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I just changed from Specialized Pro Carbons to Sidi Genius 5 Megas. The Pro Carbons are really nice shoes, but the have the Body Geometry business that slightly tilts the shoe the way most people need (sort of like a built-in LeWedge). Even with the (very expensive) Specialized insert kit to neutralize the shoe position, it was still all wrong for me. I could never get them right.

So I switched to the Sidis, which fit great and don't have any fancy built-in shimming. Seat height is good, as I adjusted a mm or two for stack height difference.

But I'm having a terrible time positioning my cleats--they're obviously out of position, because I sometimes get pain behind or right above my kneecap (nothing like the pain I was getting with the Specialized shoes). On the left leg, the pain starts right away, then goes away as I warm up. On the right, it starts after I've been riding a while (like 20 miles or so).

I'm pretty sure the problem is fore-aft positioning, but I can't seem to get it right.

So here's the clue that might help everyone out. I'm usually a heels-level kind of rider. When my knees hurt, it helps to point my toes down. Would this indicate that I might want to move my foot forward, or backward?
 

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bikeboy389 said:
<snip>So here's the clue that might help everyone out. I'm usually a heels-level kind of rider. When my knees hurt, it helps to point my toes down. Would this indicate that I might want to move my foot forward, or backward?
Are you toes down throughout your stroke or only through the bottom? If it's the latter, you probably just need to lower your saddle a little more. I'm always surprised by how much difference there can be in stack height of different shoes, especially when you are using shims.

Another thing to try is to get your old shoes on, get clipped in & try to feel where on your foot is just above the pedal spindle. Swap over to your new shoes and try to repeat that same setup.
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Dr. Paul Proteus said:
Are you toes down throughout your stroke or only through the bottom? If it's the latter, you probably just need to lower your saddle a little more. I'm always surprised by how much difference there can be in stack height of different shoes, especially when you are using shims.

Another thing to try is to get your old shoes on, get clipped in & try to feel where on your foot is just above the pedal spindle. Swap over to your new shoes and try to repeat that same setup.
The toes-down only helps on the 12:00 to 5:00 part of the stroke--the power portion of the stroke. Saddle height seems to be correct by every measure I know of (which covers all the major ones). The fact that the problem (and the urge to go toes-down to fix it) is independent of standing or sitting also leads me to believe it's cleat position and not saddle height. I'll check it again, though. You never know what you'll miss.

I'd try to match up the shoes, but part of the reason I am so far out in the weeds on this setup is that the Sidis are a size smaller than the Specialized. The Mega toebox is roomy enough to allow me to wear a close-fitting (but not at all tight) instead of a slightly-too-long 44.

I may have to go get fitted, but I'm resisting because the place I really like for fittings is kind of far away, and you need to make an appointment--no fittings on weekends because they're so busy. I just can't seem to find the time to get out there in the evenings. Also, this is the first time I've had this much trouble out of years and years of riding, so pride is an issue too. I want to at least get CLOSE on my own.
 

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I can't answer the cleat position question, but from your description I couldn't help but wonder if your saddle is too high. The area of inflammation you describe reminds me a little bit of what can happen when a knee repeatedly hyperextends.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
jtolleson said:
I can't answer the cleat position question, but from your description I couldn't help but wonder if your saddle is too high. The area of inflammation you describe reminds me a little bit of what can happen when a knee repeatedly hyperextends.
That's two votes for that so far--I'll definitely check it again (and maybe give it another couple mm just to see).

Surely, though, there's some logic about angle of attack, etc. relating to wanting to go toes down. Does pointing your toes down move the "effective" contact point with the pedal spindle backward or forward or something? I had a friend who went from being massively heels-up to heels level by moving his cleats either forward or back, but I don't know which he did.
 

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Try..

Try packing a screw driver with you and make adjustment when you ride. One reason I will not change brand of shoes is because I know where to set my cleats. I've read that some people do have problems with Specialized shoes. A friend has some and ended up ditching the Specialized shoe inserts. He started to have knee problems. You could also have someone ride behind you and scope out your foot position. It's kind of hard to tell by just looking down.
 

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I'd go with cleats forward as this will have the same effect as lowering your seat. The net of it is that your cleats pretty much go under the ball of your foot and you adjust for comfort. I personally don't believe in the KOPS theory, but that might be a good starting point. This is a bit too late, but I always keep a log of measurements of my bike so I can go back to my "good" position if I want to try a new saddle or something.

BTW, I ride toes up all the time, because that's what's comfortable for me. Now when you change something, do it between rides, and keep track of how it felt. I only fix things during a ride if it is really bad.

the Flash
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
BikeGeek said:
Toes down moves the pressure back a little. I would try sliding the cleat 2 to 4 mm back and see what it does.
I went out on Saturday by myself (I didn't think any of my usual riding partners would appreciate all the stopping) and adjusted my cleats every couple miles for the first 18 miles or so. After stopping 6 or 7 times, I finally settled on just what you suggested--I think I dropped them back about 4 mm in the end. I think my biggest problem was mounting the cleats in the more-forward set of holes in the first place--I couldn't move them far enough back in those holes. I've moved them to the rearward holes and everything seems OK now. I also dropped my seat another couple millimeters, but that didn't seem to fix anything.

I still need to look at my rotation on the right foot, but right now things are looking very good.
 
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