I am responding to a previous question
regarding IT band injuries, and the use of Speedplay pedal
systems vs all other pedal systems....Yes! Any chiropracter
knows that the body is very particular about proper alignment.
Pain, muscle and joint strain and even potentially permanent
damage can result from prolonged cleat misalignment. There
are a couple of pedal systems that I would highly recommend,
But first lets touch on a few things regarding why it is so
important to choose the correct pedal system, and why it is
also neccessary to make sure it is adjusted correctly.
There are many different types of pedals on the market.
Not all of them will be Bio-mechanically advantages to triathletes
in particular. The more popular systems that will require
more adjustments are Look, Time, Ritchey Logic, Wellgo Road
and Shimano SPD. These are traditionaly one-sided entry engagment
clipless type and have a more tricky entry procedure that
will require you to flip and hook the cleat tip mechanism
before actually stepping down and engaging the pedal itself.
They also require proper cleat alignment and a manual spring
adjustment. Because they push your foot back to the manufacturer's
idea of your neutral position, pedals like the Time road pedal
are a problem if your natural neutral position is not manufacturer's
neutral position. Easier said than done. Most folks will require
a somewhat longer learning curve process before becoming efficient
users. Nontheless, these are much more efficient than NO clipless
pedals at all and are much better than the old style 'Cage
and Strap' type pedal. Which you can still find on some new
bikes as original OEM equipment? Other poor qualities in these
types of pedals are a Fixed Cleat Position, Limited Side to
Side Float (6-degrees), Poor Cornering Clearance, Heavier
Weight and Difficult Engagement & Release. The most important
of all the characteristics in these being "Cleat Positioning
Now, Two great pedal systems come to mind: SpeedPlay and
Bebop pedal sytems. Most triathletes for years have found
these systems to be clearly more desireable than any other.
Both sytems offer between 15 & 19-degrees of side to side
variable-float with "NO Fixed-Center" cleat positioning. Free
float allows your knees and ankles to decide what position
is best. They have dual sided entry w/ built-in internal spring
mechanisms that don't require any adjustments-so stepping
down without looking and engaging the pedals is made easy.
I like the shorter cleat stack height on the Bebops. This
is the distance between the bottom of the cleat and your shoe,
which makes it considerably easier to run through a transition
area w/ your bike in a triathlon. Both systems have the lowest
centerline height(11mm), which is the distance between the
pedal spindle and the ball of your foot. This feature translates
to increased power transmission and less wasted energy between
your foot, pedals, cranks and less bottom bracket torgue.
Other differences to note are: SpeedPlay cleat will need replacing
after about 6 months, depending on how much you may walk around
on them (ie: LOOK cleats- 2-3/ year). I would recommend SpeedPlays
"Coffee shop Caps" for an additional $ 9.95 to protect the
bottom of the cleat for extended wear and life of your cleat.
Replacement cleats retail for $ 39.95, Spring rebuild kits
are $ 9.95, Speedy Luber Injection Kits $ 24.95. I do like
the fact that these are completely rebuildable and have optional
cleat mounting kits for a variety of shoe types. However,
Bebops cleats contain no plastic and therefor last 4 times
as long. The weight differences are minimal. If your looking
for the lightest, then Speedplays Titanium X1's are about
150g (50g or 96g for 4 or 3 hole adapter)cleats=$ 249.00,
X2's have a Stainless steel spindle and are 198g cleats=$
165.00, X3's have a cromoly spindle and are 225g cleats.
(Note: All models supports 3 & 4 cleat mounting patterns.)
Bebop's 8x pedals w/ an "Airomet" Hollow Stainless steel spindle
weighing in at 195g 60g for cleats=$ 150.00-170.00, They
offer a Cromo spindle model at 205g 60g cleats for $ 100.00-120.00
(Note: Most shoe types, ie: Carnac & SIDI offer optional SPD
cleat mounting adaptor's.)
Other upgrades to your shoe system you might want to consider
are "SuperFeet" Trim to fit Cycling Orthotic shoe inserts
$ 29.95 (No prescription neccesary!) These will offer added
fit, support and comfort for increased balance and stability.
My Editor's Choice for "BEST UPGRADE" for dollar to performance
value$$$. Another custom fit possibility would be "Big Meat"
canted wedges to also help custom align your foot, ankle and
knee problems. Manufactured by "A Gear Higher", This race
proven spacer system can be used equally fitted under both
left & right cleats between shoe to help align your foot for
the most effective power delivery or built-up more on one
side to compensat for any "Bio-Mechanical Leg length differences".
Pro's that use the system: World Class-Time Trail Pro-Steve
Hegg, Gold Medalist of the N.Y. GoodWill Games-Paul Swift
plus many, many more!(Important: You must see your Doctor
or Chiropracter before attempting the latter of the two!)
(Technical Note: All pedal sytems should be installed by
a trained person. Pedal and or shoe types, use of orthotics,
canted shim wedges & spacers and any cleat fore an aft adjustments
will require the seat height positioning to change aswell
(Seat clamp-height, angle and fore and aft adjustment can
also vary.) Which will ultimately effect optimal alignment,
balance and positioning on the bike overall.) So don't try
to make adjustments to your own cleats unless you are absolutely
sure you know what you are doing. Ask a fitting specialist
at your local bike shop (Helen's?) for more details (ie: Individual
rider size & weight, rider level & experience, training &
racing needs, frame types & wheel sizes (650c vs 700c)will
further determine proper frame size; aerobar type & size;
stem type & size; fork-type, rake & clamp size & crank length
and optimum front chainring...[38T & 39T/52/53/54/55/56] and
rear cassette ratio's...[11/21, 11/23, 12/23, 12/25, 12/27]).
So that said, I always recommend carefully analyzing your
individual needs first and then dicide what upgrade's will
best suit you. Keep the rubber side down!