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Breaking in SPD-SL pedals

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Breaking in SPD-SL pedals

Old 05-09-19, 02:27 PM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
@psimet Your comment is out of line. Would you please move on.
Yeah, you read something into my comment that wasn't there. This is a forum so it's not about insulating yourself from what you may not want to hear but I'll try this again with other language.

The gross installation error - isn't a commentary but rather a statement. Meaning you could have issues if something went completely wrong with how the pedals were installed or how the cleat was installed. I didn't say you installed them in a gross manner. An installation issue could theoretically cause them to be more difficult to clip into and out of (say if you used under the cleat shims and they were catching on the pedal) but it is highly unlikely. Therefore the error would have to be a large/gross one.

The road pedals comment: unless I misread it (which is possible) you specifically stated you had a lot of years of riding spd/mtb 2 bolt style cleat/pedal systems. The two styles of pedals are different enough that I have found those that have no problem with 2 bolt systems simply find 3 bolt systems extremely difficult or non-intuitive. All I was implying was that you just might be one of those people. Apologies if you found that to be offensive.

Having had more pedals than I care to remember and having had both Ultegra and 550's on various bikes and personally I have never noticed a difference. Then again I have been riding 3 bolt (road cleats) since the late 80's so I may not even perceive a difference in tension that may seem immense to you. But in general I would say they both are similar to the same. This would SUPPORT what you're saying with something being wrong with the Ultegras.

Then it goes back though to the fact that Shimano just usually doesn't make bad stuff and especially at the Ultegra level. So as a betting man at the end of a long day of wrenching on bikes and recording an industry podcast and 3 beers it was very easy for me to chalk it up to user error. While I still haven't been moved from that position I'm sorry you seem to have taken offense to it. The roadie ethos has always been one of calling it as it's seen, not everyone gets a trophy, etc. but with the current state of road being what it is we are ... "adjusting" to me less outwardly abrasive.

Best of luck in diagnosing your issue. I can assure you that if you stick it out and go with an actual road pedal system you'll start to see the reason the two different systems still exist. I simply used my son as a reference because he is going through that discovery right now.
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Old 05-09-19, 02:30 PM
  #52  
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@69chevy Leaving aside your unfortunate comment about millions - although there have actually been situations involving millions where my interventions have seriously influenced the solving of if not directly cracking the problem - it appears you didn’t notice that in picking up the thread two years later, it’s been no longer just about getting in and out of Ultegra pedals, but about a range of options, i.e., looking at the original choice anew.

@psimet. Be careful how you phrase suggestions of incompetence. I think the 550 test solved the issue of competence. As for your point about others’ competence, I haven’t seen any evidence to support it, especially given that I started the Ultegras and 550s with the same degree of float and had exactly opposite results. But maybe I’ll find out differently (it wouldn’t be the first time in this relatively rural locale).

Let’s move on. I’m inclined toward going back to SPD, not because of the release issue, but rather based on the convenience and speed of having two sides for entry, given that my shoes are compatible (is there a strong argument against it?). In any case, the shop mechanic is going to ask Shimano about it, if the opportunity arises. Thanks,

Last edited by highstream; 05-09-19 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 05-09-19, 02:37 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
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.
Feel like people missed the part where the problem was solved by switching to a different set of Shimano pedals.
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Old 05-09-19, 03:08 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
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.
Fair question. I asked and watched videos online when I got them. So no, I learned to drop my heel first before twisting it, and practiced a lot.
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Old 05-09-19, 04:36 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by highstream View Post
Fair question. I asked and watched videos online when I got them. So no, I learned to drop my heel first before twisting it, and practiced a lot.
I ask because I had the opposite problem. I was used to SPD-SL pedals where they only release with one distinct movement, then when I put M-520 pedals on my CX bike, I mistakenly bought the multi-release cleats and I was pulling out of the pedals at all sorts of unexpected and usually suboptimal times.
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Old 05-09-19, 05:15 PM
  #56  
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If you like the idea of the SPD-SL but not the execution, you might try Look. I've used only the older Delta cleats. But they work fine. In comparing them with the SPD-SL, I see a steeper ramp angle to unclip from the Look Delta cleats, which may explain the more positive sensation of resistance on either side of the float. The Look Delta (orange/red?) float is more generous. And I'm not sure whether the slicker clip/unclip feel of the Look is due to a different plastic, the lack of the rubbery pads on the SPD-SL, or something else.

Not a huge difference to me, just enough to remark on those small differences. Once I'm clipped in they feel pretty much the same.


Look Delta on left; Shimano SPD-SL on right. Slight differences.

Last edited by canklecat; 05-09-19 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 05-09-19, 09:30 PM
  #57  
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Also i learned this week with my own pedals. If you cleat is too far back and gets into the curve of the shoe, the cleat will curve to match and cause them to be harder to clip in and float less smoothly. I put a washer under the rear bolts of both shoes and solved my issue. (I didn't have any issue with my older Ultegras until i switched to dura ace in the same style)
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Old 05-09-19, 10:55 PM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Jakedatc View Post
Also i learned this week with my own pedals. If you cleat is too far back and gets into the curve of the shoe, the cleat will curve to match and cause them to be harder to clip in and float less smoothly. I put a washer under the rear bolts of both shoes and solved my issue. (I didn't have any issue with my older Ultegras until i switched to dura ace in the same style)
Interesting. I wondered about that but never followed up on checking. I might try that trick you suggested.
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Old 05-10-19, 07:39 AM
  #59  
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Note that the opposite can happen as well when moving the cleat back - it goes from the curved ball of the foot part to the flatter mid-foot part (on shoes that don't have a pronounced arch curve on the outside of the sole), which makes the cleat a little concave. In this case putting a piece of bar tape under the center of the cleat can improve engagement and feel of the pedal.

Finally, not all shoes have the same curvature of the sole. This is especially obvious when using the Speedplay system which requires the cleats to be perfectly flat and provides various shims to match various sole shapes, but it can affect Look-type systems as well.

Not that I expect any of this would be relevant to the OP's problem, since they have tested a different set of pedals and found them working better, and also are using a Shimano shoe in combination with the Shimano pedals, which we hope would be as close to an optimal match as one could expect to get.

Last edited by Fiery; 05-10-19 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 05-10-19, 02:41 PM
  #60  
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I have had the Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL carbon pedal for 6 years and ~30k miles. I'm very lean (<140 lb), unable to generate a lot of torque. I did experience clipping-out problems with brand new yellow cleats (as I mentioned earlier, I just swap the less used right cleats to the left where I am used to clipping out).

My spare bike has a 105 SPD-SL pedal. I've never had problems clipping out the 105 pedal.

I've also used Look and SPD. I enjoy the SPD-SL most, particularly in big climbing ride (~5-7% x 5000 ft elevation). The wider cleats make a big difference.
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Old 05-12-19, 03:40 AM
  #61  
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I'm having similar issues, had M520 spd pedals on my last bike, and didn't have any problems clipping in or out, but have fitted 105 pedals to my Cube, using the yellow cleats that came with the pedals I'm finding it is a lot harder to clip out, clipping in not an issue but am not confident clipping out, guess I'll just have to get used to it!
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