The BikeFit VV1 SPD MTN Cleat – Review

Many cyclists who ride the road these days are doing so with a mountain bike pedal system.  These riders encompass a broad range of cyclists from commuters and casual weekend riders, to newer and less experienced riders, to charity riders, century riders and even some racers, and all seemed initially to “feel” more comfortable with the idea of the mountain pedal.  There are a number of good solid reasons to have chosen this type of system as their pedaling system and there is nothing inherently wrong with choosing a mountain system for road riding, but from a fitting/ biomechanics stand point this has been for many years a “poor” decision.  A decision that generally begins with the discussion of the superiority of road shoes and pedals, power transfer, support, hotspots, and so on… and most important the ability to provide optimum alignment of the lower extremities during pedaling.   I am in this camp of recommending road shoes and pedals for the vast majority of road cyclists but recently the team at bike fit.com  showed me their newest product the VV1/ SPD cleat, and my hard line stance has been eroded after some measurable success in the fit studio.

This ingenious little device replaces traditional SPD mountain cleats with a cleat that has a 1 degree tilt built into it.  Previously this was only accomplished with a very small plastic wedge and was a difficult shoe/ cleat/ pedal combination to adjust for proper knee and ankle alignment.  By providing the initial tilt from the cleat you have an easier to adjust platform (when setting up cleats, multiple re-positionings are often neccessary before zeroing in on the perfect spot which wrecks havoc on that little wedge).  A number of times I have had to throw away a wedge or two during a fitting because the wedge was destroyed.  The integrated cleat also provides an elegant solution to a complicated problem of perfect alignment and a more durable engagement system for mountain bike pedal users.  For my on the road riders, this has translated to the ability to maintain their current pedal/ shoe combination and derive a near perfect and less costly alignment solution then replacing the whole system.  The cleat on its own does not always provide the final solution but a much better platform from which to achieve the final solution.  In one month of having these new cleats  in my fit studio I have had 4 clients use this product and save the cost of new shoes and pedals.

It should be stated that these cleats are designed for a mountain bike system to create a more stable and effecient platform in engaging the pedal, and they do this job as well as the road cleats with a traditional wedge.  My only complaint with the VV1 cleats is that they are currently only available for SPD (shimano compatible) pedal systems.  In the future I hope that the bike fit crew can develop a successful cleat for Crank brothers and Time as well.  While not as common as shimano the ability to work on these other popular pedal systems would greatly enhance the experience of those riders using them and make alot of cyclocross riders I know very happy in the Winter.  Whatever your reason for using mountain bike pedals on your bike, this little gem coupled with a proper assessment of your shoe/ pedal interface by a qualified fitter could save you hundeds of dollars in new equipment and deliver a more comfortable, powerful anf effecient stroke to boot. 

If you would like to learn more about these cleats and how they can improve your cycling experience, schedule an appointment or contact Phil directly, please visit www.hypercat.com, and check out this post from our good friends at bike fit systems http://bikefitpro.blogspot.com/2010/05/bike-fit-spd-cleats-and-pedals.html

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