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Clipless Pedal advice please(21 posts)

Clipless Pedal advice pleaseNYCBIKER
May 8, 2001 10:49 AM
I am an ex racer from the UK from the days we had cleats and toe straps. I feel I will have to move to clipless as you cannot get decent (or any) cleat shoes nowadays, and its about time I got up to date. In my search for pedals I want to be sure that I can release quickly, and when I want. I ride in Central Park, and have to ride there and back, the traffic in NYC can be pretty unpredicatble and I want to make very sure I cab un clip when some taxi cuts me off. I understand that ATB pedals may have more release options than road, so I'm leaning towards these, think about the Nashbar Ritchey lookalikes. Has anyone any thoughts they'd like to share?

Thanks in advance.
Consider Speedplay FrogsMeDotOrg
May 8, 2001 11:01 AM
If you're considering ATB pedals, take a look at Speedplay frogs. I think they are quite possibly the easiest pedal to clip/unclip. They have float, are easy on your knees, and the cleats are recessed so you can walk around in them.
With practice, clipless are no harder to get out of thanbill
May 8, 2001 11:04 AM
toeclips. I don't think that MTB clips are really any easier to get out of than road pedals, but MTB generally are easier to get in (they're double-sided).
I would choose based on whether you want to walk around in your shoes or not. Road shoes are a pain to walk in.
Whichever you choose will require some practice, and then you'll be fine. Clipless are a MAJOR improvement over toe clips in terms of comfort and efficiency. I guess some track racers still strap themseleves in, but that's something different entirely.
re: Clipless Pedal advice pleaseZippy
May 8, 2001 11:08 AM
Go SPD. They are fine, and cheap, adjustable, do everything you want them to, the shoes are cheap and plentyfull, and you can walk in them...
Speedplay X3s or X2s9WorCP
May 8, 2001 11:44 AM
These are real good road pedals for dicey traffic situations. Easiest pedals I've ever used to get in and out of - definitely "no-look" entry and very secure. I've tried Campy and SPD and Speedplay by far are the simplest type. Check out the reviews, a lot of people are loving these pedals. That said, I couldn't get used to the extra float and small platform surface and went to the Campy Pro-fits which I like a lot. The Campy pedals feel more solid under my feet when I'm stomping up a hill but I do miss the ease of the X3s.
Hey! Another NYC rider! Go for the Speedplays, by the way.boy nigel
May 8, 2001 2:38 PM
I strongly recommend Speedplay X/2s. After years (though satisfactory) of using Looks and older Sampson Stratics pedals, I switched to Speedplay recently. I needed new ones also (my others were in need of repair after years of use), and heard GREAT things about the Speedplays. What a super difference--from the first ride. (You can read lots of reviews--including mine--on them in the Product Review section of this site--VERY handy.)

I ride in Central Park as well, and have to ride 3-1/2 miles to and from the park in all sorts of cab/bus/messenger/delivery-guy/pedestrian traffic. After using single-sided pedals for years and years, the Speedplays (double-sided, meaning you don't have to kick at a pedal to get it right-side-up) are TRUE NO-LOOK ENTRY pedals. This makes clicking in and out at stoplights effortless and unintimidating. Check out what I say about them at Mine's about the third one down.

For city riding and lots of clip-ins and -outs, I'd say that they're the way to go. Plus, they weigh nothing and are great for your knees.

Welcome on, mate.
May 8, 2001 2:48 PM
Thanks for your comments, and the link to your review. Its good to hear from someone who has had the same experiences of riding to, from and in the park. The speedplay is an interesting option, albeit I have two reservations, one, cost as this will be first foray into the world of clipless I have decided to keep costs down, I bought a mid price pair of shoes with this in mind. Two, and related to the shoes, which have drillings for SPD type cleats, will the speedplays fit?

Thanks again for your reply
A pleasure.boy nigel
May 8, 2001 3:26 PM
I've emailed you with further info regarding compatibility and other bits. Send me an email if you've got further queries.

Greetings, I live in NYC as well.9WorCP
May 8, 2001 4:26 PM
Heading across the 59th St bridge right after I post this. The X3s only $100 which ain't expensive comparatively speaking to most pedals. If you are set on SPD type pedals, take a look at Ritchey mountain bike pedals. They're double sided and worked great for me for two years, probably last a lot longer on the road. The kicker is they cost ~$50. A pittance.

Double sidedDCP
May 8, 2001 11:52 AM
Singled sided road pedals tend to rotate so that the mechanism faces downward. This forces you to flip them over when you engage the pedal which means you often spend time looking at your foot. Not a real big deal in the middle of nowhere, but an unneeded distraction in traffic. For your use, whatever type pedal you buy, double sided would be a good idea.
Double sidedsimstress
May 8, 2001 1:34 PM
I used Look's when I first started riding. It's true that you have to flip the pedal over, but after several weeks, I was able to flip it over, catch the cleat and engage without looking. Once you get used to the pedal, any pedal, I don't think you spend a lot of time looking at your feet.

Of course, I use Speedplay's now... ;-)
May 8, 2001 2:09 PM
cheaper and lighter then Speedplay, last longer.

if looking for something less then 100$ pedals check Supergo, Jenson USA, PricePoint. You can get cheap Welgo MTB pedals for ~25 and reasonably good shoes for ~40-50$. Nashbar has nashbar brand pedals for 19$, and shoes for 19$, would be the cheepest set up for commuter
re: Clipless Pedal advice pleasebw
May 8, 2001 2:18 PM
I use SPD's, and I wish they had more float. But one problem with
the Frogs is that you must move your heel outward to release,
you cannot release by moving your heel in. I seem to have a problem
being able to rotate my left heel outward, which is not a problem
with the SPD's - they release inward as well as outward.

This may not be an issue for you, but is something to consider.
re: Clipless Pedal advice pleasePoulidor
May 8, 2001 3:14 PM
I commute using Shimano M535 moutain bike pedals, on a road bike, with the silver (multi-release) cleats. The pedals are inexpensive ($49 at Excel sports, Colorado) and double-sided, making them easy to clip in to when starting from stoplights. The silver cleats will release whether you rotate out, rotate in or just pull up, with enough force, making them very easy to clip out when coming to a stop. I used to use Look pedals but I found clipping in, while in traffic, problematic. The Shimano pedals may not be the best for long rides (>50 miles) in the country, but are great for commuting and shorter rides (20-30 miles). I also use touring shoes (Vittoria and Carnac) which allow you to walk with ease and have a soft rubber sole, instead of the hard, slick soles of tradtional road shoes. Cheers.
May 8, 2001 7:55 PM
Unless your new shoes are decent quality and stiff, I would opt for the slightly larger pedal surface of TIME ATAC's over the speedplays. TIME's are also a great "no-look" engagement pedal and easy to disengage. The speedplay's are a great pedal, but if you go with a mountain setup, the frog's may be a bit pricey based on what you mentioned. The frog replacement cleats are also more expensive at around $30. has some 2000 model clearance Time ATAC Alium pedals for $60. Replacement ATAC cleats run about $13.

If you opt for really cheap pedals, at least look for something with some float. Locking your feet into one position may create knee problems down the road rendering the pedal savings minor in the larger perspective.

For stop and go trafic, I prefer my Mountain ATAC's over my Campy Record road pro-fit's any day.

Just my opinion, worth what it costs. Good luck and great riding in whatever you choose.

Apple valley, MN
Follow Up - Clipless Pedal advice pleaseNYCBIKER
May 9, 2001 11:14 AM
Many thanks to all of you who took the time to reply, I appreciate your feedback. It is clear that there is a great deal of preferance for the speedplay range of pedals. I stopped off at my local (Upper East Side) bike store last night to have a look at them. Apart from my concern over the price, as much as the design is very clever I am concerned that the cleats may not fit my new Diadora shoes which are MTB shoes as I want a pair of shoes I can walk up to apartment in without skating on exposed cleats.

I think I'm going to bite the bullet and gos for an SPD style pair of double sided padals and see how I get on with the whole clipless thing. If it works out maybe I'll trade up to some speedplays and better shoes, and if not....well, I really don't want to go back to my old cleat & toe clips.

So, thanks once again for all your advice, please don't think I did not heed it by choosing the cheaper option, I am just having a tough time justifying spending so much on a pair of pedals.

Best regards & safe riding
Follow Up - Clipless Pedal advice pleaseLen J
May 9, 2001 11:17 AM
The Speedplay Web site has a section on compatible shoes.
Also, the have a cover for the cleat for waling.
Follow Up - Clipless Pedal advice pleaseOstimu
May 9, 2001 2:25 PM
Hello, fellow-New Yorker! (I'm an Upper West Sider myself.)
I have Diadora shoes, and they're completely compatible with the Speedplay pedals. I have road shoes, not mountain shoes, but I don't think there should be a difference in cleat attachment. (At least not according to the list of compatible shoes that came with the pedals.)
The Speedplay pedals are pricey, but they were my first pair of clipless pedals and I was willing to spend a little more to feel a little more secure about unclipping when I needed to. I've been on them for a week, and after a friend from this board (thanks, Nigel) showed me how to clip out, I haven't had any big problem getting out of them.
Anyway, if you can justify the investment, they're a nice pedal, great for the city, and they should work fine with your Diadora shoes.
Follow Up - Clipless Pedal advice pleaseNYCBIKER
May 9, 2001 2:41 PM
Once again, thanks for the advice, I actually have the Diadora Jalapeno ATB shoe, which has a chunky sole unit....also, as I'd like to see the frogs, can you recomend a good bike shop in NYC, I know of plenty of bike shops, but most have such a crap attitude, to cliquey by half (and this is coming from someone who used to work in a bike shop in the UK)

NYC Bike Shopsboy nigel
May 9, 2001 4:42 PM
Yeah, NYCB, attitudes and attention to detail can be a problem with city shops, but there are a couple I'd recommend.

Since you're on the East Side (though Upper), there's Sid's Bike Shop on 34th between 2nd and 3rd, I think ( I bought my Speedplays there. The price was right (same as mail order), and the people there are pleasant and actually take the time to speak with you and help, regardless of what kind of bike you ride in on. I say this because some shops treat you like a second-class citizen if you ride in on something other than a sweet racer. (Money's money, right?)

I've had great experiences with Gotham Bikes, too. They're way downtown (on W. Bway near Chambers Street), but treat people swell and have a decent stock of goods. They're affiliated with Toga Bikes on West End Ave. and 64th Street, so they both carry the same stuff with the same prices. Toga's people are nice (maybe not AS nice as Gotham, but not rude--and they'll take time with you). I'd stay away from all of those Metro Bikes shops in the city; they don't carry anything high-end--or of superior quality--(like Speedplays) and don't seem to know much about much.

Regarding Bebop pedals (almost identical to Speedplays), Sid's can order them for you (if they don't have them in stock). They're much more widely used in the mountain bike community (read: SPD-compatible MTB shoes), and go over quite well (except in mud, which isn't a problem in dry, dusty Manhattan, of course). Your rubber cleats on your shoes may need to be filed down a BIT, but they'll make for solid, double-sided pedals for city riding, if you want that option (and it does make a BIG difference). Plus, they're also low-maintenance peds and should last you a long time. You may want to consider this instead of buying SPDs and then spending more on another set of pedals at some point. Just an idea.

Best of luck with whatever you go for, and let us know what you decide.

Glad to help, Ostimu.boy nigel
May 9, 2001 4:45 PM
Can't believe BR didn't steer you right regarding unclipping. Such a basic thing unless you're new to it (like you were); they should've known better. Oh well. The price we pay for location, location, location (and convenience). :)