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Road pedals: Shimano alternatives

Best alternatives for Shimano pedals

  • Look

    Votes: 3 50.0%
  • Speedplay

    Votes: 1 16.7%
  • Other (please post)

    Votes: 2 33.3%

  • Total voters


The Crank Engine
Nov 1, 2005
I am using Shimano SPD pedals for urban commuting and SPD-SL for touring or faster rides, but have grown dissatisfied with Shimano's plastic cleats. They wear off quite fast and need to be replaced after a dozen rides or so. I am looking for alternatives and would like to know about your recommendations.


Have you ever tried Look? Their pedals and cleats look ultra-solid, but seem to be sensitive to dust and mud.

Here's their KEO Sprint Pedal, for example.



They look really cool, are recommended everywhere, but are a bit hefty price-wise (X/2 Road Pedals, for example).


If you have any other suggestions, I'll add them to the poll.
Speedplay are nice pedals but be aware, they don't lock in well with dirt or water within the cleat area. I would say go with the Look pedals because the platform is more stable.
Thanks for your advice. I have read on other fora that people using Look pedals had problems unlocking. Also, their "walking comfort" appears to be inferior to SPD-SL cleats. Guess I'll experiment with Look next. :)
I bought a pair of Look pedals many moons ago. I think I've ridden at least 3000km on them and they are still going strong. I recently replaced the cleats, which was well over due. Given their current rate of wear I'd say a pair of cleats will last between 1-2000km, including stopping in Tokyo traffic a lot and having to walk a reasonable distance on paved surfaces as part of my regular ride to work.

So in terms of wear, I think they are pretty reasonable.

The main problem whith this style of pedal is that due to the design they are quite difficult to walk around in. And I suspect that contact between the cleat and the ground when stopping and walking around is the major source of cleat-wear. In short, you really need to take another pair of shoes with you if you plan to get off your bike for any significant period of time. Of course, if you're just riding and perhaps taking the occasional rest, this is not a problem.

Another problem is that they do take a litte bit of practice with regards to engaging. This is probably true of any clipless pedal system, and as I haven't tried any others I can't compare. Though I can say that engaging is significanlty easier with newer cleats than ones that have been worn down almost to the bone.

This may have been fixed, as although my cleats are quite new, as I mentioned above, the pedals themselves are quite old. Its well withing the realms of possibility that newer models are more refined.

Problems aside, I've been very happy with my look pedals, and I recommend them to anyone doesn't mind not being able to walk around in their cycling shoes.
Hi Simon, I do appreciate your input. "Walkability" is a key factor for urban riders. Is there any specific kind of Look pedals you recommend?
Not really, other than to say if they are like the ones I have, then I think they are a good bet.

I did notice when I went to replace my cleats a few months ago that there are two variants of the cleat design, keo and delta. I have no idea what the difference is.

The pedals I have are a pair of circa '93 look carbon in a curious purple colour. They are of the delta design, which was the only option available at the time. Delta pedals I have seen around lately have the same basic form, so I guess they work much the same way.

That said, I think that the wear issues are mainly due to walking around and contact with the road when stopped, rather than interaction with the pedal. And as the cleat design hasn't changed much - there have been minor updates to delta and keo is slightly different again - I suspect they wear much the same way as when used with my old pedals.
Yes I always bring a pair of lightweight walking shoes if I'm Touring or walking for a long period of time in between stops. Cleats are actually made for how they interlock with the pedals and that's the number one reason for design. Cleat wear is going to happen with any make and model cleat you may use over a period of time, especially if you are walking in them. The Look design pedal/cleat are designed for performance/competitive reasons only and not geared for the daily commuter with many stops and excessive walking around in. If you are looking for comfort of walk you might want to try an MTB shoe with SPD cleat which is recessed into the sole of the shoe.
If you are looking for comfort of walk you might want to try an MTB shoe with SPD cleat which is recessed into the sole of the shoe.

That's what I figured. Waiting patiently for your order, lol.

Ohhhh, I looked at the bottom of the shoe and it's SPD. So I guess you won't be using the Look style pedals.

That's correct, Shay. I'll be using them for urban commuting. Thanks again. :)

The speedplay are cool.
I use the X series however the froggies for the urban stuff are a good alternate
Try Ebay out of the States for the right price.
Thanks again for all the advice. I have opted for Look Keo Sprint pedals on my Trek. Due to their polyamide body they are extremely light, yet robust. Engaging and disengaging appears to be quite easy too. I will test them tomorrow on the ride to Subashiri and on Sunday during the Fuji Hill Climb. :)
My Looks are in the bin. I am SPD from here on out. All my bikes have SPD compatible pedals but mostly NOT Shimano. Have TR on my TR and some Nashbars. I like MKS but think they run proprietary cleats. Have some cool Celeste Bianchi that I am saving for a Celeste Bianchi Mini Velo. I try to make sure all my cleats work with all my pedals.
These days I ride in Keen bike sandals. My theory is if it's too cold or wet for sandals I don't want to be out there anyway. Been riding them around Japan Tokyo area all winter with no cold feet, just use fat socks sometimes.

Old thread revisted?

I'm happy with my SPEEDPLAY on my good bike and Shimano on my training-commuter. Had the Speedy for close to 2 years now and they are still in good shape. About to buy a spare pair of the pedals. (the pedals attach to the shoes not the bike). ie. The cleats are the pedals....
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