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Weird first impressions from SPD pedals+shoes

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Weird first impressions from SPD pedals+shoes

Old 09-21-16, 03:45 PM
  #1  
agenkin
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Weird first impressions from SPD pedals+shoes

I've decided to try SPD pedals and shoes. Before that I used platform pedals with YNOT straps. My first impressions are interesting.

Overall, being clipped in feels nice - it's like a mental load taken off not having to worry about foot positioning, except that I never knew that this was a problem.

One issue I have is that although I've checked and double-checked that both cleats are installed symmetrically, my left foot is comfortable, and the right foot feels like it sits too far back. I tried measuring the distance from the heel to the ball of my feet, and even though my right foot is slightly larger, there is no appreciable difference in that measurement.

I tried moving the cleat on the right shoe 1/8" back, but I still feel this discomfort.

I'm wondering whether this could be a psychological effect - perhaps I am used to positioning my feet wrong with my previous platform pedals, and now a "correct" positioning feels weird.

I'm resisting the idea to move the cleat even more back, because I think that this would put the foot too much forward relative to the pedal axle.

I have a long ride coming up this weekend, wondering whether I should try and tough it out with a symmetric cleat placement, hoping that I would get used to it, or whether I should cave in and do what "feels" right. What would you do?
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Old 09-21-16, 04:27 PM
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Your self-diagnosis sounds right, that you never had your feet in symmetrical positions. The straps you used allowed that asymmetry.

I once experienced knee pain I attributed to using too-small toe clips, putting the ball of the foot too far back on the pedal. I switched to larger toe clips and the problem went away. So I'd be wary of any change in position at this point. Go slowly and carefully, maybe use your old system for the long ride and switch back for shorter rides until you gain confidence in the new position.

There's probably no such thing as the perfectly symmetrical human being. Ask any chiropractor. Good luck find the right adjustment.
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Old 09-21-16, 04:33 PM
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I've been helping people with fitting their bikes for years, but I've been out of the industry for a while. I just had my cleats installed at a bike shop, and I realize they really know what they're doing. I recommend this.
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Old 09-21-16, 04:43 PM
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You might also want to get measured for leg length differences.
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Old 09-21-16, 05:32 PM
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I read somewhere that you can have "hot" foot problems if your cleat is too far forward. I never had problems, but after reading that I moved my cleats back (putting my foot further forward) about a quarter inch and have been quite comfortable with that position.

When you go on your long ride, make sure you bring your wrench for your cleats along in case you want to move things around. You might also find that you want to move the saddle up or down or more forward or aft or make other changes with your new setup too.

In a couple weeks, check your cleat bolts to see if they need tightening, new ones usually do as the shoe sole conforms to the shape of the cleat. And check it again in a few months.

Many people crash soon after using clipless shoes and pedals, they forget how to uncleat and come up to a stop light or stop for some other reason they want to stop, and ... ... ooooops. Practice getting your foot out a few times every time you go for a ride until uncleating becomes second nature.
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Old 09-21-16, 05:36 PM
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We can also be slew footed or pigeon toed or both. This also affects cleat position. Don't force you foot into an unnatural position.
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Old 09-21-16, 06:14 PM
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I've pretty much stopped using clipless, but I was never able to feel comfortable with both feet "perfectly" aligned over long distances. My left foot feels way better if the toes are pointing out a bit.
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Old 09-21-16, 06:36 PM
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My opinion is to throw away the tape measure, and just go by feel. Don't worry how they appear on the bottom of the shoe as to symmetry or what "looks correct", move each cleat until you feel each foot (one at a time) is sitting comfortably over the pedal. Once set the way you like, they're often good for years, or in my frugal case, decades.
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Old 09-21-16, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by agenkin View Post
...I'm wondering whether this could be a psychological effect - perhaps I am used to positioning my feet wrong with my previous platform pedals, and now a "correct" positioning feels weird....
who say's it's "wrong"? bodies are not perfectly symmetrical.

make the bike and gear fit you, not the other ways around.
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Old 09-21-16, 09:34 PM
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agenkin
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
who say's it's "wrong"? bodies are not perfectly symmetrical.

make the bike and gear fit you, not the other ways around.
My reasoning is that just because I'm used to something does not necessarily mean that it's "natural" for my body.
But you guys got me thinking.
I rode my second bike today, which still has platform pedals, and observed my feet while I rode it. I'm pretty sure that I normally put my right foot noticeably more forward than the left one. Maybe it *is* natural for me. Hmm...
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Old 09-22-16, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by agenkin View Post
My reasoning is that just because I'm used to something does not necessarily mean that it's "natural" for my body.
But you guys got me thinking.
I rode my second bike today, which still has platform pedals, and observed my feet while I rode it. I'm pretty sure that I normally put my right foot noticeably more forward than the left one. Maybe it *is* natural for me. Hmm...
Do what works best for you. My saddle is not perfectly oriented, it is rotated a couple degrees to the left but that is the way that it feels best for me.
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Old 09-22-16, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
My opinion is to throw away the tape measure, and just go by feel. Don't worry how they appear on the bottom of the shoe as to symmetry or what "looks correct", move each cleat until you feel each foot (one at a time) is sitting comfortably over the pedal. Once set the way you like, they're often good for years, or in my frugal case, decades.
I very much agree with this, back in 91 I think I paid to get my then new spd pedals sorted, along with a fit thingee. One of my knees , feet, turns outwards naturally, so since then, one of my cleats is askew and my knee feels "right"

I always say to folks new to cleats to LISTEN TO YOUR KNEES re cleat position, I know its new, but really do go my feel and what feels right. If you are unsure, get proper help, and dont "tough it out" for crying out loud, you could frack up your knee, especially if its a long ride, and you dont ride much and you push push push.

good luck, but just rmember, and uneven cleat postion from foot to foot is not uncommon.
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Old 09-22-16, 08:26 PM
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Thanks for your input, everyone. So this is what it looks now - the right foot feels happy now, after I pushed the cleat all the way to the back.
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Old 09-23-16, 03:47 AM
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As mentioned, check the tightness of the bolts now and again.

And do stay attentive as you ride more to the cleat placement.
Such a far back setting makes me wonder about your leg lengths maybe being different, connected to seat height and perhaps that one leg is longer than the other, so you move your foot forward on the pedal to get more extension on the downstroke. {Seat height is set for a shorter leg)

Just an idea, without seeing it's hard to know, but fore and aft cleat position I is a hint here
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Old 09-23-16, 04:28 AM
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My cleats arent exactly lined up. I didnt intend for it to be that way, i installed them that way but its actually worked out well.


Good job on figuring it out!
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Old 09-23-16, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by agenkin View Post
Thanks for your input, everyone. So this is what it looks now - the right foot feels happy now, after I pushed the cleat all the way to the back.
Thanks for baring your sole(s)
My cleat placement looks very similar being asymmetric but it has worked well for many many years.
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Old 09-24-16, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by agenkin View Post
Thanks for your input, everyone. So this is what it looks now - the right foot feels happy now, after I pushed the cleat all the way to the back.
If your using the same shoes I think your wearing prepare to invest in some shoe glue in the future to repair the shoes. These shoes are prone to falling apart as the glue fails Shimano MT41 IIRC... Super comfy shoes though and fantastic to walk in.
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Old 09-24-16, 11:30 PM
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I have my cleats the same distance for and aft but ride with very different toe-ins. Left foot almost straight, ahair of toe in. Right foot has a lot with knob behind my big toe almost rubbing on the crank and my heel probably an inch and a half off. Setting the cleats close to the same would be signing mh self up for knee replacements or saying good-by to riding. I've been doing this for almost 40 years.

Ben
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