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Thread: track pedals

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    Junior Member Woolly Mammoth's Avatar
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    track pedals

    I know that unless you are a elite track guy that you just use regular road pedals on the track bike. But is there a particular brand most guys use? The reason I ask, is because I use Speedplay. I also notice they have a special track pedal. Does anyone know much about them?

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    speedplay track

    The Zero Track Sprint Special is identical to the Zero Stainless, but has extra-stiff release tension for maximum security.

    http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?f...home.zerospecs

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    I'm currently using Shimano SPD-SL pedals. I have been having some knee issues and have thought about giving the Speedplays a go.
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    Junior Member Woolly Mammoth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soil_Sampler View Post
    The Zero Track Sprint Special is identical to the Zero Stainless, but has extra-stiff release tension for maximum security.

    http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?f...home.zerospecs

    If I use the same shoe/cleat with my track bike and track special speedplay as I do with my road bike, will it make any difference, since the spring is in the cleat?

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woolly Mammoth View Post
    If I use the same shoe/cleat with my track bike and track special speedplay as I do with my road bike, will it make any difference, since the spring is in the cleat?
    On the pedal body, there is a ramp that the spring travels during its release. The angle of the ramp of the "Track" pedals is steeper, making the release tension harder.

    Imagine driving your car over a curb. The taller the curb, the more force you'll need to roll over it. Same concept.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pantani98 View Post
    I'm currently using Shimano SPD-SL pedals. I have been having some knee issues and have thought about giving the Speedplays a go.
    Actually, if you have knee problems, then I'd sugges that you go with SPD-SL red cleats (zero float). Set it right then keep it there.

    Speedplay Zeros are crazy adjustable. For road riders who ride 2 to 4+ hours at a time, the flexibility is nice. But, track events are short.

    But, even some roadies use zero-float cleats:



    ...and I'd guess that most most track sprinters do as well.



    (If you look closely you can see the red rubber "pontoon")

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    (sorry for the multiple posts)

    If you are a speedplay fan, you can set the Speedplay Zeros to zero float. Maybe that's how they got the name.

    You simply tighten the adjustment screws in the cleat till they don't allow any float in either direction and your foot is in your desired alignment angle.

    It's very hard to pull out of speedplay pedals vertically. The only way is if the screws in the pedal or cleat somehow come loose. You can pull out of LOOK and Shimano SPD-SL pedals vertically as the clasp will release under stronger riders.

    BUT...the bigger platform of LOOK and Shimano pedals is preferred by sprinters during the standing start as the pedal is under much more of the foot that with the "lolipop" of the Speedplay pedals. Strong sprinters solve the pull-out problem by affixing straps. So you get the big platform and the ultra-secure straps. Your foot ain't moving!

    I raced my first month on Shimano pedals and pulled out vertically on my first really hard effort. That week I switched to Speedplay and never pulled out. Then I got a different coach who put me back on Shimano pedals for the feel of the bigger platform. I didn't believe that it was as big a difference as she'd expressed. But I did it anyway. She was right.

    The difference is like balancing the balls of your feet on the 2" edge of a 2x4 and the 4" edge. The 4" edge feels MUCH more secure when laying down force.
    Last edited by carleton; 10-18-13 at 12:28 AM.

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    Junior Member Woolly Mammoth's Avatar
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    Thanks for the answers, you are like a walking encyclopedia, or maybe a rolling one.

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    Yeah, from what I've seen, Speedplays are the pedal of choice for higher-level enduros; most serious sprinters I see have a strap attached. And some not-too-serious sprinters, too, cause there's some cachet to using them. As Carleton said, the need seems to be greater for standing starts than for rolling jumps.

    I'm a "rock what you got" kind of rider, and so use Look Keos. If I remember correctly, though, the ones on my track bike are the "sprint" model which have a stronger spring tension. I never pulled out in a race, sprint, jump, or anything - but before I put the "sprint" model on I pulled out in some powerful (but practice) madison exchanges (going from riding to relief).
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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    The difference is like balancing the balls of your feet on the 2" edge of a 2x4 and the 4" edge. The 4" edge feels MUCH more secure when laying down force.
    Does it really work like that?

    Once the cleat is engaged- it firmly becomes part of the pedal. Doesn't the cleat footprint, which are all similar size as dictated by standard hole pattern, become the "Platform"?

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    Does it really work like that?

    Once the cleat is engaged- it firmly becomes part of the pedal. Doesn't the cleat footprint, which are all similar size as dictated by standard hole pattern, become the "Platform"?
    In theory, yes. But, the cleat essentially becomes an extension of the shoe...which still engages with the narrow pedal. You can still feel the cleat platform rolling on the more narrow pedal body.

    Another way to look at it is to compare dramatically different cleat/pedal systems:

    SPD-SL (big cleat, big pedal body)
    LOOK Keo Max (big cleat, big pedal body)
    old school Shimano DA/600 (big cleat, big pedal body)
    Speedplay Zero (big cleat, small pedal body)
    Time ATAC (small cleat, big pedal body)
    MTB style SPD (small cleat, small pedal body)
    Eggbeater (small cleat, small pedal body)

    I've used all of these (and more) on various bikes and the ones with the big cleat / big pedal body felt much better than the others for standing starts.

    With the SPD-SL, the area where force is applied is this silver plate here with the 2 screws. It's replaceable after lots of wear and tear. Early SPD-SL pedals like PD-7750 (i.e. the "Lance pedals") had plastic there which would wear out very quickly and then allow for undesired vertical float:



    Notice how it spans the entire width of the pedal...which spans almost the entire width of the shoe:



    Now compare that coverage to the area of contact between the foot and pedal body of the Speedplay:



    This is only rougly 2/3 of the width of the foot. You can feel the difference.
    Last edited by carleton; 10-19-13 at 03:58 AM.

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    (so many posts...sorry)

    I don't want newer riders thinking that Speedplay Zeros are bad for track. THEY ARE GREAT FOR TRACK!

    What I wrote above only pertains to the preferences of many stronger track sprinters who do a lot of standing starts. BUT there are/were even some sprinters like Steve Hill (elite national champ and masters world champ) who used Speedplay Zero Track Specials...without straps.

    Ther are LOTS of pedals that I would advise against using on the track (SPD, Eggbeaters, any MTB pedals in general, older LOOK pedals, Speedplay light-action, etc...) But, not Speedplay Zeros.

    The above writing is arguing about the finer points of which pedal may be better suited for a rigorous standing start in events like the Standing 500M or Kilo.

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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Notice how it spans the entire width of the pedal...which spans almost the entire width of the shoe:

    Now compare that coverage to the area of contact between the foot and pedal body of the Speedplay:

    This is only rougly 2/3 of the width of the foot. You can feel the difference.

    obviously when you look from the bottom- the Shimano pedal appears to give a bigger platform. But all the force is transferred through the cleat. the top of the pedal surface on a speedplay is not a load bearing surface. the cleat engages around the outer edge of the pedal. the cleat becomes the "platform"

    another example of this is the MKS Exa- which if you showed a shot from the bottom would appear to be a gigantic platform- but since the only place the rider actually contacts the pedal surface is through the cleat- its the same as any other "look" compatible pedal.

    Look 3-hole drillings are all the same- with the triangle formed by the 3 bolts making up the contact point, despite the apparent differences in cleat size between say the Shimano Cleat (large) and the relatively small cleat of a pedal like the MKS Exa.. id say they all transfer force pretty much the same.

    i know that Speedplay is not 3-hole Look, but it is at least as big a contact format... possibly bigger

    obviously- mountain bike pedals with their tiny cleats would be different..
    Last edited by Quinn8it; 10-19-13 at 11:14 AM. Reason: clarity

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    Elitist carleton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    obviously when you look from the bottom- the Shimano pedal appears to give a bigger platform. But all the force is transferred through the cleat. the top of the pedal surface on a speedplay is not a load bearing surface. the cleat engages around the outer edge of the pedal. the cleat becomes the "platform"

    another example of this is the MKS Exa- which if you showed a shot from the bottom would appear to be a gigantic platform- but since the only place the rider actually contacts the pedal surface is through the cleat- its the same as any other "look" compatible pedal.

    Look 3-hole drillings are all the same- with the triangle formed by the 3 bolts making up the contact point, despite the apparent differences in cleat size between say the Shimano Cleat (large) and the relatively small cleat of a pedal like the MKS Exa.. id say they all transfer force pretty much the same.

    i know that Speedplay is not 3-hole Look, but it is at least as big a contact format... possibly bigger

    obviously- mountain bike pedals with their tiny cleats would be different..
    I'm talking about the size of the contact patch of the cleat and the pedal body.

    The cleat is an extension of the shoe in both Speedplay and SBD-SL/LOOK systems. Just because the Speedplay cleat is big, doesn't mean that the vertical forces from the leg go through the entire length/width of the cleat. They only go through the middle circle of the cleat, the contact patch. In SPD-SL/LOOK the contact patch is a bar the width of the pedal (which is almost the entire width of the foot).

    I'm familiar with the MKS Exa, but I've never used them, so I can't comment on how they would compare.

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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carleton View Post
    Just because the Speedplay cleat is big, doesn't mean that the vertical forces from the leg go through the entire length/width of the cleat. They only go through the middle circle of the cleat, the contact patch.
    The Shoe does not actually touch the pedal on speedplay(or any other pedal we've discussed). The Speedplay Cleat grips the pedal around its outside. there is no vertical pressure between "the middle circle of the cleat" and the foot. I would say- this design is as likely to transfer force vertically around the outside perimeter of that circle as it is the inside..

    ie- the cleat is the platform (which by the way is 25% bigger on speedplay Vs Shimano/Look)

    none of this even takes into account the high quality structure of most modern cycling shoes- which obviously would negate this even more.

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    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    The Shoe does not actually touch the pedal on speedplay(or any other pedal we've discussed). The Speedplay Cleat grips the pedal around its outside. there is no vertical pressure between "the middle circle of the cleat" and the foot. I would say- this design is as likely to transfer force vertically around the outside perimeter of that circle as it is the inside..

    ie- the cleat is the platform (which by the way is 25% bigger on speedplay Vs Shimano/Look)

    none of this even takes into account the high quality structure of most modern cycling shoes- which obviously would negate this even more.
    I'm not sure I agree with you, but even if I do, I suspect it's harder to mount straps on speedplays, which is going to make them less popular with sprinters.

    Additionally, and this is true of a lot of things, belief is a lot more important than fact most of the time. Unless you're the type of person who's convinced by studies, they matter less than what you or your coach or whoever you respect convinces you. If somebody says they want to use a piece of equipment because it feels better, and it isn't something like refusing to use aerobars in a pursuit that's obviously making you slower, great. Use the crap out of it.
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    JMR
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    I switched to Look Keo Max pedals a little while ago (from Time RXS) after a pedal release in a Keirin threw me over the bars at just shy of 65kph.

    The Look pedals are definately a better sprinters pedal, but in the last couple of weeks, as I have been doing big gear standing starts (104,106), I pulled out twice. No crashes as they were virtually as I started, but I have now put straps on as well.

    It is annoying getting in and out of them (especially for getting on rollers), but I prefer that than losing a lot of skin (and smashing up my gear) again.

    I personally would steer clear of Speedplay pedals for track, but if you are not doing standing starts/sprints, they should be OK.

    JMR

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    Brown Bear, Sqrl Hunter Jaytron's Avatar
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    How do you make an adaptor for the look keo 2 max pedals to use straps? Or did you just ziptie it?
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    JMR
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    I use little zipties.

    There is a small bar that you can see through the bottom of the pedal that the spring loads against, I put two zipties on each pedal around this and it hold the strap in a good position.

    Let me know if you don't understand what I mean and I'll take some pics for you.

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    Last edited by JMR; 10-22-13 at 12:43 AM. Reason: typo

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    *I'm no sprinter and this is an observation*
    I see guys at my local track using fabric straps like these:101309_aurora_2.jpg
    But with Look/SPDSL type pedals rather than those shown in the picture. Also seen ones where they've used two smaller fabric straps that tighten with a 'ratchet-like' action (the type you find on backpacks).

    They look easier to use than tie straps imo.
    I think there was a post a long time ago about where people attached the straps to their pedals... If I recall correctly, there were several ways to do it without hindering the cleat position.
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    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMR View Post
    I switched to Look Keo Max pedals a little while ago (from Time RXS) after a pedal release in a Keirin threw me over the bars at just shy of 65kph.

    The Look pedals are definately a better sprinters pedal, but in the last couple of weeks, as I have been doing big gear standing starts (104,106), I pulled out twice. No crashes as they were virtually as I started, but I have now put straps on as well.

    It is annoying getting in and out of them (especially for getting on rollers), but I prefer that than losing a lot of skin (and smashing up my gear) again.

    I personally would steer clear of Speedplay pedals for track, but if you are not doing standing starts/sprints, they should be OK.

    JMR
    I believe SPD-SL's are better for standing start retention. The cleat kind of interlocks with the pedal body preventing the kind of clipout that comes with forcing the spring back and slipping the tongue of the cleat out of engagement. I've seen too many problems with Speedplays on the track to even consider this option. Most around Portland use SPD-SL, sometimes with straps if they have a sprint focus.

    I went old school last year and use slotted cleats, double straps and toe clips after previously using SPD-SLs. The cleat is aluminum (this is the Exustar pedal and cleat, with MKS clips and Toshi straps) and I have ridden nothing that secures my feet better. It took some time for me to get the straps arranged right though, and you have to do some experimenting; what works for one person doesn't always work for another. I focus on sprint though; the straps tend not to work as well for mass start because your feet start going numb if they are too tight (and your feet tend to come out if the straps are too loose). For sprint, I like the feeling of the super stiff cleat and the feel of the tight straps around my foot. Gives me confidence when I accelerate on the banking.
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    Senior Member Quinn8it's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMR View Post

    It is annoying getting in and out of them (especially for getting on rollers), but I prefer that than losing a lot of skin (and smashing up my gear) again.
    i do a lot of roller work each week- and i agree its a pain with straps and not really safe. i dont mind warming up pre race with loose straps, but i remove the straps for high cadence work.
    i thread my Zip-Ties like this:
    20131022_085434.jpg
    which allows the strap to be slipped in and out easily. i use a slightly beefier grade of Zip Tie to cut down on wear from removal. I am not familiar with current Look pedals, but assume the set up with straps is similar.

    as for getting in and out- that gets easier.
    one tip that i don't think is obvious to people just starting to use straps is:
    scoop your foot into the strap as the pedal comes up from the bottom crank position. so you scoop the strap, that flips the pedal, and you step in. it becomes 2nd nature. opening the straps wide when you get out facilitates this

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    There are several effective ways to mount straps on Speedplays. Not that it makes the most sense to me, but here are summaries of how you can do it:

    1. Remove the butterfly flat-head bolt and use it to hold a looped strap of thin stainless steel that in turn holds the strap. Some people just drill a small hole in laminated toe straps and screw right through it, which doesn't sound quite right but frankly works just fine since those straps are strong and the cleat itself does most of the holding.
    2. There are a couple different aftermarket fittings made specifically to fit Speedplays -- same idea as #1 but nicely done.
    3. Get an extra set of cleats, remove the top plate (the one closest to the shoe sole) and sandwich one or two straps between that plate and the one below it. Replace screws. Install that cleat on the pedal. Then use the other side of the pedal to affix the cleat on your shoe.

    There are plenty of local track sprinters on Speedplays, simply because they are so popular. There's nothing wrong with them per se, though I also prefer other pedal designs -- the SPD-R (my favorite), SPD-SL, or the Exustar. A few world-class sprinters have used them (most notably Marty Nothstein, who was sponsored by Speedplay). You have to get used to whatever pedals you use and then will probably be fine with them. Personally I feel that zero float works best for sprinting -- you just have to get the position right. If I didn't have to deal with pressure over the top of my foot, I'd keep using traditional slotted cleats.



    Quote Originally Posted by wens View Post
    I'm not sure I agree with you, but even if I do, I suspect it's harder to mount straps on speedplays, which is going to make them less popular with sprinters.

    Additionally, and this is true of a lot of things, belief is a lot more important than fact most of the time. Unless you're the type of person who's convinced by studies, they matter less than what you or your coach or whoever you respect convinces you. If somebody says they want to use a piece of equipment because it feels better, and it isn't something like refusing to use aerobars in a pursuit that's obviously making you slower, great. Use the crap out of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Quinn8it View Post
    i do a lot of roller work each week- and i agree its a pain with straps and not really safe. i dont mind warming up pre race with loose straps, but i remove the straps for high cadence work.
    i thread my Zip-Ties like this:
    20131022_085434.jpg
    which allows the strap to be slipped in and out easily. i use a slightly beefier grade of Zip Tie to cut down on wear from removal. I am not familiar with current Look pedals, but assume the set up with straps is similar.

    as for getting in and out- that gets easier.
    one tip that i don't think is obvious to people just starting to use straps is:
    scoop your foot into the strap as the pedal comes up from the bottom crank position. so you scoop the strap, that flips the pedal, and you step in. it becomes 2nd nature. opening the straps wide when you get out facilitates this
    Those of us who grew up with straps and toe clips got used to dealing with them without a second thought. It's mostly just practice. Wheel around for an hour on the apron or the infield circle and you'll be comfortable with them. You can always flip the pedals around and slip your feet in. If you just have straps and no toe clips (the toe clips were always really just to hold the straps in place) you usually need to give a helping hand so the strap doesn't just get caught on the top of your shoe. Be sure they are plenty loose to begin with, be sure you have toe strap stops on the ends so the strap doesn't come out of the buckle, and learn to tighten them as you roll.

    As for mounting toe straps, you don't need them for roller workouts or warmups or even for some events. Zipties are ok, but fastening a loop of stainless steel (about 1/2" x 1/16" from Ace Hardware) will let you simply slip them in for a sprint workout and pull them out after. There are a variety of aluminum extrusions that various teams have used to equip pedals with straps. Check Fixed Gear Fever threads for those. Several are available for purchase.

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    JMR
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    Quote Originally Posted by 11.4 View Post
    Those of us who grew up with straps and toe clips got used to dealing with them without a second thought. It's mostly just practice. Wheel around for an hour on the apron or the infield circle and you'll be comfortable with them. You can always flip the pedals around and slip your feet in. If you just have straps and no toe clips (the toe clips were always really just to hold the straps in place) you usually need to give a helping hand so the strap doesn't just get caught on the top of your shoe. Be sure they are plenty loose to begin with, be sure you have toe strap stops on the ends so the strap doesn't come out of the buckle, and learn to tighten them as you roll.

    As for mounting toe straps, you don't need them for roller workouts or warmups or even for some events. Zipties are ok, but fastening a loop of stainless steel (about 1/2" x 1/16" from Ace Hardware) will let you simply slip them in for a sprint workout and pull them out after. There are a variety of aluminum extrusions that various teams have used to equip pedals with straps. Check Fixed Gear Fever threads for those. Several are available for purchase.
    Thanks 11.4, I'm definately new to straps so I struggle a bit...

    I'm going to have a go at making these but for my Look Keos:

    http://www.badbean.com/cyclingstuff/spd_straps.htm

    JMR

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