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  1. #1
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    Best pedals for bad knees?

    Im currently using Crank brothers Candy pedals and thinking about switching them to ones with more float. I have arthritic knees. They dont both my knees too much but do have some mild knee pain during long rides.

    I heard Speedplay Frogs have free float so I'm considering these. Anyone have any others that I should look at?

  2. #2
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    What's wrong with flats?

  3. #3
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    x2 for considering flats.
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  4. #4
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    A good set of BMX pedals with metal pins can really do the job.

  5. #5
    I have Flat Pedal shame.
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    x4 for flats.
    I don't care what you ride or how you ride just as long as you ride.

  6. #6
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    Flats with pins are much worse for bad knees than clipless pedals

  7. #7
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    That someone with arthritic knees has some knee pain during long rides doesn't necessarily mean the pedals are to blame. Flats may or may not have been something the OP has thought about but since the question was about clipless I'd suggest considering Time pedals too. Speedplay is the ultimate for float though.

  8. #8
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    Flats are for beginners and children.

  9. #9
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    Speedplay Frogs x4

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanamees View Post
    Flats are for beginners and children.
    Uh, no...

    First, unless you are a professional cyclist in peak form, its doubtful you put down the wattage to make a difference between flats and clipless.

    Second, as someone who has weak knees, I would go with flats that have good set of medium pins and good shoes for flats. I run flats on everything I own.

    Third, the type of joint pain you are describing may or may not be connected to clipping in. Its just going to take some experimenting.

  11. #11
    Shuttles R 4 Pussies
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alien555 View Post
    Im currently using Crank brothers Candy pedals and thinking about switching them to ones with more float. I have arthritic knees. They dont both my knees too much but do have some mild knee pain during long rides.

    I heard Speedplay Frogs have free float so I'm considering these. Anyone have any others that I should look at?
    Interesting... I tossed out a pair of Crank Bros pedals after using them for a month because they have far too much float in my opinion and I didn't feel secure (also broke the spindles on rock strikes). Have you considered the problem might be with your bike setup and not necessarily the pedals? Is your saddle height and fore/aft adjustment correct (were you properly fit by your LBS, or are you knowledgeable enough to do it properly yourself)?

    If you're certain your bike is set up correctly, then you may need to adjust your cleats to bring them into the range that is comfortable for your knees.
    Last edited by BrentP; 07-30-2013 at 05:08 PM.
    Screw the chairlift, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alien555 View Post
    Im currently using Crank brothers Candy pedals and thinking about switching them to ones with more float. I have arthritic knees. They dont both my knees too much but do have some mild knee pain during long rides.

    I heard Speedplay Frogs have free float so I'm considering these. Anyone have any others that I should look at?

    I've got speedplays on my road bike and love 'em. Tried the frogs and while I liked the free float I did not like the feel of the way the cleat and pedal engaged. Unlike the solid, tactile click of the spd style interface it was nearly impossible to 'tell' whether one was clipped in using the Frogs. Not much of an issue on most trails; but on technical trails where I'd dab or come to a stop and have to re-engage it was unnerving and resulted in bruised shins a few times.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post

    First, unless you are a professional cyclist in peak form, its doubtful you put down the wattage to make a difference between flats and clipless.

    .
    Uh...no. I disagree with the watts/threshold distinction. I'm not sure where you get that notion. I put out about 10 watts on a good day and the difference between flats and clipless is very clear. All my high school teams have used them for the last 12 years. Some of these boys love their BMX, too, and certainly know the difference.

    Pedals and knees? Well, just like seat height, poorly adjusted pedals can be hard on any knee.
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  14. #14
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    Re: Best pedals for bad knees?

    Consider xt or xtr, for two reasons:

    1) Adjustable tension, which i think is especially important for bad knees - you can try to get to the perfect tension where you don't come out accidentally, but also don't have any pain getting out when you want to

    2) They make a special SPD cleat which offers multi directional escape. I've never tried it but it feels like a good idea (being able to unclip with an up and out motion). Ski bindings introduced that design years ago to reduce knee injury.
    ------------------------------------------------
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  15. #15
    Shuttles R 4 Pussies
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post
    Uh, no...

    First, unless you are a professional cyclist in peak form, its doubtful you put down the wattage to make a difference between flats and clipless.
    Completely wrong... Wattage has nothing to do with anything; you simply can't spin a pedal properly and get maximum pedaling efficiency unless you're clipped in. Being clipped in also gives you far greater control when maneuvering the bike over obstacles.
    Screw the chairlift, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

  16. #16
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    Wattage was the wrong word, sorry. Maybe efficiency is better word? Don't know.

    The point I was making is that there is only so much power in your legs. The difference in the amount of that power transferred to the pedals is very small between clipless and flats. Again, unless you are a racer, the difference in that power-to-pedal efficiency isn't likely to matter. And before you mention you can pull up with clipless on the rotational upstroke, remember the original poster was talking about arthritis of the knees. Pulling up on the pedal with clipless ain't going to help that.

    I ride flats because I have weak knees. I ride them on everything, including road bikes. I know I'm giving up a percentage point or two on power input to pedals. I'm OK with that because it keeps my knees in a happy state.

    If they help the original poster, why is that wrong? Biking, and especially mountain biking, is about having fun. Pain is not fun.

  17. #17
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    X5 for flats for people with bad knees
    X1 for flats for people who want to ride a bike properly
    x1 for flats for people who want to learn to pedal efficiently
    x1 for flats for people who want to have more fun on their bike

  18. #18
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    In my experience, Crank Bros are the pedals to use if you have knee problems. I have not tried Times yet. SPD destroy my knees. It may be that I need to try the higher end models, but I can't afford to throw money at a bunch of different pedals. The problem I have with Crank Bros is that I keep breaking the pedal spindles. I have broken three in the last three years.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaXCarp View Post
    X5 for flats for people with bad knees
    X1 for flats for people who want to ride a bike properly
    x1 for flats for people who want to learn to pedal efficiently
    x1 for flats for people who want to have more fun on their bike

    x8 for people who feel their opinions apply to everyone.


    -weird how every thread involving the word "pedal" brings out the zealots.

  20. #20
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    Nice ego bro!

    Quote Originally Posted by vanamees View Post
    Flats are for beginners and children.
    - The only thing that keeps me on a bike is happiness.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboy76 View Post

    The point I was making is that there is only so much power in your legs. The difference in the amount of that power transferred to the pedals is very small between clipless and flats. Again, unless you are a racer, the difference in that power-to-pedal efficiency isn't likely to matter. And before you mention you can pull up with clipless on the rotational upstroke, remember the original poster was talking about arthritis of the knees. Pulling up on the pedal with clipless ain't going to help that.

    I ride flats because I have weak knees. I ride them on everything, including road bikes. I know I'm giving up a percentage point or two on power input to pedals. I'm OK with that because it keeps my knees in a happy state.

    If they help the original poster, why is that wrong? Biking, and especially mountain biking, is about having fun. Pain is not fun.
    There are lots of reasons to use flat pedals, all of them valid. Power, however, is not one of them. Flat pedal usage is very quad/glute dependent; the leg is far more versitile than that.

    Where do you get these ideas about clipless and racers? I am not a racer and I benefit from clipless pedals. I have arthritic knees. Pulling up has not been a problem in the 21 years of using clipless pedals.

    There is more power in your legs than you seem to understand. Different sets of muscles can be used for power when you spin, just as a different set of muscles is used when you stand. By alternating these muscle groups you allow fatigued muscles to rest a bit. While resting those muscles the leg motion carried on by the new muscle group purges waste from tired muscles like squishing water from a sponge. As you fatigue one set you rest another and build a stronger continuity of power over longer periods of time.

    Clearly parts of the spin stroke produce less power but even that power smoothes out delivery for greater traction control, timing & torque mitigation (finesse.) The diagram I have posted gives you a rough idea. Sure, the addition of power is less than that produced by your glutes and quads but that can be the power you just pray for when the needle reaches "E" on the juice-o-meter. When climbing takes its toll, dropping the heels and focusing on the pull is like money from home.

    If one doesn't want to use clipless pedals, fine, but don't tell me that there is no power there: it is there for the taking.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Best pedals for bad knees?-pedalstroke_large.gif  

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alien555 View Post
    I heard Speedplay Frogs have free float so I'm considering these. Anyone have any others that I should look at?
    I've used BeBop pedals for probably 18 years now. They are so similar to Speedplays that the two actually fought in court for years.
    30* of TRUE float (i.e. no return springs). I love the step down design and the GREAT mud clearing capabilities.

    FWIW, I don't have arthritis, but every time I've had problems with my knees I solved it by raising the seat up. I simply wanted to tell you of another pedal option with free float.

    Is there anyone else out there using BeBops???

  23. #23
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    I explicitly stated my opinion only applies to 4 groups of people: bad knees, people who want to ride their bike properly, people who want to pedal, and people who want to have fun.

    You must not be one of those 4 people

  24. #24
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    Flats 100% if you have bad knees. Clipless is fer roadines anyways, dunno why it has creeped into mountain biking.

  25. #25
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    Your free to ride what you prefer, but I remember when clipless pedals first crept into mtn biking. Sure was nice not to have my feet strapped to the pedals any more.

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