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  1. #1
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    First clipless pedal for Stoker?

    Hi everyone,

    I've begun searching for my wife's first clipless pedal to use on our tandem bike. I've been using SPDs for 20 years of mtbg, started doing some research on road-clipless pedals and learned there are A LOT! Please help! Here are more details in order of importance:

    - She broke both her shins in a skiing accident years ago. I don't think her knees are the same either. We're in our 40s. A pedal that has adjustability is needed.
    - This is for our tandem bike, which I'll hold steady while she'll clip in. Difficulty to clip in/out isn't much of an issue. (I'll try not to crash it.)
    - She'll need to be able to walk in the shoes without us carrying ancillary pads.
    - I'm a bit of a weight-weenie, she's 140# and we're only casual riders, so please keep that in mind if you plan to comment on longevity or failures you've seen.
    - So far I've considered Time RXS Carbon and SPD-L (Ultegra), but then learned I-Clic is the new Time pedal, and some people like Keo, etc., and got frustrated at all the choices and decided to start a post.
    - A cleat system that works for a variety of shoes would be a benefit.
    - I can spend about $200 max, targeting $150.00. But lightly used is okay with me, so maybe consider your suggestions up to $300 retail assuming I could buy used for less.

    Thanks folks!

  2. #2
    Low car diet JiveTurkey's Avatar
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    You can still use MTB clipless, like your SPDs, on a road bike. This will enable walkable shoes.

    Crank Bros. are really easy to get in and out of. They take a little practice getting into them if you're used to SPDs (at least it's been a learning curve for me), but they click out with little effort when you twist. I know you said she won't need to go in and out much, but it's still a nice thing.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member rdtompki's Avatar
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    We use SPDs for captain and stoker and I've never had a (pedal) complaint from the boss. Lots of shoes available for two-hole cleats of course. My wife uses PI cyclocross shoes, but I wouldn't recommend these if you're going to have to walk any hills even though the cleat is recessed. There are a number of shoes available that are stiff in the cleat area, but more comfortable otherwise.
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  4. #4
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    When it comes to our Tandems, Shimano SPD's are our choice for both stoker and especially the captain. Being easy to walk in, and having a wide range of release tension settings are just a couple of the reasons we use them. My stoker has serious knee issues as well and these have worked for her at the lowest settings not to mention being more sure footed for walking.
    At the XT and XTR levels, I'm OK with the weight issue and you can always find all kinds of either on Ebay, if you are so inclined. Shoe wise.....the options are unlimited. Good luck in your search.

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  5. #5
    What's a bike? adclark's Avatar
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    I would recommend Egg Beaters or SPD on MTB shoes so you have the recessed cleat if you plan to walk, but as JiveTurkey said, Egg Beaters seem to be a little different to clip into if you are used to SPD (just switched on my MTB). If you are determined to get true road pedals, you will like have to get a set of the cleat covers or you will wear out cleats extremely quickly by walking on them.
    The cake is a lie...

  6. #6
    Nipples of Steel! AngelGendy's Avatar
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    Another vote for eggbeaters, recently got my stokers pedals for $20 (smarty) and shoes for $25(axo tiburon)


    The spd style shoes are great to walk around in.
    Last edited by AngelGendy; 03-06-11 at 05:54 PM.

  7. #7
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    I ride with Shimano Dura Ace pedals as well as my stoker. If she has knee issues you want might want to consider Speedplay pedals. I like the light action model. This will certainly satisfy the weight weenie in you and meet your price point.

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    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    SPuDs & mountain bike shoes is the default. Crank Bros Egg Beaters seem to have a good following as well. We're partial to Speedplay's Frogs because of the massive float.

    In any case, unless you're really planning on hammer-out fast hard miles with the racer boys and doing very little social riding or rallies, IMHO MTB shoes are a lot more practical.

  9. #9
    Junior Member cunhatandem's Avatar
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    My wife/stoker also has knee/overpronation problems and the large selections of SPD shoes is very helpful. She currently loves her Lake sandal style whose fit are very adjustable and accommodate her orthotics. They are also very walkable with Vibram soles - not as stiff as my Shimano MD86. We like the Shimano PD-A600 road pedals. Also, Shimano has 2 styles of SPD cleats, the SM-SH51 and the SM-SH56. The former are standard, but the latter are usually described as multi-dimensional release, and we both find them easier to release using any side-wise motion. The front attachment projection on the cleat is beveled allowing a greater range of motion in order to release.


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  10. #10
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    About 2 years ago, my wife switched to clipless pedals on her road bike and the back of the tandem. SPD mountain bike pedals worked best for her. Unlike road bike pedals, there is no top and bottom-both sides work. She went with a nice, comfortable mountain bike (Lake) shoe, which is very easy to walk in. One of the pedal sets is actually Nashbar...I suspect Wellgo or some other private labeler. My wife had meniscus surgery and twisting is an issue for her. We were able to adjust the spd's for a nice easy release.
    I, myself, use old style Look with Sidi Genius shoes. This is only because I have too many bikes and pedals to switch! One day I will make the switch myself-I am getting too old for cleat covers and walking like a frog!
    Last edited by steve53mg; 03-07-11 at 08:50 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    Thanks all. Seems that several of you or your stokers have had knee problems but are okay with SPDs. Also seems unanimous that those shoes are the easiest to walk in, so I guess we'll stick with those.

  12. #12
    Senior Member diabloridr's Avatar
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    Good luck, my stoker ran SPD's for years but started having knee issues.

    Switched her to Speedplay and problems went away.

    Walkable soles aren't critical for her, so she has X-pedals, but I'd look into Frogs otherwise.

  13. #13
    Tandem Vincitur Ritterview's Avatar
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    A possible benefit of SPD's, is that these are used on spin bike machines at gyms.

    So, if the stoker is frequenting spin class, she can wear the same shoes and cleats.

  14. #14
    Legs; OK! Lungs; not! bobthib's Avatar
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    We have Nashbar SPD compatable platform/clip ins on the tandem and on her solo and my MTB. We have Nashbar Sandels too and we love them Very comfortable, and he in FLA very practical.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by diabloridr View Post
    Good luck, my stoker ran SPD's for years but started having knee issues.

    Switched her to Speedplay and problems went away.

    Walkable soles aren't critical for her, so she has X-pedals, but I'd look into Frogs otherwise.
    Oh I don't like the sound of that. Now you've made this confusing again. ;-)

    It appears from a quick look that Speedplays take SPD shoes... is that correct? (Shoes with two holes instead of three.)

  16. #16
    hors category TandemGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wheelspeed View Post
    It appears from a quick look that Speedplays take SPD shoes... is that correct?
    Yes, Speedplay Frog cleats use the same 2-bolt pattern as the SPDs. The cleat is larger and when the Frogs first came you needed to trim away some material from the MTB lugged soles to make them fit.

    However, in more recent years shoe makers have made their MTB soles fully compatible and Speedplay developed a more compact, G3 cleat.

    At last count I think we had 8 sets of Frogs and 6 pair of Sidi Dominator (MTB) shoes with the G3 cleats, so we're pretty well bought into the whole Speedplay Frog thing.

    I have only one pair of Sidi Genius (Road) and Sidi Freeze (winter Road) shoes with Campy cleats that are used only when I ride solo on my single road bikes.

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    Slightly heavier, but a good option if your stoker is nervous on clipping in initially, (or you ever want to use street shoes) is the shimano SPD A530 pedal. It looks good and works well. Later you can upgrade to an XT or XTR for the weight weenie route and put those pedals on your commuter or Latte bike. 8 degrees float is what you get with SPDs and it's enough for most people if the cleats are positioned right, but if you want more, the Frogs have it. I would get set up on a trainer either at your LBS (I think Serotta make a system specifically for aligning the cleats correctly) or with some borrowed pedals and test the pedal/cleat/shoe system before you commit if possible. A few minutes is probably enough.

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    release tension

    Wheelspeed, Don't forget that you can adjust the release tension on SPD's. This can make a huge difference.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TandemGeek View Post
    SPuDs & mountain bike shoes is the default. Crank Bros Egg Beaters seem to have a good following as well. We're partial to Speedplay's Frogs because of the massive float.

    In any case, unless you're really planning on hammer-out fast hard miles with the racer boys and doing very little social riding or rallies, IMHO MTB shoes are a lot more practical.
    +1 on the Frogs. I've been racing MTBs with these for about eight years (or more). I had them on my road bike for several years too. They are also my choice for the Tandem (captain). I wanted a shoe/cleat that would not slip around when on the ground. As TG mentioned, lots of float in the pedals too. Just keep the cleats fresh!

    IMHO Ok to do hammer rides too!

  20. #20
    Senior Member swc7916's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve53mg View Post
    Don't forget that you can adjust the release tension on SPD's. This can make a huge difference.
    With Frogs, there is no release tension to adjust; they just free-float and when you turn your foot out far enough, they release.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    Well, it seems like a no-brainer then. Not as sexy as some road-pedals, but ease of walking is paramount. Since Frogs take the same shoes as SPD, I'll go that route. Then, if she doesn't like something about the Frogs, I have a bunch of SPDs around to choose from.

    The pedals are pretty light, but I'm surprised Speedplay can't devise a lighter cleat system. But lots of float sounds like a plus, so I'll try 'em.

    Stoker will be happy that we can move on to shoe-shopping now. :-)

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    Well, I didn't read every single post in this thread but I read most. I didn't see any mention of PowerGrips. In our tandem club (50 teams) there is only one couple (now two) that uses them. They have them only on the stokers cranks but we have them on both stations. I also have them on all my singles. Elsewhere on this site you will see that PowerGrips are extremely popular and respected as a way to get introduced to the efficiency increases of being secured to the pedals with an easy release movement. I use Shimano MTB shoes without the cleats and stoker uses Specialized Tahoe's also without cleats.

    H

  23. #23
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    The link here will send you to a good explanation of the options. It's to REI which sells in the Northwest. http://www.rei.com/expertadvice/arti...ing+shoes.html

  24. #24
    Senior Member WebsterBikeMan's Avatar
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    I started with SPDs. On my single. It kind of snowballed from there. To avoid having multiple shoes just for different cleat styles, I needed SPDs in the captain position. Then my son and daughter wanted to be able to ride the tandem, so he got SPD shoes, and now his singles have SPD pedals. But he can also stoke occasionally with me (he's strong, so that's a rush). But that means the stoker position has SPD pedals. And so we don't have to switch out pedals depending on who's stoking, my wife and daughter now have SPDs on their bikes.

    If I had it to do all over again from the start, I'd probably be looking at Speedplay Frogs. I like the look of the mechanism. And there's less of a weight penalty for double-sided (important for this captain, less so for stokers). I've only read positive reviews.

  25. #25
    Senior Member wheelspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WebsterBikeMan View Post
    If I had it to do all over again from the start, I'd probably be looking at Speedplay Frogs. I like the look of the mechanism. And there's less of a weight penalty for double-sided (important for this captain, less so for stokers). I've only read positive reviews.
    Actually, I've seen a lot of bad reviews of Speedplay Frogs on roadbikereview.com. Some people say that they pop out when they stand up to pedal. That's dangerous. But, true, other people seem to like them. Some other people seem to like the Time ATAC pedals because they also have lateral float. They also take SPD style shoes.

    So I guess we'll just start looking for shoes and I'll keep my eyes open for any good deals on slightly used Frogs or ATACs. I can throw on a pair of my M540s or something for her to try in the meantime. She doesn't want clip pedals anymore, and I showed her Powergrips last year but she wasn't interested at all.

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