Scared of new Speedplay pedal

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by mnrunner, May 6, 2013.

  1. mnrunner

    mnrunner New Member

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    Hello,

    I am a triathlete and marathon runner. I love running and swimming, and cycling is the distant third as I am nervous and cautious on the bike. Matters were not helped when I fell last May just 2 months after investing in a tri bike, and broke my wrist because I could not unclip in time and broke the fall with my hand. Since then, I have talked to numerous people, done research, and invested in two different pedal and cleat systems trying to find something that I am comfortable with - my confidence is much slower to recover than the broken bone. I've settled on Speedplay Light Action, and have practiced unclipping on the trainer all winter. I've just taken them outside for the first time on my Kestral, and really do not feel safe in them. They feel hard to get out of. I think part of the problem might be that I've been using them on the trainer for a few months now, and probably need to lubricate them.

    Can anyone advise me on how often to lubricate them so they are easier to unclip out of, and what kind of lube to use? I understand I also need to grease the pedals, but my understanding is that that is separate and will not help with the ease of unclipping.

    I'm registered for a few tris this summer, including the age group national which I qualified for. I so want to do these on my tri bike with proper pedals/cleats, but I need to feel like I can make these easier to get out of than they currently feel.

    Nervous but determined in MN
     
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  2. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I cannot tell you how to lubricate your Speedplay pedals or cleats, but if you are having difficulty disengaging from the pedals ...

    IF you don't have any known knee/hip/ankle problems, then 'I' recommend that you change to a different pedal/cleat system ...

    AND, to that end, instead of using a pedal which has a lot of "float" that you opt for a normal pedal & use zero float cleats ...

    • with zero float cleats, you may-or-may-not need to be more conscious of how you initially position the cleats on the bottom of your shoes ...

    To that end, a pair of traditional (vs. KEO) LOOK/-compatible pedals (Why pay more?!?) may serve you better ...

    • there are OTHER clipless options which will be equally economical

    OR, dump the idea of clipless shoes & go-retro with (metal) toe clips ...

    • some former cycling champions still ride with toe clips ...
    • or, appear to have returned to riding with toe clips
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Lubricating the cleats to make it easier to clip in and clip out is simple. Apply some teflon dry lube like this: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1030958_-1_400042__400042 to the bottom of the cleats on your shoes. No special application, just drip some of the lubricant on all exposed metal surfaces especially where the metal portion of the spring cleat enters the cleat body then wipe off the excess with a rag.

    If you have the Speedplay Zero light actions you can also optionally reduce or completely remove the pedal float which can make the release movement feel quicker and reduce the unlimited free float 'pedaling on ice' feeling. Personally I don't mind a lot of float but still like keeping limits on in with the Zero series which is simple by just snugging down the pair of travel limiting screws on the underside of the cleat.

    Lubricating the pedal spindle to increase bearing life is also a very good idea with all Speedplay pedals if you want them to last a long time but as you mentioned that has no impact on clipping in or out of the pedals. To do that you need a grease gun and a small phillips head screwdriver to remove the small grease port screw. You just inject grease till some grease makes it all the way through and starts to come out around the pedal spindle O ring on the far side of the pedals. Clean up the excess with a rag and replace the grease port screw. Do that frequently if you ride in the rain a lot but a few times per season even if you only ride in dry weather.

    But mostly practice getting into and out of the pedals in controlled situations. If you're really nervous about it then do so on a grassy field at slow speeds until the motion of swinging your heel out feels very natural. If you're not quite that nervous then practice while riding around a big parking lot or other safe, low traffic place. With just a bit of practice it should feel very natural to unclip with either foot. Just focus on swinging your heel outward away from the bike frame, don't try to pull straight up to get out of the pedal.

    It shouldn't take much practice to get very comfortable with the motion, but if you really can't get over your unclipping nerves then think about a MTB pedal system that are dead easy to get into and out of. Something like Crank Brothers Candy pedals that are inexpensive and super easy for both clipping into and getting back out of. The unclipping motion is the same but it takes almost no force so you can get out with the simplest flick of your ankle.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    First, it's unlikely that your cleats need lubing after a winter of riding indoors, but it couldn't hurt. To lube your cleats, spray a dry lube into and around the springs on the cleat, and then work the spring back and forth to make sure the lube reaches everywhere it needs to go. Don't use a wet lube on your cleats as a wet lube can attract dust and dirt which can foul the movement of the springs and make release difficult. I think the more likely cause for the difficulty clipping out is that either there's too much torque on the mounting screws used to attach the cleats to your shoes, or your cleats are improperly shimmed for your shoe sole's curvature. The Speedplay website has a listing of what shims are required for a given brand and model of shoes. In fact, you'll find it right here. While you're at the Speedplay site, I'd also suggest reviewing the cleat installation and lubrication videos to insure that you've done things properly. Speedplay pedals should not be difficult to get out of, especially your light action pedals. They're no more difficult that any other clipless medals and actually easier than many to exit. It is possible that the issue could be that your nervous and lack a bit of confidence in your ability to clip into and out of your pedals. As such, I'd recommend taking time to practice getting in and out of the pedals on some peaceful street, in a parking lot, or in some other low stress environment. Also be sure to unclip from your pedal well in advance of stopping, at least until you become more confident. You are correct that the greasing of the pedals will not change your unclipping issue. FWIW, the pedals need to be greased at least every 2000 miles and more often if you ride in the rain, submerge the pedals, and etc. EDIT: Ah, apparently daveryanwyoming and I were thinking and typing nearly the same things at the same time.
     
  5. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Agree it's likely a mounting issue with the cleats. If the cleats are mounted correctly, you should be able to move the locking clip inside with your fingers. If the clip is binding, that issue needs to be sorted. I rarely lube my speedplay cleats, and have no problems getting unclipped. A Teflon or other dry-lube coating is probably a good idea, but I've found it's not really necessary. What is important is to keep the cleats clean (free of dirt and grit). Also think it's important to grease the pedal bearings every 1000 or 2000 miles as recommended.
     
  6. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    I can not imagine a circumstance that would require lubrication of a cleat in order to clip in or out.

    If you are having difficulty rotating your foot to release, try a pedal that offers adjustable release tension. Campagnolo pedals adjust so low as to be downright dangerous (accidental sprinting releases...lookout!)

    Or...try a platform pedal and toe straps with or without conventional slotted (old timey) shallow cleats.
     
  7. mark174ace

    mark174ace New Member

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    Let me second what Dave said. I took up road cycling last year and decided to upgrade to cleat pedals for this season (what a difference especially going uphill!!) Anyways I bought a pair of Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals. They are mtb pedals so you will need to buy compatible shoes. Personally I like the Giro Carbide's as they are fairly comfortable, fit nicely, and my heel does not slip out of the shoe. All of the others I tried had two velcro straps and the top strap has to be fed through a cheap plastic buckle which I found ridiculous and tedious. The Giro Carbide have three velcro straps, no fuss and fit nicely.

    I have only logged a 100 miles so far because I have been busy, but the CB3 could not be easier to get out of. I have not even come close to falling over yet. Tthat was the kiss of death wasn't it haha? Just twist your foot out 15-20 degrees and your foot comes right out. FWIW the pair I bought were the 2011 model, but brand new. I got them on ebay for 72.00 including shipping so you can try ebay if you want to save some $$$. This years model will cost you around 125.00 dollars.
     
  8. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    Right-o about that. With the cleats properly installed, Light-Action Speedplays practically throw the foot off the pedal once you rotate your ankle. Revisit use of those shims and reinstall, if needed.

    When I started using Speedplays ( Zeroes), I had trouble getting used to non-centering float. Rotating my foot a few degrees and feeling absolutely no resistance, I felt like I was standing on ice cubes. Of course, my feet were going nowhere, but . . .
     
  9. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Yep, standing on ice cubes is the best description. Coming from a decade of using fixed Look cleats, had to force myself to stand, literally, as my brain was saying you're not connected to the pedals. Of course, after a few rides, all was good. Use the standard Zeroes, rarely lube them and have no problem clipping out at all. Keep the cleats clean, never walk in dirt, mud or sand, and all is well. The Koffee Shop covers are a worthwhile accessory, highly recommended.
     
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