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always licking the glass
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Are those PT's also riders who specialize in bike fits? I'd see a PT for pain and physical therapy but unless they were expert bike fitters too I wouldn't let them adjust my saddle height.

Personally I've found that I can tolerate fairly significant seat height changes and experience no knee pain. It's hard for me to imagine that the op's pain is related to a seat height change due to going from clipless to flats.
The ones here, yes.


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Actually, isn’t he, in effect, raising the seat height by lowering the foot closer to the pedal and therefore increasing the distance between the pedal and the seat. If so, than wouldn’t lowering the seat height a few millimeters (up to 10, as you say) be the correction to try?
I actually agree with others though that your foot position might be incorrect becaise you’re not “locked in” and in consciously shifting your foot to the wrong position. If the first tip doesn’t help, I’d also recommend getting fitted.
You know you're right. I obviously got it backwards. But usually seat being too low causes pain at the front of the knee. Maybe the OP does need to try raising his saddle and see if that might help.
 

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Before clipless pedals we used to take our new shoes and ride without the cleats attached yet to get a wear mark on the back edge of the pedal on the sole of the shoe and that was were you mounted your cleat for toe clip pedals. Rarely had any knee issues. With clipless pedals you can't do that so mounting your cleats is always kind of a guess and can cause problems. With flats your feet typically find a natural position. I ride with DMR Vaults and Ride Concept shoes the wear marks on the bottom of my shoes is in the same place on both shoes. I don't move my feet around very much and always place them back on the pedal in the same spot. Like someone else posted it could just be an adjustment period thing going from cleats to flats.
 

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Some other things to consider...

Perhaps you need insoles? I use aftermarket insoles in my sidis to reduce overpronation and lock my knee in place so it moves up and down like a piston each pedal stroke. W/o insoles my knees will move laterally in the pedal stroke, a recipe for knee pain.

Perhaps try a clip less pedal that is easier to release from? I thought Times are harder to release from than Shimano SPD, especially if the latter is set to easy release and is clean/lubed (dirty/gunky pedals can make it tougher to release).

And as others have been driving home, on flats with pins, your foot is locked in to place, so maybe figure out best placement for your foot.


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Combat Wombat
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I also ride both, with SPDs on my rigid KM and flats on my geared Honzo. When I first built up the Honzo, I initially set up the saddle height the same as I would for my SPDs. I then switched to flats and noticed some slight knee pain on longer rides. A different pedal/shoe combination and increased forward foot placement on the pedal required a drop in saddle height and this seemed to alleviate any issues. I can normally deal with some saddle height variation between bikes, but a saddle that is even a slight bit too tall, is for me a sure bet for knee issues. I can also see where no float could be a problem for some people.
 

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BOOM goes the dynamite!
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I noticed something on my ride yesterday that may help. While riding (flats), I frequently re-adjust my foot position. Any time I dismounted, put a foot down/out or went through a rough section or whatever I instinctively did this - it's usually not something I think about. I also noticed when I wasn't paying attention my left foot got a little too far to the outside of the pedal and I started to feel discomfort in the knee (and promptly adjusted this).

Since clipless put you in the same position every time I could see how this could factor in, especially if when he got the fitting his foot was in one place and this changed during the course of riding. Might not hurt to go ride around for a few minutes to see where his foot is (even take a picture or put a pencil mark on the shoe where the spindle is or something) and then use that to adjust saddle positioning. Or just be more conscious of foot placement until repositioning becomes second nature.
 

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Switching from clipless to flats requires more pedal down force for the same watt output because clipless has a longer power input duration then flats. I have run flats for years and have found that an Absolute Black oval chain ring cured my knee problems. At the top of the pedal stroke when your knee is bent the most, the oval chainring is approx. two teeth smaller [diameter] making it much easier to push down the pedal at the top of the stroke. eg: 30t oval chainring is like a 28t at the top of the stroke and 32t just after 90deg down.
 

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WOW, I LOVE ALL of YOU! Great info! I honestly thought I was going insane or body was just falling apart and was really feeling low about this. I spent almost a year building a vintage dream bike and have been really excited about getting good again and then this... y'all have given me hope and alot of homework to do! Thank You! I'll let you know how it all turns out. I am having some major issues since COVID knocked me down for 6 weeks and just really want to get rolling! Thanks!
6 weeks will decondition your entire system significantly. did you make the switch right after COVID? Or did you ride for a bit, notice falling more and decide to switch? I had COVID last year and it took me almost 4 months to get back to pre COVID shape, and even still I don't feel 100% 9 months later. I recently attempted flats too, but the Chesters did not let my feet go to their natural position, they seemed too narrow, and I could not generate effective force for climbing tech sections. I found that the goal of less injuries when falling was negated by the fact that I couldn't ride hard enough to warrant having them. But they did expose some weaknesses in my technique with clips. I plan to ride clips for a few rides annually to review my technique because since switching back to clipless, those problems I was having went away, and my technique on drops, and bunny hops has improved immensely. That all being said, I needed to lower my saddle about 5mm to get the correct angles for my hips and knees. Oddly enough too, I ended up moving my cleats back on the clipless after switching back and couldn't be happier. Good luck.
 

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GALATIANS 2:20
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Thanks All!
To answer all questions and sorry if I miss anyone.

Insoles- I have seriously "low-volume" feet. All my footwear are handmade cowboy boots or Italian footwear (La Sportiva or Sidi) So even in Sidi shoes (which I LOVE) I use SOLE brand insoles and they are hands-down the best for all footwear for function and longevity. I am a serious insole snob and have tried them all.

Covid- I never get sick, I get seriously injured, but I never get sick and when I got Covid the first week no biggie, 2nd week I was slammed down and 3rd week in ICU and 4th week back in ICU. My O2 never went above 89 for 3 weeks and stayed around 87 most of the time. Fevers bouncing up to 105. I have all kinds of SERIOUS residual medical conditions from COVID. Have another Dr. appt tomorrow. From lack of energy and being bedridden mostly for last 5 months I first lost 23 lbs and now have gained it back and another 20 plus.

Knees- started months before covid, but hurt worse now and I haven't ridden in 5 months... ARGH!

Now I work on my family and friends bikes, but have not gotten back in the saddle yet on a real trail, but I can ride circles in the cul-de-sac like a pro!

Thanks again for all your kind help!
 
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