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Hi guys and girls,

I finally bit the bullet and bought my first Road bike today (a 2013 Boardman Road team carbon Ltd) and I'm at a loss as to what pedals to buy. I work in a bike shop so I know most of the technologies and features of each pedal and each shoe but what I don't know is how any of them actually feel to ride with or how reliable things are. I don't want any flex in the shoe but they need to be comfortable and the cleat system must be quick, easy and intuitive to use. I have a budget of around £100-120 to get me started with a view to get Sidi's when I can afford them but any advice based on experience would be greatly appreciated.

15 comments

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Super Domestique [1609 posts] 3 years ago
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My first pedals were Shimano R540 SL and they did a great job (still do on my training bike). I matched them up to dhb ones from wiggle. Again they worked well enough. Although the Velcro only fastening isn't as secure feeling as the boa system on my Spesh shoes.

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Super Domestique [1609 posts] 3 years ago
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BTW your username doesn't match your bike  3

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SpeshRider7287 [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

BTW your username doesn't match your bike  3

I have a custom built 2009 Specialized Demo 7-2 as one of my other rides and at the moment (at least for the time being) it's my favourite  3

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SpeshRider7287 [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Super Domestique, I liked the look of them but then a mate suggested Keo's instead. To me they're pretty much identical so it didn't make a whole lot of sense. Liking the sound of Spesh shoes too but what's the flex vs. comfort ratio like at the budget end of the scale?

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Al'76 [110 posts] 3 years ago
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Speedplay Zeros...love 'em.

Okay, there's a bit of maintenance involved and Coffee Shop Cleat Covers are required (metal cleats + tile floors = arse over elbow  40 ), but you get the convenience of double sided entry, as much or little float as you want and the lowest stack height available.

If possible I would go for a shoe with a full carbon sole - I upgraded to Mavic Pro Road about six months ago - and, due to the extra stiffness, the difference over a composite sole is night and day.

If you're looking for a wallet friendly shoe in the interim you can pick up a dhb shoe with a full carbon sole for about £90 on Wiggle.

Can get the occasional hot spot though...

Speedplays were the only thing that really sorted my knees out!

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Super Domestique [1609 posts] 3 years ago
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Cool, I have a fs Spesh mtb too (camber expert 26er)

My Spesh shoes were over double the price of the dhb so it wouldn't be fair to compare really.

I like shimano pedals but it's a personal thing tbh. I have R540's, some 105 and dura ace carbons.

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pdows47 [103 posts] 3 years ago
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I have the budget Spesh shoes, they're really comfy, can't compare to others though. I use Exustar Keo pedals, were about 20 quid on amazon (They were a gift, I'd rather have bought from LBS)and they work really well for what I do

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pirnie [199 posts] 3 years ago
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I'd vote for Keos. I have the classics on my winter bike and the Carbon Blades on my Summer bike and both are great. I've tried my brother's SPD-SLs and can't get on with them, the balance of tension between clipping in and out is never right (one too tight or the other too loose).

Classics should be enough within your budget to give you a choice of shoes.

As for shoes, whatever fits your feet well, I can't say any more than that. Northwave suit me, but I have silly shaped feet!!

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SpeshRider7287 [73 posts] 3 years ago
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Great advice guys! I'm inclined to go for Keo's as they suit my budget better than most and look better (see what I did there..) than the r-540's. Shoes may just have to be Spesh as I can try them on and test them properly at my lbs. shame they don't stock any other shoes  2

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bashthebox [751 posts] 3 years ago
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I've got Keo pedals; they're fine. Cleats wear out quite quick though.

I've still got a pair of size 44 Giro Factors for sale, if they'd suit you?

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notfastenough [3715 posts] 3 years ago
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@Speshrider, it would be useful to know what your foot positioning is like. Sit on a work surface (one that's too high for your feet to touch the ground) without shoes on, relax completely, then have a look at how your feet (specifically the forefoot) hang. A sizeable proportion of people have the outstep of the foot hanging a little lower than the instep. This is called varus tilt (opposite direction is called valgus tilt) and is why you can buy all the Body Geometry insoles and wedges that Specialized do.

http://www.bikefit.com/Images/images/WhyWedge/ForefootVarus.JPG

However, Specialized also build 1.5mm of varus tilt into the Body Geometry shoes anyway, so if for example your feet were completely level laterally, then perhaps Spesh would not be the best choice, since you would need a pair of valgus wedges just to cancel out the basic tilt in the shoe itself.

Is there someone in the shop that knows about bike fitting? That could massively help in minimising the risk of buying the wrong kit to start with.

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therevokid [971 posts] 3 years ago
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Lake cx236 ... the most comfy pair of shoes to date  1

I have some spesh comp road shoes too - they're good but
just not quite as "roomy" as the Lakes - I have duck like
feet !!

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Yorkshie Whippet [553 posts] 3 years ago
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Speedplay X-series to save your knees. Like the Zeros but with masses more float. No flipping pedal over from stand still, just stomp on the pedal and go( most of the time anyway).

Shoes are like saddles, very subjective. Try as many as possible, you'll know when you find your glass slipper. A good bike shop will ask questions and make suggestions.

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yenrod [106 posts] 3 years ago
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This is what i've found imo:

Sidi fairly good 2 widths lorica (the rough looking material under the leather which is a false leather btw) - can be comfortable.

Shimano 2 widths - rode MTB variants but not road - heard good things on them for comfort as they have the width I think.

Northwave one size - i've a wide foot and got some Vertigo's to fit ok.

I've rode Spd's, Time (road) and i'm now on Speedplay (ZERO) which are good. Though the cleats get a fair degree of use and wear but towards the end of life they get a lot of rocking movement.

Times are quite low to the pedal !

Would consider Look with the Carbon blade spring or would try the Shimano PD-7900 carbon pedals with varying movement 3', 5' or 9' deggree cleats as these seeme quite good but haven't found anyone with any to ask how they ride.

Would try Bonts as they're reportedly wide for the foot.

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700c [976 posts] 3 years ago
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Super Domestique wrote:

My first pedals were Shimano R540 SL and they did a great job (still do on my training bike). I matched them up to dhb ones from wiggle. Again they worked well enough. Although the Velcro only fastening isn't as secure feeling as the boa system on my Spesh shoes.

+1. This is the set up I use, and it's very effective, cheap, low maintenance. The dhb carbon shoe is really rigid, good power transfer with the wide shimano pedals. I prefer the red fixed cleats, with maximum resistance on the disengagement mechanism, gives a really secure feeling- think my joints have enough natural 'float' not to need any in the pedal..

It's probably not the lightest set up, but contact points are not an area where you should be weight conscious, IME, esp if you're trying to put power down to sprint..