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Beginner's question SPD-SL(5 posts)

Beginner's question SPD-SLSteve Young
May 7, 2003 4:11 PM
Hi all,

I just bought my first roadbike in about 15 years (spent the last 15 years mountain biking :) and went out for a 90 minute christening ride last night. The bike was great - I'm really pleased with it and was surprised how smooth the gear change was after the mountainbike (ultegra vs. XTR).

When I bought the bike I also picked up a pair of SIDI Genius4 which I'm happy with so far and a pair of Shimano SL clipless pedals.

Once I had the cleats etc fitted up everything fit together fine and I could easily disengage by rotating my foot.

Here's the question. The whole ride I felt like my foot was sliding around in the pedal (laterally and rotationally) a bit like walking on ice although it did not disengage. When I got back I tightened up the spring release which made clipping out harder but did not affect the slippery feeling. Is this normal and will I get used to it or am I doing something wrong ? On my mountain bike (where I use Time ATACs) my foot is held tightly in place - although there is 15 degrees of rotational float I have to actively twist my foot to get this - there's none of the slippery feeling.


Probably intended effect. Personal preference. nmelviento
May 7, 2003 4:49 PM
re: Beginner's question SPD-SLSLR
May 8, 2003 12:19 AM
I had the same feeling on my new SLs. I just turned the cleats a little bit and it took out some of the outward float. Now they feel great!
Good luck
There are a lot of different kinds of floatRay Sachs
May 8, 2003 4:00 AM
First, there's the difference between free float and center loaded. The ATACs, Time's road pedals, and some SPD knockoffs (Ritchey I think) are center loaded, meaning there's a spring that always wants to bring your foot back to center. So if you twist your foot a bit off center, the cleat wants to bring it back to straight. Free float lets your foot go where it wants to go (within the range of that pedal) and doesn't try to pull you back to center. SL, Speedplay, SPD, and Look are all free floating.

Within free floating pedals, though, there's lots of difference. Speedplay and SL pedals are very "slippery" as you put it, with Speedplay being famous for its "skating on ice" feel. I found the SL pedals to feel similar, although with a LOT less range of motion. Look, OTOH, has a fair amount of friction, so you can move your foot to different positions, but you have to intentionally do it - your foot doesn't just slide there on its own. There are also different points of rotation - most pedals rotate around the ball of the foot while Looks rotate from up closer to the toe.

But with all of those choices, it all comes down to personal preference. I prefer Looks - YMMV.

re: Beginner's question SPD-SLkg1
May 8, 2003 9:17 AM
I recently installed these on my bike and noticed in the manual that the cleat comes in two flavors -- one that is narrower and allows lots of float and one that is wider that limits float. My pedals shipped with the narrow, lots- of-float cleat. You may be able to limit the float by getting a different cleat.