Join Date: Apr 2008
Bikes: Cervelo RS, Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro, Schwinn Typhoon, Nashbar touring, custom steel MTB
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For those new to clipless pedals, I like to recommend Shimano SPD pedals, specifically the M520. This is coming from someone who owns 3-4 sets of Crank Brothers pedals! Here's why I think Shimano SPD pedals are the way to go:
1) Adjustable tension. You can start out with the release tension set very low; a panicked yank in any direction will cause the pedal to release. As you become more comfortable with the pedals, you can increase the tension. Tension on the Crank Brothers pedals is not adjustable.
2) Less heel rotation necessary to get the pedals to release. This is the reason that I ultimately switched from Crank Brothers to SPD. When riding off-road, I found I had to rotate my heel so far to get the Crank Brothers pedals to release that I'd fall over before I could unclip.
3) SPDs have a more positive engagement; you feel a definite "click" when the cleat clips to the pedal. Crank Brothers, in contrast, feel a bit mushy. Sometimes you won't be sure you're clipped in until you pull up on the pedal.
4) If you have trouble unclipping from the SPD pedals, you can switch to the SH56 "multi-release" cleats. These cleats will release if you move your heel in any direction, not just an outward twist. I use these cleats when riding off-road, because they make it super-easy to release from the pedals.
BTW, if anyone is looking for cheap pedals I seem to have a ton of them and would love to sell some off. PM me if interested. I have: two sets of Crank Brothers Eggbeater Cs, a set of well-used Crank Brothers Candy Cs, a nearly-new set of Shimano M520s, and a set of cheap "bear trap" pedals (Dimension? Wellgo?) with standard-length PowerGrip straps attached. All of the clipless pedals include cleats. I also have two extra sets of Shimano SH51 cleats.