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I've noticed an quite a few professional cyclists along with an increasing number of riders on the road seem to be riding while holding their knees as close as possible to the frame. Is there a noticeable aerodynamic advantage? Is it better or worse on your knees?
 

· Folsom City Blues...
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Same here, knees in. It just feels right to have body and weight over the knees, knees over the pedals…

Peace :cool:
 

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Depends on your bones. If you naturally walk a little toes-out, you'll likely ride knees-in. If you try to fight it, you may twist your knees and cause injury. I really don't think anybody is choosing to do it for aero or any other performance reason. They're just finding the angle that works for them.
 

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I am by no means an expert in biomechanics, nor am I an orthopedist, so I'm going only on my personal experiences. IMHO, one should be cautious about trying to conciously alter one's natural form unless there is a good reason. IOW, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Trying to change my form too fast has, in the past, led to overuse injuries for me. Trying to pedal toes down at the bottom of my stroke led to shin splint-like pain (though it probably wasn't actually shin splints). Trying to pull up on the pedals led to knee strain. Trying to pedal knee inwards led to knee pain and PT.

Now, the operative phrase may be "too fast" - maybe I just overdid it. I do tend to overdo at times. Only one of the injuries caused me to seek treatment, and the PT I did for my knee was very mild - stretching my hamstrings and calves worked very well. However, the shin pain cost me a couple of weeks, the knee strain about two months of reduced cycling during peak season (Jul - Aug), and the PT had me off the bike for a month and reduced miles for two, ripping the heart out of one season of cycling (again, Jul - Sept).

You may be different - maybe I'm just old and fragile. But: personally, I'm not altering my form anytime soon until/unless there is a very good reason.



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I am using valgus wedges because I pedal embarassingly bow-legged.
All I can say is I am working on it, but not obsessing over it. This is only
one aspect of mastering pedal strokes, an infinitely complicated process
which seems like it would be easy, but the further I get into it, the more
challenging it becomes. Maybe if I ride until I am 90, I will have a handle
on this.
 

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on an MTB you'll often have your saddle a bit lower then you would on the road. not getting the full extension the knees out can be evidant of a bad fit or sloppy form.

as for knees in around corners... you'll see a bit of everything
 

· waterproof*
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It's not a problem I see much for ladies. Different hip structure etc.

I see it more on guys with lower miles, a bigger belly, possibly too-low saddle and/or too-low bars.

So first up, get a good fitting ("good" does not mean "the way the 19 year old shop racer boy thinks a bike should look")

Said fitting to include cleat alignment and float settings. Maybe some foot wedges.

Next, get in shape. Not just riding, but also core and arm strength. Yeah I said it - do pushups and situps. And twists and yoga stuff.

I think a lot of the knees-out comes from laying down power with the quads instead of with the glutes. Your hips have to be stable before your glutes can lay down power. Stable hips require a strong core. See?
 

· Steaming piles of opinion
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Creakyknees said:
I see it more on guys with lower miles, a bigger belly, possibly too-low saddle and/or too-low bars.
Yep. There's a bit of natural alignment to the issue, but the vast majority of the time, wide knees are an indication of a much-too-low saddle. On the other hand, brushing the top tube with each stroke is often a problem of varus.

Ultimately though, the important lesson is that knee tracking is an indicator of fit and alignment, and not something to be thought of as a matter of technique. Some can (and should) be corrected, others are simply individual differences and/or limitations.
 

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Possible explanation

My Own Private Idaho said:
I've noticed that people who came to road riding from mountain biking tend to ride knees out. People who started on the road first tend to ride knees-in. Perhaps there is a bike control advantage to riding knees-out?
This may be because mountain bikers tend to run lower saddles.
 

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Slight optical illusion.

function said:
Mechanically i would expect that a straight range of motion would result in more power due to the force vectors.
Yes, a straight-line connection results in maximum force. And most riders who appear to pedal knees-in do have that straight-line connection. If you align the center of your kneecap directly over the center of the pedal, you would appear 'knees-in' to someone looking from the front, especially if you have well-defined quads. An easy way to demonstrate this is to measure center-of-pedal to center of downtube, then put the center of your kneecap away from the center of the top tube by that same dimension and have someone look at you from the front.
 

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wim said:
Yes, a straight-line connection results in maximum force. And most riders who appear to pedal knees-in do have that straight-line connection. If you align the center of your kneecap directly over the center of the pedal, you would appear 'knees-in' to someone looking from the front, especially if you have well-defined quads. An easy way to demonstrate this is to measure center-of-pedal to center of downtube, then put the center of your kneecap away from the center of the top tube by that same dimension and have someone look at you from the front.
Wim got it.

b21
 

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I wish it were that easy. I also do Pilates religiously, have very little midsection
flab and was professionally fitted. I think the philosophy that you must necessarily
make more power with your knees in may be somewhat over-obsessive, considering
this is only one aspect of pedal stroke.
 

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phoehn9111 said:
I wish it were that easy. I also do Pilates religiously, have very little midsection
flab and was professionally fitted. I think the philosophy that you must necessarily
make more power with your knees in may be somewhat over-obsessive, considering
this is only one aspect of pedal stroke.
Not power, only force. The straight-line vector allows maximum force on the pedals. But as you said, that doesn't always translate into maximum power. For example, if knees-in restrict your spin or cause hip pain, you may actually make more power by letting your knees go where they want to. Power = pedal force x leg speed.
 
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