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Cleat Alignment Expert

londonlivvylondonlivvy Posts: 644
edited January 2011 in Commuting chat
My right knee is very sore and I suspect it's due to me changing cleats from SPD to SPD SL. I have faffed about a bit but I am honestly faffing without a clue.

My marmotte training needs all the help it can get so I want to be able to fix this and get on with my training so I need expert advice. I'm already aware of Bike Whisperer and Cyclefit but both involve a serious chunk of money (250 or 200, it seems) - is anyone else out there ?

Thanks

Posts

  • wvanrywvanry Posts: 78
    bike whisperer charge around £50 for cleat setup....
  • Ah checked their website - it's 75, you're right. But I remember from previous experience that they're generally v.busy so weeks of advance warning required which I don't really have (I need all the training time I can get!).

    In the meantime have also found On Your Bike. Does anyone have any personal experience of them?
  • ZachariahZachariah Posts: 782
    Do you jave a turbo trainer? I've found that's the easiest way to try out different cleat positions (and saddle, handlebars etc), as long as you can ensure the bike is level.
  • nichnich Posts: 888
    Not an expert here, but if you set them up with very little tension, does the pain go away?

    I'm not saying fix it by reducing the tension, but it would help diagnose whether it's the cleats or not. Mine are setup very lose, so I have quite a large amount of movement, which means my knee's can move through their natural angles.

    g'luck :)
  • What sort of knee pain are you getting? And where, exactly, on your knee?
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  • davisdavis Posts: 2,505
    Give the Bike Whisperer a call. Seriously, what's the worst that could happen? They're too busy to see you, in which case you've lost nothing. I've found them genuinely accommodating.

    But yeah, try playing about yourself: one of the best tips I've heard is that it isn't cleat position relative to your shoe, but relative to your foot: your feet are probably different sizes - try comparing against the balls of your feet, not your shoes.
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  • ZachariahZachariah Posts: 782
    nich wrote:
    Not an expert here, but if you set them up with very little tension, does the pain go away?

    Not to discount your experience, but I believe SPD-SLs are just like Look Keos, which I have. The tension adjustment affects how much effort you have to use to clip in and out, but does not affect the float, so would not be effective in relieving pain caused by bad positioning.

    Alternatively, Londonlivvy may be experiencing the pain caused by pushing too high a gear - that will strain the knees no end. You can test for this by spending a few days in a deliberately lower gear than normal and spinning away, to see if this makes any difference. Saddle position also contributes, though there is no mention of this changing (but if the new pedals are 'flatter' than the old ones, you may actually need to lower your saddle a fraction to compensate).

    Lots of things to try before forking out £75!
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,175
    There is a BikeRadar article here about cleat positioning.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. Am a bit worried as it's still hurting this morning...

    Zachariah - I don't have a turbo, I have rollers, so too difficult I think for that caper. The b/f has one though so that might work. Gears-wise, I've always tended towards a low cadence (75 or so) but since the beginning of this year I've been deliberately trying to increase that to 80 or 95 on a ride, so I don't think it's that. Also, surely both knees would hurt if that was the case?

    Greg 66. Inside of right knee. I've noticed soreness after long rides ever since I changed over to SPD SLand now I'm doing quite a lot of training it now hurts even after a short one hour ride. And today, the morning after a 1h30 ride, which doesn't seem right.

    DesWeller - I'm not crazy on spending £75 but I have been faffing since last August on a fairly regular basis without getting anywhere better, which is why I'm thinking possibly it's time to call in the experts.

    My cleats are set up with lots of float (they are the yellow SPD SL ones) but I suspect I have as much as could be wished for.

    Ealing's a PITA for those of us in SE London, but they're on my list of possibles. But I'll ask around at work today if anyone knows of On Your Bike. It seems reasonably priced there too. (only £25)
  • Symptons sound similar to mine.
    I took advice and had a full bike fit with Cadence Sport which cost £110

    Turns out that the arch of my right foot is weak and this was causing the foot to pronate.
    Arch colapse under pressure and the ankle turns in. This in turn effects the knee and caused pain on the inside. In addition to this my position was out with the seat being too low.

    Cadence made custom insoles to support my feet in the correct possitions re-aligning the ankles. Wedges were used in side the shoe to fit the shoe to my foot, and outside to correct the shoe/foot to tthe knee.
    Cleats were properly positioned in relation to ball of foot and spindle and then seat height and fore/aft position adjusted for optimun leg extension.
    Bars were then adjusted for reach and height.

    3hrs later pain had gone and after riding a further 500+miles since the fit the problem has not reocurred.

    Apparently you gain/loose 25% power/efficiency through incorrect positioning.
    If you think about how much abuse knees get with 80rpm for several hours, then thats a lot of unessessary pain and wear and tear to tolerate.

    £100+ might sound like a lot to pay but for me the extra power and pain free cycling made it well worth it.
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  • griffter18. I had knee trouble a couple of years ago which was on both knees and was down, like you, to weak arches. So I have some inserts now which seemed to have solved the problem. But as this is now on one knee, I don't think it can be the same problem, but more likely to be the new cleats.

    However I do realise that cleats don't operate in isolation and therefore I might need to have a bike fitting (though I had a proper bike fitting session before I bought this bike and so I doubt it is the bike). (Note to self: check measurements of saddle etc against what Epic Cycles gave me - I may have moved it inadvertently when dismantling / reassembling bike into bike box). :oops:

    I'd pay £100 (which is what OnYourBike charge for a full cleat / bike fitting bonanza), but £250 is a lot of money for me. Cyclefit do special custom insoles which may, again, be the answer (an upgrade from my existing off the shelf ones) but it's £75 (on top of their bike fit...).
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,151

    In the meantime have also found On Your Bike. Does anyone have any personal experience of them?

    Avoid.

    Cyclefit are good. I had similar issues to you and switched from SPD-L to Speedplay Zero. Problem solved.
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  • Butterd2Butterd2 Posts: 937
    I know this is stating the obvious but why don't you go back to SPD? In the first instance this will tell you if it is the SL that is causing the problem and secondly if they work for you why change?
    You also get the added benefit of not walking like a duck.
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  • Butterd2 wrote:
    I know this is stating the obvious but why don't you go back to SPD? In the first instance this will tell you if it is the SL that is causing the problem and secondly if they work for you why change?
    You also get the added benefit of not walking like a duck.

    This hadn't actually occurred to me. But it's not possible as my old SPD shoes died and were thrown away and new shoes have three cleat fixings only. Apparently SPD SL is better cos of power transference and stuff (you can see what I really understand this in depth. not.).

    Thanks IP. Though On YourBike is cheaper, not much point if it's a false economy.
  • Butterd2Butterd2 Posts: 937
    Well in that case try some of these which for £13 will allow you to fit SPD cleats to SPD SL shoes.
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=28896

    It's a cheap way of narrowing down the problem.

    As for SL'd being better I have no idea but I use SPD's on all my bikes (including the road bike) and have found them great for everything from commuting to work to crossing the Pyrenees. If it ain't broke....
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  • +1 re On Your Bike - I've never had much in the way of good service from there

    And another +1 for Speedplay Zeros - I have got 2 dodgy knees and they have never been better since the switch to Speedplay

    Re the change back to regular SPD, you can get an adapter plate to allow you to fit 2 hole cleats to 3 hole shoes - drop me a PM if you are interested as I have a set gathering dust in my garage and I travel in thru SE London every day.

    At least that way, you can start to isolate whether it is shoe or cleat related (seeing as you have changed both) and might make it clearer where to go next (more/different insoles or cleat set-up)

    The other option is to head into Kent/Surrey as there are some good LBS who will do fitting type stuff for non-London rates - have heard good things about Wildside in Tonbridge or Downland in Canterbury and saw a recommnedation for WindyMilla in Guildford in one of the Road boards.

    Whatever you do, I wish you the best of luck as Knee pain is just no fun for anyone.
  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    You might want to google ITBS - Its an inflammation of the tendons(?) that can show as pain in the sides of knees. I got it really bad for a while, to a point where I couldn't walk properly for a few days after a long ride. There are a number of stretches you can do pre and post ride, I've taken to doing this and its gone away completely for me. As well as that, you might want to try making your feet slightly ducky - i.e. aligning the cleats so the heels are slightly inboard of the toes. This is recommended although I have not found it necessary myself.
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  • benpinnickbenpinnick Posts: 4,148
    PS - It stands for Iliotibial band syndrome
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  • jzedjzed Posts: 2,926
    Thanks for all the thoughts and suggestions. Am a bit worried as it's still hurting this morning...

    I had knee pains just in one knee before Christmas (soreness around the bottom of the knee cap and a dull pain inside the knee). Only change was a set of new wheels on the bike that despite being lighter seemed to require more effort to ride.

    Was worried that may have torn cartiliage again, but a couple of weeks riding at a higher cadence (100-110 when moving) seemed to have settled it down.

    I think there's a physio/bikefit combination in Clapham. Not sure how much it costs. I had planned to get a bike fit done but for now everything seems to be running smoothly.
  • When you're on your bike are you finding that your right foot is at the extremes of the float? I've found in the past that if the cleat's in the wrong place if I ride for a couple of miles to get relaxed, then try twisting the sore leg, the cleat will only twist one way, but in the other direction is either at the stop of the available float, or pretty close to it. A quick adjustement to the cleat so I'm operating in the middle of float and things are fine.

    As already said - check your saddle height as a change in shoes and pedals could mean the distance between saddle and pedal spindle has changed.

    PS - I'm no expert, but these basic checks might save you some money :D
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  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 20,035
    Liv didn't you have an op recently on your back?
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  • kurakokurako Posts: 1,098
    I'm wondering if it's less a problem with cleat position and more a problem with support. I was getting terrible hot foot until I changed my insoles to Spesh footbeds. Pearson Cycles has them for 25 quid. Worth a try if all else fails.

    http://www.pearsoncycles.co.uk/store/pr ... bd-G36-38/
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