Bike Pedals - Can you lose power with lateral motion?
Do you lose power with lateral moving pedals?
One question that I love to answer when customers ask is about power. Seeing the bike pedals move side to side for the first time can cause a person to pause. The common comment or question is do the pedals move side to side move by themselves, or do I need to move them. (see video how pedal move side to side here). “Wouldn’t the side motion take more energy and lose power?”
That was the same question that I asked myself when the first prototype was made. The fact is, I had no idea if it worked. The theory of using more muscles while biking should create more power was sound concept, but I did not know if it was true. I also knew that there are other companies like Time that use a lateral motion to provide benefits but not to the extent we did and nowhere near the amount of research we conducted. The only way to test the theory was capture data comparing traditional bicycle pedals to a lateral moving pedals.
How do you conduct a clinical study for bike pedals?
I needed to know the answer just as much as for myself as for customers. This was one of the most pivotal moments in deciding to go forward with the idea or not. I was not going to waste time or money if the answer was there is no benefit to the lateral bike pedals . So the next steps was figuring out where to capture data in a scientific unbiased method.
Finding an institution that tests bike components was not a simple feat. Like many, I’ve never participated in a clinical research project, so I began researching how to conduct research. The first find was a facility in Boulder who had both the needed equipment and staff to run the study. They touted current and past works with large major shoe brands as well as bike companies developing studies for product development which was appealing. The problem was it was in Denver and I lived in Cleveland. Travel cost alone for back and forth trips over the course of a year or two was going to be costly and time consuming.
As luck would have it, I started talking with a Cleveland based protype developer who had also previous work with a Human Performance Lab associated with Cleveland State University. When I met Dr. Ken Sparks who runs the lab, he looked at the list of proposed tests the lab in Boulder was suggesting.
The one way conversation went something like this:
Lactic Acid Production tests… we do that here
Anaerobic capacity test… we do that here
Anerobic fatigue test… we do that here
Peak power tests… we do that here
Wingate tests….we do that here
…Now why would go to Colorado to do these tests when we can do all of them right here?
Pedal Study Results are Positive!
Needless to say I was over the moon with excitement now that we had a credible resource in our backyard. What I did now know is that is to complete these tests under the rules of an IRB (Independent Review Board), would take over a year. If I wanted the data and validation to move forward, I would have to be patient and keep my day job.
The test was conducted with 52 cyclists with a good mix of male and female, experienced cyclists and novice riders, from 4’ 10” to 6’ 6” and everything in-between. After several logistics challenges and months of research, we had what we need. (If you wish to read a summary of the study, then click here to download a copy)
Like most clinical studies and research , we had just as many new questions come up as answers that came from the studies. This is why we have completed 3 clinical studies to date and planning for our next research project. I’ll provide a new blog on the topic of bike pedal studies after our next research project is underway.
If you are interested in participating in our next study, or have ideas on research you would like to see completed, then please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts.