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woo hoo -- another pedal question -- just can't get enough!!(22 posts)

woo hoo -- another pedal question -- just can't get enough!!Delia
Sep 14, 2001 8:44 AM
So it's time for me to decide... Speedplay X2s or Looks (I've been using MTB clipless all season). I've narrowed it down on paper but now I need to try them out. I know they are very different as far as 'feel' is concerned so my question to y'all is the following: Can I get a good idea of which one I'll prefer by trying them both out at an LBS on a trainer? Will they let me return them if choose Speedplays, take them for a few rides and don't like them?
Never heard of LBS letting....Len J
Sep 14, 2001 8:48 AM
someone try pedals. It's worth a try if they will.

I would suggest you try to find a diding buddy who has a similar shoe size that is using the pedals you want to try & seeing if they will let you try them on thier bike. It's worked for me.

BTW, I Lovew my speedplays.

That's riding buddy(nm)Len J
Sep 14, 2001 8:48 AM
re: woo hoo -- another pedal question -- just can't get enough!!JL
Sep 14, 2001 9:24 AM will allow returns if you're not satisfied. I think others do as well. Check out mail-order if the LBS won't allow you to try before you buy.

Happy riding.

A thought on returnsKurt H
Sep 14, 2001 9:25 AM
I probably shouldn't suggest such a course of action, but I'm fairly certain Performance Bike will let you return pedals. I picked my Speedplays up, ever-so-slightly used, out of the "Returns" room at the local Performance. I know it's not your LBS, but if you can't find a riding partner who is willing to let you try out some pedals, you might want to try buying a set from Performance and return them if you're unhappy with them. On a personal note, I don't think you will be. OH, BTW, I have seen people try out different pedals on a trainer at the LBS, but I think you'll need your own road shoes to do so.
Happy shopping!
re: woo hoo -- another pedal question -- just can't get enough!!cioccman
Sep 14, 2001 10:00 AM
Can't see any reason to move from Look. It's all I have and will ride, more than likely.
just went through what you're doingbianchi boy
Sep 14, 2001 10:06 AM
I recently switched to Looks after using SPDs and mtn bikes shoes for a long time. I opted for Looks over Speedplays because I was having hotspots with SPDs, and Speedplays don't seem much larger. I haven't used Speeds, so I can't speak for or against them. However, I have been very happy with the Looks in the month I've been using them. They are very easy to clip in and out of, easier in fact than my SPDs. The biggest disadvantage is you can't use them with mtn bike shoes for ease of walking, but I got some cleat covers and that helps quite a bit. One other thing about Looks that you should probably be aware of is that they raise your pedal height, so you'll end up having to raise your saddle to compensate. Not a big deal except it's always a pain dialing in the right saddle height, etc.

As far as returns, I can vouch for Performance Bike's return policies. They have never questioned me on anything I wanted to return, including a pair of SPD road pedals I got from them. As long as you take reasonable care of the product and don't wait too long, I think they would allow a return. That is perhaps the biggest reason why I buy a lot of products from them, particularly since bicycle gear is so hard to fit properly. I have returned jerseys, shoes, shorts, pedals and even a work stand -- and they've always cheerfully credited my account.
just went through what you're doingkyvdh
Sep 14, 2001 10:42 AM
Now I'm curious. Why did you switch from ATB pedals and shoes? Is their a significant weight difference or other performance difference? I do not own clipless pedals yet and was wondering what the advantage of one over the other would be. It seems ATB stuff is a bit cheaper both for shoes and pedals. Your thoughts and others would be appreciated.
curiousbianchi boy
Sep 14, 2001 12:12 PM
I switched from SPDs because I was getting hot spots in my feet on longer rides. That is, the ball of my foot started aching and feeling "hot" after riding 40 miles or more. As my mileage increased through the cycling season, my feet started hurting more and more. The SPDs also started squeaking a lot, even after lubing them. I have heard that hotspots can be a problem with smaller pedals, and Looks have a much larger pedal contact surface that can relieve or prevent that.

I initially got SPDs because:
-- they were less expensive
-- 2-sided entry is great for someone not used to clipless pedals
-- you can walk with them using mtn bike shoes

My biggest reasons for delaying the switch were the perceived difficulty in clipping in and out of Looks (not a problem once you get used to them), the cost of replacing pedals and shoes (not insignificant), and the problem of walking with Look cleats (mostly alleviated with Kool Kovers). I bought the Looks after finding some new PP-357s on sale, and then swallowed hard and got some SIDI Genius shoes.

Perfomance wise, I think the Looks would help just because of the greater comfort. Weight-wise, I think it's a wash. Looks are heavier than some other pedals, like Speeds, but their cleats are extremely light. Considering both pedals and cleats, I think the weight differences would be minimal. Cost-wise, Looks are pretty competitive in price if you shop around. I got my PP-247s from Excel for $80 and some PP-357s for about $90. You can get even cheaper prices from or labicletta. Plenty of better-quality SPDs cost more than that, and Speedplays seldom go for less than $130. Looks cleats are also the least expensive of any pedal I have seen.
Sep 14, 2001 1:40 PM

I have SPD with my mountain bike, and I got hot spot all the time with my mountain bike shoes. After getting a used road bike that came with SPD (some older Shimano pedals), I bought the SIDI Genius 3 shoes with SPD adapter and cleats. I never have hot spot with my new shoes ... even after a century.

I think you should attribute some your new found foot comfort with the Sidi shoe.

just went through what you're doingKen56
Sep 14, 2001 10:46 AM
I've only been using clipless pedals for 3 years now so I don't have a lot of years of experience with them. When I bought my current road bike, I ordered Speedplay X2's because of what I'd read and heard about them in various forums and mags. I also admire simplicity in product design and I thought that the basic round disc design of the Speedplays was superior to any of the others. I have no idea if I would find another brand better or worse, and I really have no desire to find out. This may seem naive on my part, but I am happy with the Speedplays. They are comfortable, have a wide float range and just do the job they are intended for. No reason for me to go elsewhere.
differences between Speedplays and LooksDog
Sep 14, 2001 10:48 AM
I have both right now, and probably have put at least 10,000 miles (addicted?) on both. The two are very different, and each could be better, depending upon what you need.

Speedplays are lighter, even including the cleats. That's the easy part. Won't make a darn bit of difference, though.

Speedplays allow your feet to move freely about the pedal. Unless your lower legs are naturally stable, it can feel like running in mud. For me, it is difficult to use Speedplays, as it requires a lot of muscles in my lower leg to stabilize my foot. It fatigues me, and causes aches after riding.

Sprinting or climbing hills hard out of the saddle are a bit difficult with Speedplays for me, too, for the same reason. Not enough control.

On the other hand, after my knee began to ache badly climbing Mt. Whitney at the end of a 600 mile week this spring using the Looks, I switched back to my Speedplays and the ache disappeared. I think the lesson there is that IF you are having knee problems, the Speedplays can help.

I used the Speedplays until the Terrible Two the end of June. Rode hard for 200 miles and 16,000 feet of climbing, much of it out of the saddle. My feet ached horribly. Afterward, I had a perfectly round dark bruise on the sole of each foot, in the same place and shape as the Speedplay pedals. So, back to the Looks.

The Speedplays have the advantage for entry and exit. Just stomp down without looking (no pun intended) and you're in. Great at stop lights. Easy to come out of, too. Looks are pretty easy, too, though, and only require a bit more concentration to enter and a bit more force to exit.

Speedplay has an advantage on cleat wear, but not much. You must keep them well lubricated with a dry lube, though, or they can be hard to engage.

For foot comfort, Look has a definite advantage. The much broader platform distributes pressure more evenly. No bruises.

Cost is about the same, but you can get Look 206's for about $89. I use them on 2 bikes. The 206 is also Looks lightest pedal and has the largest platform. Excellent pedal.

Most people don't realize, but Speedplays have 2 different spindle lengths. The Ti spindle (X1) is a little shorter than the steel X2 and X3. If you need a narrower Q-factor, might be important.

You can find Look replacement cleats just about everywhere, but Speedplays will likely have to be ordered. The Looks are cheaper, too.

My recommendation: Use Looks unless you have a special need for Speedplays, like knee problems. Just my opinion, based upon the above experience. But, I imagine either will work fine until you push your body to the absolute limits and discover specific weaknesses.

differences between Speedplays and Lookspeloton
Sep 14, 2001 11:07 AM
I would agree with Doug on everything he says, but I have one significant difference in my experience with both the Looks and the Speedplays.

For me, the Speedplays made my left knee hurt so bad I actually pedaled home on my other leg on a couple of occasions. I find the Looks to be more friendly on my knees. My theory for this is the size of the Speedplay pedal is small, and can allow some roll to the outside. The free float can also allow the heel to rotate out during the pedal revolution. My alignment is that I supinate, or roll to the outside. The combination of my heel rotating out, and foot rolling to the outside of the pedal really irritated my Iliotibial band, the tendon the runs along the lateral (outside) of your knee from your tibia to your iliac crest (hip). It may sound like a bunch of mumbo jumbo, but what it means is that some pedals don't work with some people due to certain physical characteristics. Experience may be your only way to find this out. Speedplays work great, and they are very friendly on some types of knee discomfort. They just didn't work for me. The large platform of the Look and the self centering float just feels right for me.

The only other negative that I can offer for the Speedplays is that the cleats can jam up with dirt and debris rather quickly, and the pedals are a pain to use after that. Don't walk anywhere with Speedplay cleats where you might pick up dirt. The Look cleats wear out quick if you walk on them too though, so take your pick.
the new Speedplay "Zero's"Tig
Sep 14, 2001 5:14 PM
Kirk O'Bee has been testing the new pedals with adjustable float from 0-15 degrees. This might be worth waiting for.
Sep 14, 2001 11:39 AM
a little birdie told me that REI will take anything back if you are not 100% satisfied, no questions asked.

fwiw, I have tried both and I just feel more secure in Looks than the speedplays. You wont regret either one...
Who is REI?<nm>nothatgullible
Sep 14, 2001 9:56 PM
Good customer service anecdoteTrent in WA
Sep 14, 2001 12:45 PM
I was faced with the same question as you a month or so ago. While looking around at the local Performance shop (Redmond, WA), the manager asked if he could help me. I explained my quandary and asked him if he had any experience with either pedal system. He told me he used Speedplays, then asked me what shoe size I wore. I told him. He excused himself, walked out to his van, and brought back his Dura-Ace equipped carbon-fiber Kestrel and his Speedplay-equipped Sidi Genius 3's, handed them to me, and told me to take a test ride. He suggested that to get a good feel for the pedals, I'd need to go a couple of miles at least.

This is, to me, good customer service. I did bring the bike back, don't worry--they had my wife hostage. But she told me she was a little worried....


P.S. I wound up going with Looks 206's, partly on Dog's recommendation and partly b/c I managed to get them on an amazing sale. They've worked brilliantly for me so far, after about one month and 500 miles.
You guys are great...thanks for the input all !Delia
Sep 14, 2001 1:46 PM
You guys are great...thanks for the input all !
One last piece of advice;look271
Sep 14, 2001 4:40 PM
Don't know what shoes you have, but don't skimp on them. Make sure you have good ones (nice stiff sole, comfortable). No matter what type of pedals you get, you will need good shoes. My last pair of shoes (Nikes) wore out and a rectangular section popped out of the sole, right below the ball of my foot. Rode about 47 miles like this and bruised the ball of my foot. Not fun. I even have Look pedals, and this still happened. Spend the $$ and get good shoes! FWIW-I love my Looks.
Look, Speedplay and my experience.Ian
Sep 14, 2001 2:24 PM
When I worked at a shop I would set up pedals for people to try, IF, it was someone I knew who had come in a few times and I could trust them to purchase there and not run to mail-order.

Looks are low cost, the PP206 is 89.99 at your LBS. Cleats are easy to find. Nice stable platform.

Speedplay starts a little higher priced. Cleats can be easy to find, depending on the size of your town and shop. They have tons of float. No look entry, just step down and you are in.

I rode Look for 4 years. Then switched to Speedplay because I wanted just a little more than 9 degrees of float. Took me a few rides to get used to them, but then I loved them. I just got the new Look CX-7 pedals and will be trying them next week. I have never come out of either pedal unless I wanted to.

And platform size, I have to disagree with people who experience hotspots with Speedplay. The pedal is smaller, but the cleat / shoe interface is the same size as the Look. It is not like your shoe is pressed up against the pedal. I think it is more of a problem of people just moving their foot more than they are used to.

In the end, both are very good systems and I could not make a blanket recommendation of one over the other.
My Speedplay experiencessodade
Sep 14, 2001 4:31 PM
1. The float thing bothers me not one bit.
2. I don't get how you can have circular hotspots - the cleat is a big rectangle.
3. Easy out = true. These are the best and cleanest exiters I have used.
4. easy in? What are you people smoking? The #1 problem with these pedals is getting it in. It is like trying to line up two ice cubes. Total knee-bashing nightmare...
Re: Ice cubes?Elefantino
Sep 14, 2001 9:20 PM
I find my X2s the easiest pedals (no look, just stomp and go) that I have ever used, and I've had Looks, SPDs and SPD-Rs. Maybe it's your technique.
By the way, when I'm riding, I am usually smoking people with Looks, SPDs and SPD-Rs.