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Why road pedals and not MTB?(7 posts)

Why road pedals and not MTB?SGrouts
May 7, 2002 1:26 PM
A simple question from a fresh one to road adventures.
I dont understand what you get when you use road shoes and pedals (and you dont get it from MTB shoes and pedals)?
Only big surface? Nothing more?
answers (long)lonefrontranger
May 7, 2002 2:16 PM
I race, so I'll preface this with the disclaimer that my answers are racer-centric. I used to do a lot of loaded touring, ultramarathon stuff and recreational riding, so I'll try to help answer from that POV as well.

Road pedal/shoe system benefits, in comparison to MTB or touring style systems:

* limited / single release angle; this helps prevent unwanted release when sprinting or climbing hard on the road. The flexible and oftentimes multiple release angles allowed by MTB systems help prevent non-release entrapment issues in the common types of "fall-over-from-zero-mph" crashes that are inherent to trail riding.

* a larger "platform" to avoid hotspots, fatigue, etc... in 2-3 (or more) hour road races. SPD's on the MTB, even with stiff MTB racing shoes made my feet feel like they were sitting in a bed of molten lava after a 4-hour ride on a hot day.

* road systems are primarily single-sided since on the road you (theoretically) don't have to get in & out of them a lot; since I commute as well this feature is a detriment more than a benefit to me. This is one of the reasons I use Speedplays (double-sided road pedals) so that I have the best of both worlds.

* dedicated roadie shoes are far, far stiffer than any touring or MTB shoe (even MTB racing shoes) because they aren't designed to be walked in. At all. If you're a speed freak, stiff is a good thing for power output because absolutely everything you put to the pedals is transferred straight through to the drivetrain, no slop. Stiff soles also help to distribute pressure over a wider portion of the foot (see above "hotspots"). But if you're getting on & off the bike a lot (lunch stops, grocery runs, gnarly technical MTB climbs, commuting, etc...) then the penguin walk, non-flexible toe and slick soles are way uncool.

* last (and my favorite subject): cornering clearance! Road pedals are usually at least somewhat designed with criteriums (fast cornering) in mind, so being able to lean the bike at high speed / high angle and still pedal out of corners is a consideration in their low-profile design. I am a criterium junkie, and my Speedplays are wonderful for the simple fact that I can (and have done) scrape my shoe on the pavement before I clip the pedal. Grazing a pedal in a fast corner makes a cool sound and gives you a great adrenaline shot (not to mention some pucker factor). Nailing one hard will cause you to launch the back wheel into the air and probably slide out/crash. Clipping a pedal on a fixed-gear bike (done that too) is an instantaneous and nasty sort of crash. SPD or Time MTB pedals have about zilch for cornering clearance when put on a road bike (road bikes typically have much lower BB clearance too), and I've really whacked 'em several times on various commutes.

Cheers, LFR
May 7, 2002 2:32 PM
for your time.
great answersgtx
May 8, 2002 8:12 AM
Agree with all of the above. I raced road for 5 years and loved Time road pedals (which don't have that much cornering clearance). Now that I don't race, I find that Carnac mtb shoes with Frogs are a great combo. Carnac mtb shoes are quite a bit stiffer than most mtb shoes--so they feel very solid on mtb pedals with no hot spots--and I've never had an unwanted release from Frogs. And it's cool to be able to walk around sometims. Just my $.02.
good addendas - as much as I love my X-pedalslonefrontranger
May 8, 2002 8:44 AM
I find I really, really have to have more than one release angle on wicked singletrack, tho I know some guys who file their Frogs to allow the "inside" release as well. Hence I use Times MTB'ing and on the commuter / 'cross bike, and swear by them. They shed all kinds of crap, engage easily, have a big platform and release promptly and correctly for operator error issues on the trail.

Pedals are sooo personal, just like saddles - this is why the pros all use their own personal brands. My SO is a crit junkie as well and swears by his Time Equipe Mags. I never quite cottoned onto them; my screwed-up knees don't like the spring-loaded recentering feature. I also personally find them fiddly to engage. This is certain death in crits where some crazed individual (or three) invariably bolts off the line convinced that the secret to success is to establish a breakaway on the first lap. X-pedals are basically dumbproof to engage.
May 8, 2002 10:40 AM
I file the inside stops on the Frogs on my mtb. I too had to quit Time cause of my knees--the spring loaded float became too much for them. Weirdly, I found the Time road pedals the easiest entry of just any pedal I've ever used--and I know what you mean about fast starts--very important for crits and for mtb races that go right into the singletrack. Anyway, I don't think anyone has invented the perfect pedal yet--for me, Frogs are close, but they suck in the mud and the cleats wear fast.
The Devil's advocate........JohnG
May 8, 2002 8:44 PM
There are "hybrid" pedals that combine the best qualities of both mtb and road pedals.

I use Ritchey road pedals on all my bikes. Single sided spd, ultra lightweight, and VERY good cornering clearance.... WAY better clearance than nearly all "road" pedals.

I also use a full carbon soled mtb shoe (Shitmano 220M) which is plenty stiff to avoid hot spots. No problema even for 150 mile days. The only minor downside is the shoes are a tad heavier than the lightest road specific shoes. That "problem" is offset somewhat by the lighter pedals though. I've also NEVER had unwanted releases with these pedals and that includes a lot of out of the saddle sprints.

I used LOOK pedals and shoes for about a month and absolutely hated the duck-walk BS the these shoes entail. The high cleat offset height also drove me nuts. As far as I can tell, ALL other road specific pedal systems have similar walking-around problems and most have high cleat offsets.

Ultimately, it's a personnel deal but don't discount a good set of road specific spds.