Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Pathology and Sport Biomechanics, Faculty of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of changes in pedal width (Q Factor) on knee frontal plane kinematics in cyclists with different Q angles. Three groups of 8 road cyclists (1- Low Q angle, 2- Normal Q angle and 3- High Q angle) cycled in four different pedal widths of 16, 19, 22 and 25 cm. The variables of maximum abduction, maximum adduction, range of motion and mean abduction/adduction angle of the knee joint during cycling were calculated. The results showed that there was significant difference between group 1 and group 3 in the variables of maximum, minimum and mean abduction angle of the knee joint. Also, the effect of changing in the Q Factor was significant on the variables of maximum, minimum and mean abduction of the knee joint. in all variables, the interaction effect between inter-group and between-group factor was not significant. The results of the present study showed that the difference in the Q angle of individuals and also the increase in pedal width affect the frontal plane knee joint kinematics; Therefore, in choosing the appropriate pedal width for cyclists, the difference in their Q angle should be considered.


Main Subjects

  1. Oja P, Titze S, Bauman A, De Geus B, Krenn P, Reger‐Nash B, et al. Health benefits of cycling: a systematic review. Scand J Med Sci Sports. Wiley Online Library; 2011;21(4):496–509.
  2. Shen G, Zhang S, Bennett HJ, Martin JC, Crouter SE, Fitzhugh EC. Effects of knee alignments and toe clip on frontal plane knee biomechanics in cycling. J Sports Sci Med. 2018;17(2):312.
  3. Kutzner I, Heinlein B, Graichen F, Rohlmann A, Halder AM, Beier A, et al. Loading of the knee joint during ergometer cycling: telemetric in vivo data. J Orthop Sport Phys Ther. 2012;42(12):1032–8.
  4. Johnston TE. Biomechanical considerations for cycling interventions in rehabilitation. Phys Ther. 2007;87(9):1243–52.
  5. Bowersock CD, Willy RW, DeVita P, Willson JD. Independent effects of step length and foot strike pattern on tibiofemoral joint forces during running. J Sports Sci. 2017;35(20):2005–13.
  6. Saxby DJ, Modenese L, Bryant AL, Gerus P, Killen B, Fortin K, et al. Tibiofemoral contact forces during walking, running and sidestepping. Gait Posture. 2016;49:
  7. Dettori NJ, Norvell DC. Non-traumatic bicycle injuries. Sport Med. 2006;36(1):
  8. Bini RR, Di Alencar TA. Non-traumatic injuries in cycling. Biomech of Cycling. 2014. p. 55–62.


  1. Barrios C, Bernardo ND, Vera P, Laíz C, Hadala M. Changes in sports injuries incidence over time in world-class road cyclists. Int J Sports Med. 2015;36(3):



  1. Marceau L, Kleinman K, Goldstein I, McKinlay J. Does bicycling contribute to the risk of erectile dysfunction? Results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study (MMAS). Int J Impot Res. 2001;13(5):298–302.
  2. Tamborindeguy AC, Bini RR. Does saddle height affect patellofemoral and tibiofemoral forces during bicycling for rehabilitation? J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011;15(2):186–91.
  3. Nordeen-Snyder KS. The effect of bicycle seat height variation upon oxygen consumption and lower limb kinematics. Med Sci Sports. 1977;9(2):113–7.
  4. Ericson MO, Nisell R. Patellofemoral joint forces during ergometric cycling. Phys Ther. Oxford University Press; 1987;67(9):1365–9.
  5. Bini R, Hume PA, Croft JL. Effects of bicycle saddle height on knee injury risk and cycling performance. Sport Med. 2011;41(6):463–76.
  6. Price D, Donne B. Effect of variation in seat tube angle at different seat heights on submaximal cycling performance in man. J Sports Sci. 1997;15(4):395–402.
  7. Fonda B, Sarabon N, Li FX. Validity and reliability of different kinematics methods used for bike fitting. J Sports Sci. 2014;32(10):940–6.
  8. Bini RR, Hume P. A comparison of static and dynamic measures of lower limb joint angles in cycling: Application to bicycle fitting. Hum Mov. 2016;17(1):36–42.
  9. Encarnación-Martínez A, Ferrer-Roca V, García-López J. Influence of sex on current methods of adjusting saddle height in indoor cycling. J Strength Cond Res. 2021;35(2):519–26.
  10. Bini RR, Hume PA, Kilding AE. Saddle height effects on pedal forces, joint mechanical work and kinematics of cyclists and triathletes. Eur J Sport Sci. 2014;14(1):44–52.
  11. Fang Y, Fitzhugh EC, Crouter SE, Gardner JK, Zhang S. Effects of workloads and cadences on frontal plane knee biomechanics in cycling. Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2016;48(2):260–6.
  12. Bini RR, Bini AF. Potential factors associated with knee pain in cyclists: a systematic review. Open access J Sport Med. 2018;9:99.
  13. Abbasi A, Mohammadian MA, Abbasi S, Bashafaat H. The Effect of Changes in Bicycle Pedal Width on the Kinematics of Segments and Joints of Lower Extremity: Analysis of the Risk of Knee Overuse Injuries with Pedaling (A Cross-sectional Study). J Res Rehabil Sci. 2020;15(6):354–60. (Persian)
  14. Thorsen T, Strohacker K, Weinhandl JT, Zhang S. Increased Q-Factor increases frontal-plane knee joint loading in stationary cycling. J Sport Heal Sci. 2020;9(3):258–64.
  15. Horton MG, Hall TL. Quadriceps femoris muscle angle: normal values and relationships with gender and selected skeletal measures. Phys Ther. 1989;69(11):897–901.
  16. Woodland LH, Francis RS. Parameters and comparisons of the quadriceps angle of college-aged men and women in the supine and standing positions. Am J Sports Med. 1992;20(2):208–11.


  1. de Vey Mestdagh K. Personal perspective: in search of an optimum cycling posture. Appl Ergon. 1998;29(5):325–34.
  2. Bieuzen F, Lepers R, Vercruyssen F, Hausswirth C, Brisswalter J. Muscle activation during cycling at different cadences: effect of maximal strength capacity. J Electromyogr Kinesiol. 2007;17(6):731–8.
  3. Gardner JK, Zhang S, Liu H, Klipple G, Stewart C, Milner CE, et al. Effects of toe-in angles on knee biomechanics in cycling of patients with medial knee osteoarthritis. Clin Biomech. 2015;30(3):276–82.
  4. Gardner JK, Klipple G, Stewart C, Asif I, Zhang S. Acute effects of lateral shoe wedges on joint biomechanics of patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis during stationary cycling. J Biomech. 2016;49(13):2817–23.
  5. Thorsen T, Hummer E, Reinbolt J, Weinhandl JT, Zhang S. Increased Q-factor increases medial compartment knee joint contact force during cycling. J Biomech. 2021;118:110271.

Paquette MR, Zhang S, Milner CE, Fairbrother JT, Reinbolt JA. Effects of increased step width on frontal plane knee biomechanics in healthy older adults during stair descent. Knee. 2014;21(4):821–6.