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Pedal options

Old 06-20-11, 12:11 PM
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Pedal options

I'm thinking about clipless pedals and was trying to figure out the brands/models. My first thought was Shimano 105 (based mostly on the rep of the brand/model line), but a bunch of reviews I've seen suggest the Speedplay instead, saying they have more float. An experienced friend suggested I save my money and just get the Nasbar branded ones, as they are perfectly serviceable.

I know that when I pedal, I don't have perfect form - my knees tend to go outboard some at the top of the stroke, and back in at the bottom. Would float help keep my knees from loading up (a major concern for me)?

The other factor is weight - I'm almost 300lbs, are there any pedals I should stay away from weight-wise?

Thanks,
Juliean.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:17 PM
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I just bought my first pair of Shimano Sp pedals, and I will tell you how they are for a first timer in a few days. As of now I have never used clipless, and have only used either platform, or toe clips. So in a few days, I can tell you from a 100% fresh perspective on how good or bad these pedals are, if you want. Just add me as a friend and I will PM you what I think. This is just in case I can't find this thread again.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:19 PM
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"The other factor is weight - I'm almost 300lbs, are there any pedals I should stay away from weight-wise?"

Stay away from clip in or toe clips since you need full range of foot motion to be safe on a bike.

Any platform pedal on this page would serve you well at your current weight.

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/pedals.html

I have the rubber block pedals on my bike and they feel just right dampening road vibes under foot while ride!!!
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Old 06-20-11, 12:21 PM
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First decide what kind of shoes (road or mountain) then pick the pedals. I have Shimano SPD (mountain & commuting) and SPD-SL (road) and like them both. I've bought several pairs of off-brand pedals from various manufacturers. They are all in a box in the garage. IMHO, stick with the brand names, they really do work better.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:28 PM
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After 30 years of using a couple of different models of Looks, I just got a pair of Nashbar Ventoux Mag 2 pedals for the new Cannondale. They had decent reviews and were condiderably less expensive, even compared to Shimano 105, which would have matched the bike's other components. When the bike comes home in a few weeks, I'll have a chance to try them and see if I can tell a difference.

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Old 06-20-11, 12:35 PM
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I hate floating pedals, so I only consider fixed, so my advice may or may not be helpful. I have Shimano 105 on my bikes, and I like them, except they make a lot of noise. I tried for weeks to track down the source, and turns out there is a little plastic insert in the middle of the pedal. When that gets worn, the cleats touching it make a horrible popping and cracking sound on each pedal stroke. Supposedly you can replace that piece, but I can't find them anywhere.

I've heard nothing but good things about Speedplay, and now that they have a zero float model, I am seriously considering trying them.

At 300#, stay away from any of the light weight titanium or carbon pedals. Look at the low end of the range. The more expensive ones are lighter, so they use lighter materials. The performance is usually the same throughout the line though.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:44 PM
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I'm a big fan of shoes that I can actually walk it. I like Shimano's SPD mountain bike pedal system. I like Shimano's PD-M520 pedals. They're cheap (~$30-35 if you shop around), reliable, easy to clip into, and have adjustable release tension and a shallow release angle (which is great for clipless newbies). I used to think that I needed tons of float to keep my knees happy. Turns out that minimal float is fine... as long as my cleats are properly positioned.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:48 PM
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for a first clipless pedal, I would probably recommend going with the SPD or Time style pedals in a walkable shoe as sstorkel says. I've used both, and liked the Time pedal slightly better because it had more float.

I just went to Speedplay because of knee problems. At somepoint in the last 15 years my knees need a bigger range of motion. While I like the speedplay pedals, my research is the opposite of of IAmCosmo - there are a number of potential issues with the pedals that I'll continue to monitor (lubing cleats, greasing pedals, ensuring screws don't drop out of the cleat, etc.). But for now, happiness.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:00 PM
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The first question is whether you need road or mountain pedals, and you mostly answer that by figuring out how much you'll be walking from the point when you put the shoes on, until you take them off.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:16 PM
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I have had good luck with what I think is a little known pedal: Look Graphite mtb pedals. They are double sided, and the float is in the cleat, and not the pedal. No adjustment or pressure screw on the pedal, and they come with two sets of cleats (15 and 20 degree if I remember correctly). No maintenance other than checking cleat screws, and they use mountain shoes so easy to walk. Down side is that they are not interchangeable with anything.

Once you get clipless, best thing for your knees is to check seat forward or back position. In forward crank position (crank arms parallel to ground), knee should be slightly behind pedal spindle axis. I've heard 0 to .5". Once its set, the cleats keep you in the same spot every time.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:31 PM
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Will you need shims? If your knees stick out and your feet land at an angle to your existing pedals, you may need pedal shims so they can keep that angle.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:35 PM
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Like others have mentioned, SPDs are a great place to start. Walkable shoes, double-sided is great for a beginner, easy-in/easy-out clipping with adjustable tension, decent float, inexpensive, extremely sturdy since they're designed for mountain biking and all the abuse that entails.

I've been using SPDs quite happily, I think they're a great place to start for a clipless beginner.
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Old 06-20-11, 04:25 PM
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Ok, just to clarify a few points - I've always biked with clips - just small toe clips (no strap) on my old hybrid, full clips (with strap) on my "new" road bike. This is for the road bike. I have no problems with clips, just never done the clipless thing...

As to MTB vs Road shoes - not really sure. Yeah, I'd like to be able to walk after/before riding - I guess that means MTB pedals/shoes. Is there a downside to MTB? Probably some weight, but is it significant?

I've tried bike shoes that were presumably road shoes (Shimano All Around Sport Shoe SH-R077) with no cleats installed to use with the clips, and they were very light and comfortable, but I couldn't keep my feet on the pedal even with the strap tightened down - they had so little traction that my foot slid right off the pedal (mostly into the gap between the front of the clip and the strap on one side).
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Old 06-20-11, 04:35 PM
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I have a pair of mountain/SPD pedals that weigh less than a lot of road pedals. It depends which particular ones you get. Mine are one-sided, which helps keep the grams away. That isn't why I got them, but I was pleasantly surprised when I found that out.

The main downside to mountain pedals is they're smaller, and the cleat is smaller, so your point of meaningful contact is smaller. People tend to get "hot spots" as a result: areas on the bottoms of their feet, around where it makes contact with the pedal, that can get downright painful. Stiffer shoes can solve this, however. Carbon soled mountain shoes are very comfortable, and the only real downside I can see vs a (very expensive) road system is that you can't put a power meter into them.

I like A-520 pedals a lot:

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Old 06-20-11, 08:51 PM
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I use Shimano 105 which are spd-sl. I started with spd as that is what came on my bike when new. I like the 105's much more than the originals. As for weight, I don't think it is an issue as I'm 340 now abd have been using them since I was about 360.

Also I bought them via ebay for less than 1/2 of what they are going retail.
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Old 06-20-11, 09:18 PM
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I use Candys. Super simple design, no tension screw to mess with, light and the mtb shoes are comfortable for walking around.
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Old 06-20-11, 09:33 PM
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I've used a number of different pedals over the years... had some crummy diadora pedals for a while, then look, then time (didn't care for either one, but this was in the 90s) then I got some speedplay X2s because my knees are shot and aaaaaaahhhhhhh. I just replaced the X2s with some Light Actions speedplays and I think I liked my older ones better, but they're both handy for letting your feet rotate around, if that's what you need.

The downside is the cleats are a PITA to walk in. I go barefoot if I have to walk. And of course, they're *#&$^ expensive.
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Old 06-20-11, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
I use Candys. Super simple design, no tension screw to mess with, light and the mtb shoes are comfortable for walking around.
The reason I switched away from Crank Brothers pedals was the difficulty of release. With the Candy, Eggbeater, etc. you have to twist your heel 15 or 20 degrees before the pedal releases. With Shimano SPD pedals, I believe the release angle is something like 6 or 8 degrees. The release angle, combined with the adjustable release tension, makes SPD pedals perfect for someone who has never used clipless, IMHO.
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Old 06-21-11, 08:51 AM
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I went opposite to you. I started off w/ SPDs and switched to Candys b/c of the extra float and the lack of a tension screw. Once the cleat wears a little, it was easy to accidentally unclip by pulling up. You either had to tighten the screw or replace the cleat. If you pull up w/ Candys, they lock in tighter so less accidental unclippings. Accidental unclipping is not usually a big deal unless you're accelerating/sprinting or doing a fixed gear skid, both of which I was doing when accidentally unclipping from SPDs.
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Old 06-21-11, 10:05 AM
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For a first try at clip/cleat pedals I would agree with the idea of the SPD/platform pedals like these. I prefer the SPD-SL (Shiman 105's are what I am using) but I think they take a little more commitment than the plain SPD. You will have a more versatile shoe with the MTB type pedals. The Speedplay/SPD-SL/Look type cleats make walking much more of an adventure.
One more benefit to the SPD/platform combo pedals is it MIGHT allow Nightshade to sleep at night knowing that at least PART of your pedal is not determined to kill you!

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Old 06-21-11, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by DTSCDS
One more benefit to the SPD/platform combo pedals is it MIGHT allow Nightshade to sleep at night knowing that at least PART of your pedal is not determined to kill you!
Debating aside.......Over time how many cyclist have been hurt, suffered broken bones or death due to clip in's or toe clips?? Many I can assure you.

As long as a rider is tethered to his bike any fall will generate injury due to the clips if the rider can't get free of the bike to roll away from the bike.

Clip in's or toe clips increase the chance of injury by a factor of 100% in real world riding.

If you race cycles then clip in's & toe clips are required to compete but racing by it's very nature is dangerous. Clip in's & toe clips have no place in street riding. No place at all...........
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

Last edited by Nightshade; 06-21-11 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
Once the cleat wears a little, it was easy to accidentally unclip by pulling up.
I can generate 1000w of power during an all-out sprint. I've never managed to pull loose from my SPD pedals when using the standard SH51 cleat. I tighten the tension adjustment screw about once a year.

Accidental release may be more likely with the SH56 "multi-release" cleat. They can be great for beginners who have trouble getting the standard SH51 cleat to release, but I wouldn't recommend them for people who like to pull up with a lot of force...
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Old 06-21-11, 11:31 AM
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I have to say that with all due respect I disagree completely with Nightshade on this topic.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
I can generate 1000w of power during an all-out sprint. I've never managed to pull loose from my SPD pedals when using the standard SH51 cleat. I tighten the tension adjustment screw about once a year.

Accidental release may be more likely with the SH56 "multi-release" cleat. They can be great for beginners who have trouble getting the standard SH51 cleat to release, but I wouldn't recommend them for people who like to pull up with a lot of force...
I used the multi release cleat because I was commuting with lots of clip in/outs and I liked the float. I also had trouble clearing mud from SPDs and rode 1/2 a cross race w/o being clipped in. You like your pedals and I like mine. Both of us are right and neither of us are the OP so what works for him might be Look Keo or Time ATAC and nothing we suggest.

And yeah, I don't know where Nightshade got his numbers from, but I don't agree w/ his opinion.
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Old 06-21-11, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CraigB
I have to say that with all due respect I disagree completely with Nightshade on this topic.

Originally Posted by jyossarian
And yeah, I don't know where Nightshade got his numbers from, but I don't agree w/ his opinion.
I am not sure why Nightshade is so anti-clipless and I also disagree completely.

I use double sided SPD pedals on my mountain bike when riding trails and SPD-SL (shimano 105s) when on my road bike. I have had a number of impressive bails while riding fairly technical trails and never had even minor injuries due to the pedals. It is nice to have double sided cleats if you are going to be clipping in and out often as it is a bit quicker.
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