If you are making the leap from standard pedals (where you just use ‘normal’ shoes) over to clipless pedals and cycling-specific shoes, then it is important that you get to know how to set your cleat position. Likewise, it can be a frustrating experience if you’re replacing old cleats with new ones if you can’t place your new cleats in the same position. Thinking of changing pedal brands? No problem, there is an easy way to seamlessly transfer your old cleat position to the new cleat shape you are replacing.
Regardless of the pedal you are using, there is a knack to getting your cleat position right so that you can minimise the risk of potential knee problems and ultimately avoid an uncomfortable ride. Before you start below, you will need a sharp pencil and electrical tape.
If you’re new to cycling cleats:
TIP: Make sure you are sitting down and not standing when setting your cleat position.
Step 1: Put your cycling shoe on and fasten it.
Step 2: Find your big toe joint (where the ball of your foot is).
Step 3: Place a piece of electrical tape on the outside of your shoe near your big toe joint.
Step 4: Mark the electrical tape where the centre of your big toe joint is (feel for the ‘bump’ on the side of your toe joint).
Step 5: Make a vertical line directly down from your marker point to the sole of the shoe.
Step 6: Take off the shoe.
Step 7: Locate the centre point of your cleat (most brands indicate the centre by a small line on the side of the cleat) .
Step 8: Using the marker point from step 5, place the cleat and fasten lightly using bolts provided.
Step 9: Match up the centre of the cleat from step 7 with the marker point from step 5 and fasten lightly to prevent movement with your hand. Start with the cleat positioned straight on the shoe.
Step 10: Complete steps 1-9 for the second shoe.
Step 11: Put the shoes on and get on your bike (recommended in a stationary trainer).
Step 12: Pedal lightly, taking note of what your knees and feet do. If you feel like you are fighting the pedal and your feet want to point out, then adjust the angle of the cleat by pointing inward slightly. Do very small increments at a time. Repeat step 11 and 12 until it feels natural.
Note: Make sure the centre of the cleat and the marker you have made in Step 5 are always meeting each other, regardless of cleat angle.
If you’re replacing an old cleat with a new one:
Old and worn out cleats can result in excess movement and may contribute to injury risk. Replace your cleat as soon as you notice signs of excess movement. Get yourself a sharp pencil.
Step 1: Before you take off your old cleat and replace it with a new one, make sure you trace around the old cleat with your pencil (assuming this is comfortable position – otherwise, have a look at the steps listed above to start from scratch to find the correct positioning).
Step 2: Remove the old cleat from the shoe.
Step 3: Place the new cleat in the exact location of the old one. Use the traced outline as a reference point.
Step 4: Fasten firmly and repeat steps 1-4 for the other shoe.
If you’re changing to a new brand pedal:
Changing pedal brands does not need to be as big a headache as you may have thought, and you may find that changing brands will help increase comfort and your cycling experience.
TIP: All cleats, regardless of brand, have a special marking point which shows the centre point of the cleat. Use this as your primary point of reference.
Step 1: Before you take off your old cleat, trace around the cleat and mark the centre point of the old cleat on the shoe.
Step 2: Remove the old cleat and place the new brand cleat.
Step 3: Line up the new cleat centre marking with the marked centre point on the shoe from Step 1.
Step 4: Using the trace as a guideline, place the new brand cleat in the same angle as your old cleat and fasten.
Step 5: Ride on a stationary trainer to confirm your cleat angle feels comfortable and adjust as necessary.
Take the time to position your cleat in the right location. A few minutes now can help improve your cycling experience. Pushys stock a range of popular pedal brands and have replacement cleats. Refresh your ride this summer and get yourself a new set of cleats or try something new. You never know what you could be missing out on.
By Ricky Swindale – Pushys Sponsored Athlete
Categories: Riding Tips