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Speedplay pedals / Captain sliding ?

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Speedplay pedals / Captain sliding ?

Old 09-15-11, 12:05 PM
  #1  
RedShoedRider
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Speedplay pedals / Captain sliding ?

Good Afternoon, All:

Yet another question from a complete noob:

We're just moving into the world of tandems and are reading just about everything we reasonably can about a life off of half-bikes. One very interesting comment I received while talking to a local shop owner was "You use Speedplay Zero's? I'd get rid of them before you end up hurting yourself", the idea being that the metal cleat surface would be very prone to slide when stopping and I (the captain) am supporting the bike.

So.....comments from those who have Speedplay Zero's? Is this something that I do have to worry about, or is it one of those things that sound dangerous in theory but in not a problem in reality?

Thanks all!
-Chris
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Old 09-15-11, 01:00 PM
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Phantoj
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Normally, I use Look pedals on my road bike (so I can't answer the problem directly). But, on the tandem, I use mountain bike shoes with SPD pedals for better grip. Also, I use the so-called "Proper Method" so I am responsible for holding up the bike at stops, and it is sometimes pretty hard (squirrely kid stokers)...
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Old 09-15-11, 01:13 PM
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merlinextraligh
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20,000 miles with speedplays on the tandem, no problem so far.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:45 PM
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I use speedplays on the single MTB shoes on the tandem. Not only are MTB shoes less prone to a slip but I also find we are more likley to be involved in off bike activities while using he tandem.
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Old 09-15-11, 02:50 PM
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It depends on how much time you'll spend with your feet on the ground and/or if you spend most of your time training and racing.
  • If you rarely need to put a foot down and ride in relatively flat places with dry roads, the probability of a "slip" is much lower than folks who must deal with frequent stops, stops on uneven road surfaces or perhaps even cold and/or wet roads.
  • If you're into hardcore training and racing on single bike and do pretty much the same time of focused training rides with similar intensity on a road tandem then you'll be hard pressed to adapt to a different type of shoe and pedal system.

Conversely, if you're primarily a sport / recreational rider and also do some mountain biking, then a lugged-sole MTB shoe & cleat system may be the better choice... regardless of road conditions / environment.

For example, we tend to do a lot of walking around in conjunction with tandem riding, e.g., put our shoes on in the house or where we're staying, walk to the garage or truck to get the bike, ride to meal stops or points of interest and explore a bit, etc. At tandem rallies and the like, we'll be in our shoes from 8am until 2-3pm, with perhaps 4 of those hours spent on the bike. So, lugged sole MTB shoes are ideal and wear almost like street shoes off the bike while still offering more than enough sole rigidity for all but the most aggressive performance riding. In fact, the Sidi Dominator 5 MTB shoes I wear when riding the tandem probably have a stiffer sole than my Sidi Genuis road shoes w/Campy Record Profits that I use on my single road bike.

So, think about what would suit you best and use that as your guide.
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Old 09-15-11, 03:46 PM
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zzzwillzzz
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
20,000 miles with speedplays on the tandem, no problem so far.
same here, just minus one of the zeros. sometimes i don't even put a foot down, the tandem trackstand is a real crowd pleaser. if i fall then it won't be the speedplay's fault
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Old 09-15-11, 04:40 PM
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I just started riding a tandem and use Speedplay Zero's on normal Sidi road biking shoes (not mountain bike shoes). While I can maybe see where the comment/concern comes from (metal clip on shoe), I've had absolutely no issues at all with slipping on the tandem or on my roadbike while standing at lights and such.
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Old 09-15-11, 06:28 PM
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Thanks for the insight, all! We tend to be very minimal walkers when we're on our singles; I have no reason to suspect that we'll be much different on the tandem. You have a good point about rallies and such, TandemGeek....I could see us needing to walk around more at an event like that, but, well, we'll cross that bridge later. I'm very happy to see other folks on Speedplays that have no trouble at all; I've been though a lot of pedal systems over the years, and while my favourite of all time isn't around anymore (Diadora PowerDrive....I know, I'm a glutton for punishment!), the Speedplays are a very close second.

Thanks!
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Old 09-16-11, 05:50 PM
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I am not sure if everyone here is talking about the same thing. Speedplay makes Zero's (not compatible with MTB shoes) and Frogs wich are designed for MTB shoes. We have used Frogs for several years and my only complaint is that the cleats do not last very long. We have seen some expirienced single cyclists but new to tandems, drop their stokers at low speed because their foot skidded under them.
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Old 09-16-11, 07:16 PM
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I can't speak to Speedplays....
But I learned the hard way after many years of piloting our Tandem....did not listen when veteran tandem pilots warned me of the dangers of road shoes/cleats when piloting a tandem...particularly in damp/wet or poor traction conditions. I got religion one damp foggy morning in San Luis Obispo a few years back....caught a red light on a wet, up hill, piece of concrete. When my foot went out from under me I pulled things I did not know I had tring to keep from dropping my stocker and the tandem.
The next time I could get back on the tandem I had some very grippy MTB shoes and SPD pedals...always will now!

Bill J.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:00 AM
  #11  
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RedShoedRider- I think it's up to you. You're used to them and know how slippery or not slippery they are. Based on that, try to gauge how well you'd be able to prevent a fall if your stoker did something you weren't expecting just as you were preparing to stop. Or, if your stoker is very good at staying still until you are stopped and give her the okay to move, then maybe you'd be fine.

Only thing to keep in mind is that, on a tandem, there are times of confusion. There would eventually be a time that you have to get a foot down quickly and at an unusual position to keep the bike up. Especially in group rides or while trying to follow cue sheets on unfamiliar roads.
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Old 09-18-11, 08:08 PM
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5,ooo miles with Speedplays for myself and my stoker. We also use them on our half-bikes as well.
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Old 09-19-11, 06:26 AM
  #13  
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RedShoeRider,

We don't use Speedplays but as Captain I use platforms with toe clips while stoker uses SPDs to clip in. This was the compromise needed for her to "bolt-in" and trust we won't fall over.

BTW where in NJ do you ride?
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Old 09-20-11, 01:20 PM
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I tried the speedplays but have difficulty clipping in with the tandem. I could not start an uphill and pedal not clipped in. I changed my pedals with my road bike and that was better but ended up going to mountain bike shoes and pedals for the tandem and I am much happier. Plus walking around is so much easier, holding the bike is great and I can pedal unclipped if I need to. Pedaling unclipped is great when starting uphill and that allows me to clip in once we are moving with enoug speed.
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Old 09-21-11, 01:33 PM
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'Tis a good point you have, wheelspeed. We do 2-up on our motorcycle a lot, and while I realize that is a very different beast, she's pretty outstanding at not doing anything silly as I'm stopping. I'd imagine that behaviour would translate (at least party) over to the tandem bicycle. I think the most valuable thing I'm taking away from this discussion is to just try it, as it's not going plant me on my butt the first time around. There will be that one time that I screw up and go foot down on a wet manhole cover......but, well, such is life. While prior planning is powerful, it's not perfect! I am comfortable with this pedal system, so that does count for something.

Though...funny memory.....I was in NYC for The NYC Century a few years back. 33rd st. PATH Station. Wet tiles on an incline with Speedplay cleants and no cleat covers. I slid backwards, bracing myself, for about 10' before I lost my balance and landed on my butt. My riding buddies (on SPD's) got a damned good laugh out of that.

DCwom: We're from the middle of Passaic County, NJ. Our range is from the NY state line down to about Morristown.
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Old 09-21-11, 02:48 PM
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CoMotion Rider makes a good point about being able to apply force to the pedals without being clipped in while wearing MTB shoes, I have slipped off the pedals in that very situation on my single but not on the tandem. If you don't convert now strongly consider it when you make your next shoe purchase.

Hate to see you change your tag to RedShoedSLIDER
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Old 09-21-11, 06:09 PM
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Probably have 40,000 on Speedplays between my single and our tandem. Never had an issue with slipping. Guess it is what you get used to.
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Old 09-22-11, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by VaultGuru View Post
Probably have 40,000 on Speedplays between my single and our tandem. Never had an issue with slipping. Guess it is what you get used to.

I suspect it is where and how a person rides more than what you are used to. We rode about 15,000 miles with another brand but still slippery cleats with no problems. Then on a charity, after a 70 mile ride I slowly come to a stop, and down we go. No friction whatsoever in that parking lot. I always thought I could tripod the bike even if it were slick but the weight on the rear of the tandem shifted just enough to unbalance us. My stoker is only about 20 pounds lighter than I am and the result was a slow motion fall that was quite entertaining.

That is the only time I have dropped by stoker and luckily we both got a good laugh. Now I have added rubber pads to the bottom of my shoes to prevent a repeat performance.
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Old 09-22-11, 05:15 PM
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I quickly learned that mountain shoes and speedplay frogs and have no issues at all.
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Old 09-23-11, 07:44 AM
  #20  
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I ride with SPDs and one reason is less likely to slip when stopping. Wet streets make slipping more likely.
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Old 09-23-11, 11:14 AM
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Speedplay Zero's here. No slipping. Of course, I also come to a complete stop before attempting to put a foot down. Maybe this shop owner drags their feet or tries to slow the bike when coming to a stop?
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