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  1. #1
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    Cleat Float - What's optimal?

    Gday!

    Just invested in some new Look Keo Carbon Pedals, and was wondering about peoples thoughts on Cleat float.

    Typically my knees aren't great, however i don't want to sacrifice too much power when I'm riding.

    Does 9 Degrees of float really lose you that much power?

    What're peoples experiences with varying degrees of float? Any measurable differences?

    Cheers.

  2. #2
    haole from the mainland
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    Do you think you'd really gain back all of that 'lost' power as forward momentum? My guess is that--if you have bad knees and need float (like me)--that if you harnessed the lost power with non-floating cleats, most of it would be directed towards stressing and damaging your knees vs. forward momentum.

    Mind you that's just a guess on my part. But when I see my feet moving because of float--I ride Speedplay X2s so I've got a lot of float--I can't help but be glad that energy moving my foot isn't instead tearing my knee up.

    Quote Originally Posted by LOOKFTW
    Gday!

    Just invested in some new Look Keo Carbon Pedals, and was wondering about peoples thoughts on Cleat float.

    Typically my knees aren't great, however i don't want to sacrifice too much power when I'm riding.

    Does 9 Degrees of float really lose you that much power?

    What're peoples experiences with varying degrees of float? Any measurable differences?

    Cheers.

  3. #3
    wim
    wim is online now
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    Myths.

    It's never been shown that there's any loss of power connected with floating pedals. Back in the day when riders first tried floating pedals, many didn't like that sort of vague, slippery connection with the pedals and falsely concluded that there just had to be a loss of power. Conversely, riders going from float to fixed often are pleasantly surprised by the feel of that tight, direct, full-control connection and assume, also falsely, that there just has to be an increase in power.

    If your knees need float, ride with float. One caveat: some knees (like mine) actually stay healthier with a fixed connection, other knees do best with a certain amount of float which is not necessarily the maximum amount available.

  4. #4
    bas
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim
    It's never been shown that there's any loss of power connected with floating pedals. Back in the day when riders first tried floating pedals, many didn't like that sort of vague, slippery connection with the pedals and falsely concluded that there just had to be a loss of power. Conversely, riders going from float to fixed often are pleasantly surprised by the feel of that tight, direct, full-control connection and assume, also falsely, that there just has to be an increase in power.

    If your knees need float, ride with float. One caveat: some knees (like mine) actually stay healthier with a fixed connection, other knees do best with a certain amount of float which is not necessarily the maximum amount available.

    When I get too much float in the dura ace pedals, my knees get pain. they need to stay straight. The sh-11 leave enough minimal float. haven't tried the sh-10..

  5. #5
    Large Suburban Male
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    Optimal for what?

    It depends on your knees. My optimal float may rip your knees apart, and vice versa.
    The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.
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  6. #6
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    IMO, IME.

    i look at cleat float as cheap insurance, if your legs/knees need it they will use it else they will stay where they are and the float will not be used. no power loss, IMO. this assumes you set-up your pedals/cleats in an optimal fashion for you. I have Speedplay Zero now and they have a lot more float that Shimano SPD-SL Ultegra I used to ride for 4 years. I would not ride fixed cleats on the road, there is no room for error. I did not notice any performance loss due to having more float now than before.

  7. #7
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    0 float is optimum for me. But then my knee problems aren't the kind that require rotational float.

  8. #8
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    I have a bad knee and had no issues with a 9-degree float cleat. I switched to 4.5-degree and the bad knee has a slight pain starting. I have no idea if the pain is related to the cleat switch but Im heading back to the 9-degree asap. I notices no performance benefit from less cleat play.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the feedback!

    Quote Originally Posted by acid_rider
    IMO, IME.

    i look at cleat float as cheap insurance, if your legs/knees need it they will use it else they will stay where they are and the float will not be used. no power loss, IMO. this assumes you set-up your pedals/cleats in an optimal fashion for you. I have Speedplay Zero now and they have a lot more float that Shimano SPD-SL Ultegra I used to ride for 4 years. I would not ride fixed cleats on the road, there is no room for error. I did not notice any performance loss due to having more float now than before.
    I think ill start with the 9 degree, red look keo cleats, see how they go, if i find i'm moving too much ill have a crack at the 4.5.

    will report back.

    cheers

  10. #10
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    Float

    I have old Look Delta pedals with red cleats (9o float). I can't really feel the float unless I am unclipping, or unless the cleats need to be replaced. I used some black (no float) Look cleats and besides for be more critical about their set up, the biggest change was when I was cornering and sticking my knee out. I did not realize how the float helped me do that. Well maybe not helped, but it was different.

    Other than that the black cleats lasting longer, I can see no real advantage. They say that knees don't like changes and my 65+ year old knees have never bothered me. I've always used cleats with a float, unless you go back to the clip-in days...

    The best way to set yourself up for an injury is to start to mess with your set-up. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If you are using a cleat with no float now, fine. But I would not do vice-versa.

  11. #11
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    I have a bunk left knee and went through one of each pedal out there when I was getting new pedals for my mountain bike. I ended up with the Crank Bros Candy. When I got my recent road bike, I put some Keo Carbons on it with the red cleats. They absolutely killed my knees. I took them off and tried the Candies. Voila! Happy knees once again! Look advertises 9 degrees, but I think it is more like 4.5 in each direction for a total of 9. These things are really hard to measure too. I say try different types of pedals and keep the ones that you like the most. After having a substatial knee surgery earlier this year, take the best care of your knees that you possobly can. I have custom footbeds, full pro fitting, and really listen to my body. Again, your mileage may vary. Everyone is built differently and what works for some may not work for you. Good luck!

  12. #12
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    I use look keo sprints with a splayed right foot. My odd solution is to use a grey on the left foot and red on the right. I may swap the grey for a black eventually. I prefer minimal float but my right leg is having nothing of it. Massive inside knee pain with grey cleats no matter how I have the cleat adjusted. Even my fitter could not get it right. So float it is....sort of.
    Do what works for you.

  13. #13
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    Talking I have no idea why...

    ...Look switched to the new cleat-specific float system on the Keo pedal line. I have 3 pairs of CX-6s for my road bikes, all of which work with the Delta cleats and have an adjustment on the pedal for 0, 3, 6, or 9 degrees of float. Right now, I'm going with 6, and my knees are happy. If I want more or less, a change is just a twist of the wrist away...
    Go big, or take up bowling...

  14. #14
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Optimal? Zero. Assuming you never move your legs out of a perfect line. That's also optimal, much like having a naturally high red blood cell count, constant watt output at a constant cadence.

    But we can all dream right? I call 4.5 degrees.
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    1 hour of running = 1 hour of wasted time when you could have been riding. - Alaska Mike

  15. #15
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    Discounting knee problems, it's really all personal preference. The difference between 4.5 and 9 degrees is double, but in actual practice I doubt if you'd notice much, if any, difference. I didn't.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

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