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DRC2205's Photo DRC2205 Posts: 8,845
6/9/09 8:13 P

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Adrian, awesome instructions to ensure proper cleat placement. Now I need to go back and check mine, for both bikes.

WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
6/8/09 11:54 A

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Carolyn:
My LOOKs are impossible to get out of by hand, and they're on the lowest tension setting too. SPDs are also a fiddle but I can do it.

Most of the LBSs around my parts are clueless when it comes to cleat position. Unless you get someone who knows about bike fit, don't be surprised if the LBS can't help you. While I'm all for going to the LBS, cleat placement and rotation is a very subjective thing. The good thing is that you only need to do it once and mark your position, then when you replace your cleats it's easy-peasy. And the "float test" works everytime.

One thing that did cross my mind - what model SPD pedal do you have? I had one model which was a pain to get out of even on the lowest tension setting.

Edited by: WONGERCHI at: 6/8/2009 (11:55)
In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,588
6/7/09 7:49 P

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions and encouragement. And Adrian - as always your posts are detailed and full of great information. I had a tri today so was messing around with getting ready for that the past few days (we did a relay and I did the swim, so no bike issues today), so I haven't been on the bike since early last week.

I'll give the LBS a call tomorrow and explain the situation and let them know I'm coming back in.

I did check the tension setting on the pedals, and it is as easy as it can go. My BF came over and we clipped in one shoe and he tried to manually twist it out. He could only do it with alot of force. Of course, there's a difference between your leg and hand, but he still thought it was too hard.

Anyway, I'll let y'all know what happens. I believe this LBS is reputable, so I am expecting them to work with me. At least I hope so!


-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
PERRYR's Photo PERRYR Posts: 668
6/7/09 6:03 P

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Carolyn,
SPD pedals and clips are the only type that work with Mountain bike shoes and allow you to walk.
Road bike shoes have the clips, no matter which type, Speedplay, SPD SL, Look, etc, mounted to the soles and are difficult to walk in. (I have both)
I suggest following the excellent instructions provided by Wongerchi and be patient. Clipless take a bit of getting used to. We all fall once or twice in the beginning.
I hope you are successful. Without knowing any more I don't think the bike store did anything wrong at all. Set them up just right,ensuring they are set at the lightest tension, and practice.

MCKNIGHTRN's Photo MCKNIGHTRN Posts: 67
6/6/09 11:43 P

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Carolyn-new equipment can get frustrating. I think that you should ask your LBS to loan you a trainer for 48hours...go home and practice. Think of the motion to "unclip" as moving your heal out (the opposite of the dorothy red slippers click).
And if all else fails, find another LBS! I've been to all 3 in my area and 2 are very helpful, the 3rd is in it for the money and hard core riders.
Update us on your progress!

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MARKA78's Photo MARKA78 Posts: 608
6/6/09 10:53 P

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Hey Carolyn, I'll echo what others have said...your LBS should work with you on that. I got my first pair of clipless - also SPD - last year (or the year before...can't remember). I found them very easy to use...I just hopped on my bike and practiced clipping them in and out a few times and had no trouble at all. My cleats pop out with very little pressure.
I would also recommend the Speedplay pedals if you are having knee problems. I got a pair of those with my new tri bike. I've only been out on them a few times, but I do like them. Whatever you do, don't settle for a product that you don't like!

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WONGERCHI's Photo WONGERCHI Posts: 3,889
6/6/09 12:05 P

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Carolyn:
I have SPDs on the CX bike. Maybe some of these pedal/cleat setup tips will help...

First thing on the pedals - makes sure that they are actually on the loosest setting possible. On the back of the pedal is a screw that accepts an Allen (hex) wrench and a direction arrow - turn it all the way towards the (-) end. Get the lube off the pedals as best you can (probably degreaser or something). I have never lubed my pedals and can get in and out with no worries.

While I'm at it, I'll call BS on the fact that you can't unclip at the top of the pedal stroke. I do it all the time. It doesn't matter where you are on the pedal stroke, you can ALWAYS get out of them at any time. I use mine for CX, when getting in and out of your pedals anywhere in the stroke is essential. And you don't snap your ankle out either - all you need to do is rotate it outwards and the cleat should disengage.

Cleat setup:
The first time I got my SPDs I had knee issues too. Most guys at the LBSs don't know how to adjust cleats especially if you're pigeon-toed or have splayed feet normally. I got pain on the outside of the knee after a half dozen pedal strokes and when I went back to the shop, they adjusted my cleats wrong! Somehow it worked for me but when I got fitted my fitter said that they were exactly opposite of where they should have been. Needless to say I've never been back to the shop, but my fitter told me the basics of cleat setup. I use these tips on both my LOOK and SPD cleats.

First, put your shoes on and mark the ball of your foot with something (I use Liquid paper as my shoes are black). Then setup the cleat about 5mm back from the ball of your foot. The cleat mounts to a plate in the bottom of the shoe under the insole and it has two mounting positions and it can move up and down along the two parallel lines on the base of your shoe.

Once you've done this, make a mark so that you know where to put the cleat just in case you move it on the next step. This next step is the most important especially if you have knee issues, and that's to set the cleat angle.

Take off your shoes and see what your natural foot angle is (jump up and down a couple of times) to look. If your feet point straight forward, then your cleat wants to point straight towards the front of the shoe too. If you're like me and have my feet splayed out (duck feet) then you want to angle the cleat TOWARDS your big toe. The more splayed out you are the more the front of the cleat wants to point towards your toe. The converse is true if your feet point inwards naturally. Initially, go to the extreme end (so really rotate your cleat towards your big toe) - we'll fine tune the fit later. The cleat does have a tendency to want to move towards the middle so you may want to hold the back end of it with a pair of pliers as you tighten up the bolts. Do not tighten them up ultra tight, but do them so that the cleat isn't going to move.

What this does is take into account your natural foot placement as the cleats are going to try and force your foot forward. So if I don't have enough cleat rotation, then my knee is always fighting the cleat to get into it's natural angle. It can't because the cleat is forcing my foot into a forward position and so there's pain on the outside of the knee as it tries to track more outward. Hopefully this makes sense but if not, don't worry.

So right now you should have your cleat fore-aft and angle set. Now we're going to fine-tune the angle. Ideally this can be done on the trainer but up and down your road is fine. SPDs come with about 5 degrees float which is decent. Focus on one leg first (so your bad leg). Ride around, about 20 pedal strokes. Now with your foot at the top of the pedal stroke, freewheel and see if you can rotate your foot equal degrees towards and away from the bike. If there's too much outward float, then the cleat needs to be rotated towards the centre of the shoe. Vice versa for inward float.

This step can be very time consuming - you pedal, check float, get off, take off shoe, adjust cleat, etc etc. But once you get it, you're done! Don't forget the other leg, however.

Once you get your cleat rotation dialed in, unclipping should also be a lot easier. I'd guess that right now you have too much outward float so you have to rotate your ankle too much to get out when you unclip.


Phew. Long post. If you're confused at any point, please ask, and good luck!



EDITED to add:
The cleat rotation, (or fore-aft) does not have to be identical for each foot. You can have small (less than 3mm) differences. For me, my left cleat is angled more towards the front of the shoe than off to the big toe side as I have less splay on my left foot. It is also 1mm further back than my right cleat because it just feels better.

After the initial setup you may/will have to make small tweaks, to dial in the fit. Once it's dialed in, I draw around my cleat so that when I replace it, I know where to put it. Every couple of weeks make sure the bolts are tight.

If you're getting pain in the back of the knee after your cleat setup, you may have to drop the saddle height to account for the difference in height between your normal running shoe/pedal system and your cleats. I think I went down 5mm or thereabouts.

Edited by: WONGERCHI at: 6/6/2009 (12:12)
In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
-P.Z. Pearce

Specificity, specificity, specificity.
-Andy Coggan

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis


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HEYPUTTHATDOWN's Photo HEYPUTTHATDOWN Posts: 261
6/6/09 11:42 A

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Glad,

It's time for your LBS to step up and solve the problem. I've used Shimano SPDs for the last two years. It isn't necessary, for you to have to to twist so hard that it's hurting your ankle or to only unclip at the bottom of a pedal stroke.

I'd go back to the LBS and tell them exactly what you want. If they can't solve the problem for you (and insist that you be uncomfortable) maybe it's time to find a new bike shop. A full refund is in order as well; you shouldn't have to pay for stuff that doesn't fit your needs.

We always encourage new riders to patronize their LBS because they will need support after the initial bike purchase. The flip side of that is the LBS needs to live up to their obligations as well.

Bob


I'd rather be sitting on my bike thinking about God than sitting in church thinking about my bike ...
SHIVASHIVA's Photo SHIVASHIVA Posts: 154
6/6/09 10:43 A

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I use mountain bike pedals and shoes on my roadbike because I'm a clutz and I need pedals that don't keep me in a death grip. These have enough stability for me to stand up and stuff, but they are still very easy to get out of.

I'm not sure what kind they are, but I can find out if you want.

The only lasting beauty is the beauty of the heart. www.mountainmeadowmassageschool.com
MTNBIKENV's Photo MTNBIKENV SparkPoints: (15,447)
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6/6/09 8:46 A

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Sure ya just don't need to be refit for your bike? I use the KEOS, and my boyfriend also swears by the speedplays. I always clip out with that foot down, it's always just been the way I've done it... accidents aren't always convenient, trust me. We've all tipped over enough. I do keep mine pretty tight on the road bike, looser on the mtn bike. I hope you can figure something out that will work for your ankle and knee.

Marnie
RENO, NEVADA

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NIGHTOUWL's Photo NIGHTOUWL SparkPoints: (14,498)
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6/6/09 8:36 A

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i have alway used speedplay (they're the little round ones) they are "free float" so that you get a more natural pedal stroke which is supposed to be easier on the knees...and they are double sided so you don't have to look down and make sure the pedal is on the right side to clip in.
i've been riding for about 7 years and they are the only ones i've ever used, but i love them.


If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.
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GLADGAD's Photo GLADGAD Posts: 5,588
6/6/09 8:14 A

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I got clipless pedals last week - Shimano SPDs. I asked 2 LBSs what the easiest were to clip out of, and they both said these were the ones. When I puchased them, the LBS put my bike on a trainer, gave me instructions on how to clip out, and said I could stay as long as I wanted to practice, as I was having problems clipping out. Long story short I wasn't feeling well and after practicing for about 10-15 minutes, I had to leave.

I tried riding with them earlier this week, and am having problems. First the way they force my leg position is putting a strain on my "bad" knee. I need something that allows me to move my knee without twisting my ankle.

Next, I am having a very difficult time getting out of them. I was told to snap the ankle to get out, but it's not working very well. The force needed to get out is hurting my ankle. I asked the LBS to set the pedals to the lightest (easiest to clip out) setting, and they said they did. I decided to spray some silicone lube on the pedal hoping that would help, but it didn't, and in fact almost caused me to fall over when my unclipped foot slipped when trying to pedal (lesson learned here).

The thing that bugs me the most is that the guy at the LBS said in order to clip out, make sure the pedal on the foot you're clipping out of is at the bottom of the revolution. He said you can't clip out if your foot is at the top. Well, to me that's ridiculous, because not all emergencies happen when my left foot pedal is at the bottom of the revolution. I should be able to clip out at any point, right?

Does anyone have any advice? Do I keep practicing? Do I try another pedal? Any suggestions? I am okay with taking a hit on the price I paid for these pedals - I just want to have a comfortable, safe ride.

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
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