Cleats: The Verdict!

Just tested the shoes on the road (well the empty trading estate next to where I live) and they are brilliant! Didn’t even fall off (apologies to the bloke waiting with a video camera – where did he get that idea?). I can’t say for definite whether they have been set up correctly (see earlier post) but they feel good. I feel part of the bike which is strange. There was quite a bit of movement once the [I really do wish I had the vocabulary to talk about these things with some precision]… cleat (?) is clipped into the pedal – it’s not rigidly fixed into the pedal at all. This makes sense as your feet do move while completing the circle. Unclippingย (the bit where you fall off!) was not too difficult; think of what Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz with her red shoes – that’s what I had to do. I presume this is the correct technique; moving the heel inward rather than outward. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Clipping the mechanism into the pedal itself was not too difficult; it is akin to docking a, err…. something that needs to be docked (think Space Shuttle into the International Space Station on a very small scale). It wasn’t necessary to fumble around trying to find the correct place to put the shoe, it seemed to naturally aline itself. Very, very happy; aย sentiment that guarantees that tomorrow morning while I cycle to work I will, at some point fall off….

Categories: Cycling

4 replies »

  1. Most folk normally clip out by swivling the foot out away from the bike cause of more space but it works both ways. The screw to change the tension makes it easier or harder to force the cleat out the pedal. Start off slack and tighten as you get used to it. To start locate the cleat on the shoe try and have it centre of shoe, run a ruler toe to heel as a guide then locate it on the other axis in line with where the ball of your foot is. Some cleats have float and some do not. The degree of float varies. A little float is more comfortable to allow some swivel when clipped in without clicking out. I’ve never used non float but think it would be less comfortable and more designed for racing. I’ve never pulled my foot out a pedal but have given it enough welly to lift the rear of the bike up with pulling hard on the up stroke to get away quick at a roundabout and they still held tight.

  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of cleats.

    I usualy twist heel out and find I am predomenently right footed out first (which has saved me falling gracefully into the oncoming traffic once or twice) Conversly I am left foot in first.
    Setting them up well is important and should be done by small degrees over some time.
    I got knee problems on big rides at first but I am a bit duck footed so had to adjust them to suit. and then I got achillies problems. they needed moving back a bit in the shoe. Now they are sweet.
    The movement you describe is called “float” and stops your knees getting too sore by allowing twist as you peddle (early cleats did not and injuries occured)
    You probably have the tension screw set to low and in time you may want to tighten this.
    I broke my wrist whilst giving it the beans and my foot popped out of the pedal at the top of the stroke (not enough tension)— not pretty.
    This is a good start to positioning, there are many nore sites for further adjustment but the golden rule is as soon as you reach comfort, stop adjusting!!
    Happy peddling.

    • Right on, Jim!

      I also usually twist out.

      I also walk a bit duckfooted and had to adjust them out to suit.

      One other (important!) thing. I find it very difficult to twist out of my pedals at the *bottom* of the stroke (when my leg is almost straight). I didn’t realize this for the first month or so (perhaps I’m a bit slow…), but it usually wasn’t a problem. At stops, I got into the habit of unclipping the left, leaving the right clipped in, slowing down and stepping off the bike to the left (right foot down at the bottom of the stroke…). The problem came when I had to step off to the right for some reason (a big truck blocking the lane, strong wind, whatever). I couldn’t twist out of the pedal and fell over! Three or four times! Finally I figured it out and now think ahead of time about which way I want to step off and unclip that side. If I’m unsure, or if I’m on rough terrain (mud, especially) where I might have to dismount quickly or get stuck and hopefully not fall over, I just unclip both sides ahead of time.

      That said, all that trouble is *totally* worth it. I haven’t been using my cleats on this trip – sent them home ahead of me – because they conduct cold up into one’s feet, and I’ve been riding in some pretty cold weather. Oh, MAN, do I miss the efficiency/power/stability/feelng they provide!

What do you think?