Considering 0° swing cleats, what should I expect?

Since the pedal stroke has dramatically improved after I had a couple of rides with my new Lakes Cx 332, it seems to me that a carbon sole may be complimented with some 0° swings cleats to me, or at least that’s how I felt. The current 4.5° cleats felt intrusive at a time, making me shift my focus in keeping the foot steady during strokes.
But I’m also 50, although great shape and musculars legs I’m still 50, so I have to take into consideration different factors…

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Expect zero benefits and knee pain. Not worth it. You gain nothing that’s worth the offset of running 0 deg offset imho.

What pedals are you using currently? Have you considered thightening the screw of the binding? Might help the feel of being locked in. I run 6 degree spd sl and never have the impression my foot isn’t rock steady in the cleat.


I’m no expert but if you have to concentrate on keeping your feet from rotating then perhaps you need float in your pedals.


Try it and see.

I switched to zero degree cleats around 7-8 years ago and much prefer the stability (I feel) they provide. There is a very slight movement in them plus a little movement of your foot in the shoe which is more than enough for me. I started with the Shimano cleats and am now using Look cleats with Assioma pedals both with zero degree float and they have both been fine.

It goes without saying that you need to be careful in how you mount the cleat to the shoe to ensure your knees track well but unless something changes for me I’ll happily stay with zero float. FWIW I am also 50.


Expect knee pain and saddle discomfort. Very few, and I mean VERY few people are able to pedal in such a way that 0 degree float pedals are a good option. Even professionals, who ride their bikes for 20-30 hours a week use 2-6 degrees of float almost universally. Only some sprinters use 0 degrees of float, and several of them, including the likes of Greipel and Cavendish have stated that they don’t recommend it for anyone not concerned with absolute power output in a sprint, and that they do experience knee pain at times due to the locked in position. Joints like to move freely, and a fixated foot and ankle position doesn’t allow this to happen. Most people compensate by shifting around in the saddle and/or developing a pedalling imbalance. However, with all this said, try it and see. Outliers are, by definition, not common, but that isn’t to say that you aren’t one of them!


Basically, you are giving up any leeway you have, and your fit needs to be perfect out of the box. If it isn’t, a common side effect is knee pain. What you perceive as an unsteady foot might actually be what your knee needs to be happy …

I need lots of float to keep my knees (in particular my right knee) happy and pain-free.

I’m not sure what pedals you use. Shimano’s cleats come in yellow (6 degrees of float), blue (2 degrees of float) and red (0 degrees of float). I would definitely recommend against 0 degrees (red) and opt for 2 degrees (blue) if you want to try less float.


A blue cleat doesn’t make you faster.

A blue cleat doesn’t make you more ‘pro’.

Blue cleat = knee trouble.


I’m running Powertap P1 pedals with their key compatible cleats. For reasons I was never able to figure out, I couldn’t rotate my heel enough to unclip reliably with anything other than 0 degree float cleats. The longer the ride, the worse it would get.
In the end I’ve spent a lot of time getting my 0 degree float cleats just right and haven’t had any noticeable problems. Having said that, I ride with SPD cleats for MTB & gravel, and those have loads of float - I wouldn’t say it’s better or worse for me. If/when the P1’s die, hopefully whatever I replace them with will unclip easily with 6 degree float and I can just run with a more default setup.

" What you perceive as an unsteady foot might actually be what your knee needs to be happy …"

This. I actually thought about this at some point this morning. Never had any issued with my old Sidi shoes but everything was set up by my bike fit guy, looks like my new shoes just need that and that’s it.

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I second this.

I was quite anal about this in my early 20s. I settled on Shimano blue cleats, which I believe are 1deg. Years later, knee pain is a thing.

I ride with the most float now, actually using Shimano Mtb pedals on my road/cx bike currently. Never felt like I ‘lost watts’ or anything, tho maybe in a lab setting I technically do. My younger self would be ashamed, but you gotta do what you gotta do to keep riding!

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I think for 99.9% of people they’ll experience no benefit and just pain. I have heard of one individual claiming going 0deg was the cure for his knee pain. But if nothing is broke for you there @Derp I wouldn’t try to fix it.

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@Derp, as you’ve no doubt seen from the replies in this thread, everyone will have their preference and what works for them. Ultimately, you should do the same and try out options and see what works for you…

From my own experience at 50 and someone disposed to left knee problems (I messed it up bad in my 20’s), I’ve found that I CAN’T ride with 0 degree float. When I started cycling again back in early 2020, my LBS said I “should” be using 0 float cleats. As a noob to clipless pedals at that time, I took that as gospel.

That said, no matter what we tried during my subsequent fits (left side spindle adaptors, cleat shims, etc), the only thing that helped remove the knee pain COMPLETELY was to move over to cleats with float (i’m currently using the red XPedo cleats (6 degrees float if I recall correctly) that came stock with my assioma pedals, which I bought about 9 months after the bike) and it’s been a night and day difference and i’ve not had one day since where knee pain has been as issue.

Good luck in however you choose to proceed!


I started cycling when the only option was toe clips, leather straps and cleats nailed to the bottom of my shoes. Zero issues but it took some care aligning the cleats.

Look Keo Blade Ti, it’s some oldish stuff today I guess, bought them in 2012…

I accidentally bought some zero degree float cleats, and did one ride before I took them off. In 25 years of riding, I have had zero knee pain (knock on wood). One short ride on these cleats and I knew I would be heading for issues if I rode any longer. So you can try them. It is a cheap experiment. But like most people have said…be careful.

Me too! But there was a lot of slop in that system and the shoe could rock side to side on the pedal. Plus the shoes were leather and had a lot of give.

If one really wants a fixed cleat then you probably need a pro to set it up spot on.

Adjusting cleats is black magic. I had a former world tour pro do that to me. He looked at me pedaling, eyeballed a first change, had me pedal a bit more and did one more adjustment. They feel perfect. I asked him what he’d done, and he said it is just experience.

I reckon you had downtube shifters, quill stems and ridiculous gearing, too. Fortunately, we don’t live in those times anymore. :slight_smile:

I asked my fitter about going from 5 degree to 2 degree and he said it’s not a good idea in 95% of the time.

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I like zero float cleats. Started out running cleats with more float but found that it would tend to push out to the outside limit of the float when pedaling. Was carefully aligning my cleats during fitting and then moving my foot a few degrees when actually riding hard.

Everyone’s body is a bit different, worth trying them once you feel like you’ve got your set up dialed in. Cleats are inexpensive and your knees won’t actually explode on the first ride. Maybe spin a bit on the trainer so you can make adjustments if needed or take them off if you don’t like the way they feel.

Not necessarily. There used to be this tool by Fit Kit called RAD. I’m not sure if they still sell it. Looks like this:

I had this done like 30 years ago before Look introduced float into their cleats. I see that there are other cleat fitting tools out there.

Your guy eyeballed it. I think fitters try and get the knees tracking straight. They may use shims and wedges.

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