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Shimano SPD vs. SPD-R pedals(3 posts)

Shimano SPD vs. SPD-R pedalszooog
Aug 30, 2002 3:13 PM
What is the difference. Can someone explain to this to me. Thanks
re: Shimano SPD vs. SPD-R pedalsthe other Tim
Aug 31, 2002 5:07 AM
SPD is Shimano's popular, mostly mountain biking, pedal/cleat system that uses a relatively small recessed metal cleat with shoes that are very good for walking. The cleats mount with two screws centered on a lateral line. The hole pattern is virtually standard in mountain bike shoes, and is common on road shoes. It's a great, safe, secure system. SPD compatible has come to mean that the cleats/shoes have the SPD hole pattern only, but many manufacturers make pedals that are compatible with Shimano's cleats. The cleats are designated SH51 & SH55. There was one Shimano SPD pedal (PD-M858) that required a different cleat (SH52), but it was around for less than a year, so something wasn't right there.

Except for the weight, SPD pedals are fine for road use, and there a some single-sided SPD pedals (PD-A515, ...) that are intended for road.

SPD-R is Shimano's not-so-popular road-specific system. Current Dura-Ace, Ultegra and 105(?) pedals use a longer non-recessed metal cleat (SH81/91/82/92), that attaches to the shoe with two screws on a line running front to back. They're nearly impossble to walk with, so the cleats come with optional "pontoons" that surround the cleat but clear the pedal. It's very difficult to get the cleat firmly attached to the shoe (and dangerous not to) with this two-hole pattern, but it can be done. Float is determined by cleat selection.

Both systems use step-in, rotate-out retention with all metal parts. SPD shoes are everywhere. SPD-R shoes are hard to find. Shimano SPD-R shoes are pretty good, and there is an adapter for Sidi shoes.

I understand that a lot of people don't like Shimano road pedals, but they are the only ones that work for me. Some people claim that they are difficult to release. I find them much easier to release than the Looks that I've tried. I have also tried Speedplays, and I just didn't like the step-on engagement. I think there is a lot of room for improvement in the SPD-R system, especially with the two-hole cleat attachment, but if it weren't for Dura-Ace and Ultegra pedals, I would be using mountain bike pedals.

Of course, now we have SPD-SL coming.
Aug 31, 2002 3:13 PM
Thank you for your very detailed explaination. I understand this much more clearly now, Thank you.