Where are you all positioning your cleats?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
    Nat
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    Where are you all positioning your cleats?

    Are you guys setting up your cleats so that the ball of your foot is centered over the pedal axle? Since I'm slowly mashing my SS more than lightly spinning it, I've found that I prefer the cleats set further back (foot further forward relative to the pedal) maybe a centimeter or so. It's harder to spin but I feel as if I produce more power on the downstroke.

    Personally I've always felt that the rearward cleat positioning is more powerful because it shortens the distance from the pedal axle to the ankle joint, thus making a shorter lever against which the calf muscle has to pull (the distance from the ankle joint to the insertion of the achilles on the calcaneus is the other half of the lever, opposite the ankle joint fulcrum). The calf therefore doesn't get "overworked" and can assist the quads more with the powerstroke.

    This fella Steve Hogg supports the more rearward cleat position, but believes it's because it lets the calf and hamstrings help extend the knee. I'm not sure I understand that core premise, since the calves and hamstrings are knee flexors and not extensors, but he seems very learned about road bike fit. He writes for cyclingnews.com.

    In section 1 of this pdf file:
    http://tinyurl.com/q4gml

    So where are you guys setting your cleat position? Too analytical?

  2. #2
    Just hit it with speed
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    My cleats are all the way forward and have been that way since my second ride. Further forward allows me(at least I think so) to really stand on the pedals and let my weight do the cranking.

    I am interested though in how others are riding.

  3. #3
    Poorly Disguised Poser
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    under the ball for me

    I started out on the road, and consequently set my SS up this way too. The gear I run and the trails I ride typically have me riding between 40 and 120 RPM, so it seems appropriate to have it set up so that I can both mash and spin.

    You gotta do what works for you though!

    I would bet that most people converting from platforms to clipless would find favor with the rearward cleat position you describe....just a guess though.
    My ego is bigger and better looking than yours.

  4. #4
    Peace & Love
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    because of my VERY screwed up feet, and having to wear shoes that are too big to accomodate my wide feet, cleat ends up being as far back as possible (foot as forward as possible) with the cleat as close to the pedals as possible......my arch is EXTREMELY high still (post surgery), biasing towards inside of feet, so if I dont have my shoe as close inward as possible it puts way too much pressure on the outside of the foot. sorry about the lack of clinical terms Doctor....I honestly should but dont know the proper terms to use for my retarded feet (among other retarded things I deal with daily)

  5. #5
    E !
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    Cleat slightly rearward

    I always start out the cleats with ball over axle. After dialing them in they are just a few MM rearward leaving the ball of foot just to the front side of axle. I know what your saying by it feels better when standing to ride.It's more natural feeling to me.

  6. #6
    Retro Grouch
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    Oh great, one more thing to think about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    So where are you guys setting your cleat position? Too analytical?
    I have no idea, I just mount the cleat about half way on the shoe and forgetaboutit. Now you're going to make me pull out my caliper. I hate you!!

    1G1G, Brad

  7. #7
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    I run mine slightly behind the ball of my feet.

  8. #8
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    mine have been slowly creeping rearward. I started with them pretty far forward, but felt I didn't get the most power out of my thigh muscles, it was as if mostly my calf muscles were engaged. So I moved them back to under the ball of the foot, maybe a little behind. It feels more stable too, when landing after a bunny hop or drop.

  9. #9
    trail rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by FoShizzle
    retarded feet
    Dang, you get all the cool stuff! I only got ree-tard rims with my Inbred, no other retard anything. .

    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    So where are you guys setting your cleat position? Too analytical?
    I put my cleats on the bottom of my shoes.

    Probably not too analytical, but.....

    This article shed tremendous light on the subject for me some years back, after a bike shop "re-fit" caused me foot and knee trouble. The 5th ("I begin my fitting procedure")and 4th (" With the anatomical measurements") paragraphs from the end of the article are the lightbulb for me.

    I find it enlightening that Brant of On-One does not subscribe to the KOPS model, and I love my the way my On-One 29er SS rides after so many bicycles in the last 30+ years. Hmmmm.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  10. #10
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by slocaus
    I put my cleats on the bottom of my shoes.

    Probably not too analytical, but.....

    This article shed tremendous light on the subject for me some years back, after a bike shop "re-fit" caused me foot and knee trouble. The 5th ("I begin my fitting procedure")and 4th (" With the anatomical measurements") paragraphs from the end of the article are the lightbulb for me.

    I find it enlightening that Brant of On-One does not subscribe to the KOPS model, and I love my the way my On-One 29er SS rides after so many bicycles in the last 30+ years. Hmmmm.
    After years of mickey-mousing my own fit, I've found I like my tibial tuberosity to line up about an inch aft of the pedal spindle, so I don't subscribe to KOPS either. KOPS and cleat placement aren't really related though (maybe it has a very minor effect). Saddle position has more bearing on KOPS.

  11. #11
    trail rat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    After years of mickey-mousing my own fit, I've found I like my tibial tuberosity to line up about an inch aft of the pedal spindle, so I don't subscribe to KOPS either. KOPS and cleat placement aren't really related though (maybe it has a very minor effect). Saddle position has more bearing on KOPS.
    Agreed, and KOPS was not my point, but the ball of the foot and balance relationship. This is the direct quote from the article above that led me to believe that ball of the foot over pedal spindle gives me the best balance, and therefore better transfer of power to the bike, whether climbing seated or standing, and motoring seated on the flats..
    I use his seated CG which I measure by placing the rider in a full crouch against the wall and have him back up on his feet a bit at a time until he is on the verge of toppling over. Since a human being always balances on his feet. I know his CG will be right over the balls of his feet at the moment he topples over. I measure this distance away from the wall. This becomes the horizontal coordinate for the rider's center of gravity.
    I'm saying this works best for me. I try to use TT / stem length/height to get myself into this position, and then as Mr. Bontrager states, move the seat to place it under my butt. It is crude since he is talking about a custom fit frame, but it gives me a guidline, and I feel setting up my SS using this concept makes climbing easier. This ol' fart needs all the tricks he can muster.

    I also believe that it is possible to get "used to" a wrong position / technique, and "think" it is the best. When I moved my cleats from slightely behind the ball to directly under the ball, it was wierd and felt "wrong" for almost a month. Just because it feels right doesn't mean that it is. YMMV
    Last edited by slocaus; 07-10-2006 at 08:11 AM.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

  12. #12
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    All the way back

    I have small feet (size 41) and I run my cleats all the way back. I found that running them forward gave me an achy shin and ouchy knee blow the kneecap.

  13. #13
    try driving your car less
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    all the way forward on my SIDI shoes in the forward holes. i had them further back, but like them better right under the balls of my feet. when they were further back the arch of my foot would hurt after an hour or so of riding.

    this puts them right under the balls (of my feet).

    i noticed in the recent dirt rag article about fit, there was a sidebar with marla streb. she was stretching and you could see the bottom of her shoes. cleats all the way back in the back holes of the shoes. and she's hot so it must be right.

    i think it depends on the length of your toes, the brand of shoes (where the holes are), and personal pref.
    Only boring people get bored.

  14. #14
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape
    and she's hot so it must be right.
    Excellent!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nat
    Excellent!
    I have two left feet.

    Cleats under ball of foot. Been that way since 1992.
    Tuff Schist

  16. #16
    sufferer of a.d.d.
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    2/3 the way back and, as my feet are extremely duck footed, i run them as far away from the cranks as possible to avoid heel rub on the crank (which i was getting when they were centered)

  17. #17
    sufferer of a.d.d.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jh_on_the_cape

    i think it depends on the length of your toes, the brand of shoes (where the holes are), and personal pref.
    must be. or they'd only give us one option

  18. #18
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Another angle...

    Putting your cleats forward allows you to gain extra saddle clearance (needed on the tecnical stuff) when you fully extend you foot (ie. stand on your toes). If you keep your foot relatively flat when pedaling you don't need to raise your saddle to compensate. However, I do feel I get more power with the cleats further rearward. I sort of go back and forth on where my cleats end up.

    KOPS puts me nowhere near where I need to be.

    Mike

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