Light vs Full post-ACL surgery

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Light vs Full post-ACL surgery
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Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 7:19 Quote
Hey all - I'm in the market for an e MTB for my wife. She's been a trail rider for a long while, generally preferring faster flow and mild tech. We're in PA, so some tech is a fact of life here. Her most recent bike was a Kona Hei Hei Trail CR, which suited her well. About two years ago, she had surgery for a torn ACL and the recovery has been pretty rocky since. An ebike seems pretty well-suited to getting her pedaling again, which brings me to my question: should we go lightweight like a Turbo Levo SL and such or full like the Levo?

A few data points:
- she's 5' 2" and about 125lbs, so on the smaller side
- her knee is recovering, but the pressure of steeper climbs is the big issue
- our climbs tend to be steep and punchy, so short bursts of high knee stress

The real decision point is this: will a lightweight ebike take enough stress off of her knee to be worth it? Ultimately, she'd likely prefer the SL for a more-analog feel downhill and less muscle required in tech, but this is secondary to the question about knee pain.

FWIW, our kids and I will remain on analog bikes as her main riding partners.

Appreciate any insight!

Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 12:12 Quote
Either.

Thinking focusing on seriously strengthening of her knee is more important than worry about a light or full ebike. No disrespect, and I’m sure it’s been a struggle, but that knee needs to be strengthened via a consistent and essentially life long training program. When the knee gets weak it becomes a domino effect…glutes, hamstring, low back all start to go.

I’ve had 3 knee surgeries and countless other surgeries. Your wife can fully recover and ride whichever bike she desires.

O+
Posted: Jul 3, 2022 at 18:36 Quote
Mantis748 wrote:
Hey all - I'm in the market for an e MTB for my wife. She's been a trail rider for a long while, generally preferring faster flow and mild tech. We're in PA, so some tech is a fact of life here. Her most recent bike was a Kona Hei Hei Trail CR, which suited her well. About two years ago, she had surgery for a torn ACL and the recovery has been pretty rocky since. An ebike seems pretty well-suited to getting her pedaling again, which brings me to my question: should we go lightweight like a Turbo Levo SL and such or full like the Levo?

A few data points:
- she's 5' 2" and about 125lbs, so on the smaller side
- her knee is recovering, but the pressure of steeper climbs is the big issue
- our climbs tend to be steep and punchy, so short bursts of high knee stress

The real decision point is this: will a lightweight ebike take enough stress off of her knee to be worth it? Ultimately, she'd likely prefer the SL for a more-analog feel downhill and less muscle required in tech, but this is secondary to the question about knee pain.

FWIW, our kids and I will remain on analog bikes as her main riding partners.

Appreciate any insight!

An SL will definitely dump a bit of the stress, but depending on how strong her knee is at this point a bigger motor might be beneficial. That said, a test ride or rental is the best way to know for sure. Given her stature, a heavier bike will be more noticeable for her than someone like myself. I'm a clydesdale rider and used to huck and ride 55lb DH bike back in the 90's and early 2000's so these ebikes are nothing new to me.

Regarding the other reply, and not to disrespect that post, but people saying they've been through 3 surgeries and are just fine isn't everyone.

I'm on a 20 year old ACL injury in my right knee, which is now a meniscus injury, and can have surgery pretty much anytime I want. But the doctor and surgeon prefer to wait as my full recovery is pegged at a 60% chance given the injury and existing damage. I switched to ebikes because as I am right now I'm 95% functional, just can't pedal the climbs anymore without swelling and pain. (can't play any sports like soccer or basketball either).

All injuries and recoveries are different and people can have very different success rates. My doctor and surgeon are both members of an NHL teams medical roster, so I trust their opinions, and for me their advice was to put off the surgery as long as I can still ride and enjoy a normal life to avoid potentially worse post-surgery outcomes.

An ebike keeps me going and a brace protects the leg from crash-damage. Honestly, I ride longer days now anyway, so it's working out for me. If it helps your wife, but one and if she fully recovers, sell it and get her a bike.

I'll never go back now though, 40-60km rides are too much fun.

My 2 cents.

Posted: Jul 4, 2022 at 5:57 Quote
CSdirt wrote:

<snip>that knee needs to be strengthened via a consistent and essentially life long training program. When the knee gets weak it becomes a domino effect…glutes, hamstring, low back all start to go.

You're absolutely correct - and this decision isn't intended to be a "fix" for the knee, but rather an option to get her out of the gym and off the trainer sooner rather than later. There are many stories floating around out there about people with injuries, advanced age, etc getting a needed boost using ebikes, so the idea is that this is a similar situation. She is really itching to get back outside.

voleman wrote:
An SL will definitely dump a bit of the stress, but depending on how strong her knee is at this point a bigger motor might be beneficial. That said, a test ride or rental is the best way to know for sure. Given her stature, a heavier bike will be more noticeable for her than someone like myself. I'm a clydesdale rider and used to huck and ride 55lb DH bike back in the 90's and early 2000's so these ebikes are nothing new to me.

Regarding the other reply, and not to disrespect that post, but people saying they've been through 3 surgeries and are just fine isn't everyone.

I'm on a 20 year old ACL injury in my right knee, which is now a meniscus injury, and can have surgery pretty much anytime I want. But the doctor and surgeon prefer to wait as my full recovery is pegged at a 60% chance given the injury and existing damage. I switched to ebikes because as I am right now I'm 95% functional, just can't pedal the climbs anymore without swelling and pain. (can't play any sports like soccer or basketball either).

All injuries and recoveries are different and people can have very different success rates. My doctor and surgeon are both members of an NHL teams medical roster, so I trust their opinions, and for me their advice was to put off the surgery as long as I can still ride and enjoy a normal life to avoid potentially worse post-surgery outcomes.

An ebike keeps me going and a brace protects the leg from crash-damage. Honestly, I ride longer days now anyway, so it's working out for me. If it helps your wife, but one and if she fully recovers, sell it and get her a bike.


Sounds like your situation is very similar, so I appreciate the info. Your comment about the bigger motor was my suspicion, but it's been incredibly difficult finding bikes for her to demo. We spent 10 days in BC recently, where you'd think that there would be *something* for her among all the nice rental/demos, but no luck. And forget anything near us in PA. So, I'm gathering all the info I can get and will just make the plunge.

Probably going to go full power - if we stay out of the tight tech, I wouldn't think the weight of the bike should be too much of a liability for her. As you point out, we can always swap out at a later time when the knee improves. And who knows, she might get hooked Smile

Posted: Jul 4, 2022 at 6:21 Quote
I’m a fully qualified MSc physio and got a fair bit of experience treating acls. We always use cycling as part of the rehab as the motion of pedalling is great for rehab, gets the range of motion going / low weight bearing status vs other activites / strengthens quads. Keeping the seat higher will make it easier on her knees, try to incorporate loads of hamstring work in the rehab plan too. Any bike will be good for it. Obviously lighter would be easier on the muscles and tissues but I’d go with the one she wants haha can’t go wrong then

Posted: Jul 7, 2022 at 9:54 Quote
I'm 51 years old with two shit knees (both will eventually need to be replaced) and rheumatoid arthritis. I've been biking more than half of my life. I've been fortunate enough to own some really killer lightweight bikes and emtbs. I weigh about 180 and would consider myself to be of average size and strength. Over the last 4 years I've has a gen1 and gen 2 full fat levo, a levo SL, an orbea rise and a trek Rail. So a good mixture of both full fat and lightweight. Even with the additional power of a full fat, you (or your wife) will notice the added weight when riding. For your wife's size, I would highly recommend looking at an Orbea Rise. They aren't as light as an SL, about 3-4lbs heavier, but they make nearly double the torque - 35 vs 60 - and has more modern geo. In addition, if you are willing to wait a couple of months, there are a bunch of new lightweight eMtbs coming to the market. Trek, Transition and Pivot all have models dropping over the next 6 months and Specialized is supposedly introducing their updated SL in September. I have some friends in the industry and from what I am hearing, it should be a nice upgrade to the currently model. Having said that, the current SL is a nice bike and you will definitely get a better deal on one that waiting on the newer ones. Bike manufacturers think their products are made of gold. Good luck with the decision. I was on the fence about eMtbs until I tried one. I still ride an occasional analog bike, and they are still fun, but the ability to ride longer and harder and still be able to walk the next day is pretty tough to beat.

Posted: Jul 12, 2022 at 8:08 Quote
April 1st I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus on my MX bike. I just had an ACL cadaver graft done the first part of May. Started some light riding again on my enduro E-bike in June. Now back to nearly full send the past couple weeks. Knee feels great. I'm a 55 y.o. male if that matters.

The key to any riding post-ACL is not to over extend the bend of the knee, so you have to be very aware when using your dropper. Seat too low during a pedal stroke and you could damage the repair. Also avoid big drops on fully extended leg.

I can say with certainty that I wouldn't have been able to ride trails and features so soon if I were using my analog bike. The full power E-bike has been a blessing.

Posted: Jul 13, 2022 at 1:33 Quote
Xlr8n wrote:
April 1st I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus on my MX bike. I just had an ACL cadaver graft done the first part of May. Started some light riding again on my enduro E-bike in June. Now back to nearly full send the past couple weeks. Knee feels great. I'm a 55 y.o. male if that matters.

The key to any riding post-ACL is not to over extend the bend of the knee, so you have to be very aware when using your dropper. Seat too low during a pedal stroke and you could damage the repair. Also avoid big drops on fully extended leg.

I can say with certainty that I wouldn't have been able to ride trails and features so soon if I were using my analog bike. The full power E-bike has been a blessing.

Smashed it mate. Good luck with the rehab.

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