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Basic cleat/shoe question from a new roadie(5 posts)

Basic cleat/shoe question from a new roadieCaseysdad
Dec 6, 2002 7:15 AM
I'm a long-time mountain biker getting ready to purchase my first road bike in many, many moons. Having ridden offroad exclusively in recent years, I've only used Shimano's SPD-type cleat systems and am now attempting to educate myself regarding my options for road equipment. Would anyone care to offer a primer on the basic road cleat/shoe system options are and what their relative merits might be? I really am starting from scratch here, so even the most basic overview will be appreciated. Thanks!
Dec 6, 2002 8:29 AM
Im certainly not in a position to overview various pedal systems, but being as noone else seems to be replying...

Pedal systems are as individualized as seat preferences. Everyone likes something different for different reasons.

I suggest, since youre just starting, stick with SPD. Youve gotta start somewhere, and you have the shoes already (until which time the self-conscience fashion-police guilt you into buying 'proper' road shoes), and you can walk comfortably.

Another option I highly recommend, and I'm sure I wont be seconded a dual-purpose pedal.... SPD on one side and platform on the other. Not exactly 'lightweight' to save that precious .04 seconds on a serious hillclimb, but allows you to bike in everyday clothes...dont look like a dork in a nice restaraunt if you opt to take the bike to lunch, or allows the use of the sorrels on a sub-zero day.
my friend provides not bad advice, but you asked for a primer,bill
Dec 6, 2002 11:17 AM
so --
All of the major systems have their adherents. There is a Big Three (Shimano, Look, and Speedplay), with substantial subsets of Time (used to require Time cleats on Time shoes -- no more), and Campy (the cleats fit in the Look holes in the shoes).
I've never used Shimano and don't know that much about them.
I've used Looks. Wide, stable platform. Comes in two styles, with float (some side to side wiggle room) and without float. Unless you are a very serious, certain kind of a racer who is VERY confident of knowing exactly how to place the cleat, get with float. Look pedals come in many models, with different features reflecting sophistication available at different price points (you can, for example, adjust the tension for the release, and I think you can adjust the degree of float on some).
Speedplay is light, and, like MTB pedals, double-sided. The platform, however, is sort of small, and some people complain not only about the size of the platform but about the degree of float -- i.e., Speedplay may provide too much float. I was never tempted to try them.
I use Campy pedals. I found them to be more stable than Looks. They are extremely smooth, relatively light, and they have that whole campy thing going on. They have an interesting characteristic, which is that they are harder to get out of when the stresses are heavy pedaling stresses. Unweighted, they are easy to get out of, and I have never had a problem getting out in a panic situation. In a sprint, though, they lock down pretty tight. This is a function of the cleat design, so that, when the cleat wears down, they paradoxically become harder to get out of. Campy Record Pro-Fit are triple-sealed, light, smooth as silk, and maintenance free.
Don't know much about Time cleats, although lots of people love them.
There are some other brands out there, such as Ritchey (very similar to Shimano), EggBeater -- an entirely new concept that the jury is out on, and probably some others that I am forgetting. The store brands (Performance, Nashbar) tend to be modeled on Looks.
You want a stable platform, smooth operation, and light weight. And low maintenance. Not an impossible combination, because the demands probably are less than on MTB pedals.
Just went through same thing...-JC-
Dec 6, 2002 11:32 AM
I ran SPDs on my road bike because I was still using my mountian shoes. I found that on longer rides I would get a painful hot spot on the balls of my feet.

I found a deal on Sidi Genus3 shoes and Look pedals (the Ja-Ja signatures for $60!) because thats what my roadie friends were riding and no adapter was needed for the Sidi shoes.

I like the Looks. They are very comfortable and provide a large, stable base. Once you get used to the 1-sided thing they are very easy to get in and out of yet I have never unintentionaly unclipped.

Look appears to be as common on the road here as SPDs are on the trails. I like having the same pedals as my riding buddies so we can trade/borrow bikes on occasion.

Good Luck,
Just went through same thing...divve
Dec 6, 2002 3:09 PM
Originally I'm a (XC) mountain biker as well. I found that the transition to Speedplay Zero pedals was made very easily. The adjustable float allows you to dial them into what you're used to, or find the most comfortable. The only major differences I noticed was the firmer lock and the better power transfer.