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Clipless Pedal/Shoe question

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Clipless Pedal/Shoe question

Old 09-19-14, 07:04 AM
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Clipless Pedal/Shoe question

My wife (Stoker) had meniscus surgery in July and we were back on the bike after three weeks. She is doing well and we are getting back to our normal mileage. I've got a pedal question for the group. We have been using the Shimano 530's which gives us the ability to ride with street shoes if we want to just run around town etc. She is using the Pearl Izumi Running shoe style (W's X-Alp Seek IV) with Shimano cleats. No matter how loose I adjust the release she really struggles to get her feet disengaged. I've switched my pedals with her's and no change. Because of this she is using toe clips and straps currently. So two questions:

1. Has anyone else had this issue with this type shoe?
2. What is the easiest releasing pedal out there?

Thanks for your input and feel free to ask any questions or to offer solutions-recommendations to questions I've maybe not even known enough to ask! :-)
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Old 09-19-14, 07:25 AM
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My wife had the same problem unclipping with her SPD XT. I convinced her to try the speedplay frog and she loves them. They are a lot easier to unclip, has more float, easy to walk in, and lighter.
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Old 09-19-14, 08:08 AM
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If the shoe is to tight against the pedal it will be had to get out. Some shoes you need to cut a bit of the rubber away around the cleat. Also the shoes tread may catch on the grips on the pedal.

Otherwise try different shoes or pedals.

If we are just tootling around town we have no problem riding with regular runners on Shimano Durace/ultegra/105 pedals.
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Old 09-19-14, 08:40 AM
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Another vote for the speedplay frog for the ease of use, easiest pedals to clip out of, no spring resistance to fight against. They are double sided, so always easy to clip on, but would not work well using normal non clipped running shoe.
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Old 09-19-14, 05:11 PM
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Was surgery on one or both knees, and is the unclipping issue one leg or either?

Sounds counter-intuitive but consider a cleat/pedal with less float. I personally find when I use a higher release I also need less/no float.

REALLY miss the Look Moab (SR-2? The red ones) pedals... My fav pedals ever with monster holding force and butter smooth release, but Look quit making the cleats long before I ran out of pedals.

Of current options, definitely Frogs topping my list.
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Old 09-19-14, 06:11 PM
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Curious... same pedals/shoes before the surgery? Did she have problems before?

My stoker is still learning to get out of her speedplay zeros which seem easy to get out of to me. So YMMV on a lot of these. I don't think my stoker has quite gotten the pure turning movement of the foot for release (I guess I think of it as kicking my heel out to the side) and tries to do some kind of ankle twist thing. Then she gets frustrated and coach-ability approaches zero. It gets worse when she gets tired.

Good luck and congrats on being back on the bike so soon.
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Old 09-19-14, 06:52 PM
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I hope this is a temporary problem do to the surgery. Can she unclip one foot? A few years ago my wife broke her ankle skiing and after she got the cast off she couldn't unclip that foot. When we were done riding she would unclip her good foot so she could hold the bike up. I would then dismount and unclip her foot for her. After a few weeks of healing and getting her strength back she was able to unclip again.
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Old 09-19-14, 08:43 PM
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I've never had a problem with SPDs, neither has my wife. This sounds strange to me...maybe the cleat needs a spacer?
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Old 09-19-14, 09:15 PM
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She had the problem before the surgery to her right knee. I do wonder if the sole of the shoe is compressing and springing back applying tension to the interface? I think I will check that out. She went to these shoes after having problem with getting hot foot and numbness.
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Old 09-20-14, 09:56 AM
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Sounds like the problem is the cleat. Most Shimano SPD pedals come with a black cleat. SPD has two types of cleats......twist release or multi-directional. The twist only are black and the multi are silver. Multi-directional is much easier to use and, having had knee surgeries and replacements, it is the only thing to use for me.

The multi directional can basically require only a flex of the ankle and/or lift the heel to release. Very easy on tender knees.

Speedplays, despite their float, are not for tender knees. Maybe Speedplays frogs are different, don't know.

We use 520s most of the time. We put PD-M324 pedals on exclusively for our Ireland tour last year and loved them.

Try some 324s and silver cleats.

Last edited by Monoborracho; 09-20-14 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 09-20-14, 10:12 AM
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I second the vote for Speedplay Frogs. My wife has had meniscus surgery on both knees and Frogs have been great. Very walkable as well when off the bike.

If your wife is having problems with hot foot, you may want to check the level of arch support in her shoes. She probably doesn't have enouh. Hot foot is often caused by "reaching" for the pedal on that side. This can be due to leg length discrepancy or not sitting squarely on the seat. Also check reach to the bars. Too much reach can amplify problems with sitting squarely.

A good website to check is Steve Hogg's. Here is the link: Welcome Steve Hogg's Bike Fitting Website

We paid quite a bit of money for a bike fit with no improvement in her knee pain. I found this website and was able to make the changes and she now rides pain free (if we really push in the hills it can sometimes still bother her a little afterward). We went to shorter cranks for her and this was a big help.

Best wishes for healthy, pain free riding!!
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Old 09-20-14, 08:37 PM
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Shimano has 2 SPD cleats: SM-SH56 and SM-SH51. The SH56 is defined as a multi-release. It allows an upward componant to the horizontal release movement. The SH-51 requires a pure horizontal movement for release. The difference is that the SH-56 has a 45 degree bevel on the forward edge of the cleat. I have found that the SH56 has a more reliable release mechanism/movement without compromising the effectiveness of attachment to the SPD pedals. I would try the SM-SH56 cleats as a cost effective option for your stoker to see if that improves her confidence in disengagement.
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Old 09-21-14, 06:55 AM
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+1 on Frogs. Easiest to get out and lots of knee friendly float.
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Old 09-24-14, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by cunhatandem
Shimano has 2 SPD cleats: SM-SH56 and SM-SH51. The SH56 is defined as a multi-release. It allows an upward componant to the horizontal release movement. The SH-51 requires a pure horizontal movement for release. The difference is that the SH-56 has a 45 degree bevel on the forward edge of the cleat. I have found that the SH56 has a more reliable release mechanism/movement without compromising the effectiveness of attachment to the SPD pedals. I would try the SM-SH56 cleats as a cost effective option for your stoker to see if that improves her confidence in disengagement.
Thank you for all the information on cleats, I never knew Shimano had different cleat designs of the same interface. Her's (Stoker) are the SM-SH51 Silver cleats so it looks like we have the best option per what cunhatandem and Monoborracho are saying so that leaves me thinking it is the sole of the shoe. I will work on that and keep you all posted. As I was looking into this I looked at a pair of shoes she had to start last season and they are marked 98A, not sure what that would mean? These shoes were too tight so we put them on the shelf. Thanks for your input on the cleats and the other fit help you've been giving us!
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Old 09-26-14, 07:46 PM
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Shimano also makes a new SPD-style and compatible pedal called the Click'R. I just bought one for my wife as her first clipless setup and the peadl is extremely easy to operate with the silver SH56 SPD cleats.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...OXEAQNIRCLJ7AU
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Old 09-27-14, 09:21 AM
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Make sure the cleats are screwed tight to the shoe as any leg/foot movement will transmit through to the cleat. I've also had success with a light spray of WD40 on the mating surface of the cleat and pedal. These are simple no cost suggestions based on 30 years of cycling and seven knee operations.

Some times different equipment is required but SPD's have worked for me with all my knee challengs. Good luck!
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Old 09-27-14, 11:18 PM
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Start out by changing the SM-SH51 cleats for a set of SM-SH56s. If that doesn't help, she might need to switch to Speedplay Frogs.

98A is a Wellgo copy of the SM-SH51.
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Old 06-16-15, 06:40 AM
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I though I would follow-up on this thread to its conclusion. We got the Speedply Frogs for my wife (stoker) and she has several hundred miles on them and loves them! Thanks for the advise. Not sure I would have gotten to that option on my own.
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Old 06-25-15, 07:18 PM
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I'm glad to hear they worked

I don't know if you're interested in this or not, but we lubricate our cleats with chapstick, whatever brand is on sale. It lasts a long time and is easy to carry if you're riding multiple days. It works great!
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Old 06-27-15, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bornco
I'm glad to hear they worked

I don't know if you're interested in this or not, but we lubricate our cleats with chapstick, whatever brand is on sale. It lasts a long time and is easy to carry if you're riding multiple days. It works great!
Bornco, are you applying this to the peddle or the cleat?
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Old 06-27-15, 07:56 PM
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The cleats
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Old 07-09-15, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by cunhatandem
Shimano has 2 SPD cleats: SM-SH56 and SM-SH51. The SH56 is defined as a multi-release. It allows an upward componant to the horizontal release movement. The SH-51 requires a pure horizontal movement for release. The difference is that the SH-56 has a 45 degree bevel on the forward edge of the cleat. I have found that the SH56 has a more reliable release mechanism/movement without compromising the effectiveness of attachment to the SPD pedals. I would try the SM-SH56 cleats as a cost effective option for your stoker to see if that improves her confidence in disengagement.
I would agree. This woman and tandem captain has ALWAYS had issues releasing with newer (ten years or less) clipless pedals. I still use my ten-year-old Performance Forte Ti Look compatibles on my road bike. I have tried Speedplays (too much rotation), Shimano SPD-SL's (much too hard to release and monstrous sized cleats for my W 8.5 shoes) and a few others. The tourer/commute bike gets Performance Campus pedals w/ single-sided SPD and SH51 cleats. For the recently acquired tandem, the stoker prefers clips & straps and I purchased - with much trepidation - the Shimano 530's. As expected, they were difficult to disengage, even dialed all the way down. Putting SH56 cleats on did the trick. I also release ALL pedals with an inward swing of the heal, not outward. It is simply a more bio-mechanically efficient direction for me.

This thread seems to speak to the state of the industry and pedal design presuming all who ride possess moose-like strength and torque to apply when unclipping. There are a number of "beginner" light-resistance releasing pedals (the beginner tag is more than a bit ludicrous after a while), with the presumption one will "progress" upward. Leaves me scratching my head in wonder. I will also agree that a number of women in my club use Speedplay Frogs successfully, but the majority stick with SPDs because of the ease of unclipping - it has nothing to do with the recessed cleat. IMHO, the bike industry is missing the boat here, though I applaud Shimano's development of the Click-R pedals. I'm curious how they will hold up over time.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by SuperA
I would agree. This woman and tandem captain has ALWAYS had issues releasing with newer (ten years or less) clipless pedals. I still use my ten-year-old Performance Forte Ti Look compatibles on my road bike. I have tried Speedplays (too much rotation), Shimano SPD-SL's (much too hard to release and monstrous sized cleats for my W 8.5 shoes) and a few others. The tourer/commute bike gets Performance Campus pedals w/ single-sided SPD and SH51 cleats. For the recently acquired tandem, the stoker prefers clips & straps and I purchased - with much trepidation - the Shimano 530's. As expected, they were difficult to disengage, even dialed all the way down. Putting SH56 cleats on did the trick. I also release ALL pedals with an inward swing of the heal, not outward. It is simply a more bio-mechanically efficient direction for me.

This thread seems to speak to the state of the industry and pedal design presuming all who ride possess moose-like strength and torque to apply when unclipping. There are a number of "beginner" light-resistance releasing pedals (the beginner tag is more than a bit ludicrous after a while), with the presumption one will "progress" upward. Leaves me scratching my head in wonder. I will also agree that a number of women in my club use Speedplay Frogs successfully, but the majority stick with SPDs because of the ease of unclipping - it has nothing to do with the recessed cleat. IMHO, the bike industry is missing the boat here, though I applaud Shimano's development of the Click-R pedals. I'm curious how they will hold up over time.
My wife and stoker also has continued to use SPD pedals because they are easier to release. In her case however it is because she has a much easier time releasing by move her heal inward rather than outward. I have notice that I also prefer to unclip by rotating inward. I use Bebop which allow this and have modified (at my own risk and voiding any warranty) some Speedplay pedals to do likewise. I suspect this is a lack of flexibility on our part.
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Old 08-24-15, 02:38 PM
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I love Speedplay frog pedals.
I did have to cut away some of the sole stuff on a pair of PI X-Alp bike shoes to get a frog cleat lined up just right for me.

After getting my cleats installed perfectly, and putting in some miles, I discovered that size 42 PI X-Alp women's shoes are just a bit too short for me!
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Old 08-25-15, 05:46 PM
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My stoker is small and light and hasn't the leverage (short foot) or the mass (<100 lbs) to use SPDs. We tried Crank Bros. Candy and that wasn't much better so we gave up and she uses toe clips and straps.

Studies show that clipless isn't any more efficient than regular flat pedals, so what the heck. She's happy with that. The only down side is that when I test ride solo, I use a very small bungee to hold the cage to the crank arm so the cage doesn't hit the ground. The bungees live in the trunk bag, so no big deal. It doesn't look as cool as clipless, but we're beyond caring about that.
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