The bicycle connects to the body through three contact points - the pelvis, hands and feet. Cleats attached to the soles of the rider’s shoe are designed to achieve maximum power transfer through your pedals.
Many cyclists don’t bother with cleats on short distance rides but wear them on longer rides. With cleats on, a rider will feel more safe and secure because feet won’t slip off the pedals.
The stiff soles on cleats can also help prevent injury, misalignments and all the aches that go with them.
Cleat positioning is important. You want to avoid instability on the pedal, overuse of your calf muscles and uncomfortable hot spots on your feet. A cycling shoe is completely rigid so normal foot mechanics don’t apply. Cleats positioned as far back as possible on the shoe will allow ideal stability, calf muscle use and sprinting ability.
Your riding style will ultimately dictate your cleat positioning. Racers and sprinters will likely prefer a more forward cleat position. This positioning enables the rider to change speed rapidly and accelerate, at the expense of foot stability. A more rearward cleat position means more stability over the pedal with less calf muscle use but it decreases sprint ability. Some cleats even come midsole for endurance riders but again, sprint ability is decreased.
Replacing cleats is easy. Before you remove your old cleats, trace the outline of your cleats on the sole of your shoes with a sharpie. Place your new cleats within the lines, attach and you’re good to go.
Your pedals and cleats must be compatible so make sure you check this before purchasing. Your cleat/pedal combination depends on whether you’re a road or mountain cyclist. Many cyclists will change their cleat/pedal systems to match their activity.
Changing pedals is also pretty easy once you know what you’re doing. The ‘righty tighty, lefty loosey’ maxim doesn’t hold true here because the pedal is reverse-threaded. Place your bike on a stand and get someone to hold the rear wheel off the ground. Attach a hex or pedal wrench to one pedal and grip it firmly with your free hand. Hold the angle on your wrench and spin your crank forward to remove the pedal. To install the new pedal, do the same thing but spin it rearward.
We’d love to help you select a cleat and pedal system that will suit your cycling style. Come into either our Victoria or Sidney location and talk to us about your pedal and cleat needs. We’ll set you up with a system that’s just right for you.
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