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  1. #1
    Butchya can't eat just 1 ***Butch***'s Avatar
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    Clipless pedals for track (tension ratings)

    I'm looking to start a little bit of track racing this year and am looking into clipless pedal options. I'm looking for a clipless pedal with a lot of tension as I'd rather not run straps with my pedals.

    Does anyone know the tension ratings for popular clipless pedals? What clipless pedals seem to be highly regarded in the track world? What pedals have you had good luck/bad luck with? Thanks.

    (note: I'm not a newbie to cycling or clipless pedals, just a newbie to riding track.)
    "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." ~Lynn Lavner

  2. #2
    spinlikehell mickster's Avatar
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    The majority of trackies I've raced with use clipless; clips and straps only tend to dominate with the kilo and match sprint specialists.

    I've used old style Looks and am currently on Shimano SPD-SLs. Both have been fine tension-wise, although I do run em both near full tightness. I'd say the SHimanos are slightly tighter than the Looks but wasn't an issue with either. I also use fixed (red) cleats in the SLs rather than float, but that's a personal preference thing.

    The SPD-SLs give better clearance in the bankings when going slow as they're lower profile than the old looks. This was why I changed as clearance was getting tight for me, but I'm riding 170 cranks on a 45 degree track with only an average height BB. This is only likely to be an issue for you if you ride steep tracks, have longish cranks and/or a sub 11 inch BB height.

    Oh yeah, and I'm a spinner rather than a masher, so probably wouldn't have the strength to pull out of clipless even if I tried

    HTH

    mickster

  3. #3
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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    Keep in mind spite riding a track bike for ages and being on some tracks before this year is my first year "racing". These are my findings.

    1. Old school Dura-Ace 7400s are the best pedal hands down......if you can find them.

    2. SPD-SL's do not take kindly to clipping the cote d'azur at full speed. I also found in a standing start even with the fixed cleat (Red tip) I could feel it opening the clasp. A very un setteling feeling.

    3. SPD-R's are much lower profile, theyre made of all metal not plastic, use a steel cleat, roadies hated them because you could'nt unclip from them and big dudes like Hoy and Staff run em. This is why I use them. I use the cut off toe clip bolted to the clasp trick. But a buddie is going to Tig on some hooks like the Tomity pedals for me.

    4. Sometimes super crazy tention can be a *****. In events where you have to hop on your bike while somone holds its clipping in can be extremly hard. I run mine with a medium tention(witch on an spd-r is still up there) that way in a standing start I can actualy clip in. This is where I like the straps. Somhow if I come up with the hulk like strenth to pull the clasp open the strap around my shoe keeps it shut. I've crashed(uhhhg) twice in them and still managed to stay clipped int.

    5. Spinners can still pull out of their pedals.

    I think i've seen a way to modify every single currnt pedal so they work better for track guys, and after going to a bunch of races aswell as looking at many pics from WC events Id say its worth doing. Hope this "pre coffee" gargled slop made sence. Its time to go to work.

    Ciao J

  4. #4
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    Caferacer says it all. I actually ride a mix of SPD-R and 7400's. I have a couple spare pairs of SPD-R's so for massed-start events I can ride the same pedals without straps and with slightly lighter tension, while for match sprint (my main focus) I can ride with higher tension and straps. I rode 7400's for years, but have to say that the SPD-R's actually hold better -- your foot doesn't try to lift out of the pedal the way they will on 7400's (which means you depend with 7400's on tight straps, while with SPD-R's you just need enough strap tension so that if you rotate your foot it won't go anywhere and will immediately reengage).

    I TIG'd a strap on a couple pairs of pedals similar to what Tomity came up with. My only issue with them is that with the toe clip method, a modern laminated toe straps has enough stiffness to sit upright while it tends to flop around with Tomity's method. I tried shaping the welded-on bracket to have a narrow portion that holds the strap in place better, which helps, but isn't perfect. It's certainly an improvement over the toe clip method, which was an improvement over a piece of plumber's strap like we used to use.

    If your feet are wide, you may really prefer the 7400's since the SPD-R's are rather narrow and you'll feel the straps on the sides of your feet. Plus, the big problem with SPD-R's is that you can't find many shoes with the cleat drilling any longer -- that's actually the biggest thing that keeps me going with 7400's (since they work with Look pattern drillings).

    By the way, the prices on PD-7701 SPD-R pedals have more than doubled in the past year. For track, you do just fine with PD-7700's, which the road crowd detest but give superb retention. You can get them in very clean to new condition for $35-60, while 7701's are going for $125 and up. It's a much better deal than 7400's -- a NOS pair just sold (without cleats) on eBay for $255, and Business Cycles is now selling them for $289. I stocked up two years ago when they were $44 a pair. I guess there are enough track riders out there to create that much demand. Perhaps someone could come up with a decent track-dedicated pedal.

    Not many people mention it, but the MKS Exa pedal is a solution to look at. It has a lock-in cleat (actuated by a lever on the pedal) but the cleat mounts on Look-pattern drillings. It's nicely done. You still want to use it with straps, but it's worth a look.

    I've been unimpressed by the Speedplay track pedals. The tension isn't really higher -- it's just that the clip-out points on the rotation have a steep transition. If you feel it and stop rotating, that's fine. But it makes for very sudden clip-outs and then it's all over. Plus, enough riders (myself included) who pronate or otherwise rock inwards on their pedals end up scoring the axle with the edge of the cleat. I'm not sure I like the idea of grooving such a highly stressed piece of metal on the bike.

  5. #5
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    i want to start doing track racing this season, but all i have are eggbeaters and mountain shoes. i dont really have the money for new shoes and new pedals, especially since this whole track thing is kind of an experiment. do i only have to worry about pedals if im relatively serious about track racing, or would it be a good idea to look at some cheaper shoe/pedal combos?

  6. #6
    Back in the Sooner State
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    What about Campy pedals? I run them on the road and have heard great things about them not letting go of the cleat.

  7. #7
    Back to being a Clyde.... ZappCatt's Avatar
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    Use your current pedals, they will be fine.

  8. #8
    R900Campagnolo marcelinyc's Avatar
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    bigbiker. i used eggbitters my first season and they were fine. Make sure your cleats arent worn.
    (spdsl is way better)

  9. #9
    Butchya can't eat just 1 ***Butch***'s Avatar
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    Thanks for all the good info guys. I've gone with the SPD-SLs. They seem like they'll do fine. Thanks again for your time and knowledge.
    "The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision." ~Lynn Lavner

  10. #10
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    i also thank you. i aprecciate the info.

  11. #11
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    <i>
    1. Old school Dura-Ace 7400s are the best pedal hands down......if you can find them.</i>

    are those the ones that have the bearings and what not in the threaded part of the axle?

  12. #12
    Senior Member CafeRacer's Avatar
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  13. #13
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    I ran the Shimano 7400s, I tried them once, but was a little unnerved by how solid they feel. With the cleat and the straps you are locked in incredibly tight and are definetely not going to pull out. I was doing a lot of riding on the street at the time and went with eggbeaters. That said, the 7400s are the biggity-bam for the track when you don't want to worry about clipping out, plus they are comfortable too. But anything outside the drome, the cleats and straps are overkill on 'em.

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