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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 10-28-05, 08:55 AM   #1
ElRey
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pedals

Getting ready for a trip down the Danube; route planned, etc.... Have thought about going to double sided pedals for versatility: one side standard platform, the orher SPD. That way, if the ride gets really urban I can avoid clipping in/out every city block. Any experiences with this notion. I have my own pedal preferences to draw from, and SPDs aren't at the top of the list, but this combo seems unique. Flame on....
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Old 10-28-05, 12:21 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
Getting ready for a trip down the Danube; route planned, etc.... Have thought about going to double sided pedals for versatility: one side standard platform, the orher SPD. That way, if the ride gets really urban I can avoid clipping in/out every city block. Any experiences with this notion. I have my own pedal preferences to draw from, and SPDs aren't at the top of the list, but this combo seems unique. Flame on....
I haven't tried it on a tandem, but my single has a set of Wellgo WPD-95B pedals... I really like the versatility they provide. I can't think any reason that would make them unsuitable for a tandem.
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Old 10-28-05, 12:31 PM   #3
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I think it's a good idea. I am riding Crank Bros. Candies right now which I really like a lot as they unclip very easily. However, I know what you mean about unclipping at every block... PIA....

I have gotten in the habit-for better or worse- of crawling up to stop lights in the hopes that they will change when I get there and not unclipping until the last possible second if necessary.

Our balance - and luck - has been good so far!
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Old 10-28-05, 01:04 PM   #4
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I have them and they work good. Shimano ones the quality seems ok. I have a set on my commuter with many miles on them no problems. I have had them on tandems seem to work ok their. I cannot get excited about them they lack sex appeal or something like that.
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Old 10-28-05, 01:15 PM   #5
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Two folks falling on their arses because captain could no click out or because racing shoes slipped on paving is not very sexy.....
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Old 10-28-05, 01:29 PM   #6
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my daughter has the 2 sided SPD's . She rides to her friend's house and around the neighborhood with her tennis shoes on. And can go on longer rides with us with her bike shoes clipped in.

Other than adding weight, they work well, and add flexibility.
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Old 10-28-05, 02:18 PM   #7
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I find that with walkable, full rubber-soled MTB shoes, unclipping one foot every stop is not that big of a deal -- 22 stop signs and several signal lights in ~5mile commute. If your "plant" foot doesn't clip in on the first stroke, you can still just push the pedal around with your shoe just fine, and have another go at the next revolution. (With slick-soled road shoes, though, this doesn't work so well.)

As an aside, I recently went from SPD to Speedplay Frogs for the commute shoes. I will never wear SPD again. I have seen the light. Good riddance. (YMMV. )

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Old 10-28-05, 03:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
Getting ready for a trip down the Danube; route planned, etc....
Everyone has their preferences... We used SPDs from '97 - '98 and switched to Speedplay's Frogs (chromo) in Dec. '98, for both road & off-road. No regets.

Cons: Price & non-SPD cleat requires 5 minutes of Dremmel mod of lug soled MTB shoes but still doesn't totally recess the cleat: walk gently when crossing nicely finished floors. Probably no worse than most women's stiletto heels. Need to use waterproof grease for re-lube and special adapter or Speedplay specific grease gun. Regreasing causes grease to "purge" onto axles during subsequent ride. No big deal if you wipe it off with a paper towel but if left to its own devices it will end up on something you'd rather not see it on.

Pros: Easy on the knees, intuitive engagement & effortless release. Fairly durable and very good customer support. We've had 4 of the 6 pair we own rebuilt; 2 under warranty and 2 for $25 that just wore out. Re-lube is simple and easy. Like all MTB shoes, ideal for non-competitive tandem outings where stopping / starting / walking around is highly likely.

Getting accustomed to the gobs of silky smooth float takes a mile or so the first time out, but the first 100 yards will absolutely freak you out if you haven't used Speedplay's pedals... similar to walking on ice with slick-soled shoes. However, as noted, the feeling goes away during the first ride and most subsequent outings are no worries.

Note: Engagement & release is so smooth that you can forget that cleats do eventually require replacement. Always keep at least one spare cleat in your saddle bag in the event you wear-out the metal & elastomer retention clip... otherwise you may find yourself riding home with your foot duck-taped to the pedal: you can still push down but you can't pull-up.
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Old 10-28-05, 03:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElRey
Have thought about going to double sided pedals for versatility: one side standard platform, the orher SPD. That way, if the ride gets really urban I can avoid clipping in/out every city block. Any experiences with this notion. I have my own pedal preferences to draw from, and SPDs aren't at the top of the list, but this combo seems unique. Flame on....
I ride with Shimano double sided spd's and have no problems unclipping or clipping in. One of my friends has the single sided pedals and he has no prob's either, but I do whenever I ride his bike. The pedal always seems to be the wrong way up, and I have found that when putting in pressure on the non SPD side, my cleat will slip on the metal part of the pedal.

As I say, the regular rider on these pedals has no problems, but a newcomer might find them strange. Already mentioned by gregm but I have a pair of the Shimano rubber soled MTB shoes. They look like a trainer, the cleat is in the shoe so no problem walking in them on pavement, and the sole offers more grip on pavement than my full aggressive studded MTB shoe.
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Old 10-29-05, 10:54 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=ElRey] Have thought about going to double sided pedals for versatility: one side standard platform, the orher SPD. QUOTE]

ElRey:

The Cyclocross bike I purchased this summer (Candy Brothers C pedals) and one of the pairs of SPD pedals which I have, came with plastic adapter plates which convert the clips-ins to standard platforms. (and add reflectors as a small bonus). Would that meet your requirements?

The plates clip in/out quickly and make things a lot less intimidating for new stokers/captains taking test drives on my tandems.

That said, I have the double sided (one SPD/one std. platform) on my winter bike as weather conditions don't always allow me to wear my SPD shoes (they're not warm enough at <0 C), the plastic plates don't like the cold either and changing pedals would be a real drag in those temps.

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Old 10-29-05, 03:46 PM   #11
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I use Campy road pedals on my road bike, Shimano SPD's on my MTB, and Ritchey SPD's on our tandem. Much like mountain biking, 2-sided pedals are very useful on a tandem. Single sided pedals would be a major pain.

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Old 10-29-05, 08:32 PM   #12
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We (myself and spouse) started out using spd's on the T because that's what we had on our individual bikes. On a another team's recommendation, we put track pedals with toe clips and straps on the T. She clips in before we get underway, then I clip in once we were moving. It took a while to learn how to do that

We'll never go back to clipless. As long as we wear shoes with fairly stiff soles, we both like the "old fashioned" way better. We do a lot of touring, and walking around antique stores, cafes, etc. is much better in somewhat normal shoes than walking duck-like on metal cleats.

Something to consider...
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Old 10-30-05, 04:03 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoperIN
We (myself and spouse) started out using spd's on the T because that's what we had on our individual bikes. On a another team's recommendation, we put track pedals with toe clips and straps on the T. She clips in before we get underway, then I clip in once we were moving. It took a while to learn how to do that

We'll never go back to clipless. As long as we wear shoes with fairly stiff soles, we both like the "old fashioned" way better. We do a lot of touring, and walking around antique stores, cafes, etc. is much better in somewhat normal shoes than walking duck-like on metal cleats.

Something to consider...
Tip: connect the pedals through an elastic band. That way, the clip is always on top and getting your foot in is even easier. BTW: this only works when pedals are in phase.
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Old 10-30-05, 07:12 AM   #14
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I use CrankBrothers Eggbeater Stainless and I love them. I have no experience with any other pedal but I know that these are easy to use. I can clip in and out with ease, I have not had any knee or ankle issues. I use them with some MTB shoes (though my triplet is essentially a road bike) which allows me to walk around great. This was a requirement because we often ride to playgrounds or the coffee shop.
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Old 10-30-05, 03:04 PM   #15
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Speedplay's here and I've tried them all before discovering Speedplay. I often had knee issues before, but not since switching to sp. Same thing with my wife. She used SPD's and tried Candies on the tandem, but had knee issues regardless of positioning. We switched her to Speedplay frogs and she claims instant relief! The Frogs are easier to get in and out of ( as opposed to road sp) according to her, so I may put them on my touring bike this year. Just my experience though.
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Old 10-30-05, 03:57 PM   #16
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Agreed. I love my Speedplay X5's. They actually work well with street shoes in a pinch because the pedal itself, while very small, is totally flat. I really love the free-floating, knee-saving goodness of the Speedplay X5.

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Old 12-15-05, 08:56 PM   #17
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Great thread, as we have had equal experience with both type of pedals. Started off with Shimano M324 duals (best duals on the market) for ease of pedalling for short trips but found we spent more time flipping them around as we preferred to be clipped-in. Changed pedals to Shimano M540 SPD and once adjusted they work like a charm. I've been riding clipped-in forever and would never go back to toe clips.

Shoes make the difference; we both have Shimano FN01, advertised as exersize and spinning shoes. Extremely comfortable, wide toe box, vented fabric top, cleats are recesssed and one big velcro strap to secure your foot inside. Very easy to walk in also.
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Old 12-15-05, 10:29 PM   #18
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We both started off with toeclips back in the mid-70s on our tandem. Tried SPD/clipless and stoker developed knee problems and she switched back to toeclips (mt. bike plastic clips which allows loads of foot movement). Pilot did not care one way or the other and is also back with toeclips (Campy steel). That way we can wear any biking shoe and have no worry about 'skidding' when putting feet onto ground.
Agreed, clipless have come a long way and there are scads of pedals/cleat combos out there. But, we like to keep it simple and hey, a bit retro ain't all bad!
Pedal on!
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Old 12-28-05, 07:17 PM   #19
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We bought frogs to go on our new tandem and while my wife finds them great I've had a few problems with them. I bought them so that I would be able to use normal touring shoes as I need to build the cleat for my right shoe up by nearly 10mm. The frogs have a large cleat area that makes this easier to do.
If you have big feet your feet have to be in the right position to be able to unclip or else when you twist your foot hits the crank before the release angle is large enough. Speedplay do make a longer spindle for this reason but you need to read the fine print carefully to even find out that it exists.
So if you take a size 12 or above (mine are 13's) order the long spindle.

Cheers

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Old 12-29-05, 07:45 AM   #20
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I was thinking about trying Power Grips for my son (9 years old) and I on our tandem. Does anyone have any experience using them.
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Old 12-29-05, 04:09 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bike-a-saurus
I was thinking about trying Power Grips for my son (9 years old) and I on our tandem. Does anyone have any experience using them.
I used them on my half-bike with my vintage Hi-E pedals for a few years and liked them very much. When one of the pedals broke (after 28 years), I got Speedplay Frogs. It was an easy transition, because the heels-out-to-disengage motion was the same as for the Power Grips.

Power Grips would especially helpful on a tandem to keep the stoker from slipping off platform pedals which are going to keep rotating, and getting back in sync can be tricky/dangerous. The only down-side would be the lack of "float" with the Power Grips, but 9-year-old knees are pretty flexible.

BTW, you don't usually think of "float" pertaining to platform pedals. My GF, who refused to even consider bike shoes and clipless pedals, has come full-circle after knee pains which she finally suspected might be due to the platform pedals keeping her feet fixed (even without Power Grips) and forcing her knees to rotate instead. We checked and tweaked her bike fit on the tandem and her half-bike, she began using higher cadences/lower gears, but the pain got worse, to the point that she thought she'd have to give up cycling. I was finally able to talk her into trying some SPD shoes with Speedplay Frogs & cleats to test her theory, and, sure enough, her heels moved from side to side as she pedalled (because they could!), eliminating the rotating stress on her knees. Now all our bikes have Speedplay Frogs, I have a happy stoker, and I don't have to worry about catching the stoker's pedals on sharp up-hill turns!

Last edited by 2bfree; 12-29-05 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 12-29-05, 05:14 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffs
. . .If you have big feet your feet have to be in the right position to be able to unclip or else when you twist your foot hits the crank before the release angle is large enough. Speedplay do make a longer spindle for this reason but you need to read the fine print carefully to even find out that it exists. So if you take a size 12 or above (mine are 13's) order the long spindle.
Before she agreed to try bike shoes, my GF wanted to try SPD-type sandals, which are, unfortunately, on SpeedPlay's "incompatible shoes" list. Maybe the longer-spindle Frogs that geoffs found would work for sandals smaller than size 12. Has anybody tried SPD-type sandals with Speedplay Frogs (and lived to tell about it)?

On eBay I saw some Speedplay Frogs which had broken "exit" ramps, which the seller blithely described as an advantage, allowing release by rotating heels inward as well, unobstructed by toe box/crank arm interaction. While float is generally good, and this dual-entry/dual-exit system should work for sandals and large shoes, perhaps it's too much of a good thing!
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Old 01-07-06, 12:07 PM   #23
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Anyone ever try the Time ATAC's or have an opinion on them?

I like the lateral float of my old diadora's. The ATACS seem to be the only one out there with a low profile cleat (looks similar to SPD) and lateral float.
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Old 01-09-06, 06:46 AM   #24
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Another set of possibilities based on my experiences. My main criteria for a good pedal are roughly in order:
- Foot mustn't rock on pedal.
- A bit of float
- Low stack height
- Low maintenance / durability
- Easy to adjust
- Cheap
- Walkability

I do dislike wobbling into cafes in my strange road shoes, but I find the 10 metres to the cafe are fine (I did get strange looks when going down the Cuevas de'Arta (large cave complex) in Mallorca barefoot while carrying road shoes, but that's another story).

Current pedals that I like:
Time RXEs / RXSs or whatever
The new Time pedals are very cheap (35 per pair) and light, and the clip in / clip out action works very nicely. Also the shoe is fully supported, so cannot rock or develop free play on the pedal. Cleat and pedal height is also low, while the Time cleat itself also grips and is more stable for walking than most road pedals. Release on the bottom of the range pedal is very easy and not adjustable, meaning they are also 5g lighter than the more expensive pedals despite what their marketing says.
Only minus is that the cleats will require replacement once the walking pads wear down. For the price though they're hard to beat.

Speedplays
More expensive than the Times, otherwise I would have tried them. Extra float would probably just mean that I would scratch up my cranks as I don't have a particular knee problem. As far as I could tell the weight advantage is exaggerated as the cleats weigh a bit more,

Dura-Ace SPD-Rs
(Note these are not SPD-SLs, but have a 2-bolt fixing with the bolts front-to-rear on the shoe, not side by side as ordinary SPDs)
Lots of track racers use SPR-Rs as they fix the shoe to the pedal like nothing else (The UK kilo riders use these still), plus the cleat and pedal itself just don't wear out. Axles are dead easy to maintain - just take axle out and put a blob of grease in the pedal body and reassemble. I've used my set for 4 years of training plus a bit of commuting recently with no wear.
On the downside, they are like gold dust as they are no longer produced, and are expensive. It annoys me that they were replaced with SPD-SLs, which are inferior in about every respect just because Lance didn't like them.

Ones I've used before and don't like any more:
Ultegra Road SPD pedals
OK for a while. Soon developed play when pulling up that could not be fixed by using new cleats / pontoons. Need to be used with real Carbon-soled road shoes not plastic ones like Sidis. Would be OK if I could fix the play somehow. My hunch is that the Crank bros pedals perform similarly to these.

Time Magnesium (Old style - uses cleat in 2 separate parts)
Huge pedal body that works really well and is simplest to adjust, but really only with Time shoes because of their funny 4-bolt fixing. Time shoes not the greatest IMO as they never fit my feet properly and have a huge stack height which undoes all the good work of the pedals (no mention of that in the marketing material!). Not good for walking either. Switched to Sidi shoes, which have a magnesium adaptor plate. Eventually the plate and the pedal developed play as the pedal and plate wore down because magnesium is a relatively soft metal. The latest version is of these is the Time Impact, which has been superceded by the plastic-bodied pedals, which I think are better.

Shimano-made Look pedals
Squeaks plus cleat rocks from side to side as the pedal wears. Heavy plus the height above pedal axle is huge. Not a the best design any more. Based on this I wouldn't buy Look pedals, though the Keos and SPD-SLs seem to be a small step forward as they bring the cleat into the pedal a bit more and have plastic to plastic mating parts. Almost bought SPD-SLs, but decided not to when I found out the Times are half the price and lighter. Lots of people seem to get on OK with these though.

Ritchey off road SPD on my MTB
Work OK, but clog with mud too easily. Bearings (bushings?) seem cheap and require grease all the time to avoid squeaks. Screws on body only plated, so rust after looking at some mud. Don't like the pedals. I bought 2-strap pink-soled shimano SPD racing shoes from a few years back and they fit great, though the sole could be stiffer and the heel tread wider for walking. Maybe I would like the newer SPDs and carbon soled shoes better?
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