Question: How strictly should I interpret the need to achieve a “neutral knee position” as per bike fit guidelines? — Paul P.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Neutral knee position means that a plumb line dropped from the front of the forward kneecap when the crankarms are horizontal will touch the end of the crankarm.
Most riders are comfortable in this position, and there’s some evidence that riders will unconsciously move to achieve it. For example, if the saddle is too far to the rear, they’ll find themselves sitting on the tip even though it’s uncomfortable.
However, the knee-over-pedal position is highly individual. Quite a few riders feel more comfortable and efficient with a their knees slightly behind or ahead of neutral.
As long as you’re within about a centimeter of the neutral position, you won’t go wrong by letting your body’s feelings guide you.