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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-27-10, 07:33 PM   #1
tardman91
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Help Me Pick Clipless Pedals and Shoes

Just like the title says, I'm looking to get my first set of clipless pedals and shoes, and I need some help. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for. I know there are MTB pedals and road pedals - what's the difference really? Seems to me the MTB pedals are smaller. Any brands that are great? Ones to stay away from? Anything that's particularly better for us bigger guys? Also, I'm not too sure about the cleat types, but it seems that the SPD type are pretty popular.

And then there's shoes. I think I want road shoes, unless someone can talk me into MTB shoes. And I'm looking to do this on the cheap. Maybe about $150 for the whole deal. I found a pair of Diadora Sprinter road shoes for $50, but only is silver. I've found some stuff at Nashbar and Performance Bikes. Is there any other places that I should be looking? Links would be helpful too.
Thanks!
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Old 03-27-10, 08:24 PM   #2
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You want mountain bike shoes with a recessed cleat. They are easier to walk in when you stop to rest, go to the store, or sitesee. There isn't any benefit to road shoes for most people, they just make fall on your ass on any sort of sloped concrete.
Any of the two bolt clears will work with those shoes, SPD's are the most popular with Crank brothers probably running a close second. Nothing wrong with either one. Don't bother with the combination pedals (flat on one side and clipless on the other), they are a pain in the butt to flip to side you want.
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Old 03-27-10, 08:42 PM   #3
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SPD pedals have a tension screw that control how tight or loose they hold the cleat. It also makes it harder or easier to unclip, both accidentally and on purpose. To unclip, you twist out to the side. To unclip accidentally, just let the cleats wear down and they'll start to unclip when you don't mean to.

Crank Bros. use a spring so when you pull up, they actually hold tighter to the cleat, but if you twist out, they let go easily.

Both SPD and Crank Bros. use the same bolt pattern so they both fit the same shoes. I used to use SPDs, but after they started unclipping accidentally, I switched to Crank Bros. and haven't looked back since. I recommend Crank Bros. No tension screw and a simple design.

As for shoes, I suggest mtb or skate shoes because they're easier to walk around in w/o making clicking noises. Lake and Sidi both make wide shoes. 661 makes skate shoes. Look for SPD compatible shoes and if you can, try them on first to make sure they're comfortable. Check out pricepoint for shoe and pedal deals.
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Old 03-27-10, 08:47 PM   #4
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Agree with shooter on all points.

You probably want a MTB pedal so you can walk in them. The road shoes have minimal/no tread on the bottom and they're hard to walk around in. Even if you don't have a mountain bike, you can use the MTB pedals on them -- I use Shimano MTB pedals on my road bike (partially for the walking part, and partially so I can use the same shoes on all my bikes).

I have a set of combo pedals on my hybrid. One side is a normal "bear trap" and the other takes a clipless cleat. Waste of money ... at the time I was thinking I could wear regular shoes for short rides. Reality is, I've NEVER taken advantage of the option and EVERY time I snap in I find my feet on the wrong side of the pedal. (Kinda like toast always landing butter side down when it falls on the floor.... )

Also, IMHO, stick with a name brand so you'll know you can buy replacement cleats in a few years. Shimano, Crank Brothers are the 2 main styles/brands. There are others and they probably work fine, but in 3, 5, 10 years I want to know I'll be supported.

Edit: I started with a combo set from Performance Bike. Pedals and shoes for one price, and you'll have the peace of mind that they'll work together. But once you see them and understand what to look for, there's not that much to them. Mtb shoes have 2 holes towards the front that the cleat mounts in. The pedals come with the screws and the appropriate cleat.

Last edited by Zoxe; 03-27-10 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 03-27-10, 09:20 PM   #5
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I'd definately go for MTB pedals. I started with Shimano M520s and they would be my first choice for any beginner (started my wife on them and she won't use anything else). For shoes, if you want to be able walk around in them go MTB. If you don't, go with road shoes that take 2 bolt cleats. Pearl Izumi makes some inexpensive shoes (Vagaboond or Quest) in both MTB and road that are in the $50 range so $100 should get you everything you need.
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Old 03-28-10, 09:06 AM   #6
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Thanks guys. I found the Shimano M520 Pedals for $41 shipped on Amazon. I think I will go with those, since they were one of the pedals I was eyeing. Anybody know of a place to find them cheaper?

As for shoes... I think I'll go with MTB shoes from everyone's advice. I like the ones with velcro for the simplicity, and prefer the ones with not as aggressive tread on the bottom (some of the ones I found in my searching look like football cleats). My problem is that I need a 13/14 (49 in "bike shoe" sizes I believe). I would tend to lean more towards the 14 since, correct me if I'm wrong, these shoes are usually a bit tighter than normal sneakers? I'm having trouble finding them in that size at a reasonable price (less than $70 or so). Any suggestions of places to look besides nashbar and performance bikes?

The help is much appreciated! Thanks again!
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Old 03-28-10, 09:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tardman91 View Post
Thanks guys. I found the Shimano M520 Pedals for $41 shipped on Amazon. I think I will go with those, since they were one of the pedals I was eyeing. Anybody know of a place to find them cheaper?

As for shoes... I think I'll go with MTB shoes from everyone's advice. I like the ones with velcro for the simplicity, and prefer the ones with not as aggressive tread on the bottom (some of the ones I found in my searching look like football cleats). My problem is that I need a 13/14 (49 in "bike shoe" sizes I believe). I would tend to lean more towards the 14 since, correct me if I'm wrong, these shoes are usually a bit tighter than normal sneakers? I'm having trouble finding them in that size at a reasonable price (less than $70 or so). Any suggestions of places to look besides nashbar and performance bikes?

The help is much appreciated! Thanks again!
I wear a Euro size 47 (i.e. 12.5 in US) and had a heck of a time finding a wide shoe. I scored some Northwave Raptors on a clearance sale for $80. The tread isn't too bad and I can walk around without too much trouble. If you need a wider shoe, I'd suggest the Northwave brand.
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Old 03-28-10, 11:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jyossarian View Post
SPD pedals have a tension screw that control how tight or loose they hold the cleat. It also makes it harder or easier to unclip, both accidentally and on purpose. To unclip, you twist out to the side. To unclip accidentally, just let the cleats wear down and they'll start to unclip when you don't mean to.
My SPD cleats have about 5000 miles of pedaling on them and still aren't releasing accidentally. They've also spent quite a bit of time walking and hiking. In any event, cleats are a consumable; they will have to be replaced at some point no matter which pedal system you choose...

Quote:
Crank Bros. use a spring so when you pull up, they actually hold tighter to the cleat, but if you twist out, they let go easily.
The reason I started using SPD pedals is because I found that it was too difficult to get the Crank Brothers pedals to release. They've got lots of float, which some people enjoy, but the 15- or 20-degree release angle means that you have to twist your heel a lot to get the pedals to release. Not a problem on my road bike, but I found myself falling over more than I liked when riding technical terrain off-road. SPDs, which have adjustable release tension and require much less heel twist to release, were just the ticket...

Adjustable release tension, less heel twist to release, and the availability of the SH-56 multi-release cleat make Shimano SPD pedals perfect for a clipless newbie!
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Old 03-28-10, 12:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by tardman91 View Post
Thanks guys. I found the Shimano M520 Pedals for $41 shipped on Amazon. I think I will go with those, since they were one of the pedals I was eyeing. Anybody know of a place to find them cheaper?
If you're willing to cruise eBay or watch for sales, you should be able to score M520s for $30-35. Jenson USA sells them for $38.99. Wait for one of their frequent 10-20% off sales and you can save a few bucks. I paid $34 for the last pair I bought.
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