speedplay pedals

by dave edgar   March 4, 2014  

NEED HELP! My wife got me a pair of speedplay for crimbo, till now I have only ever ridden shimano, I put them on but cannot seem to get the setup right. I have a Ridley Damocles isp and am getting a dull ache in my right knee. my leg appears to be in the same position as in the spd's as does the foot position over the spindle! any suggestions?

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The only time I ever suffer from knee pain is if my saddle is too high which makes me think it could be the lower stack height of the Speedplays compared to the SPD's, Speedplays are 2mm lower in stack height than SPD-SL's but I'm not sure about SPD's. If your knees are sensitive a couple of mm of extra stretch could be enough to cause the pain. On the flipside it could just be your knee is now sitting in its more natural position and you're using the muscles in a slightly different way.

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posted by stuke [301 posts]
4th March 2014 - 10:39

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Which ones have you got, X-series or Zero's?

Both, look to change the saddle height a touch, speedplay cleats are taller than other cleats. Or play around with the positioning of the cleat. I found I had mine pushing the foot out too much and so I was twisting the leg. If you have zeroes, unwind the grub screws to get full float and make tiny changes as well as above. Welcome to the minefield of adjustment, onces it's right it feel good.

posted by Yorkshie Whippet [275 posts]
4th March 2014 - 10:45

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It's a bit of a minefield, but all that float can actually be bad. If you have a turbo trainer and a helper try pedalling round, stop at a natural 6 o'clock position with everything in line and dial in the 2 small screws that control float till you only have a few degrees and your leg is held in the correct position (obviously deciding what the correct position is is the tricky bit).

Alternatively just ask someone riding behind you if it looks like you're twisting your heel either way. If not it's probably cleat position and seat height. Try matching cleat position to where the old ones were?

posted by MattT53 [126 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:13

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You would benefit from a bike fit dave, yes it costs a bit of money, but they'll sort out your cleat position and your general bike fit, and sort that knee ache before it becomes a bigger problem

I switched from shimano spd-sl to speedplay cleats many years ago because I suffered two incidents of knee pain, and I've been fine since. They took some getting used to, I had to lower my saddle height a smidgen, but since then have been fine. I find them much easier to setup than spd-sl cleats, mainly because you have so much float you don't have to worry about the angle of the cleats on the shoes

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posted by David Arthur [1411 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:36

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Cool christmas present! As mentioned above, once you get the adjustment right, Speedplays are really good. There's also something very useful about understanding your own physiology that bit better, to remedy the pain.

So the first thing is understanding the stack height, as others have said. Assuming you haven't also switched to a Speedplay-specific shoe (4-bolt cleat pattern), then you're probably using the little adapters and shims provided in order to fix the cleat to the 3-bolt shoe. That raises the stack height a little, but the design of the system itself, where the cleat fits over and around the pedal, puts your foot really close to the pedal axle, thus reducing your stack height.

Check out this link:
http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=roadcompare.compareroad

You'll need to select your pedal models (I assumed Speedplay Zero and Shimano SPD-SL), then you can refer to the row marked "Stack Height on 3-hole mounting". Based on my assumption, you would need to lower the saddle height by 2mm.

Also, how did you have your Shimano cleats setup - were they fitted straight up-and-down - i.e. aligned with the direction the shoe points in? I ask because as you will have noticed, Speedplays don't offer that rotational adjustment in the cleat. This is because the adjustment is in the float. Assuming you have Zeros and not the Light-Action model, you'll need to loosen the tiny screws on the outer edge of the cleat until you can adopt a natural (natural for you, that is) foot stance, then start to tighten them to remove the excess (the excess being the bit where you're still clipped in despite twisting your heel out) until you get a nice compromise of the float you need, and the ability to release from the pedal with just the right amount of 'twist'.

Just out of interest, was there a reason she bought you pedals as a gift? I ask because, as much as I am a Speedplay fan (and I got them to avoid historic knee issues), the foot-pedal interface is crucial, and once you've got it right (i.e. you can put the hammer down for sustained periods without joint pain or problems such as hot foot), I would be extremely loathe to changing it just because you can. Were you trying to solve a particular problem to start with?

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
4th March 2014 - 11:59

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I see you're in the West Midlands - could you get over to see Adrian Timmis in Burton on Trent for a bike fit?

If I could have, say, 6 bikes, would it stop me drooling over others that I don't have?

posted by notfastenough [2929 posts]
4th March 2014 - 12:18

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cheers stuke

posted by dave edgar [6 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:09

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cheers Yorkshire whippet

posted by dave edgar [6 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:09

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cheers mattT53

posted by dave edgar [6 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:10

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Thanks David

posted by dave edgar [6 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:11

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Cheers for the advice notfastenough, I was looking at replacing my spd sl's and she got me the zero's. I like them, just a bit of a faff to set up At Wits End

posted by dave edgar [6 posts]
4th March 2014 - 17:14

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