View Full Version : Heel rub - sloppy pedalling technique?

01-06-2012, 03:27 PM
I've never had a problem with heel rub on my cranks. And always thought it was a result of poor technique or poor cleat placement. Recently while cleaning my bikes I noticed heel rub on both my Athena UT left cranks. None of my other bikes with record UT and square taper cranks have this? Whats happening?

01-06-2012, 04:10 PM
Q factors are the same I believe but shape is slightly different if you're using the alloy Athena crankset.

I'd look at outside factors such as saddle height and setback differences that affect pedal stroke.

01-06-2012, 04:45 PM
I would not consider heel rub to be indicative of much other than that your body is moving. The cranks and pedals may move in a single plane, but you do not -- nor does anyone else. If you feel fine riding the bike, don't worry about it.

01-06-2012, 05:22 PM
I've rubbed them a lot.. it could be as simple as you wore different shoes and/or booties or something.. usually if I ride in the winter with booties their thickness makes it hard to avoid rubbing.

The only thing I would say though.. for me I got put in a position where my saddle was too high. It definitely caused more rub.. when the saddle is too high my foot (moreso on the short side) really wants to move inward. It's noticeable enough it causes faster cleat wear on that side, once the cleat has worn to have a little extra float, then the shoe will start rubbing the crank.

Getting that fit issue resolved really calmed my foot movement down.

I kind of disagree that foot movement should be considered normal. I would argue something is going on, whether it is bike fit, or flexibility problems, assymetric muscle strength, etc.. One reason I would argue this is that in almost any other form of exercise you do that would involve bending & contracting the leg in a similar pattern it would be universally noted as bad if some excessive out of plane movement was happening. Most of those other exercises are going to be more weight bearing.. I'd guess you'd see the instability manifested differently there since the foot is weight bearing.. but knee movement would look more like cycling. Then again if it's caused by some permanent injury there might not be much you can do.

01-06-2012, 06:32 PM
Ifin you got no pain don't stop to look at your navel.

01-06-2012, 07:28 PM
I prefer navel gazing when comfortably seated :beer:

01-06-2012, 09:40 PM
well if you have alot of float then that could be something to look at
i ride zero float just because i like my pedal to hold my foot solid

also a shoe/sock/bootie/whatever change could cause what you descirbe as well

i wouldn't go changing anything, if you're comfortable on the bike, just because of a little rub on the crank arm. i see plenty of cranks like that. not a big deal imo.

01-07-2012, 12:36 AM
Never rubbed a single crank all my life and I still cant figure it out a real reason for this to happens to some people. IMO is just that they put the darn shoe as close as possible since somebody at some time came up that as closer the Q factor the better?? I believe the old squared tapper stuff form the 80s had less Q factor :D might be wrong.

I believe there are other things too, like people dont using any insoles to correct pronation for example. I do have a lot of pronation (I'm pronation king) and before started using insoles and the right shoes what i was doing was moving my feet like 2 or 4 mm off the center to get the legs i nthe right position but with a price, foot pain. Now with the insoles, shoes and shims the feet itself found its right position and even tho I'm closer to the cranks, knees in the right place and everything ok with the cleats, still can't rub a single crankset.

Remember a friend back in the day, I even ask him what was the problem, he said that was the way the cleat had to be??.. saw his shoes and his cleats were all the way out, meaning the shoe was all the way into the pedal. He was using look pedals before flotation came up too so probably was his way to dont get the feet off the pedals. Time pedals attacked the problem differenctly with the bio position thing, the shoe always was going to be around the center of the pedal but there was no way to have those situations with the cleats to allow the feet to rub the crankset.

nights! :D

01-07-2012, 02:43 AM

1. Saddle is too high, too far back or cleats are positioned too far back on shoe. If you are happy with cleat and saddle fore-aft, lower saddle.

2. You need an orthotic or arch support.

3. Nothing is wrong, your natural pedal stroke is causing it. If you watch pros pedal, typically their bike will sway gently back and forth.

01-07-2012, 02:47 AM
What perplexes me is that I rub the crank only on 2 bikes. Set up is almost exactly the same on all my bikes. Have never needed overshoes or booties on the shoes. Saddle to high? Mmmmm maybe, a hair but Ill check again.

01-07-2012, 08:52 AM
In my case it is lack of hip flexor flexibility. I am 20-25 degrees out of normal. I am working to correct this and have noticed improvement. I walk with my toes pointed outward and that is my natural stance on the bike. Two fitters have confirmed this but the second one was associated with the human performance lab at Ball State and has given me exercises to address all my muscle weaknesses/imbalances and lack of flexibility. Part of the regimen is for my back and it is remarkable how much better I am sleeping after only 2-3 weeks of stretching/strengthening.

01-07-2012, 09:42 AM
What perplexes me is that I rub the crank only on 2 bikes. Set up is almost exactly the same on all my bikes. Have never needed overshoes or booties on the shoes. Saddle to high? Mmmmm maybe, a hair but Ill check again.
TP's concern is that he's only getting heel rub on certain bikes/setups. Setting the same saddle height across all bikes is pretty straightforward but saddle setback, less so. Hence my suggestion to check both. Bikes with steeper st angles require saddle adjustments to match setback across all bikes. And more setback also requires lower saddle height to keep the pedal stroke consistent. In other words, if your seat height is the same across all bikes but the two where you're experiencing heel rub is set up with more setback, then you're effectively riding with a higher saddle height and altering pedal stroke.

01-07-2012, 10:37 AM
I have SRAM Force cranks mounted on two bikes.
I have heelrub on one set, but not the other.
Otherwise identical setups. It's probably the frame.
I run my pedals/cleats tighter on one bike to rectify
this problem. I also moved my cleats outward on
one pair of shoes. Seems to solve the rub for now.
If you don't feel like two different setups/two shoes/etc
putting black electrical tape on area of rub also works,
though it's ghetto. Not that big a deal, but I notice that
each bike has slightly different geometry & bb design.
Adding washers where pedals are threaded into crank
also solves by moving pedals outward, tho it can be felt.

01-07-2012, 08:13 PM
What kind of pedals? I use Speedplays, my heel may hit the crank arm or chainstay once or twice in a long ride, typically when I am tired.

01-07-2012, 08:29 PM
Shimano pedals,
The setback might be key. I use Aliante saddles. I drop a plumb line from the nose of my reference bike so my set back is the same on each frame. However the frames this is happening on are the new to me, the Kirk and Merckx. The steeper frames are free from this. Something to look into, now where is my tape measure.....