Best Road Bike Pedal System

Apr 26, 2010
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Shimokitazawa
#1
I'm considering buying new cycling shoes, and thought this would make a good time to change pedal systems too. I currently have Shimano SPD pedals, but I'm wondering if there's a better (lighter/more road-worthy/more efficient/more comfortable) option out there.

What are you guys riding? I can find tons of reviews online of the various systems available, but is there a consensus among the TCC riders about the best pedals?
 

FarEast

Maximum Pace
May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#2
The new TIME iCLIC pedal systems are considered the best on the market at the moment. They have a carbon spring system that drops the weight by a huge margin and the engagement system is excellent, with lots of truing options to ge the float, angle just right.

Im currently using the TIME RXS carbon pedals but will upgrade to the iClick Carbon Titanium very soon.
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
I've got 3 sets of Shimano SPD and one pair of Speeplay.
The Speedplay are getting 95% of the use. Take a while to 'wear in' but after that they are the easiest to clip into and I can't find fault with them.

The new Time pedals do look good though...
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#4
Speedplay have the advantage of being double sided too, if you have the odd clipping in fiasco, like I do.
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#5
When changing to road I ended up with the Shimano SPD-SL system because by all evidence, they seemed to be the strongest and most reliable of the "Look-style" systems (both Look and Time pedals have had recalls, and I've read accounts of snapping pedal bodies and spindles for both). I never considered the Speedplays so didn't research them.

SPD-SL also has the advantage of being (by far?) the cheapest system available in Japan, depending on what level (105, Ultegra, etc) you go for.
 
May 22, 2007
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#6
is there a consensus among the TCC riders about the best pedals?
Is there a consensus? No.

I'd say it depends what you do. I end up walking a fair bit in my bike shoes, so I started with Shimano SPD mountain bike clogs and cleats and have stuck with them. They've done me proud over 5 years. But then I am and do not aspire to be more than Half Fast.

--HF Mike--
 

trad

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Dec 4, 2006
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Tokyo
#7
I agree no consensus.

For me, I find the Shimano road system the best combo for performance, versatility, and durability. The Shimano cleats have an ugly but functional set of "outriggers" that protect the cleat as you walk. I find that I need to walk around a fair bit in Japan (combini, ramen shops, train stations, stairs, and occassionally up steep gradients), and the outriggers do a nice job of protecting the cleat. Friends with Look Keo and/or Speedplay that don't use cleat covers complain about fast wear on the cleats.

Lately, I've started to use Shimano SPD (mtn bike) type system designed for touring (A520, i think) on my road bike. Its a single sided SPD system. They are reasonably light (320 ish grams) and give you versatility/comfort of using mtn bike shoes - which are much easier to walk around - esp around train stations. Also much nicer when TCC rides end up "hikling" on icy roads, getting through landslides, walking on rocky roads (my carbon soled road shoes got chewed up pretty good).
 
Apr 26, 2010
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Shimokitazawa
#8
I've been riding the Shimano A530 combo pedal on my Surly. Great pedal as it has SPD on one side and a platform on the other (maybe the same as yours, trad?). My Surly is used for commuting and touring and general getting arounding, so the half and half pedal is perfect. I wear Mavic Razor shoes, big tread, and decent for walking if necessary. Again, a good, go anywhere type of product. This has been all fine and good, but then...

I bought Phil's Ridley Excalibur. He was kind enough to throw in a set of SPDs so I could ride it home last weekend. Now that I have a real road bike though, I've been thinking about upgrading to a more serious pedal system.

I'm a bit worried about cleat wear with flat roadie shoes, even if I'm only walking into and out of convenience stores while on longer rides.

Also, is there any issue with titanium axle strength? It seems to me that points of contact with the bike, especially those points of power transfer, aren't the places you want to be cutting weight.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#9
Also, is there any issue with titanium axle strength? It seems to me that points of contact with the bike, especially those points of power transfer, aren't the places you want to be cutting weight.
The structual strength of titanium far exceeds that of steel and is much lighter....thus the price difference!

I have a 5 year old pair of XTR pedals with Titanium axles on my MTB and if you have ever seen me ride off road you'll know that titanium is where its at when it comes to strength.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#10
The structual strength of titanium far exceeds that of steel and is much lighter....thus the price difference!
For cycling parts where strength to weight ratios are important, Titanium is better than steel, but you certainly wouldn't want to make a sword out of it...
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#11
I'm a bit worried about cleat wear with flat roadie shoes, even if I'm only walking into and out of convenience stores while on longer rides.
Hope you're enjoying the Ridley...

Re: SPD-SL cleat wear, when I was riding 1000 km+/month the right shoe cleat (the foot I always put down at stops) would last about 6 months, and the left cleat 9 to 12 months. A replacement pack of 2 costs about 1500 yen or so, I think.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#12
For cycling parts where strength to weight ratios are important, Titanium is better than steel, but you certainly wouldn't want to make a sword out of it...
That’s different..... Actually Japanese swords are brittle on the upper side while very stiff and strong on the cutting edge due to the two types of ores used that pull in opposites to each other.

Cavalry swords used by the British are actually very flexible and can be bent in half with your hands, yet you do not want to be on the receiving end of one, medieval swords where actually used to bludgeon the opponent to death rather than cut them.... it's all about the usage of the metal.

And the only reason why you can’t use titanium to make a sword is that it responds very badly to heat treatment that is required to put an edge on it.

Yet it is excellent for cold forging and stamp forging that is ideal for high performance engineering and why it’s the number 1 material in Aerospace application
 
Apr 26, 2010
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Shimokitazawa
#13
Wow, thanks for all the help. What I've gathered from all this is that titanium is fine for pedals, but I'm going to have a hell of a time converting said pedals into a blade just prior to the zombie apocalypse. Thanks guys!

Seriously though, I read FarEast's first post, read about the iClics, and thought, "That's the jam. I'm getting those."

Then I read Edo's post, read about the speedplays and decided to get those...

Then Phil jumps on with a recommendation for the SPD-SLs... HF Mike and trad weigh in for the SPDs that I already have and like...

I guess eventually I'll have to pick one and take the plunge. Thanks for all the input!
 
May 22, 2007
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#14
Thanks for all the input!
I feel obliged at this point to mention Crank Bros Eggbeaters. Guy at the weekend was saying they're not ideal for racing because there's so little contact area between pedal and shoe, potentially leading to hot spots. But with four entry points (rather than one or two) and crazy design... some folks love 'em because they're so easy.

--HF Mike--
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#15
Not really something about SPD vs SPD-SL from the usual performance POV, but when I had SPDs on my bike, I could more easily sneak away early from work by carrying the bike down the back way--four floors down to ground level. With the SPD-SLs, no way. With those, I wait till it's quiet, classes are in session, and the hall is empty, and then try to as quietly as possible walk down the hall with the bike to the elevator.

So the comments above about which type/system is better for walking around a train station with a bagged bike make a lot of sense--the more walking-friendly SPD shoes (or something comparable) should be considered if that or some similar situation is even a little common for you. (Or carry some flip-flops along to walk in?)
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#16
Not really something about SPD vs SPD-SL from the usual performance POV, but when I had SPDs on my bike, I could more easily sneak away early from work by carrying the bike down the back way--four floors down to ground level. With the SPD-SLs, no way. With those, I wait till it's quiet, classes are in session, and the hall is empty, and then try to as quietly as possible walk down the hall with the bike to the elevator.

So the comments above about which type/system is better for walking around a train station with a bagged bike make a lot of sense--the more walking-friendly SPD shoes (or something comparable) should be considered if that or some similar situation is even a little common for you. (Or carry some flip-flops along to walk in?)
Speedplay cleats with the rubber protectors on them are very quiet...easy to take off and put in your back pocket.
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#17
That’s different..... Actually Japanese swords are brittle on the upper side while very stiff and strong on the cutting edge due to the two types of ores used that pull in opposites to each other.

Cavalry swords used by the British are actually very flexible and can be bent in half with your hands, yet you do not want to be on the receiving end of one, medieval swords where actually used to bludgeon the opponent to death rather than cut them.... it's all about the usage of the metal.

And the only reason why you can’t use titanium to make a sword is that it responds very badly to heat treatment that is required to put an edge on it.

Yet it is excellent for cold forging and stamp forging that is ideal for high performance engineering and why it’s the number 1 material in Aerospace application
Exactly. Completely agree with you! :)
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#18
((Edo-man: My main point (maybe not clearly stated) was not the extra noise that the SPD-SLs make (tho that is a factor), but instead the difficulty of walking comfortably, and especially how hard they are to handle on stairs (not uncommon in train stations) when schlepping a bike, and not even a bagged one.

My school has several buildings, my office is in one and the swipe-in gizmo is in another, and only on the second floor. To check in when I have the SL system on, I even ride the elevator up and down a single floor just to avoid using the stairs--and that's without bringing the bike along.))
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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Niigata
#19
Jesus James, you know your stuff! Swords and all!

jdd - I too do quite a few stairs. I just take the shoes off and walk in my socks. Socks are cheaper than cleats...

For the record, I use shimano's ultergra pedals. The recent model has a metal plate which makes them long lasting. They cost 9000 yen and weigh 317g. The dura ace are twice the price at 18,000 yen saving you 39 grams. You can probably rub 39 grams out of your socks by walking round shoeless and put the 9000 yen to some better use....

You can get even cheaper SPD models, still with a metal plate, for around 600 yen (322g)

Andy

http://www.takizawa-web.com/shop-shimano/pedal/pedal_top.html

Andy
 
Sep 2, 2009
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#20
Init. Running a pair of 105's here, scratched them to buggery with my inability to cope with single sided pedals, and am actually not annoyed as they cost me 7000 yen.

Had I spent 18000yen on them, I would be well annoyed with the scratchage (that underlined with red when I typed it, but we all know it's a word)