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Speedplay-Zero or Ultra Light

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Speedplay-Zero or Ultra Light

Old 02-06-16, 12:17 PM
  #1  
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Speedplay-Zero or Ultra Light

I have knee problems and currently ride on a Keomax with grey cleats.
I am going to switch to Speedplay but am not sure which model to get.
My LBS said they get quite a few returns on the zero because of difficulties locking in.
I weigh 180 and am a recreational rider.. not a racer.

Price is not a factor.

Which do you suggest
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Old 02-06-16, 04:00 PM
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I just put my wife on a pair of the ultra-lights. Her knee pain vanished and she found them super easy to get into (and out of).

The zeros are harder to engage at first, but they get easier with usage. But at my wife's weight, that would take a while, and I didn't want her taking any tumbles waiting for that to happen, so the ULs it was. Very happy with that decision.
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Old 02-06-16, 04:49 PM
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I'll agree with the UL's. I have both and they are much easier to engage and disengage (even after "wear-in"), and I never have felt that they may slip out.
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Old 02-06-16, 06:07 PM
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I recommend ULs as well. I'm one of those that returned zeroes when even after break in, they were still very very hard to engage and disengage. I've been happily using ULs for a few months now. They function the same as zeroes but are just much easier to engage/disengage. I read on BF before that after a lot of serious cyclists started using ULs over zeroes, Speedplay began making Ti versions of ULs which hadn't been previously available because ULs, according to Speedplay were supposed to be for non-racing, recreational cyclists only. Anyways, I'd definitely go with ULs especially with bad knees.
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Old 02-06-16, 06:13 PM
  #5  
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I had Zeros several years ago. Ditched them after 3 months. I've been riding Light Action (now known as Ultra Light Action) since 2012. No knee problems. Easy to clip in and out.
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Old 02-06-16, 06:14 PM
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I bought the UL after riding SPDs for years and the clip in is about the same. With the float, the clip out takes a little more twist but after a few days, it is now second nature.
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Old 02-06-16, 06:27 PM
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I have Zeros. I find them difficult to unclip, but I love being able to limit float. I have found a technique to unclip easier, but coming from years of SPD-SL and Looks, it took a while to figure it out.
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Old 02-06-16, 07:49 PM
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light actions should be fine for you

the key to correct function is installing the cleats with the correct shims. many shops don't do it right, and that makes clipping in and out very difficult., but i'd recommend finding a tech that knows how to install the cleats, or do it yourself (read the directions closely).
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Old 02-06-16, 09:34 PM
  #9  
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There's always the X series too. What has really changed anyway with these newer lines? How do X-series compare on the clip-in/out ease to the ULs or Zeros?
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Old 02-06-16, 10:12 PM
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Why are you using the grey (4.5 degree float) cleats? Is limiting the amount of float important to your knees?

I am not asking this to sound hostile. I need to artificially toe in my feet to get my knees to track properly. I ride the Delta Black (no-float) cleats or traditional toeclips and slotted cleats. Unlimited float cleats would have me on an operating table inside a year. (And the surgery would be done with a saw.) Shimano SPD cleats work with the setting at the hardest release and the cleat toed in to the max, barely.

If you are riding the grey cleats because your knees need that amount of float an no more, then it sounds to me like only Zeros set at a small angle of float even can work for you. I could ride the Zeros, but they would be an expensive upgrade that offers me no advantage that I know of over the old Deltas and offer me leass security from accidental uncleating than traditional toestraps and cleats in good condition.

Ben
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Old 02-07-16, 08:37 AM
  #11  
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I use the Zeros and they aren't very difficult to clip in or out of...just have to use the dry lube every few rides. If you never lube them at all then yeah they can be a bit stubborn to clip in and out...but once you throw some lube on the cleats it's a whole ton easier to clip in and out of. I got my pedals and cleats back towards the end of October and bought a bottle of the Speedplay lube (SP-LUBE on their website) which cost me $6 and I still have over half the bottle left. A few drops is all it takes on each cleat every few days and you're good to go. Personally I like that I can limit the float outward away from the bike to make it easier to clip out...with my bad knees if I couldn't do that it would hurt my knees having to do the extra outward twist to unclip. Plus, from what I understand the clipping in and out is basically the same between the zeros and ultra light actions according to the salesman at my LBS...only difference is that you can customize the float you need with the zeros and can't with the ultra light actions. Either way you're getting a great pedal and cleat combo...just know that with these things that there is some maintenance you have to perform every so often. Lubing the cleats every few rides and re-greasing the pedals every few thousand miles. Not a big deal for either thing but it's worth mentioning.
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Old 02-07-16, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by largefarva View Post
I use the Zeros and they aren't very difficult to clip in or out of...just have to use the dry lube every few rides. If you never lube them at all then yeah they can be a bit stubborn to clip in and out...but once you throw some lube on the cleats it's a whole ton easier to clip in and out of. I got my pedals and cleats back towards the end of October and bought a bottle of the Speedplay lube (SP-LUBE on their website) which cost me $6 and I still have over half the bottle left. A few drops is all it takes on each cleat every few days and you're good to go. Personally I like that I can limit the float outward away from the bike to make it easier to clip out...with my bad knees if I couldn't do that it would hurt my knees having to do the extra outward twist to unclip. Plus, from what I understand the clipping in and out is basically the same between the zeros and ultra light actions according to the salesman at my LBS...only difference is that you can customize the float you need with the zeros and can't with the ultra light actions. Either way you're getting a great pedal and cleat combo...just know that with these things that there is some maintenance you have to perform every so often. Lubing the cleats every few rides and re-greasing the pedals every few thousand miles. Not a big deal for either thing but it's worth mentioning.
From my experience, unlubed ULs are much easier to clip in and out than well lubed Zeroes. I used to lube my Zeroes all the time. If you try ULs, it could go from "aren't very difficult to clip in and out of" to "very easy to clip in and out of" without any accidental clip outs.

Limiting the outward float in order to make it easier to clip out is exactly what I was doing back when I had Zeroes for a few months. When I tried ULs, I realized that twisting the ankles slightly more to clip out with significantly less resistance is much easier than twisting slightly less with much greater clip out resistance. I think that should be true for most people but YMMV.

From what I read, experienced and from what Speedplay advertises on their website, the salesman at your LBS is dead wrong. He may have an incentive to sell you Zeroes over ULs as Zeroes are more expensive. Force required to clip in/out on ULs is much less than Zeroes. There used to be a version called Light Action before they made Ultra Light Action. IIRC, according to Speedplay, Light Action was more than 50% easier to clip in/out than Zeroes and the new Ultra Light Action cleats are more than 50% easier than the Light Actions so that is more than 75% easier than Zeroes. The only way you will really be able to tell for yourself is by actually trying them out and if you do try them out, you would probably agree.

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Old 02-07-16, 09:16 AM
  #13  
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I'll admit that my zeros are the first clipless pedals I've ever used...but I seriously don't think they are all that difficult to clip in and out of especially after lubing them. If the ultra light actions are THAT much easier then wow yeah that would be extremely easy to clip in and out. Maybe I'll try them out someday when I get another road bike. The price difference I believe is only around $20 or so isn't it? So I doubt the salesman was really all that concerned with making the extra money even if he worked off of commission...likely wouldn't have meant any meaningful extra money for him.
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Old 02-07-16, 09:25 AM
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I had knee problems, and had been using Light Actions. Went for a medical bike fit, and they switched me to Look Keo/Red cleats. Even though the cleats have float, your feet move much less than with speedplays. The dr's comment was that the free float is bad, what you really want is for your feet to be placed in the correct position and stay there. YMMV.
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Old 02-07-16, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
I had knee problems, and had been using Light Actions. Went for a medical bike fit, and they switched me to Look Keo/Red cleats. Even though the cleats have float, your feet move much less than with speedplays. The dr's comment was that the free float is bad, what you really want is for your feet to be placed in the correct position and stay there. YMMV.
Wow...that's contrary to what has always been said about float. Most professionals (medical and otherwise) usually recommend the free float option of Speedplay vs. any other pedal that forces your foot into a certain position. Same reason that people with bad knee problems and have no desire to go clipless stay with platform pedals....to let the natural tendencies of their knees and feet take care of themselves by having the ultimate free float possible.
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Old 02-07-16, 10:10 AM
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Yeah I know - i was very surprised too. It was Dr. Andy Pruitt, though - he might know something about sports medicine. It worked for me. It was in conjunction with cleat placement and shims.

But it might not be the right way to go for everyone, of course!
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Old 02-07-16, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
I had knee problems, and had been using Light Actions. Went for a medical bike fit, and they switched me to Look Keo/Red cleats. Even though the cleats have float, your feet move much less than with speedplays. The dr's comment was that the free float is bad, what you really want is for your feet to be placed in the correct position and stay there. YMMV.
where do you get a medical bike fit? never heard of it
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Old 02-07-16, 11:10 AM
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Boulder Center for Sports Medicine
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Old 02-07-16, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Yeah I know - i was very surprised too. It was Dr. Andy Pruitt, though - he might know something about sports medicine. It worked for me. It was in conjunction with cleat placement and shims.

But it might not be the right way to go for everyone, of course!
The expert's expert. (I've got his book "The Complete Medical Guide for Cyclists", and refer to it with regularity.)
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Old 02-08-16, 07:48 AM
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If you want free float and not the adjustment of the Zero series, consider the X series. I have been using X2 since 1999 and they are fine. I replace cleats once every few years. I use the Cafe Cleat covers to keep mud and dirt out of them while walking on unpaved surfaces and also while walking on concrete, asphalt, etc.
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Old 02-08-16, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Why are you using the grey (4.5 degree float) cleats? Is limiting the amount of float important to your knees?

I am not asking this to sound hostile. I need to artificially toe in my feet to get my knees to track properly. I ride the Delta Black (no-float) cleats or traditional toeclips and slotted cleats. Unlimited float cleats would have me on an operating table inside a year. (And the surgery would be done with a saw.) Shimano SPD cleats work with the setting at the hardest release and the cleat toed in to the max, barely.

If you are riding the grey cleats because your knees need that amount of float an no more, then it sounds to me like only Zeros set at a small angle of float even can work for you. I could ride the Zeros, but they would be an expensive upgrade that offers me no advantage that I know of over the old Deltas and offer me leass security from accidental uncleating than traditional toestraps and cleats in good condition.

Ben
Ben, if I read you correctly, you are saying that float to allow your knees to assume the right position is harmful to you; you have to have no float so that they are FORCED into the right position. Assuming, of course, that such right position can be accurately determined. I certainly do not doubt your assessment, but I must say it surprises me. I have never before heard of a case where no float is "easier" on the knees than float. Sure, perfect alignment with zero float is the best case of all. BITD that was our only choice like you say with toe clips and slotted cleats. But it is so hard to do that the float systems had to be invented for all the folks who just couldn't get it right or couldn't be bothered trying. Anyway I can see how fixed position works for you when properly set. I just don't understand why your feet can't find the right alignment preferentially in a free floating situation. I ask about this purely for understanding.
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Old 02-08-16, 06:59 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by rpenmanparker View Post
Ben, if I read you correctly, you are saying that float to allow your knees to assume the right position is harmful to you; you have to have no float so that they are FORCED into the right position. Assuming, of course, that such right position can be accurately determined. I certainly do not doubt your assessment, but I must say it surprises me. I have never before heard of a case where no float is "easier" on the knees than float. Sure, perfect alignment with zero float is the best case of all. BITD that was our only choice like you say with toe clips and slotted cleats. But it is so hard to do that the float systems had to be invented for all the folks who just couldn't get it right or couldn't be bothered trying. Anyway I can see how fixed position works for you when properly set. I just don't understand why your feet can't find the right alignment preferentially in a free floating situation. I ask about this purely for understanding.
To get the alignment that is sweet for my knees, I need my heels being pushed out by an external force (or toes pulled in). I have no idea why, just that this has been true the past 35 years. If I do the pushing, it places the opposite torque on my knees. It seems to be both the position and the torque that my knees need. That is impossible with unrestrained float. The SPDs set to the max toe-in seem to work, barely. True no-floats, as long as I can get enough toe-in for my right foot, work really well. (My right foot takes all or nearly all of the toe-in available on most systems. My left foot sits almost straight.)

As the relationship between forced toe-in and the health of my knees has been 1 to 1 for so long, and every time I have deviated for more than inconsequential miles my knees have paid for it, I no longer debate the issue. Life's too short. Forced toe-in works.

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Old 02-08-16, 07:14 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
I had knee problems, and had been using Light Actions. Went for a medical bike fit, and they switched me to Look Keo/Red cleats. Even though the cleats have float, your feet move much less than with speedplays. The dr's comment was that the free float is bad, what you really want is for your feet to be placed in the correct position and stay there. YMMV.
That's been my experience for many years. Slotted cleats and toeclips work very well for me and are easy to set up (once the modern shoes you don't have to nail the cleats onto showed up). The black LOOK cleats work equally well. My knees have held up for 35 years and 150,000 miles since I was diagnosed with CP, so what I am doing isn't all wrong. I suspect the red LOOK cleats would work but I haven't tried them. (I do find my feet twisting on the pedal VERY disconcerting, something I am very aware of with the SPDs.)

Ben
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