Adjusting Your Pedal Float

author : FitWerx
comments : 0

Member Question from Nevergivin

"What is a standard method to adjust pedal float?"

Answer by Dean Phillips
Lead Fitter FitWerx2

 
Speedplay X-series
  
Speedplay Light-Action series

Adjusting pedal float is best done by an experienced bike fitter or other person with knowledge and experience in this area. The correct cleat orientation and float for a rider is dependent on their individual foot, pedaling mechanics, and cleat position. If you’re setting them up on your own, it’s generally safer to have more float than less float. Too little or zero float can restrict movement of the foot during the pedal stroke and increases the risk for pain and injury in muscles and tendons in the knees, ankles, and certain leg muscles. While many riders can ride without issues with lots of float, there are instances where too much float can also lead to pain and injury.  

Pedal systems such as the Speedplay X-series and Light-Action series have unlimited float. Look Keo and Shimano SPD-SL road pedals both have multiple cleat options where the rider can choose zero pedal float or a moderate range of pedal float depending on the color of the cleats used. The Speedplay Zero pedals have adjustable float which offer a bike fitter the option to set the position of the foot and also the degree of float on either side of that position.

Adjusting pedal float is best done while the rider is pedaling. This requires a second set of eyes that can watch and make adjustments as necessary. The goal is to allow a rider’s foot to “float” in its natural movement pattern during the pedal stroke. I’ll have a rider pedal hard, suddenly stop in the middle of the downstroke, and then check how much float the foot has on either side of that point. If the foot has little or no room to float in one direction, then I’ll make an adjustment to the cleat in order to provide more float in that direction. Repeat as necessary until there is ample float on either side. All the while I’m taking into consideration any knee or muscle pain the rider has experienced in the past and how this adjustment may help or hurt that condition.

Again, if you don’t have access to an experienced bike fitter, then setting your cleats up with more float is generally safer than not enough float.

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 Look Keo Shimano SPD-SL
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date: February 6, 2010

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FitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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avatarFitWerx

Fit Werx offers the most scientific and complete bicycle fitting services in New England, the Northeast and beyond. Regardless of where you are from (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas, Vermont, Australia, Macau...) a Fit Werx' bike fit is guaranteed to be worth the trip.

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