Cleat Position and Calf Pain

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by BT180, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. BT180

    BT180 Eats Squid

    So I've had a pair of XC orientated Sidi's for years and now that I'm spending more time on the AM/enduro/gravity/whatever you want to call it, side of things I've noticed that my calf muscles are burning and in heaps of pain on longer descents.

    I've now bought some trail/AM/enduro/whatever you want to call it shoes and I have the ability to run the cleats really far back on the shoe - I've read in a few places that this will take the pressure off the calves and stop the pain when descending. Only trade-off is you lose a bit of short burst power when climbing.

    Anyone else mucked around with cleat position and found the same thing?
  2. teK--

    teK-- Eats Squid

    position the cleats as far back as the shoes will allow. only roadies and xc riders put their cleats up forward.

    the xc sidi shoes would have also been too stiff for the type of riding you now do; the softer soles on the new shoes would allow better grip and balance for standing up type riding.
  3. Freediver

    Freediver Likes Dirt

    When your off your seat it puts a lot more pressure on your calves and having the cleats forward acts as a bigger lever and makes it worse. If you do much climbing you may not want to go too far back. It takes a bit of trial and error to find that sweet spot.
  4. BT180

    BT180 Eats Squid

    Thanks fellas. Looking forward to trying it out and seeing if it helps.
  5. Dozer

    Dozer Heavy machinery. Staff Member

    + 1000000 for having your cleats right back, as far as you can go back for me. I've found it's far more efficient and more power having it as close to the back of the ball of your foot AND it takes tons of aches away, including knee pain and strain for me. I also try to centre the cleat to the point that my shoe rubs my crank a little but I'm getting more of the meat of my foot pushing and pulling on the pedal.
  6. schred

    schred Likes Bikes and Dirt

  7. teK--

    teK-- Eats Squid

    Steve Hogg has some excellent info and I have put a lot of his advice to use when fitting my road bike. I don't see his advice as being that relevant to MTB though since you aren't sitting down and spinning most of the time.
  8. BT180

    BT180 Eats Squid

    This is all sounding really positive, so thanks for the feedback guys. Cheers for the link also, schred. Maybe it's geared towards road riding more, but the principles should remain the same for MTB. Similar to what I've read on this page -

    Hopefully that clears up my leg issues and I can then address my hands! :)
  9. pharmaboy

    pharmaboy Eats Squid

    I seem to remember Sidi coming in for criticism from Steve Hogg for their cleat positioning as not adjustable enough and way forward - it may have changed, but I know his articles made me steer towards shimano mtb shoes for the most amount of rear adjustability for cleats.

    You might be able to fix current shoes with a bit of diy and a drill
  10. schred

    schred Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Hear what you are saying, subconsciously prob why I haven't gone as far back as it suggests. He does mention that within the ranges suggested to be more forward focused for sprinting, and more rear(centre)-focused for constant power, how that may apply to mtb disciplines & individuals preferences, up to them.
  11. Exie

    Exie Likes Dirt

    +1 for Steve Hogg

    I went mid-foot clear position and was amazed at how it completely de-activated the claves, they do nothing now. On the down side I think I lost a bit of power, but it solved a "hot foot" or morton's neuroma problem I've had for years.

    The only other suggestion I'll make is that as you move the cleat further back you will likely need to adjust other things like lower the seat height slightly, move it forward slightly etc.

    On some bikes (road, CX etc) you may also discover increased toe overlap where you start kicking the front tyre, but I think this is less of an issue on mountain bikes.
  12. BT180

    BT180 Eats Squid

    So I've had a couple of rides over the long weekend, with my new shoes and 'back as far as they can go' cleat position. Wow, what a difference! Calf pain has been virtually eliminated and I can now enjoy the end of the run and concentrate on riding, rather than surviving. I even set a new PR on my first run, purely because I wasn't in pain towards the end and I could focus on the feel of the bike underneath me, rather than my legs.

    However, I did notice that my quads were taking the strain more, but that's OK because they're far bigger muscles and they're designed to support my weight like that. I'll just need to warm them up a bit more before the ride. Climbing seemed to be Ok too, so all in all a very good result!
  13. Tubbsy

    Tubbsy Likes Dirt

    Interesting topic.

    I have my cleats back as far as they'll go (Mavic shoes), in general riding it feels ok but occasionally landing a jump I find my heels dropping which then gives me a twinge in the metatarsal area that hangs around for the rest of the ride.

    I'm thinking perhaps modifying the shoe or cleat to give me a slightly more foot-forward position could be a good idea.

    Anyone modified a shoe or clear before?
  14. mellow

    mellow Banned

    I thought heifers had calf pain ?

    +1 for Steve Hogg as well. That lump high spot lining up with axle centre.
    I have been fitted by another reputable biomech with great success for me.
    I found my Sidis did not allow the cleats to go anywhere near far enough back. My shimanos and Giro were correct at full back placement.
    The sidis, fortunately as it turned out, were roadie shoes, Ergo 2s. This allowed me to take to the Shimano red cleats ( plastic ) with an air dremel. I mean maybe 8-10mm, So comments on Sidis correct in my case.
    Bummer is repeat at cleat replacement, but I have the template now.

    I am so set in my ways I find flats difficult. In my mind I know.
  15. RB 24

    RB 24 Likes Dirt

    Agree. Hogg is a legend. Biggest thing I picked up was the side to side alignment of fore an aft adjustment. Found the shimanos and mavics ok to allow but sidi not so. I reckon I spend hours on cleat alignment on the xc and roadie and track bike. All measured and marked and lined up. The xc was the hardest to fit to allow for comfort etc.

    Just make sure your centre line adjustments are kept intact so you don't look like a duck waddling.
  16. Paulie_AU

    Paulie_AU Likes Dirt

    What a useful thread.

    Prompted me to gk and check mine and yep am going to move the cleats back a little on my roadie (left calf give me niggles) and maybe my mtb once I get my new seat sorted.

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