SPD-SL Blue Cleats - Easier to Unclip than Yellow Cleats

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
ipenguinking
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by ipenguinking

Does the blue cleat require shorter distance of twisting before releasing since it offers less float than yellow cleat? The reason I'm asking this is because I've been having some issues with my ankle. While there is no pain pedaling my bike equipped with DA SPD-SL and yellow cleats on my shoes, unclipping can be little painful from time to time. And the pain only happens at the point when my ankle is twisting all the way before unclipping. I'm thinking the pain can be eliminated if my ankle doesn't need to twist that far.

I visited my foot doctor last week and he said I can do easy ride as long as there is no pain. So the last thing I want is irritating the injured spot from unclipping.

Racingevo
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Joined: Tue May 17, 2016 2:36 am

by Racingevo

I don't think it will solve your ankle issues but from my experience, cleats with lower float do clip out easier, ever so slightly.

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ms6073
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by ms6073

ipenguinking wrote:And the pain only happens at the point when my ankle is twisting all the way before unclipping.

I would tend to agree with the previous reply about smaller float allowing quicker release, but in your case, I am thinking you need to use the appropriate size allen wrench and reduce the release tension 2 to 3 clicks.

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11.4
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by 11.4

First of all, are your yellow cleats old? New cleats click out easily; older cleats are sloppy and also harder to click out of.

Second, if you want to test this, I'd just go for the fixed red cleats. And definitely less float causes them to pop out more easily, but that's just because there's a much shorter transition before the cleat is disengaged. With yellow cleats you can wiggle your foot all over.

I'd suggest that possibly you have a fit or alignment problem with your cleats, and you are actually irritating a meniscus or other tricky part of the ankle and you simply put pressure on it when you clip out. Just clipping out shouldn't be inducing any kind of irritation or degeneration that could create the pain you describe -- it has to start somewhere else, and I'd bet you'll start seeing it as you ride before long. I'd start by putting on fresh cleats for the reason mentioned above, and not change cleat type since otherwise they do seem to be working for you. There's enough float on yellow cleats that -- assuming you unclip outwards -- you might be riding your cleats against the outside limit already and that slight but constant pressure is enough to build irritation in your ankles. I've seen that quite often among riders with worn cleats or who have their cleats adjusted so they are always pushing to the inside or outside of the float limit.

One other thing is whether you properly positioned your foot laterally. If your foot tilts either inwards or outwards, either due to hypermobility/pronation or because the shoe isn't right for you, you can be tweaking the ankle in a number of ways. A really good fitter may be able to help you, but you can also test for yourself. First of all, see if it's easy by palpating your ankle thoroughly and looking for pain. Also pull and twist at it a bit to help define where you might encounter pain. Then put your bike on a turbo trainer and ride to warm up well. Get out of the saddle with the pedal at the bottom and twist the whole leg, hip and all, to clip out. Try again with the knee held stationary. Any differences may indicate that you need some correction (or removal of correction). Try a different pair of shoes or try some wedges inside your shoe or between your shoe and your cleat and see if that corrects it. It'll take some experimenting if you have to go this far, but I suspect you may need to rest your ankles for a few days with some naprosyn and no riding, let them cool down, and then try riding with replacement cleats.

ipenguinking
Posts: 468
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2005 5:14 pm
Location: Sunny So Cal

by ipenguinking

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm going to get a pair of blue cleats this weekend and hopefully they are easier on my ankle.

A surgery that removed a bone spur from top of my foot little two years ago has been causing some bio mechanical problems on my foot and ankle. I saw couple doctors other than the one performed the surgery and they said all it's because the bone spur was sitting in a bad spot where some major nerves go thru. Luckily they all believe things will eventually settle down and I'm hoping they are right. The fact is I'm feeling much better than just 6 months ago and I'm just happy that I can ride. BTW the cleats are professionally fitted and I'm wearing my shoes with custom orthotics. I'm not saying they are done 100% correctly but I'm happy with them so far. And yes I've gone thru a lot of PT and things.

evan326
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by evan326

I had similar issues, while not as severe, when I first started using spd-sl's. I was about to go back to regular pedals then switched to the red cleats. For me, the float was too much and I needed to move more than felt comfortable to get out. Having the zero float makes me feel more stable while I'm riding, and getting out more simple.

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11.4
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by 11.4

Next time, it helps when one is asking for advice on a point to supply all the relevant information. Very often a poster asks for advice and the thread evolves as a series of additional bits of critical info and a lot of useless posts as new information is provided. I'm not particularly criticizing this thread (and in truth, all he did was ask about release tension on blue cleats), but it makes for a better discussion when all the relevant issues are addressed to begin with.

ipenguinking
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Location: Sunny So Cal

by ipenguinking

I rode with new blue cleats this morning and they definitely required less ankle twist for unclipping. My ankles are happy. I'm sure brand new cleats also play a role since old cleats tend to have some play.

11.4
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by 11.4

ipenguinking wrote:I rode with new blue cleats this morning and they definitely required less ankle twist for unclipping. My ankles are happy. I'm sure brand new cleats also play a role since old cleats tend to have some play.


Congratulations! The old cleats have more play but also the bearing surfaces are roughened and offer more resistance to clipping out. With your issues, it might pay to replace the cleats every couple months or so, just so you can always be working with smooth cleat surfaces on new cleats.

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mpulsiv
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by mpulsiv

From my direct experience, blue cleats provide more fluid pedal stroke over yellow. I threw away yellow cleats and installed blue cleats on 3 pair of my shoes.


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BdaGhisallo
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by BdaGhisallo

And, truth be told, the lateral float described at plus or minus 1.6mm is actually a good bit more in practice. I had given up on spd-sl pedals until the blue cleats were introduced. That lateral movement, and the change in the stance width that resulted, drove me nuts.

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mpulsiv
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by mpulsiv

In other word, yellow cleats is widely available for general population and will work just fine for anyone who is new to the sport. If you have been dancing on pedals for years and understand the dynamics of bike fit, then I suggest you start dancing on blue cleats.


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evan326
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by evan326

No red cleat lovers here?

BdaGhisallo
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by BdaGhisallo

evan326 wrote:No red cleat lovers here?


In theory the red cleats are great, but you have to have pretty good bio-mechanics to be able to handle them. Most people need a little float - I certainly do - and the blue cleats provide just that little bit.

I recall a few pros switching from the red cleats to the blue when the blues were released. Bernie Eisel is one that immediately comes to mind.

evan326
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by evan326

I guess that makes sense. As far as running goes, I have a very neutral foot strike.

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