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SPD or Crank Bros. for Touring in Underdeveloped Countries

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SPD or Crank Bros. for Touring in Underdeveloped Countries

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Old 08-28-16, 06:06 PM
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Chili Cheesy
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SPD or Crank Bros. for Touring in Underdeveloped Countries

I just need someone who has experience with bike part availability around the world. Tall order, I know...
But I'm sure there are some well-traveled cyclists on here.

I'm only looking at using SPD or Crank Bros. pedals. Please do not suggest alternatives on this thread.

If I were only going to be riding here in The States, I would just use Crank Bros. Candy pedals without any worries.
I'm wondering if SPD's are a much safer bet around the world, regarding the availability of the cleats, pedals and parts.
I've heard SPD's are tougher and if that is the case, it has its value for touring also.
I would definitely still like to take some Crank Bros. Candy's if it doesn't make much difference.

Share with me some wisdom.
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Old 08-28-16, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
I'm wondering if SPD's are a much safer bet around the world.
Yes, and if the next 20 responses say something different, don't believe them.
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Old 08-28-16, 06:51 PM
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Buy shoes that you can also walk in.
Buy pedals that can be both platform and clipless.
Then don't worry about it.
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Old 08-28-16, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Yes, and if the next 20 responses say something different, don't believe them.
No, I'm going to agree with you

I might also add after riding Crank Bros and Shimano SPDs, I'd go for the SPD. I used the Crank Bros for awhile but had trouble with them. It has been awhile, and I can't remember if it was clipping in or unclipping that was the issue. Regardless , either one is not acceptable.
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Old 08-28-16, 09:17 PM
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china: no problem. small towns mainly have junky
department store bikes and parts. larger towns and
provincial capitals all have decent selection of parts.

laos: hahaha. vientiane has a bike shop. savannaket
a small club-type very small store with limited selection
across from the cathedral.

cambodia: phnom penh and siem reap have bike stores.

thailand: plenty of parts available.

myanmar: limited selection of pricey parts in yangon
and mandalay. possibly one in bagan.

malaysia: kuala lumpur

vietnam: hanoi, saigon. possibly danang.


if you got shoes spd or otherwise you can walk in,
you can always find cheap platform pedals as
temporary replacements.
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Old 08-29-16, 12:04 AM
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Considering that Shimano is widely available around the world and Crank Brothers has an admitted history of product failure, SPD is the clear choice.
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Old 08-29-16, 06:59 AM
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I can only relate my excellent experience with shimano spd over the years, ie, longevity of both pedals and cleats. I bought my first pair of shimano spd pedals in 92 I think, and while very worn looking, the same pedals are still on my commuter that I use more in the spring and fall in crappy weather. The original shoes and original cleats got used for ages, probably 15 years, and while they were used commuting and not scrabbling up rocky inclines on foot, the cleats of course got rather worn but continued to function well.
Newer shoes with new cleats still function well in these old pedals, albeit with a much easier release tension, but in regular everyday riding, they still work fine (ie, no surprise releases)

It makes sense that if you know you will be pushing a loaded touring bike up rocky inclines a lot, and or just walking a lot on rough surfaces, any spd cleat will get worn down, pebbles get stuck in them even in regular city life, so perhaps non spd are better if you know it will always be rough etc

I would add, that when properly tightened, spd cleats generally stay tight and wont become loose for decades, mine havent anyway.
Of course, there is always the option of taking along a spair set of cleats, but I figure taking care of both cleats and pedals regularly is a big factor in how long they work well (removing pebbles stuck in cleat right away, clearing mud dirt out of pedal mechanism, trying to reduce walking on uneven surfaces and wearing away cleats)

I was touring with someone who had new shoes, and the store hadnt properly tightened the new cleats, resulting in the cleat coming off and staying in the pedal when he took his foot off one time (didnt recognize the "loose" feeling) Luckily we were able to access some tools at a nearby store to remove the cleat, and luckily also the threads were not stripped and the cleat was able to be mounted again.

bottom line, I guess it depends on where you are going and for how long. Not an easy answer from us, but my solid experience with shimano spd will always keep me with them.
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Old 08-29-16, 08:10 AM
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I have never used Crank Bros cleats or pedals, so can't offer an opinion.

But I can say that I like to be able to use SPD on days when the road is in good shape, but if I am on my feet a lot because of bad road or loose sand or bad trail conditions or exceptionally steep uphill, I would rather wear hiking shoes that day.

Some time back I wrote up a piece comparing two models of pedals that are SPD on one side, platform on the other. If you go with SPD, this may be of interest to you.
http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/10...l#post18306425

Originally Posted by djb View Post
..
I would add, that when properly tightened, spd cleats generally stay tight and wont become loose for decades, mine havent anyway.
Of course, there is always the option of taking along a spair set of cleats, but I figure taking care of both cleats and pedals regularly is a big factor in how long they work well (removing pebbles stuck in cleat right away, clearing mud dirt out of pedal mechanism, trying to reduce walking on uneven surfaces and wearing away cleats)

I was touring with someone who had new shoes, and the store hadnt properly tightened the new cleats, resulting in the cleat coming off and staying in the pedal when he took his foot off one time (didnt recognize the "loose" feeling) Luckily we were able to access some tools at a nearby store to remove the cleat, and luckily also the threads were not stripped and the cleat was able to be mounted again.

bottom line, I guess it depends on where you are going and for how long. Not an easy answer from us, but my solid experience with shimano spd will always keep me with them.
I do not fully agree on the bolts staying tight. When you first install cleats on a new shoe, the sole of the shoe is plastic and it will slowly deform from the shape of the cleat. Thus, the bolt will loosen up slowly at first as the sole conforms to the cleat. I think it best to check the bolts after a few weeks, then again after a few months. And maybe the beginning of the next year. I have always found if I do that, I catch cleat bolts that are not yet too loose and I can tighten them up before problems develop. Do not just plan to tighten them once when new. I also carry one spare cleat bolt in my collection of spares, although I have never lost a cleat bolt yet.
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Old 08-29-16, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post

I do not fully agree on the bolts staying tight. When you first install cleats on a new shoe, the sole of the shoe is plastic and it will slowly deform from the shape of the cleat. Thus, the bolt will loosen up slowly at first as the sole conforms to the cleat. I think it best to check the bolts after a few weeks, then again after a few months. And maybe the beginning of the next year. I have always found if I do that, I catch cleat bolts that are not yet too loose and I can tighten them up before problems develop. Do not just plan to tighten them once when new. I also carry one spare cleat bolt in my collection of spares, although I have never lost a cleat bolt yet.
I did not express myself properly, yes I agree with you on checking them a number of times at first.

This is a very important reminder, thanks.

In general though, after that first period, mine have tended to stay tight for years, but along with periodical checking of bolts in general, its certainly worth a check now and again.

In the case I mentioned of a cleat coming off the shoe and remaining in the pedal, if there had not been a place where I could borrow a pair of pliers to firmly grip and twist the cleat out of the pedal, it wasn't coming out easily....
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Old 08-29-16, 09:45 AM
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Being Pragmatic,

Reliable platform pedals, and shoes you can walk & hike in..
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Old 08-29-16, 10:02 AM
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I think Shimano SPD is more popular outside (& inside) the US. They even have knock offs that are compatible;
Origin-8, Xpedo, Exustar, etc. Giving you even more options/choices.
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Old 08-29-16, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I did not express myself properly, yes I agree with you on checking them a number of times at first.

This is a very important reminder, thanks.

In general though, after that first period, mine have tended to stay tight for years, but along with periodical checking of bolts in general, its certainly worth a check now and again.

In the case I mentioned of a cleat coming off the shoe and remaining in the pedal, if there had not been a place where I could borrow a pair of pliers to firmly grip and twist the cleat out of the pedal, it wasn't coming out easily....
+1

Your friend is lucky that the cleat came free of the shoe. If it is just loose, the cleat may not unclip. This may cause more of a problem at low airspeed. Unfortunately, I'm speaking from experience

I carry one extra cleat bolt in my tool kit. One of my wife's cleats has a 4 mm shim under it due to leg length differences. It is almost impossible to find a replacement bolt the correct length at the usual sources. However, if push came to shove, I'd remove the shim, and use standard size bolts.

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Old 08-29-16, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
if you got shoes spd or otherwise you can walk in,
you can always find cheap platform pedals as
temporary replacements.
I suppose it depends a bit on how much time you plan to spend in any one place. Tune the bike before you leave.

I've had a few "issues" (here in the USA), but nothing insurmountable.
  1. One one trip with the folder, a pedal with AWOL. I'm not quite sure what happened. I disassembled the bike for packing. Then no pedal at the other end. No place to lose it. So, perhaps it got lost when disassembling. I got a pedal off of another bike which I used for an afternoon until I located a suitable replacement. It was a bit odd... Reminding myself... Pull Up - Don't Pull Up - Pull Up - Don't Pull Up...
  2. Pulled a cleat off as above. Pried it out with the pocket knife and reinstalled. No parts lost. I was only 1/2 mile from home so I fixed it at home, but carrying a set of Allen wrenches would be sufficient.
  3. Shimano or Wellgo SPD? One of the pivot pins unscrewed. Nothing lost. Since the pedal was double-sided, one side worked, one didn't hold. Just detensioned the pedal and screwed it back together.
  4. Bearings can tighten or loosen. If using Shimano style pedals, perhaps bring one of those pedal disassembly tools to allow bearing cleaning, packing, and adjustment.
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I do not fully agree on the bolts staying tight. When you first install cleats on a new shoe, the sole of the shoe is plastic and it will slowly deform from the shape of the cleat. Thus, the bolt will loosen up slowly at first as the sole conforms to the cleat. I think it best to check the bolts after a few weeks, then again after a few months. And maybe the beginning of the next year. I have always found if I do that, I catch cleat bolts that are not yet too loose and I can tighten them up before problems develop. Do not just plan to tighten them once when new. I also carry one spare cleat bolt in my collection of spares, although I have never lost a cleat bolt yet.

Good idea. I have a few mystery squeaks. Perhaps I'll try retightening the cleats.
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Old 08-29-16, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
...
Good idea. I have a few mystery squeaks. Perhaps I'll try retightening the cleats.
I think that is unlikely to help. SPD shoes contact the pedals at the cleat and also the sole of the shoe. (This can easily be observed by clipping in a shoe that you are not wearing on your foot, rotate the shoe so it is under the pedal so you can look at how the shoe is held in place.) Thus as the shoe rotates slightly within the float range, the sole will rub on the pedal which can cause some squeaking.

But it never hurts to make sure the cleat bolts are tight.
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Old 08-29-16, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
I just need someone who has experience with bike part availability around the world. Tall order, I know...
But I'm sure there are some well-traveled cyclists on here.

I'm only looking at using SPD or Crank Bros. pedals. Please do not suggest alternatives on this thread.

If I were only going to be riding here in The States, I would just use Crank Bros. Candy pedals without any worries.
I'm wondering if SPD's are a much safer bet around the world, regarding the availability of the cleats, pedals and parts.
I've heard SPD's are tougher and if that is the case, it has its value for touring also.
I would definitely still like to take some Crank Bros. Candy's if it doesn't make much difference.

Share with me some wisdom.
If you like Crank Bros just get the double shots . Throw an extra set of springs in your panniers, keep the bearings lubed and you are good to go. If the bails fail you still have a platform pedal
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Old 08-29-16, 08:42 PM
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+1 on tuning the bike before you leave. Replace worn parts or parts that will likely become worn earlier in your tour and then make sure everything is good to go about a month in advance (or less if you ride a ton) and re-tune as needed before you leave. Don't be afraid to re-grease and retighten everything and make sure things have time to settle and wear in a little.

Either pedal system would probably be fine though you might likely find SPD or SPD compatible stuff in more places but then again if you are in rural Czechistan or some place like that you might not find any bike parts or very few. That is why making sure everything is good to go before hand and replacing stuff that is worn or will be worn early into the tour makes good sense.

Certainly if I was world touring or touring in less populated areas I would want a single sided clipless pedal with a platform on the other side just in case.
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Old 08-29-16, 09:16 PM
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Originally Posted by robow View Post
Yes, and if the next 20 responses say something different, don't believe them.
Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Buy shoes that you can also walk in...
Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
No, I'm going to agree with you...
Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
china: no problem...
Originally Posted by skimaxpower View Post
Considering that Shimano is widely available around the world...
Thank all of you for sharing.
After seeing what you have to say and talking to some guys at my LBS, I decided to give SPD's a try. I'm getting some Shimano PD-A530 pedals. Clip in on one side and flat on the other. I like the low profile platform vs. most of the other equivalents.

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Old 08-29-16, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
I can only relate my excellent experience with shimano spd over the years...
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I have never used Crank Bros cleats or pedals...
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Being Pragmatic...
Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
I think Shimano SPD is more popular outside (& inside) the US...
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I suppose it depends a bit on how much time you plan to spend in any one place...
I can only quote 5 at a time, so refer to the post prior to this, guys.
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Old 08-29-16, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by velonomad View Post
If you like Crank Bros just get the double shots...
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
+1 on tuning the bike before you leave...
Thanks, guys. Refer to my post prior to this.
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Old 08-30-16, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Thanks, guys. Refer to my post prior to this.
I read your post, You expressed a preference for Crank Bros, I offered a solution I have experience with. Use the right tool for the job.
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Old 08-30-16, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Thank all of you for sharing.
After seeing what you have to say and talking to some guys at my LBS, I decided to give SPD's a try. I'm getting some Shimano PD-A530 pedals. Clip in on one side and flat on the other. I like the low profile platform vs. most of the other equivalents.
I think the the direction you are going is a good one. I was going to suggest the dual sided SPD pedals. However, I will warn you. SPDs have much less float than crank brother's pedals. You may not like them.
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Old 08-30-16, 10:27 AM
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Bring a whole extra set as Spares of either Type.
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Old 09-02-16, 10:56 PM
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SPD's are super easy to find and in all honesty rarely fail. Tighten them once in awhile and you can pretty much forget about them.

The cleats seem to last me at least 10k anyway and I tend to walk a huge amount in them.
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Old 09-03-16, 03:28 AM
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I use Crank Brothers pedals on all my bikes to stay compatible with my bike shoes. I initially choose them for my MTB, where good mud and snow clearing was a priority. The commuter and the road bike followed suit since it was cheaper and less space-consuming than buying more bike shoes.
On the commuter - which sees +6000 miles/year, wear is a bit of an issue. They do need to be rebuilt or at the very least lubed twice yearly.
OTOH, rebuild kits are inexpensive, small and easy to install with simple tools.
If CB is what you want, go for it. Service before setting out, and carry a rebuild kit
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Old 09-03-16, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Chili Cheesy View Post
Thank all of you for sharing.
After seeing what you have to say and talking to some guys at my LBS, I decided to give SPD's a try. I'm getting some Shimano PD-A530 pedals. Clip in on one side and flat on the other. I like the low profile platform vs. most of the other equivalents.
a quick mention about taking care of them so they last longer. Im the guy who still rides on my 1991 or 92 shimano spds--it is really simple, all I do is regularly when I see that dirt, mud, whatever is starting to buildup on the spring/whatsits mechanism that is open to view, I simply take a rag and my fingers and clean off the stuff. Sometimes I use the rag with a pokey thing (screwdriver, whatever) to get into nooks and crannies and wipe stuff out.
Once in a little while I put a little drop of my chain oil on the pivot points of the mechanisms, but really, its that simple.

I have friends who have the same pedals and never do this, and their pedals have deep encrusted gunk all inside, and will take more time to clean and gunk+dirt = wear, so its like cleaning up your kitchen dishes, do it more often, its faster and easier than letting it go a long time.

bottom line, take a min once in a while dpending on your riding conditions and just use a rag, thats all I do and Im sure it goes a long way to keeping them in good working order for longer--I bring this up especially from your concerns of travelling in other countries, and therefore avoiding and reducing equipment failures--keep your bikes drivetrain and working bits in good shape and you reduce risk of stuff and it all lasts longer and works better.
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