Can I setup my road bike, mountain bike, and fat bike with the same set of MTB SPD cleats?

Basically I have 3 bikes with VERY different cranksets and Q-factors that range from 148mm to 164mm to 230mm. I have the same Shimano MTB SPD style pedals on each of the bikes.

Is it reasonable to expect that I won’t have any ill effects from setting up my shoes on one bike and using the same shoes across all bikes? Or will I have knee issues from having my body aligned differently on each bike’s crankset due to the difference in Q-factor / stance width?

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    will I have knee issues from having my body aligned differently on each bike’s crankset There's only one way to find out. But if you don't have knee or other issues from those differences already, why would you have them from using the same pair of shoes? Dec 20, 2018 at 23:56

2 Answers 2


You don't say how long you spend on each bike, and it makes a difference. Many people only spend long enough on one of their bikes for Q factor to be an issue. The other issue is how sensitive you are to fit.

Personal experience: I've got a tourer and a hybrid (MTB BB, noticeably wider) with SPDs (and sometimes on the hardtail which is also wider than the tourer). I use the same shoes on all of them. Switching from one to the other, the clipping in takes a little getting used to, which indicates the change. I haven't had knee trouble from switching (though I have had a little trouble recently which I blame on finding my saddle lower than it should have been just after a 330km overnighter). But I tend to only go up to about 70km on the MTB (road-riding to the trails for example) and these days do less than that on the hybrid (though it's fine up to 70km as well). Generally I seem to be fairly easy to fit once the bike is big enough.

Realistically the distance between your feet will change by (very nearly) that much whether you're clipped in or not. All the cleats will do is prevent you compensating by angling your feet. That may even be a good thing.

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    FWIW, I've used the same MTB shoes on road bikes with a Q factor of about 150 mm and in spin classes on a Keiser M3, which has a ridiculous Q factor of about 200 mm. All with no problems. Dec 21, 2018 at 12:56

When using the same pedal system between bikes, your cleat position shouldn't change. You should have no issue using the same shoes between bikes.

You may find that the saddle position of your fit requires adjustment to compensate.

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    I will note that SPDs allow a slight side-to-side adjustment, and it's vaguely possible that an adjustment that's just fine on one bike results in crank rub on another bike. But adjusting the shoe outward a bit to accommodate the tighter bike should not seriously upset the stance on other bikes. Dec 21, 2018 at 12:36

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