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Fitting Your Bike Are you confused about how you should fit a bike to your particular body dimensions? Have you been reading, found the terms Merxx or French Fit, and dont know what you need? Every style of riding is different- in how you fit the bike to you, and the sizing of the bike itself. Its more than just measuring your height, reach and inseam. With the help of Bike Fitting, youll be able to find the right fit for your frame size, style of riding, and your particular dimensions. Here ya go..the location for everything fit related.

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Old 11-03-17, 08:28 PM   #1
Lars Halstrom
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SPD Cleat location

I have Lake MX237 size 44 shoes and trying to put my cleats in the right place from the pedal axle. I've marked the location of my first metatarsal joint location on the outside of my shoe. What part of my cleat is measured to determine MTJ distance to pedal axle? The leading edge of the cleat or the center of the bolts? These are Shimano pedals too. It doesn't seem like the ball of my foot can be located ahead of the pedal spindle even though I've read from Steve Hogg it should be about 10mm ahead.
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Old 11-03-17, 09:37 PM   #2
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Lightly attach a cleat to one shoe, clip in, and look at your mark vs. axle. Most folks put it on the axle. Hogg is an outlier. Different things work for different people. Try it on the axle and think about modifying the position after you're riding centuries.
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Old 11-04-17, 07:35 AM   #3
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That's exactly what I thought of that method. He doesn't say what type of riding that is for, but I'm beginning to think it's for racing. Which I have no intention to ever do.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:46 AM   #4
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Some say the cleat should go further back to be more in line with your lower leg. The reasoning being that less energy is lost from the foot flexing to absorb the transitional forces.

But I think in the end, it comes down to what is an individual taste. If you are strictly comfort oriented, then position it where you like.

The spindle is behind the balls of my feet. When my oldest son recently started riding with me, he was constantly complaining about his calf muscles burning. I finally convinced him to move his cleat further back on his shoe just to relieve some of the lever moment his calf muscles had to overcome to keep his feet from flexing too much. He doesn't complain about that anymore.
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Old 11-04-17, 04:14 PM   #5
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I like rearward cleats for mountain biking, especially for challenging, low-cadence climbs of short duration (common in mountain biking). You want diesel-power. Rearward cleats take the demands off the calf muscles, which are predominately slow-twitch muscles. You can also run a lower, more forward saddle position. And many mountain bikers feel its better for barreling downhill (puts you more "in" the bike than "on" the bike). But for spinning? I don't like it.
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Old 11-04-17, 06:33 PM   #6
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... It doesn't seem like the ball of my foot can be located ahead of the pedal spindle even though I've read from Steve Hogg it should be about 10mm ahead.
It's pretty difficult to pedal with a midfoot riding position with current shoe/cleat combinations. About as close as you come last time I looked was with Speedplay cleat-specific Sidi Genius shoes. Even so, depending on your bike you may need to address toe-overlap although it's not much of a concern if you also go to 165 mm cranks... which would be very pro-Hogg.
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Old 11-04-17, 09:33 PM   #7
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One can avoid a lot of calf strain simply by relaxing one's ankles. The other thing on can do, especially starting out, is to do one-legged calf raises on a stair, twice a week, full range of motion, to exhaustion. When you can do 30, you won't get sore calves on the bike no matter where you put your cleats.
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Old 11-05-17, 01:03 PM   #8
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Here is what I moved them to. De-Mystifying the Cycling Shoe/Cleat Position | Pedal PT I found this the best understanding instruction so far. This is pretty near to what I originally had. As soon as the high wind, cold and rain subside in Seattle today, I'll give it a test ride. Thanks for all your advice.
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Old 11-07-17, 09:25 PM   #9
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Here is what I moved them to. De-Mystifying the Cycling Shoe/Cleat Position | Pedal PT I found this the best understanding instruction so far. This is pretty near to what I originally had. As soon as the high wind, cold and rain subside in Seattle today, I'll give it a test ride. Thanks for all your advice.
Good post. While riding my rollers this evening I took a look at my pedal axle position. Yup, exactly as recommended in your link, but in my case established not be measurement, but by experimenting to find the most powerful position for long distance riding.
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Old 11-13-17, 11:36 AM   #10
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From the linked article:

"It’s no surprise that the ball of your foot provides the best lever arm for the calf muscles to propel our bodies with walking or running, and so it also serves as the optimal placement to have our foot on the pedal."

Now for 'pedal', try substituting:

ski; ice skate; swim fin; skate board; in line skate; wind surfer; snow board; rowing shell.

Amazing how much technicality can come out of a questionable assumption.
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Old 11-13-17, 01:29 PM   #11
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From the linked article:

"Its no surprise that the ball of your foot provides the best lever arm for the calf muscles to propel our bodies with walking or running, and so it also serves as the optimal placement to have our foot on the pedal."

Now for 'pedal', try substituting:

ski; ice skate; swim fin; skate board; in line skate; wind surfer; snow board; rowing shell.

Amazing how much technicality can come out of a questionable assumption.
???? What questionable assumption? What does any of that mean? Every sport is different. Alpine skiing, the couple generated to put pressure on the forebody of the ski is between the ball of the foot and the cuff of the boot. We put pressure on the tails by sitting back and pulling up on the forefoot with our shin muscles. None of that exists on the bike. However XC skiing, the kick is delivered entirely by the ball of the foot, same with running, though many land on their heels. Squatting, the force is on the heel, the ball is just for balance. Etc.
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Old 11-13-17, 02:14 PM   #12
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???? What questionable assumption? What does any of that mean?
Sounds like you disagree with Woodcraft.

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Every sport is different. Alpine skiing, the couple generated to put pressure on the forebody of the ski is between the ball of the foot and the cuff of the boot. We put pressure on the tails by sitting back and pulling up on the forefoot with our shin muscles. None of that exists on the bike. However XC skiing, the kick is delivered entirely by the ball of the foot, same with running, though many land on their heels. Squatting, the force is on the heel, the ball is just for balance. Etc.
Now it sounds like you like agree with Woodcraft.

Here's another questionable assumption from the article:
Well, lets get a few things straight. Regardless of what type of bicycling you do, or what type of shoes worn, there exists an optimal place to put your foot on the pedal to promote efficient transferal of energy from the hips and legs. We can all agree on that.
Gee, glad that's settled!

Phrases like "Well, let's get a few things straight" and "we can all agree on that" make my B.S. sensor go off. Meanwhile, the article contains zero data.

The article is helpful as to how to achieve "standard" cleat placement but is a failure in arguing the superiority of that placement. It should limit itself to the former.
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Old 11-13-17, 02:22 PM   #13
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???? What questionable assumption? What does any of that mean? Every sport is different. Alpine skiing, the couple generated to put pressure on the forebody of the ski is between the ball of the foot and the cuff of the boot. We put pressure on the tails by sitting back and pulling up on the forefoot with our shin muscles. None of that exists on the bike. However XC skiing, the kick is delivered entirely by the ball of the foot, same with running, though many land on their heels. Squatting, the force is on the heel, the ball is just for balance. Etc.

The questionable assumption is that what is optimal for walking or running is optimal for cycling.

As you say, every sport is different.
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Old 11-13-17, 03:00 PM   #14
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I have experimented with a bunch of different cleat positions and what works best for me is "as far back as they will go"
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Old 11-20-17, 04:03 PM   #15
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The questionable assumption is that what is optimal for walking or running is optimal for cycling.

As you say, every sport is different.

Ayup, and "questionable" is understating the case. It's simplistic horse****. As noted, it does get you to a workable starting point, but feel free to vary substantially.

I've experimented on myself quite a bit and landed on the same page with Kingston. I use mtb clipless pedals on my road bike, setup the cleat on the rear mounting point, and slide it back as far as it will go without causing excessive toe overlap for the riding I'm doing. That doesn't mean that it will work for everyone, but if you don't have an established preference, I'd start with a rearward biased cleat position. The biomechanics in favor of rearward mounted cleats for all but the sprinty disciplines is sound. If you are disinclined to believe someone who uses SPD cleats (and I won't hold that against you - they are less efficient), Steve Hogg and Joel Friel know their stuff and explain it better than I could.
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Old 11-20-17, 07:36 PM   #16
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Ayup, and "questionable" is understating the case. It's simplistic horse****. As noted, it does get you to a workable starting point, but feel free to vary substantially.

I've experimented on myself quite a bit and landed on the same page with Kingston. I use mtb clipless pedals on my road bike, setup the cleat on the rear mounting point, and slide it back as far as it will go without causing excessive toe overlap for the riding I'm doing. That doesn't mean that it will work for everyone, but if you don't have an established preference, I'd start with a rearward biased cleat position. The biomechanics in favor of rearward mounted cleats for all but the sprinty disciplines is sound. If you are disinclined to believe someone who uses SPD cleats (and I won't hold that against you - they are less efficient), Steve Hogg and Joel Friel know their stuff and explain it better than I could.

I also have cleats as far back as they will go, even at the cost of substantial toe overlap

on the main road bike.
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Old 11-21-17, 05:05 PM   #17
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I have experimented with a bunch of different cleat positions and what works best for me is "as far back as they will go"
Playing with this now with my new pedals and cleats for the first time. I seem to like it between the pedal spindle and max forward (back?) which in my case is not too far from the max. Feels a bit different but haven't decided to push it all the way forward just yet. Time will tell...
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Old 11-26-17, 10:44 AM   #18
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Mid-foot?

Somewhere I read that the favored cleat position for riders in the 3K Race Across America generally is mid-sole.
  • That is "as far back as it can go" (as several said) in most cycling shoes.
  • RAM riders modify lots of stuff, so I'm sure they would modify the adjustment range on their shoes.
One of my knees doesn't bend fully (TKR) and I use "as far back as possible" to limit the angle as much as possible.
  • It measures 120 but that uses the hip joint. Sliding forward when sitting, I can only get my knee cap (front) slightly beyond the ball of my foot.
  • The slight change in cleat position makes a dramatic difference - before I could only clip in after I'd ridden a mile, and then it was painful. (I also have my seat as high as possible).
  • Performance Effect: I haven't really noticed much difference, although my attention deficit makes that hard. The data didn't show significant changes in average speed, cadence, or heart rate.
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Old 12-06-17, 12:13 AM   #19
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Start with your cleat outboard and far back as possible. As stated by others. That's a great starting point. It eliminates most hot foot to clete hot spots and keeps your q factor narrowest.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:09 AM   #20
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Start with your cleat outboard and far back as possible. As stated by others. That's a great starting point. It eliminates most hot foot to clete hot spots and keeps your q factor narrowest.
I position mine so the shoe is as close as possible to the crank-arm without ever touching it.
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