Cleat position - Whats your theory?

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by zakeen

So where do you guys put cleats on your shoes and why?

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by toshi

I subscribe to the cleat slightly behind ball of foot notion. I think I get a bit more stability on the downstroke, less use of the calves (as stabilizers), and more use of the glutes and hams on the back/top end of the pedalstroke.

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by brian

2 time World Champ Susanne Ljungskog puts hers.....

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by smithy1.0

After much arsing about with the position last year, I have mine just slightly behind the ball of my foot as well. Definately feels the best position for me. Don't like the look of pedalling on the arches of your feet :shock:
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by IanB

I recall a couple of years ago noticing my cleat had slipped back slightly to behind the ball of my foot. At the same time I picked an achilles injury which I attributed to the cleat problem - perhaps incorrectly. Since then I've reverted to having the cleat under the ball of my foot.

Mind you, you see lots of old codgers with flat caps riding to work on their 3-speed lugged steel bikes pedalling at 10rpm with their heels on the pedals, so perhaps there's something in it :lol:

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by mises

I have mine set with spindle about 10mm behind the ball of my foot. I'm intrigued by the Ljungskog method but it seems I would have to move the saddle forward rather significantly to keep the leg angles the same. Since I already use a 13cm stem that could make it a very expensive experiment requiring a new frame.

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by TheFatGuy

Put your cleats wherever it takes to avoid hotspots and toe numbness.
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by bike bling

I'm sure the Jerk could hook you up with a 150mm stem. Combine that with a belgian style long reach handlebar and you've got it made.

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by frd

last week I have been professionally fitted and the guy explained me a method to position the cleats.

Stand with bare foots on the ground, draw a little mark in front of your foot, then draw a point near your foot ball on the inside of the foot. Also draw a point near your foot ball on the outside of the foot.

Then move away your foot and draw two parallel lines that go each one through one of the two points. Take a point in the middle of these two lines, this is where your pedal axle should sit.

You can translate this measure to the cleat/shoe with a caliper.

To make sure the cleats are straight, you can just press the inside of your shoe on the ground, then with a "triangle ruler" (how do you say that in english??) check that the cleat is straight. This can also be changed slightly depending on your preference.

(sorry that's probably my worst ever computer drawing...)

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by Tabe

I saw one good article about this in (quite same as frenk noted above) ... enuOpen=on

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by Sparta

Fore aft position of cleats is in my opinion a compromise in the same way as saddle position. I have tried taking my Speedplay cleats all the way back (with the new adapter) so that the pedal axle was 2 cm behind the ball of the feet) base joint of the big toe. This gave me a great feeling of control and a smooth pedaling style with power applied from very early on in the stroke as I more easily came "on top" of the pedal. The downside was a loss of max power and especially standing power - my quads gave away totally when standing on hills. A forward postion stresses my calves and makes sustained spinning a bit harder to control. For me the "sweet spot" is with the axle about 10-15 mm behind the joint of the first tor (I use a size 46).

The problem is of course that any alteration will require adaption for a few weeks, which makes power comparisons difficult. On the other hand a more rearward cleat position will lower your seat potentially making you more aero.

I would be ineterested in other views on max power and especially standing with a rearward cleat position.
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by ihana

After reading the Q n A on about cleat position, I tried
their recommended method of setting it behind the ball of the foot. The
distance varies depending on shoe size, I have a 47 and they recommend
-11mm for that. I have my Time cleats on Specialized shoes as far back
as possible without mods and thats around -10mm.
It feels a bit different but I wouldn't ever change back to the old way of
being over the ball of the foot, so I suppose I prefer it!



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by Juanmoretime

I always try to align my cleat with the ball of my foot. Considering I ride in a slightly toes down instead of a flat foot position that would place the axle really slightly behind the ball of my foot.

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by timerider

I currently ride S-Works shoes with Time cleats. At a bike fitting center they once set up the cleats positioning them as far as possible to the front. I've never questioned this approach because I've never experienced inconveniences. Since I've started competing in races however, I always get light cramps in my calves towards the end of the race. My calves usually start tingling first. Maybe I'm just not good enough, but some friends said that the cramps in the calves could be due to the forward positioning of the cleats. Perhaps I'm riding too much on my toes. So I carefully started experimenting by moving the cleats towards the heels for just 2 or 3 mm. Now they are still in a forward position, but less extreme. Now the line in the middle of the cleat seems to be directly under the ball of my foot. I'd been training with the new position for some days and I really couldn't tell the difference. It was only a minor change, but I had hoped it would be enough to get rid of the cramps. Yesterday however when I was training hard, my legs and knees (especially the insides?) started to feel sore. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to change the position of the cleats after all, but I would really like to be able to finish a race without having to deal with these stiff calves all the time.

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by mrfish

Zakeen, What is your view? Did your Retul fit help you decide?

Personally I like the range of views. In my opinion it's well nigh impossible to say exactly where the ball of your foot is without an x-ray, so it makes millimeter accuracy a waste of time. What I did was fiddle with my cleats until they felt right then religously transfer that position from shoe to shoe when buying new ones.

I found the easiest way to transfer cleat position was by putting the shoe over the edge of a worktop with paper taped over it, resting the rear edge of the cleat on the edge of the worktop. Then use a set square to put a dot on the paper at the rearmost point of the shoe. Then set up the new shoes and cleats so that the rear of the new shoe is over the dot. If the new shoe has a thicker heel cup you can compensate for this by adding / subtracting 1-2mm from the position of the dot. Easy.

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