Sunday, July 1, 2007

Clipless Cleat Adjustment

I'm really lucky. When I first put my cleats on my shoes everything worked great. I couldn't understand how people had such a difficult time going to clipless pedals. It seemed natural to me. Just a little flick and *pop* I'm out of the pedals.

Then I decided, I want to adjust my cleats closer to the toe. No reason, just to see how it felt. I didn't like it at all. I lost a lot of control and balance. I (thought) I put the cleats back where they came by moving them toward the heels. But now it was a real struggle to get out of the pedals... More adjustment was necessary. There's the cleat position's I started with.

Here were the problems. My release point on the right foot was WAY toe in (heel out). Here's a picture of the point when the cleat started to apply pressure on the pedal binding:
As you can see the toe of the shoe is already hitting the crank arm, but it hasn't released yet. I could only get out of the pedals when the crankarm was at the top. You can also see from the bottom right hand corner of the photo that the toes of my feet point out. So my feet had to swing through this big wide angle, at the top of the pedal stroke - which twisted my knee really bad - It was almost impossible to unclip.

I adjusted the cleats to move my shoes outward - away from the crank by sliding them over in the cleat grooves. I also pointed the cleats to adjust the release angle. Here's what I ended up with to the right. Compare that with the first picture in this post.

Just for fun I fired up Photoshop and overlayed the change in release angle on top of each other. Here's what that looked like. It doesn't look like a drastic change, but it makes a huge difference in being able to flick out of the clips. No more knee wrenching! As a final check, I ensured that I had clearance from the chainstay wiht the crankarm back. I can release to the inside if necessary here. And I checked to ensure that I wasn't going to stepping on the crank arm either when the crank is to the front.

To me the most interesting thing was that I did none of this the first time. I must have been very lucky to get a good position on the cleats. This makes me wonder how many people that despise clipless pedals have taken the time to adjust them properly.