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Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 28 Jun 2019, 10:13pm
by yacattack
Hi
I'm new to the forum and would like some advice please. After 5 years of riding with flat pedals I recently took the plunge and decided to go for Shimano spd pedals.

However I have been for 3 or 4 relatively short rides and my legs have been permanently aching both during and after the ride.

I know that the pedals will use different muscle groups. But still I wasn't expecting this.

Is this normal? How long will I have the pain? Are there any adjustments I could make.?
Any help gratefully received.


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Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 28 Jun 2019, 11:04pm
by LollyKat
What part of the legs hurts? Your feet may well be in a different position with SPDs - fore-and-aft, side-to-side, angled in/out.... there are lots of possibilities. Also you will be used to more 'float' with your old pedals.

I use toe-clips rather than SPDs. Once I set off with a new pair of shoes which were chunkier than my old ones, so didn't fit so well into the clip, pushing my foot backwards a little on the pedal. I ended up with aching calves which were even slightly swollen. Adding spacer washers to the clip so my feet were back in their usual position solved the problem.

Sorry, this is not much help to you, just an observation to confirm that tiny changes in position can have unpleasant effects. Others with more experience of SPDs or SPD-SLs should be along with more useful advice.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 28 Jun 2019, 11:42pm
by hemo
I change to SPD's a couple of years ago and instantly liked them bar the odd comical fall over, not had any aches or pains.
Are you uplifting as well as this will use different muscles, slight fwd or rearward & sideways cleat adjustment may help or may be wrong shoes/size.

My first shoes were Spiuk mtb which I use on my mtb, Dhb & 700c touring bikes, these have been bril and use them for warmer weather.
Next pair were Shimano std fitting horrible to tight/narrow fitting, so don't use them hardly, Final pair I got for winter/colder riding are thea Shimano wide fitting in a larger size which allow for winter socks and find them comfy and warm with toe warmers or neoprene overboot..

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 29 Jun 2019, 6:25pm
by yacattack
Thanks. It's mostly calves and some parts of the quads. Going to try with the cleats further back and see how that goes.

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Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 29 Jun 2019, 8:48pm
by pwa
If the height of your foot above the centre of the pedal axle has changed with the change of pedal system, that could explain the discomfort. And an adjustment to saddle height could be needed to correct this. The same applies if your feet are further back or forward than they used to be, in which case the cleat needs moving forward or back. Also, your cleats need to be angled so that in normal use your feet do not touch the limit of side to side rotation unless you are trying to release.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 29 Jun 2019, 9:05pm
by Paulatic
yacattack wrote:Thanks. It's mostly calves and some parts of the quads. Going to try with the cleats further back and see how that goes.


Suggests you want your cleats moved rearwards you’re working your calves harder to hold the feet stable on the pedal. That might sort the quads as well but if not then the new pedal and shoes are probably lower than the old and need the saddle down to adjust that difference.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 30 Jun 2019, 9:52am
by peetee
Paulatic wrote:
yacattack wrote:Thanks. It's mostly calves and some parts of the quads. Going to try with the cleats further back and see how that goes.


Suggests you want your cleats moved rearwards you’re working your calves harder to hold the feet stable on the pedal.


Agreed. It's as if you are walking up stairs with just your toes on the tread.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 30 Jun 2019, 10:07am
by Mick F
Put your old pedals on and wear your old shoes.
Give it a good try-out like that, and if your legs don't hurt, it must be your new system.

With your old stuff on, put one pedal at its lowest point and measure how far your toe is in front of the pedal spindle. Do the same with the other pedal.
Also, with the one crank forward, measure how far your ankle bone is away from the crank. Do the same with the other crank.

Then fit your new stuff and do the same measuring. Adjust the position of the cleats to get it all correct.

When you ride, your leg should not quite be fully extended at the bottom. Adjust your saddle height to suit. Some pedals have different stack heights, so if you change pedals, you may have to alter your saddle height.

I have Campag on one bike, and Speedplay on the other. There's half an inch difference in stack heights with those.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 30 Jun 2019, 10:18am
by NATURAL ANKLING
hi,
If it wasn't already mentioned, new shoes might well be shaped and stiffer, this will necessitate a higher saddle.

With the best fitness strength and will, you can't stop the arch of your foot collapsing with softer shoes.
Just try walking in trainers with a heavy rucksack on a hard surface.
Or even climbing ladders and soft shoes.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 30 Jun 2019, 10:16pm
by yacattack
NATURAL ANKLING wrote:hi,
If it wasn't already mentioned, new shoes might well be shaped and stiffer, this will necessitate a higher saddle.

With the best fitness strength and will, you can't stop the arch of your foot collapsing with softer shoes.
Just try walking in trainers with a heavy rucksack on a hard surface.
Or even climbing ladders and soft shoes.
Thanks guys. I put the cleats back as far as they could go and it made all the difference. Back to normal again

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Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 1 Jul 2019, 6:23am
by pwa
On a more general note, I find that when I experience a positional problem with bike set-up (saddle position, reach to bars, etc) and find the solution, it is worth measuring up the successful outcome and making a note of it for future bike set-ups. I chalk my notes on an inside garage wall close to where I keep bike stuff.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 1 Jul 2019, 8:01am
by Mick F
pwa wrote:On a more general note, I find that when I experience a positional problem with bike set-up (saddle position, reach to bars, etc) and find the solution, it is worth measuring up the successful outcome and making a note of it for future bike set-ups.

Agree.

This is what I measured from one bike and transferred it to the next one. Two identical setups.
Top of Handlebars to Floor - 95cm
Bottom Bracket to Top of Saddle - 75cm
Saddle Nose to Handlebars - 49cm
Saddle behind Bottom Bracket - 58mm

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 1 Jul 2019, 10:37am
by LollyKat
yacattack wrote:Thanks guys. I put the cleats back as far as they could go and it made all the difference. Back to normal again


Excellent - happy cycling!

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 1 Jul 2019, 11:21am
by Marcus Aurelius
What you’re describing is perfectly normal when using bindings for the first time, as your leg muscles will be isolated in new and unusual ways. The main point of the SPD system is that it improves your pedal dynamics, hence the name Shimano Pedal Dynamics. Essentially it allows you to actively pull through the entire pedal stroke, rather than just effectively having your foot as a ‘passenger’ for half of it. The ‘SL’ part of it means ‘system Look’ as I believe the Look company originated / invented the clipless system, and Shimano copied it, and added the ‘system Look’ bit to swerve any litigation.

Re: Legs hurting with spd sl pedals

Posted: 1 Jul 2019, 11:41am
by NATURAL ANKLING
Hi,
Marcus Aurelius wrote: The main point of the SPD system is that it improves your pedal dynamics, hence the name Shimano Pedal Dynamics. Essentially it allows you to actively pull through the entire pedal stroke, rather than just effectively having your foot as a ‘passenger’ for half of it.

Track cyclist pull up Hence the extra straps.
You might pull up for a fraction of your time, but practically it is seldom.
This is due to the very small muscles that can pull up.
I used to pull up when I was younger for a fraction of the time sitting going up along hill.
And I do it for about 20 or 30 seconds On my normal training run Which is 2.5 - 3 Hours long.
I Normally only pull up at all for a short time When I can't be bothered to change down.
I use clipped pedals not clipless, never thought I was lacking anything?

can you support what you said with a link?