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Float vs Fixed(6 posts)

Float vs Fixedcipolini2b
Oct 25, 2003 8:08 AM
'Morning Board,

I've been riding Look and Campagnolo pedals since I've been riding/racing (about 3 years). Both systems work about the same way, and both share the three bolt mounting pattern with the triangular cleat. I've always used the "float" type of cleats because: #1 thats usually what the LBS stocks, #2 I've heard that It's the best way to go (knee pain, etc...). I'm nearing my next cleat purchase, and want to give "fixed" cleats a try. Will there be a significant difference (less play, etc)? Does the difficulty of properly adjusting the fixed cleat outweigh its benefit? Just some background: I'm primarily a sprinter, but do long road races often, and comfort is very important to me. I have come out of my pedals in sprints before, and thats another reason I'm considing the fixed option. Thanks for reading...
I tried fixed....DINOSAUR
Oct 25, 2003 8:37 AM
I've always used the floating red Look cleats, excluding the first Look pedals that came out with no float. I tried the black no-float Look cleats this summer and I found them easy to set up. I just set them in the same positon as my old red Look cleats and I just had to make one minor adjustment with my left cleat. I liked the way they felt, I felt more connected to my bike and like all my pedaling motion was going forward. The downside is that I started to experience knee and foot pain. I think the knee pain was contributed by no float, and the foot pain was because my feet were locked into one position and I'm used to moving my feet around once and awhile, especially on long rides. I also had a different feel when I was taking curves. I was used to canting my foot out on my inside leg and you can't do that with fixed cleats. You can always go ahead a try them, they are not that expensive. I went back to the red cleats, they work better for me, but that's not to say you might have better luck with them. Coming out of your pedal has to do more with the tension setting of your pedals, some models have more tension than others. I also found that knees don't like changes, so take it from there, there will be a significant feel in play, none, as opposed to 3o-9o float, depending of which model pedal you are using.
Try the speedplay Zero'sglia
Oct 25, 2003 2:26 PM
I switched from Look to Speedplay Zeros. On these you can adjust the float freely from 0 to about 15 degrees. Whats nice, you can have different float on each leg and you can adjust inward and outward float.
Thanks, I'll keep those in mind (NM)DINOSAUR
Oct 25, 2003 8:40 PM
Fixed doesn't prevent accidental releaseKerry Irons
Oct 26, 2003 5:09 PM
In fact, a fixed cleat may trigger more accidental releases since your foot can't rotate at all before starting to disengage. Floating cleats came about because so many people had problems with the original clipless pedals. In toeclip days, shoes were much more flexible so this was less an issue. When clipless came out, shoes had to be made much stiffer both to prevent hot spots and to deal with the upward pulling forces that were no longer transfered to the straps/clips. Whether you will have problems with fixed cleats is largely a function of your physiology, and you won't know until you try them. The work fine for some and cause problems for others.
re: Float vs Fixedcharlieboy
Oct 27, 2003 1:43 AM
Cycling Weekly magazine in the UK has this week (Oct 25 2003) got several articles on float versus fixed; if you can get a copy it makes interesting reading. The final paragraph of the main article goes like this (copyright acknowledged of course!)

'In the absence of any clear evidence to the contrary, it seems likely that most cyclists could ride trouble free with properly adjusted fixed cleats. However, float reduces the need for precise adjustment, allows minor adjustments for comfort during a ride, and may prevent injury in susceptible individuals.'

Proper adjustment of fixed cleats is absolutely vital, and requires some trial and error to get right. If you have joint problems go for float, or make very sure your fixed cleat setup is correct.

FWIW, coming out of your cleats during sprints is most often due to lack of tension in your pedal system, and usually has little to do with float.

I hope this helps your choice.