Improper cleat adjustment can
completely undermine the advantages of cleats. If the ball
of the foot is not over the pedal spindle, or the leg is
forced into an unnatural twist, you not only compromise
performance but risk knee injury.
The first step in adjusting
your cleats is to grease the cleat bolts and tighten them
moderately. Mount the bike, click or strap in, and adjust
the position so that the ball of your foot either directly
above or slightly behind the pedal axle. Keep in mind that
cleats positioned too far forward on the shoe will generate
excessive ankle movement, and can cause in Achilles strain.
Make a note beforehand of the
direction your feet point naturally when riding without
cleats. Try to duplicate this arrangement if it differs
substantially by from simply leaving a centimeter between
the ankle and crank arm. If your pedal allows some
rotational freedom, be sure that you don't center it too
close to the crank and allow your shoe to come to close.
Now, fully tighten the cleat
bolts and go riding. Cleat positioning is often an iterative
process, so keep making small adjustments until it feels
just right. If you have a hard time getting your cleats, or
your bike in general, adjusted just right, then try to track
down a bike shop which uses the Fit Kit, which is
particularly well recommended for setting cleats.