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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 02-09-14, 08:50 AM   #1
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Time Atac or Shimano mountain bike cleats?

I know it's getting to the end of winter(sort of), but I'm going to get some pedals for my road bike. What pedal/cleat combo works best to keep snow from clogging up? What style is the easiest to disengage? This will be for my commuter bike.
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Old 02-09-14, 04:13 PM   #2
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I'll cast my vote for Speedplay Frogs. I ride them in summer, as well as with my winter Lake boots. They are super-easy to both engage and release, but I especially like their 'free float', which eliminates that centering spring- they are very nice to my knees, which are doing better since I made the switch a few years ago. Every few rides I give them a quick squirt of Tri-Flow to ensure easy entry and release. If the snow is wet and clumpy, you pretty much have to clean off any cleat, so I don't think any brand has much of an edge in that department.
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Old 02-10-14, 09:24 AM   #3
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I think an open design is what's needed to shed snow/ice (Eggbeaters, Mallets, etc..)

I have had great success w/Time ATACs & Look Quartz. (have a set of Mallets that will replace the Quartz when they get bite the dust)
Not so much luck w/Shimano SPDs - they just turn into a clump of ice.
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Old 02-10-14, 10:39 AM   #4
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All I've used is Shimano SPD and I admit they suck in the winter. Depending on the shoe and the tread around the cleat they just clog up way too easily so engagement is the problem not disengagement. They are usable for sure, but they are frustrating. The rest of the year I'm fine with them. My family and I have many bikes and pedals and shoes, all SPD, and I am the mechanical so I like that fact that everything is interchangeable.

I'm also the only winter rider in the family so I've toyed with the idea of going to Time or Crank brothers for winter, I just haven't yet. When the right deal comes along I'll probably grab a set.

Last edited by modernjess; 02-11-14 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 02-11-14, 03:44 AM   #5
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Any particular model of the Atac?
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Old 02-11-14, 07:39 PM   #6
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Time clears out crud on your shoes easier .. aliums were the price leader .

their big platform like ones will give some surface to hold your
feet when not clipped in .. DH4

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-27-14 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 02-12-14, 12:32 PM   #7
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I ride SPD and have no problems with ice and snow. First, my feet are not on the ground that much and second, I just smack my cleat on the pedal a few times and then stomp down hard.

I like SPD because they are ubiquitous and cheap.
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Old 02-12-14, 02:16 PM   #8
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I've used the SPDs for four winters and not had difficulties. ???
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Old 02-12-14, 07:51 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by landdnl View Post
Any particular model of the Atac?
Cheapest ones you can find. They all work great, easy to clip into with the pedal covered in snow and the shoe/cleat packed with snow. I have 5 sets, 2 are the old plastic body ones that are about 15 years old. Fantastic pedals. Easy to take apart and rebuild if necessary. I have 2 sets of the aliums. Not as good as the older ones, but still very nice. Also have the mtb carbon ones. They are excellent, but pricey. Only reason I bought them was they were a demo set and $100 off.

iMO spds suck in muddy/snowy conditions.
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Old 02-12-14, 11:05 PM   #10
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I recommend a lot of crank bros mallet 1' for entry level snow riders. I used to ride crank bros, but switched to time atac for reliability. I put a huge amount of miles on my stuff. Basically the mallet and the time atac I now run have a nice double sided platform you can stand on without clipping in in a pinch, but the key thing is the two rail design they both use. The round bars push out snow and ice pretty well as they engage.

I think the problem with the shimano is they have flat contact surfaces. It occurs to me this is not a mandatory part of the shimano design and there might be some SPD compatible versions with angled contact points.

Very experienced SPD riders seem to have a lot less problems. It appears to me they clear the snow from around the cleat by smacking it on the pedal. But I have time and time again seen people swearing at either not being able to clip into their SPD's or swearing when they unexpectedly pop out and smack themselves in the shins.
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Old 03-23-14, 06:39 PM   #11
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I did research several years ago, and found that there were a fair number of complaints about SPD's getting jammed up with ice, but none with Time Atacs and the Crank Brothers. Problem with Crank Brothers was poor quality and reliability (though they've redesigned them since them).

Since I haven't been riding with spd's, I don't have any experience with them, but Time Atacs have always worked reliably for winter riding.

These are the specific ones I own (Time ROC ATAC Carbon Pedals) -

But you should be able to buy pretty much any pair, they're all basically the same as far as I know.
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Old 03-23-14, 07:33 PM   #12
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I've only used SPD's when dealing with the snow.
I prefer routes that don't have any snow but sometimes
I end up walking a over a few feet of the white stuff. If I
don't tap my cleats; the snow makes it hard to clip-in.

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Old 03-26-14, 09:27 AM   #13
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I use SPD's and they ice up all the time. I had to fight with them on yesterday's ride more than usual due to the hilly terrain and the warmer temperature (30F) making the snow sticky. That aside, I still love them since they release so much faster than the Eggbeaters I had previously, which is critical on icy trails.

Last edited by hikerinmaine; 03-26-14 at 09:48 AM.
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