Bents take some getting used to, but proper fit is where you start. Roughly speaking
the seat bottom should be at a distance from the pedals when the legsfeet are at
maximal extension such that the angle behind the knee is in the 5-10D range, ie not
quite fully extended knee. The foot will be moderately but not fully extended as well.
Large gray area there, probably as much as 2" so some trial fitting and riding will be
necessary. The other thing is to keep your cadence above 75rpm or so. Lower
cadence means higher torque needed and this can stress the knees. And sometimes
knees just get sore for awhile. Chondroitin seems to have helped my minor knee
aches. Does do much for my neck though and I have similar problems after 50-60mi
or riding the DF two days in a row.
I rode my bent for about a year then started to get sore knees. I talked to a guy named Mark Stonich at Bikesmith.com who makes custom shortened cranks. For some reasons bikes seem to come in all sizes but the cranks are all 175's or 170's.
I had already changed the front chain ring to gear it down because of weakeness following a back operation in the left knee, and by using Mark's shortened crank (152's) it worked out perfectly for me at least. i always had spun faster than everybody else anyway, and this just seemed to remedy the knee problem without losing any low end power because of my gearing down a bit.
There are also knee extenders that a friend uses and this works for him.
Whenever I ride behind a pack of bikers it never ceases to amaze me the huge variety of knees you see - pigeon toes, knock kneed, cowboy kneed, etc. So you could try a few of these mods to see if they help.
The more i ride the more i feel that a bike fit is a personal thing, and one size rarely fits all, nor does one mod or adjustment necessarily help the next rider. Bottom line, trial and error - if it feels good, do it!
Also if you use clipless pedals, try adjusting where the clip is - some people like the clip closer to the heel than others for bent riding. Again, trial and error.
Chondroitin is supposed to help and I've tried it and sometimes feel it helps my back pain, other times not. So try it and see - it's cheap and can't hurt you.
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned it yet, but... it's very common for new bent riders to pedal at a lower cadence. Mashing is BAD for your knees! Keep the rpms up, at least over 80 rpm if you're putting any pressure on the pedals at all. Spinning is good, because it lowers the pressure you're putting on your knee joint.
Hey all...new to the "bent " world. I bought a EZ rider speedster,been riding (df) for years ,but due to increasing neck and shoulder pain can`t ride more than 25 minutes.
The "bent " has changed that but I`m getting sore knees...I`ve tried the seat back and this reilieved some of the discomfort but not all...just looking for suggestions .Thanks..
Can you straighten your legs totally?
The first bent I bought ended up being just a tiny bit too short, and I always got knee pain after ~20 miles. I didn't get rid of that pain until I got a longer recumbent. I didn't know the first was too short when I bought it. ....You should be able to put the ball of your foot on a pedal, straighten your leg and point your toe at the same time. If you can't do this, there's a risk the bike is too short for you--and while you can usually adjust a longer bike shorter, there's no way to lengthen a short bike. ...Many people have found that their recumbent seat adjustment is very sensitive, even 1/8th inch too short or long doesn't feel right.
Also--if you're using clipless pedals that can be a source of pain too. Many people (me included) use Speedplay Frog pedals because of their generous float.