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Knee issues with flat pedals vs. clipless(6 posts)

Knee issues with flat pedals vs. cliplessMarlon
Feb 13, 2002 9:50 AM
Quick question for the esteemed vets of the forum...

Would riding flat pedals (ie BMX-style pedals with pins along edges) aggravate IT-knee band injuries due to lack of pedalling float?

My girlfriend (a convert from mountain biking) has recently switched to road biking, but due to running injuries, she's got problems with her IT band. She's noticed aching in her knees and hips when she's pedalling on her mountain bike (equipped with flats), but not when she's going hard, and we're trying to remember if she's ever been sore with her SPD clipless pedals on her road bike.

If you've had any experience with flats and knee problems, it would be great to know. Thanks.
Flatsmr_spin
Feb 13, 2002 10:21 AM
There is no lack of float with flats. In fact, there's an infinite amount of float, which can be a problem when going hard. The nice thing about clipless pedals is that your leg and knee positioning and actions are very predictable. On flats, it's almost random.

I ride flats on my commuter bike, and if I go hard, I definitely feel it in my knees the next day and sometimes beyond. I am stupid, so it took me a while to stop going hard, even though I knew it was bad.
re: Knee issues with flat pedals vs. cliplessguido
Feb 13, 2002 11:50 AM
I've had problems from time to time floating on flat pedals. If I don't use a cleated shoe, my right knee will complain for the next couple of days. If my cleats aren't exactly right, rotationally, I get knee pain, but once I get them to where I can pedal comfortably, my knee is fine, and that's with no float whatsoever.

I can also testify from personal experience, that after you get set-up, learn how to spin the crank, that is, even out as much as possible the pressure through-out the whole pedal revolution. Pull up the left foot to relieve presssure on the right foot pushing down. Only pushing down will inevitably lead to mashing when the going gets tough, and the knee problems will only get worse.

A hard soled shoe, toe-clipped and strapped onto the flat pedal, might make it easier to keep rotation to a minimum, but clipless is probably the way to go.
re: Knee issuesChen2
Feb 13, 2002 12:08 PM
Is her saddle high enough?
-Al
Ride flats exclusively, had the problem only once.Humma Hah
Feb 13, 2002 8:34 PM
I have equipped both of my bikes, and my wife's, with modern BMX platforms, Diamondback BigFoot's. They grip aggressively, and my feet NEVER slip off like they used to in the old days.

The only IT band problem I ever encountered was last spring at Solvang, pushing the 40+ pound singlespeed cruiser over that 104-mile route with 5900 ft of climbing. I recovered fully, have ridden a century, a 153-miler, and an 88 miler since, with no problem.

At Solvang, I'd simultaneously switched to 5mm longer cranks, and a higher seat position. I've switched back and have had NO problems since.
re: Knee issues with flat pedals vs. cliplessMarlon
Feb 13, 2002 10:06 PM
Thanks all for the comments. Having thought some stuff over, I think it's a combination of all factors that you people have mentioned. I'll see how it goes and report back in a week.