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  1. #1
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    Road Specific Pedal/Shoe System: Advisable For NYC Riding?

    Would a road specific pedal/shoe system work in NYC?

    I'm thinking very hard about going clipless. Currently I have a mid 80's touring bike (a gift, bike is in very nice shape yet functions as my NYC quasi-beater/all purpose bike) which serves my needs at present, but when funds allow I'll acquire a complementary performance oriented bike to do my shredding. I'm currently running the system that came with the bike: quill pedals/toe clips but without straps (straps were dry rottted and ripped within a week). I've been meaning to replace the leather straps to tide me over, but I've been thinking hard about just going clipless ASAP. My riding is in NYC currently and about 5 days a week: plenty of short 3-5 mile errands, majority of rides are 15-20 miles around town, I'm starting to hit up some 40+ mile rides, and hope to ride much longer distances and venture outside the city as well, working towards a century. As is, I try to avoid removing my feet from the clips as much as possible...at necessary NYC stops, I try to balance in place or ride in tight little circles and then resume the flow.

    I've been using my standard everyday Puma tennis shoes and the soles have been wearing down somewhat rapidly (compared with walking) with all the necessary stop-and-go in the city. This system is definitely generating 'hot' spots and foot weariness especially around the balls of my feet, more so as my tennis shoe soles wear down paper thin and ride length increases (the quill pedals offer very little by way of support for my flexible tennis shoes). The foot fatigue and the desire to transfer more power have me thinking that a clipless pedal system will be my next upgrade. I'll probably end up buying used pedals/shoes/cleats due to my budget.

    Question:
    Is it practical to have road pedals/shoes/cleats like for example Speedplay Zeros in NYC? Will road cleats and/or shoe soles get worn down rapidly in an urban commuter type environment? I’m not necessarily deterred by the walk ability of a road shoe system as I can easily carry a pair of flip-flops or light shoes in my pack if I intend to be on foot for more than brief in-out errand/shopping. Anyone have opinions on such a setup for all purpose road biking … or is a road system impractical for NYC?


    Thanks a bunch for any feedback.

    PS: I had this posted to the tail end of another pedal thread, but as that thread is concluding and the issues here are somewhat different, I've started a separate post.
    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-05-11 at 02:42 PM.

  2. #2
    cks
    cks is offline
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    Have you considered something like this:

    http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3661465

    BTW, I just can't even imagine what section of Bklyn you live in where you can ride around in circles at intersections.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cks View Post
    Have you considered something like this:

    http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3661465

    Yes, I've considered pedals along those lines, the obvious choice.
    However, my question is about dedicated road specific pedal system, like the SPD-SL, Speedplay Zeros mentioned above, or similar.
    Quote Originally Posted by cks View Post
    BTW, I just can't even imagine what section of Bklyn you live in where you can ride around in circles at intersections.
    Everywhere.
    Tight-ass circles, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and everywhere else...in front of cars, around cars, at crosswalks ... to maintain the flow rather than come to a stop and/or to preserve the holeshot. My city riding is a product of NYC of the 1980's/90s when a majority of riders on the street were messengers and rode aggressively (free for all jousting w/taxis trying to ride bikes off the road and messengers swinging chains into their windshields, LOL). I'm not the best example of the politically correct contemporary civic biker and I'd say I'm an aggressive rider in the city, within my limits). I do still frequently seek adrenaline playing in traffic.
    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-05-11 at 04:15 PM.

  4. #4
    CAADdict 2ndGen's Avatar
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    Personally, I'd use SPD's for the type of riding you do.
    IMO the easiest shoes to walk around in "in" NYC.
    Easy to get in and out of (pedals) and low maintenance.

    Shimano MT32 Shoes (about $50.) and Shimano PD540 Pedals (about $50.).



    And, I have http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3661465 on my Singlespeed.
    Last edited by 2ndGen; 07-06-11 at 03:55 PM.

  5. #5
    Allez means go. bengreen79's Avatar
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    I agree with 2ndGen - SPD + a touring/MTB shoe and you won't have any problems walking.

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    come on, seriously. you don't need a MTB shoe. i live in NYC. just get road shoes and pedals. if you want a little more grip, get cleats with grips, or the rubber cleat covers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member esldude's Avatar
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    I agree with the SPD Shimano MTB pedals and shoe. I actually got that exact shoe last week. Great shoe for your purposes. The MTB clipless is two-sided and clips in easily since both sides of the pedal clip in.

    I recently tried some Candy Crankbrothers with my other MTB shoes. They also are two sided entry. Expected them to be better, but I find it more difficult to quickly clip them in somehow than the SPD's. Maybe I just haven't used them enough. They do offer a bit more float and you can get out of them a bit easier, but it really isn't as big a difference as I expected. The clipping in is worse than I expected. The SPD's are just easier to me at least.

    Either beat using road pedals because of the one side entry and the need to use road shoes should you need to walk much.

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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    Lots of NYC area roadies use clipless pedals.

    SPD's work pretty well, since you can walk in them. Lots of people use the larger size cleats anyway and carry covers; it's a little more awkward but still works. I wouldn't use clipless for a 5-minute errand run though.

    You also don't need to go clipless right away, you can use platforms for a week or two until you get used to the whole road bike experience. Heck, you could just use clips indefinitely, it's all up to your riding style.

  9. #9
    Senior Member withsriracha's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with SPDs (they were my first pair of road shoes), but you did mention that walkability wasn't necessarily an issue for you. No reason you can't use Speedplay Zeros...I use a pair in the city, and think they are fine. I'll even pop into a bodega while wearing them, no biggie.

    Agree with the poster above who said he wouldn't wear them for 5-min errand runs, though. I haven't personally tried them, but there are pedals with SPD on one side and a platform on the other. Those might be a good option for you.
    "So, is 'aero' cyclist-speak for 'good'?" -My (noncyclist) best friend

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    Senior Member abstractform20's Avatar
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    if you want a road specific pedal, get the speedplay zeros.

    easy entry (after initial learning curve= 30-45 minutes)
    adjustable float (15 degrees)
    easy maintenance for pedals and cleats
    cleat covers are cheap and work very well ($10)
    platform converters are also fairly cheap if you dont want to clip in ($20-30)
    more connection than mtb pedals= more power, more comfort
    lowest stack height= easier to spin in circles=efficiency
    tastes delicious

  11. #11
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    Another vote for SPD in NYC

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    I would get speedplay zero for the dual side entry.

    <--rides in Los Angeles traffic, dodging city bus and soccer mom suv in Los angeles stop and go traffic requires a lot of attention. Not needing to look down because you'll know the side you are on is the right side saved me a lot of headache. Just step on it and go, no more guess work. Switched from SPD SL and never going back. The metal cleat is harder to walk in, but if you'll will take a longer walk I would suggest a cleat cover. Replacement cleat is about 40 dollar, mine is about a year + and they are holding up fine, at the rate of things going I would guess they'll last more than 2 more years.

  13. #13
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    What about the durability of road specific shoes (not mountain bike shoes) for use in NYC? Particularly the sole: the heel and cleat? My feet do make repeated contact with the ground and when riding aggressively, often with more aggressive contact with the ground so shoes can see some wear. Will this accelerate wear to heels and cleats on street specific shoes making them a poor choice?

    Btw, I have very narrow feet so likely will be limited in shoe selection by those companies that make shoes on a very narrow last. For example, I’m a climber of 20 years and can only wear a select few models of rock shoes: I’m for the most part limited to one manufacturer that designs on a narrower last, and of those, only the few models that are the very narrowest in the line. This limits my choices as I have to settle for a shoe that fits, which most often means not being able to own a shoe of a design and performance type which I might prefer.


    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    come on, seriously. you don't need a MTB shoe. i live in NYC. just get road shoes and pedals. if you want a little more grip, get cleats with grips, or the rubber cleat covers.
    What are cleats with grips?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    What are cleats with grips?

    or these


    i ride in the city every single day. It is extremely rare that i see anyone riding in MTB shoes. everybody thinks about this when they're getting their first clipless setup - "how will i walk?"

    if you plan on doing as much walking as biking, then sure, get the mountain bike shoes.
    but if you plan on riding for the sake of riding, then you don't need to get a set of those big mountain shoes.

    if i'm riding my bike for an errand, or to go to someone's house, i can just ride in sneakers. i have no need to be clipped in, because it's just transportation. you can do that, or you can put flip flops in your pocket.

    just don't fall into the trap of thinking you need to buy mountain shoes just in case you might walk. i've ridden 7,000 miles in this city since i got my first set of clipless pedals, and have never thought "i wish i had a sneaker right now"

  15. #15
    stole your bike roadiejorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inertianinja View Post
    come on, seriously. you don't need a MTB shoe. i live in NYC. just get road shoes and pedals. if you want a little more grip, get cleats with grips, or the rubber cleat covers.
    This. I've ridden clipless in the city for years with road shoes and pedals with no issues at all, besides stop-and-go riding is part of riding here anyway. When I want uninterrupted rides I head up 9W or you can always go to Central or Prospect parks and do laps.
    I like pie

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadiejorge View Post
    This. I've ridden clipless in the city for years with road shoes and pedals with no issues at all, besides stop-and-go riding is part of riding here anyway. When I want uninterrupted rides I head up 9W or you can always go to Central or Prospect parks and do laps.
    i cant imagine that anyone rides in a place where their feet never touch the ground. occasionally i hit a red light and have to touch the ground for 30 seconds, but i'm not jogging in the things!

    two of my friends recently went through this. they didn't listen to me, got all worried about the walking thing, bike shops said "you can get MTB shoes!" so they got MTB shoes.

    what happened? 1 month later they're on road shoes with LOOKs and regrets about money wasted.

  17. #17
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    Nice.
    Thanks for the pics Inertianinja.

    Anyone know if the Speedplay offers cleats with grips for the Zero?

    Speedplay Zeros with those Platformer pedals and/or flip flops seems like a system that would cover all my needs.

    What about road shoes, are they all compatible with Speedplay Zero cleats? I need to keep in mind I'll need a narrow shoe so my shoe choices may be limited to fit (I've read that Sidi are known for a narrower fit?).



    PS: 1intercepter, sweet video. I love riding at night. Often I do not start my rides until 10pm. Midnight and after is the best.
    Last edited by Lovegasoline; 07-06-11 at 03:27 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovegasoline View Post
    Nice.
    Anyone know if the Speedplay offers cleats with grips for the Zero?
    PS: 1intercepter, I love riding at night. Often I do not start my rides until 10pm. Midnight and after is the best.
    yes, they exist: http://encinabicyclecenters.com/prod...-caps-1339.htm

    thing is, with speedplays - all the adjustment and mechanism is in the cleat, so if you're at all concerned about messing something up on pavement, speedplays are the ones to avoid. still, i haven't really heard people complain about it.

    i used to carry cleat covers for my looks, but i don't really bother anymore. the grip cleats are fine. the non-grip cleats are very slippery, though.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    +1000 for SPD or Eggbeater pedals and touring or mtb shoes. I use these for all-out road riding too.

  20. #20
    In vitro cyclist byrnemm's Avatar
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    SPD pedal. Easy to clip in and out of. Road bike shoes with this cleat: http://www.crankbrothers.com/accesso...hole_cleat.php

  21. #21
    Senior Member reducedfatoreo's Avatar
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    +1 for eggbeaters. If you want, you can have the option of getting a Crank Bros. pedal with a platform, or at least buy their platform adaptor for grocery runs.

    But any SPD cleat should be fine. If you wanna look hip, get yourself a pair of Chrome Kursk Pro shoes. I've got friends who really like them, and they seem to be getting really popular with the messengers around town.

  22. #22
    Senior Member abstractform20's Avatar
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    Speeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeed
    plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
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