This section of my website used to be dedicated to triathlon training, personal race results and certification reviews, like Turbo Kick. I am expanding it to include more generic health & fitness topics. Also, I talk a lot about "D" -- he's my husband (Dave Liu)!

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Clipless Pedal Recommendation to Newer Cyclists

One of the common questions asked by new cyclists is which clipless pedals to go with. For various reasons, I've heard experienced riders recommend LOOK and Speedplay. I'm a newer cyclist and am extremely happy with my dual entry SPDs and will probably stick with them for the foreseeable future. They may be heavier than road pedals (many people consider them to be mountain bike pedals) but hey, I can clip in and out with relative easy. That's all I care about right now!

Here is one of the best answers of why newer cyclists should use SPDs. It's written by Lorri Lown, founder of the famed Velo Girls. I'm reposting what she sent to the VG email distribution list:

For clipless pedal systems, you'll probably get as many opinions as women on this list (yikes!). I personally ride Speedplay Zeros on my road, tt, and track bikes, and SPD on my cyclocross bikes. But, I don't necessarily think Speedplays are the best recommendation for someone just learning to use clipless pedals.
For riders just making the transition, I typically recommend a good mtn bike shoe along with a traditional SPD (Shimano Pedal Dynamics) pedal. I do this for a number of reasons:
  • SPD is the most common pedal system so replacement parts and service are a snap -- any bike shop can help you.
  • Mountain bike shoes allow you to walk. The cleat is recessed so it's easier to walk around and you won't damage/wear down the cleats. Unless you're racing, this is the smartest choice for most riders. The sole on a road bike shoe is slippery, difficult to walk in, and will wear down quickly (meaning you have to replace the shoe quicker).
  • If you take indoor cycling classes, most stationary bikes are equipped with SPD pedals (some also have the LOOK system) so you can use your shoes in class as well as on your bike.
  • With SPD pedals and mtn bike shoes, you can use the same pedal system on all your bikes (road and mountain, hybrid, cyclocross, etc), meaning you can swap pedals and also only buy one pair of shoes.
  • SPD is the least expensive pedal system on the market and there are a large variety of pedal options available (one-sided, two-sided, super-light, commuter, etc). You can easily adjust the tension on SPD pedals so you can more easily clip in and out while you're learning. You can also do this on some other systems, but not as easily as with SPD.
  • Cleat replacement is cheap and easy. With some other pedal systems (Speedplay & Look) the cleat is more fragile and more expensive to replace.
  • There's no need to service SPD pedals or cleats (just keep them clean). Speedplay pedals need regular service with a special grease gun to keep them working optimally.

No comments: