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Clipless setup


Speeding Up
May 14, 2010
Just scored a new clipless setup for my bicycle, Look Keo Carbon Blades + Sidi 5.5 Carbons. The initial cleat position seems okay (no additional pains/aches), but I would like to dial them in so that I am making the most out of them. Any recommendations on good ways of doing this or any stores that I can take it to?
lots of rules of thumbs out there... and you've probably already found them in other forums. In case you haven't, here are a some starter rules of thumbs. BTW, in the end, its alot of trial and error and tweaks, but general guidelines (w/o a professional fitting) are:

1) place cleat so that the ball of your feet (area where base joint of big toe and little toe are) are directly over the pedal axle. This is a rule of thumb. Some people find that this engages quads and calf muscles too much on long climbs and prefer to place the cleat a bit further back.

2) on cleat angle - most people use the dangle approach. Dangle you feet from a stool/high chair and see where your feet point out in relation to your legs. If your pronate out like I do, your feet point slightly outward. If that's the case then place the cleat angle towards your big toe a bit (and try to match the "dangle" angle).

3) width. If you have wider hips and/or pronate out, you probably want a wide cleat placement - meaning place the cleat towards the inside of the shoe.

4) Good idea to check saddle forward/aft placement at same time. Most people use a simple plumb line to check this - by dropping a plumb line from bottom part of knee cap while your pedal is in 3 oclock position. The plumb line should line up/intersect with pedal axle.

On first few rides, recommend lowering the release tension on the pedals. Not fun to topple over at large intersections when you're more focused on traffic. Things will also feel strange for a while.

Only other thing I can recommend is to "listen to your knee" on longer rides. If the placement isn't right, your knees will usually be the first to tell you. Depending on knee pain location (front, behind, side, etc...) there are rules of thumbs on which direction to tweak. recommend searching "pain in xxx of knee" on google and look for bike specific sites... Lots of good ideas out there. Don't be surprised if the first set of answers are to do with saddle height vs cleats..

Good luck.
@trad - totally! also - good to know if you need cants or shims. For example - my left leg is somewhat shorter than my right. And I prefer to have slight cant , roughly 2 degree inside to level my shoes on the pedals. I think this link has been mentioned before - but here it is again and pretty cool to look at ..


Some 'rule of thumbs' -

1) If you tend to prefer spinning and high cadence - then you may feel more comfortable with your shoe set back a bit on the pedal (BBA) Ball Behind Axle and your overall SaddleHeight closer to the 105% of leg length.

2) If tend to prefer lower cadence power strokes - then you may feel more comfortable with your shoe set BOA (Ball Over Axle) or BAA (Ball Ahead of Axle) and your overall Saddle Height closer to 107% leg length.

3) Point to the pain. If you feel discomfort more on the inside of your knees - then try adjusting your stance so your toe(s) are pointing more inwards. Conversely, if the pain is on the lateral side of the knee, try adjusting cleat so your toe(s) point more outwards.

4) Overall, your pedal stroke should result in pedalling in a plane. With no lateral motion or funky 'hitches' or 'wobbles' in the stroke. Imagine your legs as essentially a rotor or disc and thats how you should feel when you are pedaling.

And, oh ,yeah - if you are sitting 'wrong' on the pedals and adjust them - your muscles may feel more pain or tight. This is normal as you re-train your position. So - make sure you are discriminating between pain as a result of improper position and pain as result of weak conditioning. Last thing - make VERY SMALL adjustments to dial in your position.

My 2yen on this ...
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