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How much float is too much?

WanttogofasterWanttogofaster Posts: 12
edited May 2009 in Workshop
I've been reading a lot of info on cleat positioning probably to the point of obsession. I am trying to eliminate tendon issues in the lower leg and want to rule out cleat placement/style.

Some articles attribute various types of knee pain to either too little or too much float. I'm currently using Look Keo red cleats with 9 degrees of float (which I assume is +/- 4.5 degrees). Firstly having just changed to Look Keos is this a good float starting point.

What I can't understand is how you can have too much float. It seems to me the more you have the better as this will allow your lower limbs to follow their own natural path as you pedal.

Any ideas?



  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 5,669
    I had a pair of Time Impact pedals with a lot of float. It didn't effect my riding, because as you say your feet will just follow their natural path, but the amount of twist needed to unclip used to make my knees twinge so I ditched them after a few rides.
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    I think it's a completely personal preference. Some can't tolerate more than 3 deg. and others must have at least 15 deg. and some are in between. You will find out for yourself eventually what works for you.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    An amount of free float can feel a bit weird at first - I went to Time a few years ago because of some knee twinges but pleased I did. If you are suffering lower leg tendon issues it might be due to hyper-extension, or shoe fit rather than just cleat alignment. Might be worth seeking specialist advice if you're suffering chronic problems - Cyclefit are one option, but they are expensive and not everybody finds their recommendations suit them
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Thanks folks. I had already wondered whether the tendon (or possibly muscle) issue could be because my Specialized shoes cause my feet to tip outwards ie they have a high arch. It occurred to me I cannot recall having this recurring tendon/muscle issue before I used Specialized BG shoes. I've therefore swapped back to Shimano shoes, last weekend, as I used 10 years ago with SPDs. Maybe my feet require either a flat insole or want tipping the other way. I'll possibly get some personalized insoles made.

    With regards the float. What sort of injuries have people attributed to too much or too little float?

  • Forgot to add to previous message. Monty Dog what's hyper-extension? If it's over stretching the leg I'm fairly sure that's not the case. I set my saddle height using the Lemond method which seems to suit me fine as I have a knee that's not quite locked straight and with the pedal at the bottom my heal just touches the pedal.
  • jonmackjonmack Posts: 522
    I've just got a set of KEO Blacks and after my first ride on them, 30m (which is my longest ride to date) I'm absolutely loving them. I set them up by tightening the screws up so there was still a bit of movement in the cleat, then just clipping into the pedals, moving my feet around so the cleat moved until i felt comfortable, then I took my shoe off (still clipped to the pedal) and tightened up the front screw as tight as I could, unclipped the shoe, then did the other two bolts up.

    Seemed to work for me.
  • Jonmack can you actually see the cleat bolts when clipped in? I just assumed they wouldn't be visible. Either way I'm not sure I could remove my feet from the shoes without moving the cleat.
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