Do you know how to install cleats on indoor cycling shoes? If you are a fan of indoor cycling or Spinning classes, you’ve probably looked for ways to make your exercise more efficient, effective, and safer. One way to do that easily and quickly is by installing cleats on your cycling shoes. Not only do cleats make your cycling easier, it also prevents your foot from slipping even during the most intense cycling workout.
However, it is critical to install the cleats properly, otherwise you will experience joint, ankle, and foot pain.
Here is an easy guide on how to install cleats on your indoor cycling shoes.
What are Cleats?
Cleats is a general term used to describe any protrusions on the sole of athletic shoes that are designed to help the wearer have more traction on a soft or slippery surface. For cycling, cleats are usually blade-like in shape, and they can be made from plastic, metal, or rubber. In the case of indoor cycling, they are usually made from plastic or rubber to prevent scratches on the floor.
Why are Cleats so Important?
If you’re exercising on your indoor bike at a leisurely pace, using cleats are not necessary. However, if you’re hitting 100 RPMs on your bike, using cleats not only makes it easier, it also makes it safer for you as well.
When you’re not clipped in (the slang that describes using cleats), the motion of the pedals comes from you pushing down on the pedals. However, if you’re wearing cleats, your upward or pulling motion is now also adding to the speed, making the pedals turn faster. What’s more, you’re using more muscles to turn the pedals, making the workout more effective overall.
Using cleats also prevents your feet from slipping off the pedals (which is a common occurrence when you’re cycling at high speeds) and having the pedals hit your shin or calves. If you don’t know how that feels—lucky you! Many indoor cyclists report getting bruises or even broken skin when an errant pedal hits their leg at 100 RPMs.
Wearing cleats while indoor biking does take some practice for you to get used to the ritual of clipping in and out. It’s most likely that you’re going to get snagged in your bike during the first few times that you use cleats, but eventually it’s going to become second nature and your indoor biking experience is going to improve massively for it.
A Look into Popular Cleats for Indoor Cycling
While there are numerous brands of cleats for indoor cycling out there, two of the most popular brands are the SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics) and the Look Delta Pads.
- Shimano Pedaling Dynamics
It’s no surprise than Shimano has created one of the top-rated biking cleats on the market. After all, Shimano is known for making high quality biking equipment. SPD cleats are small and look like a spade with a rounded tip. They can be attached through two bolts in the recessed part of SPD-compatible shoes.
The recessed cleat is one of the most attractive features of SPD cleats because it allows you to use this type of cycling shoes like you would use normal shoes.
- Look Delta Pads
Look Delta Pads, or LDPs, are much wider compared to SPDs. They are triangular and have a three-bolt system. However, they do not have the same recessed system which is why they are harder to use indoors.
To be able to choose between SPDs or LDPs, you need to consider both your pedal and your shoes. Both your shoes and your pedal must be compatible with either the SPD or LDP system so that the locking process takes place. It is important to note that that since SPD cleats have a 2-bolt system as opposed to LDP’s 3-bolt system, you won’t be able to one brand of cleats with the other’s brand of pedal or shoes. While there are some shoe brands that are universal and can accept both the 2-bolt and 3-bolt system, these shoes will not have the recess needed to make using the SPD cleats seamless.
A Step-by-Step Guide on Installing Cleats on Indoor Cycling Shoes
Now that you know what kind of cleats you need for your pedals and your shoes, let’s look into the process of installing the cleats on your cycling shoes.
Step one: Put your shoes on normally.
Step two: Find the ball of your foot. It is recommended that you wear your normal cycling socks so hat you have the right tightness and fit of the shoe on your foot. Locate the ball using your thumb: it is the bony knuckle on the side of your big toe.
Step three: Mark the center of the ball of your foot. Repeat the step for the other shoe.
Step four: Once you’ve marked the ball for both shoes, remove them and place them on a flat, level surface. Hold a ruler against the mark and trace the line straight down to the same point on the sole of the shoe.
Step five: Align the mark on the point of the cleat where the center of the pedal axle will be located once you have clipped in. Both SPD and LDP cleats usually have a marker on the side to make it easier for you to align your mark with the center of the pedal axle.
Step six: Once you’ve properly aligned the cleats to your shoe, tighten the bolts slightly and try clipping in to see if you need to adjust your cleats. If the fit is correctly aligned, you can tighten the bolts into the shoe to affix your cleat securely.
There you have it: an easy guide on how to install cleats on indoor cycling shoes. Now you’ll be able to pedal faster, more efficiently, and safely on your indoor cycle. The choice between SPD cleats or LDP cleats is a personal one. You simply need to choose which feels and performs better for you. Find out more about cycling shoes.