I'm about to get a moderately priced mountain bike for general paved trail/street riding while I lose weight and was wondering what folks' preference is for a clipless pedal and shoe system for this kind of riding. I'm used to road cleats and Looks, so I'm not afraid to be attached to the bike, but I also don't want to slip/slide/hobble around on foot when I get off the bike like I do with those. Not being real familiar with MTB equipment, I don't know where to turn, though I know the platform pedals that come on the bike won't cut it.
SPD pedals are the common entry-level MTB pedal. They're not bad, but can be a bit frustrating to get in and out of at times (particularly out!). I had more than a few occasions that I thought I wasn't going to be able to get a foot out before stopping...
Crank Brothers Egg Beaters (or Candy Cs), or Time ATAC Aliums are other options. Both have a much nicer mechanism than the SPDs.
I use SPD on a Pearl Izumi MTB shoe http://www.performancebike.com/shop/...tegory_ID=2120 thats fairly comfortable to walk in . . . the cleat is recessed so most of the awkwardness in walking comes from the relatively stiff shoe sole. You'll hear the occassional clicking sound from the cleat depending on the walking surface but overall I think it's a very workable package. I haven't used any other cleat/pedal/shoe combos so can't comment on that.
Are either of those compatible with SPD-style shoes, or are there other shoes I should be looking at as well?
Egg Beaters and ATACs both use a 2-bolt cleat, which works with SPD compatible shoes.
My vote would be for Egg Beaters. They're incredibly easy to engage and disengage, which is a godsend when riding in situtations where you need to clip out frequently (traffic, intersections, people & dogs on trails etc).