Is cleat float and tension related?
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  1. #1
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    Is cleat float and tension related?

    Float is allows some feet movement after clipped in and tension affects how much strength is needed to unclip right?

    Do they mean the same thing, completely different or has some relationship? Eg If tension is set tighter, does it result in less float?

  2. #2
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    As in saying, lower tension allows more float because there's more "allowance" for the clip to give? No. That's more like insufficient tension period.

    Float and tension are separate things. Float is dictated by either cleat shape, or if you're using Speedplay, different set screws which are still on the cleat anyway.

  3. #3
    wim
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    Not an exact answer to your question, but there are pedals (Time, perhaps others) on which you can adjust the force required to induce rotational float. Basically, this works by adjusting the tension of the re-centering spring, which is there to nudge your foot back into the center position. This spring has nothing to do with cleat-in or cleat-out effort.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolight View Post
    Float is allows some feet movement after clipped in and tension affects how much strength is needed to unclip right?

    Do they mean the same thing, completely different or has some relationship? Eg If tension is set tighter, does it result in less float?
    On my look keo classics, they are not related.

    Cranking down on the tension, does not change the geometry of the back clip, all it does is preloads the springs for a higher spring force to overcome.

    Float is dictated by the cleat geometry relative to the pedal geometry
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  5. #5
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    Some pedals have "unsprung" float (e.g. my old Time Equipe's and my Speedplay zero's) meaning there is no resistence to the float by some kind of centering mechanism/spring. Others have "sprung" float (e.g. Time Iclics) where they allow some 'float' under the tension of the release spring but within that allowed movement you are still clipped in.

    I much prefer unsprung float, which is why I returned the Time Iclics because I mistakenly thought they would be similar to my 20 year old Equipe's.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by wim View Post
    Not an exact answer to your question, but there are pedals (Time, perhaps others) on which you can adjust the force required to induce rotational float. Basically, this works by adjusting the tension of the re-centering spring, which is there to nudge your foot back into the center position. This spring has nothing to do with cleat-in or cleat-out effort.
    I don't know... the spring clearly compresses when you clip in and out, and the adjustment compresses the spring more. I never understood how the two can be unrelated when there is only one spring there to begin with.

    Edit - this is for Time RXS type pedals.
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  7. #7
    wim
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrSmile View Post
    I don't know... the spring clearly compresses when you clip in and out, and the adjustment compresses the spring more. I never understood how the two can be unrelated when there is only one spring there to begin with.

    Edit - this is for Time RXS type pedals.
    You make a good point, and I don't have an explanation handy. Time consistently claims that, quote: "Binding tension is not adjustable but is pre-set." If their "sensor elasticity tuning (S.E.T)" really doesn't affect binding tension, it would have to act on the spring in such a way as not to affect binding tension. One possible way is to have the spring act in compression for one function and in torsion for the other. But you say it's compressed for both functions, so I don't know. Need a pedal in front of me, I guess.

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    Right. On some pedal systems, there is free float and the release spring only starts to get compressed at the point you exceed the range of free float, then you rotate more against the spring until you reach the release point.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks. So if I use yellow Shimano cleats with 6 deg float, the float is fixed unless I change cleats?

    Is red cleats with 0 deg float better for efficiency since it prevents unnecessary movement ie is it true that pros tend to use cleats with less float?

  10. #10
    wim
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    So if I use yellow Shimano cleats with 6 deg float, the float is fixed unless I change cleats?

    "Fixed" is a bit misleading here because it means "no float" in pedal lingo. But yes, the yellow Shimano cleat gives you a float range of 6 degrees and no more (3 degrees left + 3 degrees right.) The blue Shimano cleat gives a float range of 2 degrees. And as you said, the red cleat puts you into the fixed mode.

    It's never been shown that riding fixed is more efficient than riding with float. There are instances of a rider not tolerating float (or much of it) because of a biomechanical issue or injury, but these are rare. For most riders, the adage "float can't ever hurt, but might help" holds true, so going with some float would be my recommendation. And of course, many riders absolutely need float to stay injury-free. For them, rotation of the foot is about as far from "unnecessary motion" as you can get.

    As to the pros: some of them do use float, some of them ride fixed. But you need to consider that generally, only those who are biomechanically perfect reach the ranks of the pros. Statistically, it's not a good group to compare yourself against if you're a recreational rider.

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