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Part 3 – Foot Placement

Speedplay - Why Speedplay?

Foot placement and foot biomechanics are as vital in cycling as they are in any other sport. Why? Because foot placement and the support offered by the foot bed (be it proprioceptive or functional support) have implications for the kinematics of the entire lower limb.

The Speedplay pedal and cleat system is unique in form and function. With a variety of spindle lengths to work with, an infinitely and independently adjustable cleat system (fore/aft, lateral/medial and rotation), the Speedplay system offers the ability to taylor the connection between the crank and the lower limb in a way that is conducive to optimal function (rider specific factor).


Stance Width / Q Factor

Tailored by using different length pedal spindles, this allows for a lateral foot position (away from the midline of the bike/body) that is representative of an individual’s requirements. For my own personal requirements I need a pedal spindle that offers about 4mm greater lateral offset, when compared to most of the major pedal brands.   

Rotational Adjustments

Infinitely adjustable via limit screws on the cleat mechanism, this allows for setup of the foot in the optimal position (eg, natural degree of forefoot abduction) and for setting the desired amount of float. The Speedplay system makes getting this position dialled an absolute breeze, as the degree of forefoot abduction (toes pointing out and away from the midline) does not rely on cleat placement on the shoe. For my own personal requirements I need a relatively high degree of forefoot abduction, which means that with other pedal systems there is usually a compromise on cleat fore/aft, or lateral/medial placement, due to their inherent lack of isolated adjustability. With Speedplay each component (fore/aft, lateral/medial, rotation) is individually adjustable, thus there is no compromise when it comes to foot placement.

Speedplay pedals are on my bike because they offer a unique system that allows for no compromise when foot placement is concerned.


Part 3 - The highlights of SRAM


Many would regard the new SRAM Red as the most desirable mechanical group set based on weight alone. And naively that’s pretty much the basket that I threw it in before riding it. Low and behold each component actually works very well.

The Brakes

Pretty much guaranteed the first thing any one does when they look at a new bike is grab the brake lever and give it the “squeeze test”. This usually either instils confidence, or throws questions in your mind about how well the rest of the bike is going to fell. The new SRAM Red definitely passes the arbitrary “squeeze test”, with their light action and I’m happy to say that the brakes function equally as impressively in the real world when the wheels are actually rolling. Carbon or alloy rims, these brakes work a treat, ample power and modulation.

The Shifting

Shift performance is ultimately the defining element of any group set. For a non-SRAM user the Double Tap shift action is always going to be a mental challenge for the first few rides, beyond that it functions just fine. The shifting is best described as firm, defined and precise. You know you have changed gear each time you hit that lever.

The most impressive element as far as I’m concerned is the front shifting. The Yaw technology works a treat, even with the Osymetric chain rings (which are usually are a massive compromise in shift performance) and it’s nice to not have to worry about “trimming” the front to prevent excessive cage rub. Hats off to SRAM on this impressive technology.


On the whole, the new SRAM Red has offered a positive experience and its performance definitely exceeds the label of it being “just a light mechanical group set”.