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The effects of conventional and oval chainrings on patellofemoral loading during road cycling: an exploration using musculoskeletal simulation



The aim of the current investigation was to utilize a musculoskeletal simulation approach to resolve muscle forces during the pedal cycle, to specifically examine the effects of chainring geometry on patellofemoral loading during cycling.


15 healthy male recreational cyclists rode a stationary cycle ergometer at a fixed cadence of 70 RPM in two chainring conditions (round and oval). Patellofemoral loading was explored using a musculoskeletal simulation and mathematical modeling approach. Differences between chainring conditions across the entire pedal cycle were examined using one-dimensional statistical parametric mapping, and patellofemoral force experienced per 20 km was explored using a paired samples t test.


No significant (P > 0.05) differences in patellofemoral force or stress were found throughout the pedal cycle between chainring conditions. It was also shown that no significant (P > 0.05) differences in patellofemoral force per 20-km joint were evident (round 38,576.40 N/kg s and oval = 35,637.00 N/kg s).


The current analysis found no effects of chainring geometry, on the forces experienced by the patellofemoral joint during the pedal cycle.

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We thank Gareth Shadwell for his technical assistance. We thank Todd Pataky, Mark Robinson and Jos Vanrenterghem for their website ( and for generously providing the source code for this experiment.

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Correspondence to Jonathan Sinclair.

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We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and the declaration of Helsinki.

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Sinclair, J., Stainton, P. & Sant, B. The effects of conventional and oval chainrings on patellofemoral loading during road cycling: an exploration using musculoskeletal simulation. Sport Sci Health 14, 61–70 (2018).

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  • Biomechanics
  • Cycling
  • Chainring
  • Patellofemoral
  • Pathology