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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, Clipless pedals are killing my knees!!! I love riding with them, I've got great Sidi shoes, professional fitting and all but my knees still kill. Any one out there experience this? I want to continue with the clipless system but if it's going to shorten my ride times, forget it.

I'm thinking of going to platforms.

So here's the question, anybody tried clipless and then to platforms? Are you loving it or not? Please reply only if you ride with platforms. We know everyone loves clipless, and the pedaling efficency... I want to hear from the average rider that just loves to ride and be with nature and have a good time on the trails. The guy that invested the money into going clipless and found out that his knees feel like there going to blow after a 4hr. plus ride.

will I love the platforms?
 

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First off, what kind of pedals do you have? Maybe invest in a pedal with more float.

IMO, going from clipless to platforms sucks. You never feel your foot is in the right place on platforms. Plus normal shoes are not as stiff so it feels like energy is not fully transferred over. And then there is the whole pedal slipping thing, especially when it's wet. And then of course overall efficiency. I commute with platforms around campus, otherwise its clipless.
 

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Hey I am a guy that switches pedals on a regular basis and I think I may have some insight for you. I at one time did have bad knee pain from my clipless (spd style) but I switched the cleat location/angle and I got full relief. Any book about MTB will have a little section on how to line up the pedal axis and have someway to get the angle right. Another place to check will be for/aft with regards to your saddle sometimes if you are to far forward and I guess maybe too far back you can get knee pain.

Second when I switched to a pedal with float I didn't set my cleats up right and still didn't experience any pain whether this was a result of the float or just luck I don't know.

Now to the part about switching to platforms, I think there are three major considerations. First up is weight, the average clipless pedal will be about 1/2 pound lighter than a high end platform. Two is the type of trails you ride, when I am downhilling and riding smoother cross country trails I don't mind the platforms but when the trail gets really technical with lost of rocks roots etc I miss the ability to throw my bike around without thinking about. Specifically i miss the being able to really throw myself up onto ledges while climbing steep hills. Another downside to platforms is the possibility of getting bucked off of the bike while going through high speed rock gardens not a big deal if you are really smooth but when you make a mistake it is nice if the bike comes with you giving you a chance to recover. Last but not least is the scary factor, as in when the going gets scary the platforms can be a confidence boost. Trying new obstacles especially really steep scary ones is just more comfortable when you have the added ability to ditch your bike a little bit quicker than with clipless.
minor but still significant considerations with platforms
-allow you to move foot around on pedal for better balance in air and while wheelying
-Get good supportive shoes, skate shoes work if they are the really modern style with stiffer/thicker soles. Cheap or flimsy shoes will be noticed by hour 3 of a ride
-last but not least is that unless you are running racer boy stiff clipless shoes the difference in pedaling efficiency is zero.
 

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Stealth1972 said:
Shimano PD-M324s, there's plenty of float, i have it set really loose.
those pedals don't have any float, the looseness refers to how much force it takes to release the cleat from the pedal. Where as float allows you to turn your foot without even touching the sides of the release mechanism. Also time pedals will allow your foot to rotate a little bit around the pedals axle.
 

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Riding platforms won't necessarily help your knees any. Technically you should always have the pedal spindle more or less under the ball of your foot, but with platforms it's easy to get sloppy and place your instep over the spindle instead when you're pedaling hard. This can be just as hard on your knees as riding with poorly set-up clipless. I'd say you should mess around with your cleat positioning first, and maybe try a different brand of clipless pedals before giving up on them entirely.

That's not to say that switching to platforms is a bad idea, though. Platforms can really improve your skill and control once you get used to them.
 

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Find a pair of Frogs you can try. Your knees will LOVE you for them. Zero centering force, all the float you want, no springs to overcome to get out and your foot can move anywhere while you are pedaling. I've been on them for 8 years now and love them! I don't have bad knees, but when I was using SPDs, my knees did sort of ache a bit, but I attribute that to bad fit.

Find some Frogs. You'll never look back.

http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No knee pains? Seriously? I don't want to spend any more money for a professional fitting, man I feel Iike I've been burned. Easy to get out of too? Anybody else use the Frogs?
 

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Stealth1972 said:
No knee pains? Seriously? I don't want to spend any more money for a professional fitting, man I feel Iike I've been burned. Easy to get out of too? Anybody else use the Frogs?
Yep. I won't use anything else. Completly free float. Actually takes some getting used to.

Honestly though, I would first look into adjusting the cleats you have. If you paid for a professional fitting, can you go back and tell them what is going on? More float may or may not solve your problem. The biggest factor for my knees is seat position.
 

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Stealth1972 said:
No knee pains? Seriously? I don't want to spend any more money for a professional fitting, man I feel Iike I've been burned. Easy to get out of too? Anybody else use the Frogs?
Took me 1 ride (admittedly with multiple clip-in and outs) to get the hang of getting into them. It's pretty easy and getting out is just a matter of twisting to 20* and you're out. Once you pass the engagement limit, that's it. Kind of tough to describe. Go to your LBS and ask them to show you a pair and see if they have a pair you could try out.
 

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Stealth1972 said:
OK, Clipless pedals are killing my knees!!! I love riding with them, I've got great Sidi shoes, professional fitting and all but my knees still kill. Any one out there experience this? I want to continue with the clipless system but if it's going to shorten my ride times, forget it.

I'm thinking of going to platforms.

So here's the question, anybody tried clipless and then to platforms? Are you loving it or not? Please reply only if you ride with platforms. We know everyone loves clipless, and the pedaling efficency... I want to hear from the average rider that just loves to ride and be with nature and have a good time on the trails. The guy that invested the money into going clipless and found out that his knees feel like there going to blow after a 4hr. plus ride.

will I love the platforms?
What part of you knee is killing you? front or back, top or bottom or side? Ice pick pain or just soreness?

Maybe experiment with cleat placement. You can cheat by placing the cleat at an angle if you are getting pain at the sides of your knee. For me pain on the top of my knee is from having my seat too low. Also Shimano have the worst float when compared to Time, Crankbros, and Frogs.
 

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Are you sure it is a pedal issue?
How much have you been riding before?
Are you sure you are not in a too big gear?

Also, check your riding position:
- saddle height so that you can barely pedal with your heels, without rocking your hips.
- saddle front-to-rear position so that the front of your knee is over your pedal spindle (or close), when the crank is pointing straight forward.
 

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Be sure that you've got your pedals/shoes set up properly. You need the proper angulation of the cleat on the shoe, the proper varus/valgus wedging for your shoes, etc etc. Bad biomechanics will destroy your knees very quickly.
 

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perttime said:
.....Also, check your riding position:
- saddle height so that you can barely pedal with your heels, without rocking your hips.
- saddle front-to-rear position so that the front of your knee is over your pedal spindle (or close), when the crank is pointing straight forward.
I think rules like this is what got him into trouble in the first place. He got professionally fitted.

I am bow legged and following the rules above makes my saddle too high and gives me pain in the back of my knee.
 

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Stealth1972 said:
...So here's the question, anybody tried clipless and then to platforms? Are you loving it or not? Please reply only if you ride with platforms. We know everyone loves clipless, and the pedaling efficency... I want to hear from the average rider that just loves to ride and be with nature and have a good time on the trails. The guy that invested the money into going clipless and found out that his knees feel like there going to blow after a 4hr. plus ride.

will I love the platforms?
Ha ha, you asked for experiences from people who use platforms and you got a bunch else. Well, I think that's for good reason and a lot of the advice posted sounds very good too me. 'Specially the resounding chorus of needing float, proper setup, and that there are a TON of reasons you can have knee pain. Did you have knee pain before and what pedals did you run?

I switched back to good old fashioned toe clips on plain old Wellgo-style platform pedals (not the "low profile" types). I found that I move my foot position quite a bit during a ride - equivalent to a cleat adjustment - and clips allow that depending on how tight you run them. Also, I grew BMXing and just never got used to having to do scary/committed moves without being able to just leap off the bike in what, to me, is a natural manner. I find myself having more fun when I feel more natural. But I'm just a joy rider and rarely have someone I need to keep up with. I know I'm slower because of my pedals but just don't care.

Having toe clips is much better than just plain platforms especially on those desperate climbs where they protect you from the dreaded pedal-slip-knee-slam. And you can yank your foot out and instantly have a regular platform to stand on which I love (does not apply to "low profile" types). The clip does snag on rocks and such when you're on the flats.

I feel your frustration because I like you spent a bunch of money to give clipless a solid try (6 mos for me) and the minute you decide you don't like 'em, you got 50 people saying "oh, well you should have gotten xxx brand, etc". I know everybody means well, but it's a new $100 - $200 experiment to try this or that pedal, shoe, etc. In the end, I'm sure they're right. But it may take several tries to get it right.

It costs about $20 to $25 to experiment with toe clips and cheap platform pedals.

To me pedals are a compromise like bike setup and rider position. Will you love the platforms? That depends on how much of a spinner you were in the first place and where your priorities are. I don't love them - I just dislike them less (and will probably give clipless another go sometime)

Given what you've said, I'd vote for trying platforms with or without clips just to see if pedals are *really* your problem. Sounds like you have a lot more variables to eliminate.
 

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In an attempt to answer the original question and not waffle on about float, knee pain or correct shoes:

I have moved from clipless (Time Atacs) to platform (some kind of Wellgo magnesium pedals with studs).

I'm generally not 'loving' it. The platforms provide far less control and efficiency than the clipless and I find it difficult to climb smoothly over technical terrain, especially when staying seated. The platform pedal stroke just seems inherently 'mashier' which leads to to frequent rear wheel spinouts.

The reason I made the change was because I have just bought a new bike that I need to get used to, and am riding on much more aggressive terrain than previously where the ability to bail out overrides the need for efficiency and control. As soon as I get better, I will move back to clipless for XC and probably stay platform for my DH riding.
 
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