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Make Sure Pedals are Symmetric!

The new bike fit has given my body some grief (knee) simply because my body was twisted oddly from the old fit; it’s taking some time to retrain my body to be symmetric on the bike.

It turns out that the Cannondale Hollowgram SRM crankset was 6mm skewed to one side for 10,000 miles due to the way it mounts in a PressFit 30 BB (or whatever), which caused my body to develop a hip/knee twist thing that I am now trying to 'unwind' in the new symmetric pedal offset position. The body is good at long adaptation to insults. And not so good at unlearning them, especially if one drives power and endurance gain through legs asking “what the heck is going on here”. Hence my knee irritation.

My unconfirmed information is that the latest Cannondale Hollowgram model does not have this asymmetry knee-ache problem, but I don’t know that for a fact.

I don’t quite understand if the 6mm asymmetry was due to the crankset itself, the SRM modification or the PressFit 30 adapter or all of the above. But now that both Chris King and Shimano are releasing PressFit 30 adapters for a DuraAce crankset, I’d rather sell the Hollowgram SRM crankset (FOR SALE) and get a 2013 DuraAce crankset. To this day, nothing shifts or lasts like DuraAce. I wore out the FSA chainrings and am currently running new Praxis rings. DuraAce does not wear out like that and it shifts better too.

To unf*ck the crankset asymmetry, I am actually riding with a Shimano DuraAce long-spindle left pedal and regular (short) spindle right pedal to compensate for the 6mm crankset, along with a small cleat offset on the left. This yields pedal symmetry left/right to within 0.5mm now. My knees are tracking visibly better.

My advice: never, ever install an asymmetric crankset, or at least adjust the cleats or pedals to compensate. Forcing hips and knees to deal with an asymmetric pedal position is a serious long-term concern for generating problems. I think I vaguely recall my LBS noting the asymmetry, but the significance was not explained to me. Knowing what I know now, I say avoid it like the plague.

You can check asymmetry by measuring to the same point on each pedal from a center point on the seat tube.

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