How To Set Up Clipless Pedals – MTB Pro Tips

How To Set Up Clipless Pedals – MTB Pro Tips


We’re going to look at how to set up
clipless pedals and shoes. First, set the cleat placement in the
shoe. The cleat is this little metal interface that actually clips into the
spring retention system on the pedal. Placement on the bottom of the shoe is
really important for pedaling efficiency but also affects how well you move your
weight around on the bike. In the bottom of your shoe, you have two
of these slots so you can move the cleat up and down and get a feel for where you
want to place that cleat . Something I see a lot of with coaching is
a lot of people have their cleat really far forward in the shoe and that will
make you ride slightly toe-down. It’s not always the best place to be,
especially if you’re riding technical trails. So actually sliding your cleat
further back in the shoe will make you stand a little bit flatter on the
pedal rather than being up and on your toes like that. There’s a slight argument in that if you
stand a little bit more toes-down, you’ll use your calves more for pedaling
but there’s nothing that really proves that that is a more powerful pedal stroke,
so something I definitely know is if you bring that cleat a little bit further back
it will flatten your foot out and that can really help with riding technical terrain. The ball part place start with your cleat,
is about on the ball of your foot. I actually run my cleat as far back in the
shoe as it will go and that slides my foot a little bit further forward on the
pedals. Makes me slightly more heels-down and that really suits my style of riding,
but something that’s well worth playing around with, that front-to-back
movement on the shoe. With your cleat you’ll get two bolts to
mount that cleat to the bottom of the shoe, but also you’ll get this
little plastic spacer. First thing you’ll do is mount that cleat
at the bottom of my shoe in that fore- to-aft position I feel is comfortable for
me. And then try and actually put the shoe on, and clip into your pedal. If you feel any of that rubber touching
that pedal and restricting you from clipping in or clipping out,
I would then try fitting the spacer. That’s going to bring your cleat a little
bit further away from the shoe and that might help so you don’t touch that shoe on
the pedal. Alternatively, you could just take a bit
of a Stanley blade to that rubber and get rid of some of that rubber so you can get
in and out nicely. Crank Brothers have this nifty little system with their
cleats, so one cleat has a dot on it, the other one doesn’t. If you put the
cleat with the dot on your right shoe, you’ll release at 15°. If you put it on
your left shoe, it will release at 20°. So you can actually choose when you want
your foot to come out of that pedal. Really nifty little system, I run the dot
on my right shoe so I’ve got the earlier release. So once we’ve got our fore-to-aft
position, next we’ll look at the side-to- side placement. You might find that that
if you have your cleat too far to the outside of your shoe, that’s going to put
your foot really close up to the cranks. So especially on your back foot you might
find that when you try and clip out you actually push your toe into the crank
before you can get out of your pedal. So in that case I would then slide this
cleat to the inside of the foot. That’s going to bring the pedal a bit
further away and the crank further away to give you a bit more space. But you might
also have to play around with that so that your rubber of the shoe doesn’t touch the
pedal before you clip in or clip out. Alternatively, you can actually fit
spacers to the pedal to bring that pedal a little bit further away from that crank.
So now to set the angle of this cleat in the shoe. You really want that to match
your natural stance on the pedal, so nice and square, in line with the length of the
shoe, is probably the best place to start. Try that out, see how that feels. You can
also play around with that a little bit, angling that cleat slightly so that it’s
already closer to the point of release of the pedal, so you toe it inside like that,
even when you’re stood normally, it’s really close to popping out. It
depends how you like it. Some people don’t like that you might come out of the pedal
when you’re not expecting to. Once you found that nice placement of this
cleat, make sure you tighten it down nice and tight. You don’t want these coming
loose or a bolt falling out. I have seen that happen . What then can
happen is that cleat will start spinning in the shoe and you’ll get stuck to that
pedal and then you have one of those embarrassing tip-overs where you can’t get
out. Now for the pedals. You can get different
styles of pedals. Here is a Crank Brothers Mallet DH, you can see there’s a big cage
on the outside of it, a downhill pedal. Here is a Crank Brothers Candy. This is
more of a cross-country pedal, as you can see it’s much
smaller, much lighter. So let’s start with the downhill pedals.
Obviously, this big cage is going to give you some support. So you can actually feel
that pedal on the bottom of your shoe. So you get a little bit of friction.
You’ve also got these little adjustable grub screws, so you can play around with
those. You can feel a little bit of the pedal on the bottom of the shoe.
Obviously, if you bring them out too much, you’ll get too much friction and that’s
going to make it much harder to get in and out of that pedal. I really like this style of pedal, and
it seems to work really nicely with a slightly softer-soled shoe. It feels
almost like a flat pedal. You can actually feel that pedal in the
bottom of your shoe. What you’ll find is with these smaller cross-country pedals,
they’re suited much better to these cross-country shoes. They’ll have a much
stiffer sole, so you don’t really need the extra support of a big platform pedal, you
just got that sole support on your foot. As you can see with this big downhill-
style pedal, the shoe is really touching the pedal, so there’s a lot of feel
there in the bottom of your foot. Also really good for maybe for not clipped
in on a technical section and you still got a big platform to stand on. Compare that to the cross-country-style
shoe and pedal, obviously much less platform there. So you’re not
going to get that same feeling at the bottom of your foot and it doesn’t matter
so much when you’re clipped in, but if for any reason you ride clipped
out, it’s not going to help quite so much. So this is the style of pedaling shoe I
like. Quite a big, slightly heavy, but soft shoe, with a big downhill pedal,
that really does suit my style of riding where I’ve got a good feel for the
pedal in the bottom of my foot, so it’s worth matching your shoe and your
pedal to the type of riding you do. Okay, so there’s how to set up clipless
pedals. If you’ve liked this video you can give us a big thumbs-up down here, or
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