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SPD or Look?

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SPD or Look?

Old 03-06-20, 03:50 PM
  #1  
blinky
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SPD or Look?

Currently have Look system , cleats and compatible pedals with 17 year old Shimano shoes - in the market for newer and lighter shoes - from responses to my other post reagrding shoes , Giro and Specialized have some good light weight options - looking for a cleat/pedal combo that will provide easier and quicker but still solid engagement and so welcome thoughts from road cyclists out there on some of the more popular options available .

Last edited by blinky; 03-06-20 at 04:00 PM. Reason: Change in Title
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Old 03-06-20, 05:38 PM
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There is no one answer for all. The MTB style SPD are "walkable" if that is a goal for you.

If you are just road cycling, and not doing significant walking, then one of a multitude of 3-bolt systems are available.

Several brands have Carbon Fiber shoe soles.

Lake has both 2 bolt (SPD) and 3 bolt (Look, SPD-SL, etc) shoes.
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Old 03-06-20, 05:49 PM
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Speedplay Zero or Frogs. Just one man's opinion.
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Old 03-06-20, 08:26 PM
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I guess you have two systems compared there, SPD are mountain type cleats, and Look are road, so if road cycling go Look, if off road go SPD. Both systems are fine and work well. There are various systems and all are reliable and high quality.

SPD
SPD-SL
Look
Speedplay

others yet.....
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Old 03-06-20, 09:00 PM
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Fine, buy new shoes. For road, most high end shoes use the well known Look 3 bolt cleat attachment. If you are satisfied with your current pedals, buy cleats to match them. Look, Spd SL and others all use the same 3 bolt interface. You don't have to change pedals if you buy new shoes
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Old 03-07-20, 10:50 AM
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I will throw my 2 cents in here. I was convinced to buy the MTB SPD pedals and was happy with them till I realized I wanted a pedal mounted power meter. There aren't any for MTB style shoes/cleats.
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Old 03-07-20, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by blinky View Post
Currently have Look system , cleats and compatible pedals with 17 year old Shimano shoes - in the market for newer and lighter shoes - from responses to my other post reagrding shoes , Giro and Specialized have some good light weight options - looking for a cleat/pedal combo that will provide easier and quicker but still solid engagement and so welcome thoughts from road cyclists out there on some of the more popular options available .
For the lightest, ideal setup for road, you want to go with Look. Why utilize a tiny SPD cleat when you aren't using heavy, mountain bike shoes? Or the walkability of mountain bike shoes. At least that's how I interpret your post. Lightest shoes won't have a rubber or plastic sole for walking. A true lightweight shoe is a road shoe. Stiff and without walking sole. And then there's the cleat. Look cleats offer a much larger contact area for the cleat, reducing pressure in one place on the shoe sole. Now I realize that a nice stiff, carbon sole SPD shoe will not have issues, but still.

If you don't want walkability, then I don't know why you'd choose SPD or variant thereof.

The only actual advantage I could see with going SPD-style is engagement. A lot of riders simply want to step down and into the pedal. Look require the "catch and clip" maneuver. Or at least the old ones do. Not riding new Look myself...
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Old 03-07-20, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Metallifan33 View Post
I will throw my 2 cents in here. I was convinced to buy the MTB SPD pedals and was happy with them till I realized I wanted a pedal mounted power meter. There aren't any for MTB style shoes/cleats.
This was basically my story too. I watched the power meter market for a while before I bought one, hoping somebody would make a SPD version. That was 5+ years ago and it still hasn't happened.

SPD works fine on a road bike as long as you use good shoes.

There's a conversation kit to turn one of the road pedals into SPDs. @FlashBazbo has the details.
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Old 03-08-20, 03:18 AM
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SPD-SL work exactly like Look Delta, but seem to clip in a little better and are better/less bad to walk in. The little rubber tipped feet on the SPD-SL are tolerable for walking short distances. And the little feet seem to snag the pedal better to flip it into the right position to clip in after a stop.

And the SPD-SL has a little bit less float than the Look Delta. I found over the past few years I preferred a little less float. But it's more critical to position the SPD-SL cleat. Took a few rides and a couple of adjustments but it's fine now.

My only gripe about SPD-SL at first was it seemed harder to clip/unclip. But waxing the mating surfaces of the cleat and pedal solved that problem. Smooth and crisp now. I just smear a bit of soft wax from a leftover scented candle on those surfaces once a month or less often.

But the two systems are very similar, so it doesn't take long to adapt. The SPD-SL just refines the Look Delta a bit. I have Look Keo too but haven't used 'em yet -- they're for a bike build project I haven't finished yet.
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Old 03-08-20, 11:20 AM
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I too am in the quandry of wanting pedals with a power meter but having spd's on my bikes even though they are road bikes.

Without a doubt you can walk easier in many more spd shoes than you can spd-sl or look type shoes. Sure there are exceptions, but will those exceptions fit you? What's considered road bike cleats, spd-sl, look, etc, will or are supposed to transfer power better. But I doubt many of us need the few watts difference that makes if we don't compete. As well, I did watch a cyclist get off his bike on a hill and bust his butt dramatically while trying to snap a scenic picture. He was in road cleats. However I'll agree many people can walk in either type shoe and chew gum. <grin>

So to me it's just the argument that Metallifan33 made that is material. Or at least it is for me since I'm in the position of needing new shoes now but also wanting to purchase power meter pedals in a few months.
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Old 03-08-20, 01:37 PM
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I'm guessing that you want to compare Look and SPD-SL,

as SPD cleats pair with mtn type shoes which are not especially light weight.

I've mainly used Shimano, which seem to get the nod for durability,

but if you're used to Look, no big reason to change.
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Old 03-08-20, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
as SPD cleats pair with mtn type shoes which are not especially light weight.
Several brands will essentially build both 2-bolt and 3-bolt shoes on similar platforms.

For example, I mentioned that Lake makes a carbon sole 2-bolt shoe with enough added support to make it walkable.

XPEDO makes SPD style pedals that will compete well in weight with any 3-bolt style pedals. I like the XPEDO R-Force single-sided pedals, but have managed to wear mine enough that they no longer hold securely. I also had one unscrew on me while riding. The XPEDO M-Force-8 pedals are double sided, and a good weight. Double sided is nice for hill climb rides. So far no problems with them other than they are very "grabby", and will grab the shoe as easily as grabbing the cleats.

The Shimano XTR M9000 pedals are slightly heavier, but are excellent pedals.
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Old 03-08-20, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Several brands will essentially build both 2-bolt and 3-bolt shoes on similar platforms.

For example, I mentioned that Lake makes a carbon sole 2-bolt shoe with enough added support to make it walkable.

XPEDO makes SPD style pedals that will compete well in weight with any 3-bolt style pedals. I like the XPEDO R-Force single-sided pedals, but have managed to wear mine enough that they no longer hold securely. I also had one unscrew on me while riding. The XPEDO M-Force-8 pedals are double sided, and a good weight. Double sided is nice for hill climb rides. So far no problems with them other than they are very "grabby", and will grab the shoe as easily as grabbing the cleats.

The Shimano XTR M9000 pedals are slightly heavier, but are excellent pedals.


Those pedals look nice. There's also eggbeaters for light weight.

I was talking more about shoes, 'tho, which the OP was asking about in another thread specifically wanting light weight.

Since shoes without walking tread will be generally lighter than those with, that was my suggestion.
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Old 03-08-20, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
I'm guessing that you want to compare Look and SPD-SL,

as SPD cleats pair with mtn type shoes which are not especially light weight.

I've mainly used Shimano, which seem to get the nod for durability,

but if you're used to Look, no big reason to change.
Thanks everyone , great responses , lots to consider and it's now evident to me that there are at least two more choices that make sense for me to consider , i.e. SPD-SL and Speed Play but I agree with Woodcraft that for me it boils down to Look and SPD-SL - after doing some reading online I would say the SL could stand for "similar to Look" - I've been riding with the red Look cleats on Shimano shoes for a long time ( 17 years) and I'm use to that combination but feel like I need a change , an update - my goal now is to get a new lighter shoe and a cleat/pedal combination that allows me to "click in" easier since right now I'm finding that I need to exert a lot of force to engage but in fairness maybe I need to fiddle with the adjustment screws on the pedals or possibly use some wax on the surfaces .

Another question I have is about fitting the components together , shoes , cleats , and pedals - years ago the owner and only mechanic ( currently retired ) at my LBS had a device that he used to do a fitting where he positioned the cleats properly - what to people do nowadays when they get a whole new set of components , i.e. shoes , cleats , & maybe even pedals ?? Is it a DIY job or one best left to the LBS ?
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Old 03-08-20, 04:51 PM
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I do my own bike fitting, but I watch and read a lot of bike fit tutorials. And I video myself riding, on the trainer and outdoors, to check my form for good ergonomics. I usually have front and rear video cameras on every ride, so I'll take one camera off, set it on a handy surface (curb, guardrail post, etc.), then ride by a few times and check the video later. Setting the camera at 60 fps makes it a bit easier to review in slow motion.

If I feel even a slight unusual twinge I'll check to see whether it's a bike fit problem, muscle fatigue from other workouts, etc. My knees are still pretty good at age 62 and I'd like to keep 'em that way. But my neck, back and shoulder are busted up from various injuries, so I pay careful attention to that stuff.

Cleat position isn't too critical with float. I shove 'em as far back as they'll go. I'd rather get the arch of my foot centered over the pedal axle, but there's no clipless system that allows that without modifications. But behind the ball of the foot is better than nothing. Then I'll adjust the angle slightly to suit my preference for how it feels while riding.

The SPD-SL cleat angle with less float was a little more critical than the red Look Delta. But I needed only two or three minor adjustments to suit myself. I'd ride, see how it felt, pull over and use the multitool to adjust it, then ride again. I used a long gradual incline nearby to check the feel, since it demands continuous pedaling pressure, but not as much pressure as a serious steep climb.

I can feel a slight imbalance in foot pressure but that's due to a bit of hip/lower back tilt from injuries (I've been hit by cars a couple of times). I should probably shim the cleat on one side, but for now I'm doing physical therapy at home to see if I can correct it with better conditioning and flexibility. I'm sure a two sided power meter like the Vector would reveal some differences but I'm not at the level where it would matter much. I might check with a local fitter after I finish a new bike build project. But I'm satisfied with my existing road bike fits.
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Old 03-08-20, 05:55 PM
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Having used Look, SPD-L and SPD, one thing I noticed about the yellow SPD-L cleats is they wear out very quickly. Hated that. My SPD cleats last a long time before I notice any issues.

My solution for decent foot support with SPD was a better quality shoe that had a carbon sole or carbon reinforced mid sole. The stiffness let me do multi-hour rides with no foot pain.
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Old 03-08-20, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by blinky View Post
Thanks everyone , great responses , lots to consider and it's now evident to me that there are at least two more choices that make sense for me to consider , i.e. SPD-SL and Speed Play but I agree with Woodcraft that for me it boils down to Look and SPD-SL - after doing some reading online I would say the SL could stand for "similar to Look" - I've been riding with the red Look cleats on Shimano shoes for a long time ( 17 years) and I'm use to that combination but feel like I need a change , an update - my goal now is to get a new lighter shoe and a cleat/pedal combination that allows me to "click in" easier since right now I'm finding that I need to exert a lot of force to engage but in fairness maybe I need to fiddle with the adjustment screws on the pedals or possibly use some wax on the surfaces .

Another question I have is about fitting the components together , shoes , cleats , and pedals - years ago the owner and only mechanic ( currently retired ) at my LBS had a device that he used to do a fitting where he positioned the cleats properly - what to people do nowadays when they get a whole new set of components , i.e. shoes , cleats , & maybe even pedals ?? Is it a DIY job or one best left to the LBS ?


I haven't used Speedplay, & they have their fans, but based on what I've seen, I'm not one.

Lost special screws, pebbles stuck in the cleats, involved shimming to make clipping in work, etc., etc..

As canklecat says, putting the cleat as far back as it will go is a safe bet because most shoes don't allow far enough back position anyway. You can also measure your existing shoes/pedals to replicate the position.

If you have a trainer or rollers, it's a good set up to fine tune cleat position (and other fit issues).

IME, and from what I read here, bike shops that you can count on to do a good job are in the minority, so doing yourself what you can makes sense.
A stuck pedal is a good job to give to the LBS, however.


Re difficult clipping in, cleats, and pedals wear out.
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Old 03-11-20, 01:05 AM
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Originally Posted by blinky View Post
Currently have Look system , cleats and compatible pedals with 17 year old Shimano shoes - in the market for newer and lighter shoes - from responses to my other post reagrding shoes , Giro and Specialized have some good light weight options - looking for a cleat/pedal combo that will provide easier and quicker but still solid engagement and so welcome thoughts from road cyclists out there on some of the more popular options available .
I own and ride both. A couple weeks ago I was on my road bike and ripped the top from the sole of the shoe. My road shos with the Look cleats were unusable. So while shopping for new shoes I put the SPD pedals on my road bike and used my MTB shoes on the road bike.

My conclusion is that walking is very easy in MTB shoes with SPD cleats. The SPD cleats work well enough but engaging them is more of s "stomp down" then a push forward. While there is "float" in each system the SPD is metal on metal while Look has a smooth plastic feel. The Look float has les friction

Also Look style pedal will hange such that the loops in the front point up. SPD pedals will be random oriented but they are the same on top and bottom

You can by light weight carbon blade Look pedals but all SPD pedals are made of "bomb proof" steel

If I am riding a road bike and don't need to walk around the road bike shoes with Look cleats work best. But SPD is better if you need t walk even 100 feet.

It takes all of about 5 minutes to swap pedal on a bike so it is not like you are stuck with one choice for life.
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Old 03-11-20, 08:34 AM
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Spd all day!
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Old 03-12-20, 01:04 AM
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been riding both lately due to an unexpected spd-based acquisition. look all day please.
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