Advice On Spd Clipless Pedals

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by essjay, Nov 29, 2015.

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  1. essjay

    essjay New Member

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    I'm considering switching to clipless SPD pedals but I'm slightly concerned that going clipless can be bad
    for your knees especially if you already have knee pain from old injuries or wear and tear. I've heard that
    choosing a pedal with more float is better on the knees but I'm unsure which ones to go for and would
    love to hear others recommendations and opinions on pedals they've used before I spend a load of cash
    then find I've made the wrong choice.

    At the moment I commute to work on a flat barred road bike and go mountain biking at the weekends.
    Due to this I was considering a mountain bike pedal rather than a road pedal mainly so I could use one
    pair of shoes for commuting and mountain biking and also the fact that most mountain bike shoes seem
    to be better for walking around in due to the recessed cleats.

    The pedals I've been looking at are the Time Atac range, Frog Speedplay and the Crank Bros Candy but
    I'm open to any suggestions for others I should consider.

    Any advice on making the change to clipless without ending up lying on the ground like a stranded turtle
    with my feet still stuck to the pedals would be really helpful as well! :)
     
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  2. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    From your post I understand that you are not using a pedaling system -- that is you don't use SPD, Look, or other pedal systems at this time.

    I use SPD cleats myself and love them. I had a painful left knee for a while and here is what really fixed it: I got a professional bike fit. At the time of the bike fit I was already using SPD cleats. So the bike fit took the cleats into consideration -- they were precisely adjusted to the pedals and my overall seating position for me. I paid for the bike fit and paid for the new stem that we decided on as a result of the fit. The bike fit has made a world of difference for me. So I suggest you adopt a pedal system first (SPD, Look, Speedplay or whatever) and get a bike fit with the system you opt for.

    I used to worry about using clip-in pedals myself, but after taking the time to learn how to "clip in" and "unclip" and doing some practice rides just to get the hang of it, I was sold on them. I had some scares when I forgot to unclip at traffic lights, but it soon became habit to unclip at the right time. Another thing I could learn to do is a track stand, which will eliminate the need to unclip at traffic lights. Today, I do not feel right if I do not "clip in" for the ride, especially since the the bike fit considered my SPD cleats in making the numerous adjustments. Life ain't right if I don't clip in.

    So first get yourself a pedaling system. Using this system, have a professional bike fit done.

    Thanks

    Bob
     
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  3. essjay

    essjay New Member

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    Thanks for your reply Bob!

    I'm not using any system at the moment. I have old toe straps on my street bike and DMR studded flat
    pedals on my mountain bike. I do notice the difference in pedalling efficiency when swapping between
    the two bikes even though it's only toe straps so I'm presuming it will be even better with the SPD system.

    I hadn't thought about having a bike fit before but it's definitely something I'll look into doing once I've
    decided on which pedals to buy.My knee injuries come from years of skating, skiing and snowboarding
    rather than cycling but I am worried that the SPD pedals will cause more problems so making sure the
    bike and pedals are set up for me would be a good place to start.

    Forgetting to unclip at traffic lights is one of my fears either that or trying to move my foot backwards
    because I've used toe straps for so long. The other thing that scares me is the system failing to unclip
    but I'm guessing or hoping that isn't too common or surely nobody would be using them.
     
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  4. BobCochran

    BobCochran Well-Known Member

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    It is very easy to clip into and unclip from SPD pedals. It is hard to describe, but another person on this forum gave advice that I think is great: he said that he had taken his shoes (with the cleats on them) and fitted them on to the pedals and visually observed how the shoe clips in and unclips. Then he tried to do it "for real" with his feet. I copied his method and did that for myself and it was a great help. Also, if you search for YouTube videos describing how to do it, you may find them helpful. I suggest you practice doing it in a low-traffic or empty parking lot. Find some type of handy support you can lean on and then get your feet clipped in and ride. Go at low speeds and practice unclipping and clipping in.

    I think you will find it very simple to do -- and you will heave a big sigh of relief.

    I think the combination of a correctly done, professional bike fit (which might involve changing your position with respect to the bike by adjusting the seat height and the angle of the stem) and a proper pedal system will put less stress on your knees. However, I am not a medical doctor, and I don't know your medical history, and if you have any question about the safety of your knees while bicycling, you should talk to a medical doctor who is qualified in sports medicine.

    Good luck!

    Bob
     
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  5. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    I'd say that pretty much everybody who uses SPD-style pedals have don'e at least one embarrassing topple due to failure to clip out.

    While it's not impossible to think up a scenario where this ends in serious damages, usually, it's mostly your ego that gets bruised.
    With a side order of hip and elbow bruising.

    But it's easy to learn nevertheless.
    Doesn't take that long to get the brain reprogrammed.
    Pedal low, heel out. Done.
    No worse than when you learned to disengage from straps.
    But different. Get some practise in before hitting the roads.
    Some pedals can have their retention force and release angle tuned by various means.
    Different cleats. Adjustable spring tension.

    One important thing is to make sure the cleats stay secured to the shoes. A slipping cleat can be impossible to clip out.
    MTBers sometimes bang the pedals up so that they won't engage.
    But apart from slipping cleats I've never heard of a mechanical failure locking a rider in.

    Cranks Brothers are easy to clip in and have decent float. Very good mud/snow shedding capacity.
    Earlier versions didn't last that long. Cleats wear fast too.
    But rebuild kits arre fairly inexpensive and easy to install.

    I think the Frogs are the unofficial kings of float.
    Time are also very good at clearing snow, and longer-lasting than (early) Crank Brothers. They add more height between sole and pedal axle though.
    Not the choice for those who fear pedal strike.

    A good foot-retention system makes it easier to maintain a good cadence, which is usually beneficial for your knees.
     
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  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    I have a royally fubar'd left knee; I find that using, properly adjusted, clipless ensures that I am aligning everything correctly. SPD is tried, true and cheap - great for about 95% of the riding I do.
     
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  7. essjay

    essjay New Member

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    Thanks for all your replies!

    I went shopping today and ended up buying the Mavic Crossride SL Elite pedals based on
    recommendation from the local bike shop. The guy in the shop had the Mavics fitted to his
    bike and recommended them as they have plenty of float, are easy to maintain and shed
    mud well.

    I bought Shimano XC30 MTB shoes to go with the pedals although I really wanted a pair
    of the trainer style shoes the ones the shop had in stock felt too wide for my narrow feet.
    The XC30 fit me perfectly but I'm not too sure about the race look for commuting!

    The shop did a quick bike fit and put the pedals on for me. They also set the bike up on
    one of their turbo trainers so I could have a go with the new pedals and practice clipping
    in and unclipping before I hit the street!

    I chickened out of riding the bike from the shop and walked to the local park with it and
    cycled around constantly clipping in and unclipping from the pedals to try and get used
    to them. So far so good and thankfully no comedy moments to end up on You Tube yet
    although I might have a little more practice before trying them on my commuter bike.

    Based on my cycle round the park and the 2 mile ride home already I can feel the difference
    in power using the clipless system compared to the straps. I'm pleased I finally got round
    to buying them although I'll probably regret it the first time I mess up unclipping at the lights :)
     
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  8. Flatbardave

    Flatbardave Member

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    Got my first clip in SPDs a few months ago. Smoother pedaling & more power IMO.

    I got the Shimano A530 dual use pedal, I like being able to hop on with out bike shoes now & then
    & I can flip them over when with bike shoes, in a place where I'm on & off or stopping a lot so not to clip in & out a lot.

    Yea
    twice (so far ) I did the slow motion roll, I even rode them in the grass yard for a while clipping & un clipping.
    Still had the non moving bike wreck. Wear glove to prevent scraped hands & be able to laugh at yourself LOL :)


    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-A530-SPD-Pedals/dp/B00AAOIAQC

    BK.jpg
     
  9. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Before you pony up for a new set of pedals-and-shoes, you may want to read this article ...


    BTW. While I have not embraced the idea of going clipless, yet, I eschewed both the KOPS positioning + the pull-up-on-the-pedals-on-the-backstroke technique a long time ago.
     
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  10. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I have the Speedplay Frog pedals on my road bike and I love them, been using them for 3 seasons now with zero issues. They are a full float pedal which takes a bit of while to get use to the squirmy action but as the muscles retrain and improve you don't even notice it after about 3 months. These pedals are relatively maintenance free other than injecting Speedplay grease once a year (which is completely user friendly to do and requires nothing but removing a small screw and using their grease gun), and putting the liquid wax they give you on the cleats and on the pedal engagement area (liquid car wax will work to!) after every ride is best. The cleats you put on your shoe is completely walkable as long as you're using mtb or touring shoes and the cleats are below the level of the sole and they fit between any shoe lugs; and when walking and get dirt or mud in the cleats it's no big deal because the pedal mechanism is not affected by dirt or mud, one look at the system and you'll see why this is, and the simplicity of the system makes the pedal extremely reliable. I got the stainless steel version instead of the cromoly due to fear of rust and instead of titanium due to the expense. They're easy to enter into and exit out of but there is no fear of your foot suddenly coming disengaged.
     
  11. bigpedaler

    bigpedaler New Member

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    SPDs are okay, I've used them in the past. ATACs are better. With SPDs, I felt like I was ON TOP of the pedal, but ATACs make me feel like I'm IN the pedal. For me, easier to engage/disengage, too.

    Since a recent (and permanent) injury, I've had to radically re-evaluate my riding style. I'm going to give the clipless a vacation, and roll a set of platforms with toe clips. Since I'm not going to be hopping the bike any more, and have to assume an upright position, I don't think they're as necessary
     
  12. AliciaLazzaro

    AliciaLazzaro New Member

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    Thanks for your great information. i like it
     
  13. rochrunner

    rochrunner New Member

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    You might find getting clipped in a bit difficult at first, but like with most things, once you become accustomed to them the clipping in will be automatic. I actually find that it takes me just a little while to relearn the exact positioning of my shoe to engage the clips at the start of each riding season. (And why do we call them "clipless" while at the same time talk about "clipping in and out?" :) ).

    One reason I prefer the SPDs is that I can get off and walk around, go into a coffee shop or restaurant, etc. and still walk normally while on a long ride or tour, while the guys with true roadie pedals are clomping around uncomfortably.
     
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  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "And why do we call them "clipless"..."

    Because the step in / rotate out system adapted from snow skis eliminated the need for toe clips.

    'Clipless' has nothing to do with clipping in or clipping out.
     
  15. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    OH!?!

    YOU should be nicer to yourself ...

    After all, just because you feel that YOU can "ride a Campagnolo UltraTorque Hirth joint crankset with a 1 MM 'air gap' separating the crank spindle halves" you don't have to label yourself as a "lunatic."​
     
  16. JSWin

    JSWin Member

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    This is an interesting one. The first time I used the clips I didn't like them at all, but eventually got use to them. I prefer them now. I'm going to have to read through this one to see all what is being said here. Ok, flip in, flip out.
     
  17. kcj

    kcj New Member

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    Clipless, it's in reference to toe clips. At least it that was the line when Look first introduced them back in the 80s and other cycling publication discussions I have seen since. Float is definitely nice but once the fit is dialed in, I have actually restricted it in favor of a more stable platform. YMMV. I'm using SPD (actually Wellgo) because it came with the bike and like them more than my experience with Time, Look, and Shimano (all late 80s/early 90s vintage). Actually developed a liking after getting XT (late 90s) for my mountain bike but never got around to switching on my road bikes since I didn't ride them much (caught the bug again May '15). Good luck and unable to clip out happens to most of us especially after a hard ride.
     
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