Types of Clipless Pedals

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Anonymous's picture

I am new to the sport and have been using SPD clipless pedals. I ride a road bike but have the ""mountain"" shoes since I ride a lot in the city and need to walk on the shoes sometimes.

Wanted a resource on the pro/con of changing to Look or another clipless system. Any good basic books or websites on this?

Anonymous's picture
Christophe Jammet (not verified)

i would say the two most popular road pedal systems are Look (in the form of the new Keo's) or SPD-SL (in the form of the shimano 105/ultegra/dura ace pedal). they are pretty similar designs.

the pros for these pedals:
-larger cleat platform is more stable and spreads the pedal load better (no hot spots and better weight distribution)
-better engagement mechanism.
-higher quality bearings

-no double sided entry
-harder to walk in. (especially the look cleats, unless you carry cleat covers. the ultegra cleats have rubber tips and are a bit easier to walk in.)

i made the switch from SPD to SPD-SL and didnt look back. if you're riding road and arent walking around TOO much, it's just a much better pedal choice. just recently i switched from ultegra pedals to the new Look carbon keos and like them as well. i would say, however, that there isnt too much of a difference between the ultegra pedals and the new looks.

Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)

I haven't tried look or SPD-Rs. I just use SPDs, because I often have to walk, and don't want the awkwardness of a large cleat sticking out from the bottom of my shoe. So I use MTB shoes with SPDs on my road bikes.

Anonymous's picture
bill vojtech (not verified)

Look was the first clipless pedal and I jumped on it when it came out, (still have the pedals on my fixed gear bike).

I tried the Shimano cleats, but could not get used to them after years of using Looks.

Yes, the Looks are hard to walk in, but I carry cleat covers, and don't combine hiking with biking, so it's just my front steps I have to deal with.

Anonymous's picture
packfill (not verified)

I went from mountain shoes to using shimano dura-ace (ultegra are similar) pedals. I think they are great. No cleat covers required and I don't have a problem walking around in them.

Anonymous's picture
don montalvo (not verified)
spd mountain pedals/shoes...

"...a lot of good riders use them. i use speedplay zero but they're not the best for walking even with cleat covers.


Anonymous's picture
"Chainwheel" (not verified)
Best of Both Worlds

"""I am new to the sport and have been using SPD clipless pedals. I ride a road bike but have the ""mountain"" shoes since I ride a lot in the city and need to walk on the shoes sometimes.""

What don't you like about SPD pedals, and what advantages do you envision with Look?

SPD pedals are ideal if you have to walk, and most of us do walk. I started with Look pedals when they were the only game in town, but switched to SPD a couple of years ago.

If (like me) you don't like ""mountain bike shoes,"" get SPD road shoes with recessed cleat such as the RT-50 below. It has a good stiff sole to prevent ""hot spots"" but no clunky mountain-type sole.



Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)

I am not unhappy with my SPDs, but wondered if I am missing something if I don't try the others.

Thanks to everyone (on the board and off) who has offered advice.

Anonymous's picture
frog lover (not verified)

IMHO, you're not missing anything with the SPD's compared to road style pedals. I prefer other MTB pedals to SPD's but not other road pedals.

I went from SPD's to Speedplay Roads, to the large Dura Ace roads. But what I really fell in love with are Speedplay Frog mountain bike pedals. I now have them on my road, 2 fixies, and mountain bike and totally love them.

I don't worry about tripping down the marble stairs of my building and can walk in them without spazzing out. They have a lot of float (good for the knees) but still have a secure feeling.

I can do track stands on my fixie and get out of them mid fall if necessary. When on singletrack I don't hedge and pop one cleat out on tricky sections like I used to do with SPD's. I'll stayed clipped in with the frogs through the hardest sections. I don't notice any issues with hot spots due to the small contact area. And I've ridden many 100mi rides on them.

I still use the Dura ace every now and then cuase I like the shoes I have them on. But I feel there's very little advantage other than a more secure of a clip in. That gives a little more security for racing I guess. But the negatives outweigh the positives. For me safety trumps all.

But it's all personal preference. Just don't give in to fashion and get look/time/shimano's cause everyone else has them.

You will find this topic endlessly debated on roadbikereview.com, mtbr.com, and here.


Anonymous's picture
Alan (not verified)
SPD's vs ?

I have two road bikes, one with SPD's and one with Time RSE carbon pedals. I like them both and frankly I don't see a big difference between them. The Times don't have dual sided entry, which is a slight shortcoming, but they have a good large platform. (NB - in the Time pedals, I recommend the carbon pedals over the composite ones - I broke those getting in and out.) I have SIDI mountain shoes that I use with the SPD's, and they have a good stiff carbon sole, which compensates for the smaller platform. Strictly road shoes are probably somewhat lighter than MTB shoes but you'd have to check the mfr websites for that. BTW, I have no problem walking in the Time cleats.

Anonymous's picture
William (not verified)
SPD's vs. Look

I have two bikes, a road bike with older Look pedals that I use on weekend rides and a 'city' bike with SPD's that I use primarily for commuting to work (which I do most days when the weather permits). I have the SPD cleats on mountain bike style shoes and the Looks on road shoes.

Why both systems?

I live in a fifth floor walk up and carry the bike up and down when I go for a ride. When I'm using the Look pedals I don't put the shoes on until I get to the street (a bit of a hassle). One reason for this is that it's a bit sketchy going up and down stairs on the Look cleats. If you do it for a while you get it figured out, but I have seen people take nasty spills when carrying their bikes on stairs with road cleats. (North side of the GW, for example). I also don't want to bug my neighbors clanking up and down.

The main reason I try to avoid walking on the cleats though is to avoid wearing them down. Once they've worn a bit, they get sloppy and start squeaking, which drives me bats.

Obviously cleat covers offer a solution here, but I never used the ones I had much and never replaced them once they got lost. (Something else to get in and out of, to keep track of, yada, yada, yada...).

On the other hand, I really like the Look's much better than the SPD's when I'm on a serious ride. I tend to notice even a little bit of slop in the shoe/pedal connection and the SPD's allow considerably more movement even when tightened down to the maximum tension setting.

The major downside to the Look's (apart from the walking thing) is getting in and out. When I've been riding for a while with the SPD's then go for a ride using the Look's I really have to focus a bit and sometimes plan ahead at stoplights and such. Had a few wide eyed moments when I gave the Look's a little SPD style twist to get out and nothing happened.

Riding in serious traffic, where you often have to make sudden unanticipated stops for pedestrians, car doors etc., there is enough to worry about without having to learn an impromtu track stand.

If I only had one bike (or wasn't willing to get two sets of everything) and used it regularly riding in heavy traffic, I'd probably just use the SPD's. Live to ride another day...


Anonymous's picture
Rich (not verified)
Time RSX

I have 2 pairs of Time RXS Pedals on each road bike - (1 cro-moly and 1 Ti axle) Cleats do not require cleat covers. The cleat unit has 2 small plastic studs that protect the actual cleat when you're walking

Buy them here - free shipping, no tax.

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