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"Float"?(10 posts)

"Float"?Bike Mike
Jul 27, 2002 5:49 PM
I've been reading reviews and articles on pedal types and keep coming across the term "float". What does that refer to? Is float good? What will it get me if I have a pedal that has it?

Thanks for helping a novice!

Mike
float is...IAmtnbikr
Jul 27, 2002 5:53 PM
the movement in degrees that your foot can pivot around without coming unclipped from the pedal. Some SPD pedals have as little as 4 degrees, other types of pedals have much more. It is a personal preference kind of a thing. Try to ride as many as you can before buying.
FloatDave Hickey
Jul 27, 2002 5:54 PM
Float allows your shoes to pivot sideways on the pedal. If you have no float, your shoes are locked in a fore and aft position. I use pedals with float to prevent knee problems
You want float?DrPete
Jul 27, 2002 6:00 PM
Since float has already been defined, I encourage you to try a couple pedals. First, take a Shimano SPD or a Look. Some of them are even "fixed" pedals, i.e. no float at all. Then, at the other extreme, try my personal fave, the Speedplay X series. On the Speedplays, your foot gets 20 degrees of float with virtually no resistance when you come out of the pedal. Very comfy, very cool.

The amount you want/need is up to you. I love my Speedplays, though....
You want float?Bike Mike
Jul 27, 2002 6:13 PM
Does that much float affect your pedalling position? I have SPD's now and have to concentrate on keeping a good position (i.e. keep my knees in). It seems to me that less float would make it easier to keep all the parts in order. Or is it one of those counterintuitive things?

Thanks for your help.

MB
Not exactly...DrPete
Jul 27, 2002 6:24 PM
I like having a lot of float for a couple reasons:

1. You can rest/shake out your feet without disengaging the pedal.

2. Your feet can go to their natural position as you pedal without having to mess with super-fine cleat adjustments.

3. With the Speedplays, getting in and out is extremely easy, which comes in handy in heavy traffic.

Those are the biggies, but that being said, some riders say it takes a while to get used to a lot of float because it forces you to make your pedal stroke purely vertical, because your feet will be all over the place if your stroke is "sloppy." I think it's actually been good for my pedaling technique to have them. It took me about 4 miles to get used to mine, and my pedal stroke is much cleaner. Like I said, though, it's a matter of preference.
FloatScot_Gore
Jul 27, 2002 6:26 PM
Float is the ability of the foot (and leg) to move left and right when clipped into a pedal. Left and right is a poor description, float is really rotational on top of the pedal. Imagine nailing two boards together. If you do it with a round nail, it will be easy to rotate the nailed board around the point of attachment i.e. lots of float. If you did with a rectangular spike the board wouldn't rotate at all i.e. no float.

Is float good ??? - 2 schools of thought.

1) Pedals with no float require that your foot and leg be pointed in a specific direction while clipped in and stay that way through the whole pedal stroke. This may not be the natural direction your foot likes to be pointed. If your body has a low tolerance for being asked to do things that are not natural for it you may experience knee pain or other forms of discomfort with a no or low % float pedal. Also having lots of float allows your leg to find a different position as you do different things on the bike like spin, mash, climb, coast, corner, etc. So, float is good.

2) Many people don't like the feeling of lots of float. You'll hear it described as riding on ice. That float lets the foot and leg flop around too much and reduces the riders attachment, stability and security through the pedal stroke (and maybe even reduces the power transfer through the crank arm). Lots can be done to make a no or low % pedal comfortable. By playing with cleat position you can get your foot position to the natural place your foot and leg like to ride and the need to have that position adjust while riding unnecessary. So, float is bad.

HTH

Scot
Re:Aristotle
Jul 27, 2002 8:03 PM
I'm using the Speedplay X series right now, and I do like their high degree of float because they're easy on my knees. However, I do feel like I have more control of the bike when using a pedal such as a Look; unfortunately, the minimal-float pedals make my knee sore.
One other little note...mmquest
Jul 27, 2002 8:51 PM
is that Time pedals have float, but also have a spring that lightly pushes your foot back straight. I know that some people don't like this and prefer the free float of other pedal systems, but I personally couldn't stand the free float. I like the fact that Times allow float but also keep my foot in position.
they also have some side-to-side movement.rufus
Jul 28, 2002 3:06 AM
not just rotating around an axis. i love mine.