How to Tuesdays: Getting rid of knee pain #1

Knee pain is common among beginner and experienced cyclists, and can cause a headache or two when it sets in halfway into a ride. There are multiple factors that lead to knee main such as saddle height, fore and aft position of the saddle, cleat positioning, crank length and frame size. This can be quite confusing and overwhelming for some so we will take you through the steps.

Here are a few points to check or correct your current saddle position.Please note that small adjustments should be made on each ride until the optimum set-up has been reached. Use an indoor trainer or balance your bike against the wall when going through the steps, having a partner assist in the process will ensure a correct and safe set-up.

Saddle Height 

  1. Start by adjusting your saddle to the approximate height of the top of your hip bone (Press your thumb in at your waist to locate your hip bone)
  2. Mount your bike and with both heels on the pedals, rotate one of your feet to the 6 o’clock position( Bottom of your pedal stroke ). Adjust your saddle so that there is still a slight bend in the knee when at this position.
  3. Climb off the bike and remount to check that there were no errors in your first adjustment.

By adjusting the height with your heel on the pedal and a slight slight bend in the knee will allow for the perfect height when cycling on the ball of the foot.

Saddle height

Fore and Aft Position

  1. Place a key or keyring (or anything that can be used as a weight ) at the end of a 30-50 cm piece of string, this will be used as a plumb line.
  2. Mount your bike, with both feet on the pedals and hands on the handle bars. Rotate one of your feet to the 3 o’clock position, ask your partner to hold one side of the string (not containing the weight) to the bottom portion of your knee cap.
  3. The weight should fall directly into the axle of your pedal where the ball of your foot should be located. Adjust the fore and aft position accordingly.
  4. Check the saddle height once more, if the fore aft position was out a great deal it may have affected the angle of the knee while performing  step 2 of saddle height.

Saddle fore/aft

By adjusting your current set-up some mild discomfort may be experienced while your body adapts to your new set-up which is why this should be done on shorter training rides and not prior to races. If any pain is experienced please contact your LBS to get a bike fit done by a specialist.