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SPD-SL: Does pedal quality matter?

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Old 05-28-18, 05:35 PM
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spectastic
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SPD-SL: Does pedal quality matter?

tried looking for the answers and asking on other subforums, so i defer to the wisdom of the racers.

I'm building a new bike, and currently contemplating on the pedals. i've always used shimano r540 because they're the cheapest option, seem to function just the same as the others, and i don't worry about scraping them on the pavement. but i'm considering upgrading to shimano 5800 pedals. I know a lot of you might use ultegra or dura ace, but I'm trying to keep myself grounded. 99% of the world still thinks $200 is a good budget for a whole bicycle, guys, much less a pair of pedals... there are 2 things different about the 5800 pedals compared to the basic r540, and I'm trying to decide if they're worth it.

1. larger platform
is there a noticeable difference in pedaling efficiency going from r540 pedals to the larger platforms on the 5800 (and I believe the 5800 through dura ace use the same shaped platforms??)??
does the larger platform make clipping in much easier? like a lot easier?

2. different ball bearing assembly
this is the main factor for me. every r540 i've had has developed play after 1 season, which I can fix, but I'm lazy.. going from 5700 to 5800, shimano started to use the bearing assembly design used in previous dura ace. are these supposed to last a lot longer? if so, how much longer?

thanks
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Old 05-28-18, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
tried looking for the answers and asking on other subforums, so i defer to the wisdom of the racers.

I'm building a new bike, and currently contemplating on the pedals. i've always used shimano r540 because they're the cheapest option, seem to function just the same as the others, and i don't worry about scraping them on the pavement. but i'm considering upgrading to shimano 5800 pedals. I know a lot of you might use ultegra or dura ace, but I'm trying to keep myself grounded. 99% of the world still thinks $200 is a good budget for a whole bicycle, guys, much less a pair of pedals... there are 2 things different about the 5800 pedals compared to the basic r540, and I'm trying to decide if they're worth it.

1. larger platform
is there a noticeable difference in pedaling efficiency going from r540 pedals to the larger platforms on the 5800 (and I believe the 5800 through dura ace use the same shaped platforms??)??
does the larger platform make clipping in much easier? like a lot easier?

2. different ball bearing assembly
this is the main factor for me. every r540 i've had has developed play after 1 season, which I can fix, but I'm lazy.. going from 5700 to 5800, shimano started to use the bearing assembly design used in previous dura ace. are these supposed to last a lot longer? if so, how much longer?

thanks
I have been using whatever was the cheapest Shimano SPD-SL at the time for about 9-10 years. It still performs flawlessly. Actually, I've been using the same shoes for the whole time, too...

The other ones are just lighter.

I do want some power meter pedals, though....
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Old 05-29-18, 02:13 PM
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I always go with Ultegra. I had a pair of 6600 pedals. They never developed play but one day one of them just gave out... after 10 years and 50K+ miles.
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Old 05-30-18, 07:25 PM
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carbon ultegra spd-sl is where it's at for longevity, price, performance triangle for me
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Old 06-04-18, 05:59 AM
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I just threw my r540 pedals on my trainer bike because both sets of 105 pedals I have are on my road/tri bikes. I remembered what I hated about them, the little plastic plate in the middle gets a dent in it and then my shoe feels loose in he pedal - it drives me crazy. I bought replacement plastic plates (that quickly dented again) but it's easier to just buy better pedals.

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Old 06-28-18, 02:59 PM
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I just recently switched from spd to spd-sl. Bought r540 for one bike and r-8000 for another. So far they both seem to work well, but the r-8000 “feel” better. I know that’s very subjective, but I’m glad I got the Ultegra pedals for the “good” bike.
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Old 06-30-18, 01:20 AM
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It's all about consistency from pedal to pedal, and feel of the pedals when standing. Same applies to their MTB pedals.
  • On the R540s, you're on a plastic platform
  • On the 105 (5800), you're on a screwed-on, stamped metal platform
  • On the Ultegras (8000), you're on a machined metal platform
There of course differences in the bearings as well. At under $100, I'll go with Ultegras every time.
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Old 06-30-18, 12:11 PM
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The pedal systems are really nice across the board. Having to constantly work on higher end bikes I see a ton of pedals and pedal issues and we just don't have issues with Shimano SPD-SL pedals as much as the other brands. I switched to them from a long history of just about everything else many years ago. I started with the cheap end (you mentioned 540 - they probably were) and moved it up. Ended up with the last series of all metal Ultegras. Bought the carbon DA ones when they first came out. Bought a used set of carbon Ultegras like last year as well. I still ride those DA's to this day. They are like brand new. I had to pull and service one as I thought I was having a momentary bearing issue - I wasn't. not only was I not but the bearings were basically brand new as well. They are so well designed and the quality of the assembly is just so far superior to any other pedal system on the market.

Those pedals have already outlasted multiple bikes and will continue. I have the Ultegras on a backup bike and the metal Ultegras still being used on the track bike. The old cheap ones - my son has them but hates using them so we switched to something easier for him.

I personally think the upgrade to at least Ultegra level is completely worth it. Buying them from the UK you will spend less than we do at wholesale level so definitely worth it. It's nice to never have to even think of your pedals again. They are definitely a component that should never have any thought put into them after buying them. IMHO
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Old 07-21-18, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
The pedal systems are really nice across the board. Having to constantly work on higher end bikes I see a ton of pedals and pedal issues and we just don't have issues with Shimano SPD-SL pedals as much as the other brands. I switched to them from a long history of just about everything else many years ago. I started with the cheap end (you mentioned 540 - they probably were) and moved it up. Ended up with the last series of all metal Ultegras. Bought the carbon DA ones when they first came out. Bought a used set of carbon Ultegras like last year as well. I still ride those DA's to this day. They are like brand new. I had to pull and service one as I thought I was having a momentary bearing issue - I wasn't. not only was I not but the bearings were basically brand new as well. They are so well designed and the quality of the assembly is just so far superior to any other pedal system on the market.

Those pedals have already outlasted multiple bikes and will continue. I have the Ultegras on a backup bike and the metal Ultegras still being used on the track bike. The old cheap ones - my son has them but hates using them so we switched to something easier for him.

I personally think the upgrade to at least Ultegra level is completely worth it. Buying them from the UK you will spend less than we do at wholesale level so definitely worth it. It's nice to never have to even think of your pedals again. They are definitely a component that should never have any thought put into them after buying them. IMHO
thanks for the feedback guys

i went ahead and got the 5800 pedals. they have the newer bearing assembly that only requires a 17 mm wrench to service. I just finished servicing a r540 and a 5800, which i bought used, and had some play in the right pedal axle. the 5800 was much easier to service. the plastic thing that goes on the older bearing assembly flexes a lot, so you can't really get a solid grip unless you have that fancy wrench that goes with it, which i didn't. furthermore, the extra grease came out much easier on the 5800, so it was super easy to tighten, knowing that there's no significant air pocket in the 5800 pedals. with the r540 pedals, you're not really sure if the pedal cage is screwed on all the way, because of the way the plastic adapter flexes, but with the 4 sided wrench, that wouldn't be an issue.

as for the platform, I have not found it to be any superior than my r540s, but I'm pretty hard headed when it comes to noticing difference in bike stuff. if it works, it works.. that said, i'm somewhat inclined to continue using the r540s, because racing involves pedal strikes, and all my older pedals look like ****.. i hate to do that to these nice 5800 pedals..
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Old 07-21-18, 08:29 PM
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I have two sets of 105 pedals, one is 4 yrs old, one set came with my 2008 bike I bought used so may be original. I also have a set of dura ace pedals about 18 months old. I can't tell much difference when I ride. I think the 105s balance slightly differently from the DA which I sometimes notice clipping in. All of them are mechanically flawless so far with about 32,000 miles collectively. No play, perfectly smooth. I've never touched them. Excellent pedals.
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