Float is a great thing, cursed by knee surgeons since its invention. But an unintended consequence has been a bit of a cavalier attitude toward cleat placement. What was once a science has been relegated to, Get it close and let the float take care of the rest. Does it really matter? A simple look at the pros answers the question with a resounding affirmative. Those guys spare no effort to dial cleat placement in and then make sure it doesnt drift a single millimeter. Your cleat is where you and your bike become one, its hard to overestimate its importance. Two new cleats, one from Shimano and one from VP are perfect for riders prepared to take this marriage of shoe and pedal to the next level.
VP-ARC6 Split Cleat
This is a Look compatible cleat providing a very snug, slop-free fit with solid traction for walking with two float options, zero and seven degrees. But what makes it special is the brilliantly simple jigsaw design. By replacing the cleat in two pieces it is possible to ensure your new cleat is in the exact same position as the previous cleat, to the nano-meter. Take the time to get your placement right once and youll never have to do it again. No more sharpie on your outsole, no more squinting to find the reference marks that have been scraped away after a season of racing. Removing one half of the cleat is a simple matter of prying it up with a screwdriver, then slot in the new half, tighten the bolts, and repeat with the second half. Its faster and more accurate than any other method.
VP-ARC6 Price: $30 More: vp-usa.com
Back to the pros. Shimano has offered two cleats for their pedals in the past, a fixed red cleat and a yellow cleat with three degrees of float. For their pros they offered a third option, a single degree of float for a very connected feel with just a hint of play. Shimano is now bringing that cleat, in blue, to the bike shop. It holds another secret up its sleeve. While the yellow three-degree float cleat pivots from the toe, the new one-degree blue cleat pivots right above the spindle, letting your entire foot pivot while keeping your power center static. Powerful riders with a big sprint will truly appreciate the new cleat, after all Mark Cavendish was a dedicated blue cleat rider. Since you wont be able to rely on a lot of float to mask the wrong position, its important to take the time to set it up correctly, but once you do, the benefits of riding more securely connected will shine through.
SM-SH12 Price: $36.19 More: shimano.com