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Old 08-10-05, 12:17 AM   #1
backinthesaddle
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still another pedal question

(just joined this forum, this is my first posting)

I just started riding again after 15-20 yrs off. Bought a new bike about a month ago and have been riding building up my strength. Really enjoying myself! I've been using old rat-trap pedals with clips and straps, with running shoes.

Back in the old days I wore leather bike shoes with fixed cleats. Later on, maybe 25 yrs ago, I had some knee problems. I bought some Puma bike shoes which had a round plastic cleat held on by one screw. By keeping that screw somewhat loose, I think I approximated what people now are calling float. Good on my knees, but always seemed like there was some pedaling inefficiency.

So now I'm ready for modern shoes and clipless pedals. The shoes I picked were Vittoria Unlimited, because they're incredibly comfortable as well as very stiff.

The pedals I'm looking at are Looks and Speedplay.

The Looks have the benefit of simplicity. But as far as I can tell there is less float and the float has some sort of spring resistance.

The Speedplays are attractive because of my history of knee problems, and because the round fit of the cleat reminds me of my old Pumas. But some of the postings I've read are stressing that they're delicate, high maintenance, and prone to hot spots. Between different models, I've been inclined toward the Zeroes because of the adjustability. But I've been concerned because it sounds like they might be harder than the X's to clip out of at a stop light.

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-10-05, 05:39 AM   #2
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I can't help you with Speedplays although a number of my fellow cyclists use them. I've been using Looks for 4 years and have had no knee problems associated with Looks. There is sufficient float to provide plenty of movement and eliminate any twisting issues on the knee.

I like the simplicity and cost of Looks. I opted for the carbon pedal to eliminate "squeeking" from the cleat/shoe/pedal and it works terrifically. No noise, big platform, no hot spotting and simple to get in and out of. My pair of pedals also has an adjustment for tension for getting in and out of the pedal plus an adjustment for moving the pedal further away from the crank. The only downside to mine might be the weight. I have not checked but I'd guess speedplays are lighter than the looks by several grams. I'll probably buy a similar model of Looks if and when these need replacement because I've had good luck with them and it's what I've been accustomed to using.

By the way, I've had some knee pains but they've been due to either my seat being too low or too far forward.

Pedals are one of those personal choices--many models out there to choose from. Good luck with your purchasing decision!!
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Old 08-10-05, 08:35 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum!
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Old 08-10-05, 09:21 AM   #4
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I've only used SPD's, so I can't comment, but there are a lot of dedicated followers of all different pedal/cleat combos. On the face of it, the Speedplays have the float factor going for them, but are smaller platform - however many people maintain that size is a red herring for them relative to hotspots.

As far as I know, they all have tension adjustments that can change the clip-ability factor.

It's a good question -- although I'm content with my pedals, I'd like to try some others just to see what they're like...
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Old 08-10-05, 11:47 AM   #5
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I switched from the Look system to the Speedplay Zero Ti about 2 years ago. I find it much easier to clip in and out with the Speedplays and have no problem with hot spots. As far as maintenance, I clean and lube the contact area on a regular basis (takes 5 minutes) and every 2,000 miles or so they need a major re-lube (took mine to the LBS).

It took one or two rides to get used to the increased float on the Speedplays. I got the sensation that my feet were on ice at first, especially when standing. But that didn't last long.

Love mine and wouldn't even consider switching to another pedal system now.
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Old 08-10-05, 12:45 PM   #6
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thanks! glad to be here. I've been lurking for the past 6 weeks while I was shopping/tweaking my new bike, now I'm riding and glad to meet everyone!
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Old 08-10-05, 12:46 PM   #7
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that's real helpful, thanks

just curious, how often is "on a regular basis" for maintenance. what happens if you miss?
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Old 08-10-05, 01:00 PM   #8
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I don't have a set schedule for cleaning, just when it looks like they are getting dirty. I let it go too long once and started getting a creaking noise in one pedal. Wiped off the dirt, relubed and I was good to go.
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Old 08-10-05, 02:53 PM   #9
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I use spd's but previous to my shimano ones, I used Onza's which had a lot of float in them. I used them for 8 years and it was only when I changed to the less float Shimano's that I found out how critical the Foot position is, in relation to the pedal. You can set the cleats up so that the foot will have a different angle on the pedal. It took a lot of adjustment to get this right, but when I had it right, My pedalling improved. The "Extra float on the onzas was masking the correct position that the Shimano's gave me (after a lot of settin Up)
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Old 08-10-05, 04:33 PM   #10
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I realize this wasn't your point, but your comment makes me lean to the Speedplay Zeroes, as they have an adjustable float. As I redevelop my riding skills and see how my knees feel, I imagine I can limit the float more and more. With the flexiblity to back off if I start experiencing problems.

I think you were talking about correct positioning of the cleat on the shoe, which reminds me of my old fixed cleat days, when the cobbler would nail the cleats into the soles and you had to get them just right before he did.
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Old 08-10-05, 09:54 PM   #11
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I'd like to chime in as well.

For the 1st 1000 miles (after laying off cycling for about 25 years) I used my old Avocet shoes designed for toe-clips (or cages). I promised myself, if I'd stick to riding and ride 1000 miles I'd treat myself to new pedals and shoes that are up to date. I settled on Speedplay x/1 ti pedals and SIDI shoes.

I've only put about 260 miles on the new pedals and shoes and love 'em! Yes there is float. Like someone said, it almost feels like your standing on ice; very comfortable really.

Hot spots w/Speedplays? Personally I think its all in the mind. If you look at how the Speedplay's actually attach to the cleat its OBVIOUS the pressure is distributed over the entire cleat + with the super hard plastic or carbon sole of the SIDI its distributed even further. Like I say, I think people look at the pedal and imagine it'll create a hot spot but from a mechanical engineering perspective it really doesn't.

The float is nice but in watching the Tour De France this year I often focused in on the rider's form, specifically where they keep their knees when pumping hard. Everytime I watched it looked like they were pumping as straight up and down as possible. With that in mind I now try to concentrate on keeping my knees going up and down rather than splayed out. Its not easy to always remember and do because the Speedlay has a good deal of float but I figure in time it'll become a good habit.

Guess what I'm trying to say is, if you are concerned about your knees and need float then Speedplay would likely be a good choice. I'm sure there are others as well, I just don't have experience with them.

Welcome to the Alumni Cyclist Club! Enjoy your rides!

..rickko..
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Old 08-10-05, 11:03 PM   #12
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well it's good to hear that someone has laid off from cycling for even longer than me, and has come back strong, that's an encouragement.

Speedplay sounds like it. I still want to go with the Zeroes for the adjustable float.

Any other thoughts from the Look users?
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Old 08-11-05, 05:55 PM   #13
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I use Speedplay X3 pedals. Free float, easy clipping, and no hot spots. The X3 are the lower end X series pedals (now, maybe, the X5?).
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