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Verdict: 
A well-executed solution to the problem of riding a bike with three-bolt cleat pedals but not the shoes
Weight: 
40g

Pedal Plates are a quick, cheap and lightweight way to make your SPD-SL (as tested) or Look Keo 3-bolt cleat pedals rideable in normal shoes or even bare feet. Not everyone will need them, but if you do they could come in very handy.

  • Pros: They make your road bike rideable in any kind of shoe, or even bare feet, cheap, light, small
  • Cons: Might need something pointy to get them out again

We've all been there: needing to ride a bike with Shimano or Look 'road' pedals even a short distance, but with only normal shoes on. Or possibly no shoes at all. The problem being, there's no traction on either side of the pedal for normal shoes let alone bare feet, making pedalling any distance uncomfortable or downright hazardous, especially if you need to put some power down to ride up a hill, over rough ground or in slippery conditions.

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For three-bolt road pedals several options have appeared – recently Shaun reviewed the Pedal Dabs system, handing out three stars for the rather bulky £20 product. Other systems such as Fly Pedals cost a lot more, are even larger and require a set of cleats to be bolted to them, further hiking the cost.

Pedal Plates 1.jpg

In mid-2017 Dutch cyclist Marc van der Heide ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Pedal Plates, striking a nerve amongst people who wanted more utility from their pedals, at a lower price and with a smaller – ahem – footprint. He openly admits on his website that 'not everybody has a use for the pedal plates', but for those who do, these are a genius solution.

Snap

As cycling accessories go, it's hard to think of anything simpler: they snap into your pedal where the cleat goes. It helps if you back the tension off a bit, but I have my Ultegra SPDs cranked up pretty high and snapping them in was no problem.

Pedal Plates 2.jpg

Getting them back out is either by hand, pulling back on the rear of the pedal where the tension mechanism lives, or inserting a 5mm or smaller hex key or screwdriver and twisting out.

Pedal Plates 5.jpg

Once in they offer you a grippy, flat surface to pedal on. Assuming your bearings aren't shot, the pedal still hangs at an angle ready to push against and get going, no flipping around needed, unlike some SPD-flat dual-platform designs. Riding in normal shoes, bare feet or even the official road.cc test flip-flops presented no problems at all – a new experience on a road bike.

Pedal Plates 3.jpg

No, you probably wouldn't want to do a century on them, but for shorter distances they do the trick, offering grip and a nice flat platform for the ball of your foot for going fast or the central arch area for cruising.

Their suggested use cases include:

  • Commuting
  • On holiday
  • Short Shopping Trips
  • Training Camp without car – short trips to shops, café or beach
  • Signing on at Races, Gran Fondo, Sportive Ride events, Charity Ride events – thus saving cleats from tarmac, gravel and field wear
  • Leisure time cycling with the family
  • Lending your bike to a family member or friend
  • Just showing off your bike
  • When you are one bike short
  • Using (or sharing) the home trainer without denting the floor
  • Because your road bikes rides so much better than your city bike
  • First use of road bikes for those who are afraid for embarrassing traffic light situations

That last use case, for beginners, is worthy of unpacking. For many people new to road cycling, that first road bike is likely their first SPD-SL bike. Combine the learning curve of narrow drop bars, combined shifters and skinny tyres, what you really don't need on those first few rides are silly shoes to learn as well – particularly when the consequence of getting it wrong could be painful.

Buying or borrowing a set of Pedal Plates to use on those first confidence-gathering rides until you're ready to clip in could make learning to ride a road bike a much more pleasant experience. Of course you could fit flat pedals to start with, but then they're pretty much of no future use, whereas some Pedal Plates could come in very handy.

> Video: Learn to ride in clipless pedals

My personal anecdote where Pedal Plates would have been worth their weight in a reasonably pricey substance occurred when I had to collect a rental bike while on a work trip overseas. I finished work dressed in a suit and slick-soled shoes, got public transport across town to the bike, then rode it back to my hotel a number of miles through rush-hour traffic.

Despite taking care, I nearly came a cropper on several occasions when my foot slipped from a slick SPD-SL pedal. I'd have paid £11 a few times over for a sure footing and the ability to put the gas down at sets of traffic lights. If I'd come off as a result of a misplaced pedal the ensuing suit replacement would have run to the value of the bike.

Pedal Plates.jpg

Measuring 7 x 7cm, Pedal Plates will fit easily into a pocket, saddlebag or bartop-bag, and at 43g for the pair they're hardly going to slow you down or push you over your luggage limit. They come with a lifetime warranty against breakage, and a three-year warranty against wear and tear. That could be a lot of in-out pedal action, and if you've thrashed them enough to wear out after three years you've had more than your £4.50 per year of value.

The £11 price (plus £2.50 p&p) backed by the lifetime/wear and tear warranty beats the pants off any no-warranty knock-offs you might find online. The genuine article is only available in grey at time of writing (more colours planned) via the UK or EU distributors listed or direct from the Pedal Plates website.

The assessment of 'value' will be utterly subjective depending on what Pedal Plates enable you to do. Being able to ride a road bike in normal shoes might well save you money, time, an injury or taking another bike/set of flat pedals and associated pedal tools for removal. If you get by with one bike to rule them all and like three-bolt cleats, the Pedal Plates could save you interminably swapping pedals, causing wear to soft alloy crank threads. Whatever your use case, they are small, light and just work.

Verdict

A well-executed solution to the problem of riding a bike with three-bolt cleat pedals but not the shoes

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Pedal Plate SPD-SL compatible

Size tested: SPD-SL

Tell us what the product is for

They turn your clipless pedals into flat pedals for use with normal shoes (or no shoes), sandals, flip-flops...

Pedal Plate says:

This Pedal Plate converts your Shimano SPD-SL compatible pedals for use with all types of shoes by creating a flat surface with grip to enhance comfort and safety.

Pedal Plates have a lifetime guarantee against breakage and 3 years on tear and wear.

Increased FOI

The Pedal Plate will increase the Fun On Investment for your road bike as soon as you start using it:

for commuting

on your holidays

showing off during leisure time

sharing your bike with friends and relatives

Simplicity works

One-piece, robust and affordable solution providing flat surface with grip to enhance comfort and safety.

Customized

No compromises by chasing 'one solution fits all'. The Pedal Plate is purely focussed on delivering the optimal solution for each of the Shimano SPD-SL and the Look Keo (2Max) pedal systems.

Hassle-free

The Pedal Plate will not change your pedals center of gravity. No hanging upside-down so you can use the same routine for bringing your foot to the Pedal Plate as you do with your cycling shoes on.

Light and compact

A set of Pedal Plates only weighs 41grams and is very compact. That makes them easy to store or take with you in your saddle bag, jeans, jacket or jersey.

Affordable

With a retail price of only € 14,95 and no need to buy additional cleats, the Pedal Plate is also the most cost efficient solution.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Versions to fit Shimano SPD-SL or Look Keo cleats (choose your model)

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
10/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
10/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Can't fault it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Simplicity.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Otherwise flawless, the only drawback would be removal from a tensioned pedal if you didn't have a hex key or thin screwdriver handy. Granted, this is unlikely if you're riding a bike anywhere.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 183cm  Weight: 72kg

I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling

17 comments

Avatar
john1967 [100 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

sweet 

Avatar
londoncommute [123 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Anyone know how tricky these are to insert and extract from 16Nm Look pedals?

Avatar
Ratfink [212 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

Ideal for a bike thief not wearing cycling shoes.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1383 posts] 11 months ago
5 likes
Vejnemojnen wrote:

https://www.aliexpress.com

Congratulations. You posted a link to a) a blatant rip-off product that requires an additional £20 worth of SPD-SL cleat bolting to it to be useful

and

b) a blatant rip-off product with zero warranty and zero integrity/ethics. 

 

This sort of thinking is utter anathema to a healthy, innovative culture of cycling evolution. Have a strong word with yourself. 

Avatar
Altimis [65 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes
Ratfink wrote:

Ideal for a bike thief not wearing cycling shoes.

Shimano SPD-SL is rideable without cycling shoes.

I did it quite often, as long as shoes's sole is soft enough, not "carbon sole" or slippery and hard sole.

And if thief gonna do it . . . they will just take it regardless.

Avatar
BehindTheBikesheds [2605 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

meh, solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist.

Ride in jeans/normal trousers with road shoes, change into normal shoes. Have normal shoes/trainers, unless you're trying to do a strava wanker segment then normal shoes will work fine to get you where you are going.

Bit pointles/superfluous IMHO. Good luck to them tho.

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [289 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
KiwiMike wrote:
Vejnemojnen wrote:

https://www.aliexpress.com

Congratulations. You posted a link to a) a blatant rip-off product that requires an additional £20 worth of SPD-SL cleat bolting to it to be useful

and

b) a blatant rip-off product with zero warranty and zero integrity/ethics. 

 

This sort of thinking is utter anathema to a healthy, innovative culture of cycling evolution. Have a strong word with yourself. 

 

No offence, but the only thing I wanted to point out: these are hardly a novelity at all. Similar products, or even better (the large platform for the cleats..) are available since ages.

 

It was my point, which you happened to mistake as I see.

Avatar
lolol [229 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I'm going to get some for my folder, which I sometimes get of the train early with and cycle the rest of the way for a bit of training. I usually swap out my pedals for this, but if these are good, then I wont have to.
My only concern is how grippy they are in the wet, I had some plastic topped pedals before and they were lethal when wet.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1383 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

 

Vejnemojnen wrote:

No offence, but the only thing I wanted to point out: these are hardly a novelity at all. Similar products, or even better (the large platform for the cleats..) are available since ages.

 

It was my point, which you happened to mistake as I see.

Happy to hear that. 

The Pedal Plate is smaller and cheaper than the current alternatives. In that regard it is indeed innovative. And the size of the contact area is immaterial - the Fly Pedal (and rip-offs like the one you linked to) seeks to replicate a contact area far larger than a traditional bicycle pedal, at higher cost. 

 

Avatar
RobD [684 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

meh, solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist.

Ride in jeans/normal trousers with road shoes, change into normal shoes. Have normal shoes/trainers, unless you're trying to do a strava wanker segment then normal shoes will work fine to get you where you are going.

Bit pointles/superfluous IMHO. Good luck to them tho.

I don't know, having these to ride a few miles to one of the nice country pubs out of town around here would certainly be better than taking a change of shoes, and using normal shoes on bare road pedals in traffic and small hills isn't my idea of fun.  £11 is cheaper than getting a pair of decent shoes resoled when they get gouge marks from the edges of the pedals in them. 

Unfortunately I ride Time pedals, so hopefully a suitable version will come out for them too.

Avatar
fukawitribe [2623 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
RobD wrote:
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

meh, solution looking for a problem that doesn't exist.

Ride in jeans/normal trousers with road shoes, change into normal shoes. Have normal shoes/trainers, unless you're trying to do a strava wanker segment then normal shoes will work fine to get you where you are going.

Bit pointles/superfluous IMHO. Good luck to them tho.

I don't know, having these to ride a few miles to one of the nice country pubs out of town around here would certainly be better than taking a change of shoes, and using normal shoes on bare road pedals in traffic and small hills isn't my idea of fun.  £11 is cheaper than getting a pair of decent shoes resoled when they get gouge marks from the edges of the pedals in them. 

Unfortunately I ride Time pedals, so hopefully a suitable version will come out for them too.

I have a pair of clip-on flats for Speedplays which prove useful every once in a while for nipping down the less local shops, and which my wife used for a while on my bike on the trainer with flats. Hardly reach for them every day, or indeed month, but they're handy enough from time to time.

Avatar
Team EPO [172 posts] 10 months ago
0 likes
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rambino [11 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Maybe it's just me but anyone else get on just fine wearing trainers with Look pedals? I regularly do 50+ miles in a pair of old nike running shoes or Converse trainers on my Keo's. Performance wise there's honestly not a huge amount of difference compared with my carbon soled Fiziks. Speedplay or Eggbeaters perhaps not. Not in my size 13 Manolo Blahniks anyway. D'oh....what is it with me and dead threads? I may as well have a conversation with a wall!

Avatar
don simon fbpe [2705 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

This will make life easier for bike thieves. Plod told me that a cyclist wearing trainers (or other normal shoes) on a(n expensive) road bike raises their suspicions as to whether the rider is, in fact, the owner.

Avatar
ConcordeCX [930 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
don simon wrote:

This will make life easier for bike thieves. Plod told me that a cyclist wearing trainers (or other normal shoes) on a(n expensive) road bike raises their suspicions as to whether the rider is, in fact, the owner.

'ello, 'ello, 'ello, what 'ave we got 'ere now then?

can I help you, officer?

hindeed you can, sir. These 'ere shoes, yours har they, sir?

it's a fair cop, guv. I admit it, I nicked 'em. You got me bang to rights, you done. Does this mean I do porridge?

 

Avatar
vonhelmet [1350 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

I saw a guy on a canyon this morning with bigass mtb flats. I nearly vommed.