Getting started with SPD pedals - any advice?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Sofaoftime, Apr 2, 2006.

  1. Sofaoftime

    Sofaoftime New Member

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    :) I've been thinking for a long time now about making the switch to using SPD pedals (is that the right term for the pedals you need the special shoes to clip into?). I ride a decent road bike but am pretty out of shape. People have told me that these pedals are much more energy-efficient. Is this true? Are they really much better than the standard pedal and toe-clip.
    Secondly, are the shoe sizes the same as non-cycling shoes or would I have to buy a bigger/smaller pair to fit mu size 10 (UK) feet.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks
     
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  2. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    There's a pretty big debate about the efficiency gained with clipless pedals. The "pull up on the backstroke" has been pretty solidly defeated in laboratory tests. That said in the years that I've used clipless pedals, I've found myself devoting a lot less energy to thinking about the placement of my feet on the pedals. The biggest advantage I can think of over clips and straps is the ability to get out of clipless a lot more easily. There are several different pedal/cleat standards and both road and mountain specific designs. You may find that putting mountain bike pedals on your road bike is preferable as the shoes are easier to walk in. As for sizing, the sizes are comparable to regular shoes and also as variable. A size 10 from brand X is rarely the same as a size 10 from brand Y, so buying them online isn't always as efficient as going to a shop.
     
  3. John M

    John M New Member

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    clipless pedal is the proper term as SPD is a proprietary name for Shimano's brand of clipless pedal systems (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics). SPD has now become somewhat generic for the two-bolt cleat common for mountain bike and touring type pedals. Most road-specific pedals now use a three-bolt cleat. There are several brands of each type, all with their advocates and naysayers. (Go to a shop and browse--you will quickly see the difference). As Art suggested, the MTB 2-bolt type cleats are generally much easier to walk in than the 3-bolt road type, and are therefore more suitable for mountain biking, commuting, or touring.

    Best to go to a decent shop, talk to the folks there about what your intended use is and try a few pairs on. Some shoes are outrageously expensive these days, but you can get a decent pair for a reasonable amount of money. Like any other type of shoe, proper fit is critical to comfort.
     
  4. unicos

    unicos New Member

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    If you want to go clipless and are not to sure then I would recommend Shimano's PD-M324 pedal. This is a platform pedal on one side and a clipless SPD on the other. They are kinda heavy. These would work for both mountain or road riding. Shoes are very personal so find a LBS and try on as many pair as you can. Sizes are not consistant between mfg's so dont expect one brand to fit like another. I like my Sidi's and have ridden this brand for the last 23 years. If you want to be more road or mountain specific then you can really complicate the selection issue.

    artmichalek - where can you find the lab tests that say clipless does not improve efficiency and power?
     
  5. the beef

    the beef New Member

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    Clipless definitely helps you on the hills - you use a different set of muscles when pulling on the upstroke; you'll feel it. Otherwise, they just help with foot placement, plus clipless pedals are just cooler than normal pedals. [​IMG]
     
  6. fish156

    fish156 New Member

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    A couple of things I would suggest about SPD pedals ... Set the tension adjustment on them to the minimum when you are first starting out. Then, after you get used to them you can start cranking it up a little at a time. If you have never used clipless pedals before, be prepared to take a fall - almost everybody does at least once. This is more likely to happen at slow speed than when going fast. If there is any question of whether to unclip, or not, when slowing down then do make the decision to unclip.
    That will prevent a fall more than anything.
     
  7. supergrill

    supergrill New Member

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    If you are new to this and comparing pedals by description; be aware that SPD, SPD-R and SPD-SL are all very different and non-interchangeable Shimano cleat systems. (as well as Look, Keo, Speedplay, etc.)
     
  8. Sofaoftime

    Sofaoftime New Member

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    Wow! I have to say I am really impressed with the response to my question!

    I can see that I should go into a shop and try on a few different pairs and scrap my original idea of buying some cheap but fancy-looking shoes and (clipless)pedals on the Internet!

    Many thanks to everyone for your answers.
     
  9. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Not forgetting the SPD-Road Pedal, PD-A520. :)
     
  10. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    What lab? Quads and hamstrings, push and pull. Pretty basic weightlight concepts. A real nobrainer once you've ridden with clipless.
     
  11. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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  12. Sofaoftime

    Sofaoftime New Member

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    I suppose that, even if you don't gain any power with the up-pull on the one side, it must be a good thing to have your feet positioned in exactly the right place all the time...
     
  13. capwater

    capwater New Member

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    Hills and sprints at least!
     
  14. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

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    Definitely. I've ridden with platform pedals since I started cycling and am currently thinking about investing in cycling shoes/pedals for this reason. It messed me up climbing sometimes when my feet are oddly positioned or my foot slips or something to that effect. I was thinking of buying some off Ebay because of the high cost of these items at the LBS, but I might reconsider.
     
  15. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    Unfortunately, the study didn't really study the upstroke part. The faster the down phase is, the faster the up leg has to be, or else the down leg will start producing a compressive force on the sole of the rising foot. If the up leg lifts a bit too much or pushes out a bit too much, it will slip off (without clips or clipless systems). This happened to me, and I rolled three times on the sidewalk after kneeing my top tube and losing control some 9 years ago. If elite cyclists press down on the pedals all the time on the upstroke, then why don't they abandon the clipped in systems, after all, that metal in the shoes weighs a bit and makes it harder to jump off the bike in the event a deer jumps in your path or something ( or realise you're about to go over a cliff).


    Also, why would a more elite cyclist be more efficient? Having a genetic advantage and a big head start to begin with probably means the more elite cyclists are less efficient. I believe I heard about a study like that somewhere.

    -Bikeguy
     
  16. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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  17. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    Producing power on the upstroke is a completely different claim than unweighting during the upstroke. If you're anywhere close to unweighting on platform pedals, then slipping is going to be a problem. And while this will improve efficiency a bit because the down-pusing leg isn't working as hard to lift the other one up, it doesn't mean that you're actually pulling.

    If genetic gifts alone were enough to win races, then Lance Armstrong wouldn't have spent so much time in the wind tunnel getting the seams on his skin suits straightened out.
     
  18. bikeguy

    bikeguy New Member

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    I know about the Nike swift skinsuits. However, I wouldn't credit Armstrong's
    7 TdF victories to that. Speaking of genetic gifts, the cyclists with lower VO2 max's in the study I linked to had higher general efficiencies than their more 'gifted' counterparts.

    -Bikeguy
     
  19. Sofaoftime

    Sofaoftime New Member

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    Well, this debate seems to be getting quite scientific! Simply going on anecdotal evidence, most people who switch to clipless pedals seem not to want to go back to the old toeclip system and that is enough of a recommendation for me.

    Is there anyone out there who has given clipless pedals a shot and then decided that they were really no improvement on the traditional system?
     
  20. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    Yes, after a fall in T2 of a Duathlon, I went back to running shoes and strapless top clips (Zefal). At my age, 55+, finishing is more important than being fast. :)


    On the up-stroke question. I have seen it used when the left crank arm and pedal fell off a bike. Also in the gym for single leg drills.
     
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