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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
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    x4 for flats.
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  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
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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 06:08 PM.
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  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.

  15. #15
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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.
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  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.

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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.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surly29 View Post
    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.
    Same here, I used to crank my Alfredo Binda straps real tight before climbs and my feet would routinely go numb on long rides, I ditched them the first day I tried spds.

  27. #27
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    Have been on Eggbeaters for a long time, also had Smarty, Candy and Mallet's; they have enough float for me and my aching knees.

    Don't like the shoe/pedal interface of the Frogs but considering Times.

  28. #28
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    Since everyone's knees and riding preferences vary, flats may be an option but I thought I'd throw out Time ATACs. They give me enough float to keep my knees happy. Been using one model or another for well over 10 years on many differnt bikes. Look pedals also have a similar interface and I think have received some decent reviews.
    You may know this but do check the seat height/positioning too. That can make a big difference in knee comfort.
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  29. #29
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    I have horrible knees and I switched to clipless (shimano multi release) and experienced really bad pain. Because I set the cleats myself. I went to the LBS and had them RAD my cleats (for free) and have had no pain since. and I will never, EVER go back to flats for XC, holy crud do I love clipless.

    It's all in cleat/cockpit setup.

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    Thanks for the replies. I had my bike fitted by the shop when I bought it so I don't think that's an issue. My knee problems are not cycling related but due to running.

    In any case, can someone tell me the difference between the crank brothers candy 3 and the speedplay frogs in terms of float? They both have 20 degree of float before release but the speedplay frogs have what is called a free float. I think the float on the candy 3 is 6 degree on the inside.

    I know flats were suggested but I'm set on clipless.

    Thanks

  31. #31
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    With most pedals other than Speedplay Frogs, the pedals allow you a certain amount of rotation to the left & right before they release, this is what's known as float. However, the float is spring tensioned to some degree, that is the mechanism always wants to bring the shoe back to the center position of the float; if you clip the shoe into the pedal and push the heel one way it will spring back to the middle position when you let go, it always wants to be in the middle of the float range.

    Frogs do not have that spring tension, if you do the above with a Frog the heel will stay exactly where you pushed it, it won't spring back to the center like it does with most other pedals. This is what Speedplay calls free float, there's no spring tension to push the shoe & foot back to the middle of the float range. It'll stay anywhere in the float range all by itself until you move your foot to another position.

    Some people love the way Frogs work & feel while others have described it as riding on ice cubes, but pretty much everyone agrees that they're good for bad knees.

  32. #32
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    Re: Best pedals for bad knees?

    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.
    I'm far from being a professional cyclist & clipless makes a HUGE difference for me, especially on steep climbs. You engage both quads & hamstrings with clipless vs quads alone with flats. Nearly anybody can realize an improvement in pedaling power with clipless.

    Now whether your knees can stand it or not is a different story.


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    Aerius,

    Thanks for the explanation. It makes senses now. I think the frogs will work for me.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    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.
    Amen on that. The only thing that keeps me going on long +12% climbs is the ability to spin properly and utilize that second 50% of the pedal stroke to save my quads. It's like having an extra 20% horsepower in the bank when you need it. With flats you can fuggedaboutit.
    Screw the shuttle, I'm riding to the top. You're all worthless and weak!!!

  35. #35
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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 have rheumatoid arthritis and have had it for the past 20 years. Knees, ankles, hips, elbows, etc. I use TIME Atac clipless pedals. At the time, I went with them because they offered the most float. I have had no issues with them in the past ten years.

  36. #36
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    Flats helped me figure out what was wrong with my clipless setup. About 8 years ago I started riding flats part of the time and noticed I had less knee pain and that my foot position was a little different on the flats than when I rode clipless due to cleat position. I adjusted my cleat position to get my feet into my more natural position (heels slightly inward), and it helped my knees.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  37. #37
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    100% agreement!

    Quote Originally Posted by burtronix View Post
    I'm far from being a professional cyclist & clipless makes a HUGE difference for me, especially on steep climbs. You engage both quads & hamstrings with clipless vs quads alone with flats. Nearly anybody can realize an improvement in pedaling power with clipless.

    Now whether your knees can stand it or not is a different story.


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