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  1. #1
    Yen
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    Clipless: SPDs vs. Frogs

    I'm looking to go clipless in a few months after I have more miles on the Roubaix. I've been lurking on forums to see what's recommended for newbies.

    Several women highly praised -- almost unanimously -- Frogs when asked about an easy clip-in/out pedal.

    I mentioned that at the LBS, and almost in unison the guys (including the owner) chorused "No, no no... Shimanos!", saying THEY are easy to clip-in/out. In fact, the day we were there, another guy was in with his Roubaix and I overheard him firmly say no to clipless. An hour later, a pair of Shimano clipless pedals was on his bike. He expressed his surprise at how easy they were to learn on the trainer in the store, and he was sold. This shop can order anything the customer wants, they could order Frogs for me if I want them - so I don't think they're just looking out for their profit margin.

    Can anyone explain to me why each group might feel so strongly about their favorite? I asked at the shop and they just said the Shimanos clip out easier. In my mind, the strong opinions of each group is worth considering in making my purchase.

    I'm wondering if anyone here has any input to share that would guide me in my search.

    BTW, if it makes a difference my shoes are Shimano Taho (MTB) which take any SPD or similar pedal.

    Jen
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    I got lucky & the friends of my buddies gave us each a used pair. They said it is easier to learn on a used pair because they aren't as tight as new. He has the M/B type shoes but I have the road bike shoes & we both like the ones we have.

    I don't know what the frogs are & I didn't know much about the clipless pedals when I got mine (Looks) but it only took 5 minutes to figure them out, then I went out on a road that isn't very busy & just clipped in rode a few feet & unclipped, and then repeated for about 15 minutes & I haven't had any trouble.

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    It depends on how much float you like. I use SPD's on my MTB. Due to the limited float, it took a couple of tries to get the cleat adjustment right for me. Something with my right leg alignment doesn't seem to be quite square. After I got it right they're fine, easy to get in and out of. I don't think I'd feel too good having a bunch of float on the MTB. On my roadbike I have Bebop pedals. http://bebop.com Bebops are similar to Speedplay's in that they have a lot of float. I love that on the roadbike and my knees love them.

  4. #4
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Since you didn't ask, I the Crank Bros. pedals for ease of exit. Eggbeater, Smarty, Candy, Acid, whatever.

    One reason different people really like different pedals is that they all work pretty well.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    My smart and beautiful wife and I both use SPDs. I was especially careful to make sure her pedals were adjusted for minimum friction and her cleats installed correctly. She learned quickly and enjoys riding with them.

    A friend loves her Frogs. She recently had a hard time finding new shoes appropriate for them, or, perhaps, resigning herself to the need for sole surgery. If you want to try Frogs, you might see how easily the cleats fit on your shoes. You might also seek out another shop more familiar with them than the one for which they are a special order item.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Can anyone explain to me why each group might feel so strongly about their favorite? I asked at the shop and they just said the Shimanos clip out easier. In my mind, the strong opinions of each group is worth considering in making my purchase.
    Hey, there's folks who hold strongly opposing opinions regarding chocolate or vanilla too.

  7. #7
    Yen
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    Thanks everyone. I guess I have some work to do.

    I understand that everyone has their opinion. Mainly, I'm wondering why someone (like the guys at the LBS) would oppose the Frogs, rather than just recommend the Shimanos as one option. i.e. is there something about the Frogs to consider and avoid.
    Specialized Roubaix Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    is there something about the Frogs to consider and avoid.
    SPD's are quieter. The frogs have a tendency to emit a "ribbit"-"ribbit" sound, especially when riding in swampy areas.

    But seriously, Blues Dawg hit the nail on the head when he said they all work well.

    I use SPD's now on my go fast bikes and like 'em just fine. I'm not a racer. If I was a racer, perhaps a pedal with a larger pedal/shoe interface would be in order.

  9. #9
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Racing has nothing, zero, zip to do with the advantages of a road type pedal for road riding. Nothing.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  10. #10
    Senior Member buddyp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Thanks everyone. I guess I have some work to do.

    I understand that everyone has their opinion. Mainly, I'm wondering why someone (like the guys at the LBS) would oppose the Frogs, rather than just recommend the Shimanos as one option. i.e. is there something about the Frogs to consider and avoid.
    Often when the guys at a bike shop push one item over another its because their margin is higher on that item

    -- ex bike shop guy

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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Racing has nothing, zero, zip to do with the advantages of a road type pedal for road riding. Nothing.
    I've never done any road racing, so I can only go by what racers tell me.

  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Louis View Post
    I've never done any road racing, so I can only go by what racers tell me.
    Neither have I. That is why I said that. I have no doubt that the advantages of road pedals are important in racing, but my point is that you don't have to race or ride very fast to benefit from the differences.

    Choose whatever type of pedal you like, but not racing is not a reason. I would think that a sizable majority of people who use road pedals do not race. Increased comfort on long rides is my main reason.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Spokes man's Avatar
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    At the recommendation of my LBS, I went with Frogs. I'd used old-style toe clips for years and wanted an easy transition to a clipless pedal, but I wanted a shoe I could walk in. I've been using them for a couple of months now and I've had absolutely no issues, including no falls (knock on wood.) The Frogs were easy to set up and easy to learn, just step and go. Easy unclip, and lots of float, meaning your foot can rotate 10 degrees or so and doesn't feel like it's locked to the pedal. I find that easy on my knees.

    The only downside I can suggest about Frogs is their price. At $105 per set, you can probably find less-pricey pedals that may serve you just as well.
    2008 Specialized Roubaix Elite Compact
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  14. #14
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    I went with the x series. The specs are better for road riding, the frogs are for mtn biking. Night and day difference from the spd's. One locks in your knees and your motion, the other feels natural and you don't notice the knee strain.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    Choose whatever type of pedal you like, but not racing is not a reason. I would think that a sizable majority of people who use road pedals do not race. Increased comfort on long rides is my main reason.
    Couple'a hours on the bike and I'm ready to get off for a bit. I'm a non-repentant restaurant-to-restaurant rider. I use SPD's on all of my bikes because it makes walking easier. The huge majority of the folks that I ride with do too.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    Thanks everyone. I guess I have some work to do.

    I understand that everyone has their opinion. Mainly, I'm wondering why someone (like the guys at the LBS) would oppose the Frogs, rather than just recommend the Shimanos as one option. i.e. is there something about the Frogs to consider and avoid.
    My personal story may or may not be relevant.

    I have funny feet. If I stand normally my toes point outward about 45 degrees on both sides. I seriously wear down the outside edges of the heels on my shoes. I nearly gave up on clipless pedals. I'd clip in fine and I could clip out OK in the parking lot but, toward the end of a ride I'd have progressively more serious problems unclipping. It was too scary for day-to-day use. In desperation I tried the combination of SPD pedals and the silver multi-release cleat. AHHH - so that's what everybody is raveing about! I assume that I angle my foot and bind up the release mechanism as I tire.

    I'll confess to never having tried Frogs, Look style pedals, or SPD-R's. It took me so long to find a combination that works that I'm afraid to spend the money to try something different. Also, the SPD system matches my restaurant-to-restaurant riding style.

  17. #17
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    Since your question was; why did the LBS push one over the other I would have to say it is like someone else suggested that they might make a little more on one brand then the other even though they can buy both.

    I know when I was in electrical wholesale we could get any brand but some gave us a better deal, others were harder to do returns if you had to, & some took longer to get so maybe this is the same reason.

    It could also be they prefer one brand & think everyone should like that brand as well.
    2007 Specialized Roubaix

  18. #18
    Gilpin County Wheelman SKYLAB's Avatar
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    Speedplay

    I'm a commited FROGS user. Speedplay makes the lightest pedals on the market and the float ensures I will not have knee problems; unlike the shooting pains I got from a slightly maladjusted pair of SPDs. With speedplay you just put them on the bike and go.
    I'll be putting ZEROs on my new road bike next month.
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

  19. #19
    Pat
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    I have used both SPD and LOOK systems. The LOOK is a road system. It has a larger platform so it has a bit of an advantage for road situations. Of course, walking in LOOK cleats is not that great or even that good. SPD has a smaller platform, performs more reliably when filthy (the cleats still unclick easily) and it is easier to walk in. I tend to use LOOKs for most of my riding so maybe I don't even follow my own advice but then again when I ride on the road, I don't get off the bike much. So the LOOK disadvantages do not come into play.

  20. #20
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    I have the Shimano SPD pedals on my R500T but I grew up with traditional pedals and toe clips. I like the SPD just fine so far. I thought about finding a set of old school pedals and toe clips but my LBS let me try the SPD and I think I'll stick with them. I have never tried a Frog pedal thoough.

    Bill

  21. #21
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    Couple'a hours on the bike and I'm ready to get off for a bit. I'm a non-repentant restaurant-to-restaurant rider. I use SPD's on all of my bikes because it makes walking easier. The huge majority of the folks that I ride with do too.
    "What most people do" is an even weaker argument than "I never race".

    For the type of riding you described, with a significant amount of walking around involved, I also use MTB type pedals, in my case Crank Bros. Smarty, or I sometimes go with platform pedals with or without toe clips. Two of my three road bikes are set up this way. But the road bike I ride the vast majority of my miles on has Look pedals.

    Sorry about the thread hijack, Yen. I realize you are only looking at different types of MTB style pedals because of the shoes you have. But the day may come when you want a pedal system to maximize your performance and comfort on long road rides with less consideration for walking around. That is when I let the pedal dictate the choice of shoe, not the other way.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    "What most people do" is an even weaker argument than "I never race".
    That's not an argument, it's a completely objective observation.

    I'm thinking you might be hanging out in the Road Bike Board too much. Those folks need to see observations like mine because some of them think they need permission to put mountain bike pedals on a road bike.

  23. #23
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The only time I have spent on the road forum this year was a few recent discussions of the Tour de Georgia.

    Did you see the smiley? Did you even read the rest of my post? I'm not trying to argue at all. I completely agree with your choice of MTB pedals for the kind of riding you described. I said that I do the same thing sometimes.

    I am only trying to provide a counterpoint to what I see as a prevalent opinion on this forum that road pedals are only for racers and serious go-fast riders and the accompanying idea that even short walks at rest stops and convenience stores are too difficult and treacherous in shoes with road cleats. It simply ain't so. There's no need to scare people away from what can be a good choice for many situations.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The only time I have spent on the road forum this year was a few recent discussions of the Tour de Georgia.

    Did you see the smiley? Did you even read the rest of my post? I'm not trying to argue at all. I completely agree with your choice of MTB pedals for the kind of riding you described. I said that I do the same thing sometimes.

    I am only trying to provide a counterpoint to what I see as a prevalent opinion on this forum that road pedals are only for racers and serious go-fast riders and the accompanying idea that even short walks at rest stops and convenience stores are too difficult and treacherous in shoes with road cleats. It simply ain't so. There's no need to scare people away from what can be a good choice for many situations.
    OOPS! This is beginning to sound like a Road Bike thread and I think that I'm at fault. Sorry.

  25. #25
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
    OOPS! This is beginning to sound like a Road Bike thread and I think that I'm at fault. Sorry.
    Go to your room.
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