eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

Cleat Positioning for Recumbents with Clipless Pedals

with 8 comments

Image from Recumbent Cyclist Blog

I ran across some interesting discussions of cleat position and thought they might be useful to other recumbent riders also.

Let me start by saying my search for the correct cleat position is on hold until I start riding again and I have never found a comfortable cleat position. So I will be investigating this topic more in the future and all conclusions are tenative.

The two pieces I found useful were:

1. Position of Clipless Cleats on a Recumbent from Ask Mr. Bike

2. Comfortable Shoes on Recumbents Discussion thread on Bike Forums

What struck me was that both suggested that when using clipless pedals on a recumbent the cleats should be positioned as far back as possible. In fact in Bike Forums the suggestion was made that the opening be lengthened so that the cleats could be moved back another 1/4 inch.

I always thought that the cleats were positioned roughly under the ball of the foot (take a look at picture above) and then adjusted for comfort and power. I’ve always felt that my cleat position was wrong and that I couldn’t move them far enough back but said to myself that can’t be right.

I am getting my Dremel tool out and lengthening the slot in my shoes and moving the cleats back before my next ride.

I am not suggesting you move your cleats if they feel good now or that their is a universal answer to cleat positioning. There is way too much variation in bikes, shoes, and feet for that to be true. But this is something to try if your cleats don’t feel comfortable.

I will let you know how this works for me. I would also love to hear your thoughts on and experience with cleat positioning on recumbents. (Please let us know what type of bike and shoe you are using when you comment)

Follow on 


Thanks to Recumbent Cyclist Blog for the picture. Did you notice what is so unusual about the bike in the picture?

See Shoes and Pedals for more posts on this topic


Written by Roland

May 9, 2007 at 8:53 am

8 Responses

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  1. That’s the front drive cruzbike. What do I win? 🙂

    Another vote for moving the cleats behind the ball of the foot. In my case, the slots allow the cleat back far enough for my taste, so I don’t have to alter them. BTW, many people have found this position more comfortable–not just recumbent riders. The first I caught drift of this was from Sheldon Brown in an interview some years ago.


    May 9, 2007 at 9:34 am

  2. Perry, right again.


    May 9, 2007 at 10:04 am

  3. Roland, I forgot to mention that I am using some older Adidas shoes and I ride a Tour Easy. I have had an on again / off again relationship with clipless but after recently going back (again), I think they make an immense difference. Just have to regain my previously pretty good spinning style which I had abandoned because of riding too much on platform pedals. The clipless really make a big difference and help take the stress off my knees. Take care and tailwinds to you.


    May 9, 2007 at 9:24 pm

  4. Perry, getting my spin back was exactly why I tried clipless again last summer.


    May 11, 2007 at 3:22 pm

  5. […] Follow up on previous post Positioning Cleats […]

  6. Thank you Roland for ferreting out this information.

    I had been plagued with arch pain ever since I got my bent.

    Took your advice and lengthened the slot in my Cannondale / SPD system and …… voila ….. no more arch pain.

    Fantastic !

    John G.

    November 11, 2008 at 10:15 am

  7. I am new to riding recumbents. I love the bike, only problem is I have Look peddles and touring shoes rather than cross country shoes. I finally went back to sneakers and standard peddles….couldn’t take the falling over because I could not release the shoes. Now, I am back to worrying about my feet slipping out of the peddals and hitting the street on a fast decline. I am now thinking of getting cross country peddals and of coarse, the shoes that match. Would this make the difference, do they release easier than my present “touring” shoes. By the way, I have never had a problem with a standard bike and the Look peddals, I am used to “the ankel twist”.

    Richard V

    July 5, 2009 at 5:19 pm

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