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All clipless pedals are not created equal

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All clipless pedals are not created equal

Old 10-02-08, 08:03 AM
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All clipless pedals are not created equal

I rode with Look pedals from 2001 through spring 2006. I got tired of being "rushed" by all the %#*ing cars behind me at red lights when I had trouble clipping in when the light changed so I could haul @$$ and get out of the way. I had Eggbeaters on my commuter and really liked the 4 sided feature. Just stomp down and go. So I switched to Quattros on my road bike. Two sided pedals with a 4 sided clip-in. I really liked them and didn't give my riding much thought until a couple of months ago. I started noticing my average speed and remembering what it was when I had Look pedals. For some reason my average speed had dropped to ~13.7 mph for a 20-25 mile ride. And a hill that used to give me a good workout had become a real obstacle this past spring and summer.
Was it because I'm a few years older? I worked on my speed but never got my average above 14 mph.
So about 3 weeks ago I went back to Look pedals and said, "F" the motorists! After this short time I've noticed my average speed has increased and the muscles that I used to feel in my legs and butt (quads and glutes), which somehow disappeared during the last 2 years, are coming back.
I guess I'll put the Quattros away until I'm too old for Look pedals.
This has truly been an eye opening experience for me.


Anyone else have similar experiences with different brands or styles of clipless pedals?
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Old 10-02-08, 08:14 AM
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I would expect, that when extracting a high percentage of performance from your equipment, that certain very small differences (angle, height, feel, shoe etc) would be noticable to many riders. Those same differences would be completely unnoticed by other riders or those who were not pushing into a high performing relm. I would expect this to be true of almost all the parts on a bicycle, even those that don't seem to matter. Somewhere, someone has a perfectly good reason why that is the "perfect" part for them.

"viva la differance"
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Old 10-02-08, 08:18 AM
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Call me dumb or call me just a newbe but I do not see where one clipless pedal can make that much of a difference over another as far as average speed. I mean do you not move you legs at the same pace no matter which pedal you use.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
Somewhere, someone has a perfectly good reason why that is the "perfect" part for them.
One of the guys (former pro racer) at the shop I work at said it's because the Look cleat is much larger than the Quattro cleat. So more power is delivered to the pedal. Maybe. Maybe not.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dguest View Post
Call me dumb or call me just a newbe but I do not see where one clipless pedal can make that much of a difference over another as far as average speed. I mean do you not move you legs at the same pace no matter which pedal you use.
That's what I thought when I made the switch to Quattros.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:33 AM
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I actually find it easier to quickly engage my Look pedals than my Crank Bros. Smartys.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
One of the guys (former pro racer) at the shop I work at said it's because the Look cleat is much larger than the Quattro cleat. So more power is delivered to the pedal. Maybe. Maybe not.
I know I am being a smart ***** here but that almost sounds like an escuse I would hear when I pulled someone over for speeding. " well officer I did not know I was speeding, it must be the new shoes, They put more pressure on my gas pedal than my old shoes used to.
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Old 10-02-08, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by dguest View Post
Call me dumb or call me just a newbe but I do not see where one clipless pedal can make that much of a difference over another as far as average speed. I mean do you not move you legs at the same pace no matter which pedal you use.
For me, the cadence difference between platforms and clipless is large, perhaps as much as ten or fifteen RPM. While the Look/Quattros difference would be much less extreme, I sure can understand how security, angle and position of attachment makes a difference.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:06 AM
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I've tried other pedals but the Look or Shimano style with the larger cleats work best for me. Double sided entry is overrated IMO. Now for cyclocross, I can see the need for super easy entry and mud clearing cleats. On the road, not so much.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post

Anyone else have similar experiences with different brands or styles of clipless pedals?
I rode with the SPD-SL pedals for one summer. The only difference I experienced was they were harder to unclip than the regular SPD's. After one of the most spectacular falls I ever experienced those things came off and have been gathering dust on a shelf in the garage

I just prefer the SPD's for my type of riding

I agree that some parts on the bike make a large difference to some of us. Mine was changing the 170 cranks to 175's. They made a big difference to me.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:29 AM
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Of the hundred (or 300?) or so parts that go into the average bike, there is a magic combination (100 factorial ?) that can turn any rider into the TDF winner.......

That's my theory...........and I'm sticking to it.
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Old 10-02-08, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
Of the hundred (or 300?) or so parts that go into the average bike, there is a magic combination (100 factorial ?) that can turn any rider into the TDF winner.......

That's my theory...........and I'm sticking to it.

The five most important parts are legs, lungs and heart.
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Old 10-02-08, 10:15 AM
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I would gladly trade a small drop in average speed for the ability to walk in the bike shoes when you have to. I recently tried to walk up the steep portion of a climb in Look cleats, it was like trying to ice skate in unsharpened skates. In my mtb spd's, it's just like going for a walk in normal shoes.
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Old 10-02-08, 10:33 AM
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I switched from a triple chainring setup to a double and the new cranks were carbon. It made my feet feel so light it was unbelievable, like the spring time switch from hiking boots to sneakers.

I know that single sided Look pedals weigh less than the Quatros, did you also switch to lighter shoes?
If so that would explain it for me.

By the way I second the notion that Look pedals (or in my case SPD-SL) are easier to get into. I clip in (or stay clipped in at stops) with my right foot and run my left foot over the pedal and the nose of the cleat catches, I start pedaling and am instantly clipped in without looking down.

As far as problems unclipping from SPD-SL pedals, if you are using road shoes I can't see why they would cause a problem. Now if one was using MBT shoes with SPD-SL pedals, then I could see how the rubber sole might catch.
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Old 10-02-08, 11:15 AM
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I use SPD-L's on two of my bikes and like them a lot. I switched to Crank Bros. Egg Beaters for use on my fixed gear for the ease of entry feature.

True, the Egg Beaters are much easier to clip into with the cranks/pedals going around (i.e. w/o coast option), but they don't give me the positive feeling when I push down hard (like doing intervals, for example), so I can totally identify with what the OP says, even though I don't have the numbers to prove it.

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Old 10-02-08, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
The five most important parts are legs, lungs and heart.
I think 90% of this is mental, and the other 50% of it is physical.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by pinerider View Post
I would gladly trade a small drop in average speed for the ability to walk in the bike shoes when you have to. I recently tried to walk up the steep portion of a climb in Look cleats, it was like trying to ice skate in unsharpened skates. In my mtb spd's, it's just like going for a walk in normal shoes.
Kool Kovers make it easier to walk and are small enough to carry in a jersey pocket. Not quite as much like regular shoes as your MTB shoes, but OK for a bit of walking.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:45 PM
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My Look Keo's allow me to ride faster than my Speedplays. I believe three things contribute to this. First, the contact area is larger, hence I get hotspots less often (when I get a hot spot on the bottom of your foot, I'm not likely to put much pressure on the pedals). Second, with the Speedplays my foot would "swim around" (some refer to it as pedaling on ice cubes), robbing some power. Third, they look way cool, and everyone knows cool looking stuff goes faster.
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Old 10-02-08, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pinerider View Post
I would gladly trade a small drop in average speed for the ability to walk in the bike shoes when you have to. I recently tried to walk up the steep portion of a climb in Look cleats, it was like trying to ice skate in unsharpened skates. In my mtb spd's, it's just like going for a walk in normal shoes.

I always considered this to be an advantage. Knowing how hard it would be to walk up a steep hill in those cleats makes me try harder to keep going.
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Old 10-02-08, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
My Look Keo's allow me to ride faster than my Speedplays. I believe three things contribute to this. First, the contact area is larger, hence I get hotspots less often (when I get a hot spot on the bottom of your foot, I'm not likely to put much pressure on the pedals). Second, with the Speedplays my foot would "swim around" (some refer to it as pedaling on ice cubes), robbing some power. Third, they look way cool, and everyone knows cool looking stuff goes faster.
On your Speedplays, isn't it different because the cleat is the contact area?

That is, when you're clipped in a Speedplay the lollipop pedals when clipped into the cleats, provides a large area on the shoe. The Speedplays use a "reverse" setup. Rather than the pedal being the "platform", the Speedplay uses the cleat as the platform.

Also, on hotspots, I can think of some instances where this could be. The shoe itself has flex. The cleat placement on the shoe is not correct for a specific rider. The rider is hammering in a sprint and is applying pressure on the shoe on the push portion of the pedal stroke and the rider's feet temporarily are out of alignment with the shoe (sloppy pedal stroke).

The ice cube effect, is this like the float issue? Is the rider wanting less free float laterally? I thought Speedplay came out with the Zero's which has adjustable float.
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Old 10-02-08, 03:19 PM
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RonH, Check with your LBS or the Look website...there is a re-call on some of their pedals. If you have the pedals in question, your LBS will replace the axles at no charge. My are going in for repair tomorrow.
Or try this site: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08354.html
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Old 10-02-08, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
One of the guys (former pro racer) at the shop I work at said it's because the Look cleat is much larger than the Quattro cleat. So more power is delivered to the pedal. Maybe. Maybe not.
Well if that's so, clamping a 4x8 sheet of plywood to your pedals will make you really fast. Sorry, that sounds like salesman's BS to me.

An explanation I'm willing to buy is cleat position. I became faster and felt better after a good cleat fitting.
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Old 10-02-08, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by swan652 View Post
RonH, Check with your LBS or the Look website...there is a re-call on some of their pedals.
Or try this site: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08354.html
Thanks for the info. I checked and the date on mine is 10/07.
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Old 10-02-08, 06:41 PM
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Not sure if or how much this applies.
When I switched from pedals with toe clips and straps to my cheap Nashbar SPD clone pedal with cheap nashbar shoes, I figured I picked up about 2 mph on flat ground.

Jeff, still fat
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Old 10-02-08, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
On your Speedplays, isn't it different because the cleat is the contact area?

That is, when you're clipped in a Speedplay the lollipop pedals when clipped into the cleats, provides a large area on the shoe. The Speedplays use a "reverse" setup. Rather than the pedal being the "platform", the Speedplay uses the cleat as the platform.

Also, on hotspots, I can think of some instances where this could be. The shoe itself has flex. The cleat placement on the shoe is not correct for a specific rider. The rider is hammering in a sprint and is applying pressure on the shoe on the push portion of the pedal stroke and the rider's feet temporarily are out of alignment with the shoe (sloppy pedal stroke).

The ice cube effect, is this like the float issue? Is the rider wanting less free float laterally? I thought Speedplay came out with the Zero's which has adjustable float.
I can't explain the hot spots. It's not shoe flex, because I experience it even on my carbon sole shoes with no flex. I've read the promotional stuff for the Speedplays regarding the "reverse" setup, too. However, I perfer the Looks for the reasons mentioned. I actually came to the Looks, because I was tired of paying 30 dollars everytime I had to replace the cleats on the Speedplays. Additionally, if you get off the bike at all with the Speedplays, the cleats are very prone to picking up stuff and clipping back in is then much harder. It was after I rode the Looks for a bit that I realized I was riding faster with these than the others. And, yes there is a zero float Speedplay, but the Looks have won my heart and feet over.
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