Cleated Shoes + Clipless Pedals PHENOMENA?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008

    Cleated Shoes + Clipless Pedals PHENOMENA?

    Hi MTBR gurus!

    I recently decided to step up and try cleated shoes+clipless pedals. I got the Shimano DX shoes and Shimano M454 pedals. The shoes are, I think, more for DH than trail because of the "skate shoe style", but I chose these shoes because they are comfy to walk with without the cleats (I can wear them when not riding) and that they look cool. The pedals have aluminum cages that serve as a platform. These pedals, I think, are for DH rather than XC because of the large cage and more weight, but I chose these pedals because I'm new to riding clipless so I thought it would help to have a "stomping area" rather than just the clipping mechanism.

    My initial experience was good. I was able to install the cleats on the shoes and adjust the placement accordingly. Also, I found it pretty easy to clip in and out. I have tried riding on pavement with this shoe-pedal combo and now I could say "so this is how it is to be clipped-in". I've also dared using them in trail-like conditions (going through obstacles like roots, ledges and rocky/gravelly sections. So far, so good.

    However, I'm experiencing some new "phenomena" that may or may not be part of having cleated shoes and/or clipless pedals.

    Here are my qustions:

    1. Is it normal that one side has more float than the other? My right foot is very secure to the pedal, with just enough float for my right ankle to move side-to-side. But My left foot feels unsecure on the pedal, it feels like there's too much float, like the rest of the shoe's sole is doing nothing to make my left foot stable on the pedal. As an analogy: my right foot feels like a pyramid on the pedal, my left foot feels like an inverted pyramid on the pedal. Any solutions for better and equal right and left stability please?

    2. Is it normal with these shoes that the metal cleats protrude past the grippy rubber soles? According to sources in the internet, the cleats are recessed, allowing good traction from the rubber soles esp. on wet rocks and roots during hike-a-bike sections. But for me, it seems that the cleats are sticking out, that when I walk on pavement, it is the cleat + heel that contact the floor instead of ball-of-my-foot + heel. The sensation is like I can do a ballerina twirl by pivoting on the metal cleat. I've tried over-tightening the cleat onto the shoe but they're still jutting out. Btw, the left cleat protrudes more than the right. Any advice on how to make the cleats more recessed?

    3. Is it normal to get inconsistent clippping? Even at the minimum SPD spring strength, I sometimes find myself having to make a jerky ankle twist to unclip. Most of the time, I can unclip very easily but sometimes it needs more force than an intuitive ankle twist. As for clipping in, most of the time I can hear a positive “click” when the cleats find the SPD bindings, but sometimes they’re just silent, like I have to guess if I’m already clipped in. The right shoe/pedal is oftentimes more consistent than the left. Any suggestions on how to make clipping consistent?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    AKA Dr.Nob
    Reputation: gumbymark's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    All your answers are in your post above. The left cleat sticks out further than the right. This causes the insecure feeling you talk about in no.1 and I'll guess you that the trouble you have unclipping in no.3 is more common with your right foot.

    The problem: The sole of the right shoe is sitting on the pedal when the cleat is engaged. This is why the right shoe feels more secure but is harder to unclip.

    The left shoes sole doesn't touch the pedal as much causing that foot to float more.

    Coupla things: The cleat should be the lowest part of your shoe under the ball of your foot. You do NOT want the tread to be touching any part of the pedal when clipped in. Tread catching on the pedals is the most common cause of pedals being hard to unclip.

    The cleat will always make a grindy noise when walking on hard surfaces (tarmac, concrete, your polished wood floor).

    I think the fix to your problem is to buy new shoes. There is a reason most MTB shoes are designed the way they are: It's the best design to do all the things we want them to do.

    Oh and that bit from the internet is crap. Skate style shoes will grip better on concrete but will be much worse on the dirt than MTB shoes. Think basketball shoes Vs soccer/football shoes designed for grass pitches.
    Not that all teenagers are evil mind, just most of them.

  3. #3
    Reputation: eatdrinkride's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    -sole tread to pedal contact will cause interference and make it harder to unclip/clip in or move side to side. Examine what part of the tread is making contact with the pedal and cut it off with an exacto knife or whatever. Both feet should move about side to side (float) freely, to a degree. You should not feel pinned down in one position, that's not the designs intent.

    -clickity/clack on pavement is normal. Some shoes do this more than others. My BG Comps will tear up lanolium(sp?) while my old 661 Nuevo shoes are virtually silent and I can walk on tile comfortably, those shoes are the exception, not the rule.

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