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Knee-friendly SPD pedals

Oct. 21, 2017, 10:51 a.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

I am currently using Shimano SPDs on my hardtail but I noticed that at the end of a nice trail ride my knees hurt a little.

Guess that I'd like to move around a little more on the pedals, it is no issue on the commuter tho.

So my question, which pedal has a bigger degree of movement and is Shimano compatible?

Edit: I do not want to run flats on my hardtail in contrast to my park bike. So, yeah, flats do not work for me on the hardtail.

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer


 Last edited by: Mic on Oct. 21, 2017, 10:53 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 21, 2017, 5:38 p.m.
Posts: 33535
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

You might get a better result by adjusting your setup, such as clear placement, saddle position, seat height, etc.

What exact type of knee soreness are you experiencing?

Oct. 22, 2017, 1:06 a.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

The inside area of my right knee, and at times my left knee as well, feels sore, hurts a bit. It does not happen while riding my commuter and not on flats. 

I always thought it might have sth to do with the angle of the foot in relation to the knee, as if the range of movement is not big enough and therefore applying unnecessary strain/pressure on the inside of my knee(s) when riding turns and moving around on my bike. Anatomically speaking my knees seem to be buckling in. Got it since I was a toddler. I do not have any issues, in other sports I do I always take care of properly tracking the feet, in lunge movements, squatting motions etc. 

Regarding cleat position and saddle/saddle height on my commuter and my hardtail I run a fairly similar set-up.

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer

Oct. 22, 2017, 9:12 a.m.
Posts: 340
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Might not be related to the pedals at all. I get a little pain at times under and to the inside of the left knee. At times it feels like I want my foot tipped out and the heel rotated in but the cause for me is a tight IT band. If I roll the IT band with a roller or on a foam roller it goes away. And the issue is more revealing on my cross or road bike than mountain bike I think because of the more narrow Q factor. Tight IT bands is a common cycling ailment.

Oct. 22, 2017, 10:16 a.m.
Posts: 2370
Joined: Sept. 5, 2012

inside of the knee , you sure it,s not sore from body english on the trail and banging the top tube of the frame ??  I get knee discomfort riding with flats or clips , flats it,s way less . when I did ride clipped I rode with as little cleat tension as I could get away with .

Oct. 22, 2017, 1:25 p.m.
Posts: 12
Joined: March 19, 2017

I believe the crank bros egg beaters have different angles of release ( thus more heel movement) according to which way round you mount the cleat on the shoe. can't remember the figures but a quick google search will tell you. i used shimano for ages and had a similar problem, egg beaters sorted it for me.

Old skool raver.......... rave to the grave !!!

Oct. 23, 2017, 8:41 a.m.
Posts: 14719
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

do you need more float or just to adjust where the float you have is? I duno how others determine placement of the cleat but I pedal naturaly /stop wiggle the foot side to side/see if I am up against the edge of the float, when I am happy I crank the screws down with some loctite cuz you don't want them loosening off on a ride cuz the only way to get out will be to lay down and take the shoe off, other than that I have never had a problem with SPD's

Oct. 23, 2017, 8:56 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Feb. 24, 2017

Find out who in your hood is a good bike fitter and get your cleats adjusted.

Oct. 28, 2017, 12:35 p.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Posted by: DemonMike

inside of the knee , you sure it,s not sore from body english on the trail and banging the top tube of the frame ??  I get knee discomfort riding with flats or clips , flats it,s way less . when I did ride clipped I rode with as little cleat tension as I could get away with .

Yes, pretty sure about not banging my knee on the top tube.

Oct. 28, 2017, 12:38 p.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Posted by: andy-eunson

Might not be related to the pedals at all. I get a little pain at times under and to the inside of the left knee. At times it feels like I want my foot tipped out and the heel rotated in but the cause for me is a tight IT band. If I roll the IT band with a roller or on a foam roller it goes away. And the issue is more revealing on my cross or road bike than mountain bike I think because of the more narrow Q factor. Tight IT bands is a common cycling ailment.

That was a good idea, but I do a certain sport-specific tretching routine on a regular basis so I think it might not necessarily have sth to do with my IT band.

Unfortunately I have not ridden my trail bike for a few weeks. A few road rides and a few park laps. No discomfort there. I paid attention to the right foot and knee alignment tho.


 Last edited by: Mic on Oct. 28, 2017, 12:39 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 28, 2017, 12:42 p.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Posted by: Ee

I believe the crank bros egg beaters have different angles of release ( thus more heel movement) according to which way round you mount the cleat on the shoe. can't remember the figures but a quick google search will tell you. i used shimano for ages and had a similar problem, egg beaters sorted it for me.

I thought about them as well, but rumours have it that pedals from CB have a rather short lifespan. That is why I thought that other otions might be out there.

Oct. 28, 2017, 12:45 p.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Posted by: XXX_er

do you need more float or just to adjust where the float you have is? I duno how others determine placement of the cleat but I pedal naturaly /stop wiggle the foot side to side/see if I am up against the edge of the float, when I am happy I crank the screws down with some loctite cuz you don't want them loosening off on a ride cuz the only way to get out will be to lay down and take the shoe off, other than that I have never had a problem with SPD's

It might have to do with float. I think that with Shimano pedals the heel is pretty much a kind of "fixed" affair, and I would love to try a pedal where I can move my heel more without sacrificing a secure connection to the pedal.

Oct. 28, 2017, 4:32 p.m.
Posts: 14719
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

yeah I have heard eggbeaters die pretty quick

IME SPD's seem to last forever

I had some wellgo SPD knock offs which I felt did not have enough float so I ground a little extra into the pedal with a dremel using a stone

You only get so many degrees of float with SPD which IME has been enough for ME but you can move the cleat around on the bottom of the shoe  so those degrees of float are wherever you want is my point

http://speedplay.com/

which some how made me think of this^^ pedal, I had a buddy who was really into the frogs


 Last edited by: XXX_er on Oct. 28, 2017, 4:33 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
Oct. 29, 2017, 1:26 a.m.
Posts: 12940
Joined: Nov. 24, 2002

Ah, ok...got it. I think I experiment a bit with the cleat position on the right shoe then. If that does not help I think I might get a different pedal.

"You don't learn from experience. You learn from reflecting on the experience."
- Kristen Ulmer

Oct. 29, 2017, 7:57 a.m.
Posts: 844
Joined: Nov. 18, 2015

I think that you should try to align the cleats similar to how you have your road bike. If you’re not feeling pain on the road its most likely not related to being clipped in. Check the alignment and also your seat height. 

My guess is that you don’t need new pedals but I’ve been happy with the life in my crank bros over about 10yrs. Ti egg eaters on my XC bike, Mallet 3s on each of my Enduro and DH bike and Candys on my Cross. I have Looks on my never ridden anymore roadbike. You can get rebuild kits for the CB if you need them. I’ve broken axel on a Mallet 3 on the Enduro but that’s it.

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