Poll

Which pedal system would you recommend to a newbie road cyclist?

Shimano SPD
24 (46.2%)
Shimano SPD-SL
6 (11.5%)
Look Keo
5 (9.6%)
Time ATAC
3 (5.8%)
Speedplay
4 (7.7%)
Eggbeaters
0 (0%)
Toeclips!
1 (1.9%)
Flats!
9 (17.3%)
Other...
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 52

Author Topic: What pedals?  (Read 3176 times)

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
What pedals?
« on: November 18, 2020, 03:21:52 pm »
Say a newbie-ish road cyclist asked your advice which clipless pedal system to choose. They have some experience of riding clipless but are essentially starting from scratch, ie needing to buy new pedals (and shoes, of course) to go with their new road bike.

What would you recommend?

Personally, I have plenty of experience with Shimano (both SPD and SPD-SL, and indeed the defunct SPD-R) and Look Keo, but practically zero with any other systems, which got me thinking about how well placed I really am to offer advice on this. I have a friend who swears by Speedplay though, so wonder what the consensus is among those who have wider experience.

Obviously Shimano are pretty much the default option, offering probably the best value and widest range of choice if you include compatibles.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2020, 03:26:01 pm »
SPDs are obviously a good option for a beginner, with the pedals being double-sided and the cleats being recessed so easier to walk in, but thinking long-term, are they necessarily the best option for more experienced 'serious' roadies? It's obviously a question that largely depends on individual needs and preferences, but I'm really canvassing for subjective opinions here, not definitive statements.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2020, 03:29:30 pm »
Only ever used SPD m520 & Click'r, but for me a useful feature is the recessed cleat, for ease of walking* about.  Click'r double sided/ with 'pop-up' are great with SH51 cleats.  Prices for Shimano pedals have gone up I notice.  Click'r 2018 was £23, now nothing below about £39.          edit

*
(click to show/hide)
Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a Renaissance painting to cook a meal.  EOW.

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2020, 03:31:34 pm »
Look, because they're kind to your knees, aren't Shimano, and there's loads of choice and even more when you include compatibles.

I've tried Time iClics and went back to Look, as I didn't like the engagement on the Times.  Speedplay have a reputation for being fiddly, as well as expensive.  I know TT folk who use them because of their low stack height (which is good for aeroz) who say they'd go back to Look of it wasn't for that.

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2020, 03:40:50 pm »
I use Speedplay zeroes for racing but just that.   If you use the aero cleat surrounds then they are Ok to walk in and won't wear down.   I thought they were Ok to set up but I set the float in a pretty wide range.

Use Speedplay Frogs for day to day and audax but it doesn't look like you can get them any more so I'll be after a new solution when they give out.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2020, 04:10:52 pm »
Roadie cleats are just annoying, and hassle a newbie doesn't need (unless they really need the three-bolt shoes).  So a two-bolt recessed cleat system, of which SPD is cheap and works.  Move to another system to address whatever flaw in SPD becomes an issue, if necessary.

I've been using ATACs as an experiment this year, and while they lack the ease of clipping-in of SPD, they seem like an excellent compromise for general use - walkable cleats and pedals that (so far) don't seem to develop an annoying click with wear.  Lots of float if that's your thing.  Pedals are expensive, but not if they last twice as long...

I think I'll stick to SPDs on my mountain bike though, as they're easier to unclip and then re-clip (ATAC requires you to re-position your foot after the cleat ejects) and I've got plenty of SPD pedals.  Also the Brompton, because there doesn't appear to be such a thing as a quick-release ATAC pedal.

My race bike has Look Keo on it.  They work well, but the cleats have a half-life second only to overshoes, and they're a liability in the presence of mud.  That's the sort of thing that soon becomes boring if you're doing any amount of walking.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Karla

  • car(e) free
    • Lost Byway - around the world by bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2020, 04:50:48 pm »
This is yacf so obviously everyone has recommended SPD  ;D. They're probably best for a complete beginner but Citoyen's friend does have some prior clipless experience, so broaden your horizons people!


Re: What pedals?
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2020, 04:58:20 pm »
From that list I've only ever used flats, toeclips and SPDs.

SPDs are waaaay ahead of toeclips in every respect.

Toeclips are better than flats in some respects, not as good in others.

With only one vote it goes to SPDs. Are you going to apply a weighting to the result ?  :-)
Rust never sleeps

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2020, 04:58:52 pm »
This is yacf so obviously everyone has recommended SPD  ;D. They're probably best for a complete beginner but Citoyen's friend does have some prior clipless experience, so broaden your horizons people!

I think at that point it comes down to what shoes they want to use...
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2020, 05:11:00 pm »
This is yacf so obviously everyone has recommended SPD  ;D. They're probably best for a complete beginner but Citoyen's friend does have some prior clipless experience, so broaden your horizons people!

I think at that point it comes down to what shoes they want to use...

Choice of shoes will largely come down to intended use.

For mainly commuting/touring/audax, where you might expect to spend significant time off the bike in your cycling shoes, SPDs make sense. I guess that's why they're a popular choice in this constituency of largely sensible cyclists.

For mostly weekend leisurely/sporty rides, and when you're starting from scratch so buying the shoes at the same time as the pedals, the world is your oyster. And although SPDs might be a good choice for newbies, you won't be a newbie forever...

I presume most of us more experienced cyclists have more than one option in our stable. I have SPD-SL on road bike #1, Look Keo on road bike #2 (freebies), SPD on the cross bike and MTB, flats on the fixie...
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #10 on: November 18, 2020, 05:11:37 pm »
Say a newbie-ish road cyclist asked your advice which clipless pedal system to choose. They have some experience of riding clipless but are essentially starting from scratch, ie needing to buy new pedals (and shoes, of course) to go with their new road bike.

What would you recommend?


Flats. Unless they are planning on a career as a sprinter, I really don't see the justification for any foot retention...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2020, 05:23:08 pm »
SPDs are obviously a good option for a beginner, with the pedals being double-sided and the cleats being recessed so easier to walk in, but thinking long-term, are they necessarily the best option for more experienced 'serious' roadies?
I don't know, because I'm not and presumably never will be a serious roadie. More to the point, neither is your friend, yet. If they do become one, they'll by then have gained enough experience and talked to enough people to form their own view. For now, they want something a bit more universal in application, don't they?
Let's go for a ride to the Old Sawmill, Valentina, Buzz and you.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2020, 05:24:25 pm »
Flats. Unless they are planning on a career as a sprinter, I really don't see the justification for any foot retention...

Is justification needed? This is really an exercise in determining preferences, which are entirely subjective. And a preference for flats is no more or less valid than any other choice.

As others have noted elsewhere, some people do have particular reasons for benefitting from retention (unrelated to sprinting) but those reasons are not really relevant here.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Cudzoziemiec

  • Eating all the pies and drinking all the tea.
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2020, 05:27:09 pm »
Perhaps what your friend (or all of us) needs is a pair of 2-bolt shoes, a pair of 3-bolt shoes, and a whole array of pedals and cleats. And deep pockets.
Let's go for a ride to the Old Sawmill, Valentina, Buzz and you.

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2020, 05:27:38 pm »
@ QG I suspect you might not be the world's most fluid cyclist,  otherwise you would not be recommending flats.

As per Kim/Citoyen. If walking much then spd, plus has added advantage of being fractionally easier to master. If not walking then road cleats. Just get on with it, youll get used to it just like anything else.

Which brand? Well, I favour Shimano. 7800 Dura Ace SPD-SL are among the best pedals ever made. I've never had a Shimano pedal that has wronged me. Cleats are cheap, and VP make a 2 piece copy which makes placement on new cleats easy.

I used LOOK for many years (87-2004) but eventually I ditched them and went Shimano. I can't remember what it was that annoyed me about them. It was a long time ago.

I've never used Time or Speedplay.

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2020, 05:35:55 pm »
I don't know, because I'm not and presumably never will be a serious roadie. More to the point, neither is your friend, yet. If they do become one, they'll by then have gained enough experience and talked to enough people to form their own view. For now, they want something a bit more universal in application, don't they?

Well, I would consider myself a pretty experienced cyclist overall but as already noted, my knowledge and experience of pedals is in truth fairly narrow - I've never to the best of my recollection ridden a bike fitted with Speedplay or Eggbeater pedals, for example. I imagine most cyclists, even experienced roadies, tend not to bother ever considering anything beyond Shimano or Look.

And something universal in application only makes sense if your interest in cycling is universal. A lot of the newer generation of road cyclists have pretty narrow range of cycling interests (ie sportives), and probably don't ride with a traditional club where they can learn about this kind of thing from old-stagers.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

citoyen

  • Occasionally rides a bike
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2020, 05:39:43 pm »
Perhaps what your friend (or all of us) needs is a pair of 2-bolt shoes, a pair of 3-bolt shoes, and a whole array of pedals and cleats. And deep pockets.

And several bikes to fit their array of pedals to, of course.
"The future's all yours, you lousy bicycles."

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2020, 05:46:24 pm »
98% of the time spd. TT, triathlon and the occasional crit I have Look (to go with my garmin pedals). On my retro 80s bike I have retro cleated shoes.

SPD has the advantage you can walk in them without breaking an ankle, you can pop your foot out quickly when you fall off, don’t wear out in a few days, there is enough movement to avoid joint injury and most important of all, the pedals fit a beer bottle top precisely.

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #18 on: November 18, 2020, 05:55:03 pm »
I think it depends what they want to do. I started out on SPDs and still use them on my winter/gravel bike. I use Look Keo on my road-only bike. Keos feel better to me - the larger cleat area just seems a bit more secure compared to the tiny SPDs. However, Keo cleats are made of cheese, and road shoes are hopeless for walking. I have cleat covers, but they're a bit faffy so I often don't bother with them.

If they just want to do road cycling and don't plan on walking much, then I'd say road cleats (having never tried Shimano's version, I don't really know how they compare to Look. However, they look uglier and have weird sticky-out bits :P). If they want to mix it up a bit and do a bit of touring or something like that, walkable shoes are a definite bonus.

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2020, 06:01:11 pm »
This is yacf so obviously everyone has recommended SPD  ;D. They're probably best for a complete beginner but Citoyen's friend does have some prior clipless experience, so broaden your horizons people!

I think at that point it comes down to what shoes they want to use...

Choice of shoes will largely come down to intended use.

For mainly commuting/touring/audax, where you might expect to spend significant time off the bike in your cycling shoes, SPDs make sense. I guess that's why they're a popular choice in this constituency of largely sensible cyclists.

For mostly weekend leisurely/sporty rides, and when you're starting from scratch so buying the shoes at the same time as the pedals, the world is your oyster. And although SPDs might be a good choice for newbies, you won't be a newbie forever...

I presume most of us more experienced cyclists have more than one option in our stable. I have SPD-SL on road bike #1, Look Keo on road bike #2 (freebies), SPD on the cross bike and MTB, flats on the fixie...

Double sided SPD for commuting, Look, Time Xpro or double sided SPD for leisure, dependent on amount of walking involved and how much float you like.

Personally I hated SPD-SL, just couldn’t get clipped in with any regularity.
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2020, 06:05:16 pm »
Is justification needed? This is really an exercise in determining preferences, which are entirely subjective. And a preference for flats is no more or less valid than any other choice.

Well yes, as it involves spending money...

Quote
As others have noted elsewhere, some people do have particular reasons for benefitting from retention (unrelated to sprinting) but those reasons are not really relevant here.

There are some reasons. I just don't see them as being the necessity for all uses that everyone seems to think they are. Perhaps I'd be more enamoured with them if I could ever find some spd shoes that are comfortable. But then I'm pootling along at 20-25kph...

@ QG I suspect you might not be the world's most fluid cyclist,  otherwise you would not be recommending flats.

How so?

J

--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2020, 06:37:27 pm »
SPD wins because it offers most of the functionality of other clipless systems but with fewer drawbacks, and some additional benefits that are not shared with every other pedal/cleat system. Genuine SPD pedals are, by and large, well-made and not too expensive. 

One of the few differences in clipless systems that is worth worrying about is if you are interested in power measuring pedals; these are easy to buy at a reasonable price with three-bolt cleat fittings, less so with others.

The other comment I would make is that any pedal/shoe system can reward any effort you expend on it with improved function and /or improved comfort.   Every rider has a different physique, different pedalling style, and different priorities. Some systems lend themselves more easily than others to some riders; others need more work in some cases.   

FWIW I have mainly used clips and straps (about 20 years) and SPDs (again about twenty years). Along the way I have tried many other systems and found them wanting in various respects.   Both clips/straps and SPDs basically 'worked' early on for me, but again both required lots of subtle tweaks before they were really ideally matched to my style/physique/needs.

cheers

Re: What pedals?
« Reply #22 on: November 18, 2020, 06:41:18 pm »
@ QG I suspect you might not be the world's most fluid cyclist,  otherwise you would not be recommending flats.

How so?

J

All sorts of scenarios. Out of the saddle uphill, toes down, pulling up on back foot etc.

What pedals?
« Reply #23 on: November 18, 2020, 06:44:46 pm »
I don’t think anyone else has suggested Crank Bros, so I will. I tried SPDs but went back to them (candy) - easier to unclip, a bit more movement was good for my knees. They have similar “can walk about in them” advantages.

I’m a roadie in that I ride on roads, mostly. Not a sprinter. They feel like they give me extra on a hill, maybe in my head. Some kind of retention is good for the more gravelly bumps.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: What pedals?
« Reply #24 on: November 18, 2020, 07:16:00 pm »
@ QG I suspect you might not be the world's most fluid cyclist,  otherwise you would not be recommending flats.

How so?

J

All sorts of scenarios. Out of the saddle uphill, toes down, pulling up on back foot etc.

https://www.cyclist.co.uk/tutorials/183/should-you-sit-or-stand-when-climbing

Seated more efficient in most cases...

Pulling up is a myth...

https://www.bikejames.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-Flat-Pedal-Revolution-Manifesto-2017.pdf

Carry on.

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/