Tips on Installing and Adjusting Pedal Cleats!

Installing and adjusting your pedal cleats is best done well before your important ride or race. Although the process is quite simple, you should take the time to get it right. Each new pair of shoes and sometimes a new bike can alter the feel of the pedals when you are riding in earnest. Don’t skip over the heel-to-crankarm measuring step – this is the reference you’ll need to make minor changes later. Another good tip is to use your normal saddle height before you start the process, and when you are checking the fit, stand up and pedal for a spell to ensure that all bases are covered.


What You’ll need: SPD compatible cycling shoes, a sharpie marking pen, a ruler or accurate measuring device, and a set of cleats. We are using Shimano, but the same method works for nearly all types.


Step One: The first step is finding the ball of your foot.The pedal axle needs to line up with this joint to promote effective pedaling. The pen is pointing at the ball of the foot. You’ll need to find this spot when the shoe is on.


Step Two: Put on your shoes and then squeeze around the inside of the foot to locate the center of the ball of each foot.


Step Three: After you locate the ball of the foot through the shoe, mark the spot on the sole with a Sharpie pen.


Step Four: Draw a level line across the pedal using your mark. Center the cleat along the line you drew and screw it down snugly (don’t tighten it completely yet), I drew in a second line below the original – if you ride technical sections, or jump a lot, some riders like to set the cleat back 5 millimeters to add stability to the foot.


Step Five: Ride around for a bit and then stop at the 12, 3, 6, and 9-o’clock posiitions of the crank rotation. Check each position for side to side play in the cleat. If your shoe is binding to one side, make a note if it’s being forced to the right or left at each stop of the clock.


Step Six: Set the crank at the forward, 9-o’clock position, and then measure the distance from the center of the crank arm to somewhere on the heel. Use this as a reference when you adjust the angle of the cleat. Make 1/4 inch (5mm) adjustments to achieve best results.


Step Seven: After establishing the distance from the heel to the crank arm, remove the shoe and make small angular adjustments to correct any binding in the crank circle. Ride and recheck at all four positions. If all is go, tighten the cleats and ride. Remember, you’ll need to retighten the cleats after your first long day in the saddle.

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