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  1. #1
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    help with pedal selection for training, long distance and light touring

    Hi,

    I need some pedal advice from long distance riders. I have a Specialized Roubaix Expert. I enjoy taking longer rides on my bike. I want to start more serious training next spring. I don't plan on racing but I can see myself maybe trying some endurance rides, and I definitely was to do some 2 to 3 day credit card touring next year (I did a two day trip in Seoul last fall and had a blast).

    Love my new bike but really want to go clipless. I am drawn to SPD pedals for a number of reasons. However, my LBS owner said he finds them uncomfortable on long rides. I'm trying to get this right on one purchase because if I buy the wrong setup and say I need another my wife will probably shoot me.

    So far I haven't been able to find a bike shop that has my shoe size in stock for testing but even if I do it could be hard to know if they will be comfortable after 100km or 200km so I thought I'd ask you guys if any of you use SPD and like them or have had problems with them? And what shoe would you suggest looking for? I would like to keep the whole thing under 250$ The lbs has some Shimano m520 for like 50$ So that leaves 200$ for shoes. I'm also interested in just what type of pedals you long distance guys are using and why.

    It's worth mentioning that I have flat feet. b/c of this I have to wear really flat and slightly wide shoes but the upside to being flatfooted is the balls of my feet are very tough; this tends to make me think I have less of a chance of having problems with hotspots but I may be wrong.

    thanks,
    Gareth
    Last edited by garethzbarker; 12-24-09 at 10:36 AM. Reason: me spell bad

  2. #2
    Spin Meister icyclist's Avatar
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    "However, my LBS owner said he finds them uncomfortable on long rides"

    Does this having any bearing on your questions?

    What pedals you purchase won't matter, Gareth - they all work. What will matter is how much you can afford to spend - the more you spend, the lighter the pedals. We're talking about ounces here, though.

    I've had a variety of pedals over the years, and have settled on Eggbeater SL pedals for my Roubaix Expert. They have their own cleats, though, that won't fit other SPD-style pedals.

    Same for shoes - spend more, the shoes will be lighter (and probably somewhat more stiff). However, it's not as if heavier shoes will be like boat anchors. I've got an expensive pair of shoes and an inexpensive pair of shoes (the latter from Shimano) and they both work well (the expensive pair, though, gave me a wider shoe).

    Good luck, and I predict whatever you purchase will serve you well and allow you to have a lot of fun on your bike.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    The only reason I really ask is because of possible pain on long rides. I've personally never felt pain in my foot from any distance ride on a normal pedal thought. I was looking at some eggbeaters in the shop today actually, they looked like they would be easy to clean if they got dirty. The entry level pedals weren't a lot more than the m520 if i remember correctly.

  4. #4
    Senior Member kk4df's Avatar
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    I wear SPD pedals on my long distance rides, same for my commuter and mtn bike. I started with SPDs, and have not experienced any need to change (yet). Some say that a larger pedal platform helps prevent hot spots on your feet that occur for some riders on longer rides. But most agree that a stiff sole is probably more preventative of hot spots than your pedal choice. I have Sidi Dragon MTB shoes and Keen sandals, both of which have fairly stiff soles. I've used both on long distance rides. I seem to always use the sandals for commuting.

    I like the SPDs because I can walk in them without scuffing up the floors and they're not funky to walk in.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Some people have problems with the smaller platform pedals, like SPD's. They can cause hot spots. I've tried them and can't use them. You may or may not have an issue.
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

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    SPD will work fine. Just make sure to get the stiffest shoes you can find. While I don't agree that carbon is best for everything, it works well for shoes as they are usually extremely stiff. As long as you aren't planning on hiking while in the shoes, they work great. No hot spots.
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  7. #7
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    My observation is that the stronger you are, the more you need a big pedal platform. I get by just fine with SPD's, (18 hr. 400k) though the soles of my 8 y.o. Sidi Dominators seem to be softening a little. Those new Sidi carbon soles should be great, if you can afford them.

  8. #8
    4130 on 28's at 15 greaterbrown's Avatar
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    I ride Shimano A520's with inexpensive Shimano shoes. the shoes, like icyclist stated, are not worse, only a few ounces heavier.
    I like the A520 pedal because they have a larger platform than other spd's

    No foot issues whatsoever after many 200k+ rides
    Good luck.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greaterbrown View Post
    I ride Shimano A520's with inexpensive Shimano shoes. the shoes, like icyclist stated, are not worse, only a few ounces heavier.
    I like the A520 pedal because they have a larger platform than other spd's

    No foot issues whatsoever after many 200k+ rides
    Good luck.
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  10. #10
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    Another alternative to SPD is Five Ten shoes with some BMX platform pedals. Not the lightest setup in the world, but the Five Ten shoes are really comfortable and you can wear them off the bike (I wear mine all the time). I find that once my foot gets planted on the pedal, there's as much grip there as if I was using SPD.

  11. #11
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    yeah if for some reason I just don't like clipless I'll probably use BMX platforms, they come in some pretty spunky designs.

  12. #12
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    Some people have problems with the smaller platform pedals, like SPD's. They can cause hot spots. I've tried them and can't use them. You may or may not have an issue.
    Ditto: I started to develop pain from a hot spot right above the cleat of my spd shoes. I switched to Look Keo Classic pedals and stiff road shoes and the pain went away.

    I recommend stiff shoes with spd-sl or Look cleats and matching pedals. Once the feet start to hurt, a rider will put all his weight on the saddle and then the parts of the body at the saddle will start to hurt and riding long distances becomes very painful.

    Michael

  13. #13
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    I've never had problems with my SPDs, up to 90 mile rides. I have fairly stiff soled mountain bike shoes.

    I bought some Shimano shoes on sale that were a half size too big. But that's worked out great, since I can put heavy socks on in the winter and they aren't compressed in a tight shoe.

    SPD advantages:

    The shoes are walkable. The SPD cleat does touch the ground, so it could scratch a floor.

    On group rides, while other riders are looking down to clip in, I just slam the clip on. When I occasionally miss the clip-in, I still get traction on the tread of the soles.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Has anyone tried the Joe Friel (well, maybe others, too) idea of moving the foot forward on teh pedal? Either by moving your cleat back on the shoe, or moving the toeclip forward on the pedal? For a conventional pedal it would certainly move the pressure ridges around.

    I've tried it on a 30 miler, which felt good. It was also a new bike build, so I can't really isolate anything to the pedal change. But no foot pain or other odd sensations.
    Last edited by Road Fan; 12-25-09 at 02:39 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Homeyba's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Has anyone tried the Joe Friel (well, maybe others, too) idea of moving the foot forward on teh pedal?....
    That is pretty much the first thing to do before you go out and spend money on new pedals and shoes. btw, I seriously doubt that it was Joe Friel's idea since ultra racers/riders have been doing that for many, many years...
    It doesn't get harder, you just go slower.

  16. #16
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    I've always used SPDs for all types of serious riding. A couple of years ago, I had the hot-spot sensation on the ball of my foot towards the end of a couple of long rides. Moving the cleat back by 5mm made this go away. A few months after that, I bought some carbon-soled shoes, and found the difference in stiffness to be very impressive compared to my previous low-priced models. I've now done a 300km ride, and multiple 200+km rides without having any foot problems.

    Therefore, I believe that sole stiffness and cleat placement are way more important than pedal design when it comes to relieving pressure points on the foot. I never want to wear shoes that I can't also walk in, so SPDs certainly seem to be the best option.

    I use the Shimano A520 pedals on my road bikes - they are quite a bit lighter than the M520s and when road riding you certainly don't need the convenience of the double-sided pedals, and the A520s also have the advantage of a few mm's more clearance so that you can pedal through more corners without striking a pedal. Shimano recently announced some "Ultegra-level" A600 pedals, which are a similar design to the A520 but are bit lighter (285g IIRC) and are supposed to have higher-level bearings. I've been keeping an eye on the online suppliers, but no-one has the A600s in stock yet.

    As for shoes, I've been using the SH-M225 shoes, and love them. They were the cheapest Shimano models with carbon soles when I bought them, but I think I recently saw a review of some Shimano shoes with a model number of around M150 that had carbon soles, so it looks like the feature is trickling down their product line, like everything else.

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    For long hauling, there is only one reasonable answer- Frogs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    On group rides, while other riders are looking down to clip in, I just slam the clip on. When I occasionally miss the clip-in, I still get traction on the tread of the soles.
    Anyone that has to look down to engage the pedals is either not used to the mechanism from lack of using them or they are simply inexperienced with clipless pedals.

  19. #19
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by varminter View Post
    For long hauling, there is only one reasonable answer- Frogs.
    I'm not puttin frogs on my Roubaix mang haha! I won't really be doing proper touring on this bike anyway, just long rides. But I also want to do some interval training. The traffic is nuts here so one of the reasons I want to go with one of the SPD clips is having to stop and start a lot in town.

    Think I'll go order some shoes tomorrow I talked to a bunch of riders this weekend and I keep hearing Shimano and Sidi for cheap beginner shoes so I'll probably go with one of them.

  20. #20
    sch
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    [QUOTE=garethzbarker;10189899]I'm not puttin frogs on my Roubaix mang haha!

    Frogs are a very nice long lasting pedal, and the cleats are fairly long lived as well. One thing
    not mentioned is that ATB type shoes are a whole lot more comfy to walk in than road shoes
    and much to be preferred from that point of view. A long ride means you will be spending
    a lot of time in the shoes with an hour or more of R&R while on the ride. If your shoe size is
    E/ EE or EEE then standard bike shoes will be a PITA> as they are at best a C-D width.
    SIDI Mega are wider, Shimanos seem to be a bit wider but not much and you can't count on this.
    Lake sells extra wide shoes as well for reasonable prices at their web site. Feet tend to swell
    after hours in the saddle and a size or two upgrade is a very good idea. Also allows for thicker
    cold weather socks. My nominal size is 43-44, but size 45-46 is a better fit- had to toss my
    first year road shimanos which were 43. Even the 45 roads are a bit snug these days, bought
    6-8 yrs ago. Road shoes in the $150+ range are like road jerseys and tights, very snug IME.
    ATB shoes seem to have a bit more width to them, at least the Shimanos I got in '00 and the
    Lake in '08 both seem to have maintained their fit in the 45-46 range where the roads have
    gotten tighter.

    As to eggbeaters, I found them uncomfortable even with the ATB good shoes and they were
    harder to clik in and out of than expected. The $40 level eggbeaters have lousy bearings and
    only last a few thousand miles. The French versions have much better bearings.
    Last edited by sch; 12-26-09 at 04:16 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member garethzbarker's Avatar
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    yeah i do worry about width. since i'm flat footed I need lots of width. my feet aren't really any wider than a normal person but all that arch area is on the ground, if you look at my footprint on the beach it looks huge haha.

    And yeah my feet do swell just a tad around the 2 hour mark. The shoes I wear now are some Nike running shoes that expand perfectly with my swell. I've worn the arch completely away, most comfortable shoes I've ever had. Some flatfooted people swear by more arch but I'm from the school that swears by less arch in a shoe. I've noticed that as I've lost weight though that my shoes all fit a little better. I guess it's something we don't think about much but fat people have fat feet. I can't imagine going a size up though. I already have to live with quite a bit of extra toe room in my shoes as my normal size IS a half size up due to lack of arch.

  22. #22
    Se๑or Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    I was having some hot-spot issues with SPDs, and tried moving the cleats all the way back (I consider this Machka's advice ). There's a little bit of pressure there still, but it's a big improvement. Might need to get larger shoes and put my custom inserts in this spring. (current shoes are too tight for this).

    Quote Originally Posted by Homeyba View Post
    That is pretty much the first thing to do before you go out and spend money on new pedals and shoes. btw, I seriously doubt that it was Joe Friel's idea since ultra racers/riders have been doing that for many, many years...
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  23. #23
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    I've got a wide forefoot and a narrow ankle, so finding the right shoes is a pain. I finally got a pair of Keen Springwaters and they are much more comfortable on my foot than some Sidi Giau Megas. I've been using Candy SLs and am currently considering switching over to SPDs, because I have a hard time clipping into the Candys.

  24. #24
    Gear Combo Guru Chris_W's Avatar
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    The Shimano MTB shoes that I bought, M225's came in a standard width and a wide width (which I think is labeled M225E). The wide version is perfect to fit my extra-wide toes and narrow heel.
    Last edited by Chris_W; 12-28-09 at 02:14 AM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by garethzbarker View Post
    I'm not puttin frogs on my Roubaix mang haha! I won't really be doing proper touring on this bike anyway, just long rides. But I also want to do some interval training. The traffic is nuts here so one of the reasons I want to go with one of the SPD clips is having to stop and start a lot in town.

    Think I'll go order some shoes tomorrow I talked to a bunch of riders this weekend and I keep hearing Shimano and Sidi for cheap beginner shoes so I'll probably go with one of them.
    Why "haha" ? Myself, I am not a "roadie" type person so I am not familiar with all of this brand/ type scoffing. I do ride a lot of on-road, though. I have about 14,000-15,000 on my latest Frogs with original cleats. Outside of nasty mud, not a single problem as of yet .
    As far as entrance and exit goes, nothing is easier than Frogs. Once adjusted right not a single accidental disengagement either.

    Imo,the only downside is the initial cost of system and cleat cost..

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