Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Spokane WA
Bikes: Seven Axiom Ti, Trek 620, Masi cylocross (steel). Masi Souleville 8spd, Fat Chance Mtn (steel), Scwinn Triple Bar cruiser, Mazi Speciale Fix/single, Scwinn Typhonn
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I have bad knees too.
I'm 5' 9" and if I use any crank longer than a 170 it hurts.
I do have a bike with a 172.5 but I must be very careful when I ride it.
I've found that as I get older and more brittle etc., I spin more and mash/push less.
Have your local bike shop, or local expert make sure your position is right on the saddle both up and down AND fore and aft. You'll need to find someone who has many years of experience and/or good training/coaching. Look at Greg Lemond's or Bernard Hinault's books or something by Andy Pruitt. If you can't find someone, the books will help and if you can find someone to help they'll help you root out the posers.
As for pedals, personally I prefer Looks. ALL you really need to do is make sure whatever you get lets your foot pivot a bit to relieve knee stress and make sure the ball of your foot is over the pedal axle.
Keep your knees close to the top tube to ensure they're going straight up and down and not "swinging-out" at the top of the stroke, very important for pain/injury prevention and efficiency.
Check your quad to hamstring strength ratio, it should be 3 to 2, if not work on the quads.
Try some stretching, only when warm, after the ride, no bouncing and do it slow.
[Edited by pat5319 on Jan 20th at 03:56 PM]