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  1. #1
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Clipless: MTB vs Road

    I'm going to be getting clipless pedals with the new bike, but I am having trouble figuring out which would be best to go with. I've never ridden clipless before, nor have I used clips, cleats, or toe straps. Simply flat cage pedals with athletic shoes.


    My LBS sells Shimano pedals, so in the interest of being able to try-before-I-buy, and receiving future support, I will more than likely be going with the Shimano SPD system. The LBS showed me several different styles of pedals, and it mostly seemed to come down to two types:

    MTB and Road, specifically, this style:



    vs this style:




    They said that the 540 style pedals are easier to clip into because they're double-sided, and allow you to use recessed-cleat shoes, which makes it easier to walk around in. Not that I plan on doing a ton of walking, but on longer rides I do have to stop into convenient stores to rehydrate, and the occasional charity ride will have parties afterwards where you'll have to do some walking, and I'd really like to not have to pack an extra pair of shoes in my trunk bag.

    On the other hand, I like distance riding, and they said that the 105-style pedals have a much larger contact area and will likely be more comfortable on longer rides.

    So... I don't know. Any suggestions?

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    I'm going to be getting clipless pedals with the new bike, but I am having trouble figuring out which would be best to go with. I've never ridden clipless before, nor have I used clips, cleats, or toe straps. Simply flat cage pedals with athletic shoes.


    My LBS sells Shimano pedals, so in the interest of being able to try-before-I-buy, and receiving future support, I will more than likely be going with the Shimano SPD system. The LBS showed me several different styles of pedals, and it mostly seemed to come down to two types:

    MTB and Road, specifically, this style:


    vs this style:


    They said that the 540 style pedals are easier to clip into because they're double-sided, and allow you to use recessed-cleat shoes, which makes it easier to walk around in. Not that I plan on doing a ton of walking, but on longer rides I do have to stop into convenient stores to rehydrate, and the occasional charity ride will have parties afterwards where you'll have to do some walking, and I'd really like to not have to pack an extra pair of shoes in my trunk bag.

    On the other hand, I like distance riding, and they said that the 105-style pedals have a much larger contact area and will likely be more comfortable on longer rides.

    So... I don't know. Any suggestions?
    I haven't ridden on road clipless for about 15 years. I don't miss it. Personally, I can't see any reason to ride the road pedals.

    I've got mountain bike shoes that are as stiff as any road shoe but I can still walk in them, so power transfer isn't any less. And a stiff shoe will help increase the comfort factor on a small cleat.
    Stuart Black
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  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    I use double sided mtb pedals and shoes. I have no comfort issues on centuries.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CJ C's Avatar
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    I use crank bros mallets with MTB shoes and cant be happier. I ride to work in "dress" shoes and on the weekend use the mtb shoes.

    i once did a 35 miler with my running shoes and was totaly fine with them. (my son decided he wanted to use my left mtb shoe to store his thomas the train on his bookshelf. i couldnt find it for 3 days)

    41hb6oxTCTL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

  5. #5
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    They said that the (A) 540 style pedals are easier to clip into because they're double-sided, and (B) allow you to use recessed-cleat shoes, which makes it easier to walk around in. [Plus]
    On the other hand, I like distance riding, and they said that (C) the 105-style pedals have a much larger contact area and will likely be more comfortable on longer rides.
    A - That hasn't been my experience, but most people would agree. The pedals are weighted so that the side you need to clip into winds up being where you need it to be 90 % of the time.

    B - Shoes without recessed cleats aren't impossible to walk in, just awkward and uncomfortable. You can get cleat covers, but it's kind of a hassle to carry them around, then stop and put them on, before you go get a drink of water. I saw a guy slip and fall walking in a restaurant once, because his shoes had no traction whatsoever, and the floor was smooth tile. I like SPD pedals, and shoes with recessed cleats.

    C - This really doesn't matter, if you have stiff shoes. I've done plenty of long rides in SPD pedals (A-520) and carbon soled shoes. It's great!
    Last edited by Seattle Forrest; 11-03-11 at 04:47 PM. Reason: oops ... forgot to type recessed, and you're not psychic
    Don't believe everything you think.

  6. #6
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    B - Shoes without cleats aren't impossible to walk in,
    I hope not or I may never walk again.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    I hope not or I may never walk again.
    Good catch. Unless California is still warm enough to go barefoot?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  8. #8
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    It is!

  9. #9
    Senior Member kevrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I haven't ridden on road clipless for about 15 years. I don't miss it. Personally, I can't see any reason to ride the road pedals....
    ... except road racing. agreed, unless you're gonna race, roadie shoes make no sense.
    In a world full of people, only some want to ride. Isn't that crazy?
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    These are the pedals I use. They're SPD, which means recessed cleats, although you can only get into one side of them, much like road pedals.



    The area where your shoe meets the pedal is larger than on a lot of SPD pedals, and that might help with comfort. On the other hand, a year or more ago, I got a set of carbon fiber soled mountain shoes on Craigslist for $40, and I find the combination to be extremely comfortable. I don't think contact area matters much if your shoes are stiff enough, but if the bottoms flex too much, you might get sore points in specific places around the edge of the contact area after long, intense rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by kevrider View Post
    ... except road racing. agreed, unless you're gonna race, roadie shoes make no sense.
    Or if you want to use a pedal-based power meter.

    For the most part, mountain shoes have two holes, and road shoes have three holes. What that means is that if I wanted to change from SPD to Garmin/Look for power, I wouldn't just be out the pedals and cleats I've already got, but shoes, too. If this is the kind of thing that would bother you, there are a few shoes with both hole patterns, although as far as I know, they don't make these with recessed cleats, because the road hole pattern more or less blocks where the "walls" on the bottom of the shoe would go.



    Looks like they could pull it off, though. Notice how much tread the dedicated mountain shoes have:



    Now with cleat:

    [img]http://****************/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/vans-warner-spd-shoes-4.jpg[/img]

    One final note ... if you ever find yourself riding your bike to the beach for a swim, in a place where there are lots of rocks or pebbles under the water, they make SPD sandals:



    I hope the multitudes of pictures wind up being helpful and not obnoxious.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Excellent. MTB shoes it is then! Personally... I was kind of dreading road shoes because they all look so... uhm. Gay. There I said it.


    Now, is there a big difference between the 520's and the 540's?

  12. #12
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Awesome. This is exactly what I was looking for, style-wise.

  13. #13
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    M520 & M540 are pretty much identical except for price. I personally like road shoes as my feet get really hot and road shoes typically have better ventilation then MTB.

  14. #14
    [IMG]http://i4.photobucke jeepseahawk's Avatar
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    I went with mtn clipless so I can use on both road and mtn bikes. It would be awkward to use the road pedals on a mountain bike. I bought two sets of pedals and one pair of shoes for the mtn and the road bike; saves me money on shoes and I am a cheap bastard.

  15. #15
    Senior Member DOOM_NX's Avatar
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    I ended up with Look Keo2 Max road pedals and Specialized Comp '10 road shoes with fiberglass-carbon fiber sole. I am very pleased with the combination, but then, I use them only for training, not for commuting. If I had a commuter I'd go with hybrid pedals and shoes with recessed cleats.
    DOOM_NX

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    The area where your shoe meets the pedal is larger than on a lot of SPD pedals, and that might help with comfort.
    Shimano has recently released "trail" or "all mountain" versions of their popular SPD pedals, which have a larger surface area. Here's a picture of the PD-M530, which is the trail version of the M520:



    Probably not necessary if you buy a decent shoe, but it might be a good alternative for some.

  17. #17
    gbg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    On the other hand, I like distance riding, and they said that the 105-style pedals have a much larger contact area and will likely be more comfortable on longer rides.

    So... I don't know. Any suggestions?


    I've had 105 and Ultegra road pedals, and all types of Shimano MTB clipless 520,s XT, XTR even some wellgo's.
    I find the MTB's are way easier to clip into. It is partly due to the fact that MTB's are what I mostly ride, and I am used
    to the engagement point. The road pedals are further forward because the way you have to engage the front of
    the cleat, and I always have to be careful until I get the feel of the engagement point back.
    Even if you don't expect to do much walking "if you have to like a break down" road shoes are almost
    impossible to walk any distance in, and if you do the cleats wil be toast.
    As far as a bigger contact area, if you get carbon soled shoes it is pretty much a mute point. You won't
    feel the pedal through the shoe, and proper fitting ones are are very comfortable on long distances.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Mithrandir's Avatar
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    Ok... so I've been looking online for shoes... this is not encouraging. I didn't think I had big feet for someone my size, in fact I've never had to go to a big and tall for shoes. But perhaps my feet are bigger than the average European's? I wear a size 13 US, and there doesn't seem to be much in my size out there. Best I can figure is that's about 48-49 European. I bought ski boots last year that only came in Euro sizes and the 48's were too small, so I went with 49's.

    Anyone know of any good brands that carry 49's in something brownish like those Shimano MT42's above?

  19. #19
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    If you're ever planning on doing a triathlon, it's much easier to jog in the transition area in mountain shoes.
    Only mad dogs, Englishmen, and triathletes go out in the mid day sun.

  20. #20
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Ok... so I've been looking online for shoes... this is not encouraging. I didn't think I had big feet for someone my size, in fact I've never had to go to a big and tall for shoes. But perhaps my feet are bigger than the average European's? I wear a size 13 US, and there doesn't seem to be much in my size out there. Best I can figure is that's about 48-49 European. I bought ski boots last year that only came in Euro sizes and the 48's were too small, so I went with 49's.

    Anyone know of any good brands that carry 49's in something brownish like those Shimano MT42's above?
    http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...7_10000_202526
    Pearl Izumi, gray not brown

    Off brand, but size 13 brown: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Catalog...7c&categoryId=

    I know someone that has these sandals in a pretty big size, Nashbar has them up to 47/48: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...2_169948_-1___

    He really, really likes them.

  21. #21
    mgb
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    I have those Pearl iZumi's in size 49. I wear a 13 in street shoes and 14 in running shoes and 49 seems like a good fit. Not completely dopey looking either.

  22. #22
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Off brand, but size 13 brown:
    Mavic an off brand ?....

  23. #23
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Beanz View Post
    Mavic an off brand ?....

    Oops! A conclusion I should not have drawn.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Seve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mithrandir View Post
    Ok... so I've been looking online for shoes... this is not encouraging. I didn't think I had big feet for someone my size, in fact I've never had to go to a big and tall for shoes. But perhaps my feet are bigger than the average European's? I wear a size 13 US, and there doesn't seem to be much in my size out there. Best I can figure is that's about 48-49 European. I bought ski boots last year that only came in Euro sizes and the 48's were too small, so I went with 49's.

    Anyone know of any good brands that carry 49's in something brownish like those Shimano MT42's above?
    Keen also have a few models to choose from.
    http://www.keenfootwear.com/us/en/wall/shoes/men/pedal

  25. #25
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    I use road pedals on both my road bikes and SPD style pedals on my mountain bike.

    Love the road (105 and Ultegra) pedals hate the SPD pedals.

    Road pedals MUCH easier to use.

    That said most of my riding is on the road bike so....

    Whatever you use most often will become your favourite

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