Sore knees - Trike ajustments

edited July 2010 in General Discussions
Dear TerraTrikers,

Recently, I bought a second hand TerraTrike Tour and so far I am having a great time.

However, on long trips (+20 miles), I get sore knees and I need to reduce the pace. A good night rest will do the trick.
I would have thought that my muscles are well developed as I have been in training on a stationary
recumbent bike for 6 months now. Granted, the position on the stationary bike is higher than on the trike, so maybe not the same muscles are being used.

I have some questions maybe some of you can answer.

1. Are there any ergonomic guidelines how to sit correctly on a Terra Trike to avoid knee pains. Am I sitting too low? If so, can I raise the seat?
2. I am 6ft 1inches tall and I can calculate my Xseem. But how can I tell if my bike is the right size for me. In other words, how do I calculate the size of my trike? My trike came with two booms of which the longer one is installed.

I would like to know if any of you have experienced such pains and if you were able to solve this problem
as I really would like to continue to do long trips on my trike.

Thanks for your advice



  • Dh and I ride a tandem and have both had a few knee issues, mine pretty much went away when I switched to a shorter boom, we are realtively new to the world of trikes, so we are far from experts. Obviously the correct boom length is very important. Do you have clipless pedals? Those can help also. My knees do get a bit sore, (one more than the other) when we do our 20 mile loop. We live in a very hilly area, and had to learn to use the gears in our favor, (switched to a 26 inch ring..helped a lot) try to remember to "spin" up the hills and not muscle or mash your way up them the way it is usually done on a diamond frame upright bike. I would suggest you go to a healthfood store that sells Natures Sunshine products and buy some liquid licorice root, put it in a roller bottle and use it on your knees after a ride, and again before bedtime and in the morning. it works amazingly well to reduce inflamation, thus relieving knee pain. Hopefully some more experienced people will chime in here. I would be interested to see what they have to say on the subject.
  • there is another item worth looking into as well. it's called knee savers. they space out your pedals. it's based on lifting. when you're lifting or picking up objects you're supposed to widen your stance and lift with your legs like a monkey. so when you're pushing on the pedals, it's like lifting and you may need to widen your stance. i have had some soreness in my knees from riding and since i got the knee savers, my soreness has been reduced. i hpoe this helps.
  • Do knee savers affect the torque?
  • i don't know if it affects torque, but if it's easier on your knees, that to me is worth it.
  • A bit late to the thread, sorry.

    The 'collected wisdom' about sore knees and recumbent trikes is that if
    your knees are getting sore, you are stomping, not spinning.

    Since there is no need to 'keep up the pace' on a trike, (not like you are going to fall over).
    drop it down a gear, and up your cadence. Or, drop it down far enough that
    you can keep up a good cadence comfortably.

    Folks often tend to stomp, or shove on the pedals on a recumbent trike
    as form isn't as critical, and it works. This will put an undue strain on your knees.

    Gear down, spin up, save the knees!
  • I've had a Cruiser for over a year and have had no knee problems- but when I switched to a Zoomer with the 26" back wheel, that changed the angle of how I was sitting and my knees hurt- especially one of them. I'm a Physical Therapist, so it's interesting to me that the different position was such an added strain on my knees. I went a long way on my first ride on the Zoomer- hoping that I just overdid it a bit, and that my knees will adjust to the new position as I ride more.
  • Three things will cause your knees to hurt on a bike or Trike.

    1. As was already mentioned, not gearing down enough and stomping on the pedals instead of spinning.
    2. Having your seat to close or back to far from the pedals. When you are cycling on a recumbent, at the end of the pedal stroke, where your leg is at it's maximum extension, you should still have a 15 degree bend in your knee. An easy way to see this is to ride in front of a reflective store window, or have someone take a video of you riding, and move the seat until you have the distance that results in that 15 degree bend. You cannot do this by sitting on the bike without pedaling, it will result in an incorrect setting of the seat and boom.
    3. If you are using clipless pedals, or toe clips, which is recommended for a Trike, and you find that your are "Duck Toed " or toes pointing out, on the pedals causing your heal to hit the crank when you are pedaling, then you are a candidate for "Knee Savers". What they do is move the pedals away from the crank, so that you don't have to force your foot into a position that it doesn't normally want to be in while pedaling, which hurts your knees. I have used knee savers on my 2 wheeled recumbent for years, and no knee problems at all.
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