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  1. #1
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    Why do Pros ride with their knees close to the top tube?

    It looks almost knock kneed, I suppose it is more aero and probably gives them more power to the pedals.
    I know that you want your knee to track up and down, never really found a clear explanation for the knee position of pro riders.
    It does look better than a low seat with knees splayed out to the side...lol

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    In my experience, it is much easier to pedal smoothly with knees in than with knees wide.

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    Senior Member Jakedatc's Avatar
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    That is how most people ride that don't have a gut that forces your hips to rotate outward and knees with it... i'm sure it is not a conscious thing it is biomechanically normal.
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    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuwol7 View Post
    It looks almost knock kneed, I suppose it is more aero and probably gives them more power to the pedals.
    I know that you want your knee to track up and down, never really found a clear explanation for the knee position of pro riders.
    It does look better than a low seat with knees splayed out to the side...lol
    You answered your own question.

    More aero ='s more efficient energy ='s less energy wasted.

    Racing is all about using energy at the right time.

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    i have consciously been trying to do that for a couple of years now, for the reasons stated concerning aerodynamics. i have to say i can't detect much difference at the speeds i ride, and i feel a little LESS powerful, but i know that it must help somewhat. for me it's not easy, my natural inclination is to ride with knees straight or bow-legged.

    here's a good example: Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky (right front).


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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    You answered your own question.

    More aero ='s more efficient energy ='s less energy wasted.

    Racing is all about using energy at the right time.
    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    i have consciously been trying to do that for a couple of years now, for the reasons stated concerning aerodynamics. i have to say i can't detect much difference at the speeds i ride, and i feel a little LESS powerful, but i know that it must help somewhat. for me it's not easy, my natural inclination is to ride with knees straight or bow-legged.

    here's a good example: Vasil Kiryienka of Team Sky (right front).

    I have been riding this way since reading an excellent cycling book, forgot the title, back in the early 1980's. Yup, I am old.....64, but learned early on about aero efficiency and power.

    The tucked in knees was an overpowering reason I purchased my Giant Propel Advanced SL. I believe it has the narrowest top tube of all the frames and thus I very rarely clip it.

    p.s.-works for Marcel

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    yes, IME, a narrow top tube helps to reduce wind resistance by allowing one to ride with the legs close together. and i've found on my most recent road frame the VERY sloped top tube helps too, and it helps to keep the legs close together when coasting. it's almost like there is no top tube at all. the frame starts to resemble an MTB frame, if you know what i mean.

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    Thanks for the replies, I was riding my mtb today and I do ride with my knees brushing the top tube.
    It just feels right and looks cool too...lol

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    Senior Member iFold's Avatar
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    Maybe it sometimes depends on our knee joint anatomy.

    Some Pro riders like Marcel Kittel ride with his knees wide.

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    Yes Marcel Kittel knees appear to be wide but he is a Big German with tree trunk thighs, so that is probably as close as he can get to the top tube...lol

    He is something like 6'2" and 180-190 lbs, that is huge for a pro cyclist, he probably is even heavier during the off season.
    What a power house, I love watching him sprint.
    I wonder if he has what it takes to win the TDF, or is he just too big?

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    Senior Member Jed19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuwol7 View Post
    Yes Marcel Kittel knees appear to be wide but he is a Big German with tree trunk thighs, so that is probably as close as he can get to the top tube...lol

    He is something like 6'2" and 180-190 lbs, that is huge for a pro cyclist, he probably is even heavier during the off season.
    What a power house, I love watching him sprint.
    I wonder if he has what it takes to win the TDF, or is he just too big?
    He ain't gonna win the GC!

    He can sprint, but can't climb.
    Regards,

    Jed

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    Senior Member Giacomo 1's Avatar
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    I've always noticed the pro's riding this way to, and since this thread came up, I've been making more of a conscious effort to ride with my knees inward. It hasn't become natural feeling yet and my knees still wander outward when I'm not thinking about it, but it does seem to give my pedal stroke a little more power. It brings more of the quad muscle into play, especially that small inner top muscle just above the knee, whatever it's called.

    Maybe it will help the soreness in my knees to after a long, hard ride to...
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    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    ..... Racing is all about using energy at the right time.
    Of course your right... and I think that same concept can be expanded to all cycling. The better and more experienced we become when cycling the better we learn to manage our energy use. We go faster and further and get less tired. Of course hopefully we also become more fit.

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    So true Dave, logging in thousands of miles over the years I guess I have learned "economy of motion", doing only what is necessary to achieve proper cycling technique with no wasted energy that does not benefit my riding.
    Yes getting fit, eating anything I want and still being in great shape is a nice benefit as I cycle everywhere all the time..

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    Ding! Bandera's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuwol7 View Post
    I suppose it is more aero and probably gives them more power to the pedals.
    With a proper fit, the requisite adaptation and tens of thousands of miles of saddle time that is a by-product of good form.
    A good fit and lots of seat time works wonders for performance at any level of cycling in any era, go figure.....

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    I sometimes tend to over think, over analyze this whole riding a bike thingy...lol
    I try to go back to the advice of Eddy Merck...Ride Lots
    Simple but true.

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    One big difference between pros and amateur riders is that pros usually bend forward much more and use more core muscles when the pedal. Inward knees work much better in this position, especially pushing over the top of your pedal stroke. Most of the people riding with wide knees have a very upright riding position.

  18. #18
    Student of Hybrid Gearing BluesDaddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuwol7 View Post
    Yes Marcel Kittel knees appear to be wide but he is a Big German with tree trunk thighs, so that is probably as close as he can get to the top tube...lol

    He is something like 6'2" and 180-190 lbs, that is huge for a pro cyclist, he probably is even heavier during the off season.
    What a power house, I love watching him sprint.
    I wonder if he has what it takes to win the TDF, or is he just too big?
    TdF 2014 Stage 18 (Hautacam)
    Nibali in 4:04:17 (stage winner)
    Kittel at +32:04

    ..and yes, I love to see him sprint.

  19. #19
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    Indeed, Kittel is too big to win and I also like to watch him sprint.
    johnny99, yes the pros are in a better position to utilize this aero position, core muscles et.al.
    When I ride my mantra is...

    * butt back (tilting hips fwd)
    * chest down ( back flat)
    * elbows bent (shock absorbers along with knees)
    * knees in/knees high (like throwing them over the handlebars)
    * heavy feet--light hands (balance)

    thanks to all for your advice
    always learning

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