Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 61–70 | Cite as

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

  • Jonathan Sinclair
  • Philip Stainton
  • Benjamin Sant
Original Article



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.


Biomechanics Cycling Chainring Patellofemoral Pathology 



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.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

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

Informed consent

All of the subjects provided written consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Health and WellbeingUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUK

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