Does Cleat Stagger Remedy a Leg Length Discrepancy?

Cleat Stagger

What is Cleat Stagger?

When the cleat on one bike shoe is shifted forward and the other one positioned to the rear, rather than symmetrically aligned (see the photo above).

We tend to hear more about cleat stagger when it accompanies a comment suggesting that a particular anatomical leg length difference is located at the femur. With that information in mind, many fitters and cyclists consider staggering the cleats. Is this the right answer?

Things to Consider:

  1. How can you be sure the leg length difference is only in the femur?
  2. Are you sacrificing optimum cleat fore/aft position with cleat stagger?
  3. What other aspect(s) further up the chain is/are compromised by cleat stagger?  Are you sacrificing too much in order to avoid a simple solution?

We noticed that by addressing almost all leg length differences as a leg length discrepancy, you will most likely discover the best solution: a Leg Length Shim. This also tends to minimize other complications from the foot up that can possibly occur via cleat stagger.  Some of these sacrifices can include injury, pain, imbalance or loss of power.

Cleat Stagger

Find our for yourself!  Try both a cleat stagger and a Leg Length Shim separately.  In most cases, a bike fitter or BikeFit Pro will be able to observe better symmetry from the rear view.  For the individual, you will likely feel a distinct difference between the two.  Which one felt better? In our experience the preferred solution usually, if not always, includes the Leg Length Shim as the primary adjustment.  Some cyclists expressed that the cleat stagger drives them absolutely bonkers (medical expression).

Lastly, remember with all leg length issues, it is best to have a bike fitter or BikeFit Pro check your posture on multiple shaped saddles.   Some different saddle shapes mask the potential asymmetrical movements often associated with a leg length issue. Only by checking your posture on a few different saddles can you assure you have indeed addressed the difference as well as possible.

At BikeFit, only after installing the shim is staggering the cleat ever-so-slightly a consideration we make in order to fine-tune.  Even then, it is rare at best.

BikeFit Pro Education Exclusively Provided by Cycle Point

BikeFit, the worldwide leader in bicycle fitting products, now offers BikeFit Pro education exclusively through CyclePoint.

Pedal Jam

Although closely tied with Cycle Point, BikeFit no longer provides educational training to become a bike fitter. We now focus exclusively on providing products and knowledge to increase riding comfort, efficiency, and power.  In addition to our amazing line of bike fitting products, we recently developed a Walkable Screw Kit, updates and changes to our iPad/iPhone Fitter App, and the free Foot Fit Calculator Android app.  The new app will help cyclists identify foot tilt, decipher the number of wedges they may need, and allow the to directly purchases the wedges they need or connect them to local BikeFit Pros and dealers.

What is Cycle Point?

Paul Swift, founder and CEO of CyclePoint, created the company prior to BikeFit, but it primarily functioned as a product design company.  Many of those designs include BikeFit products.  CyclePoint now organizes, conducts, and operates all BikeFit Pro training.  Recent and upcoming training includes California, Georgia, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and Canada!  If you would like to find out more, visit the CyclePoint website.

We are excited for what these changes mean for the future of BikeFit and CyclePoint!  With our companies combined, we can do more for numerous cyclists! Our goals are similar: aid cyclists in reducing pain, increasing power and efficiency, and in turn, make cycling more enjoyable.  We hope you look forward to the future of bike fitting!

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