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Cleats: How to install and maintain them

The connection between your shoe and clipless pedal is important for power and efficiency

Clipless pedals are a great way to feel faster and more secure on a bike, but cleat position is very important. Properly adjusted cleats play a pivotal role in enhancing both comfort and efficiency for cyclists.

The precise positioning of cleats on cycling shoes ensures an optimal connection between the rider’s feet and the pedals, creating an efficient transfer of power during each pedal stroke. This connection not only maximizes energy transfer but also minimizes the risk of injury by promoting a more natural and biomechanically sound pedaling motion.

The ability to customize cleat positioning allows cyclists to fine-tune their foot alignment, addressing individual anatomical variations and preferences. Additionally, the correct adjustment of cleats helps prevent discomfort and potential long-term issues such as knee pain or foot numbness. Whether you’re riding on the road or trails, you can enjoy improved control over their bikes as well as enhanced pedaling efficiency.

Getting the cleats right

Cleat positioning offers versatility through multi-directional adjustments. Medial and lateral settings enable the positioning of feet closer to or farther from the cranks, with fore and aft adjustments tailored to accommodate foot length, especially toe length. Rotational adjustments further cater to specific directional preferences, particularly in addressing turned-out or turned-in feet orientations.

Here’s a great guide to getting your cleats installed correctly.

Check your cleats and pedals regularly

Once you’ve got them on, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a look at them now and again. The primary contact point between you and your bicycle is at your feet, where you generate the power to propel the machine. Consequently, prioritizing the upkeep of the components, namely the pedals and cleats, that establish the connection between your feet and the bike is crucial.

Here’s a primer on what to look for whether you use LOOK, SPD or Wahoo (Speedplay pedals.)

Inspecting and tuning your pedals and cleats