Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

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Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Sat Feb 23, 2013 6:27 pm

Ok, I'm old school and there was only one type of shoe. What I want to know is....... What is the difference in all of the cleat setups.

I understand SPDs but all of the other types are lost on me. :?

What are the advantages and disadvantages please? :idea:

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by BNA » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:16 pm

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby Baalzamon » Sat Feb 23, 2013 7:16 pm

I'm limited to SPD-SL, SPD and now speedplay frogs and speedplay zeros
frogs you are closer to the axle vs SPD. Bit of a wider cleat as well. Heap of float before you disengage. Can get jammed up like SPD tho
Speedplay zeros I'm finding I'm clipping in a hell of a lot easier for take offs and much easier to pedal when cornering now. But easy to get jammed up with mud/twigs etc because it is a hole essentially. I've hadn't had mine jammed up in the 200km I've put on them so far.

I'll let someone else with more exp add more :)
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:46 pm

Thanks Baalzamon! :)

I'm wanting to get new shoes and pedals as I think that I can eliminate some of the numbness in my feet, with a wider platform. Just need to know what all the different systems are and if, they are interchangeable? :?

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby grantw » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:26 pm

I went from spds to Looks in the hope that a wider platform would help, but I still use the spds on a couple of my bikes and don't think the connection point is a big factor (at least for me). The size of the shoe is though, width being the critical factor. I'd suggest you look for a comfy shoe first and then connect rather than connect and look for a shoe
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby AndrewBurns » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:32 pm

You can always try aftermarket innersoles too, I use them in my road shoes because the stock SIDI footbeds are horrible...
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby Howzat » Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:36 pm

The latest copy of Ride On magazine has a good rundown on this exact topic.
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:47 pm

Howzat wrote:The latest copy of Ride On magazine has a good rundown on this exact topic.


Thanks mate, I will try and source it. 8)

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Sun Feb 24, 2013 6:48 pm

The width of my shoes is ok, so I don't know if that is a factor? :?

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby im_no_pro » Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:54 pm

I went from shimano to speedplays a while ago. 2 distinct benefits I found were the increase in float made it a lot easier on my knees (the dodgy one in particular) and a significant reduction in hotspots on the ball of my feet. Other bonus was easier to clip in. Downside is you have to look after them more. AFAIK they have a lower stack height as well, didnt make much of a difference to me though.

Disclaimer: dont know if I could have achieved similar results by adjusting the shimano setup or not. Dont really care either, the speedplays gave me exactly what I wanted and unlikely I will change them anytime soon. Have been on them for a while now and havent had one jam up yet.
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:36 pm

^^ Thanks mate.

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby sb944 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:59 pm

http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/blog/2011/04/road-pedals-which-are-best/
It seems mainly like you get most options for bike fitting, probably only really important if you are experiencing pain. He does mention Shimano gear is mostly very good, but speedplay is his clear favourite.
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby barefoot » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:39 pm

grantw wrote:I went from spds to Looks in the hope that a wider platform would help, but I still use the spds on a couple of my bikes and don't think the connection point is a big factor (at least for me). The size of the shoe is though, width being the critical factor. I'd suggest you look for a comfy shoe first and then connect rather than connect and look for a shoe


My MTB shoes and my road shoes are different sole outers on the same shoe platform (Carnac Escape and Carnac Notus), so my experience eliminates that variable.

I've been riding Shimano SPD mountain bike pedals since 1996. Several MTB pedal fads have come, boomed, busted and kept on (Time ATAC was the big thing, then Crank Brothers Eggbeaters were the big thing), but I had too much invested in SPD so I never changed. The others have usually been well received because they're better at clearing mud than Shimano, but Shimano have played catch-up over the years and aren't too bad now either. I've run SPD on mountain, road, touring, commuting, tandem, and various novelty bikes.

I've been riding a lot more road this year, and I finally bit the bullet and bought a road pedal+shoe bundle when it came up on T7. A bit of quick reading identified that there are effectively 4 road cleat standards - old Look, new Look, Shimano SPD-SL, and Speedplay. None are interchangeable. I've been happy with Shimano all my riding life, and they seem to be pretty well received by the market, so I went with them.

The Look variants seem to be the old default and the new default. Shimano is a bit of an outsider. All three look essentially similar - a big triangular plastic cleat. Speedplay are very well regarded by the few who use them, but I wasn't interesting in spending that kind of money - they're not cheap.

My experience is that the width of the road pedal's connection is the biggest difference between road and mountain.

On a MTB pedal, your foot is free to rock a little bit from side to side. It's only a small movement at the cleat interface itself, but since the cleat is so much narrower than your foot, it allows quite a significant rotation over the width of the foot. Even with the stiffest sole, you really have to position your cleats laterally, directly under the part of your foot where you are balanced, or else you'll be fighting ankle-roll to keep your foot flat on the pedal.

The road cleats contact the pedal across their full width. So what little movement there is of the cleat relative to the pedal doesn't get amplified at all. It's a very well supported connection. Lateral position of the cleat is far less important, because the balance point of your foot is almost certainly somewhere directly above that wide pedal platform. Of course, fore-aft cleat position is still critical.

Having seen roadies waddling around in road shoes at cafes, I assumed they'd be difficult to walk in. I find them to be quite okay. Not as good off-bike as SPD, of course, but not as awkward as some make them look. Of course, the plastic cleats aren't made to be walked on too much.

The thing I'm finding surprisingly difficult is clipping in. Like I said, I've used clipless pedals for more than 15 years, and I can clip in and out in my sleep... it's just a natural action. Foot comes off the ground, goes on to the pedal, pedal goes click when you push down. I've always smirked at these uncoordinated roadies (and worse, triathletes (oops, wrong thread)) struggling to get a cleat in. Now I'm one of them.

Especially on uphill starts, my usual SPD technique is to start and pedal the first couple of strokes with the arch of my foot, then clip in once I'm moving. I now find out that that only works well if your shoes have something resembling tread on the arch. My new shiny-plastic-soled road shoes have absolutely no traction on the back (or even on the top) of my shiny metal pedals. Either you kick straight in to them, or you pedal one-legged until you fumble your way in, or you slip off and look like a complete n00b. I'm sure the kick-straight-in option will work better once I stop over-thinking the process and just do it.

In all, I do now understand why people like road pedals. They are very nice and stable to pedal in. If you're going for a ride where you clip in once and stay clipped in for an hour or three, they're great. But they're nowhere near as easy to clip in, and walking in them will wear the cleats out like cheese, so any riding that might involve touching the ground with your foot (ie commuting or touring) I'd go for SPDs.

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby foo on patrol » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Hmmm ok I just bookmarked that link SB944.

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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby takai » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:19 pm

barefoot wrote:The thing I'm finding surprisingly difficult is clipping in. Like I said, I've used clipless pedals for more than 15 years, and I can clip in and out in my sleep... it's just a natural action. Foot comes off the ground, goes on to the pedal, pedal goes click when you push down. I've always smirked at these uncoordinated roadies (and worse, triathletes (oops, wrong thread)) struggling to get a cleat in. Now I'm one of them.

This is exactly why i ended up switching to Speedplays. I needed a new pair of SPD-SL cleats, and for about $50 more i had the peace of mind that i wouldnt miss a clip in and overbalance infront of a truck.
They are expensive, but its a stand and stomp action, rather than a forward wiggle down action.

All in all i love my Speedplays, its just the natural biomechanical action i have been used to for about 15 years.
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Re: Tell Me The Difference Between Cleat Systems

Postby Baalzamon » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:31 pm

For someone that has used them for a small amount, what takai said.
No issues clipping in compared against other cleat systems where it can take a pause, pedal flip, few pedal strokes to get clipped in.
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