Pedals and Knees.



Dweezle

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Mar 4, 2005
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On my city bike, I tried the Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals. I started getting knee problems, so I switched back to SPDs. Later I figured out that if I adjusted the cleats differently I could put the Egg Beaters back on. I got a very slight case of the knee problem but it was tolerable.

Now I’m setting up a road bike. I’m thinking about trying the Speedplay X2. These have 25 degrees of float, (which is more than the Egg Beaters.)

Has anybody tried the Speedplay X Series? These are the ones that have a fixed, 25 degree float to them.

Any opinions regarding the probability of developing knee problems with various pedals?
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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Haven't used them, so can't comment specifically on the pedals, but I have a more general thought.

25 degrees of float sure sounds like an awful lot of slop for a road bike. Also, doesn't that mean that you'll *really* have to turn your leg to get out of the things? That's not so good when someone brakes in front of you or a car pulls out quickly from a side street.

If you're thinking that your knee problems are being caused by having your leg fixed in an uncomfortable position, then maybe it'd be worthwhile to experiment with angling your cleats slightly inward or outward to match the natural standing angle of your feet (you know, to match a pigeon-toed or bow-legged condition). The pedals should be comfortable if the cleats are aligned correctly, and a few (4-6) degrees of float from the natural position should be plenty to allow one to wiggle/relax the legs from time to time. Just a thought.
 

noonievut

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Jul 5, 2004
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On the topic of knee pain, I sometimes get knee pains, but I can't tell if it's related to cycling.

If I go riding on a Monday, I'll have no pain during or after the ride. Again no pain on Tuesday. But maybe on Wednesday I wake up with mild pain/discomfort. This could be from an awkward sleep, but I'm not sure.

So, if it's cycling related, would you feel it more during and just after the ride, or would it take days?
 

StartTday

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Jul 12, 2005
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Other than float there might be one thing that could help your knees, your LBS should be able to do this for you.

I forgot the name of the company but this company makes shoe cleat inserts that adjust the camber of the cleat to help people that have knee problems. The look like a wedge that is moutned to the shoe, and then the cleat on top of the wedge.

Just ask it mght be the problem and can make a world of difference.
 

frenchyge

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Apr 3, 2005
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noonievut said:
If I go riding on a Monday, I'll have no pain during or after the ride. Again no pain on Tuesday. But maybe on Wednesday I wake up with mild pain/discomfort. This could be from an awkward sleep, but I'm not sure.

So, if it's cycling related, would you feel it more during and just after the ride, or would it take days?
That sounds more like cumulative pain from pushing too hard a gear to me. I'm assuming it goes away after a day or two off the bike?
 

Dweezle

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Mar 4, 2005
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noonievut said:
On the topic of knee pain, I sometimes get knee pains, but I can't tell if it's related to cycling.

If I go riding on a Monday, I'll have no pain during or after the ride. Again no pain on Tuesday. But maybe on Wednesday I wake up with mild pain/discomfort. This could be from an awkward sleep, but I'm not sure.

So, if it's cycling related, would you feel it more during and just after the ride, or would it take days?
When I got the cycling related knee pain, I did not immediately connect it with my bike. After all, when I rode the bike, I was fine. The problem came later when I was walking, (especially going down stairs.) or lying in bed. It took a while to figgure out that it started about a month earlier when I switched to the Crank Brothers pedals, and it gradually went away when I went back to my worn-out sloppy SPDs.

Since I ride every day for normal transportation, it was accumulative.... getting worse over time. I went to my doctor and he was stumped. Swtiching pedals, or turning my cleats so that I could ride with my heels more inward, was the only thing that made any difference.
 

noonievut

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Jul 5, 2004
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frenchyge said:
That sounds more like cumulative pain from pushing too hard a gear to me. I'm assuming it goes away after a day or two off the bike?

That's the thing, a day off the bike no pain, 2nd day sometimes pain. I've read/heard about the too big of a gear and last couple of times out I've went with easier gear and more cadence...I've felt a positive difference with this.

I rode Wednesday...no issues until this morning when I felt some pain, but it's gone already so I'll chalk it up to a bad sleep.
 

Induray

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Sep 28, 2004
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Does any of you guys experience a burning sensation along with the pain? Like a road rash around the knee? Especially when you kneel on a hard surface?
 

Ashley3

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Feb 10, 2004
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Dweezle said:
On my city bike, I tried the Crank Brothers Eggbeater pedals. I started getting knee problems, so I switched back to SPDs. Later I figured out that if I adjusted the cleats differently I could put the Egg Beaters back on. I got a very slight case of the knee problem but it was tolerable.

Now I’m setting up a road bike. I’m thinking about trying the Speedplay X2. These have 25 degrees of float, (which is more than the Egg Beaters.)

Has anybody tried the Speedplay X Series? These are the ones that have a fixed, 25 degree float to them.

Any opinions regarding the probability of developing knee problems with various pedals?

I've been riding on Speedplay X for a couple of years now. I got them after my research (fancy description for reading a lot of stuff in a lot of places, including this one) suggested that they'd be best for my knees -- which I like to joke are on "their last legs." I've been very happy with them. It takes a bit to get used to them, but now that I have I wouldn't ride anything else. (just got my second pair 1,100 miles ago.) One friend told me they gave her knee pain, but nobody else I know has had the same complaint, and many of those people have tender knees like my own.
 

BiGjOeD

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Sep 7, 2004
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I have been riding speedplay X2s for 3+ years now. I always thought they were the best for bad knees - I have bad knees and currently have really bad knees (off the bike since the Deathride 2 weeks ago). I recently had a fit done (by very good people) and they strongly recommended that I switch from the Speedplay X2 to a shimano SPD-SL or Look pedal. They have found through testing and experience that the X pedals, with full float, actually put more stress on the ligaments and tendons around the knee as they work hard to keep the knee in line. They actually believe that the X pedals can do more harm than good. Of course, if speedplays work for you and cause you no pain, then keep 'em - I love them for how they work (though I hate the cleats for how they wear). They also really felt that the bigger platform afforded by the Look-type pedal is a plus. I am going to try the SPD-SL. I'll let you know how it goes.
 

Ashley3

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Feb 10, 2004
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BiGjOeD said:
I am going to try the SPD-SL. I'll let you know how it goes.

Please do let us know. I'm happy with the Speedplays, but knowing how your knees fare with the SPDs will be a great help if I want to explore other options in the future.
 

kbone

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Jul 20, 2005
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I have Speedplay X5s and really enjoy them. I find the full float to be comfortable.



One thing to note that knee pain has a lot to do with bike fit and not just pedals. That is to say that seat height as well as fore and aft position of the seat have a lot to do with the stress placed on the knees. If these positions are incorrect you can cause extra stress on the joints which can result in pain.



I would suggest going to your LBS and having them help you fit your current frame. They can adjust your bike to help eliminate some of your knee pain.
 

Dweezle

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Mar 4, 2005
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frenchyge said:
Haven't used them, so can't comment specifically on the pedals, but I have a more general thought.

25 degrees of float sure sounds like an awful lot of slop for a road bike. Also, doesn't that mean that you'll *really* have to turn your leg to get out of the things? That's not so good when someone brakes in front of you or a car pulls out quickly from a side street.

If you're thinking that your knee problems are being caused by having your leg fixed in an uncomfortable position, then maybe it'd be worthwhile to experiment with angling your cleats slightly inward or outward to match the natural standing angle of your feet (you know, to match a pigeon-toed or bow-legged condition). The pedals should be comfortable if the cleats are aligned correctly, and a few (4-6) degrees of float from the natural position should be plenty to allow one to wiggle/relax the legs from time to time. Just a thought.
I gave a lot of thought to your comment. And also all the other comments on this question. I want to thank everyone who gave their experience here.

I got a sheet of paper and a protractor and drew 25 degree and 15 degree angles on it, and taped it to the floor. I tried putting my foot at different angles to be able to visualize what they're talking about.

I also checked out the cleats pretty carefully to see how much I can adjust them so that they're on a slightly different angle on the shoe.

For now I'm going to try the Speedplay Zero pedals. They can be adjusted from zero to fifteen degrees of float. I'm convinced I can adjust the cleat on the right shoe so that I can be slightly pigeon-toed on that side, because that's where my foot wants to go.

Thanks to everybody!