Help Choosing clipless pedals - stories of the Noob

Dec 17, 2011
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kanazawa
#1
--- In this week's episode, join the Noob on his quest for the ideal clipless pedal... ---

Erm, sorry, I got a bit carried away. To the point though!

I'm thinking of buying my first clipless pedals. Since I'm a Noob, what I'm looking for is pedals with the following two characteristics:
  1. Mechanisms on both sides of the pedal
  2. Pedals that can also be used with normal shoes

I'm not looking for performance pedals. Weight is also not so important, I have at least 10kg which I should shed before I start worrying about the weight of the pedals. What I'm looking for though, is pedals that offer the maximum ease of use.

In my initial search I came across these shimano pedals, that seem to have what I'm asking for. However these are supposedly mountain bike oriented pedals. Is there anything similar to these but a bit more roda bike oriented?

Furthermore, any suggestions regarding casual shoes with recessed cleats?

Any tips regarding what I should be looking for when buying clipless pedals are higly appreciated! Thanks!
 

Phil

Maximum Pace
#2
Shimano SPD pedals are a good bet, given your criteria. The pedals you linked to are SPDs with a platform so that they can easily be ridden without specific cleated cycling shoes when required. If that's something you think you'll need, then they're a good choice; if you're planning to always ride clipped in then the regular SPDs will be fine. They're dead cheap in Japan, cleats last forever, proven technology, etc.

BTW, I wouldn't get hung up on terms such as "mountain" or "road", at least when it comes to pedals. Ludwig, Thomas, and I, and I'm sure many others, have done lots of long road rides with "mountain" SPDs on our road bikes, as well as road races.
 

Yamabushi

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Jun 1, 2010
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Tokyo (Nezu)
fudoushin.com
#3
You can't go wrong with Shimano SPD pedals. It's just a matter of deciding what features and level you want. As for shoes, there are a myriad of SPD compatible shoes that don't look like cycling shoes. There are even compatible sandles.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#4
I use SPD as well - love them! Though I prefer the 'enhanced version' (Time ATAC) but Shimano SPD is nearly ubiquitous among shoe makers - and easy to fit to nearly any riding style. If you want to start on clipped in pedal - this is surely the best and safest way to begin.
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
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kanazawa
#5
The pedals you linked to are SPDs with a platform so that they can easily be ridden without specific cleated cycling shoes when required. If that's something you think you'll need, then they're a good choice
I do believe that I'll be riding quite a bit unclipped. One of my worries is how do such kind of pedals behave when you're unclipped. Doesn't that part of the mechanism "poke" at the sole of the shoe? Is it comfortable as a platform? Anybody that has experience with the following shimano pedals: pd-m424, pd-m545 or pd-m647 care to comment?

Finally, any good online shoe retailers here in Japan? I'm kind of having trouble finding decent spd shoes... but that might just be because I'm a noob :eek:

Thanks for all the replies! Cheers! :D
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
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tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#6
If you want dual purpose pedals then get the PD-M424 (3800 yen) or the PD-A520 (5000 yen) doesn't make much difference except a few gr in weight. But they allow cleat on one side and flat shoe on the other. Shoes are everywhere! But for all around - just try some on on! Personally I love the Specialized cyclocross/mtb shoe. (http://www.specialized.com/ja/en/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=64228)

Y's has alot of shoes. So do Victoria. If you wanna try them on. Even BIC Camera (5th floor) has shoes (Shinjuku).
 
Oct 15, 2010
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#7
Once I tried out being clipped, I never wanted to ride un-clipped. I have seen the SPDs with platforms scrape a little if pedaling through corners, and they are harder to clip into when you want to. I would say, get a pair of PD-520s and if for some reason you don't like them, it is not the end of the world. I also have the 540s, and like them more, but the cheaper ones will be fine for you.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#9
I'm with John on this - even though I had the flat side pedal, I never used it, perferring to be clipped in under all circumstances. And with the SPD you can get some decent shoes that allow for walking as well, so - it's very convenient and practical compared to the 'full race' type pedal. By the way, Cycli used parts always has a set or 2 of these floating around. But check price carefully - sometimes their used price is actually higher than buying them new at Y'S or another shop!
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
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Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#10
I use Shimano PD-T780 SPD pedals with SH-MT42NV shoes. Those pedals have one flat side for regular shoes and a side for the locking mechanism, as well as reflectors for visibility. I picked it because it was my first clipless set and wasn't sure how much I was going to use street shoes with the bike. What I find is that I never use the flat side, because the MTB shoes work so well that I find no real need to ever ride the bike with my regular running shoes. The flat side just becomes an occasional distraction when taking off after traffic lights. So I second your choice of pedals with a locking mechanism on both sides.

I think basically any clipless shoe that you can also use for regular walking is designated as a "mountain bike" shoe, so don't worry about it. Go for SPD and a compatible shoe like the MT42NV.
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
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kanazawa
#11
Thank you for all your comments so far.

I will go with the pd-m424 after all. First of all it is cheap, so I won't care too much if it breaks. Furthermore, I'm not committed to it by the price; I could just change pedals further down the line when I'll know more about pedals and my riding habits. Finally, it's two-sided and maybe ridable enough with normal shoes.

I'll report back as soon as I get this (it should be sometime early next week)! Cheers!
 

StuInTokyo

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Dec 3, 2010
1,662
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78
#12
Thank you for all your comments so far.

I will go with the pd-m424 after all. First of all it is cheap, so I won't care too much if it breaks. Furthermore, I'm not committed to it by the price; I could just change pedals further down the line when I'll know more about pedals and my riding habits. Finally, it's two-sided and maybe ridable enough with normal shoes.

I'll report back as soon as I get this (it should be sometime early next week)! Cheers!
I have those pedals on my Mixer 8 that I tow my trailer with, they work well with the SPD cleated shoes. With regular sneakers you really do feel the bump in the pedal through the sole of the shoe, but that is because sneakers have a very soft sole.I'm sure if you were wearing a more robust shoe, or a hiking boot they would be fine. You can ride the bike with soft shoes, but I'd not recommend riding them far. I used to have a set of Shimano pedals that had a clipless pedal on one side and a flat regular non-clipless pedal on the other, they seemed like a good idea at the time, but as a comprimise they suck, if you are wearing SPD cleated shoes, you are constantly flipping the pedal over to find the clipless side, if you are using regular shoes, you still have to filp the darn thing over to find the flat side of the pedal, I did not like them at all.

I think the pedal you show as a double stomp but some what useable for regular shoes is a better comprimise.

For shoes that you can wear and walk in all day I really like the Shimano MT42 shoes in brown or blue...

View attachment 999

or the MT33
View attachment 1000

Which are very similar but without the strap across the top and they come in black only.

For the cold I really like the MT71 shoes I got, toasty warm!
View attachment 1001

They range in price from about $75 to $150 online from outside Japan, they are at least twice that price here in Tokyo even at Y's road, and for me they did not have my size in stock 45, when I went and looked. These shoes fit a bit tight, in my experiance, so buy one size up from what you usually get, I ususaly wear a 43-44 but I found the 45 fits me well.

I hope this helps!

PS remember when you take your old pedals off and put your new ones on, there is a right and a left pedal, then the threads are reveresed on them!!

Cheers!
 

Sikochi

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Sep 13, 2010
1,185
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Kochi
#13
Best advice, is to find a store somewhere that will let you try out a few different types of pedals on a trainer. FWIW I use Look Keo pedals (normal road pedals) and when commuting, I often wear normal shoes (if it is a short commute) and no probs whatsoever.
 

joewein

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Oct 25, 2011
2,453
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133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#14
Best advice, is to find a store somewhere that will let you try out a few different types of pedals on a trainer. FWIW I use Look Keo pedals (normal road pedals) and when commuting, I often wear normal shoes (if it is a short commute) and no probs whatsoever.
When I bought my SPD pedals and shoes at Y's Road Shinjuku I noticed they had some trainers in that corner of the shop, but didn't try any of them (I only tried them on as walking shoes)
 
Dec 17, 2011
267
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kanazawa
#17
...pretty crazy stuff!

Back to my quest for pedals/shoes though, today I went to Y's in Sinjyuku and was kind of disappointed. First of all, they didn't have the pedals available. Secondly, the selection of shoes was really small! And there was nothing I was really interested in.

God damnit, I really don't want to order shoes online, it can be really hit-and-miss. Any cycling shop that you'd care to recommend for shoes/pedals? I hope I don't have to go through a ton of shops just to find a decent pair of shoes and pedals... :(
 
May 22, 2007
3,627
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#19
FWIW I use the Specialized Sport MTB shoe in all seasons except winter.

proxy.php?image=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jejamescycles.co.uk%2Fproduct-images-large%2Fspecialized-sport-mtb-shoe-60290.jpg&hash=b5a57e2ed65ca88c2c773abf2c4e30aa

http://www.specialized.com/ja/en/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=64228

It doesn't cost the earth, lasts me a couple of seasons (approx 16,000 km), and is fine to walk in.

Cheaper almost everywhere than at the Specialized store!

Specialized also do a range of insoles for them, to support your arches if the standard insole arch is too low or too high. These are expensive - almost as much as the shoe because it's an inexpensive shoe! I've used the same insoles in three successive pairs of shoes, though.
 
May 22, 2007
3,627
1,462
143
Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#20
N.B. You will fall off three times while getting used to clipping in and out of your new pedals. It's the law. Usually this will be when you come to a stop and are not thinking about your feet until it's too late. Timbaaaaahhhh...

After three falls you become a graduate, and will clip out automatically every time.

Everyone does it. Anyone who says they haven't is lying.