by Andrew Vontz
The water, mud, sand and grit that make cyclocross fun also make it hard on equipment, including shoes. Recently I had to accept that I’d utterly destroyed my favorite cyclocross shoes and had to undertake the task of trying to replicate my cleat position on a new pair of shoes. To complicate matters, I also wanted to mirror this position on my road shoe that I use to train most of the time.
Dialing in cleat position can be frustrating, but if you don’t get it right, you’re going to pay in the form of joint pain and tweaks upstream in your kinetic chain at your ankles, knees and hips that can lead to big problems.
Any attempt at adjustment is sure to result in a series of rides shortly thereafter where you spend a quarter of the ride stopping and fiddling with your cleats.
After some searching, I found the Ergon TP1 Shimano SPD (mountain/cyclocross) and Ergon TP1 Shimano SPD SL (road) cleat fit tools. They’re plastic templates marked with grids that have a hole for either an SPD or SPD SL cleat, respectively.
You loosely affix the cleat to your shoe, stick the cleat through the template and follow the directions that come with the fit tools to help dial in your optimal cleat position. Each tool enables precise fore-aft, lateral and angular adjustment of the left and right shoes relative to the cleat.
I wanted to use them for another purpose: setting up my new cyclocross shoes with the same cleat position as the shoes I was replacing and then replicating that position on my road shoes.
By marking the longitudinal and latitudinal axes at the heel and at the center of the ball of the big toe and little toe with tape, I was able to rapidly achieve this task on both pairs of shoes.
In less than 10 minutes, I had my new cyclocross shoes and my road shoes setup with nearly identical positions. I tested each pair out on the trainer and made minor adjustments, but I got it close to perfect on the first try.
I used the Ergon cleat tools for my Shimano systems, but they also make tools for Speedplay and Look road pedals and Crank Brothers off-road pedals.
For more information: ergon-bike.com
$19.95 (per tool)