Yet another clipless pedal question

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Yet another clipless pedal question

Postby Grog » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:08 pm

G'day all,

I'm looking to fit clipless pedals to my roadbike. Never having used these I have a question regarding the pedal design.
One of the criteria I have is that I need to be able to walk a short distance in these (up stairs at work etc) so would be looking at recessed cleats most likely, ie: SPD.
With the Shimano pedals for example, you can go the MTB (M520 or M540) style which is dual sided and minimalist (if that's the word) or the road style (A520) which is a single sided but larger platform.
I like the MTB double-sided clip concept for ease of connecting regardless which way the pedal is orientated but wanted to know if the smaller platform area is detrimental in performance. Assuming I used a fairly rigid soled shoe would this be a concern? Or am I way off base even worrying about this?
I'd also be prepared to consider other brands (ie: Crank Bros) but mentioned Shimano in this post as they "appear" the most popular. Your thoughts would be most appreciated.

Rgds, Greg
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by BNA » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:21 pm

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Postby europa » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:21 pm

You do not need double sided.

I've got the M324s which are lighter and neater than the mtb variants. They're balanced so that they stay orientated to the crank ie, if you put your foot on the pedal and find that it's upside down, you just lift your foot and in half a turn, the pedal is the right way up. They work very well.

On the Europa, I've got double sided pedals and they are very nice and easy - your foot always goes onto a clip which is nice on a fixed gear bike where you can't coast while you try to sort out your pedals (pulling toe straps tight was fun I can tell you). The disadvantage is that you can't ride with normal shoes, well, you can, but not comfortably.

I've only ridden with normal shoes on my M324s a few times and I don't like the lack of location of your foot ... which is why it's only been a few times. However, having the option has proven to be very good the few times I've needed it.

Being able to walk and drive in your riding shoes is a huge bonus. My son has SPD-Ls on his bike ... well, he did have until he got the shits with the stupid shoes and put pedals with toe cages back on. Shoes you can't walk in are fine for those that only ever sit on their bikes but if you have to get off your bike, SPDs are great.

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Postby Wanta-bike » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:58 pm

i find that crank bros pedals do the job nicely.

the cleat is relatively small compared to Look's and "3-bolt" style cleats. i'm currently usin specialized mtb shoes which hav a recessed cleat positioning

tho depends on ur style of ridin - the 15 or 20 degree float may not be for u.... or maybe it is! go try it!

....plus i like their 4 sided entry design! 8)
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Postby Bnej » Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:35 pm

M520s are good. M324s are okay, but if you are in situations where you want to clip in quickly they are not as good. If you want a pedal where you can use a non-clipped side, then get the M324. If you want to use clipless most of the time, M520s are like $75 it's an easy decision.

Crank Bros are supposed to be better. They do look better.

Cycling shoes have a stiff sole that means you don't need much of a platform for your foot. Unless they're really crappy shoes. ;)
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Postby sogood » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:18 pm

After going through two pairs of SPDs that developed mechanical problems early in life (mid-range), I switched to CBs. It's much much better. More reliable, easier to engage and disengage. Will never go back to SPDs. Yes, this is on road bikes with MTB shoes.
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Postby mikesbytes » Thu Aug 23, 2007 10:36 pm

Grog, do you also own a mountain bike?
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Postby Kalgrm » Fri Aug 24, 2007 12:16 am

Grog wrote:wanted to know if the smaller platform area is detrimental in performance.

Not that you'd notice until you're racing in the upper echelons of the sport. You can get MTB shoes which are quite stiff in the sole so you won't be losing appreciable amounts of power to shoe flex around the pedal.

For me, MTB shoes on my 'bent. Crank Brothers Eggbeaters for me too (love the 4-way pedals). Had Shimano SPD MTB pedals - Crank Bros are better.

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Postby CoffeeNut » Fri Aug 24, 2007 7:50 am

I went with Specialised MTB racing shoes - sorta look like road shoes - light - and you can walk in them easily.
Went with BBB mtb double sided pedals.
Works for me.
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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 24, 2007 8:33 am

CoffeeNut wrote:Went with BBB mtb double sided pedals.

They are effectively SPDs.

Bear in mind that riders can accidentally pull out of a SPD during a hard kick while CB's design actually tightens when pulled hard. There's been many personal reports of such on the various cycling forums, some leading to serious injuries.
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Postby Grog » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:41 am

Thanks for the comments guys. You've answered my query on pedal size-shoe stiffness relationship. Interesting to see the differing preferences too.

Mike, I only have the one roadie, no MTB.

Richard, visualising you tightening the toe strap had me laughing.

Bnej, you answered the point on stiff soles.

Sogood, been interested in your views about unclipping.

Think I'll have to go and try a few setups here in Lonny. Shimano avail in most shops, not sure about CBs though. My LBS claims he can do a good deal on the Shimanos since I bought my bike off him so time to compare I guess.
I'm really leaning towards the double-sided style of Shimano MTBs or 4way entry of the CBs though. Once I put clipless on I'll have no need for normal shoes with it. I use the bike for commuting and some shortish weekend rides at present. Anything too far and I fire up the Duke...that's what motors are for!

Thanks all, let you know what I buy once I'm mobile again and get in town (had a spot of surgery yesterday so a bit "tender" - nothing serious) - Greg
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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:51 am

Grog wrote:Sogood, been interested in your views about unclipping.

As stated by me on multiple occasions, I've found the CB system much easier to clip in and out. One particularly important scenario being emergency stops. On the SPD, I've found that the more urgent the need to unclip, the less I'm able to disengage (or I am just uncoordinated). While on the CB, I've managed to disengage every time under similar circumstances. And as you can guess, the consequence of not being able to disengage quickly is a side way fall from stationary. I have a 2-3 small scars on my knee that's attributable to this. Shimano will always be cheaper on their market clout. But I am willing to fork out a bit more for some extra confidence on my equipment.
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Postby Grog » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:04 am

sogood wrote:Shimano will always be cheaper on their market clout. But I am willing to fork out a bit more for some extra confidence on my equipment.


Trying to see past the "have we got a deal for you!" sales pitches. My approach to all this is to research, get constructive feedback then make a (hopefully intelligent) decision so I don't have to revisit the issue again in the short term.
This is where a forum like this is brilliant - you obtain (and hopefully contribute) real world feedback for all and sundry to share.

It was all so simple as a kid.......but nowhere near as much fun!
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Postby sogood » Fri Aug 24, 2007 10:12 am

Grog wrote:This is where a forum like this is brilliant - you obtain (and hopefully contribute) real world feedback for all and sundry to share.

Yes, it's always good to know how others view the same issue. A good debate (or flame war) can be quite enlightening to one's understanding of a subject.
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Postby mikesbytes » Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:16 am

OK no MTB so there is no compatibility issues, its just for the road.

Walking short distances, and a flight a stairs is no big deal in any shoe with any cleat, it is a little easier in MTB shoes.

Here is my personal experience
For a baseline I'm going to rate toe clips with sand shoes as 0 and my best current setup as 10. This is the changes I made and what I felt the improvement was
a) MTB shoes with spd clones 6/10
b) MTB shoes with genuine spd 6/10
c) plastic soled road shoes with genuine spd 7/10
d) plastic soled road shoes (the same ones) with look pedals 8/10
e) carbon soled road shoes with look pedals 10/10

Also I still have the the plastic soled road shoes and they are still used for some of the commuting
f) 5 year old 50,000k plastic soled road shoes with look pedals 7/10

Conclusion anything is going to be a huge improvement over not having them, after that its general refinement and personal preference.

My preference is for the 3 hole systems as I prefer to spread the load over the shoe. 3 hole systems are available from Shimano, Time, Look, Speedplay, CB.
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