Foot Position Difference Platforms vs. Clipless
Do any of you alternate between clipless and platforms? When I switch to platforms my pedal tends to end up in the arch area in the middle of my foot, vs. being clipped in and having the pedal more forward, closer to the ball of my foot. For long rides this makes a difference in how I feel on the bike. When clipped in I feel like I need a setback seatpost because my seat is all the way back and I'm looking for more rearward adjustment. With platforms I am pretty comfortable on the seat but I don't think that's the best foot position for long rides, plus my foot can start to cramp a bit.
What have you experienced?
...That's Where It's At!
Have you tried adjusting your saddle height? Maybe you need to raise it up a little bit for platforms? I'm no expert so take it with a grain of salt! I prefer platforms and find it very useful to be able to adjust where my foot is on the platform depending on conditions and climbing.
farleybob I've made the same observations regarding foot position. As far as cramps... I don't get that far, but my foot is definitely more sore on flats.
It might have something to do with riding more "heavy on the pedals" with flats, in addition to a more flexible sole compared to SPD shoes. I am using Teva Links and Wellgo MG-1.
I've grown accustomed to being less pigeon toed and being clipped in now feels kinda awkward. Also my knee hurts less on flats which is supposed to be counter intuitive. YMMV!
It really depends on the pedals and shoes. I just did 3 months on flats just to "get back to basics".
I can't ride on rigid XC carbon soled shoes on eggbeaters - It hurts my feet whenever I go downhill (all weight and pressure in pedals --> pushes my foot forward in narrow lightweight race shoes).
Additionally I find that the "skinny" XC shoes will not allow you to put the cleat far enough back toward the arch of the foot. I actually prefer the cleat to be closer to the center and away from the ball of my foot. But the challenge is that you need a rigid carbon sole to support your weight under the ball of your foot on skinny pedals like the eggbeater. This made that combo a no go for me - something that I realized only after having been back on flats for 3 months of riding.
I now have a pair of 5 10 Maltese Falcon on Crank Brothers DH Mallet pedals. This combination has given me the best of both worlds: a solid feel on the pedals - I can still feel my weight and power transferred from my hips straight into the pedals via the cleats that sit as far back as possible in the shoes. (the 5 10 Maltese Falcon will allow you to put the cleat much further back).
Best decision I ever made. I retain the pure feel from flats while also having the benefits of being clipped in over Rock Gardens/Sketchy terrain and while climbing.
just my 2c
Theres some info online about cleat position using clipless.... it says stuff about mid sole cleats and all that jargon. Speedplay do a midsole shoe and cleat.
Basically, to cut a long winded article short, the biggest/strongest muscles you have are your upper leg muscles and having cleats towards the front of your shoes makes you use you calves. So muscle fatigue sets in on your calves a long time before the upper legs feel it, it gave me a bit of thought on my cleats and rather than having them fully forward i moved them to the front bolts holes with the cleat plate moved fully back.... did it make much difference: I cant see a lot of difference but im riding further these days and i am putting it down to increased fitness.
Have a read online.
I had a massive problem with clip less. One foot is a size 12 and the other is a 12.5 so I had to buy size 13 shoes. No pedal has ever lined up right. I always feel off. I switched to full time clip less and I let my feet find their natural position what ever that may be.
I probably need to find some better platforms and commit one way or the other. When I ride clipped in I feel like I need to move my seat rearward, but I'm out of rear adjustment. On platforms the pedal is more to the center of my foot so the seat position feels better. I think a better shoe and platform pedal would make my foot more comfortable on longer rides. Thanks for your help everyone! Now to find some good platforms and shoes! (I've been wearing a pretty soft sole on a generic mountain platform pedal and it is not working the best.)
...That's Where It's At!
Five ten shoes and a set of good thin and wide platforms will treat you right! I have been using the five ten impacts and they are really nice and grippy, a little heavy but I have not had any issues at all for 2 years now! Plus they are on sale at zappos .
I switched to flats this year full time after riding clipped for many years. I was having some knee discomfort while clipped, plus I wanted to improve my skills and felt being clipped was holding me back eg mid-air adjustments and attacking technical sections. My clips were placed at the ball which was a strong position but because I could not vary position fatigue could set in on long rides.
Happy to report that the experiment was a success. I do have to pay more attention to foot placement. Pedals often end up in the arch on bouncy sections as you say, but at least I can adjust back to balls of feet where I feel strongest. I place where I am on the ball but do not have to grip with my toes.
Sticky shoes make a huge difference! I was doubting my decision until I bought sticky shoes. I can now do even more on flats than I could clipped in. Sombrio fit me and have been awesome.
So my long winded vote is for flats, but you do have to pay attention to foot position. Commit to it and get sticky shoes and you won't regret it!
My feet, ankles and knees are much happier on flats. I find my feet are way out on the outside edge of the pedals most of the time. I never could have had a Q as wide as I apparently am comfortable with.
I mostly use flats, but I generally have 1 SPD bike in the fleet. I find I move my feet around on the flats as I ride depending what's going on. I like this as I don't get stuck in one position for hours.
Originally Posted by farleybob
I can ride flats for 12hr+ a day for a week+ no problem.
Your body will adjust to the situation you put it in. So if you find your feet going to a specific spot on flats a lot that's because your saddle + BB relationship relative to your leg dimensions is sort of forcing that to happen. If you want to get your feet in a different spot you should try adjusting your saddle accordingly.
As others have noted your shoe and pedal choice matters a lot for flats. 5.10 bike shoes are pretty amazing both for grip, protection and comfort. They are worth checking out.
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