Ed We talked about this a little at York. I'm a left leg kicker too. Only bad is if I stall at a light I have to push to the side and dismount. I have never met anyone who regretted knee replacement despite some having initial discomfort. You are never gonna win the best looking leg contest anyway so might as well get on with it. I will say though that you look quite distinguished with a cane.
I had a breakthrough last week. All of a sudden my knee started working better one afternoon. So much so, that a few days later I dragged my B50 project off the bench to see if I could start it. Not the "Milwaukee Crippler," but I figured it would be a pretty good test. I had never started this bike before, and it had a fresh top end job (Thanks out to Gordon who sold me the motor). Well it was cold outside, the bike was recalcitrant and took a WHOLE mess of kicks, but it started and ran pretty good AND MY KNEE WAS FINE!!! A smidge tight that night, but thats all. My PT says surgical recovery is like that sometimes- all of a sudden everything is ok. One thing I hadn't mentioned is that my other leg was crushed 40 years ago (I have been frequently told by medical personnel that they have never seen a leg that bad still on the body!), so that knee is a mess too. I have plenty of strength in both legs (although less than in years past), but strength will only make up for so much. I don't know if the current state will last, I am hoping so. I am keeping the cane, I need anything that makes me look distinguished (thanks George), people hold doors for me when they see it and it comes in handy as a cudgel!
I think you should just eliminate one kick start only bike. Bring that black and gold hard starting bike to VMD, give it to me, I will give you a couple of Lake Erie Monsters in return. I will take it home and keep it away from your bad knee. Each year, I will bring it to VMD and let you sit on it and make "vroom, vroom" noises.
While i agree with the recent comments about technique rather than pure muscle being needed to start a bike, please allow me to explain my understanding. Muscle strength is very important to knee stability. original knees aswell as replacements will perform better if muscle around the knee is strengthened. When i first damaged my right knee i was encouraged to have the joint fused as i was told i would never again walk unaided. As i could not bend the knee very much after months in plaster i took up cycling & i only used my right leg on the down strokes & removed it from the pedal on that sides up stroke. I quickly noticed an improvement & after a while the amount of bend improved enough to allow full rotation with the saddle up high. After my knee replacement i still walked with a limp after phsyio so i again took up cycling & started with the saddle high.By lowering the saddle in small increments i now walk alot better & for the first time since the accident i can ride a bike with rearsets. Perseverance & working the joint (although very painfull at the start) is IMO the key to a successful joint replacement.
67 BSA B44 04 DUCATI ST3 71 DUCATI 350 75 CONDOR 350 (made by Ducati for Swiss Army)
Muscle strength is very important to knee stability
What you mention corresponds with my low back hernia experience. In the period after the operation I had to wear a corset. After I had learned to walk upright again, the fisiotherapist made me do excercizes to gradually (gradually with capitals) increase the strength in the muscles by gradually increasing the loads I had to push away in his torture dungeon. Only then, with sufficient muscle power I was allowed to ditch the corset. The muscles had to stabilize the backbone. And it was difficult. Like a drug, the corset was addictive. I took it with me to work. Behind the desk it was on a coat hanger. In the factory between machines and what have you I used it. That was some months. Maybe two or three...
But, as mentioned earlier, he also showed me how to use as little force possible to push the Hinkley Trophy on the center stand and how to kick start the BSA. The center stand was a change of technique, the kick start was a confirmation I did a correct kick, in his opinion.