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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 01-13-13, 12:42 PM   #1
apage4u
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SPD vs Speedplay Frogs

It is time for new shoes and I am considering a switch from SPD cleats to Speedplay Frogs. It seems that every few years my body must change a little causing my knees to stress and requiring an adjustment on the SPD cleats to get the centering spot where I need it. The slightest tension away from center causes discomfort on the tandem. Never a problem on the half bike.
So, who out there has made this switch and is there a learning curve? Is the walk-ability similar? Do the frogs wear out from walking?
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Old 01-13-13, 03:17 PM   #2
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I've used The Speedplay Frogs for more than 12 years for my mountain bikes. Little or no learning curve to deal with, just slide your foot forward on to the pedal starting with your heal out a bit rotating the heal in as you move your foot forward and you are in. Just move your foot laterally to get out. No noticeable resistance to either movement like the springs in SPD pedals. There is is some degree of float but not like the Speedplay X and Zero series pedals. Your heal can rotate out a bit but not in very much. Wear on cleats and walkability will depend a lot on the shoes you are using. The cleat on the bottom of the shoe is a bit lower in profile than the SPD cleat. The shoes I'm using now have a vibram sole that protects the cleat nicely. No sound at all from the cleat meeting the pavement or ground with these shoes. Previous pair of shoes didn't protect the cleat as well and I could feel the cleat hitting as I walked sometimes. I've swapped my Speedplay Zero's for the Frogs when I'm in more of a touring mode on road bikes for the walkability. I've toured with SPD cleats and pedals and they worked well, for me the Frogs are better in terms of walkability. The Frog cleats are fairly durable, I'm on my second pair in twelve years and getting ready to swap out for a third set of cleats. The pedals are on their second set of bearings and are ready for a third set as well. Hope that answers some of your questions.

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Old 01-13-13, 07:41 PM   #3
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My wife's orthopedic doctor rides bicycles and says that the Speedplay are the only pedals that don't make his knees hurt. They may solve your constant adjustment of SPDs.
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Old 01-13-13, 08:15 PM   #4
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While I'm riding another version of Speedplay -- Light Action -- (my stoker/wife elected to stay w/ her Look pedals), I've been thoroughly satisfied with them. Lighter weight & slightly more ground clearance. The only thing that I'd add is that clipping in requires an even/slightly down heel action (more like stepping ON the pedal) vice the toe-in-the-Look pedal AND then press your heel down. Durability's been great, even w/o cleat covers.
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Old 01-13-13, 09:44 PM   #5
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What kind of riding, what kind of bike?
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Old 01-13-13, 09:54 PM   #6
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I have speedplay zeros
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Old 01-14-13, 09:04 AM   #7
apage4u
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What kind of riding, what kind of bike?
We are road riders on our Santana. Thanks for all the feedback.
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Old 01-14-13, 10:40 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by apage4u View Post
So, who out there has made this switch and is there a learning curve? Is the walk-ability similar? Do the frogs wear out from walking?
We switched from SPD to Frogs back in 1998. There was a learning curve for us, but it was very short: about 5 miles on the first ride, and just the first 1/2 mile or so on the second.

The learning curve for me was directly related to the massive amount of pedal float that Frogs provided, in that with my foot & lower leg now free to rotate vs. being locked-in at the pedal it did just that. The best analogy I've been able to come up with is the same feeling someone might experience when trying to walk across ice in street shoes, as it felt like my feet were both flailing about on top of the pedals when, in fact, there were probably just rotating a few millimeters right to left of center on each pedal stroke. This is what I refer to the ah-hah moment and our knees have never been happier.

Walk-ability for Frogs on lugged mountain bike soles isn't all that much different from SPDs on mountain bike soles. In the early days Frog's 1st Gen cleats did not fit most mountain bike shoes without doing a fair amount of material removal from the lugs around the cleat mount. However, the G3 cleats have just about eliminated that issue. Again, walking isn't all that different from SPDs: however, both SPDs and Frog's cleats will eventually become exposed below the lugs such that you'll have metal on pavement or when indoors, metal on wood or whatever flooring material is present.

At least for me, I tend to wear out the inboard edge of the outer cleat engagement pin before the top surface is even 1/2 worn-down. This is because I tend to ride with my knees-in. On the bright side, when I begin to experience an "uncommanded" foot release under power I simply swap the Frog cleats from right to left / left to right to give them a second 1/2 life before they need to be replaced. As to how long they actually last, I can't really say as I use several different pairs of shoes interchanbably and don't keep track. Moreover, if I didn't have a strange pedal stroke the outer pin would not likely be worn down the way it is, thereby extending the life of the cleat.

As a final note, the one thing that any Frog user can to to extend the life of their cleats is to be religous about applying either Speedplay's SP LUBE (p/n 13800) or some other dry-type (PTFE) lubricant to the Frog cleat and pedal engagement edges "preferably" every one or two rides. Most users I know don't do this at all or as often as recommended. I use Pedro's Ice Wax, but fall into the latter category as I don't lubricate them as often as is recommended.
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Old 01-14-13, 10:50 AM   #9
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Among the plethora of spare bike parts we have on hand, a complete box of stainless Frogs and cleats like new, with the original $129.98 price tag still attached. My wife with touchy knees tried them for a couple rides and decided to stay with SPDs instead. Go figure.

I was going to put these on eBay in a couple months (ie spring time) but if anyone here wants, either PM me or email: twocicle AT gmail DOT com.

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Old 01-14-13, 11:25 AM   #10
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My wife and I started using Frogs this year and absolutely love them. As TandemGeek noted, you may find the float strange feeling at first, but I also think it's a good indicator of your position on the bike. I put Frog's on my single this year as well. When trying to adjust my position on both bikes (my wife feels I change my position too often, but I would like to be a bike fitter when I retire and so I tinker with my position to see how my body reacts to them) I found that certain configurations have my feet wobbling all over the pedals and others have me rock solid. So, I ditched the one's that had me wobbling and refined the one's where my feet were stable.


We lube our cleats before every ride and occasionally our pedals. I had asthma as a kid and don't like to use any products that say "avoid prolonged exposure to vapors", so I've found that bowstring wax (I'm also an archer) is non-toxic and works great. You can usually buy it at Walmart in the sporting goods section, it's cheap. We also use chapstick and carry it with us on long rides to reapply if we walk through a lot of dirt or gravel. We've got somewhere north of 3,000 miles on them so far with no problems.
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Old 01-14-13, 11:38 AM   #11
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We use bebop pedals and really like them. They are less expensive, lighter and offer full float. With mountain bike shoes they are very well protected and are not noticeable when walking.
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Old 01-14-13, 12:06 PM   #12
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+1 on Bebop - also rebuildable and very light
Cleats are a little taller than SPD so on some shoes they hit pavement.
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Old 01-14-13, 12:16 PM   #13
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I also use the speedplay lite actions on my road bike and love em. you may need a different shoe though.
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