Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

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531colin
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Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby 531colin » 28 Jul 2019, 9:51pm

So here are the questions....I'm wondering if other peoples experience is similar to mine....
1. Does moving the cleats back load your quads?
2. Does moving the saddle back un-load your quads?

Here is the long version.....
Last year, I started to get damned uncomfortable on the bike(s), either heel might turn out to an extent that would have been comic, if it wasn't associated with painful calf muscles. Steve Hogg says the calf muscles' function on the bike is to stabilise your feet on the pedals, and I thought the most obvious way to help stabilise my feet on the pedals was to move the cleats back (move my feet forwards on the pedals). Between 3 pairs of shoes and 4 bikes, I probably moved the cleats back about 10mm before I got all the combinations comfortable. 10mm isn't much in the great scheme of things, but if the cleats start out somewhere near the middle of the slots then 10mm is most of the movement you have left. In any event, it was a success; the feet at funny angles stopped, and the painful calves stopped as well. My foot position is now probably about where Steve says it should be https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/04/power-to-the-pedal-cleat-position/
This spring as the days got longer and mileages increased, I noticed that my quads were getting really sore. Sore on the stairs, sore to press, sore the day or two after a ride. This has never happened before; previously if I had any difficulties after a tough ride it has always been hamstring cramp. (Either affliction helped by post-exercise stretching, but I digress.) I remembered reading something from Steve Hogg along the lines that you shouldn't get localised quad soreness, and a bit of a google found this...https://forums.roadbikereview.com/components-wrenching/steve-hogg-no-matter-how-hard-you-ride-there-should-no-localized-quad-soreness-201775.html. A short thread where "Rocco" finds that moving his saddle back took some of the load off his quads. So I tried moving my saddle back; 10mm brought it to the end of the rails, so 10mm back was what I went for. And it works. Now I don't get sore quads, after a tough ride I'm just tired, which is fine.
So, moving my feet forward on the pedals helped stabilise my feet on the pedals; I wasn't really surprised by that.
Moving my feet forward 10mm (or so) on the pedals changed my pedalling action to such an extent that I got soreness localised to the quads.....that was a big surprise.
Moving my saddle back 10mm (or so) got rid of the quad soreness....another surprise.
I am staggered that such small changes in position give rise to such changes in the way I use the different muscle groups.
Moving my feet forwards loaded my quads; I might have guessed that moving my saddle forward would have un-loaded my quads, because that would re-instate the previous relationship between the position of my bum and my feet...... but actually moving the saddle back unloaded my quads.
Any similar (or dissimilar) experience?

fastpedaller
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby fastpedaller » 28 Jul 2019, 10:26pm

Yes - I can't reach the 'bars now :lol:
Seriously though...... I also had calf pain (maybe age related as I haven't changed a thing for 5 years?), anyway, I moved the cleats back all of 4mm, and haven't suffered since :D Ooer, should I have said that :? ?

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horizon
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby horizon » 28 Jul 2019, 11:24pm

Apart from the reach problem (as noted by fastpedaller, and even that isn't too bad thanks to an ultra-short stem) I'm supremely comfortable on all my bike(s):

1. All my cleats are as far back as they can possibly go.
2. The saddle (as you know!) is even further back than it would normally go thanks to the VK.
3. The handlebars are even higher than they can normally go thanks to stem raisers.
4. I have, naturally, Brooks saddles on all the bikes.
5. I have the lowest gears I can install.
6. I have mostly drop bars and the bar tape is underlaid with inner tube.

It's floating luxury. I know I've added some items there, Colin, but the cleats and saddle positions are probably the key factors. What I couldn't do is go into a bike shop and buy that set-up. This might change once I've got my Spa tourer set up as it will be close to shop spec - we'll see how it pans out.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Mick F
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby Mick F » 29 Jul 2019, 1:14pm

If you didn't have cleats, and wore trainers on your rat-trap pedals, eventually you would see the indentations in the soft soles of your trainers. These marks would be where the most efficient, comfortable, natural, and best place for you personally.

This is what I did over the many years of my cycling. It was a revelation to me to see this phenomenon. Circa 1981?

Eventually, I had a bike with clips and straps, and did the same thing again. Some years later, I bought a pair of cycling shoes and fitted the cleats so they engaged with the rear plate of the rat-traps. The sort of cleats that are a slot. Foot goes in, locks onto the rear plate, and the toe straps tightened.

I rode like that for years, even with new pedals, even with new shoes, and when I went clipless, I knew exactly where the cleats should be.
Still newer shoes, now two pairs, and sandals too, on two different bikes with two different pedal systems. My feet are exactly in the same position no matter which shoe or which pedal or whichever bike.
Mick F. Cornwall

Des49
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby Des49 » 29 Jul 2019, 2:10pm

531colin wrote:So here are the questions....I'm wondering if other peoples experience is similar to mine....
1. Does moving the cleats back load your quads?
2. Does moving the saddle back un-load your quads?


I wonder if the saddle height should be reduced if the cleats are moved back? Someone who does have a good ankle rotation at the bottom of the stroke I suspect loses a lot of extension by moving the cleats back. This may affect muscle soreness.

Plus if the calves cannot be brought into use as much as before then the quads may be led to take up more of the work.

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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby hercule » 29 Jul 2019, 2:22pm

The logical progression of this is... to get a recumbent!

When I started riding recumbents, my original cleated shoes (Shimano SPDS) felt like I was hanging on to the pedals with my toenails, though they were fine on an upright bike. So I got another pair of shoes and following perceived wisdom fit longer slots for the mounting bolts and ended up with the cleats almost under my arch. Very effective. Eventually I started riding my “recumbent” shoes on my uprights... no problems, now it’s my conventional bike shoes that just feel odd.

(Of course the saddle’s about as far behind the pedals as you can get on most recumbents :) )

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531colin
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby 531colin » 29 Jul 2019, 9:30pm

fastpedaller wrote:..... I also had calf pain (maybe age related as I haven't changed a thing for 5 years?), anyway, I moved the cleats back all of 4mm, and haven't suffered since :D Ooer, should I have said that :? ?

I think my original (calf) trouble must be age-related. (I'm now 72) I've been using cleats for 20 years at least, always in the same place as far as I can tell.
I went through all the steps described by Mick F.
I even used my first "cleat" shoes with toeclips for a while, so I got pedal marks on the sole which showed me where to fix the cleats.

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531colin
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby 531colin » 29 Jul 2019, 10:16pm

Des49 wrote:.....I wonder if the saddle height should be reduced if the cleats are moved back? Someone who does have a good ankle rotation at the bottom of the stroke I suspect loses a lot of extension by moving the cleats back. This may affect muscle soreness.
Plus if the calves cannot be brought into use as much as before then the quads may be led to take up more of the work.

Perhaps I should have said, I don't follow the current fashion of having the saddle so high that I have to be on tiptoe to reach the pedal at the bottom.
(there are photos of me on my mate's turbo trainer in my DIY bike fit linked below; my feet are generally level.)
I tried standing on one leg, rising up onto the ball of my foot and going back down; repeat; repeat. I got up to 20 lifts, and that was it. I don't think my calf muscles are up to contributing much to (say) a day ride.
I always find myself re-reading Steve Hogg on seat height...https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/05/addendum-to-seat-height-how-hard-can-it-be-2/

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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby pjclinch » 30 Jul 2019, 7:45am

Mick F wrote:If you didn't have cleats, and wore trainers on your rat-trap pedals, eventually you would see the indentations in the soft soles of your trainers. These marks would be where the most efficient, comfortable, natural, and best place for you personally.


I think if that's true it would only be for the particular saddle setup relative to the pedals. So I see loads of folk pedalling in trainers flats with their insteps, but their saddles are far too low. Rat-traps will tend to enforce a position just like a cleat, if you're pushing forwards over the top of the pedal stroke.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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Mick F
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby Mick F » 30 Jul 2019, 8:43am

pjclinch wrote:
Mick F wrote:If you didn't have cleats, and wore trainers on your rat-trap pedals, eventually you would see the indentations in the soft soles of your trainers. These marks would be where the most efficient, comfortable, natural, and best place for you personally.


I think if that's true it would only be for the particular saddle setup relative to the pedals.
Yep.
Dunno out other folk, but if you are interested in the correct setup for a bike, any bike you would have, would be set up the same.

It is with me. Hence I know the best position for my feet, and my saddle height, and the reach.

Main problem I found, was swapping pedals. Stack heights are different, so saddle height needs to change.
Mick F. Cornwall

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horizon
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby horizon » 30 Jul 2019, 10:01am

It's interesting when you have more than one bike. With one bike, you'e not sure but with two or more bikes, one set-up starts to win over the other and of course all the other bikes have to follow suit. It also gives constant comparison, something much harder to do on one bike. Eventually it's survival of the fittest (the best) and you've found your ideal set-up.
I have two doctors, my left leg and my right leg. (G. M. Trevelyan)
PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby Mick F » 30 Jul 2019, 12:49pm

Spot on.
Exactly right.

Back to stack heights of pedals ........

Same bike ........
If you have high ones, your saddle has to be higher than if you have low ones.
Low stack heights give a low saddle, and therefore your feet can touch the ground easier.

Moulton has been set up reach and a saddle position exactly the same as Mercian. Initially, I was using the Campag ProFit road pedals on both and the saddle heights were identical.

Then, I decided that I wanted walking shoes and cleats rather than road shoes and cleats. I'd tried SPDs before and I fancied something different and better, so went for Speedplay Frogs. Absolutely perfect and I'm seriously thinking of buying another pair for Mercian.

The stack height is so low, it's brilliant. The saddle has been lowered a full half inch with still the same foot/leg position on the bottom of the crank stroke.

Highly recommended, and the float angles are great.
http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby reohn2 » 30 Jul 2019, 1:45pm

I've never had the problems Colin has had,in fact I've always felt comfortable with my cleats set BOFOPA,but being the sort of chap who'll give anything a try once,after reading the Steve Hogg article in the OP decided to give it a go.
Method 1 and method 2 conicidentally came up with cleats needing to be moved back 11mm,so moved my cleats(SPD)back 11mm,I've only been for a ride around the block and it felt odd.
When I go for a proper ride I'll report back.
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Mick F
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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby Mick F » 30 Jul 2019, 1:59pm

I really can't see how it would work.
If I moved mine back half an inch back my foot would be half an inch further forward of course.
I'd be pedalling almost on my instep.

Do you "ankle"?
If you do, I could see how it may have a slight advantage for just part of the stroke.

I don't ankle much at all, and my ankles don't "ankle" the same anyway. Right ankle is stiff in comparison the left ankle, but even that one doesn't move much.

We are all different. As people know, my average cadence is 67rpm, so that may be part of the way my pedals and cleats are set up.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: Does moving the cleats back load your quads?

Postby reohn2 » 30 Jul 2019, 2:03pm

I only ankle when climbing on a light gear,not when trying hard.
EDIT,I thought I could feel my instep more on my right foot ,we'll see but I'm not holding my breath.
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