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Speedplays & losing energy(15 posts)

Speedplays & losing energyWoof the dog
May 25, 2002 8:40 AM
One of the arguments I hear against this pedal is that all the wiggling means loss of energy. Tell me its not true.


god eht fooW
it's not trueweiwentg
May 25, 2002 8:41 AM
usually, my feel don't rotate on the pedal. but even if yours do, you're basically still pressing down. don't see what that has to do with losing energy. and it's not as if the spindle is flexing.
what wiggling?gtx
May 25, 2002 9:03 AM
if you're wiggling a lot you have a screwy pedal stroke. Also, since Speedplays let you wiggle, you're not wasting energy or injuring yourself by fighting against the pedal. And not being injured = more riding = more power (unless you're overtrained, of course). Just my biased and unscientific $.02.
problems for me, tooDougSloan
May 25, 2002 9:44 AM
That's one of the reasons I quit using them. My lower legs felt much more fatigued with them than with pedals with more restraint, like Looks. Sometimes it got to the point of causing pain. I don't think I have a weird pedal stroke or anything, either. When switching to Looks, all of the problems immediately resolved.

It seems with me that it took more lower leg energy to keep my feet aligned. I would assume that takes energy. On the contrary, pedals that do the alignment for me seem to keep my legs more relaxed.

Just me, and I doubt I'm the only rider who has experienced this.

Speedplays have a lot of great qualities, and many riders seem to really like them. I suppose it's just another one of those individual things. Believe me, the weight weenie in me would love to use them, but they just won't work for me.

problems for me, toogtx
May 25, 2002 10:15 AM
I have heard of people who never got used to or never liked the Speedplays (and to tell the truth I prefer the Frogs to the road version). Reading your post I was wondering if this had anything to cleat location--ie if the cleat isn't centered under the ball of your foor, could the problem you describe be exacerbated? Anyway, I remember people having this exact same discussion when Times came out in the late 80s.
May 25, 2002 11:04 AM
Everyone is different. And everyone has personal favorites, what works for one, may not work for others - different pedals for different strokes (pun intended). But until some independent research is done on 100, 1000, or more individuals, it is all subjective, speculation, personal opinions, clinical impressions - nothing objective, no quantitative data to say yes, or no, nor to what degree, or percentage loss, gain, or no change.

My personal opinion is that, Maybe, if you are a top competitive racer (i.e. LA), there would be reason for concern of a potential/possible waste of energy (when you are at the pinnicle of racing's cutting edge, 1/2% loss can be major), but for 90-99% of bicyclists, the gain in preventing potential knee injuries, for those that the pedals work, is far greater than the potential for energy loss. But, (disclaimer) YMMV.
SubjectiveWoof the dog
May 25, 2002 12:19 PM
don't get me wrong, i love the pedal and ride with them lots. My feet don't move around too much at all, just like on any other pedal pretty much. My feet don't get tired. It annoys me though when some say that its a bad pedal that wastes energy. I bet they probably tried it for one day, their feet were all over the place and they are like "well, thats the waste of energy right there." I think they don't realize you get accustomed to it and it becomes the best pedal ever.


Woof the dog.
May 25, 2002 3:24 PM
I agree with you. I love my Speedplays, and by their sales and market share, I'd say a lot of other people do to. Their simple, light weight, double sided entry, design is pure genius - too bad I didn't think of it - Ha!
re: Speedplays & losing energyJuanmoretime
May 25, 2002 7:14 PM
I've used Speedplay pedals since 1992. I'm not a pure cyclist but a multisport guy, duathlon, swimming is for fish. I have also many wins and almost all of my finishes in the top five. The Speedplay do not have power loss but they do allow your leg to track as it naturally wants to. Not a bad thing as we advance in age. I truly believe that this natural tracking pattern that Speedplays alllow will mean healthier joints later in life. You choose, I choose Speedplay.
re: Speedplays & losing energyweiwentg
May 25, 2002 8:48 PM
> truly believe that this natural tracking pattern that Speedplays alllow will mean healthier joints later in life

you have a point about the natural tracking thing. I rode egg beaters today (6 deg float) ... and when I set the cleats up in the neutral position, my stroke felt totally wrong. angling the cleats solved it, but I miss the float. it does, indeed, allow for a far more natural stroke. for some of us, anyway.
May 25, 2002 9:47 PM
on the track it is commonly believed that excess foot movement means a direct loss in pedal power. To much un-neccessary energy used to stablize the foot... Here is the test. I run speedplays on my road bike, and full on dura ace old school pedals with sprinter straps. I tried the speedplays just for giggles and I did notice a difference. The real deal... I honestly think that in a track situation where alot of the conditions are predictable and the races relatively short you can notice the difference. But, on the road for a hundred miles and no fixed gear I think the speedplay or other similar pedal is better suited simply becuase it DOES let you move around. (read: knees) I would dread putting in those kind of miles in my fixed cages that are on my track bike. But I can tell you I LOVE them on the track. Go with the Speedplays... they really are awesome...
May 26, 2002 4:44 AM
I can only speak for my knees....I'm not a competetive biker; just love biking (avg. under 150m/wk), but since I switched to Speedplays a few years ago, I haven't experienced any knee pains PERIOD---during or after the ride. I love the easy clip-in or release and I've never experienced an 'unwanted' release (as with my previous SPDs). Anatomically, I'm sure that your heel will provide a more positive power-stroke in the 0°-6° position, but my knees paid the price.
didn't work for mepeloton
May 26, 2002 11:12 AM
I tried the Speedplays, and I really wanted to like them. I liked the light weight, and the ease of entry and exit. I think for people with different alignment needs the Speedplay pedals could be better or worse depending on individual physiology. The Speedplays made my left knee hurt like a $#^@$#! No problems when I went to Looks. I'm pretty good about setting my bikes up properly too, so I doubt it had anything to do with that. I also had some inadvertant releases with the Speedplays, which I don't have with other pedal systems. I tried repeated to make the Speedplays work for me, but it just didn't fit. I think pedals are like shoes. Just because they work for your buddy, doesn't mean they will fit you.
re: Speedplays & losing energymickey-mac
May 26, 2002 12:29 PM
I had that feeling for the first two weeks or so that I rode them. After about five months on them the only thing that gives me pause is how they would handle in a serious sprint. I don't race or do group rides any more, so I don't do a lot of sprinting. However, when I do stand for an occasional sprint, the Speedplays don't instill confidence. I haven't had a problem pulling out; they just feel a little too loose for my comfort level.
re: Speedplays & losing energyWoof the dog
May 26, 2002 6:40 PM
you spin fast enough to really have no time for the feet to wobble. Dying on a serious climb in too big of a gear is a different case though.

woof the dog that likes chicken.