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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: csh8428's Avatar
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    SPD vs Look style pedals.. opinions?

    I'm looking to getting into riding.
    With my new bike, I can't quite figure whether I should get SPD or look style pedals. The SPD's tend to be lighter, but the look style tend to have better ground clearance.
    I only weight 127lbs, but I'm also a speedskater so my legs are little more powerful than most people my size.

    Is there any good reason which one is preferrable to the other?
    I'm leaning towards SPD as of right now.

    Thanx,

    Craig

  2. #2
    What? Me worry?
    Reputation: StillRiding's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with SPD's, but if you get seriously into training and racing, you're going to find that Look style cleats mount without any additional hassle on the better quality and lighter weight shoes. SPD's may not. Look pedals also give a larger platform which may be less prone to causing "hot spots" if you're susceptible to that sort of thing. In the more expensive models of the Looks, you'll get more and better bearings, and stack height will be lower. Don't discount the value of good bearings in a pedal. On all the SPD's I've owned, the bearings are the first thing to go and they usually go relatively quickly. Saving a cm in stack height lets you lower the saddle a cm which is always good. As you've observed, Looks also give you better ground clearance for pedaling through corners, and the cleat tension and float offer more range of adjustment. To me, the cleat connection also feels much more secure. I don't worry too much about pulling a foot out in a sprint.

    The big tradeoff is cost. A good set of Looks and shoes to mount them on can run two to three times what you'll pay for SPDs. One other thing...if you're into walking in your bike shoes, you can't walk on Look cleats worth crap. You can find SPD shoes that allow you to walk all day.

  3. #3
    Banned forever.....or not
    Reputation: MR_GRUMPY's Avatar
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    SPD's are great for tourists or MTN bike riders, where walking needs to be done. Looks pedals come in two different types. The older "Delta" style cleat, that has been "passed on" by Look to cheaper aftermarket manufactures, and the newer Keo type cleat. You can buy a pedal for Delta style cleats for way under $75 (made in China). Keo style pedals prices start over $100....and go up. Both the Delta, and the Keo cleats fit 3 Hole shoes.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  4. #4
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    I suggest SPD pedals and shoes. Do this until you are SURE you want to invest (read that "spend") the significant cost for Look. SPD's can be used on your road bike and your mountain bike so only one pair of shoes are required. If you have a flat you can walk home or even walk across the kitchen. Not everybody gets hot spots. I'm old and I have no problems. I caution you to not get caught up in the road bike "have-to-haves".

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I use SPD's and ride my road bike about 100 miles a week. I like the pedals due to the fact that the shoes are easier to walk in, assuming MTB shoes with SPD cleats, and I don't have to have 2 different pairs of shoes to go between my MTB and road bike. I have never really noticed hot spots on rides up to 50 miles so it works for me. There is also a road style SPD type pedal you can get sold by performance and nashbar which looks to offer better clearance if that is your primary concern.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    You can also try the newer SPD-SL Look knock-offs by Shimano. they have some cheap pedal options--- about $50US for the entry model, which is about twice the cost of replacement cleats (and they come with cleats, of course).

    Also, it is worse walking on a regular SPD on a road shoe than a Look cleat--- unless you have pontoons. the cleat is like walking on an icecube.



    Quote Originally Posted by csh8428
    I'm looking to getting into riding.
    With my new bike, I can't quite figure whether I should get SPD or look style pedals. The SPD's tend to be lighter, but the look style tend to have better ground clearance.
    I only weight 127lbs, but I'm also a speedskater so my legs are little more powerful than most people my size.

    Is there any good reason which one is preferrable to the other?
    I'm leaning towards SPD as of right now.

    Thanx,

    Craig

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I use both spd and Look (Keo)-style pedals & shoes. The Keo Sprints are a lower-cost, highly rated version of the Keo (under $100 online or on Ebay).

    The two big advantages to Look/Keo in my view are: (i) larger platform, so spreads pressure out over the ball of you foot and gives a more secure platform for out-of-the-saddle climbs; and (ii) lighter, so that all those thousands of revelolution on a long ride are not quite so taxing.

    That said, I mount spd-type pedals on most of the bikes I build for others, and for my cross bike, mountain bike (what they're made for), and even my fixie.The two biggest advantages of spd are (i) easier to clip in/out of (very necessary for mountainbiking); and (ii) as mentioned, you can walk in most of the spd shoes. This latter is not to be underestimated.

    Re: hot spots. I've heard this same tale. But both my mountain bike/spin studio shoes and my road shoes are by Specialized (body geometry). Both are the same size; the road shoes are more than $100 more expensive at retail and have carbon soles. I get "hot spots" 80 miles into a century on the road/Keo shoes, and just road from Chicago to near Ann Arbor, Michigan (231 miles, two days) on my fixie with the spd/mountaibike shoes without any hot spots whatsoever. I think avoiding hot spots has more to do with making sure you have enough extra room in the shoe for when your feet swell up during a long ride, so that circulation is not restricted, rather than cleat or pedal technology.

    I like the Shimano A530 for a spd road pedal, if clearance is not a huge issue (which it should not be, unless you're riding a fixie).

    Be sure you don't confuse SPD with SPD-R, the latter being Shimano's attempt to compete with Look in the road cleat/pedal market.

  8. #8
    Steaming piles of opinion
    Reputation: danl1's Avatar
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    Unless you are a racer concerned with every last gram, there is a good argument to be made for recessed cleats. They're simply much more user-friendly for the 'around-bike' parts of riding, don't slip around as much on wet pavement, etc. And if you are as style-consious as some around here would have you be, a pair of Sidi Dominators are hard to tell from road shoes unless one is much harder than they should.

    But for heaven's sake, don't get spd or spd-clone pedals. They're the devil's spawn. Harder to click into then they need to be, don't hold your foot steadily (allow too much roll) and can be darned inconsistent on release.

    Crank Brother egg beaters and Speedplay Frogs both have their adherents. One nice 'feature' of the Crank Brothers products is that the cleats and pedals are interchangeable between the road and mountain products, so you are not locking yourself into any particular system - you can change just shoes or just pedals if you change your mind along the way.

    Frogs might be the single sweetest pedal of any type. Easy to engage and disengage, perfectly free float, recessed for comfort and confidence when not pedaling.
    A good habit is as hard to break as a bad one..

  9. #9
    imbasilical moreon
    Reputation: bonkmiester's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh8428
    I'm looking to getting into riding.
    With my new bike, I can't quite figure whether I should get SPD or look style pedals. The SPD's tend to be lighter, but the look style tend to have better ground clearance.
    I only weight 127lbs, but I'm also a speedskater so my legs are little more powerful than most people my size.

    Is there any good reason which one is preferrable to the other?
    I'm leaning towards SPD as of right now.

    Thanx,

    Craig
    ...in your Profile you note that you are a racer...but above you indicate you are "looking to getting into riding"

    so, which is it?.......

    why don't you tell us about your bike & true riding aspirations...then we can give you reasonable advice...and give you the benefit of our experiences and mistakes......OK?

    so as not to seem snarky here is my 2 cents:

    FWIW: I had SPDs on SIDI Genius w/ pontoons...that arrangement was total complete suxxor...to this very day I can't remember why I wanted to do that combo ...STOOOOOPID......pedals were "road" style SPD Ritchey proV3 something or others - [not SPD sl]...i fiddled around w/ them for 6 or 8 months before I finally threw them out...shimming, filing, grinding you name it...

    ...at first I thought it was just the brand, but after a closer look I realized that SPD is just old technology...not the best operating system...go to any MTB Forum and you will see many posts about SPD vs Time Vs Crank Bros etc...look closely and you will see that SPD uses cleat to binding interfaces that are stamped steel...this inherently will have burrs on one surface...that surface just happens to be the cleat interface surface, so when just you are loading the binding and twisting out it creates extra friction...just plain dumb design, like ski bindings of the 1960's....because of that design they don't engage or disengage as smoothly as some other designs...[they also don't release mud as well and freeze up -which granted are not typically roadie concerns]...

    ...so I switched to Look [delta style]...no more problems...you click in and go...clicking in is part of the natural pedal rotation...smooth easy release too ...now you can get Look KEO for as low as $88 bux, maybe less...the new Shimano road pedals look good too, work the same...cleats cost a bit more than teh old Look Deltas, so I went w/ Delta style...

    ...on my MTB I use TIME ATACxe...fantastic pedals...they are everything the SPD isn't...with MTB shoes the cleat is recessed so no slipping in a rock garden [I dab alot] or a mini mart...If I had a "do-over" I would put the Time ATACxe on road bike too and have one setup w/ one pair of shoes...better for commuting too...would that make me a Fred?...who fakin cares...life is short...Less is More

    now that I think about it, maybe I should e-bay the road setup and use the money for another set of ATACs.......wow, almost a noetic moment here !
    ...anybody want a pair of size 47 SIDIs w/ pedals...???...

    BUT....I am not a racer, if I was I'd be rockin Carbon-Ti blinged out Time / Look stuff...low on grams & high on buxxor$...

    ...a racer I am not, I'm just a guy that rides so I can drink more beer

    G'luk


    "Totally INTP"



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