Introduction Quite often I see a question in a newsgroup or forum along the lines of: What is this thing called 'OOP'?
This is arguable advice at best and I will explain why below. Bear in mind that much of this effort is not contributing directly to propelling the bike but merely to stabilising foot and ankle. When deciding on a cleat position you need to know what type of riding is intended and for what duration and at what intensity.
Below are three views about how to determine cleat position. Each are effective and which one you should choose depends on on what your priorities are on the bike. A t the end of this post will be advice to help you determine which method is best for you.
Firstly, an explanatory note: Method 3 came to my attention after many email conversations with and a subsequent visit by Gotz Heine. Like riding up a hill forcing the gear a bit or accelerating a big gear while staying seated. All riders do these things from time to time.
Under these and similar conditions, the rider will drop their heel more than they do at lighter loads. Where now is the ball of the foot? It is not centred over the pedal axle. I would go further and say for best sustainable performance, the centre of the ball of the foot 1st MTP joint should be in front of the pedal axle even with a significant heel drop.
Some general recommendations follow below. These are based on trial and error testing on thousands of subjects over many years. They are general recommendations for those that want simple answers to a complex question, but are not to be considered specific to any individual.
Long experience has shown me that they will work for some level of benefit for the vast majority of performance oriented riders. Shoe size 36 — One caveat — The above table is for road and mtb riders of average technique.
Exceptional heel droppers will need their cleats further back again. Exceptional toe droppers will not need their cleats quite as far back. Crit riders and those who need to optimise their sprinting abilities should use the lower end of the scale. If you choose to apply the recommendations above, you need to be able to find out exactly where the centre of the ball of the foot is and then mark that point on the shoe.
Why pick the 1st MTP joint ball of foot? Why not pick the 3rd or the 5th or whichever other one you choose? I think that somewhere along the way, the mechanics of walking and running were mistakenly applied to cycling.
As measured from the heel, the MTP joints are all at different distances from the heel with huge individual variation as to the relative placement of the 5 joints. So to spread the load would it not be better to try and find a mid point amongst the MTP joints?
I find this a persuasive argument and think it reasonable to answer yes. If you agree, then the best way to determine where to place the foot over the pedal is as follows. Mark the joint space of the Ist and 5th MTP joinst as described here Find a hard surface and stand with your heels hard back against the base of a wall.
Place a ml steel rule against the wall between your feet so that the long axis of the rule faces away from the wall.
Have a helper record the distance from wall to the centre of the Ist MTP joint on each foot using the rule as a reference. Have a helper record the distance from the wall for the 5th MTP joint. Halve that number in the example above; 14mm Set the cleat position so that the centre of the 1st MTP joint is 14mm or whatever number you calculate as being appropriate to you in front of the pedal axle as measured in the usual manner described near the start of this post.
In most cases, this will result in a more rearward cleat position than Method 1. In a minority it will be a more forward cleat position.
What result you get will be determined by your foot proportions rather than a more generic approach as used in Method 1. What is also clear using this method is that 2 riders with similar sized feet can come up with quite different numbers because of individual differences as to where the 1st and 5th MTP joints are placed relative to the heel.
More advice on the pros and cons of each approach later. Most people have feet with some variance in length and often in proportions as well.
If you have any doubt about the result of this exercise, check and recheck your joint centre markings and calculations until you have certainty.Here at Mr. Money Mustache, we talk about all sorts of fancy stuff like investment fundamentals, lifestyle changes that save money, entrepreneurial ideas that help you make money, and philosophy that allows you to make these changes a positive thing instead of a sacrifice.
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