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  1. #1
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    Saddle too wide = knee pain?

    After I got my bike fitted and got a new saddle I started getting some pretty bad knee pain (stabbing down the stairs or half squatted for other daily activities). I have the saddle put back to how it was before the fit by lining up the old saddle (fore/aft at widest point of saddle and height anyway) yet I'm still having knee pain after rides.

    The only thing I hadn't though of until just now is saddle width. My other two bikes have a 138 and a 143mm saddle but my new road saddle is 148. I ready that medial knee pain (where I'm having it, at least some of the time) can be caused by cleats too close to the bike (or too close to the inside of the shoe). Could a saddle being too wide effectively push my feet out and have the same impact as cleats in the wrong spot?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    After I got my bike fitted and got a new saddle I started getting some pretty bad knee pain (stabbing down the stairs or half squatted for other daily activities). I have the saddle put back to how it was before the fit by lining up the old saddle (fore/aft at widest point of saddle and height anyway) yet I'm still having knee pain after rides.

    The only thing I hadn't though of until just now is saddle width. My other two bikes have a 138 and a 143mm saddle but my new road saddle is 148. I ready that medial knee pain (where I'm having it, at least some of the time) can be caused by cleats too close to the bike (or too close to the inside of the shoe). Could a saddle being too wide effectively push my feet out and have the same impact as cleats in the wrong spot?
    I think you cannot answer this until you put your "exact" old seat back on, in exact same position, and see if the pain goes away.

    If it does, you have your answer.

    And if it doesn't, again, you have your answer (that something else, possibly seat width, is affecting your stroke).

    Generally, the only thing I notice that can set me off when going from one seat to another is the "side skirts" of any new seat. As long as the seat is between 135-145mm width, I am ok. As long as the seat is firm-to-hard and shaped like a U (when viewed from the rear), I am ok. But if the side-skirts of the seat are different, and are causing my stroke to flare out ever so slightly----which I will feel in both my knees and some discomfort on my hamstring-connection-into-pelvis area---then I am NOT ok.

    You can't start guessing here, or you will drive yourself nuts.

    Get the old seat back on, get your knees to stop hurting, and then go from there.


    Best of luck.

  3. #3
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    My guess here is that your new saddle's rails are different enough that your position on the bike changed. Some saddle rails are closer to the saddle than others. Some rails are more forward or backward.

    My best guess is that your position changed where you are either lower or further forward than you were before.

    I really doubt it's the saddle itself, much less the width that could cause knee pain.
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    My guess here is that your new saddle's rails are different enough that your position on the bike changed. Some saddle rails are closer to the saddle than others. Some rails are more forward or backward.

    My best guess is that your position changed where you are either lower or further forward than you were before.

    I really doubt it's the saddle itself, much less the width that could cause knee pain.
    Lombard,

    Don't ya think the OP measured his old saddle position exactly, so it could be replicated if necessary (like now)? He seems reasonably intelligent and implied this in his post. Different rails or not, who in their right mind would not do this? If he didn't do this, this thread needs not popcorn but a monster butt-spanking emoji destined for the OP

  5. #5
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    I have had some incredible post ride knee pain after a very intense and comprehensive bike fit. Everything on the fit was done with great detail etc, except, for trying to ballpark my metatarsal bone in the foot and setting cleat forr/aft.... I too got a wider saddle as part of the fit and was left all sorts of confused after.

    I did a lot of work to individually dial back various factors until I found the culprit...cleats moved far too forward. At the time after the fit I was told "it would feel new" so I ignored the strange knee feel. There are various types of knee pain. Pain below or under the kneecap is usually because you're essentially pedaling with your forefoot (cleats too far forward), pain on the side of the knee and slightly below could be pes arsenine or knee tendonitis from a left/right misalignment. Pain behind the knee can result from a seat that's too high.

    In the end, while I appreciated some of the changes of the fit - and I was way, way off the mark in terms of some measurements - I ended up dialing in the cleats/shoes myself. I also kept my narrower saddle, everything else net positive.

    I suppose you could be inadvertently pedaling with your knees wider causing that misalignment.
    Last edited by 9W9W; 05-14-2018 at 06:23 AM.
    "That pretty much sums it up. I'm 43 and my max is ~178-180. If that HR chart was mine or Froome's, we'd be on the verge of death. But for you it probably looks like a normal workout." -TLG

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    My guess here is that your new saddle's rails are different enough that your position on the bike changed. Some saddle rails are closer to the saddle than others. Some rails are more forward or backward.

    My best guess is that your position changed where you are either lower or further forward than you were before.

    I really doubt it's the saddle itself, much less the width that could cause knee pain.
    Good guess but look at this guys posting history. The old position(s) apparently were no good either.

  7. #7
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    Interestingly (related to saddle and knee pain) I have had sitting in the saddle cause knee and ankle pain. Something to do with the pressure point on my arse. This kinda thing only happens if I hadn't riding enough lately, or too much time off. It usually happens early on a longer ride. Getting up and taking pressure off makes it go away. In these situations I usually stop, get off the bike and stand for a lil while, and them i'm good to go for rest of the day.

  8. #8
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    Regardless of your saddle size or position, or the position of your cleats... if you pedal with your knees splayed out, you're putting unnecessary wear and tear on your knees.

    I learned this the hard way when I was having chronic knee pain on my bike. Ditto on the rowing machine and the elliptical during winter workout months.

    Keep your knees close-in laterally to the top bar during all phases of your spin and you'll see an improvement in the health of your knees. IMHO and my own experience.

    If the nose (term?) of your seat is too wide to permit that, get a narrower nosed seat. Again, IMHO and my own experience.

  9. #9
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    I have the fore/aft (at widest spot of saddle) exactly the same with the new saddle and height (top of saddle at widest spot to BB) and I'm still getting pain that lasts 24-36 hours after riding.

    To be fair, I could have injured something by going too hard too early on the new fit and I'm just still recovering from it but I just want to start riding again regularly and at a faster pace so I'm looking at all variables.

  10. #10
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    Better so far but I don't know if I'm just healing or if changing the saddle actually helped.

  11. #11
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    You have knee pain, well that is a pain in the knee. Is it the front, back, top, side , bottom, it is ridiculous to speculate. Do you have a head ache too?
    BANNED

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    You have knee pain, well that is a pain in the knee. Is it the front, back, top, side , bottom, it is ridiculous to speculate. Do you have a head ache too?
    The main question was is it possible to get any knee pain of any kind whatsoever specifically from a saddle that is about 5mm too wide.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisisthebeave View Post
    After I got my bike fitted and got a new saddle I started getting some pretty bad knee pain (stabbing down the stairs or half squatted for other daily activities). I have the saddle put back to how it was before the fit by lining up the old saddle (fore/aft at widest point of saddle and height anyway) yet I'm still having knee pain after rides.

    The only thing I hadn't though of until just now is saddle width. My other two bikes have a 138 and a 143mm saddle but my new road saddle is 148. I ready that medial knee pain (where I'm having it, at least some of the time) can be caused by cleats too close to the bike (or too close to the inside of the shoe). Could a saddle being too wide effectively push my feet out and have the same impact as cleats in the wrong spot?

    Hello all,
    I am just a recreational rider who is 72 years old and I currently ride just 5 miles a day to strengthen my back muscles because I have herniated discs. When I was much younger, I rode about 60 miles every day and back then when I begin riding a bike, I had knee problems all the time until I discovered the cause of having sore knees.

    I found this forum and after reading this post, I joined just for the specific reason to relate to others the 'secret' of eliminating the problem of sore knees when riding a bike.

    The 'cure' for me was simply moving the saddle further back. I did this by replacing the seat post with one that extended further to the rear. When I did that, not only did my sore knee problems immediately stop, but on hills, I was able to ascend the hill in one gear higher than I could before. It was almost like magic, the increased power I had and how it took the strain off the knees.

    So, looking at your problem, it appears that the wider saddle is causing your body to be farther forward on the saddle than it was before. Of course, even before moving the saddle further back, make sure that your saddle is not too low (more riders than not have their saddle too low and thus they're not getting the full strength of their legs, plus too low a saddle will also strain the knees).

    Now reading this, you may be thinking "what does some old man know about riding a bike", but I challenge you to try moving you saddle further to the rear. I think you will be amazed at not only how your sore knee problem goes away, but also how much more leverage, and thus power it gives you to propel your bike.

    Happy cycling,
    Regards, Arky

  14. #14
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    My story is a bit different than Arky. I suffer from a rare form of gigantism whereby my endowment has continued to grow throughout my lifetime. In my experience, a wider saddle competes with the real estate needed to support my bid-ness which puts a giddyup in my pedal stroke which yes, can create knee pain. Take away is...each of us are different with different challenges and one size doesn't fit all to solving an issue such as knee pain.

  15. #15
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    If this is for casual riding my suggestion would be platform pedals. You'll lose some of the efficiency from the hamstring on the upstroke but the trade off is that a flexible foot position will alleviate so much of the knee concerns. If your prior fit was dialed in then this will be a trial error to dial in the slight variables.

    The sports orthopedic had suggested the pedal change for me when the chronic tendonitis came in. I can still ride with the Speedplays yet for worry free rides the platforms are wonderful relief. The freedom to walk leisurely and normally has also helped for those ride breaks.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    Regardless of your saddle size or position, or the position of your cleats... if you pedal with your knees splayed out, you're putting unnecessary wear and tear on your knees.

    I learned this the hard way when I was having chronic knee pain on my bike. Ditto on the rowing machine and the elliptical during winter workout months.

    Keep your knees close-in laterally to the top bar during all phases of your spin and you'll see an improvement in the health of your knees. IMHO and my own experience.

    If the nose (term?) of your seat is too wide to permit that, get a narrower nosed seat. Again, IMHO and my own experience.
    Wobbly knees!

    Had the same experience when an innocent newbie. I'd look down and see the knees go in and out next to the top tube. Under power they'd wobble worse. I've got worn frame fit pump barrels to prove it. I really had to concentrate on an even pedal stroke to stabilize that lateral movement. The cleats have to be precisely adjusted so the feet were pointed straight ahead, heels cleared the chain stays, and shoes didn't rub on the crank arms. Following the crank around at high rpms in easy gears, trained the muscles to instinctively keep the knees in vertical alignment. They got stronger, all the way around.

    Again, may I humbly extoll the virtues of spinning! Its the fountain of youth. If its uncomfortable anywhere in the body, its a fit problem. OTOH, once that change gets made, the legs have to learn how to work it comfortably. Spinning teaches the legs very efficiently, without hurting the knees.

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