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Speedplay Zero review

Old 04-23-13, 01:06 PM
  #1  
snookanglr
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Speedplay Zero review

Previously I used Shimano PD-5700 105 pedals but I started having knee pain and I hoped that the more float of Speedplays might alleviate this issue. Also, I was never entirely happy with clipping out on SPD-SL pedals because the process was somewhat sticky and jerky. Iím about 2 months into using chromoly Speedplay Zeros and I think Iíve used them enough that I can do a review.

My first few rides on these pedals was a heaven and hell experience. It was heaven when I was clipped in but hell when I was clipped out and trying to get back in. These pedals definitely have a break in period! At first, clipping in was so difficult and frustrating that I thought about selling them. Iím fairly lightweight (145 lbs.) and thatís probably part of the problem. Lighter-weight people are going to have more trouble and a longer break in period. For really light people you might want to have someone heavier break them in for you. Iím glad I stuck with them though because clipping in got much easier and I now see that this is a vastly superior pedal system.

Once you get through the break-in period clipping in becomes very easy. Keep the pedal flat, line up the cleat, push down firmly until you hear a slight click and then push down even harder and you will feel and hear a loud snap. Giving you foot a slight movement like you are squishing a bug helps too. One excellent feature of these pedals is that they are dual sided so you donít really have to look at the pedal when clipping in. And lining up the cleat is easy because the cleat really grabs the pedal. In fact, you can pedal fairly easily while not clipped in because the pedal fits so snugly into the cleat even while unclipped. That was particularly helpful during my learning period and I had to pedal much of my time unclipped.. A little bit of dry lube on the cleat helps too but donít overdo it because too much can muck them up.

Clipping out on these shoes has been easy from day one. A slight movement of your feet away from the bike and they pop right off smoothly. Theyíve never inadvertently clipped out on me.

As I mentioned at the beginning, I bought these pedals in hopes that theyíd be good for my knees. The flexibility of float certainly does help my knees. My old pedals had about 4 degrees of float. Speedplay Zeros can be adjusted from 0 to 15. I started with 8 degrees of float or right about in the middle. I liked that setting and felt improvement in my knees but just to experiment I did a few rides with 10-12 degrees of float. That was too much for me so I went back to 8 and I really think thatís perfect. Any higher than 8 and I feel less in control when out of the saddle. Thatís one of the main selling points of these pedals, the adjustability. It really is great. As I said, the float has helped my knees but itís not just the float that helps. These pedals lock in at the balls of your feet whereas other systems feel more like itís your toes that are locked in, like with ski bindings. The position of Speedplay cleats and pedals feels very natural giving your legs a much more natural range of motion. Your legs move how they want to move without restriction.

These pedals are incredibly light and I also feel like Iím getting better power transfer and handling with these pedals. I donít have a way to prove it but I certainly feel it during sprints and when cornering.

My only complaint with Speedplays is that they are difficult to walk in. However, Iím diligent about putting on Kool Kovers and those really help. I keep them in my jersey pocket and snap them on if Iím going to walk in grass or dirt or any farther than 10í. Using the Kool Kovers has keep my cleats clean.

I canít speak to the durability of these pedals and cleats because Iíve only used them for 3 months but so far they still look great. I also canít speak to ease of cleat installation because I had the store that I bought them from do the install. They did a great job and I havenít had any issues with them loosening up.

Overall, Iím enamored with Speedplay Zero pedals and canít imagine going back to SPD-L or trying anything else. If you have any sort of pain issues you have to try them but really anyone and everyone is going to benefit from these pedals.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:36 PM
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I've been riding SS Zeros for two years. They've held up well, but they do feel "loose" now compared to when I first got them. I've never come out, though, so I wouldn't call that an issue.

I've installed cleats for myself and several friends who I've talked into going Speedplay. It's not hard, but it is a two step process (unless you have SP specific shoes). You have to attach the base plate to the shoe, and then attach the cleat to the baseplate...still takes only a few minutes...but if you need to adjust the position of the cleat, you have to take it off, then adjust the baseplate.

Walking was an issue for me too...my building has marble floors that don't agree with metal cleats. I also had to get some rubber cleat covers to put on to walk through the lobby.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:47 PM
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Get some of these!

http://www.keeponkovers.com/Product.html

I love mine!
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Old 04-23-13, 01:48 PM
  #4  
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Been riding Zero's for like 5 years. I dont get why more people dont just switch to Zero's. They're the best...
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Old 04-23-13, 01:52 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Carloswithac View Post
Get some of these!

http://www.keeponkovers.com/Product.html

I love mine!
useless and add weight when carrying around while riding. I've never had issues with my pedals but then again I don't run 5k's with my cycling shoes on.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:54 PM
  #6  
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I find that it takes 2+ months of use to break in Speedplay cleats. Gotta keep 'em clean from debris, too.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:11 PM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
useless and add weight when carrying around while riding. I've never had issues with my pedals but then again I don't run 5k's with my cycling shoes on.
You don't carry them. They allow you to clip in without having to remove them.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by I <3 Robots View Post
You don't carry them. They allow you to clip in without having to remove them.
lolz....I guess he was referring to the other cover. I have this cover too. Won't use a SP without one.
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Old 04-26-13, 06:00 PM
  #9  
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I liked mine so well I decided my GF should ride in them too. I weigh 100 lbs more than she. I clip in and out with total ease. She had a hard time for a while when they were new I'm sure due to her weight. I used dry lube on them for a while while they were new. They work great for her now after breaking them in for a while. I wouldn't ever want to ride in the "toe in first" style again. No comparison
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Old 04-26-13, 06:54 PM
  #10  
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Old 04-26-13, 08:16 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
Been riding Zero's for like 5 years. I dont get why more people dont just switch to Zero's. They're the best...
maybe because some people have been riding Speedplay X-type pedals, long before Zeros came around.
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Old 04-26-13, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Carloswithac View Post
Get some of these!

http://www.keeponkovers.com/Product.html

I love mine!
+1.

I'm trying to stretch 'em out a little longer with some shoo goo but I love those things. Speedplay really missed the boat not making some available.
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Old 04-26-13, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ovoleg View Post
Been riding Zero's for like 5 years. I dont get why more people dont just switch to Zero's. They're the best...
I went from Speedplay zero's to shimano and am much happier with the shimano set up.
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Old 04-26-13, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
I went from Speedplay zero's to shimano and am much happier with the shimano set up.
There's always a contrarian in every crowd ^^^
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Old 04-26-13, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
I'm trying to stretch 'em out a little longer with some shoo goo but I love those things.
I couldn't justify spending ~$25 w/ shipping on those things to protect $40 cleats that I toss every year or so. You can pretty badly mangle the bottom of Speedplay cleats by walking on concrete without affecting their functionality. Not that you'll want to do much walking with Speedplay cleats.
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Old 04-26-13, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
I couldn't justify spending ~$25 w/ shipping on those things to protect $40 cleats that I toss every year or so. You can pretty badly mangle the bottom of Speedplay cleats by walking on concrete without affecting their functionality.
I wish someone would make a Speedplay cleat with a Ti or SS plate.
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Old 04-26-13, 11:32 PM
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I just got the SP zeros too and my experience was pretty similar to yours except I wasn't able to get clipped in AT ALL. Turns out I over tightened the four bolts on the cleats. I loosened them up, added some oil on the C clip and now they clip in every time. Still a tad stiff but that's expected as there is a break-in period, but I must say I am never going back to shimano/keo type pedals/cleats.

As for the keeponkovers... I ordered a set of those too. Initially my logic was the same as one of the posters.... why spend $30 on covers when a replacement cleat is $40? Well..... that question was answered when I slipped and almost fell on my arse when I was walking my bike out of the garage. Those cleats are slippery! Aside from the grip that the keeponkovers provide I also like the fact that if the screws start loosening they won't fall off completely. That was another huge selling point for me since the screws aren't suppose to be tightened down too much.
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Old 04-26-13, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Will Goes Boing View Post
I also like the fact that if the screws start loosening they won't fall off completely.
You can use Locktite on the screws once you get the cleat positioning squared away. The screws will back out over time if you don't. I believe Speedplay is OK with using Shoe Goo around the edges to prevent slipping. Those covers look like they'd be pretty slick on smooth, wet concrete.
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Old 04-26-13, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
You can use Locktite on the screws once you get the cleat positioning squared away. The screws will back out over time if you don't. I believe Speedplay is OK with using Shoe Goo around the edges to prevent slipping. Those covers look like they'd be pretty slick on smooth, wet concrete.
Maybe it's because I learned how to walk in ski boots before I turned 3 years old, but i have no problems walking with Speedplay cleats.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:15 AM
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A lot of the guys I ride with are quite vociferous in their dislike of Speedplay pedals. Interestingly, however, this only comes from guys who don't ride them.
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Old 04-27-13, 09:58 AM
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I found that it took a while to 'break in' the Speedplays. But later, when I got new pedals for a new bike and replaced my cleats at the same time, they clipped in with no problem.

So I think the 'break in' is really just a matter of the rider getting used to the motion.

Originally Posted by bike_boy View Post
I find that it takes 2+ months of use to break in Speedplay cleats. Gotta keep 'em clean from debris, too.
Bear in mind that - regardless of how well you protect the cleats - you will have to replace them from time to time. They're cheap, though.

Another consideration:

I find that the 4 mounting screws come out too easily. I once did a fast 130-miler and couldn't understand what was wrong with the cleat on one foot. Took the shoe off at the end, and it was being held in with one screw! Now - every time I lube my chain, I also lube the cleats (with chain lube) and check the screws, and I keep a few spare screws that I was able to order from my LBS. About once a year I dismantle the whole thing, clean and lube and re-assemble them. Definitely improves the performance (clipping in/out, staying clipped in, float, etc.)

Originally Posted by Dunbar View Post
...Not that you'll want to do much walking with Speedplay cleats.
I once crashed out about 4 miles from the end of a long ride. No SAG service, and I had to walk the remaining 4 miles, carrying the bike. I had coffee-covers in my back pocket, and had no problem with that walk.
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Old 04-27-13, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Carloswithac View Post
Get some of these!

http://www.keeponkovers.com/Product.html

I love mine!
Not for me - sorry. I don't want that extra weight going around every pedal stroke.

I just throw a pair of coffee-covers into my pocket on longer rides, and do without on shorter, faster rides.

$10 at Performance :

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Old 04-27-13, 03:21 PM
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given the number of people that have switched to Shimano from Speedplays, I don't think it takes a contrarian. I bought 3 pairs of used speedplays from one guy that was switching, only way I would have so many because they aren't cheap.

Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
Bear in mind that - regardless of how well you protect the cleats - you will have to replace them from time to time. They're cheap, though.
I don't think $45 is cheap, particularly for the X series cleat which is a very simple object. I've thought about fabricating the wire, which is basically all that wears out

Last edited by unterhausen; 04-27-13 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 04-27-13, 07:03 PM
  #24  
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Love my Zero's. have any of you tried these...?

http://www.keeponkovers.com/Product.html

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Old 04-27-13, 07:11 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
I went from Speedplay zero's to shimano and am much happier with the shimano set up.
+1
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