The latest product to arrive at road.cc HQ for us to try out is the idmatch Cleat Fit system and — spoiler alert! — it involves a laser!
According to idmatch, Cleat Fit is "the first system in the world for positioning the cleat with total accuracy, gauging the precise size of the foot from the sole of the shoe".
The idea is that you find a dealer close to you who offers the idmatch service and they'll set up your cleats correctly for you. They can also sort you out with a saddle and/or a complete bike fit.
Chances are that unless you go for a full bike fit you set up your cleats using knowledge gained from some bloke you once rode with, a bit of guesswork and a little trial and error... Possibly a sprinkling of witchcraft thrown in there for good measure. This system replaces all that with measurements, numbers and stuff like that!
Getting your cleats set up right only takes a few minutes. You start out by having your feet measured on a Brannock Device. Remember when you were a kid and you got measured up for your Clarks Commandos? Well, it's a posh version of one of those things.
You get the length of each foot, the width, plus the distance from the back of the foot to the widest part of the ball of your foot. You know that little bulge on the just in front of the arch of your foot? There.
That info gets fed into the idmatch app and it spits out a figure for each foot, that figure being the distance the centre of your cleat should be from the back of your heel.
Your shoe is then fitted onto another instrument and a laser — told you — is fired across the sole to mark where the centre of the cleat needs to be.
What's called a goniometer disc surrounds the cleat (there are different ones for different cleat shapes). The cleat is lined up so that the laser goes across the centre markings on the goniometer, and the bolts are tightened. Job done.
That's the short version. The idmatch system can also get the lateral position of the cleat correct, and take into account any pronation or supination to which you're susceptible.
Why go to the bother? Here's what idmatch has to say about it (you'll probably have to read the subtitles):
The idmatch system also allows a cleat position on one pair of shoes to be measured and then replicated on a new pair of shoes.
Mat has in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.