Knee soreness ? Causes

Firstly, its soreness and not Pain. You know the feeling when you do leg squats and your quads ache? that’s how it feels.

My soreness is on the inside of my knee at the top of the “meat” of my quad, on both knees. It only feels sore when I’m pushing hard up a steep hill with low cadence (65 rpm 5% grade or more). If I drop gears to get my cadence up to 75 + it doesn’t ache.

Is this cause by my seat is too high, or shoes too far out from body ( I do have a slight cant when I walk)?

Or is this normal, as the rest of my quads don’t really ache like when I lift weight, just that spot (Vatus head?)


At 5%, 65 rpm seems low to me, and I’m a natural grinder (30 rpm, no problem). If high cadence helps, avoid low cadence. Sorry :grin:

For specifics, consult a physiotherapist who is specialized in cycling and/or a competent bike fitter (admittedly, both might be hard to find, depending on location, but it’s worth it).

Are you using clips? those may need adjustment and make sure the bike/trainer is as level as possible

You accidentally replied to me instead of the OP. That is a lucky coincidence, because I actually do use clips. On my city bike.

I don’t know many people who do. You probably mean clipless pedals. :grin:

1 Like

Edit: clips should be clipless. As an aside, clips is a great way to break body parts if you ever go down in an accident.

Also about clips, float makes a huge difference on knee pain. A few years back I developed the same sort of thing and changed from SPD’s, no “float,” to Speedpay Zero’s which does and within a week the problem resolved itself; it hasn’t ever come back either. Fiddly type of pedals though. Maintenance intensive, expensive, but great for road use.

Cadence, yours seems low if your in the saddle doing that. I climb between ~92-100 rpm. Don’t even think about it; just do it naturally. Sometimes even a touch more. Out of the saddle for a change in position is the only place I’d be caught dead doing 50-60rpm. As the saying goes, “spin to win.”

Seat height, if you’re trying to do a lot of climbing, it can make a difference too. On my “climbing” bike, it’s set a tad bit lower than my other bikes which I use for flatland rides. Drop it by 1/4 cm at a time and do a test ride. The results might surprise you.

Cleat position is a personal thing. Best I could suggest is to make a visit to your LBS and have them set it up. Me? Looking down, I have mine set all the way “inside” the sole so as to have maximum clearance with the cranks because I ride with a “toe in, heel out” style. (Hence having pedals which can float.) Everyone will be a bit different here, body mechanics is a personal thing. Again you’re LBS should have a fitter on staff which can assist you.

Last would be crank arm length, leverage in action you see, but that’s a topic too detailed to get into here. Probably the last thing on the list to change unless you’re on the extremes of a human height chart.

Seat height could do it. Too high and you’re rocking in the saddle.

Not wearing clips with a fixed gear is a great way to break your legs.

Speedplay offer the most float, and it’s adjustable, which is great, but why did you choose no float before? Besides Speedplay I’ve used SPD, SPD-SL and Look Keo cleats, all of which come with float, the latter two offer two different amounts of fixed float. No float is possible (not sure about SPD) but quite unpopular.

I started being a serious roadie during the clips to clipless transition and started with Clips, then Look, followed by SPD, and as age caught up to my knees, finally Speedplay which I love. But hey, 25+ years of riding with time spent in a bike shop as a mechanic building/repairing multiple bikes per day, but what do I know right?

Were not talking about clips and fixed gear. We’re talking about knee pain and riding inside.

Look, I get the fixed gear craze, mainly for the younger generation(s). Truly I do and if I was a lot younger I’d probably look into trying one out. Red Hook crit is insane, in a cool way. However, common sense says outside of a track where the environment is far more controlled, I’d argue riding fixed isn’t necessary the best idea for your continued good health in public. Hard on the knees too, the topic being discussed.

Do as you will though. I’m not going to tell you what to ride or what risks to take, but the OP asked a question and I offered some of what I know about bikes and setups to help him out.

I believe it was you who brought up the alleged dangers of riding with clips after it was established that it probably was not what was meant.

There we go again. When somebody says “fixed gear”, I think Sheldon Brown (who used clipless pedals). The above is your own projection. :man_shrugging:

Actually, it was Chuck_Walker and then you responded to him. Then, I edited my post in response to you as an after thought for people who might happened to read the thread of the possible dangers of using clips. Standard information we gave out in the bike shop when people inquired about using them.

So Eric, you believed wrong.

I make many mistakes.