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alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...(17 posts)

alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...JS Haiku Shop
Apr 12, 2002 5:59 AM
i'm using either look black or red cleats, and dialing-in the cleat/pedal combo to always have 9* of float. i'm wondering if speedplays would help with this knee thing, in the long run. my understanding from their website is that the standard pedal float (look-type) is spring-actuated, meaning that the "neutral" position is reached through pressure applied from springs pushing from the outer and inner side of the pedal. i take this to mean the float is available, but at the cost of minimal pushing against the springs in either direction, and the foot is (by default) returned to the neutral (cleat-directoin on the shoe) position. not a big deal over 30 miles, but over 130, maybe a consideration. they say the speedplay difference is "free float", or that the neutral position is infinite, as they do not employ any tension to return the cleat to a certain position, so "natural" shoe/foot position is reached at all times.

the questions:

what is the main difference between the frog and the x-series?

can both be used with road and mtb shoes (are they shoe independent)?

if used on mtb shoes, can you still walk like normal, or does the adapter make this difficult?

how is cleat entry and exit accomplished? i'm guessing cleat entry is by just stepping into the recepticle with the cleat aligned (?). what about exit? the website says nothing about it.

and, finally: are they REALLY worth the $$?


re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...weiwentg
Apr 12, 2002 6:07 AM
the x cleats cannot be used on MTB shoes at all; sorry. and i don't think the frogs can be used on road shoes. they're 2 bolt cleats (SPD) and the x cleats have a mounting system that takes the 3 bolt spd-r pattern.
if you have knee trouble AND if you can get used to the float, they are worth the $$.
the frogs are an MTB and are less sensitive to dirt. the X series is sadly VERY sensitive to dirt. the cleats are fragile.
as i type this i am on painkillers. i might be wrong.
re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...AustinTexasRider
Apr 12, 2002 6:21 AM
I just started using X2s this year for about 2 months now. I like em. So far, no knee problems for me, but I haven't done a century in them yet (I will be this weekend and next, though). I can't answer your frog vs. X and mtb questions, but if walking is your game, spd is the best thing to get.

I was using spd's before the X2s and now when I go back to the spd's on my other bike, I almost can't stand having what seems like no float at all. If you get the X's, make sure you get the coffee shop covers. You will walk like a duck with the X's!!

The thing you read about the no look entry is true, but it's hard to tell and if you are not in, watch out!! Your feet will come flying off like your are stepping on wet ice.

Getting out of the pedals is just like spd. It's just a turn of the heel to the outside beyond the float range and they come right out.
re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...Chen2
Apr 12, 2002 6:33 AM
I've got the X-1's and I don't think I'll ever need anything else. My knees feel much better on these. Before buying them I was concerned about the exit technique, but it's really not an issue at all. To get out of them you simply lift your heel and roll your ankle over. It's a very natural movement, you don't even need to think about it. You do NOT rotate the ankle out to a release point, they don't work that way. I see no need for the Zero's unless you have really big feet and your heel is hitting the chain stays. With the X series I think most people brush against the chain stays a few times until you get use to them. It took me maybe two 30 mile rides to feel completely adjusted to the X-1's, and my knees have thanked me ever since. The X-1's have a shorter spindle than the X-2's. The X-3's have had some reliability issues do to inferior materials. The X-1's have a 185# limit but there is probably a big safety factor built in to that. When new it's best to lube the cleats with a wax lube, at least for several rides. Be careful to not overtighten the cleat mounting screws. I'm convinced that you can engage these things quicker than any other pedal.
re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...tarwheel
Apr 12, 2002 6:38 AM

I bought some Speedplay X-2s about a month ago, mainly because my Looks were squeaking so bad it was driving me crazy. The lower weight and double-sided entry were other selling points. I had a rebate coming from REI, plus a discount coupon, so I was able to save about $60 off retail. These pedals never go on sale.

I had no trouble getting used to the Speeds and really liked the ease of entry and exit. Seemed like the ideal pedal. Then ... my knees started hurting. Just a little discomfort at first, but it got more noticeable day by day. After 2 weeks, I decided it just wasn't worth risking an injury, and I took the Speeds off my bike. Knee pain went away in a few days. Now I'm back to my Looks, with some new cleats, and they quit squeaking.

Anyway, my experience may be unusual, but these pedals are not for everyone. However, lots of people of people with knee problems seem to swear by them. What struck me as odd is that I have NEVER had knee problems -- not during years of running and cycling. It just goes to show, like everything else dealing with bike fit, that everyone's different.

BTW, if you're looking for a better price on Speeds, check the ads on eBay. You won't find any great bargains, but could probably save $20-30 from retail. I am going to be posting mine as soon as I can borrow a digital camera for photos. Finally, it's my understanding that you can use the Frogs for road biking, but you can't use the X series with mtn bike shoes. Apparently lots of cyclists use Frogs on road bikes judging from the reviews posted elsewhere on RBR.

re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...Beaver
Apr 12, 2002 7:05 AM
I've had x-3's on 2 of my bikes for about 2 years and haven't had any problems. Haven't even lubed the pedals yet, cleats I lube whenever needed. I'm still on my first set of cleats, btw.

Cleat entry is just stepping on the pedal, you will hear it click, and exiting is just twisting to the right.

I haven't had the problems that a lot of people report about dirt affecting the cleat mechanism. On my daily ride, my turn around point is on a gravel road where I stop and take in some water and powergel. And when I ride at the beach, I start out in a sandy parking lot. Never had a problem clicking in or exiting.
good pedals, yes, a cure all, nomixinbeatz
Apr 12, 2002 7:21 AM
I have been riding a combination of spd, spd-r, looks, and have recently switched over to speedplays on my race bike. While I can say I do like these pedals, they come at a cost. In my experience dirt does have a huge effect on these pedals and make it very difficult to engage. This problem can be solved by not walking around in the dirt parking lot on the way to registration, and keeping walking to a bare minimum. Before the rollout I always to a quick ride around the parking lot to make sure that the pedals click in and on a few occasions have had to smack them on the ground a couple time to clear the mechanism. This being said, I really had no problem getting used to them and for me the float didn't feel that unnatural at all. One reason I think these pedals are so popular is that they are much more forgiving on the knees with the float. Saying this, I think a lot of people do not take the time to get other systems (spd's ect) adjusted properly and when their knees hurt they blame it on the pedals. Speedplays offer more float and would be more forgiving in these situations. I have spd's on 2 of my bikes and really notice no difference between those and the speedplays, it just took me a lot longer to tweak them in. In short, I personally think any pedal with a small amount of float should be great for most riders if one takes the time and energy to adjust them properly. But the speedplays are lighter, they engage and disengage predictable but are really, really, fricken expensive. I got the threes and in a few months and a little over 2000 miles, I have had to grease them twice in relatively dry conditions. Next time I am going to go with the 2's because of better bearings.
My experience.Len J
Apr 12, 2002 7:30 AM
Frogs are compatible with MTB shoes, X series are not. The main difference is the size of the shoe attachment & the connecting mechanism. Frogs are (as someone else said) less sensitive to dirt than the x series. Because the x series cleat has a spring that attaches to the pedal, walking on mud or small stones can force debris up behind the spring causing the spring to be unable to retract enoug to allow for clip in to the pedal. This then requires you to take the cleat apart to clean out, a real pain in the middle of a ride. (Remember that many organized rides have rest stops in grass & dirt areas.) The solution is easy, a set of "Coffee house" covers cost about 10 bucks & eliminate this problem. They also reduce slipping which makes walking much easier. I carry these on every organized ride.

The X entry & exit is stomp down & go. Easiest I have ever experienced. Key is to lube the springs with a dry lube about once a week or so. Since pedals are dual sided, entry is simple. I've used SPD, Look, and spd-R and there is IMO no comparison.

Exit is same as other pedals, twist heel out and your out.

Are they worth it? This is very personal. They are for me. Getting used to them (I use X-2's, best balance between cost & weight) was pretty simple. They are much more secure than they first feel. When you first try them it feels like your feet are on ice, you are very aware of them, but after some time, you don't even notice them. I have never inadvertaintly released even when climbing agressivly out of the saddle. (I don't have much of a sprint so someone else will have to comment).

As with most things, the only way you will know is if you try them.

re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...McAndrus
Apr 12, 2002 7:42 AM
I began using Speedplay X-2s about a month ago, having converted from both Looks and Campy Pro-Fits. I switched because of a knee problem which is probably the same ITBS as yours. I'll try new pedals before I see a doctor, though. As we know, the doctor's prescription will be "stop cycling."

My preliminary experience is positive. The knee pain is lessened and seems to improve with time, but there is still some residual soreness.

As to X-1 or X-2 versus Frogs: I did meet a woman once who was riding Frogs on a road bike. I asked her for her opinion and she said she was very pleased with them and she was riding in road shoes.

I have no problems clipping in or out - it's very easy both ways and my X-2s have a very solid connection. I have no fear of unintentional pull-outs.

Are they worth the money? Yes, I think so.
re: doctors and cyclingJS Haiku Shop
Apr 12, 2002 7:51 AM
I, too, had this concern ("stop cycling"). this is also true for my primary physician. however, he was out when i went to the doc's office, and i was lucky enough to see the nurse practitioner. told him i had knee problems, the amount of time per week i spent on the bike, and annual mileage. he immediately referred me to their orthopedic and physical therapy office (lucky enough that my doc's practice has a sports med office, as well), and it's all history from there.

perhaps the answer is to find a more sympathetic doc. the majority of docs i've seen over the last 10 years have been down-home, old country-type docs, who prescribe rest and aspirin and loads of antibiotics for anything, and proscribe the activity that got you into his office. if telling one, "it hurts when i bend my knee like this", you guessed it, they'd say, "don't bend your knee like that."
get Frogsgtx
Apr 12, 2002 7:49 AM
I've owned or tried most pedal systems and have both types of Speedplays (X1 or whatever it's called several sets of Frogs). I've ended up just putting Frogs on all my bikes cause I like being able to walk around and honestly they feel better to me than the road version. The key is to match them with a very high quality mtb shoe--one with a stiff sole. I like the Carnacs. The float will take a day or two to get used to but my knees are very happy. The only downside of the Frogs is that the cleats aren't that durable, and they aren't the best in mud (though I still use them in muddy contidions/races). Good luck.
re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...Jekyll
Apr 12, 2002 9:10 AM
I love the things (have both X2's and X1's - had a pair of X3's & Frogs as well). Everything good you hear about the float has been part of my experience as well. X's are supper easy to clip into and get out of. The pedals are stupid light and get you very close to the spindle. Cornering clearance is better than just about anything else as well.
The main difference between X's and Frogs is their intended purpose. The X's are purely a road pedal. The Frog can be used for either. The X's are lighter and get you closer to the spindle. The cleat/pedal interface is larger to dissipate pressure on long road rides. The X's are easier to get into. Both exist by simply rotating to the outside. X's can be existed if you turn them inwards as well (you do have to run them pretty far inward to release - probably just a safety feature). I have never had an unexpected release problem with X's.
If you want to ride these with touring or MTB shoes you need go with Frogs (SPD style mount). If you are going with X's you have to use a Look compatible road shoe.
I only ran Frogs on my MTB (I got them after the positive experience I had with X's on the road). I hated them. While they provide great float they blow in the mud. I took them off and went to Time ATAC's - never looked back. If I were to build a touring bike I would go with Frogs without question.
You can also get a great deal on these at - great guys to deal with and $179 for X1's!!!!
re: alright, you guys...tell me about speedplay...gtx
Apr 12, 2002 9:20 AM
weight between the Frogs and road version is almost identical when you add in the cleat weight. On my mtb, I file down the inside stops on the Frogs for added security, but leave it on my road bikes. And I'm not sure the road pedals put you closer to the spindle--depends on your shoes/adaptors. I haven't measured but I feel like I'm closer with the Frogs. Regarding dissipation of cleat pressue, again, that is mostly a function of your shoes--no issues with my Frogs with Carnacs. And regarding mud, they're really not that bad once you get used to them--just keep 'em clean and spray 'em with Boeshield or something before muddy rides. However, I think Times (both road and mtb) are superior race pedals--I just don't like the spring loaded float. My $.02.
could beJekyll
Apr 12, 2002 9:32 AM
The weight thing is probably true. The spindle comparison for me was between X's with Specialized Team shoe (pretty tall soles actually) vs. Frog with Sidi Dom 2 - obviously would differ with different shoe combos.
But the mud deal I have to take issue with. I rode Frogs for over a year off road. I hated them from the vast majority of the time. Once the pedal/cleat get muddy you can no longer tell if you are in or our (mostly out). The cleats are very fragile and the inner stops on the pedals break off (Speedplay had to replace platforms on both pedals - they were very good about it).
I think they would be a great touring pedal or non-serious off road pedal but for the ugly days off road the Frog is a dangerous waste of time. When its ugly its either the ATAC or the EB.
On the road, on the other hand - the only way you are going to get the Speedplays off my bike is over my cold, dead body.
could begtx
Apr 12, 2002 10:00 AM
I do agree about the mud thing--though I still use them for the occaissional muddy mtb race. I just try not to dismount much. ;) And yeah, the cleats don't last long--I buy one or two new sets a year (and they ain't cheap). I heard you can extend the life by switching the mushrooms--I guess they come off with the use of vice grips and then you need to use loctite--but I've never tried this. I am kind of a pedal junkie--and I'm still waiting for the perfect pedals to come out. Right now, for me, Frogs offer the most advantages and fewest disadvantages.
I also love the frogs.Leisure
Apr 13, 2002 1:48 AM
My experience is biased because Utah sees very little mud, but for me it has never been a problem wih Frogs. I've always been able to massage them in when they're muddy. They're not ATACs but you could do a lot worse. The weight is low, the float is nice, and I think it might have the easiest learning curve. If you want to use the same pedal for mountain and road I think they're a great choice.
i like atacs so much..colker
Apr 12, 2002 10:02 AM
i have a pair of totally beat, scrapped, old, grey plastic model on my road bike. i'm afraid to change it for some beauty queen of a pedal and have all kinds of knee, cleat and shoe problem.