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Thread: SPDs and knees

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    Yen
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    SPDs and knees

    Unless I outright missed it, no one warmed me about possible knee issues with SPDs in my post about them. I read some other recent posts about clipless pedals and found comments there about knee pain and SPDs.

    My knees are prone to mild tendonitis and I don't like even the thought of no float. I just read that the SH56 multi-release cleat (the one I was planning to buy this coming weekend) has ZERO float.

    So let's open this discussion from another angle -- should a person prone to knee tendonitis stay clear of SPDs, or not, and what are my best clipless choices for shoes with recessed cleats?

    I want:
    -- Compatibility with recessed-cleat shoes
    -- Easy in/out (I'm willing to take the time to learn)
    -- Platform side isn't as important as caring for my knees
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    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    I've never felt my feet locked into place with any of the generic (nashbar/performance) spd pedals I've used.
    Currently on my second pair of similar Shimano shoes - SH 021G. Using them with Performance Forte Campus pedals on the bike I ride the most.
    Keep in mind that knee problems can happen with just about any pedals/shoes.

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The question is: "How much float do YOU need?" I suspect the fact that people aren't screaming about float is an indication that it's pretty much a non-issue for most folks.

    First try the pedals and cleats that you have. If you don't feel any knee discomfort, then you must have adequate float. I've been symptom free while using SPD pedals with zero float cleats for over 10 years. I certainly don't feel that rigidly locked in either.

    If you think that you're feeling some slight knee pain, buy a pair of the 6 degree float cleats and see what that does.

    Most pedals are advertised as having 0 to 10 degrees of float. Some, like Speedplay, have a lot more. I wonder how much is actually beneficial since the majority of folks seem to do fine with 6 degrees and some people, like me, thrive on zero.

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    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Yen

    All the more reason to reconsider going clipless. Time and Speedplay have the most float - I think.
    I still am not convinced that there is a definitive benefit to clipless vs. platform. Of course this goes against "the conventional wisdom of today"

    A nice pair of MKS platform pedals will get you there just as fast and just as efficient IMHO.
    F Thomas

    "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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    Senior Member sojourn's Avatar
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    Yen,
    I suggest the Zero Speedplays. The float is adjustable and once you get them dialed in I suspect you'll be quite pleased.
    I started with the Crank Brothers Candy SL's (originally for my MTB), moved them over to my road bike. I found them lacking for long distance riding in the summer (hot spots) and went with the Speedplays.
    The cleats feel more like a platform pedal and is very comfortable.
    Hope whatever you decide on will "fill the bill"!

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    It's a trade-off. The more float, the harder to get out of the pedal. I suspect the cause of knee problems with any modern cleat is due to poor adjustment/alignment on the shoe. If the foot doesn't normally sit on the pedal in the middle of the float range, then the float may not be used effectively.

    Cleat alignment can be tricky even for the experienced and especially when you change shoe designs.

    Al

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    It is probably more important to keep pressures on the knees reduced than to worry about type of pedal. I've found that stepping up the cadence and reducing pedal pressure gets me there faster and with less stress on my knees and other joints. Rotational speed not leg presses.

    That combined with a good program of leg curls, extensions, et al in the gym has solved the problem for me.

    In fact, I now like my SPD pedals because there is no effort in staying attached to and in control of the bike on rough roads.

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    Senior Member George's Avatar
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    You'll be surprised how much float you will have.
    George

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    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    For max float ,and kindness to your knees,consider these pedals.....they work well.

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...tform%20Pedals

    http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...tform%20Pedals

    You won't need no stinking clips with them.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al.canoe View Post
    It's a trade-off. The more float, the harder to get out of the pedal. I suspect the cause of knee problems with any modern cleat is due to poor adjustment/alignment on the shoe. If the foot doesn't normally sit on the pedal in the middle of the float range, then the float may not be used effectively.

    Cleat alignment can be tricky even for the experienced and especially when you change shoe designs.

    Al
    +1. All the float in the world won't help you if you have a poorly aligned cleats OR a seat height that is not correct OR to some extent, crank lengths that are not a fit.

    On the other hand, zero float may be just fine if your adjustments are all correct.

    Steve

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    I have knee joint problems. One of the reasons I gave up hill walking. I set the Shoes up so I have as much toe in as I can get and yet to have a knee problem on the bike. In fact- it was looking for a form of exercise that was more gentle on the knees that I took up cycling- so Have you had any Knee problems so far in your riding? By now- you will have got into a certain Toe in when on the platform pedals- so try to work out what it is and set the cleats up to give you the same.


    And even with the Tightest cleats around-I still have some movement of the foot. And If I remember right- I bought some pedals once that gave more float than other pedals and I had to stop using them. Under pressure on the pedals and I found my feet moving around too much and it felt awkward.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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    SPD's are fine, but be sure to get the floatie cleats.

    OTOH, back in the day we were all happy as clams with quill pedals and slotted cleats that had no float whatsoever.

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    Senior Guest Andrey's Avatar
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    On my last ride 375 miles I had knee problems(tendinitis) due to not enough float in my SPD pedals. I think they have 3-4 degree of float. I replaced them with Bebops pedals(http://www.bebop.com/) and I do not have any more knee issues, although I did not ride 375 miles since yet. Bebops have 20 degree of float, compatible with mountain bike shoes, walkable and very light. Is takes a bit to get used to float, and, hopefully I will have no issues with knees any more.

    BTW, I do not have knee issues with Look Keo( red 9 deg.cleat) road bike pedals. I hope Bebops will be as good. I have read that Speedplay frogs have good float also.

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    try crank brothers eggbeaters

    Try Crank brothers eggbeaters, I have them now, they have tremendous float--cant complain about the knees
    they are very easy to get in and out of (but there is a mandatory 4 falls before the motions to get out becomes a reflex that you use when you want to get out--true of all clips and clipless)
    Jeff
    Last edited by fischman; 06-30-08 at 06:41 PM. Reason: couldnt see the topic

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    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    My knees are better now after riding two years on SPD's than they have been in the last 10 years. Both have been scoped, the right one twice now. The pedals and clips certainly have not been a problem for me, rather a help. Having your feet stay on the pedals no matter what until you decide to take them off is a benefit that no one can argue with.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

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    Yen
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    Thanks everyone. As others have said, it sounds like pedals are like saddles -- everyone has their favorite. We just have to try one and see if we like it. And as saddles go, I've been happy with the first one I tried each time, so maybe I'll have the same experience with pedals.
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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pista Largo View Post
    SPD's are fine, but be sure to get the floatie cleats......
    How do I be sure of that? Will the guys at the LBS know what I mean when I ask for "floatie cleats"?
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    Senior Member tntom's Avatar
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    Yen look at the Speedplay FROG Pedal.

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    Yen
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    Quote Originally Posted by tntom View Post
    Yen look at the Speedplay FROG Pedal.
    Hey Tom - Actually, I am. I've read many positive comments about them. Are they what you use -- if so, what are your own thoughts about them?
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Hey Tom - Actually, I am. I've read many positive comments about them. Are they what you use -- if so, what are your own thoughts about them?
    Yen, another option is to go with a set of old school touring pedals using toeclips and straps, such as the Campagnolo C-record, the Campy Chorus (both from around 1985 or so), or the Shimano 600 6207, and a hard-soled shoe. The leather straps can be snugged so the pedal holds the shape of your foot, but does not restrain it. The front part of the pedal is flat and supports your foot on a platform, rather than a pair of ridges like many of them. If you can find a set of sneakers with a narrow shape and a stiff sole, like an Adidas Goodyear, you will have a pretty stiff supportive surface for your foot. And float will be no issue whatsoever. There is a knack to be learned to tip your foot into the pedal, but there's a knack for clipless, too.

    Road Fan

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    I went clipless a couple years ago and started with Shimano SPDs. It didn't work out well, as I had major pain in my right knee. I switched to Speedplay Frogs and did much better, although my right foot was out at such a wide angle that my heel would hit the frame.

    Last year I took up running to keep my wife company. I begin to have pain in my right achilles tendon and fortunately went to a very good Physical Therapist, who diagnosed a biomechanical problem in my right hip due to a lack of rehab when I broke my ankle some years ago. He put me on a specific set of exercises to fix it. In addition to curing my running injury, my right foot is at a much more reasonable angle now when cycling. I've still got the Frogs, and I like them quite a lot, but I suspect I could do okay with a number of different pedals.

    The summary is that free float is good, but fixing my biomechanical problem was better. Of course, this isn't possible for everyone.

    One issue with the Frogs is that they do feel slippery at first, and it may take a little getting used to. I've heard it described as "pedaling on ices cubes". It's not as bad as that, but it is different.

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    tly
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    Crank Brothers

    I have ridden with Crank Brothers products for several years with no problems. My spinning class bikes have SPD so I added SPD cleats to an old pair of shoes that I had and after the first class I was having a knee issue. Thinking that it was a fluke I continued with the SPD's for a couple more classes and the problem got worse so I went back to using regular shoes and toe clips and the problem went away. Since then spring has sprung and my riding has been exclusively outside using my Crank Brothers with no problems whatsoever.
    I don't want a pickle......
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    Off your Donkey, lets go Burr's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Yen;6972935]Unless I outright missed it, no one warmed me about possible knee issues with SPDs in my post about them. I read some other recent posts about clipless pedals and found comments there about knee pain and SPDs.

    I had to turn my toes in just a little and my knees were fine in a few days. (Pigeon Toed)
    Worked greta for me.
    Burr,
    I Push Iron & Turn Cranks!
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I don't claim to know what is best for everyone, but the following is what my experience shows...

    I don't find extra float to be a good thing. Part of the benefit of a foot retention system is that it forces to to have your foot in the proper position. Much better to just get that position right and be locked into it than to rely on float. Getting that proper position for you is the key and it may be difficult to sort out, but it is worth the trouble.

    If you have foot position related knee pain it is probably because your pedals are not set in the optimum position for you. Float may resolve this, but wouldn't it be better to just get the position right?

  25. #25
    Gilpin County Wheelman SKYLAB's Avatar
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    Frogs!!!
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

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