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Speedplay Zero... is that normal?

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Speedplay Zero... is that normal?

Old 09-01-08, 06:06 PM
  #1  
dalava
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Speedplay Zero... is that normal?

Have been riding SPD-SL for the last several years; heard good things about Speedplay, especially for those with less than perfect knees. So I decided to give them a try. The model I got is the Speedplay Zeros. After installing them this afternoon, I went around the neighborhood to test them out, and here is what I got:

1. these things are tight and hard to get in: tried many times, different angles, etc., still couldn't get a hang of it. Am I doing something wrong here, or are there some tricks you have to learn first?

2. I know the Zeros are tighter than other models, would Light Actions be a better choice? Do the Light Actions have the same range of float?

3. the pedals felt unstable, like they are too small. I didn't mind the float. Is that normal and would I get used to it over time?

4. compare to the SPD-SLs' 3 degrees of float, the Speedplay Zeros can have up to 15 degrees, do they really help the knee problems? I know in theory they should, but any real world experience?

FWIW, I ride about 80-100 mi each week, and don't normally ride longer than 50 mi.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:11 PM
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if it's exceedingly hard to get in, try loosening the screws a bit. They should be as tight as a 12yr old with arthritis can turn the screw driver.

might want to adjust the position of the cleat again.

most people don't need more than 5deg of float
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Old 09-01-08, 06:17 PM
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The zeros are harder to get into than the other models. The light actions have the same range as the zeros but are not adjustable. The range is set and cannot be reduced or locked down to zero float. Don't know about the feeling too small, never had that problem.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:21 PM
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mine were tight at first, they were broken in after about a week to 2 weeks. pedal feeling too small...i can't comment, like UMD, i haven't had that problem. just make sure you position the cleat so the pedal is under the ball of your foot. and the float, i love how i can adjust it. i'm not sure how many degrees i use, but it's definitely not the full 15
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Old 09-01-08, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by grafsk8er View Post
mine were tight at first, they were broken in after about a week to 2 weeks. pedal feeling too small...i can't comment, like UMD, i haven't had that problem. just make sure you position the cleat so the pedal is under the ball of your foot. and the float, i love how i can adjust it. i'm not sure how many degrees i use, but it's definitely not the full 15
FWIW, I lock mine out at zero
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Old 09-01-08, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
The zeros are harder to get into than the other models. The light actions have the same range as the zeros but are not adjustable. The range is set and cannot be reduced or locked down to zero float. Don't know about the feeling too small, never had that problem.
I am thinking about returning these and give the Light Actions a try.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:26 PM
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When I first switched to the speedplay x's, I thought they felt small, and unstable. That went away rather quickly.

I usually keep the heel out/toe in, and pivot the heel in, towards the bike when clipping in. Is that how your doing it?
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Old 09-01-08, 06:26 PM
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the light actions have a similar sized cleat as well, so I doubt you'll feel a difference for it feeling too small.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AEO View Post
if it's exceedingly hard to get in, try loosening the screws a bit. They should be as tight as a 12yr old with arthritis can turn the screw driver.

might want to adjust the position of the cleat again.

most people don't need more than 5deg of float
My shoes are the 3-hole type, so I have to use their adapter which has the 4 holes for fastening the cleats. Are you talking about those 4 screws? I didn't tighten them at all and they already give me that almost stripped feeling; and in fact, you can keep turning the screws and they won't tighten anymore. Somehow it didn't feel right. I followed the instructions. What am I doing wrong?
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Old 09-01-08, 06:31 PM
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did you use the correct shims for the adapter plate?
yes the 4 holes at the cleat. They shouldn't feel stripped... either you over torqued it or it's a manufacturing defect or the shims aren't correct.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:31 PM
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You could try spraying the cleats with a silicone or other dry lubricant spray. It helped on mine.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
My shoes are the 3-hole type, so I have to use their adapter which has the 4 holes for fastening the cleats. Are you talking about those 4 screws? I didn't tighten them at all and they already give me that almost stripped feeling; and in fact, you can keep turning the screws and they won't tighten anymore. Somehow it didn't feel right. I followed the instructions. What am I doing wrong?
You didn't do something right. When you tighten the screws, they will start to "click". Tighten them a few clicks and then stop.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by umd View Post
You didn't do something right. When you tighten the screws, they will start to "click". Tighten them a few clicks and then stop.
The soft "clicks" were what I heard, and I stopped turning after one "click". So sounds like I installed the cleats okay according to your description. The instruction said 20 inch lbs; how the heck would I know how much is that

A really dumb question, how do you clip in, as in where is the crank arm for the side you are clipping in, and how hard do you have to push to snap that in?
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Old 09-01-08, 06:48 PM
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3'o'clock position, with foot on a heel downward slanted angle and not in the granny gear.
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Old 09-01-08, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
The soft "clicks" were what I heard, and I stopped turning after one "click". So sounds like I installed the cleats okay according to your description. The instruction said 20 inch lbs; how the heck would I know how much is that

A really dumb question, how do you clip in, as in where is the crank arm for the side you are clipping in, and how hard do you have to push to snap that in?
Clip in at the bottom. I don't have to push very hard but I do recall it took a while to get used to the sweet spot.
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Old 09-01-08, 07:35 PM
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OK....

Zeros - as mentioned - have a tighter spring than other Speedplay models. It was enough of an annoyance for newbies that they made the Light Actions to address it.

The springs ont he Zeros will break in after a short period of usage and be much easier to clip in with. If you just can't handle the extra tension in the short term you can call and get "pre-broken in" springs as replacements from Speedplay. Many people have done just that.

Also...when mounting the cleats - you have to make sure - like 100% sure - that the bottom of the adapter plate with the proper shims installed will match the curvature of the bottom of your shoe exactly. You can always tweak the shim's fit with some sandpaper. Once the adapter is mounted then pay special attention to the 4 bolts mounting the actual cleat to the adapter. 20 in-lbs is usually lower than any normal torque wrench you will ever find...if that gives you an idea.

I'd say it's more like how tight an arthritic 12 yr old who is undergoing chemotherapy can get it.

Why is all of this important?
If the adapter is not matched to the curve of the sole of the shoe then as the adapter screws are tightened then the adapter will bow to match the bottom of the shoe...making it's mounting surface (the surface the cleat is mounted to) curved. Then when the cleat is mounted it curves to match the base and the resulting curvature/bowing will impead the proper function of the spring.

Also...if the cleat mounting bolts are tightened too tight then they will in fact directly bind the spring causing the same issue....

....net result - difficult to clip into. Sometimes impossible to function.

So it's hard to tell if you difficulties are one of the following 3 possibilities:
1. You improperly mounted the adapter plate causing cleat curvature and spring binding.
2. You improperly torqued the cleat mounting bolts causing spring binding.
3. You are a 120 lb wussy who can't deal with the entry pressure required for a new Zero spring.

Light Actions are not a good alternative. The cleat spring does not last as long as the Zeros and the float is not adjustable. It is truly meant for newbies. If you are not a newbie I suggest tracking down your specific issues by pulling everything apart and starting over - verifying you didn't strip anything out.

If you still have issues then you need to call Speedplay and request "softer" or "pre-broken in" springs for your Zeros. If that still doesn't work then you should look at another pedal system/model.

My $0.02.
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Old 09-01-08, 07:39 PM
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I had a problem with my Ultegra pedals as outlined in the original post. I fell over 4 or 5 times when I could not click out in time. I fell over slowing down to stop. I fell over going up a big hill when my speed slowed to the point of stalling as I furiously tried to click out. I fell over twice when my poor shifting threw the chain. I fell over at a stop light on a suburban highway when I stomped on the pedals with the front chain ring not fully engaged. I just about went to heaven when a car accelerated to make the light with me flat on my side in the intersection trying to get click out so I could get out of Dodge. What worked for me was loosening the adjuster fully on the pedal and spraying them with a dry lubricant. This helped immensely plus they loosened more with time.
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Old 09-01-08, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by pharding View Post
I had a problem with my Ultegra pedals as outlined in the original post. I fell over 4 or 5 times when I could not click out in time. I fell over slowing down to stop. I fell over going up a big hill when my speed slowed to the point of stalling as I furiously tried to click out. I fell over twice when my poor shifting threw the chain. I fell over at a stop light on a suburban highway when I stomped on the pedals with the front chain ring not fully engaged. I just about went to heaven when a car accelerated to make the light with me flat on my side in the intersection trying to get click out so I could get out of Dodge. What worked for me was loosening the adjuster fully on the pedal and spraying them with a dry lubricant. This helped immensely plus they loosened more with time.
Great advice for SPDs, but the OP in this case only mentioned SPD SLs because that is the model of pedal he used to ride before switching to the Speedplays. The issue with clipping in pertained only to the Speedplays...not the SPD SLs.
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Old 09-01-08, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
Also...when mounting the cleats - you have to make sure - like 100% sure - that the bottom of the adapter plate with the proper shims installed will match the curvature of the bottom of your shoe exactly. You can always tweak the shim's fit with some sandpaper. Once the adapter is mounted then pay special attention to the 4 bolts mounting the actual cleat to the adapter. 20 in-lbs is usually lower than any normal torque wrench you will ever find...if that gives you an idea.

If the adapter is not matched to the curve of the sole of the shoe then as the adapter screws are tightened then the adapter will bow to match the bottom of the shoe...making it's mounting surface (the surface the cleat is mounted to) curved. Then when the cleat is mounted it curves to match the base and the resulting curvature/bowing will impead the proper function of the spring.
Yea...
That (except I've never had to resort to sandpaper).
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Old 09-01-08, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
OK....

Zeros - as mentioned - have a tighter spring than other Speedplay models. It was enough of an annoyance for newbies that they made the Light Actions to address it.

The springs ont he Zeros will break in after a short period of usage and be much easier to clip in with. If you just can't handle the extra tension in the short term you can call and get "pre-broken in" springs as replacements from Speedplay. Many people have done just that.

Also...when mounting the cleats - you have to make sure - like 100% sure - that the bottom of the adapter plate with the proper shims installed will match the curvature of the bottom of your shoe exactly. You can always tweak the shim's fit with some sandpaper. Once the adapter is mounted then pay special attention to the 4 bolts mounting the actual cleat to the adapter. 20 in-lbs is usually lower than any normal torque wrench you will ever find...if that gives you an idea.

I'd say it's more like how tight an arthritic 12 yr old who is undergoing chemotherapy can get it.

Why is all of this important?
If the adapter is not matched to the curve of the sole of the shoe then as the adapter screws are tightened then the adapter will bow to match the bottom of the shoe...making it's mounting surface (the surface the cleat is mounted to) curved. Then when the cleat is mounted it curves to match the base and the resulting curvature/bowing will impead the proper function of the spring.

Also...if the cleat mounting bolts are tightened too tight then they will in fact directly bind the spring causing the same issue....

....net result - difficult to clip into. Sometimes impossible to function.

So it's hard to tell if you difficulties are one of the following 3 possibilities:
1. You improperly mounted the adapter plate causing cleat curvature and spring binding.
2. You improperly torqued the cleat mounting bolts causing spring binding.
3. You are a 120 wussy who can't deal with the entry pressure required for a new Zero spring.

Light Actions are not a good alternative. The cleat spring does not last as long as the Zeros and the float is not adjustable. It is truly meant for newbies. If you are not a newbie I suggest tracking down your specific issues by pulling everything apart and starting over - verifying you didn't strip anything out.

If you still have issues then you need to call Speedplay and request "softer" or "pre-broken in" springs for your Zeros. If that still doesn't work then you should look at another pedal system/model.

My $0.02.
Thanks a bunch for the help here. I am determined to make this thing work... so, tomorrow I shall try again.
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Old 09-02-08, 02:33 AM
  #21  
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I've just switched to Zeros and have been surprised how much pressure is needed to clip in. You are supposed to lube them every couple of rides. My instructions said nothing about the screws 'clicking', have I been sold an old set? They just said screw till you feel resistance and then a quarter turn. The 4 plate screws have blue Locktite on them. I moved from Keo Sprint pedals because I had difficulty clipping in and the Zeros feel just as big to me. At least with the Zeros you know your in the right place I just hope they ease up a bit.
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Old 09-02-08, 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by round-the-bend View Post
I've just switched to Zeros and have been surprised how much pressure is needed to clip in. You are supposed to lube them every couple of rides. My instructions said nothing about the screws 'clicking', have I been sold an old set? They just said screw till you feel resistance and then a quarter turn. The 4 plate screws have blue Locktite on them. I moved from Keo Sprint pedals because I had difficulty clipping in and the Zeros feel just as big to me. At least with the Zeros you know your in the right place I just hope they ease up a bit.
If you look at the bottom side of the heads you would have noticed that there are protrusions that basically help prevent them from unscrewing under the extremely low pressure. These protrusions "click" while being screwed in. You had them, but most people just don't notice it/them.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by john888c View Post
You could try spraying the cleats with a silicone or other dry lubricant spray. It helped on mine.

you really need to use a dry lube with speedplay pedals. i use "tdl" purchased at home depot for less than $5. i have talked with the people at speedplay and this is the lube that they all use. it is recommended that you use the lube before every ride. i was amased in the difference in pedal performance using "tdl" i.e. easy in and out. i have over 6000 miles on my cleats and they are still functioning perfectly i.e. i use tdl befroe every ride.

by the way, fwiw, i have found the people at speedplay are super with customer service. if you have a problem or concern give them a call.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by alancw3 View Post
you really need to use a dry lube with speedplay pedals. i use "tdl" purchased at home depot for less than $5. i have talked with the people at speedplay and this is the lube that they all use. it is recommended that you use the lube before every ride. i was amased in the difference in pedal performance using "tdl" i.e. easy in and out. i have over 6000 miles on my cleats and they are still functioning perfectly i.e. i use tdl befroe every ride.
I get about 3000-4000 miles out of my cleats before the plate is shot to hell and the screw heads are almost gone. If I go any longer than that, I have to cut them off the shoe... but they otherwise function fine.
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Old 09-02-08, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dalava View Post
My shoes are the 3-hole type, so I have to use their adapter which has the 4 holes for fastening the cleats. Are you talking about those 4 screws? I didn't tighten them at all and they already give me that almost stripped feeling; and in fact, you can keep turning the screws and they won't tighten anymore. Somehow it didn't feel right. I followed the instructions. What am I doing wrong?
Mine came with 2 sets of screws, long and short. Have you used the correct length?
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