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Breaking in SPD-SL pedals

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Breaking in SPD-SL pedals

Old 05-08-17, 10:52 AM
  #26  
mvnsnd
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
I don't understand how dropping or raising your heel would make a difference. The pedal pivots freely on that axis. Unclipping is about yaw, not pitch.
Its just that if you're lifting on the pedal, there is extra friction in twisting and it may not allow the clamp part to move back to release the clip.
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Old 05-08-17, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mvnsnd View Post
Its just that if you're lifting on the pedal, there is extra friction in twisting and it may not allow the clamp part to move back to release the clip.
But the angle of your heel doesn't correlate to vertical force on the pedal.
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Old 05-08-17, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by memebag View Post
But the angle of your heel doesn't correlate to vertical force on the pedal.
Maybe he really means that one should be stepping into the pedal slightly to twist out rather than lifting the pedal/foot while twisting out.
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Old 05-10-17, 07:33 PM
  #29  
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Want to follow up (for some reason, I haven't received notice of any of these recent posts, though I'm subscribed for instant notice). Wish I had known about the Ultegra pedals being the stiffest of the bunch.

The local shop tech filed things a bit and that's loosened up the clips so that they are much more usable now, even if still a little sticky. I assume that will work in.

Went out on a 30 miler yesterday, the first on this Kona, and didn't have any serious problems with the pedals until near the end coming up on a red light and car in the left turn lane, when the right shoe wouldn't come out. Had to switch over to the other side, which came out quickly. And yes, heel down and turning is much easier, I assume because that's where the release is.

Thanks for everyone's advice and comments.

Last edited by highstream; 05-15-17 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 05-06-19, 11:42 AM
  #30  
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I'm picking up this thread because two riding seasons later, maybe 20-25 distance rides in (with more or fewer stops), the pedals are still difficult to get out of. To review, I got these Ultegra 6800 pedals from Jensen USA and SM-SH11 Road Pedal Cleats from Trail This Bike Shop in Wisconsin (eBay), both new. I had a local PT/racer set them up (bike fitting). The mechanic's adjustments and modification mentioned in my last post helped, but didn't fully solve the problem - and it's damn scary often not being able to get out quickly, and just riding without confidence that way. The right pedal is the relatively easier one, but even then it sometimes only releases only part way, feeling mostly free but still needing a second twist to get completely free. And the left, well, I never go after the left one before freeing the right - it's stiffer - although that's partly because I'm right legged. And to add to this, getting in is rarely quick, with repeatedly spinning pedals (as I get left behind).

The question is what to do. I can't change shoes - I scoured the market back then and found only one shoe that allowed comfort for my somewhat cocked up right big toe, the Shimano RP3. Thus it appears that a change in components is called for, presumably different pedals. Has the 8000 been improved in this regard, or do I need to go to the Dura-Ace? Or...? Thanks,

Afterthought: A visit to the bike shop opens two other possibilities: 1) no-play SPD-SL cleats or 2) going back to SPD pedals and getting an adapter for my shoes. I suppose option 1 is the cheapest and quickest way of seeing what the story is.

Last edited by highstream; 05-06-19 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 05-07-19, 04:50 AM
  #31  
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You may not need to go up to Dura-Ace, but down to 105. I've had good luck with 5700 and 5800 series pedals - they are a little stiffer than SPD (comparing both at the lowest tension), but still softer than Speedplay pedals for example.

If you do decide to go with Dura-Ace, keep in mind that they have 51 mm spindles vs. the 53 mm of Ultegra and lower series, so you will need to adjust the cleat positions accordingly.
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Old 05-07-19, 06:55 AM
  #32  
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Thanks for the suggestion. Right now, I'm leaning toward something like the XT M8000 SPD mountain bike pedal with an adapter. The difference would be about 7 oz overall, which I could live with since this is recreational riding, and it is two-sided. The downside is that I'd probably have to pay for a partial refitting.

Last edited by highstream; 05-07-19 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 05-07-19, 08:28 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
I recently picked up a good few year old Kona Jake the Snake at the local swap and have turned it into a road bike. For pedals, I decided to go with SPD-SL (Ultegra), instead of SPD, which are on my old road bike. Today was my first day with the pedals (and Shimano RP3 shoes), and boy was I in for a surprise. So hard were they to get out of, I ended up riding the neighborhood with one bike shoe at a time, tension adjusted to the lowest, just repeatedly clipping in and out. Still, after an hour with each foot, it was taking a concerted effort and lots of concentration, and sometimes that wasn't enough short of repeated tries. Pretty scary to think of riding both both at the same time in this state. Is there any way to speed up the process? Thanks,
1. It will get a lot easier after tens of clip in and outs. I've been using SPD-SL for years and I still have periodically problems with the new cleats. I'm used to clipping out with my left foot, so there's always more wear on the left cleat. Usually I just swapped the used right cleat to the left and install the new cleat on the right.

2. Cleats position: if they're too recessed, clipping out could be significantly harder due to reduced momentum.
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Old 05-07-19, 09:11 AM
  #34  
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Could also try Look pedals. I used Keo Classics for a bit and found them pretty easy to get out of compared to Shimano.
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Old 05-07-19, 09:55 AM
  #35  
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I think your best option is to go with speedplay light action. SPD isnt a great option with an adapter on to road shoes.
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Old 05-07-19, 09:15 PM
  #36  
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If you are not concerned about weight, the Shimano PD-R540 light action pedals (which I believe have been rebranded as Tiagra) might be a good option. Stated weight is 330g, so still probably lighter than MTB pedals, and they're also SPD-SL.

I learned on a pair of these and can confirm that they are pretty easy to get out of. After a few months of slowly increasing the tension on the light action pedals, I could use regular SPD-SL pedals on medium tension without a problem.
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Old 05-07-19, 10:50 PM
  #37  
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I live in the northern Rockies and so the season is May to September, with a little leakage before and after depending on the weather. Hiking and keeping up in the gym for cross-country ski season are my main focus during that time, with cycling more of an alternative and occasionally social. Compared to my experience in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where off-season ski groups organized weekly hiking/cycling, it's less organized here on a frequent basis, so most of my rides are alone. Taken altogether, that's why only 10-15 rides a season.

Which is a preface to say, @hsuehhwa, that years to accumulate "lots" of clip ins and outs is not appealing, if that actually is the solution in this case. I'd rather have fun. Doing a search on Speedplay, it seems that they are very good and very high maintenance, with durability and cost often being an issue. Going down to the Shimano 500 series seems a plausible an option - the Tiagra is R550 and there's no more 105/5800. So is the switch back to SPD, which means mountain bike pedals, although I'll have to check about the good, bad and ugly with adapters on SPD-SL road shoes. There is something to say for two-sided pedals for recreational riding. Thanks,
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Old 05-07-19, 11:20 PM
  #38  
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I have 2 sets of 105 and one set of Dura Ace SPD-SL pedals and have no difficulty clipping in and out. I unclip right, so I will replace the right cleat 2-3 times for each left. I barely notice any difference between old cleats and new ones, and no real difference between the 105s and the Dura Ace. I’ve never felt the need to increase the tension however, they’ve been fine on the lowest setting. I’ve also used yellow, blue and red cleats, sometimes mixing and matching based on what I have laying around when I need to replace one. Again, I barely notice any difference. They just work and I rarely think about them.
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Old 05-08-19, 03:16 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
Going down to the Shimano 500 series seems a plausible an option - the Tiagra is R550 and there's no more 105/5800.
This is the new 105: https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/produ.../PD-R7000.html Not sure how it compares to 5800 though.
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Old 05-08-19, 11:04 AM
  #40  
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Can you try a friends bike with SPD-SL pedals to see if it truly is your pedals? Have him try yours to see if they are harder to unclip? I've been using ultegra SPD-SL for years with never an issue or feeling that unclipping was difficult. Just twist the heel outwards.
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Old 05-08-19, 12:02 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
Want to follow up (for some reason, I haven't received notice of any of these recent posts, though I'm subscribed for instant notice). Wish I had known about the Ultegra pedals being the stiffest of the bunch.

The local shop tech filed things a bit and that's loosened up the clips so that they are much more usable now, even if still a little sticky. I assume that will work in.

Went out on a 30 miler yesterday, the first on this Kona, and didn't have any serious problems with the pedals until near the end coming up on a red light and car in the left turn lane, when the right shoe wouldn't come out. Had to switch over to the other side, which came out quickly. And yes, heel down and turning is much easier, I assume because that's where the release is.

Thanks for everyone's advice and comments.
What exactly did they file? the Pedals(I hope not) or the Cleats(still not wild about this one). I think someone mentioned that the cleats could be too recessed. If that is the case, you could try to put a flat shim underneath the cleat to adjust it slightly. This would be the cheapest option.

From what my local shop has told me, Look pedals are easier to get in and out of than Shimanos. So you could try switching to them and keep the same shoe.

My wife had problems with SPD-SLs. She is light and couldn't produce enough force to get out. For her, I didn't think about the Look Pedals and went straight to SPDs. It was a better choice for her since she could walk around better with the shoes on as well.


I agree with the other poster to try a buddies pedals out to maybe eliminate that as an issue.

I use the blue cleats. I think the yellow have too much float. That could contribute to the feeling of not being able to get out quickly.
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Old 05-08-19, 06:02 PM
  #42  
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Thanks for the comments and suggestions. To update, the local shop loaned me a pair of 550s and the difference getting out with either foot was immediately night and day better. In fact, out of the box without any adjustment, it's actually sometimes harder to get in the right pedal than it is to get out. At the same time, Jenson USA, which had blown me off two years ago when I complained about the problem, suggested now that I contact Shimano. My local shop called on my behalf and they are going to evaluate my 6800s under warranty. Should hear back next week.
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Old 05-08-19, 07:40 PM
  #43  
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TO echo - Shimano has the most consistently good quality out there. Yet I have watched my son have problems clipping in and out of actual road pedals for years when he has no problems with mtb pedals. I learned as a roadie. i never had any problems with any pedal system. My son eventually grew up and is now at least a teen and has no problems with road SPD-SL's. Regardless of your good experience with 550's I'm going with either gross installation issue or just user error/inability to actually use road pedals.
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Old 05-08-19, 08:30 PM
  #44  
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@psimet Your comment is out of line. Would you please move on.
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Old 05-08-19, 10:44 PM
  #45  
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I'm accustomed to Look Delta cleats so I was expecting Shimano SPD-SL to be similar. They are... kinda sorta.

A friend gave me a slightly used set of Shimano pedals and SPD-SL cleats (yellow/black). After a couple of weeks I'm accustomed to them. There are pros and cons.

Clipping into the Shimanos is a little easier than Look with less positive tactile and audible feedback. The yellow pads on the SPD-SL make it easier to grab the pedal and flip it into the correct position the first time, while I still fumble with Look and usually need a couple of tries to clip in. Shimano lacks that distinctive noise of a disposable plastic water bottle being crushed, which is what Look pedals and cleats sound like to me.

Unclipping feels a bit mushy with the Shimano. There's less float and less distinctive separation between the float and unclipping. Look has a very distinctive unclipping feel, with no vagueness between float and hitting the beginning of the unclipping motion.

With less float, alignment of the SPD-SL cleats was more critical. No biggie, I just took a test ride up and down a mile long gradual grade several times, stopping three or four times to nudge the cleats to my liking.

With lots of float and little resistance, Look Delta can, at first, feel like roller skating on pedals made of ice. It's disconcerting at first but you get used to it quickly. After enough rides it feels very natural, easy to wiggle the knees to the desired position on any given ride, but no sense of fighting to stay in the desired position.

Even with the wear my friend put on the pedals and cleats before I got 'em, they still feel ... not quite broken in. I suspect it's just the way they're designed. Shimano seems to have addressed some complaints users had about Look Delta cleats, including being slippery, noisy and awkward to walk with. The Shimano pads make walking easier and quieter. But the rubbery pads also add a bit of friction that may affect the feel of clipping/unclipping.

Anyway, after a couple of weeks I'm accustomed to the SPD-SL. Not a huge difference from Look Delta, just enough to make it noticeable.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:01 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
@psimet Your comment is out of line. Would you please move on.
How so?

I've had brand new 5800, 6800 and some older (I don't remember what 00) DA pedals.

I've used them new with new cleats, old with old cleats and old with new cleats and never felt they are hard to twist out of...

If I were to bother to attempt an answer, I don't know what to say other than maybe it's just you.
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Old 05-09-19, 10:28 AM
  #47  
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Yes, after 16 years of using road pedals, a few thousand miles in, and, following suggestions here, testing a set of 550 SPD-SL's for comparison with instant and repeated success getting in and out, the problem I've had with the pair of 6800's definitely must be my incapacity.

It's been the blessing and curse of my life that I'm one of those people who comes across the holes and dysfunction in organizations, operations, products, etc., from small things to major corporations, and as often as not says something, in the process often catching a lot of crap (the number of times I've been told "no one else is reporting this" or similar - typically not or soon not to be true - must be getting up near a thousand now). I'm not always right, but my batting average is darn high. Will see what develops in this case.

In the meantime, I've been reminded that the Shimano RP3 shoes, now sold as the RP1, are both SPD-SL and SPD compatible, which makes the idea of switching to one of the lighter two-sided mountain bike SPD pedals more attractive (no adapters needed).
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Old 05-09-19, 01:44 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
Yes, after 16 years of using road pedals, a few thousand miles in, and, following suggestions here, testing a set of 550 SPD-SL's for comparison with instant and repeated success getting in and out, the problem I've had with the pair of 6800's definitely must be my incapacity.
Or it could be there are millions just like you who found them completely unusable, but never spoke up because they couldn't unclip and are stuck to their bikes somewhere.

My point is that if you don't want a wide field of answers, but only ones that explain how long it takes to break in pedals that to my knowledge never "break in" or need to be.. then let the comments that bother you go, because when you come here for a problem these people have the answer for, you'll hear crickets.
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Old 05-09-19, 02:11 PM
  #49  
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I have brand new shoes, brand new cleats, and brand new 5800 pedals.

On minimum tension, they are harder to get in and out of than I expected them to be, but they aren't that difficult and have satisfying clip in/out feelings. They did break in a bit and are totally fine. But yes, at minimum tension, and 6 degrees float, they are still pretty stiff, especially if your whole kit n caboodle is new like mine is/was.
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Old 05-09-19, 02:20 PM
  #50  
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OP:

Were the SPD mtb pedals you used multi-release? If so, I wonder if you're rolling your foot instead of swinging out the heel. Just a thought.
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