Feet Angles & Clipless Pedals

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by doyler78, 3 Feb 2008.

  1. doyler78

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    Does anyone know anyone who has ever not been able to use clipless pedals because their foot it angled to widely.

    In the past I have tried to use spd's (have m-324 combi pedal - platform one side and spd binding other side) however always got bad knee and hip pain and had to give up. I put it down to my fitting and not really knowing what I was doing however I read the c+ article on seat height which suggested a 25 degree knee bend using goniometer. Checked them out and got one for £8 so thought it was worth a try.

    It gave me the idea when I got it that I could use it to sort out my spd setup ie I could use the angles my feet are when standing in an unforced position and then replicate that on the bike. Result was that my spds will only allow a maximum angle of adjustment left or right of centre of about 8 degrees which is perfect for my right foot however my left foot has a 16 degree angle so I have no way of creating my natural angle on the bike - in fact I don't even come close.

    This doesn't suprise me as when I have tried before I was left with very bad knee and hip pain which would put me off the bike for several weeks hence my reluctance to even revisit them however from time to time I do go there as I really wanted to be able to use clipless as I wanted to do a lot more riding and this would greatly have assisted me in being much more efficient.

    Just wondered if anyone else had come across this problem and is their any clipless pedal system which would allow a much greater range of movement in the setup of the cleat left or right of centre, in my case right of centre as I am toes out.

    Hate toe clips so really not interested in that as a potential solution would rather just stick to being slow in trainers if that is my only other option.
  2. It's possible to butcher carefully adapt the soles and cleat back-plates of most shoes to achieve more cleat angle. Keeping your knees in helps too BTW, I have similarly maladjusted knees following an interaction with the front of an Audi twenty years ago.
  3. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Get an assistant. SIt on a table. Let your feet dangle. Get assistant to mark position of feet on cardboard. Transfer to cleat.

    Caveat: I found I preferred the cleats more straight. Don't bother at all with atac cleats, though the looks are angled.
  4. davidwalton

    davidwalton New Member

    SpeedPlay Frogs have 20 deg to release out of the box. See http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog
  5. Crackle

    Crackle Squatter

    I just did some measuring on mine - Same problem as you but not as severe I think.

    I use SPD's and have managed to angle the cleat on the shoe by about 8/9 degress. This plus the float on the peddle gives me 13/14 degrees. If you are at 16, your heel must be close to touching the cranks, depending on the pedal.

    Also, as Mickle suggests, looking at my shoe it would be possible to do some modding on the cleat slots to gain some extra degrees.

    I also found that once I got used to the cleats my feet came a liitle straighter, particularly my right. There are many reasons why you might unaligned feet. You might want to take a look at the advice given to me when I was setting mine up, particularly Blonde's comments.

  6. frog

    frog Guest

    Speedplay Frogs. They have a huge amount of float. You can fine tune it so you don't scrape your heels agains the cranks as well - so you don't bugger up your overshoes (like I did :biggrin:)

    They are a bit pricey. And you need to get 'off road' shoes because the cleat needs to be recessed a bit.

    Bought mine nearly 4 years ago when the knees started hurting. Virtually no problems since.
  7. OP

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    Thanks for the suggestions cackle and frog. Interesting thread there cackle. Will have to have look at it in more detail this evening. Yes my heel does get very close to the crank on both sides however as someone else suggested a few washers at the pedal will sort any problems there.

    I have an appointment with a sport physio towards the end of the month so I will see what he has to suggest, if anything. At least I might begin to understand where my problems stem from and see if I can get more flexibility into my left foot.

    As regards flexibility. My left foot has very little movement in the heels outwards side but can move it inward however most clipless systems require a heel outward twist. Is this the case with speedplay frogs? It it is then they are going to be unsuitable as I will not be able to get out of them. That's the reason I went spd in the first place because I could use multi-release cleats which would allow me to release inward as well as outward and sharply upward.

    Also as regards speedplay frogs I have been looking at online reviews and they have been getting fantastic reviews from owners up until last year when they seem to have changed the quality of the product and they are now more fragile and breaking more easily. If I am going to spend the money that they are asking for these I would really want to be sure that they are going to last. Has anyone else who bought these recently been disappointed or otherwise or indeed overjoyed with their purchase?
  8. frog

    frog Guest

    The thing about frogs is you don't actually unclip. You clip in by sliding your foot forwards while resting it in the top of the pedal. There is a very gentle click as you engage the ratchet at the front.

    To release you rotate outwards and just lift the foot off - there is no resistance against a clamp or anything. But you do need to rotate outwards, not much, but it might be beyond what you're able to do comfortably.

    I'm sorry to hear the quality fell off. Better hope mine last until they get it sorted again.

    Oh yes, I've only on my second pair of cleats and that is after around 18,000 to 20,000 miles.
  9. OP

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    Great stuff guys. I decided to give them another go using the advice given here about carefully adapting the bottom of the shoe to give me more room to create a bigger angle. It didn't take much to get me enough. Done the whole ride home (14.5 miles) in them. Only prob was I found my seat very low. Wasn't used to that much clearance over the seat so will have to raise that.

    My right leg interestingly, which is the one that isn't quite so skewed, was the one which caused me the most probs because I made the mistake of not spending as much time setting it up as I did the left. Anyway got through it and fully expected, in line with previous experience, to be barely able to walk today because of my knees and hips hurting badly but I only have very mild dull pain in left knee at the very bottom in the centre of my left knee. I got away with no probs on right even though I could feel it was badly setup (foot was too straight - it looked and felt wrong).

    Also my toe on my left foot went a bit numb so not sure what that's about perhaps when I finish tweaking that will sort itself.

    In the past when I had tried using clipless I was so petrified of not getting my foot out that I pulled my foot out really, really early and would get very anxious. As a result I couldn't get the hang of stopping at all as I would quite often end up leaning the wrong way ie to the side of the clipped in foot and toppled right over which only made me even more terrified especially as I was riding in rush hour traffic. Last night was so different and I do know why. In order to unclip in the past I was pulling my foot out on the right long before I needed to stop and as I was scared of clipping in again accidentally my foot would waggle about until I was ready to come to a stop. As I was coming to a stop I started to try to put my foot down as I was still riding so that I would definitely be leaning the right way but with my left foot still clipped in and me still moving and this foot flailing around on the right all this did was make me totally unbalanced and as my left foot was still in when the momentum went to left side there was no way to recover and over I went. Last night I just slowed right down and unclipped as I was nearly slowed and just planted the foot down. So easy. Once I had got it right the first time didn't even have to think about it after that.

    So all in all a very positive experience. Still some tweaking to do however I can now see that I will probably be able to use these without problem in the future.
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