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Switching from mountainbike SPD pedals to road pedals : worth it ?

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Switching from mountainbike SPD pedals to road pedals : worth it ?

Old 09-12-11, 06:33 AM
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Switching from mountainbike SPD pedals to road pedals : worth it ?

I'm new to road cycling. I've done a little more than 1000km since I've got my road bike mid-july. Since I didn't want to buy pedals and new shoes I use mountain bike shoes and SPD pedals. I am now considering getting LOOK pedals and nice road bike shoes.

According to you , will this be a huge or marginal improvement to my rides ?
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Old 09-12-11, 06:43 AM
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Marginal.

Doesn't mean you can't do it, of course!
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Old 09-12-11, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocksteady Max
I'm new to road cycling. I've done a little more than 1000km since I've got my road bike mid-july. Since I didn't want to buy pedals and new shoes I use mountain bike shoes and SPD pedals. I am now considering getting LOOK pedals and nice road bike shoes.

According to you , will this be a huge or marginal improvement to my rides ?
Very marginal. You can get mountain bike shoes that are every bit as stiff as road bike shoes but they are still easier to walk in off the bike. The cleat/pedal interface is smaller on a mountain bike pedal but that's not really a problem with a good stiff shoe.

A distinct disadvantage of road shoes is the single sided pedal. You usually have to flip the pedal to get into it. With double sided mountain bike pedals, if you get your foot on the pedal, you'll be clipped in.
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Old 09-12-11, 07:17 AM
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I did a 6 hour ride last week on my road bike with road pedals and shoes and another 6 hour ride on my Mtn bike with Mtn bike pedals and shoes - no difference. Make sure you have a pair of shoes that fits you well and I wouldn't worry about much else.
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Old 09-12-11, 07:30 AM
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Marginal. I did it because I was getting numbness in my toes and ball of my foot. I was hoping the wider road cleat would help. I think a stiffer shoe would have been just as good. In my limited experience, road shoes arent really any harder to walk in. If your cleats are relatively new, the little rubber spots on them help a lot. The mountain shoes look more "normal", but still have a stiff sole and point your toes up. Those metal cleats are much slicker on a hard surface than the plastic road cleats.
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Old 09-12-11, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by pallen
Marginal. I did it because I was getting numbness in my toes and ball of my foot. I was hoping the wider road cleat would help. I think a stiffer shoe would have been just as good. In my limited experience, road shoes arent really any harder to walk in. If your cleats are relatively new, the little rubber spots on them help a lot. The mountain shoes look more "normal", but still have a stiff sole and point your toes up. Those metal cleats are much slicker on a hard surface than the plastic road cleats.
Did the wider platform help? I'm thinking about switching from SPDs to Looks because I was getting a little numbness on my left toe and I wanted more float (my SPD pedals are only about 4 deg?)
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Old 09-12-11, 07:37 AM
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don't forget about weight! some of those mtn bike pedals weigh a lot! Going with LOOK pedals will probably knock down up to a half pound or so on your bike weight. Probably wont make a darn difference in performance though....
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Old 09-12-11, 07:46 AM
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I'm in the same predicament as you are. I have a set of ultegra pedals, but my shoes won't work with them. I think having a wider platform would be nice, because after an hour and a half my feet start to get a numb or hot sensation under the pedals. I might wait until spring to buy new shoes unless I find some end of the year deals.
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Old 09-12-11, 07:47 AM
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marginal - that said, I love my speedplays compared to my old SPD setup.
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Old 09-12-11, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by beginnerbiker1
Did the wider platform help? I'm thinking about switching from SPDs to Looks because I was getting a little numbness on my left toe and I wanted more float (my SPD pedals are only about 4 deg?)
I don't know if it was the wider platform or the stiffer shoes I bought to go with the new pedals, but I'm getting a lot less numbness now. I used to get it on every ride, now its only on really long rides and not as bad. I dont know that the float will do anything, but spreading the force over a larger area helped me. My SPDs and cheap mountain shoes were really focusing the pressure right under the ball of my foot and causing nerve and/or circulation issues.
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Old 09-12-11, 08:32 AM
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The contact area of the cleat isn't of any importance as long as the cleat interface doesn't flex and the sole of the shoe is rigid enough.
The only differences between road and mountainbike pedals is that the road pedals are lighter an slightly more aero.
For doing actual time trial races this is going to be a factor ... but not a big one.
For everything else I prefer the mountainbike pedals ... because I can walk in them and because they are double sided.
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Old 09-12-11, 08:48 AM
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I dont find the road shoes any harder to walk in, but I do miss my dual sided SPD pedals. I've ridden my shimano road pedals with regular street shoes, but the dual sided SPDs work much better if you want the option to go platform mode.
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Old 09-12-11, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by kbro1986
don't forget about weight! some of those mtn bike pedals weigh a lot! Going with LOOK pedals will probably knock down up to a half pound or so on your bike weight. Probably wont make a darn difference in performance though....
This is, simply, a needless worry for 99% of recreational cyclists. I am much more concerned with the comfort of my feet than a few extra ounces. Why so many recreational riders stress over 4 oz here or 6 oz there is beyond me. I actually feel that a few extra ounces on the bike makes me have to work harder, if I even notice it at all....which I rarely do, leading to a better workout, if that is what I am out there for.

As for the topic at hand, I have been riding SPDs for years, I considered going to road pedals (Looks) and shoes. I even had the pedals and got them for free. I decided that the switch wasn't going to make any real, tangible difference in my riding. I like being able to get off of my bike and walk (I often carry my camera with me and like to get some photos when i ride) and SPDs are certainly the best option there. I have also found that the 2 sided option (not all SPDs are 2 sided) is critical when riding in the city or commuting. A good stiff shoe is what can make all of the difference. Going with a cheap shoe can cause you many of the issues about which you have read here.

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Old 09-12-11, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pallen
I don't know if it was the wider platform or the stiffer shoes I bought to go with the new pedals, but I'm getting a lot less numbness now. I used to get it on every ride, now its only on really long rides and not as bad. I dont know that the float will do anything, but spreading the force over a larger area helped me. My SPDs and cheap mountain shoes were really focusing the pressure right under the ball of my foot and causing nerve and/or circulation issues.
There's your issue.

I use Sidi Dragon, S-Works MTB and Shimano MTB shoes. The only shoe that caused numbness were the Shimano MTB shoes on long distances. Never had any foot comfort issues with Sidi and Specialized.
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Old 09-12-11, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by pallen
I dont find the road shoes any harder to walk in
Really? What about over gravel, dirt, and talus, like if you laid the bike down and then scrambled down to a river to refill your bottles?
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Old 09-12-11, 12:20 PM
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I started off on SPD pedals and MTB shoes so I can't really comment on the difference between the two types of shoes. I have Specialized Pro MTB shoes and they do not bend. I ride on a cycling team and out of 18 riders, I am the only one with MTB pedals. Our team does not race but we do all sorts of cycling events and charity rides. Every time we have our training rides, I am always the first one clipped in and usually ahead of the the others when taking off from a stop because I don't have to fumble with my pedals. I find that I often ride unclipped when doing city rides and pedal with the cleat just ahead of the pedal. I haven't seen any of the other guys do that with their road shoes unless they pedal with their heels. Clipping in then becomes a matter of sliding the cleat over the pedal and I'm in. BTW, have you guys with the burning and numb feet riding MTB pedals ever had your cleats properly adjusted? Besides flexible soles, this can also cause you a problem.
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Old 09-12-11, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Really? What about over gravel, dirt, and talus, like if you laid the bike down and then scrambled down to a river to refill your bottles?
Just ensure that the herd is down stream when you do this...

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Old 09-12-11, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocksteady Max
According to you , will this be a huge or marginal improvement to my rides ?
You're assuming there will be some improvement though in reality, you may see none, or it could be worse. At the amount of riding you're doing, stay with what you've got unless it's causing problems. Unless you want to just try something else - I'm always for that if you can afford it.
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Old 09-12-11, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by kbro1986
don't forget about weight! some of those mtn bike pedals weigh a lot! Going with LOOK pedals will probably knock down up to a half pound or so on your bike weight. Probably wont make a darn difference in performance though....
Speedplay Frogs are comparable in weight to most road pedals, even ones that cost a lot more.
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Old 09-12-11, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest
Really? What about over gravel, dirt, and talus, like if you laid the bike down and then scrambled down to a river to refill your bottles?
well, I haven't gone on any hikes in them or scrambled to a river, but I've been on fine gravel, pavement and concrete without much issue. Obviously some shoes will be better than others, but I didn't notice much difference in walkability when I switched.

By far the absolute worst combination I tried was when I put the mountain pedals on my road shoes (my shoes had holes to accommodate both, but no rubber treads like mountain shoes). That was downright dangerous and should never be allowed. The metal cleat is very slick on a hard surface. Never use mountain cleats on road shoes even if the holes allow it.
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Old 09-12-11, 04:07 PM
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i have spd pedals with road shoes that have a rubber bottom i really like them i can walk around with no problem and they are very stiff

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=64219
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Old 09-12-11, 05:25 PM
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Shimano's A520 is a nice compromise to stay in SPDs without too much weight. The wider platform made a difference to me in comfort (but could be cuz my shoes aren't so stiff).
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