Bike Shoe Cleats
Buy the best bike cleats
Here at BikeChain, we stock high-quality cycling cleats from names you can trust, such as BBB & Time. We’re your one-stop-shop for everything you could possibly need to pedal comfortably and efficiently! From cycling shoes to bike shoe accessories, you’ll find it all here. So happy shopping!
Bike Shoe Cleats
What are bike shoe cleats?
A cleat refers to an accessory affixed to your bike shoe (either recessed into the sole for mountain biking or protruding for road riding). The cleat connects to the pedal, therefore essentially ‘clipping’ the rider’s feet to the bike. Have you heard the term ‘clipless shoes’? This is somewhat misleading and pretty confusing if you’re new to the sport, as it infers quite the opposite. However, ‘clip-on’ is also widely used and would be more correct!
What are the benefits of cycling cleats?
There are many benefits to wearing bike shoes with cleats. It may seem a little unusual on the first go. However, stick with them as it won’t take long at all to become familiar with the sensation.
You might not realise it, but when you rotate the pedal, your legs work to pull up. A cleated bike shoe helps you do the work (especially in the pulling-up stroke), thus making your overall performance more powerful.
Cleats go hand-in-hand with stiff bike shoe soles, something that contributes greatly to the comfort of your feet (especially over prolonged sessions on the bike).
The correct bike fit is big business these days, especially if you are a serious cyclist or triathlete. Fitting can extend to the cleats and precisely where they are located on the sole (thus influencing the position of your foot in relation to the pedal). Getting this right can encourage the correct bike posture and, therefore, consistently train the right muscles. Non-cleated shoes mean you’re riding freestyle, so your foot position could change at any point depending on your energy levels, if you hit something along the path, the elevation, etc.
There is a distinct advantage to the recessed or integrated cleat. It means the cyclist can run or walk off the bike pretty much naturally, as they would in sneakers or trainers.
This applies especially to speed cycling in that the harder and faster you move, the more challenging it becomes to keep your clipless feet on the pedals and, therefore, stay smooth and safe.
Types of cycling cleats
Broadly speaking, you have mountain bike gear and road bike gear, and rarely the twain shall meet!
Road bike cleats
Road bikes use what we call a three-bolt system. This is typically a large cleat affixed to and protruding from the shoe’s sole. The three-bolt system encourages a greater and more evenly-distributed transfer of power. However, bear in mind that the protruding cleat does make it difficult to walk in the shoes.
Mountain bike cleats
Unlike road bikes, mountain bikes rely on a two-bolt system, with the clip mechanism located on both sides of the pedal. This means that the pedal can be facing either direction and your foot will still clip in regardless (unlike road riding, with exception to Wahoo Speedplays). Importantly, the mountain bike cleat sits recessed in the sole. As a result, you can walk around a lot more comfortably (and not resemble a penguin!).
How do bike shoe cleats work?
The cleat is designed to connect with a spring that is built into the pedal. You simply push the shoe onto the pedal (you might need to move it slightly until it fits into place - over time this will become like a second skin and you will get it perfect straight away!). To clip out of the pedal you just nudge your heel away from the bike, and you will instantly feel the spring mechanism release.
Practice makes perfect! We would recommend getting a feel for things by clipping in and out whilst stationary and perhaps near a wall or some other non-moving object. It’s also a good idea as you learn to anticipate and react accordingly. For instance, as you approach traffic lights and you’re sure they’re going to change, start to think about clipping out rather than leaving it to the very last second.
How to set up cycling cleats
Unless you really know what you are doing, we recommend taking your gear to a local bike store for a professional fit. Get it perfect the first time, set and forget!
However, if you really want to DIY:
Cleat fitting tips:
Contact us about bike cleats
Do you have any questions or are you after more specific advice? We’re here to help; just contact us! Don’t forget when you spend $100+, we ship to you free anywhere in Australia. Even better - we offer AfterPay, so you can ride now and pay off in smaller, multiple instalments.