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Very tight pedal clips

Old 03-03-20, 03:14 AM
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Very tight pedal clips

I put my Eroica bike back on the trainer and installed the pedals I am going to use. When I tried it out the shoe cleats were having a very hard time seating all the way on the pedal. I thought about making the slot wider but Is it normal to open the gap to allow them to fit better? Also the way there are now there would be ZERO float and I am sure that would kill my knees.

Last edited by daviddavieboy; 03-03-20 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 03-03-20, 05:31 AM
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There are clipless pedal cleats that look very similar, but are different.
Wellgo and Shimano are good examples.

The ramps and flat areas are different enough that they do no interchange, while visually, they are very close
- including the color in some cases.

This in both the metal and plastic versions.

If you do manage to get the similar types to engage, it might be very difficult to get them to dis-engage.
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Old 03-03-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by 100bikes View Post
There are clipless pedal cleats that look very similar, but are different.
Wellgo and Shimano are good examples.

The ramps and flat areas are different enough that they do no interchange, while visually, they are very close
- including the color in some cases.

This in both the metal and plastic versions.

If you do manage to get the similar types to engage, it might be very difficult to get them to dis-engage.
I apologize for not being clearer but what I am referring to are the slotted cleats for use with toe clip pedals and vintage shoes.
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Old 03-03-20, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
I apologize for not being clearer but what I am referring to are the slotted cleats for use with toe clip pedals and vintage shoes.
TOe-clips and cleats do NOT have float. That's why it's so important to get the right cleat position. I put my cleats onto the shoes but don't tighten them up all the way just quite snug. Then I take the bike for a ride with the straps loose enough that I can lift my foot out of the pedal easily. After a few miles or kilometers I'll get off the bike and then tighten the bolts fully on the cleats.

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Old 03-03-20, 08:53 AM
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BITD, "float" was provided by filing the cleat slot into a narrow hourglass shape: )(
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Old 03-03-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
BITD, "float" was provided by filing the cleat slot into a narrow hourglass shape: )(
That's what I did too.
BTW, OP...one other possible solution is a thin spacer between the pedal and the toe clip where it mounts.
I've use 1/8 aluminum flat stock before. Drill two holes in each spacer...bingo.
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Old 03-03-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
I put my Eroica bike back on the trainer and installed the pedals I am going to use. When I tried it out the shoe cleats were having a very hard time seating all the way on the pedal. I thought about making the slot wider but Is it normal to open the gap to allow them to fit better? Also the way there are now there would be ZERO float and I am sure that would kill my knees.
Are you talking about traditional slotted cleats for quill pedals? Yeah, they are zero float. Float wasn't really a thing. That's why they were aligned very carefully.

I don't see any big reason not to open the slots up a bit. I've never done it, nor do I know of anyone who has. Perhaps someone on the forum has done it.

Edit: oh yeah, the hourglass thing. I've heard of that before but don't remember anyone doing it. That would be the smart way.

Regardless, I suggest starting by getting them positioned as well as possible before you do any filing open. If they are the later 70s/80s type with adjustable plastic cleats, bring an allen wrench with you on a ride and tweak the angle until it feels just right.

Last edited by Salamandrine; 03-03-20 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 03-03-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
BITD, "float" was provided by filing the cleat slot into a narrow hourglass shape: )(
Thanks for this, I think it would solve 2 problem for me.
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Old 03-03-20, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Are you talking about traditional slotted cleats for quill pedals? Yeah, they are zero float. Float wasn't really a thing. That's why they were aligned very carefully.

I don't see any big reason not to open the slots up a bit. I've never done it, nor do I know of anyone who has. Perhaps someone on the forum has done it.

Edit: oh yeah, the hourglass thing. I've heard of that before but don't remember anyone doing it. That would be the smart way.

Regardless, I suggest starting by getting them positioned as well as possible before you do any filing open. If they are the later 70s/80s type with adjustable plastic cleats, bring an allen wrench with you on a ride and tweak the angle until it feels just right.

Yes they are quill pedals and slotted cleats. The biggest reason for this is that I am quite sure on a couple hills I will be walking and at the moment where riding forward is not an option I do not want to be stuck in the pedals. I have a bum knee and a little float is a must, as well as the ball of my foot ahead of the pedal axle. That being said, I will go with the advice and ride it on the trainer for a while and dial in the position. With any luck the cleat will loosen up on its own.
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Old 03-03-20, 10:42 AM
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open up the slot. not mentioned was if pedal has an aluminum quill or plates- they are often (almost always) thicker than steel pedals.
JohnDthompson is correct, another option back in the day, there was a "fit kit" pedal system long ago to monitor your pedal stroke, good for setting cleats.
Some riders swing their knee in and out as they pedal- not good. one really has to have another video you pedaling on the bike to show this.
I see it often on the road and when I meet up with the rider I ask how their knee pain is. "How did you know?"
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Old 03-03-20, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
Yes they are quill pedals and slotted cleats. The biggest reason for this is that I am quite sure on a couple hills I will be walking and at the moment where riding forward is not an option I do not want to be stuck in the pedals. I have a bum knee and a little float is a must, as well as the ball of my foot ahead of the pedal axle. That being said, I will go with the advice and ride it on the trainer for a while and dial in the position. With any luck the cleat will loosen up on its own.
If the cleat is fully tightened then it should NOT come loose in use. Also, to save wear and tear on the toe of your shoe the cleat should be adjusted so that your shoe does NOT TOUCH the toe-clip.

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Old 03-03-20, 12:48 PM
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The obvious solution, and the one I use, is to not use cleats. BITD, I used cleats for racing and most local riding (but never for touring). However, it's subsequently been proven through research that being cleated in does not improve performance overall (though it can be helpful on very steep uphills). Also, it can lead to knee problems if cleats are not adjusted and makes it very difficult to walk your bike on Eroica-style hills. I gave up cleats a long time ago and have never observed a down side. The only reason I can see for using them is to stay authentic to the past (though who is going to notice whether or not you have cleats nailed to the bottoms of your shoes?).
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Old 03-03-20, 01:48 PM
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While I'm not convinced that it's been proven the cleats don't improve performance - that's another discussion, I think @davester makes a very good point. If you've got knee issues and you know you'll be walking, why not get some non cleated touring shoes? Walking in cleated racing shoes was always a pain. There's a fair amount of choice in traditional looking touring shoes these days. If you search for some recent threads you'll find suggestions.
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Old 03-03-20, 01:57 PM
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My two cents...

1) It might be they are not seating because your toes are stopping before it is fully in place. Add a really thin washer to each of the bolts behind the clip (between clip and the plate).
2) If it is aligned and not able to move down because of the thickness of the slot-- versus the cage-plate, then file the cleat from the sides as evenly as possible as suggested above. Modern replacement cleats are hard to find and not built to days of yore specifications...
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Old 03-03-20, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
While I'm not convinced that it's been proven the cleats don't improve performance - that's another discussion, I think @davester makes a very good point. If you've got knee issues and you know you'll be walking, why not get some non cleated touring shoes? Walking in cleated racing shoes was always a pain. There's a fair amount of choice in traditional looking touring shoes these days. If you search for some recent threads you'll find suggestions.
Avocets were the best!
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Old 03-03-20, 09:06 PM
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I used plastic cleats on my first Eroica ride. I think it was 2016, a drizzly day with lots of muddy trails. I stopped and used a screw driver to clean the cleats several times, because they would not engage. Twice, I fell on the same knee (still hurts) when they wouldn't disengage, even with loose straps. Conversely, on a washboard, dirt section, my feet actually came out of the pedals, even with cleats and straps. BITD, I used to race with metal cleats, straps and clips, but our races never included repeated stops and starts, walking or riding on mud or gravel. I did spend some time filing the plastic cleat slot into a bit of a "V" by beveling the sharp edges of the slot, but couldn't tell much difference. I tried half clips from VO, and even ugly black plastic mtn bike type toe clips. The shoes I was using are Vittoria 1976, with three hole cleat mounts, and very slick soles, not good for walking. Unless you are some kind of Superman, you Will be walking at some point. I now use Louis Garneau Nickel SPD shoes, where the cleat location is recessed, giving a flat, rubberized sole, good for walking, and not bad for pedaling with toe clips and straps. I have considered going to a shoe shop and having ribbed rubber soles put on the Vittorias, but so far the LG Nickels are working (without cleats). On an all pavement club ride today, 40 miles, with a couple of nasty, steep, but shortish hills, I had 4 Strava PRs and a 16 mph average. I even had one best PR segment over a bunch of pretty good riders on modern carbon, with "real" pedals, so I guess this setup is working, even with a 70 year old rider. Good luck with your cleats, but they just didn't work for me.

My current set-up, with washers between pedal and toe clip to get more toe room.

The Vittorias I started with

The LG Nickels, not as pretty as the Vittorias, but work for SPDs 11 months a year, and dreaded toe clips and straps 1 month a year for Eroica. They are half the cost of Vittoria, but infinitely more useful.
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Old 03-03-20, 10:15 PM
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daviddavieboy, I've been riding traditional cleats and pedals a long time and have strong preferences for certain materials. Aluminum cleats and chromed steel rattrap pedals. Also quality leather straps. I have done a lot of my traditional setup riding on fix gears and often in hills. There is a really simple test for the quality of the setup. Ow steep a hill can I get up without either pulling my foot out or injuring my foot. Pulling too hard on the straps feels like am going to break the bones in my foot.

Aluminum cleats and chromed steel rattraps are sweet. The chromed plate slides easily into the cleat slot (assuming the slot is wide enough; virtually all are, even new - unlike the wider aluminum rattraps). Being dissimilar metals, they tend to bind when force is applied. This means you do not have to pull the straps all that tight to keep your feet in place, even pulling quite hard. (NOT TRUE of any of the plastic pedals I've used.) Quality leather tends to hold shoes with friction, not just tension, so you do not need to pull them as tight. I also find them far kinder to my feet when I am doing long out of the saddle fix gear climbs. Another plus of the aluminum and chrome combo - the rattraps last forever and stay good looking quite a ling time. The cleats last far longer than plastic ones (and are far more forgiving- wear wise - than plastic). If y9o9ur pedals have aluminum rattraps and are detachable, see if you can find chromed steel relacements. Set the aluminum ones aside to maybe sell later (to someone who killed his).

A really good aluminum cleat that is easy to find is the Exustar track cleat, ~$20. (Skip the $80 ones. They are for the veloddrome sprinters and have no place on the road.) The Exustars use the 3-bolt LOOK pattern so you have the choice of any modern road shoe. (I just saw that Lake now offers a laced cheap shoe. ~$80! I love the Lake shoes; the fit and they last nearly forever for me. Hate straps in general and have been taking them off my Lake and installing laces. Now they do it for me!)

Oh, the straps - I buy Zephal toeclips for their good buckles. Go to a local leather shop and have them cut me 1/2" leather strapping from quality hide. (Tell them 1/2" or a touch less.) Attach the straps with pop rivets. These straps do not last as long as the harder leather in say a Binda strap, but they are far cheaper and for about half the life of a Binda, they are excellent. ($15 gets me the Zephals. A dollar gets me plenty of rivets. 5 feet of strapping is I think about $6. And the Zephal buckles will outlast a half dozen straps.

Ben
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Old 03-04-20, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post

My current set-up, with washers between pedal and toe clip to get more toe room.

The Vittorias I started with

The LG Nickels, not as pretty as the Vittorias, but work for SPDs 11 months a year, and dreaded toe clips and straps 1 month a year for Eroica. They are half the cost of Vittoria, but infinitely more useful.
Looks like those fit well on a NR pedal. Do you mind my asking what size they are? I bought some 510 cycling shoes in size 9 and they are wider than the pedal reminding why they are quill pedals. Then some 30 yo Avocets in 9 and they are right for length and fit on the pedal but narrow on my feet but might work out depending on how they change to accomodate my feet -- they seem to be pretty flexible, so might work.
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Old 03-04-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
Looks like those fit well on a NR pedal. Do you mind my asking what size they are? I bought some 510 cycling shoes in size 9 and they are wider than the pedal reminding why they are quill pedals. Then some 30 yo Avocets in 9 and they are right for length and fit on the pedal but narrow on my feet but might work out depending on how they change to accomodate my feet -- they seem to be pretty flexible, so might work.
The LG Nickels are Euro 47s (US 11) as are the Vittorias. I had to space the clips forward with a few washers to get toe room in the clips. There might be larger clips available, but these were on sale at the Performance close out sale, and I only use them once a year.
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Old 03-04-20, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
The LG Nickels are Euro 47s (US 11) as are the Vittorias. I had to space the clips forward with a few washers to get toe room in the clips. There might be larger clips available, but these were on sale at the Performance close out sale, and I only use them once a year.
Thank you, that's good information. My size is probably 43 - 43.5 so these shoes would probably work for me. I have some 17 yo Shimano mtb shoes which are only slightly too wide but they are starting to pain me where the cleat goes, which I don't use. Also, the tread is a lot nubbier than what your LG shows. Back in the 80s, there were comfortable "touring" shoes with rubber soles -- Cateye and Avocet are two brands we used, but it's not easy to find somethiing comparable these days. Recent threads indicate that the Italians and Spaniards and Belgians are making really nice stylish products but jeez, I'm a simple guy.
edit: and spacing the toe clips forward, I never would have thought of that. I'd just bend them and hope the didn't break.
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Old 03-04-20, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
...Some riders swing their knee in and out as they pedal- not good. one really has to have another video you pedaling on the bike to show this.
I see it often on the road and when I meet up with the rider I ask how their knee pain is. "How did you know?"
This is a very interesting observation! I too have noticed the swinging knees but never thought much about it.
Do you know more? I'm curious whether the swinging knee is the cause or the symptom. In other words does the swinging knee cause the pain?
or
Do people swing their knees to lessen the pain?
or
Are both the pain and the swinging knee symptoms of another problem? i.e. bad saddle position, restricted hip joint, weak or damaged knee joint, etc.

Thanks,
Brent
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Old 03-04-20, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
The LG Nickels are Euro 47s (US 11) as are the Vittorias. I had to space the clips forward with a few washers to get toe room in the clips. There might be larger clips available, but these were on sale at the Performance close out sale, and I only use them once a year.
I just noticed something highly significant about that photo...you have some kind of spacer between the crank and the pedal that apparently makes it so that the quill doesn't dig into your sole. Where did you get those? I've never seen them before.

Edit: I just found them on amazon as "pedal extenders". Apparently they're quite common. Think I might get some since the quill always digs into my foot.

Last edited by davester; 03-04-20 at 03:08 PM.
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Old 03-04-20, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I just noticed something highly significant about that photo...you have some kind of spacer between the crank and the pedal that apparently makes it so that the quill doesn't dig into your sole. Where did you get those? I've never seen them before.

Edit: I just found them on amazon as "pedal extenders". Apparently they're quite common. Think I might get some since the quill always digs into my foot.
These are called "Knee Savers". I have a gimpy knee, and these give the knee a better angle as you pedal thru. I have them on several bikes. Some don't need it if the BB axle is long enough. As for quill pedals, I can't see how they would help you with a foot comfort issue with the pedal, but it does keep the inside edge of the leather strap from rubbing on the crank arms. They come in various lengths. There are also cheaper knockoffs available on Ebay, as well as Amazon. One complication is that the male threaded end is closed at the end, so you can't access a hex screw if your pedal has that kind of attachment on the axle. These old pedals have wrench flats, but not all pedals do.

Last edited by Slightspeed; 03-04-20 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 03-04-20, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
I have a bum knee and a little float is a must, as well as the ball of my foot ahead of the pedal axle.
If you need the ball of your foot ahead of the pedal spindle, it is likely you will need to space out your toe clip away from the pedal cage with washers. See Slightspeed's pics for the example. The conventional fit places the ball of your foot directly over the spindle, and toe clips are sized accordingly.

FWIW, muddy roads and slot cleats really don't get along that well. BITD whenever we'd ride a fire road or someting, I'd carry a small screwdriver or something in a jersey pocket. This was used and used often for digging mud and gravel out of the cleat slots. It boggles my mind to think people used to cyclocross with slot cleats, albeit special ones.
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Old 03-05-20, 05:59 AM
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daviddavieboy 
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
FWIW, muddy roads and slot cleats really don't get along that well. BITD whenever we'd ride a fire road or someting, I'd carry a small screwdriver or something in a jersey pocket. This was used and used often for digging mud and gravel out of the cleat slots. It boggles my mind to think people used to cyclocross with slot cleats, albeit special ones.
I have already sorted out the toe clip with a larger one. There is now about 1/8" clearance at then toe. I think a wise option if the ride is going to be muddy is remove the cleat altogether or bail on the heroic route and stick to the pavement.

Originally Posted by Slightspeed View Post
These are called "Knee Savers". I have a gimpy knee, and these give the knee a better angle as you pedal thru. I have them on several bikes.
Thank you, I just ordered some. Q-factor is quite important and this is something I may have too look into. The longest ride I have done with this bike is only ~50 mi and have less than 500 mi total riding on it. For thne next few weeks I will be doing trainer rides on it and will have a week or so of outdoor riding as I drive across the country.

Also, thanks ALL for the great information. As some mentioned my knees, I will add that my peddling form is good and experience no swing in my knees and neither any harsh pulling or pushing on the pedal but fluid on the stroke. I think the cleats I was using might have been walked on a little too much and closed the gap as I swapped them for a brand new set and they engage/disengage quite nicely.



Last edited by daviddavieboy; 03-05-20 at 11:12 AM.
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