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Difficult release from SPD pedals

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Difficult release from SPD pedals

Old 05-21-20, 07:46 PM
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400E
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Difficult release from SPD pedals

I've been using Shimano SPD pedals for about a year. I have the springs set to the loosest tension settings but it still seems hard to release my feet. I haven't fallen off for a while but always afraid that I won't release in time. Wondering if I should lube the pedal mechanism? Or any other tips?
Thanks!
Steve
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Old 05-21-20, 07:52 PM
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Maybe you can swap the cleat in the shoe. thereís one that releases easier than others. also it might be a brand compatibility issue where some brands work better or worse depending on the brand of the pedal
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Old 05-21-20, 08:05 PM
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Is the release tension bothering you at all? Like causing knee issues? If not, I think it's better to be a little tight then sloppy-loose. If the latter, you risk accidentally unclipping at a bad time (like sprinting).

On my new SPD-SL pedals, I did actually smear some grease on the back of the cleat because the release was bothering my knees. I wiped the grease mostly off after applying so there's barely anything there... I don't want a pile of dirt collecting on the clear or pedal.
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Old 05-21-20, 08:06 PM
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It's unclear to me which type of SPD pedals he's talking about.
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Old 05-21-20, 08:58 PM
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I gave up on SPD pedals for this very reason. Too many times I couldn't disengage my foot in time to prevent a fall after a sudden panic stop when the crank was at the 12 o'clock position.

Cheers
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Old 05-21-20, 09:33 PM
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Which SPD cleats are you using? The SH-56 cleats will release a little easier than the SH-51 variety.
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Old 05-22-20, 04:39 AM
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I had a terrible time getting acclimated to using lipless pedals. It seemed to me that the harder I worked to get them to release, the more tightly they grabbed onto my shoes. When I changed to the multi release shoe cleats (with the "M" stamped on them, it was like night and day how easily I found it to release.

If I stand normally, my feet point outward at about a 45 degree angle. I gave up trying to ski because it was so hard to keep my skies pointed in a straight line. My theory is that my angled feet cause the regular SPD cleats to bind and make them hard to release. I've been seeking out the multi release cleats for almost 25 years now and have been quite pleased using them.
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Old 05-22-20, 05:12 AM
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Try new cleats, old cleats get harder to release/click in
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Old 05-22-20, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by 400E View Post
I've been using Shimano SPD pedals for about a year. I have the springs set to the loosest tension settings but it still seems hard to release my feet. I haven't fallen off for a while but always afraid that I won't release in time. Wondering if I should lube the pedal mechanism? Or any other tips?
Thanks!
Steve
Have you tried cleaning and putting a light coat of oil on the springs? You can also try brushing around the edges of the cleat with a wire brush to remove any crud or rust on the cleat. If that doesn't work, get new cleats.
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Old 05-22-20, 07:45 AM
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When my pedals get difficult to get out of it's usually becuase they are dirty, so I hose them down with regular WD-40, wipe them off and they work much better.
You also have to remember to twist your foot to get out of them, it quickly becomes the normal way of moving your foot off the pedal.
YMMV
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Old 05-22-20, 07:50 AM
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If those are the SPD-SL (kinda like the Look Delta, but a little better for walking) the softer grippy rubber bits can be a bit grabby.

Just rub some wax on the friction points. Candle wax works fine, especially leftover wax from a scented candle -- the wax is soft and easy to use. Rub it on the plastic surfaces of the pedal and cleats, about once a month or more often if needed. Really helps smooth out clipping and unclipping.

But if it's SPD mountain bike type pedals/cleats, I dunno, never used 'em.
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Old 05-22-20, 07:55 AM
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I would really like to know whether he's talking about regular SPD's or the SPD-SL's. But OP is MIA, and people are falling all over each other to try to help. Soon the arguments between the various helpers will start. An all-too-common occurrence at BF these days.

My pet theory is that the mods start these threads about really basic subjects, in order to increase site traffic, but hopefully I'm wrong about that.
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Old 05-22-20, 07:59 AM
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With SPDs (not SPD-SLs), I've noticed that shoes make a huge difference as well. Some of my shoes only contacted the pedal on the metal contact surfaces for an almost sloppy connection, while others contacted the pedal in multiple areas with the rubber treads which made for a more stable platform but harder release. You can't really blame Shimano for the fact that shoe manufacturers will do whatever they want... and sometimes do things that don't make sense.
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Old 05-22-20, 06:41 PM
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Hello -- OP here --
Didn't mean to be MIA but work and lack of automated notices of your replies conspired against me. Thanks to everyone who responded.

Updates: I'm using Shimano SPD M540 pedals with about 1000 miles on them and the original (one-way release) cleats.

Based on the great info you gave me, I'll start with cleaning and lubing the pedals and if that doesn't work will replace cleats-- didn't know that wear on the cleats make 'em harder to release. Might try the multi-release variety as suggested.

Great info - thanks everyone -- I know how frustrating it is to take the time to help someone only to have the OP disappear. I vow not to do that --
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Old 05-22-20, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post
I would really like to know whether he's talking about regular SPD's or the SPD-SL's. But OP is MIA, and people are falling all over each other to try to help. Soon the arguments between the various helpers will start. An all-too-common occurrence at BF these days.

My pet theory is that the mods start these threads about really basic subjects, in order to increase site traffic, but hopefully I'm wrong about that.
I checked and I'm subscribed to this thread, and no email notices came through -- none in junk folder either. Wonder if the site is having a problem with notifying people about new replies?
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Old 05-22-20, 06:52 PM
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Those "shouldn't" be hard to exit. I think it might be your shoes interfering with the exit. See if there is some rubber getting in the way on the treads on your shoes. If so, you might be able to carefully shave some off.
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Old 05-22-20, 06:54 PM
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Several votes on looking at shoes-- will take a look at that possibility -- thanks -- wouldn't have thought of that--
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Old 05-22-20, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
With SPDs, I've noticed that shoes make a huge difference as well. Some of my shoes only contacted the pedal on the metal contact surfaces for an almost sloppy connection, while others contacted the pedal in multiple areas with the rubber treads which made for a more stable platform but harder release.
I think this might be it. When I used road-type shoes with SPD, they always released easily. With mountain-type shoes, they sometimes snag on the rubber cleats.
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Old 05-23-20, 05:19 PM
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Yup, sometimes the cleats are buried too deep in the shoe therefore the bottom of the shoe makes contact with the pedal and creates too tight of a fit. IIRC my shoes came with a spacer so that the cleats could be mounted a little bit higher than the bottom of the shoe sole. Might want to check and see that your cleats are a bit above your shoe sole as mentioned above.
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Old 05-23-20, 08:35 PM
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Great tips on looking at the shoes! I have Shimano shoes and the cleats are set in to a well in the shoe that makes them flush or maybe a little below flush with the sole.

Time to add some washers or other spacer.

Thanks!
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Old 05-27-20, 05:30 AM
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To follow up, I put on a pair of Shimano multi-directional release cleats over the weekend and went out for a ride last night. Made a huge difference -- much easier release.

Thanks to all who responded--I learned a lot and good to have options.
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Old 05-27-20, 06:26 AM
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I used Shimano SPDs to transition from toe clips. I was having a hard time unclipping. I have 4 different SPD pedals. Noticed that at about the mid way point on the tension adjustment screw, some of them have a sort of detent that takes a little more effort to adjust past. So what I'm saying is make certain that you have the adjustment screw at the lightest setting because on some of mine I think i'm at the lightest setting but actually have about 4 more clicks to go. So for me I thought I had them on the lightest setting but in fact had them at about the mid way point.
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Old 05-27-20, 07:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 400E View Post
To follow up, I put on a pair of Shimano multi-directional release cleats over the weekend and went out for a ride last night. Made a huge difference -- much easier release.

Thanks to all who responded--I learned a lot and good to have options.
Just a quick note. Did you ever have trouble clipping *into* your SPDís from time to time, in addition to clipping *out* of your SPDís?

You may have had loose cleats, which coincidently got fixed when you switched to the multi-directional release cleats. (Especially if the problem returns in a few days or weeks, double check for loose cleats.)

(And p.s. Please donít put washers under the cleats. The shoes are compatible with the cleats, and many SPD shoes have recessed cleats so that you can more easily walk in them off the bike. Washers under the cleats are the wrong cure, and will likely make things worse. If there are spacers that came WITH your shoes, read the install guide for when/if to use them.)

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Old 05-27-20, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by adamhenry View Post
Which SPD cleats are you using? The SH-56 cleats will release a little easier than the SH-51 variety.
That's odd, on the loosest setting my shimano PD-A530 with an SH-56 cleat will pop out if I pull up to hard, check to see which cleat you have assuming you can still read it, something is up
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Old 05-28-20, 10:27 AM
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I think new cleats/pedals would help
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