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Easy way to adjust cleats?

Old 10-19-17, 04:38 PM
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RockiesDad
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Easy way to adjust cleats?

Newbie clipless pedal user here... So about half an hour of practicing to clip and unclip, I noticed that one of my knees started to hurt a bit. I figured out that I like my feet to have my toes pointed slightly outwards while pedaling. I then stopped to adjust my cleats. So I take my shoe off, loossen and adjust the cleat, put shoe back on and then do the same thing on the other shoe only to find out I went too far and had to do this whole routine over and over again till I get it right. So about another half hour later, I'm still not completely happy.

So my question, is there an easier way to fine tune cleat placement without having to go through this whole take off shoe/adjust with foot still in shoe? I'm currently using Shimano SPD pedals. Do other brands have this same problem where the cleats needs to be micro adjusted?
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Old 10-19-17, 06:05 PM
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It is easier if you have a friend watch you ride on a trainer or follow behind you on the road so your friend can look for wobbles in your knees or ankles as you ride. Then adjust your cleats to resolve the wobbles. You may still have to adjust your cleats a few times, but it is much quicker with feedback from another person, especially if the other person knows what they are doing.
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Old 10-19-17, 06:25 PM
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Interesting--I didn't think someone else would be able to see what's going on. To the OP--make small changes! And maybe ride a trail with lots of benches and your tool or just go around your block.
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Old 10-20-17, 07:45 AM
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You can buy pedals and cleats that allow for some "float", so that you can "micro-adjust" by just repositioning your foot. Reduce the tension on the pedals to the minimum setting, until you get it all dialed in.

If tiny adjustments to your cleats are causing, or relieving, knee pain, you may want to visit your doctor to make sure you don't have a knee problem that is just being exacerbated by cycling. A hundredth of a degree change in foot position shouldn't make enough difference to cause pain.
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Old 10-20-17, 07:55 AM
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To amplify what @kevindsingleton said .... when you change to clipless shoes and pedals, you are changing a lot. Your effective saddle-to-pedal length changes, depending on the stack of the pedal and the thickness of the shoe sole.

If you are feeling that much pain over a millimeter of change, possibly something else needs adjustment.

I have had to move the saddle on every bike a changed to clipless ... and different amounts for Time, and SPD and SPD-SL.

Otherwise ... I go through the same process. Install, adjust, test, adjust, test .... sure, I can guess a little better after having done it a few times, but ... did you get your saddle perfectly adjusted up-and-down, angled, and fore-and-aft on your first try?
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Old 10-20-17, 09:05 AM
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What are cleats?
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Old 10-20-17, 11:01 AM
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Clipless here since '2001. SPD type on all shoes.
There's no easy way with the first set of cleats. You go through the motions until you find your sweet spot, around which the "float" of your pedal system would hover to ensure relative leg joint comfort.
However, very easy for replacements if you use pieces of masking tape on the shoe marking precisely the old cleat positioning.
Unless you want to change things again....
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Old 10-20-17, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jtnkkm View Post
What are cleats?


The part that attaches to the shoe, and locks the shoe to the pedal. They should come with the pedals.
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Old 10-20-17, 11:27 AM
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You are in the SF Bay and used to paying a lot just to live there,
somewhere by now, there has to be a place that has a sports Orthopedist
and they offer their high end bike fitting clinic for the IT elites that now dominate the economy there.


I got away from there almost 3 decades ago.. moved to a ramshackle fishing town ..





....
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Old 10-20-17, 11:35 AM
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Just Shopping for things? Speedplay Frog is a very floaty SPD compatible system ..

some shoe modifications may be able to improve release, as it is angle of foot dependant..

Wide soles are a problem... if your bike shop orders them from the company they have longer pedal axles available

if you order on line, you just get what the other guy in that place, got a case sized box of..





.....
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Old 10-20-17, 11:50 AM
  #11  
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The problem may be that you have your toes pointed slightly outward. This will cause your knees to also be slightly pointed outward during the pedal stroke, which leads to inefficiency while pedaling. And that can be the reason for the pain. Take some time and look at the mechanics of a pedal stroke and you'll see why having the knees pointed outward can be more of a detriment than an advantage.
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Old 10-20-17, 03:55 PM
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I recently ran into exactly the same problem.

For me, I have Shimano M520's + cleats (SPD). All works well when using that combo. But when using the cleats on some Wellgo's, I didn't have any float at all any more. Could never find a spot for both feet that worked without knee pain. In the end, I ditched the wellgo's and will go back to m520's as I have enough float with them.
In my case, that likely was caused by an incompatibility between cleats and pedals resulting in 0 float.
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Old 10-20-17, 05:12 PM
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Really simple. Adjust cleat so that it is still slightly loose and you can move your shoe relative to the cleat when the shoe is clipped in.

So go ahead and clip-in and adjust the shoe where you want it. Fore-and-aft and sideways. Then, take your foot out of the shoe and leave the shoe in the pedal. Now flip the pedal over and depending on the system, you can tighten it down right there. If not, then just take a sharpie and Trace the cleat on the shoe, remove the shoe from the pedal and align the cleat with the Sharpie marks and tighten down the cleat
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Old 10-20-17, 08:32 PM
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Might not help here, but rollers are handy for fit adjustments-

easy to ride for a bit, adjust, ride for a bit,

& see yourself in a mirror.
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Old 10-20-17, 08:46 PM
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You don't specify what type of clipless system you're trying to adjust. Each system has its own level of adjustability and different ways to implement it. 2 bolt cleats are less adjusatable than 3 bolt and 4 bolts are an even different beast. Without this information, all you're going to get here is generalized advice that may or not be relevant to your situation. So how about some more information? Additionally as you stand with a relaxed stance, where do your toes point? The closer you can replicate your body's natural stance, the less stress you will cause which in turn means less (preferably none) pain.
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Old 10-22-17, 10:07 PM
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Just figure out that the float does work. I did manage to continue to adjust my cleat till I felt it comfortable and will practice a bit more. Will try to ride a little longer to see if my knee hurts after my ride.
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Old 10-22-17, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
Really simple. Adjust cleat so that it is still slightly loose and you can move your shoe relative to the cleat when the shoe is clipped in.

So go ahead and clip-in and adjust the shoe where you want it. Fore-and-aft and sideways. Then, take your foot out of the shoe and leave the shoe in the pedal. Now flip the pedal over and depending on the system, you can tighten it down right there. If not, then just take a sharpie and Trace the cleat on the shoe, remove the shoe from the pedal and align the cleat with the Sharpie marks and tighten down the cleat
I would only try this on a stationary trainer, because with a loose cleat you may not be able to unclip your foot from the pedal, and it can cause a clipless pedal tipover fall.
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Old 10-23-17, 06:56 AM
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I like my cleats rearward on the shoe so my foot is more centered on the pedal. That is - not pedaling from my toes. Does the 2 bolt system adjust fore&aft??? I'm still on the original Look system with float.
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Old 10-23-17, 08:03 AM
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This may help:
Cleats explained: How to set them up correctly

I have an old knee injury. If my cleats aren't set up correctly, I'll know about it within a mile or so. I followed the procedures in the video (I made the adjustment setting tool out of a piece of foamboard from the Dollar Store) and my knee hasn't bothered me at all.
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Old 10-23-17, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by RockiesDad View Post
Newbie clipless pedal user here... So about half an hour of practicing to clip and unclip, I noticed that one of my knees started to hurt a bit. I figured out that I like my feet to have my toes pointed slightly outwards while pedaling. I then stopped to adjust my cleats. So I take my shoe off, loossen and adjust the cleat, put shoe back on and then do the same thing on the other shoe only to find out I went too far and had to do this whole routine over and over again till I get it right. So about another half hour later, I'm still not completely happy.

So my question, is there an easier way to fine tune cleat placement without having to go through this whole take off shoe/adjust with foot still in shoe? I'm currently using Shimano SPD pedals. Do other brands have this same problem where the cleats needs to be micro adjusted?
If you're comfortable with your foot pointed out, you need to have your cleats pointed in a bit to balance that. Also you have to think a bit about pedal tension. Too tight, and it takes extra effort to release. But too loose, and you have to swing your heel out farther before it releases. So if the force required to release is straining your knee, you might loosen the pedal tension a bit. If the angle of release is the problem, you can either tighten the pedal tension, or toe the cleat in a bit more (ie. more towards the big toe).
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Old 10-23-17, 08:15 AM
  #21  
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I'll second what a pain in the *** adjusting clipless cleats is. Once I get it right on a pair of shoes, I never take the last cleat off before taping around it for a reference for the new. But contrast, the old slotted cleats for toecips, combined with modern shoes, are so easy to dial in. Mount the cleats but don't tighten fully. Mount bike and twist for until the cleat is right. Lift your foot out and tighten. Non of this having to tighten the cleat just to be able to get your foot in and out to see if it is right.

I know most folk worry about the toe-in/out setting far less than I do and just figure the float takes care of it. I need a setting that forces my feet into more toe-in than they take naturally. For that reason, I don't ride cleats and pedals with float. For me, that setting is more important than seat height. Yes seat height is "that" important, but getting it wrong won't send me in for life-changing surgery.

Edit: the LOOK standard 3-bolt pattern is far easier to deal with than the Shimano 2-bolt pattern, especially for clip-less pedals. More bolts + greaterr distance between bolts means the bolt need to be much less tight to keep the cleat frm moving as you engage/disengage.

Second edit: With some clipless pedals, you can access the cleat bolts through the pedal so you can ride until the cleat is right with semi-tight bolts, unstrap and lft your foot out, then fully tighten (at least enough to ge the shoe out) from the bottom. I suspect that in general , the 3-bolt patterns work better here.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 10-23-17 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 10-23-17, 08:22 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Yes seat height is "that" important, but getting it wrong won't send me in for life-changing surgery.

Ben
Bad seat height can also injure your knees.
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Old 10-23-17, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Bad seat height can also injure your knees.
I was not making a general statement. Foot angle makes a much bigger difference for my knees than being quite far off in seat height.

Ben
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Old 10-25-17, 05:59 AM
  #24  
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I followed the guidelines you'll find online (many mentioned here) and felt fine for years. I bought a new bike and it came with a real (not just bike mechanic eyeballing me sitting on the bike) fitting session - and the fitter started with my feet and cleat setup. He ended up moving the cleats (SPD-SL) all the way back in my shoes, significant change. He also raised my seat a good amount.

It could be psychological, but the combination resulted in me feeling a lot better after long and/or hilly rides. I replicated the setup on my old bike - improved there, so it isn't just the new bike.

I don't know prices in your area, but probably $100 will get you a simple fitting session including cleats. I found it worth the price (well, mine was free but it was worth $100!).
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