Knee banging top tube

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Knee banging top tube

Postby AndrewBurns » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:34 pm

I got a new road bike a few weeks ago and it's been great so far but I have noticed one really annoying problem, which is that my right knee tends to bang into the top tube when pedalling (especially if standing but even when sitting). My seat post is one of the aerofoil style ones so I have no control over the angle at which the seat points but it looks to be straight. I thought it might have been something to do with my cleats (currently using SPD's) however when I had a look at them the right one seemed straight. The left one did seemed to be pointing a little toe out which I thought might have been the problem however I adjusted it to be straight as well but still seem to be having the problem.

Any ideas? Should I just adjust my right cleat to point my toe outwards slightly or is it a more fundamental problem? It's only a glancing blow on the bony inside of my knee but I have quite a bruise there now.
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by BNA » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:41 pm

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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby sogood » Fri Dec 23, 2011 5:41 pm

Just spread your knees. Otherwise you probably have a postural issue and a fitter's opinion is needed.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby rkelsen » Fri Dec 23, 2011 6:54 pm

I hope it buys it a drink first!

But, as per above, definitely a fit issue.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby Percrime » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:40 am

foots not tracking true. Possibly the seats too low and thats contributing. Tweak it up a tad.. see what that does
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby trailgumby » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:09 pm

I have a similar issue and it is a contributor to my ongoing lower back issues.

I've recently come to the conclusion that it is in part driven by my having a varus forefoot... the joint at the base of my big toe sits naturally higher than my little toe, causing my ankle to want to roll inwards slightly, turning my lower leg in slightly, and pulling my knee in to the top tube. I have to concentrate on keeping my knees above the pedal, but inevitably that lapses and I revert to my knees-inward stroke.

How do I fix that? Well, trying to adjust myself to the bike with physio is having limited success. I am looking at getting Specialised BG insoles, which come with forefoot shims which go under the insole to allow you to adjust the angle at which your foot sits on the pedal: 2 x 1.5mm varus and 1 x 1.5mm valgus shims.

I'm expecting that by fitting either 1 x 1.5 or 2 x 1.5mm varus shims, it should be much easier to get my knees to naturally track straight over my second toe without having to think about it.

The other option is that recommended by Steve Hogg: eSoles
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby Apple » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:47 pm

Set it up on the wind trainer in front of a mirror, or go back to the bike shop and let them have a look.
It does sound strange.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby AndrewBurns » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:17 pm

I built the bike myself so there's no shop to go back to. Now that it's been mentioned I do actually have flat feet that pronate (arch collapses and ankle rolls inwards under pressure), I use orthotics in my jogging shoes so perhaps I should try the same thing in my cycling shoes.

I went for a 67km ride today (my longest yet) and I had minimal knee banging so perhaps putting my seat back up has made a difference (before when I was having the issue I noticed my carbon seat post was also slipping down during the ride, as much as 5mm, Richeys liquid torque has worked wonders with that).

Thanks for the help everyone, I'd love to get a pro bike fit like from Steve Hogg but I'm still such an amateur at the road cycling thing I don't feel like I could justify the expense :oops: Perhaps when I start racing and if I do it enough to really get some value out of it I will.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby trailgumby » Mon Dec 26, 2011 7:21 pm

I have sports podiatry orthotics, too, but while they help for walking, and have reduced the anterior ligament knee issues I used to experience, they do nothing for cycling. Interestingly, that is 100% consistent with what blog posts by Steve Hogg predicted I should expect.

That guy is uncanny.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby Apple » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:03 pm

AndrewBurns wrote:I I'd love to get a pro bike fit like from Steve Hogg but I'm still such an amateur at the road cycling thing I don't feel like I could justify the expense :oops: Perhaps when I start racing and if I do it enough to really get some value out of it I will.


Even more why you should get a bike fit with Steve, get you set up before you get injuries, Steve set me up. He sets up anyone even your grandma or the senile lady next door if she rides. It’s all about comfort, power efficiency and prevention of injury
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby trailgumby » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:56 pm

Apple wrote:
AndrewBurns wrote:I I'd love to get a pro bike fit like from Steve Hogg but I'm still such an amateur at the road cycling thing I don't feel like I could justify the expense :oops: Perhaps when I start racing and if I do it enough to really get some value out of it I will.


Even more why you should get a bike fit with Steve, get you set up before you get injuries, Steve set me up. He sets up anyone even your grandma or the senile lady next door if she rides. It’s all about comfort, power efficiency and prevention of injury

+1. An ouce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. :oops:
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby Baldy » Mon Dec 26, 2011 10:19 pm

It wasnt so bad as to hit the top tube but I had a problem with my right knee wobbling inwards. A BG fit fixed it, first by working out what was causing it and then using the stuff Gumby mentioned to fix it, footbeds and shims. In my case both in the shoe and under the right cleat as that leg was also shorter.

You cant discount technique either, it takes practice but you do need to rule out the bike fit first.

Good luck with it :)
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Knee banging top tube

Postby Dr_Mutley » Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:01 am

Sounds very much like u need some foot correction...

Or better still, a proper bike fit
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby sumgy » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:41 am

Percrime wrote:foots not tracking true. Possibly the seats too low and thats contributing. Tweak it up a tad.. see what that does


Not necessarily true. According to Steve Hogg most fit issues he sees are due to a seat height that is too high.
I would agree that it is a tracking problem which could be due to many things.

As always I recommend that you take a look at Steve Hogg's website .

Read these topics in this order:

The right side bias
Seat Height, how hard can it be
Seat set back for road bikes
Addendum to road pedals, which are best
Power to the Pedal - Cleat Position
Foot Correction Part 1

Also read "Perspectives on Fitting".[/quote]
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby sumgy » Tue Dec 27, 2011 7:48 am

trailgumby wrote:
The other option is that recommended by Steve Hogg: eSoles


Having used both, I will say that the 2 options are very different.
The e-Soles have much greater flexibility of fit than the BG's so that you can swap out the arch support to suit each foot seperately.
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Knee banging top tube

Postby sogood » Tue Dec 27, 2011 11:43 am

One thing to bear in mind is that whilst Steve Hogg is a guru in the field, there are other competent fitters around who can suit more restricted budget.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:44 pm

I'm guessing your putting your right heal outwards.

Are you around this arvo/evening? if so, you could drop by my place in Tempe and I could have a look while you ride on a trainer.

If that turns out to be the problem, I'll correct you cleat if its the cause, otherwise there's other adjustments I can look at
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby AndrewBurns » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:36 am

Thanks to Mike for giving me a hand on his trainer and trying a few different shoes with different cleat setups. Turns out there's definitely something wrong with me, my right knee tracks an off-axis circle when I pedal. Basically my right knee moves outward during the 'up' part of the stroke and then pushes back inwards during the 'down' part of the stroke (at which point it hits the top tube sometimes). The lateral movement of the knee is probably 20 or 30mm, using pedals and cleats with 0 float helps a bit but only by restraining my foot and reducing the motion of the knee, the knee still wants to move side to side when pedalling.

Any ideas? I know at this point I should probably go get a fit done by somebody, it's just a fair bit of money to drop when I've only been cycling for a few months. If I had to guess I'd say it's a combination of leg asymmetry and my flat feet/pronating ankles but I don't know enough myself to attempt to fix it.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby Nobody » Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:16 am

I'm not sure a fitter could fix the problem anyway, but it's probably still worth a try. Mike probably would have looked at saddle height, saddle for/aft and cleat position. The other things a fitter would likely look at is shims for different leg lengths and foot wedging.

I see a lot of people that are out riding recreationally with at least one knee (usually the right) pointing out and sometimes both knees out. I was told I used to do this too (both knees out) in my 20s. I don't appear to do it anymore (in my 40s). Although my fit has changed, I may have also trained myself out of it. At times I try to be conscious of my knee tracking.

Sheldon Brown wrote:Something the doctors don't seem to think of suggesting, but which really helped me a lot, is to make a concious effort to avoid lateral knee movement during the pedal stroke. Watch your knees as you ride (in a low-traffic setting!) They should move up and down as you pedal, with no sideward motion. Many cyclists have a sideways hitch in their pedaling motion, which I believe is a major contributor to chondromalacia. If you pay occasional attention to this, it doesn't take long to train yourself to keep the knees in line.
http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html#knees

Maybe a visit to a physio may help.
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Re: Knee banging top tube

Postby trailgumby » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:38 pm

Visited Cyclery Northside at Chatswood this morning and bought a pair of BG Footbeds. One of their BG-trained guys spent some time with me to work out what I needed.

Stood on their foot-o-meter to determine whether I needed a low, medium or high arch - a very cool device using body heat to take a footprint. High it was. Worked out size next. 45 was too big, 44 was perfect - no trimming required.

Pedalled briefly on a roadie fitted to a Greg Lemond trainer. The footbed with the metatarsal button felt distinctly weird, but I noticed an immediate improvement in knee alignment through the pedal stroke.

Will go for an extended ride tomorrow (have a cold today :( ) and take the varus shims with me in my pocket to do a bit of fine tuning on the way. Report to follow :D

They also have an arse-o-meter to measure your sit bones width :lol:
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Knee banging top tube

Postby Dr_Mutley » Sat Jan 07, 2012 5:40 pm

AndrewBurns wrote:Thanks to Mike for giving me a hand on his trainer and trying a few different shoes with different cleat setups. Turns out there's definitely something wrong with me, my right knee tracks an off-axis circle when I pedal. Basically my right knee moves outward during the 'up' part of the stroke and then pushes back inwards during the 'down' part of the stroke (at which point it hits the top tube sometimes). The lateral movement of the knee is probably 20 or 30mm, using pedals and cleats with 0 float helps a bit but only by restraining my foot and reducing the motion of the knee, the knee still wants to move side to side when pedalling.

Any ideas? I know at this point I should probably go get a fit done by somebody, it's just a fair bit of money to drop when I've only been cycling for a few months. If I had to guess I'd say it's a combination of leg asymmetry and my flat feet/pronating ankles but I don't know enough myself to attempt to fix it.


Yr right, what u describe is a pretty common symptom of a pronating foot +\- collapsing arch. If u have a good arch supporting innersole in a pair of runners, stick them in yr road shoes an see if that reduces your tendency to drift into the top tube. Specialized sell a BG fit footbed which comes with varus and valgus wedges to correct forefoot and arch biomechanics.

A quick n crude indicator of seeing if u need some correction, is stand in yr normal stance (in bare feet) move your weight lateral a little over one foot and do a 1/4 to 1/2 squat. If yr knee bends over your 2nd toe then u need no correction. If your knee tracks to the midline then u need a degree of varus correction u til your knee tracks over your second toe. If it tracks laterally (outside your foot) then u need sore valgus correction. Hope that helps a little.


http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBC ... spid=57994

*Diclaimer: I am the CEO of specialized so buy lots of them (just kidding - they just work well for me)
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