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Which system is right for you?

[This article was last updated on November 24, 2017]

Clipless pedals are popular because they provide a firm, secure connection between bike and rider that's easier to release than the previous system of straps and slotted cleats. But which of the many systems is best for you?

Because they hold your feet in the right place on the pedals and keep them there, clipless pedals are more efficient than regular shoes and flat pedals. They're also much easier to get out of than the clip and strap pedals enthusiast riders and racers used before the 1980s

Shoes for clipless pedals have stiff soles, which also improves efficiency and comfort.

Count the bolts

There are two types of clipless pedal. Pedals for road racing follow the original concept introduced by Look in 1984. The cleat stands proud of the sole and is attached by three bolts. This allows an uncomplicated, very rigid sole, but is awkward to walk in.

In 1990, Shimano introduced its SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) design. A smaller metal cleat is mounted to the shoe with two bolts, and fits in a recess in the sole. The recessed cleat makes it easier to walk in SPD shoes, and helps guide the cleat into the mechanism, making it easier to clip in. Originally intended for mountain biking, it's become very popular with commuting and recreational riders too.


Look's three-bolt standard dominates road pedals and shoes

Many companies now make pedals whose cleats fit three-bolt and two-bolt shoes.

Three-bolt clipless pedals are single-sided, with one exception that we'll get to shortly. To get into them you have to catch the front tip of the pedal with the cleat. This is a bit fiddly at first, but becomes second nature after a bit of practice.

Two-bolt pedals are usually double-sided. This makes entry very easy; after a very small amount of practice you learn to just stomp on the pedal and away you go.


Soles for two-bolt cleats have a recess to allow walking

That difference is a factor in which system's best for you. If you're clipping and unclipping a lot — while commuting, for example — then the easier clip-in action of two-bolt systems means you won't find yourself fumbling with the pedals as you set off from the lights.

If sheer performance is more of a priority, then a three-bolt system is the way to go. The larger cleat spreads the pedalling load over more of the sole, which is more comfortable and efficient, and three-bolt shoes are lighter because there's no extra rubber around the cleat to make them walkable.

For example, a pair of size 40 Shimano XC61 two-bolt shoes weighs a claimed 632g. Shimano's R170 road shoes have the same £150 RRP, but weigh 500g per pair in size 40.

Gaerne Carbon G Chrono Speedplay road shoes - sole detail

Gaerne Carbon G Chrono Speedplay road shoes - sole detail

Speedplay pedals work best with shoes that have their special four-hole fitting

One company, Speedplay, has bucked the consensus. Its pedals are double-sided, the mechanism is part of the cleat and that cleat has a four-bolt mounting. A three-bolt adapter is included with them, as few shoemakers have a suitable shoe in their line. More about Speedplay below.

The earliest clipless pedals held your feet in a fixed position on the pedals. This soon turned out to be a problem for some riders whose knees got sore, leading to serious problems in some cases. The answer was to slightly modify the design so that the foot could move a little. This rotational float is a feature of most modern clipless pedals. In some it can be adjusted either by choice of cleat or by adjuster screws.

Stack it up

The distance between pedal axle and shoe sole is known as the stack height. A lower stack helps make your foot more stable on the pedal, and by lowering your position on the bike will make it slightly more stable in corners.

What's in a name?

Pedals with clips and straps (CC-BY 2.0 by ktk17028:Flickr)

Pedals with clips and straps (CC-BY 2.0 by ktk17028:Flickr)

Old school pedals with clips and straps (CC-BY 2.0 by ktk17028:Flickr)

In case you're wondering why they're called clipless pedals, it's because pedals used to have metal cages, called toe clips, and leather straps to hold the shoe in place. Racing shoes had cleats that were slotted to fit the cage of the pedal. To get out, you had to loosen the strap. Falling over at traffic lights behind a busload of schoolkids was not unknown.

Clipless pedals get their contradictory name, then, because they don't have the metal clips of yore.

Recommended pedals

We've mentioned a stand-out model or two of every major pedal design here, but you really can't go wrong with any of the current systems. The one you choose will reflect your own personal requirements.

Browse all road.cc pedal reviews

Shimano PD-M520 — £19.98 - £21.49

shimano-m520-black-pedal.jpg

shimano-m520-black-pedal.jpg

For a mere 20 quid, these double-sided mountain bike pedals are a brilliant entry into clipless pedals. The low price is not reflected in the build quality, which is excellent, or the performance, which is also excellent.

Entry and exit is positive and easy, tension adjustment is simple and you can use them for everything from commuting to cyclo-cross.

The small cleat means that there's a small contact patch but that's a minor disadvantage unless speed and performance is paramount.

Read our review of the Shimano PD-M520
Find a Shimano dealer

Shimano Click'R PD-T400 — £25.99

Shimano Click'R pedals PD-T400

Shimano Click'R pedals PD-T400

Shimano's PD-T400 Click'R pedals have a mechanism that's incredibly light, so it's very easy to release your shoes from the pedals. They're a useful option for cyclists keen to try clipless pedals for the first time.

You're held firmly in place against an upwards exit, but only very slight pressure down and sideways is necessary to get you out, and the pivoting pedal body inside the plastic surround makes it very easy to get in too. They come with Shimano Multi-release cleats, which make things even easier.

Read our review of the Shimano Click'R PD-T400
Find a Shimano dealer

Time Xpresso 2 — £29.99

Time Xpresso 2 pedals 2 crop.jpg

Time Xpresso 2 pedals 2 crop.jpg

The relatively low price of Xpresso 2s makes them a sensible place to start if you're a newcomer to road-specific click-in pedals. They're light, easy to use and very easy to adjust to different foot position and release preferences, though they're not the most durable.

Time Xpresso pedals are popular because they're easy to click into, offer just the right amount of float adjustment for many riders and they're light. At about 220g per pair the entry level Xpresso 2s only weigh 25g more than the carbon Xpresso 8s at £124.99.

Read our review of the Time Xpresso 2
Find a Time dealer

Shimano PD-M324 — £29.99

Shimano PD-M324 pedals

Shimano PD-M324 pedals

The M324 is a solidly built and dependable commuting pedal for riders who want to switch easily between cleats and flats. If you're a big mile commuter or tourer they won't disappoint.

The guts of the pedal is a well-finished Aluminium body that houses serviceable cup and cone bearings. A metal cage is bolted on for riding in flats, and on the other side you get an adjustable tension SPD binding for when you've got your cleats on. The pedals are very well finished and run smoothly from the off, and the fact that they're easy to strip down is a bonus.

The SPD mechanism is the same as you'll find on many of Shimano's other pedals, with a good range of tension adjustment and enough float for most knees. The cage is nice and grippy and performs well in the wet as well as the dry.

Read our review of the Shimano PD-M324s
Find a Shimano dealer

Look Keo Classic 3 — £31.94

Look Keo Classic 3 Road Clipless Pedal.jpg

Look Keo Classic 3 Road Clipless Pedal.jpg

The Look Keo Classic 3s are good mid-level pedals that offer a decent base for power transfer, have an easy-to-use adjustable mechanism, and are well made and robust. 

You can buy cheaper pedals, but the £40 RRP is a really good price, especially bearing in mind that they are genuine Look units. Overall the Classic 3s are really good pedals. They look good on the bike, perform well and have a good contact area for better power transfer. 

Read our review of the Look Keo Classic 3
Find a Look dealer

Shimano PD-5800 — £59.99

pd5800

pd5800

Shimano's cheapest carbon-bodied pedals have an old-school steel spring for the retention plate, but are nevertheless reasonably light. The SPD-SL design provides tension adjustment so you can make it harder or easier to release, and like the Look Keo it has a large, broad contact patch with the cleat for stability.

Read our review of the very similar Shimano PD-5700
Find a Shimano dealer

Look Keo 2 Max Blade — £74.99

Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12 pedals

Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12 pedals

Look invented the first successful clipless pedal, and has spent 30 years refining it. These pedals use a fibreglass spring rather than a steel one to save weight. That means you can't adjust the release tension, so for riders who want an easier exit, Look also makes another version with an 8Nm spring. If you get the wrong version you can get a dealer to change the spring.

The Keo 2 Max Blades are a decent weight for their price, and have a wide platform that gives a stable interface between cleat and pedal.

Read our review of the Look Keo 2 Max Blade 12
Find a Look dealer

Speedplay Zero Stainless Steel — £139.99

Speedplay Zero pedals

Speedplay Zero pedals

Those who love Speedplays rave about the low weight, adjustability, and shallow stack. A recent redesign of the cleat added a rubber aero cover that makes them far easier to walk in than the previous version, or many other systems.However, it's undeniable they need more looking after than most pedals and they're susceptible to clogging from even the smallest amount of dirt.

But if you have knees that are in any way fragile, or you want pedals that are incredibly easy to enter and release but fit stiff-soled road racing shoes, their free float and double-sided designs make Speedplays well worth considering.

Read our review of the Speedplay Zero Stainless Steel
Find a Speedplay dealer

Time Xpresso 15 pedals — £241.49

TIME Xpresso 15 pedals

TIME Xpresso 15 pedals

The Time Xpresso 15 pedals are extremely light and clipping in/twisting out could hardly be easier. The downside is the price, and the cleats wear noticeably faster than those of other brands.

At just 140g for the pair, they're phenomenally light thanks to carbon bodies, titanium axles, aluminium top plates and ceramic bearings. Clipping in is very easy thanks to a spring mechanism that stays open after you click out.

Read our review of the Time Xpresso 15 pedals
Find a Time dealer

Speedplay Zero Titanium Nanogram — £407.99

Speedplay Nanogram

Speedplay Nanogram

At just 120g/pair these race-day-only pedals are Speedplay's demonstration that the Zero design can be made extraordinarily light. Speedplay has often displayed superlight bikes at trade shows; these pedals help make bikes like those even lighter.

The low weight is achieved by the use of every lightweight material you can think of: carbon-reinforced thermoplastic bodies; ceramic bearings; titanium axles; titanium bolts; and aluminium top plates. The cleats have been lightened too with carbon fiber replacing the plastic and aluminium fasteners instead of steel. They're bonkers expensive, but you have to admire the fanaticism.

Find a Speedplay dealer

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

43 comments

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LastBoyScout [363 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

With a couple of exceptions, such as Crank Bros and Time, many of the 2-bolt cleat designs (Wellgo, Ritchey, Boardman) are interchangable or, at least, the pedal design will accept the Shimano SPD cleat without too much problem. I have a couple of old sets of VP pedals that work fine with SPD cleats, but not the other way round.

Not so with the 3-bolt designs, where the cleat is specific to the pedal brand, if not the specific pedal.

I generally have Shimano M540 or Ultegra SPD-SL - I favour Shimano as they're cheap, reliable, pretty much fool proof and fully servicable.

I've got the M324 pedals mentioned above on my pub bike. They are great for what they are, but you do have to watch it if you're clipped in, as it's very easy to catch the cage on the floor when cornering.

As a further note, Shimano do 3 versions of their 2-bolt cleat:

SH-56 - multi-release cleats that allow your shoe to be disengaged by rolling or twisting the foot in any direction and even release with sufficiently hard (and considerable) upward force. Good for beginners and supplied with some pedals.

SH-51 - single release - supplied with most pedals.

SH-52 - if you can get them. Harder release than the SH-51 and only supposed to be used with the M858 pedals, but I've been using them with M324 and M540 without any problems.

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TypeVertigo [421 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
LastBoyScout wrote:

SH-56 - multi-release cleats that allow your shoe to be disengaged by rolling or twisting the foot in any direction and even release with sufficiently hard (and considerable) upward force. Good for beginners and supplied with some pedals.

My experience with SH56 cleats is that they can disengage either by twisting your foot off, as normal, or sliding it off sideways off the pedal. That way, if you are a beginner and have forgotten to unclip, you can more quickly put your foot down.

Upward disengagement doesn't really happen unless you combine it with ankle twist.

 

By the way, I'd suggest adding the Deore XT PD-T780 or PD-T8000 pedals - they're top dog as far as trekking SPD+FLAT pedals are concerned. My pair of T780s has been excellent since day one.

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ianrparsons [18 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes

I have to use the SH56 multi release as my left foot won't unclip without these. I was advised by a cycle shop that I would have problems with any other pedal systems - but haven't tested this. What no one tells you is that the cleats wear out and make it hard to unclip. I have fallen over twice, so I keep an eye on this and as soon as they seem the slightest bit sticky swap them for new ones.

I also have noted that except for the flat/spd combined pedals there is no provision for reflectors on the pedals as required by law in the UK. Having said that never been pulled over and always a very visible chap don't expect it will be a problem.

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Morat [281 posts] 10 months ago
10 likes

MTB shoes and SPD cleats/pedals FTW. On this one you can ram The Rules - walking like a penguin on ice is ridiculous.

 

IMO of course  1

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wycombewheeler [1243 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
ianrparsons wrote:

I have to use the SH56 multi release as my left foot won't unclip without these. I was advised by a cycle shop that I would have problems with any other pedal systems - but haven't tested this. What no one tells you is that the cleats wear out and make it hard to unclip. I have fallen over twice, so I keep an eye on this and as soon as they seem the slightest bit sticky swap them for new ones.

I also have noted that except for the flat/spd combined pedals there is no provision for reflectors on the pedals as required by law in the UK. Having said that never been pulled over and always a very visible chap don't expect it will be a problem.

reflectve panels on shoes, or anklebands are the answer if you are really worried. Technically only needed for riding at night, many people only ride in daylight. I would like to see a court case to prove that a reflective anywhere around the foot is sufficient and it does not need to be specifically on the pedal.

I think If you have lights front and rear and clothing with some refelctive trim you are extremely unlikely to be stopped for not having reflective pedals, even though they are a legal requirement technically.

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pamplemoose [34 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

I currently use some carbon soled MTB shoes with M520s.  Would I honestly notice any difference if I switched to a road shoe/pedal system?

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Batchy [387 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Shimano A600 spd one sided pedals have a large light weight cage and make a good alternative to Durace SLs. At around £50  discounted​ the A 600s only weigh a few grams less than Durace and look the part on any road bike. Spd cleats wear a hell of a lot longer than their plastic counterparts.

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fenix [867 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
pamplemoose wrote:

I currently use some carbon soled MTB shoes with M520s.  Would I honestly notice any difference if I switched to a road shoe/pedal system?

 

It's very minimal. 

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HowardR [142 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

For me…. The Time Expresso’s have proven themselves to give the most comfortable fit to the pedal in terms of float, release force e.t.c – BUT – after repeated bitter experience I’ll never now buy anything above the Expresso 4s/Mavic’s Zxellium Elites as the bearings, on these models and their more expensive siblings, have too often proven themselves to have a hypochondriacs sensitivity to moisture. I’ll count myself lucky if I get a winters use out of a pair & one cursed set seized after just the one ride in the rain.

Strangely enough I’ve found that the Atacs, which I bought back in 2008 & 9, have shrugged of all sorts of soggy muddy crap.

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Bob F [43 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Quote + Last Boy Scout

I've got the M324 pedals mentioned above on my pub bike. They are great for what they are, but you do have to watch it if you're clipped in, as it's very easy to catch the cage on the floor when cornering.

 

******************

 

Pub Bike + Clipless....? Chapeau! But, did you consider  - pre pub - whether this is indeed a wise combination???

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surly_by_name [551 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

On road: Speedplay just shit. [Queue outrage from the zealots who use them. But they are.] Having started out on mountain bikes and Atac pedals, used Time for years but never got on them after they switched from RXS to iClic (or vive versa, I don't recall). Have now been on Look Keos for better part of a decade. They work and you can get a range of different price points.

Off road: still have a soft spot for Time Atacs, use 'em for CX and XC (with the carbon soled disco slippers). Otherwise Shimano SPDs can be found cheap, work reliably and go on forever.

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Dicklexic [74 posts] 9 months ago
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Speedplay pedals are always touted as being super light, but the cleat on the shoe looks like it weighs a lot more than a simple plastic look type cleat. Out of interest what is the total system weight including cleats for the lightest from each brand?

Not that I'm in the market for light pedals myself, as I'm quite happy with my SPD's for commute/CX duties and my Shimano 105 SPD-SL pedals on the road bike. Hard to beat when it comes to performace/durability/cost considerations.

I do like the look of the Look Keo Max 2's though...

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vonhelmet [848 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
pamplemoose wrote:

I currently use some carbon soled MTB shoes with M520s.  Would I honestly notice any difference if I switched to a road shoe/pedal system?

You won't look as pro and snobs will look down as you...

Seriously though, one of the fastest guys I know uses SPD and wouldn't think to change.

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kevvjj [310 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
Dicklexic wrote:

Speedplay pedals are always touted as being super light, but the cleat on the shoe looks like it weighs a lot more than a simple plastic look type cleat. Out of interest what is the total system weight including cleats for the lightest from each brand?

Not that I'm in the market for light pedals myself, as I'm quite happy with my SPD's for commute/CX duties and my Shimano 105 SPD-SL pedals on the road bike. Hard to beat when it comes to performace/durability/cost considerations.

I do like the look of the Look Keo Max 2's though...

Speedplay walkable cleats come in around 140g (pair) compared to SPD-SL at 70g (pair).

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StraelGuy [1110 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

Morat, IMO? I agree. I have 540s and XTs on my road bikes. Walking like a duck and falling over on slippery surfaces isn't my beverage of choice.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

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therevokid [1016 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

speedplays for me too ... don't walk that bad as some of my buddies and they're using

spd's ! Yes they're more maintenance but I can get comfy feet using them and nothing

else so there's no contest really.

The spd's are ok on the mtb, but then I'm only riding for an hour or so. The roadie is

usually several hours more  1

 

Avatar
davel [2055 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

+1 - although I took to the zero straight away. I have them on my aero and TT bikes.

Spds for my MTB and commuter/CX/winter bike.

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surly_by_name [551 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

So they take a long time before you can use them with confidence, they are mechnically delicate (even before you factor in mechanism wear from putting your foot down at lights/walking in them, vs replacing a plastic cleat) and the real advantage - is this a real advantage* - comes when you are pulling away from the lights. [If I am riding my road bike the number of times I stop is pretty small, so marginal benefit of marginally faster engagement - I think I'm pretty good with my Keos - probably not so important for me. YMMV.] This is before you get to the fact that they are quite expensive (because they aren't very popular so unit volumes not high) and (again because unit volumes not high) finding spares is a pain in the arse. I tried them and wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

* Other than when practising your CX starts, but then you'd be in MTB pedals.

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barbarus [513 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

When I started doing longer distances in clipless pedals it really messed with my knee. Using just 2mm of shim fixed that instantly and stopped my knee veering towards the crossbar at the top of the pedal stroke.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes
surly_by_name wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

So they take a long time before you can use them with confidence, they are mechnically delicate (even before you factor in mechanism wear from putting your foot down at lights/walking in them, vs replacing a plastic cleat) and the real advantage - is this a real advantage* - comes when you are pulling away from the lights. [If I am riding my road bike the number of times I stop is pretty small, so marginal benefit of marginally faster engagement - I think I'm pretty good with my Keos - probably not so important for me. YMMV.] This is before you get to the fact that they are quite expensive (because they aren't very popular so unit volumes not high) and (again because unit volumes not high) finding spares is a pain in the arse. I tried them and wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

* Other than when practising your CX starts, but then you'd be in MTB pedals.

No. I was confident with them on the first time I took them onto the road. When I said I hated them for a few weeks I simply meant that the first few times I stuck them on the trainer to play around with them the spring was stiff. Nothing more, nothing less. I was exaggerating anyway, I didn't actually hate them. Confidence however will vary with any pedal system depending on the person, so it's irrational to try and argue that 'it takes a long time before you can use them with confidence'. My confidence on the road has increased since I bought them - my final bugbear on the bike was being able to clip in and out without thought, as hard or as fast as I wanted. And I've solved that, for 80 quid. 

I don't find they're particularly expensive considering how much I love them either. And definitely haven't found anything weak about them mechanically. They're rock solid. 

Look clearly you're ranting and couldn't get to grips with them, which is fair enough. But what's problematic is that if someone else has a positive experience with them, you try to contort their experience into a negative. That's a bit childish. 

Will see how the missus gets on during the summer. She's sub 60kg and quite a new cyclist, so her experience will be more telling than mine. She's fast though at clipping in with her Keos, but occassionally she does miss it on first go and lags behind and has to catch up. That random element is worth eliminating, especially buzzing through town as you can get separated through traffic.  

Will post back here again if I remember mid summer after I see how she gets on.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

+1 - although I took to the zero straight away. I have them on my aero and TT bikes. Spds for my MTB and commuter/CX/winter bike.

 

How'd you find the spring when you first set it up. Able to clip in no probs or was it tough?

Going to unbox the missus' set soon and try lubing the spring and see if it's easier from the get-go (took me a while to pick up that tip). 

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olic [75 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

I love speedplay - would never even contemplate another pedal/cleat system. They're are great for commuting as they are so easy to clip in/out of and with keep on kovers they will last for ages.

Only problems I've had are with springs breaking - probably due to me not lubing the cleats enough. As for clipping in - my first couple were a nightmare, since then I've never had a problem with a fresh set and I weigh around 63kg

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surly_by_name [551 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
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<p>[quote=unconstituted

wrote:

Look clearly you're ranting and couldn't get to grips with them, which is fair enough. But what's problematic is that if someone else has a positive experience with them, you try to contort their experience into a negative. That's a bit childish. 

I wondered if the "Look" was a pun? It's grossly overstating things to characterise my comments as a "rant" - including because I honestly don't care enough to actually rant. If you've had a positive experience with them, that's great you should totally keep using them. I don't understand the value of your positive experience, either in the abstract or when measured against the negatives you identified yourself (even if you were exaggerating for effect, which apparently you now regret).  I'd suggest that is no more "childish" that your post-purchase rationalisation. If I am riding my road bike I tend to clip in at the beginning and that's pretty much it. It would be a very disappointing ride if I clipped out more than a handful of time (esp after the first 20 minutes when I have left traffic lights behind). So being able to clip in marginally more quickly isn't an advantage to me. If I am commuting I either use MTB (clipless) pedals or resign myself to clipping in "slowly" which doesn't matter because I am inevitably going to have to stop again shortly and anyway I'm only going to work so why would I want to get there any sooner. So being able to clip in marginally more quickly isn't an advantage to me. If its an advantage to you then that's excellent, no one is trying to stop you using them, notwithstanding the drawbacks you identified and seem to have overcome/decided to live with. But having tried them (after ages of trial and error to get the screw tension just so they engaged), and having used many competing products, I wouldn't use them or recommend anyone do so. The internet is full of people who are religious about them, which was why I tried them. I missed the damascene conversion.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
7 likes

Surly, you need to relax. This is a thread about pedals.

 Clearly you're triggered by my positive reaction and descended into some maddened state ranting about damascene, puns and post-purchase-rationalisations. 

Seriously Surly, time to get a grip. I bought something, and I love it. I buy other things, and I slate them, as evidenced by multiple threads on this site. Vision wheels and those shitty mugduards as two recent examples.

So again, calm down and accept that I, and several others on this thread now, bought Speedplay pedals and love them. 

Can you handle that? No-one here is saying Surly sucks and didn't know how to use Speedplays. So don't take offence. We're not saying we're more skilled than you, or more technical than you, or better riders than you. We just got on with them, you didn't.

It's all going to be okay.

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davel [2055 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
unconstituted wrote:
davel wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

Disagree with the Speedplay comments above. I moved to them this year and yes I hated them for a few weeks and was considering eBaying them.

Now I couldn't use anything else. They are just pheneomenal compared to the various Looks I usually use. They need broken in first of all as the spring is super stiff, but once done then it only takes a little force to clip in. Actually finding the insert point is a few weeks of muscle memory (I stuck them on the indoor trainer first which sped this process up).

The speed I can clip in now off the lights is wicked. Actually feels a bit show-offy it's that smooth and fast. I also rub a little lube on the cleat spring every weekend, that makes it super smooth to clip in too now.

That said - definitely not a beginnner setup. Tightening the cleat screws even .5nm too much and you can compress part of the housing enough to give you issues with the spring. Breaking in the spring must be a hell of a time for a light rider, and if the missus moves on to them (I have bought her some, but after realising the initial learning curve she lost interest), I'll have to break the spring in for her. Also actually finding the pedal isn't just step down and go - you have a few cm wide circle under you foot that you need to mount so like Keo's etc, you still need to develop muscle memory.

Really I'd only recommend them to riders who will find that learning curve worth the touch of extra speed off the lights or side of the road. To me it was.

 

Bonus - no creaking like Looks are prone to.

+1 - although I took to the zero straight away. I have them on my aero and TT bikes. Spds for my MTB and commuter/CX/winter bike.

 

How'd you find the spring when you first set it up. Able to clip in no probs or was it tough?

Going to unbox the missus' set soon and try lubing the spring and see if it's easier from the get-go (took me a while to pick up that tip). 

Took to them right out of the box mate: had a decent LBS on standby back then, but never needed them - set cleats' tension and position on the sole to 'middling' and was happy straight off.

Like you say, can take a little bit of wearing in to get rid of the stiffness, but get her on the turbo and at some point this will sound less like euphemism and more like shared experience  1

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surly_by_name [551 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
unconstituted wrote:

Surly, you need to relax. This is a thread about pedals.

 Clearly you're triggered by my positive reaction and descended into some maddened state ranting about damascene, puns and post-purchase-rationalisations. 

Seriously Surly, time to get a grip. I bought something, and I love it. I buy other things, and I slate them, as evidenced by multiple threads on this site. Vision wheels and those shitty mugduards as two recent examples.

So again, calm down and accept that I, and several others on this thread now, bought Speedplay pedals and love them. 

Can you handle that? No-one here is saying Surly sucks and didn't know how to use Speedplays. So don't take offence. We're not saying we're more skilled than you, or more technical than you, or better riders than you. We just got on with them, you didn't.

It's all going to be okay.

I thought so as well. Where did I not say that its OK for you to like them, continue to use them or advocate their use? I've tried them over a relatively extended period and I think they are shit in comparison to other options. I've tried other pedals that I think are better to way better than the speedplay. I expressed that view on the forum, which is how this all began. You use them and you think they are great for reasons that you explained.  So do others, and that's OK as well.

I'm quite relaxed - and calm, its a long weekend after all - and I promise I have a very firm grip. Although I am confused why you get to slate things but I don't, and by the way your responses drift into ad hominem attacks. I don't care that you think I suck (you'll be unsurprised to learn that you aren't alone). I'm relaxed that you don't think I know how to use speedplays. You are probably more skilled/more technical/a better rider than me (you certainly aren't unique in that regard).  I still think speedplays are shit (and you still think they are great) and because it's the internet I get to say so (and so do you) and neither of us are forced to change our views. 

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rjfrussell [428 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

What is it about the extremities of cyclists that causes such heat?  Helmets, and now, apparently, cleats.

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madcarew [478 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
pamplemoose wrote:

I currently use some carbon soled MTB shoes with M520s.  Would I honestly notice any difference if I switched to a road shoe/pedal system?

It depends on what type of riding you do, but probably not.

 I raced for  some time at Cat 1 level, and for a couple of years did all my riding and racing on spds as I only needed one pair of shoes then. Used to get shit about it in the peloton, but it didn't seem to affect my results. Only downside is if you have dodgy knees, as spd's have less lateral support.

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part_robot [287 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

+1 for Speedplay. But if you're not using Keepon Kovers with them then you probably have a death wish; the naked metal plates are like walking on ice.

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