Bike Pedals for Knee Issues
Pedals designed to optimize your power and reduce your knee and hip pain
The new generation of Nikola pedals is here. Nikola Innovation’s patented Zivo technology combines the movements of a skater and cyclist into one smooth motion that provides new efficiency, comfort, and power for the cyclist - a great bike pedal for bad knees. Get the pedal performance, comfort and efficiency you need. Available in chromoly and titanium.
The idea was born while I was rollerblading with friends. After many miles of skating, I recognized the muscle fatigue associated with rollerblading, which felt significantly different, then when biking. This fatigue and leg motion began my interest in understanding body mechanics and how to fully utilize my lower body muscles when riding a bike. As an avid cyclist who loved to ride and compete, I wanted to find a better way to apply and transfer the power of the body into the bike. Realizing the similarities between skating and cycling began the theory for the idea. The hypothesis was if a person can use a broader range of muscles to propel a bike, then they should realize higher speeds, or need less effort to ride with the added muscles. Think of a car that has run out of out of gas and you need to push it. One person will be challenged; it’s much easier with two people; and even easier with three. More people pushing the car requires less effort from each.
HOW IT WORKS
In 1962 General Motors introduced the first production car engine with a turbocharger, “The Cutlas Turbo Jetfire.” This was monumental because they discovered by adding a turbocharger onto an engine, it increases performance with added power and efficiency. A turbocharger increases horsepower allowing the car to accelerate faster. Because the car can now has more power and can move faster, this allows car manufactures to reduce the size of the engines while maintaining the same power of larger engines. A smaller engine size uses less fuel, therefore improves the car’s MPG (miles per gallon). Turbochargers are used in cars, jets, boats and many performance engines.
Nikola pedals do for cycling what turbochargers do for engines. We determined that by adding new muscle groups from our legs, you can increase your power on the bike. We took the motion of a speed skater and integrated it into a bike creating a skating/pedaling motion. The new motion works just like a standard pedal except it uses more of the inner thigh and glute muscles in addition to quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles. This creates additional power because just like the car-out-of-gas example, with more people pushing, we have more muscles working. Because a Nikola pedal has more muscles pushing and pulling, they require less effort just like a turbocharger, which in cycling is measured in joules. Think of joules like MPG. If you have a turbocharged engine you need less gas, if you use Nikola pedals you need less effort.
The sensation experienced when riding the pedal surprises everyone because they are expecting something very different. Our team spent a year studying the motion and created a natural feeling movement unnoticeable to almost all riders. The pedal skates back and forth by the developed technology inside the pedal. The second most surprising realization from riders is that you do not move the pedal side to side because it does it for you.
When your foot is on the pedal and positioned at the lowest point nearest the ground the pedal is at the outermost position away from the bike. Think of skating and your legs extending outward to move forward. As you pedal your leg begins to move inward toward the bike and is closest to the bike at the top 12 o’clock position. The pedal moves circularly and elliptically at the same time.
A GREAT BIKE PEDAL FOR BAD KNEES – AND FOR TRIATHLETES!
The first group to embrace our pedals is triathletes – from elite level riders to new triathlon athletes looking for an advantage. One common thread between all riders is the benefits felt reducing knee, hip, or ankle pain associated with riding. The pedal allows the hip to rotate beyond a standard pedal relieving pressure off of leg joints creating a noticeable difference for many riders. Cyclists with FAI (Femoroacetabular Impingement) are using the pedal post surgery and in therapy using the lateral motion to their advantage.
Performance improvements were seen to benefit male riders more than females. The average improvement for peak power was 7% and efficiency was about 2% and almost 70% of the men improved. Sorry, ladies: we saw only 30% of increased performance in women. The good news is the pressure relief from joints and IT bands was felt by both women and men and appreciated by most riders so there is a comfort benefit regardless of gender. Hip angle plays a part in the male/female differences and research will continue to determine optimizing performance for both genders.
HOW DO WE KNOW THEY WORK
Nikola is made up of a crew of engineers devoted to creating the pedal system. No person on the team is a medical physician or physical therapist so we had to choose the right people who study biomechanics, and kinematics, and human performance to do the testing. We wish to thank the following institutions that developed clinical studies through the IRB process and led countless test spanning five years and over 100 volunteers and patients testing the pedals: Cleveland State University, Alleghany General Hospital, the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Gonzaga University. Tests were designed and conducted by an Orthopedic Surgeon, Professor of Biomechanics and Physics, and world-class athletes validated the hypothesis as true.
The performance tests were conducted over two separate visits for each participant. Each person used road standard pedals one day and lateral pedals another day. This was randomized and undisclosed to each so that they would not know which pedal they were riding first. As many variables were controlled as possible keeping seat height, crank arm length, bike set up, and equipment the same for both tests for each cyclist. Speed, cadence, and even time of day of the tests were kept identical for each participant, maintaining the focus on the pedal performance. Motion studies were conducted to measure leg flexion and extension at the hip, knee, and ankle using EMG systems focusing on patients with FAI.