Clipless peddles and shoes

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Clipless peddles and shoes

Postby chriscmuir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:31 pm

Hi gang

This is a newbie question on clipless peddles and shoes. I've started riding a bike with a set of Shimano M520 SPD clipless peddles. The peddles come with a flat normal peddle on one side for riding with normal shoes, and the clipless mechanism exposed on the other for clipless riding shoes.

I'm now looking to buy a pair of clipless riding shoes and I'm looking around various stores to see what they have in stock. However I note when I'm riding with my normal shoes my feet seem to hang over the sides of the peddles and I need to have them right up against the crank which feels awkward as the peddles rotate (as the shoe and crank rub each other). So it seems the peddles are somewhat narrow at this stage.

Now I'll make an educated guess that when I buy the shoes and the cleats that this is somewhat of a non-issue as the clipless peddle isn't designed to hold a normal shoe, just reach as far out as the cleat.

Is this right, or have I missed something? Maybe the peddles come out further for people with wider feet? I dunno.

Any help for a newbie would be appreciated please.

Thanks & regards,

CM.
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by BNA » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:42 pm

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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:42 pm

Yes, the bike shoes are designed to clip in with a small gap between the shoe and the crank
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Postby MountGower » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:43 pm

G
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Thanks

Postby chriscmuir » Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:56 pm

Thanks for the reply, I see your point about the transition pedal too. Here's to finally riding with clipless shoes after all these years I've been putting it off.

Thanks again,

CM.
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Postby vitualis » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:43 am

I've used the M520s for a while as well on my road bike, thinking that I could occasionally ride my bike to work with work shoes. In the end, I found the pedal itself rather annoying in that the "wrong" side would always seem to come up (whether I was using my riding or work shoes). As such, I've put clipless pedals back on my road bike and simply got a second bike for commuting.

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On buying shoe and pedal

Postby chriscmuir » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:59 am

Thanks Michael

Can you recommend when you buy shoes, is it best to buy the shoes and pedals together to ensure they suit?

My concern is I'll go off and buy some shoes which may be appropriate for the M520s, but then tire of the pedal and want to replace them along your previous suggestion with something better, then find the shoes don't work with other pedals.

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Postby alchemist » Fri Aug 03, 2007 12:26 pm

There are two advantages to buying them together
1. You'll usually get a bit more of a discount
2. The LBSG will set up the position of the cleats for you
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Re: On buying shoe and pedal

Postby europa » Fri Aug 03, 2007 1:46 pm

chriscmuir wrote:My concern is I'll go off and buy some shoes which may be appropriate for the M520s, but then tire of the pedal and want to replace them along your previous suggestion with something better, then find the shoes don't work with other pedals


Chris, buy a set of shoes that take the SPD system of cleats. Buy shoes that allow you to walk in the cleats. Make sure the sole of the shoe is very stiff and that the shoes themselves don't look all that bad. I'm a multi-use rider and being able to walk in my cycling shoes is a huge bonus.

With regards to the pedal coming up the 'wrong way', unless your pedals are very loose, you'll find that they stay 'put' on the spindle as the crank rotates. If they are always coming up the wrong way, my bet is you take your foot out at one point (eg the top of the stroke) and try to put it back on at the opposite point (ie the bottom of the stroke in our example). The simple fix when you find the pedal is upside down is to lift your foot, let the crank turn through half a turn, and you should be right.

After awhile, you'll find yourself unclipping and reclipping at the same place (I do it at the top for some obscure reason) but in the interim, you may need to train yourself.

The SPD system is a very good system. The more aggressive riders talk about accidental releases, but I stress that these are the aggressive riders.

I personally have cleats that have multi-directional release ie, you can reef your foot out at any angle, though to release cleanly, you need to give the twist of the ankle. I have mine set very loose. I have NEVER had an accidental release despite spinning at very high cadences (I regularly top 140 on the fixie) and fighting steep hills. However, I don't go in for manic sprints. The multi-release setup has saved me from quite a few embarrassing falls.

Unless you are planning to race or can guarantee that you'll never use the bike for anything other than pure 'training' rides, stick with the SPD system. My son has the SPD-L and guess what, he has to change pedals (to platform and toe clips) for the run to school because he can't use those shoes for anything other than riding.

Sogood has the Crank Bros system which allows him to walk and seems to provide positive hookup with someone who is a very serious 'training' rider so if you are changing to a more sporting level of cleat, I think they are more sensible than SPD-L, but you'll need to confirm that with him (or some other user of the system).

However, you have the pedals. SPD shoes aren't expensive. The system works well unless severely provoked. Stick with it. There is a lot of nonsense talked about on various forums about 'performance' - most of the differences or gains are un-measurable in the real world. Typically, you won't know what is going to annoy you about any piece of equiptment until you've had a lot of experience with it - it took me over 1,000km to get stuck into serious modifications of the Black Beast - don't try to second guess things before then because what annoys Charlie up the Street may not bother you at all (as is clearly evident throughout this forum).

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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:13 pm

Well, I wouldn't call myself a "very serious training rider". I have a long way to go to hit that mark.

My also started with SPDs but got turned off them by the mechanical problems with two sets of SPDs. The first set (M540) developed a faulty bearing that Shimano couldn't/wouldn't fix properly under warranty after only a few hundred km of riding. The second set developed a squeek that I could not fix. So in disgust I went across to Crank Bros.

As I found, CB system is even easier to clip in and out. But for all practical purposes, it's impossible to pull out. There are many reports of people accidentally pulling out of their SPD cleats, leading to severe injuries. At the same time, in an emergency stop, I've been trapped multiple times with SPD leading to a fall on the side. It seem that with SPD, the harder you want to get out the longer it'll keep you cleated in. With CB and emergency stops, I've always been able to unclip in a hurry. But maybe that's just me.

The other benefit of CB Quattro pedals in particular is that it would allow me to use 2 bolt cycling shoes (eg. MTB and commuter) as well as 3 bolt road shoes should I ever want to get a pair.
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Postby europa » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:43 pm

sogood wrote:t seem that with SPD, the harder you want to get out the longer it'll keep you cleated in.


It's probably impossible to find out now, but I'm guessing you did not have the multi-directional cleats and/or they were done up very tight. With the multi-directional cleats, it is possible to wrench your foot out from any angle in an emergency, as I've proven many times (to my embarressment - "who's that clutz riding the black bike?"). On the other hand, I'm not sure my set up would work in something like a hard sprint (not having tried it but I can still imagine the forces involved).

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Postby Halfanewb » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:54 pm

Hi Chris ) the best part about getting into cleats is once your over the confidence aspect of it you will feel you have much more control over the bike.

Your ready to start working cadence !! :)
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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 03, 2007 3:56 pm

Well, it is possible as I still have the pedals and a pair of commuter shoes with SPD cleats (waiting to change over to CB cleats). I just used the Shimano cleats that came with the pedals. Not sure if they are "multi-directional" or not. The tension settings were below mid position. So it shouldn't have been too tight. But the various stories on the net of people accidentally pulling out of their SPD and causing crashes concerns me. I've read at least two who have done their spleen in and had to be surgically removed.

Anyway, no regrets on the switch to CB. I paid my lessons with SPD. Never to return. Recently I had a question on my CB's maintenance. I emailed and received a reply within 24 hours. A follow up exchange was similarly responded to, along with an attached instruction PDF file. Couldn't have been more satisfied with CB.
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Postby Bnej » Fri Aug 03, 2007 4:11 pm

europa wrote: On the other hand, I'm not sure my set up would work in something like a hard sprint (not having tried it but I can still imagine the forces involved).


I have a similar set up (low tension SPD and multi-release cleats) and I have had one unclip unexpectedly once, which was on a low-cadence climb.

They do start to move around a bit once you are really hammering at a sprint, on the upward part of the pedal stroke you can feel the cleat moving up in the clip. This has become more noticeable as I've been going harder at the hill sprints.

Down the track when I can afford some road shoes I will probably get Ultrega road pedals and change the MTB to Crank Bros after that - though the MTB hasn't been a problem yet as I don't push the pedals as hard on it.
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Postby bigbuzz73 » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:03 pm

Hi Chris,
I use SPD Shimano 540 pedals on my MTB with Specialized MTB shoes. I've used this combo for about 9 months and have no complaints with the pedals. Spesh shoes feel like a pair of slippers and I can highly recommend them for commuting. Like Richard, I like the convenience of having the cleats recessed into the sole so your shoes are just like sneakers to walk in.
I recently bought Shimano Ultegra 6620 pedals for my Bianchi road bike and bought a pair of Specialized road shoes. The cleats are an absolute pain to walk in, but as I don't use this bike for commuting, it isn't an issue.
In my opinion, anyone who says the SPD pedal offers the same level of power transmission as the SPD-L is mistaken. I notice a marked difference in power efficiency since fitting the Ultegra pedals. The carbon inserts in the sole of the shoes may be a factor, but the larger area of the 'road' cleats give a much more stable feeling. I hope this helps.
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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 03, 2007 7:11 pm

The stiffness of the sole in combination with the pedal would adequately explain the transmission efficiency issue. Otherwise there's no logic for the discrepancy.
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Postby europa » Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:53 pm

It gets complicated very quickly doesn't it.

If you think you might want to walk in the shoes, go for SPD.
If you will never have to walk, maybe the higher performance cleats will serve, provided you actually need the higher performance. If not, anyone who has had to carry a broken bike home will attest to the virtues of wearing shoes without exposed cleats (be aware, this situation is rare).

Whatever you choose, if the shoes don't fit properly, don't buy the things because sore feet will bring you down faster than a bad seat. You don't want tight shoes, a bit of freedom is better because your foot will swell during a ride. You don't want thick socks, thin socks work best - counter intuitive I know but it's true. (I've tested and proven both of these). A stiff sole can be walked in (as long as it doesn't have exposed cleats) and will result in better power transfer and lower foot fatigue. It matters not if the colour of the shoes clash with the colour of the bar tape, but all else being equal, it's better to avoid such issues :roll:

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Thanks again

Postby chriscmuir » Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:55 pm

Hey gang

All your replies have been a nice surprise -- thanks very much. I spend a lot of my time posting to technical forums for my job and there is a fair amount of aggravation and aggregation. However here everybody has been overly helpful especially for a newbie.

So thanks again, I do appreciate it :)

Regards,

CM.
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Postby Mulger bill » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:05 pm

G'Day Chris.

Have another look at your pedals, the flat side might be a clip in platform which you can remove with a bit of a (hard) twist.

I've got SPuDs on both the MTB (501) and the Roadie (520) with Lake MX101 shoes and have had one pull out in about 7 years, this was when I converted from clip/strap pedals and still had the clips set to minimum tension. I run about 3 clicks in now with no problem.

Shimano MTB pedals ship with the multi release cleats so you should have no drama there, I'd advise against a full on road system if you have to walk any further than into the cafe at a rest stop, they're not very comfortable and rather dangerous on polished surfaces.

Going clipless is a big transition for most, if I can offer some hints for beginners,
1 Get the LBS to set up cleat position for you.
2 Don't look at your feet! I know it sounds odd but your foot will find the right place a lot easier that way.
3 Practise clipping in and out a few times on all four sides with the bike leaning against a wall, then find a footy field or similar and do some slow circles while you have another go, it hurts less if you get it wrong :wink:

Hope this helps

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Postby Aushiker » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:06 pm

bigbuzz73 wrote:Hi Chris,
I use SPD Shimano 540 pedals on my MTB with Specialized MTB shoes. I've used this combo for about 9 months and have no complaints with the pedals. Spesh shoes feel like a pair of slippers and I can highly recommend them for commuting.


+ 1

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Postby thomas_cho » Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:11 pm

Good, well fitting shoes, with a stiff sole makes the most difference.
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Re: On buying shoe and pedal

Postby vitualis » Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:09 pm

europa wrote:With regards to the pedal coming up the 'wrong way', unless your pedals are very loose, you'll find that they stay 'put' on the spindle as the crank rotates. If they are always coming up the wrong way...


Well, maybe that was the problem with mine.

However, the Shimano M520 pedals are weighted quite differently on the two sides and I found that one side preferentially came up. I generally didn't have a problem with my shoes with cleats as the "right" side would usually come up but it was annoying in my work (which are ordinary business leather) shoes.

Sogood has the Crank Bros system which allows him to walk and seems to provide positive hookup with someone who is a very serious 'training' rider so if you are changing to a more sporting level of cleat, I think they are more sensible than SPD-L, but you'll need to confirm that with him (or some other user of the system).


I've changed to the Crank Bros system as well on my road bike - I've bought the "Smarty" pedals. I find them very good - good "hook up" as you say and every easy to disengage, especially when I stuff up stopping and forget that I'm clipped in. :D

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Re: Thanks again

Postby bigbuzz73 » Sat Aug 04, 2007 6:19 pm

chriscmuir wrote:Hey gang

All your replies have been a nice surprise -- thanks very much. I spend a lot of my time posting to technical forums for my job and there is a fair amount of aggravation and aggregation. However here everybody has been overly helpful especially for a newbie.

So thanks again, I do appreciate it :)

Regards,

CM.


I agree completely Chris. Some of the people on fishing and boating forums abuse the crap out of each other purely because someone disagreed with a point of view. Like you, I have found the members on this forum very helpful and repectful of each other's opinions. I don't even get much crap when I act like a tosser when I bang on about my Bianchi!
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Re: Thanks again

Postby Aushiker » Sat Aug 04, 2007 7:38 pm

bigbuzz73 wrote:I don't even get much crap when I act like a tosser when I bang on about my Bianchi!Wayne


That's cause we ignore you :-)

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Re: Thanks again

Postby Kalgrm » Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:25 pm

bigbuzz73 wrote: blah blah blah ...... my Bianchi ..... blah blah


..... tosser .... !!!! :roll:


(Just kidding Wayne. I don't even know what a Bianchi is! Will a topical cream clear it up? :D)
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Re: Thanks again

Postby heavymetal » Sat Aug 04, 2007 8:30 pm

Kalgrm wrote:I don't even know what a Bianchi is! Will a topical cream clear it up? :D)


It's the name of that cream that they give out for fungal infections isn't it? :D :D

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