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How to Use SPD-SL Cycling Cleats

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
How to Use SPD-SL Cycling Cleats
A man on a road bike is wearing cleats. Photo Credit m-gucci/iStock/Getty Images

SPD-SL cycling cleats, which are made by Shimano, are designed to transfer more power from your body to the bike. The bottom of the shoe is made of carbon fiber, which is very tough, yet light. SPD-SL cleats must be used with the Shimano series of bike pedals, which are designed so that the cleats fit into the pedal like a lock and key. This allows you to cycle powerfully while your foot remains securely attached to the pedal.

Step 1

Mount the SPD-SL cleats onto your cycling shoes. Cleats are sold separately and correspond to the type of bike you have. For example, if you have a mountain bike, then you need the SPD-SL mountain bike cleats. Turn your shoe over and align the holes in the shoe with the holes on your cleat. Use the tightening tool to secure the cleat to the shoe.

Step 2

Put your shoes on with the cleats attached and tie them, so they fit snugly. Sit on your bike with one foot on the ground for balance. Place your free foot on top of the bike pedal. It helps if the bike pedal is close to the ground.

Step 3

Line up the cleat on the bottom of your shoe with the pedal. Press down with the ball of your foot so that the cleat locks in place. You will hear a clicking noise.

Step 4

Push off with your free foot to get your bike moving and then place the free foot on the pedal once you start coasting. Press down to lock the cleat into place. Both cleats are now locked in place allowing you to go cycling. When you're done, simply pull up with your foot to unlock the cleat from the pedal.

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