BikeFit VV1 Cleat: Don’t change your pedal system – change your cleats!

Recently I had a client come through the fit studio who was a referral from a local doctor.  This referral has been struggling with pain in the ankle and knee for years and was unable to ride more than 10 miles without pain.   When he arrived I noticed that he had mountain bike shoes and pedals, now in the past this would have raised alarms as to the ability to align this rider properly.   However with the recent success I had been having with the new bikeFit VV1 cleat, I was confident we could make this work for how he was planning on riding his bike and was eager to give it a try, and save the new shoes/ pedals lecture for another day.  

As with all fittings we start with an assessment of the rider through a questionaire/ interview process and then a short ride on the bike to see them in a dynamic setting.  The first off the bike measurement we make is for Varus/ Vargus tilt.  This is the starting point to determining how many wedges or other devices will be neccesary to correct the persons alignment.  When a person with some degree of foot tilt engages their pedal the foot must align with the pedal, so the foot rolls into the pedal and misalignment happens at the knee and hip.  We generally use wedges to “take up” the space that is created between the amount of foot tilt and a flat pedal, so when the person steps into the pedal the cleat is oriented straight into the pedal while the foot is supported in its natural position. 

 The Video Below is before we started to work on JW’s left leg.  Notice how the knee travels out and away from the bike during the pedal stroke (look at the white dot at the knee relative to the laser line).  The right leg was similar before the video but has recieved a 1mm spacer in the pedal, a realignment of the cleat and a VV1 angled cleat (note: it was not finished at the time of video, but close).   The VV1 cleat is a mountain bike cleat that has the equivelant of 1 wedge built in and is a new product, to learn more visit reviews.

Too correct JW’s left leg we installed a 2mm spacer between the pedal and crank arm + 1 VV1 cleat + 1 SPD wedge + 1 ITS wedge and realigned the cleats orientation to move the shoe outboard and more centered on the pedal.  Final result is pictured here, notice now how the laser aligns with the white dot at the knee and the reference dot on the shoe.  

After this fitting JW has been able to ride pain free for the first time in years and is working on training for a multi day charity ride next year.  To learn more about Hypercat fitting services or schedule and appointment visit us at Hypercat or give Phil a call at 510-236-5562.


5 Responses to “BikeFit VV1 Cleat: Don’t change your pedal system – change your cleats!”

  1. Thanks to our good friends at Bike Fit systems for adding more info on the VV1 cleats.

  2. Dana Harrison Says:

    Coach Phil told me to look at this video because this client was similar to my situation. Sure enough, after a day of adjustments (and new pedals and shoes), I just rode the Bay Trail from Berkeley to Richmond and back with NO KNEE PAIN — having never been able to ride more than a couple of miles without pain before. SO thrilled to be working with Coach Phil — if only I could figure out what I’m doing with my UPPER body!

    • thank you Dana, it has been a pleasure to work with you too. I’m glad you didn’t give up on cycling and came to see me and I was able to help. A little more ride time and the rest of you will settle in to cycling then you will have to find some new riding partners that can keep up.

  3. I like “flat” pedals with toe clips as I don’t want to have to wear cycling shoes. I want to wear my normal shoes or sandals. I am a utility cyclist, not a sports cyclist, but I still need some varus cant for my forefoot. I don’t want to use wedges in my shoes as I just want to use ordinary shoes, sandals, etc. Therefore, what I want is the ability to adjust or modify my ordinary flat pedals to give them some varus cant. I think the utility and leisure cyclist is poorly served by the current direction of new product development, which focusses exclusively on the sports cyclist, who is prepared to use specialist shoes and clipless/clip-in pedals. I guess I will have to think of a way to bodge some sort of wedge onto the platform of my pedals. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  4. Steve – My suggestion would be to have a custom insole made that addesses your Varus needs. This will not be practical for sandals, but regular shoes will address the issue.

    On an industry note, I don’t see much practicality on the development of a casual shoe/ toe clip solution. The main reason is that the foot can not be adequately isolated and supported through the above mentioned footwear. Stiff soled cycling shoes and clipless pedals allow for enough support to adjust for the cant you desire. Flexible sneakers or sandals just do not have enough inherent rigidity. Also it is very difficult to match a toe clip pedal with correct biomechanical alignement of the knee, there is too much variance within shoe dimensions.

    Keen and a couple other brands make casual shoes and sandals that will clip into a mountain bike (SPD) type pedal and have a resessed cleat for walking around. Switching to a system like that will allow you to have many options on addressing your varus cant and even make pedaling up hill easier as a bonus.

    Good luck and thanks for the question

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