hop, but I only have a 24” Torker with thin tires that I do not deflate (so, my knees feel it). I hope that a nice 24” muni with the fat 3” tires (properly deflated) will act like a pogo stick and absorb some of the impact, so that my knees won’t get soar. I’m not looking to take any drops. I just want to hop/jump over roots and small washed out gullies.

So, are there any riders out there with bad knees that can speak with first-hand experience? Do the bigger/fatter tiers allow you to hop with bad knees? Or, should I just stick to the 29” and forget about hopping/jumping.


My knees are shot.
I’m 47 and ride a 29er as well.

I do strengthening exercises for them, ice them, hit them with Diclofenac, limit my riding to prevent overuse, stretch them, consume advil/turmeric/chaga/etc… to enable me to be able to go for the next ride.

I say stick to the 29 and let the skills come to you.

Ride along and slow to a stop, hold the standstill as long as possible, then ride away.
Next repeat with a standstill, hop, and then ride away. Try not to pogo stick, instead hop from stillstand to stillstand.
Once you can do this with as many hops as possible move on. The hopping part is easy.

Now ride along and hop over a crack without stopping.
Your pedal placement timing will be off most of the time in the beginning but this will change with practice.
Sooner than later you will unconsciously zig or zag to make the timing perfect for your jump.

Once you can do that then start jumping puddles.

I can jump a 24" puddle half of the time now but it’s just started to click.
I’ve been riding a 29 for 3 years now.

Fatter tires do make hopping easier and larger diameter tires makes rolling over easier so why not combine the two and keep thinking about rolling hops and jumps?

I think wheels are meant for rolling so the hops and jumps serve a corrective purpose for my riding style. (X-country)

Do you like riding the smaller uni? If yes, keep it.
I say get good on the 29.

I also have been getting knee issues lately. I think in my case, because somehow my leg is twisted a bit while riding. I focus on sitting on the seat, and can move my right foot if it isn’t correctly positioned on the pedal, but still after a ride it hurts. In my case only the right knee. I also noticed that the knee hurts more with shorter cranks. When you stick to the 29" you need to do fewer rotations for the same distance, which I think is better for the knee. I don’t do very technical muni, but the times I UPD and land on my feet where the knees carry my weight, I also experience pain. As long as I can handle the pain, I will continue riding. Im too addicted to stop ^_^.
Also for hopping, which I just recently learned, I keep it to a minimum, but often enough, so I don’t forget it. Like CanoeHeadTed said, don’t pogostick, but hop - stand still and hop again when you lose balance. I find this very difficult still.

Thanks very much for the replies, guys. I really appreciate your time. CanoeHeadTed, I really appreciate your nice response. What do you mean by “don’t pogostick, but hop”?

A pogo stick hops all the time and you cant stand still balancing with it. With a unicycle you can after each hop.try to stand still a few seconds

Setonix, how long have you been riding? Before I started riding, my knees were horrible. Had to hold on to put a lot of my weight on a hand rail to walk up stairs. A doctor told me there was nothing I could do other than get in better shape. After riding for a couple of years, the muscles around my knees have strengthened and my knees are much better (as long as I’m gentle on them).

I learned riding in July 2015. Only this year did I get sore knees. Today I rode an hour or so with 140mm cranks and I mostly got saddle ache and I noticed that I couldn’t ride up an incline that I can more easily ride with 150mm cranks. Lately I;ve had several 20km rides, which maybe was overdoing it a bit. Not sure. My physical shape isn’t bad, but I’m no athlete.