Changing from SPD to SPD-SL Cleats
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  1. #1
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    Changing from SPD to SPD-SL Cleats

    Hi. I'm a fairly new rider and just bought new SPD-SL pedals, shoes & cleats. I was previously using SPD's with MTN bike shoes on my road bike. With this set up, I was able to rest my feet on the pedals after I disengage prior to stopping because the MTN shoe had grippy rubber soles. I could even pedal if I had to while disengaged. The problem I have now is with the SPD-SL's, the bottom of my Shimano R078's are hard plastic and my feet slip off when disengaged. Has anyone ever tried to attach a thin layer of rubber with an adhesive back on the arch portion of the shoe? Or even a light grit sand paper like you can adhere to stairs to prevent slipping? Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!
    Last edited by Gary D; 03-21-2014 at 10:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    I had the same problem, but as I got used to the SL ones I've learned to not push down hard on the pedals when I'm not clipped in. When I'm stopped at a light, I only disengage one foot and when I start out on my bike I clip my left foot in then push off with my right foot and then swing it over the bike.
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  3. #3
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    Nothing you can do to the pedal or the shoe will make that safe and reliable. (I've tried it). It's better to learn not to rely on trying to pedal with a disengaged cleat. That means learning good unclipping and stopping technique, and learning to clip in quickly and reliably when you need to.

    There's no good reason to be riding far with a foot unclipped (and NEVER a good reason to unclip both feet while moving -- keep one engaged until you're stopped and the other foot is on the ground). If you learn to do it right, you can reliably unclip just before you stop. And if you feel the need to unclip earlier, learn to disengage one foot and coast while standing on the other pedal. If you learn that you'll be able to handle the bike safely at low speed, and never lean the wrong way.

    You developed habits with the SPD's that are not compatible with the new setup. You need to unlearn them.
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  4. #4
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    Damn those road bike shoes for not doing what they're not designed to do!
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    Thanks guys for your input.

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    Switch to Look Keo pedals.

    they have the Keo Grip cleat option.
    Look Cycle - Kéo Grip - Cleats - Road

    It's not a substitute for cleat covers though for general walking. it helps, but get the covers.
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    All these things about "road-specific" cleat systems just makes me even more happy with the SPD cleats. I really like being able to have a shoe that's easy to walk in. Plus, it keeps things simple when switching between road and mountain bikes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_arrington View Post
    All these things about "road-specific" cleat systems just makes me even more happy with the SPD cleats. I really like being able to have a shoe that's easy to walk in. Plus, it keeps things simple when switching between road and mountain bikes.
    That's a rational choice, but not the only one. I have spd-type pedals on my rainy-day commuter, and use mtb-bike shoes, but my other bikes (including a FG for commuting in good weather) have Looks, and I wear road shoes. I like the big platform and rigid sole of the road setup, and I appreciate the other when I'm hopping on and off the bike frequently (like running errands). When riding, including stopping and starting, I have absolutely no issues with the Looks. But that's with 20+ years of experience.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by B_arrington View Post
    All these things about "road-specific" cleat systems just makes me even more happy with the SPD cleats. I really like being able to have a shoe that's easy to walk in. Plus, it keeps things simple when switching between road and mountain bikes.
    I haven't found an SPD shoe yet that is stiff enough for serious road use. Putting all of that pressure on one tiny spot caused hard lumps to form in my feet when I tried SPDs many years ago. I tried 4 different shoes and then gave up.

    Like many mountain bikers who ride near cliffs and actual mountains (Wyoming and Colorado), I never used SPD pedals on my MTBs - I use BMX platform pedals.

    Also, I go out on my bike to ride my bike, not walk around. I have no need of recessed cleats. If I think I'll be going somewhere that requires walking, I'll wear normal shoes and ride one of my many bikes with flat pedals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PlatyPius View Post
    I haven't found an SPD shoe yet that is stiff enough for serious road use. ....
    Look harder or spend more? There are plenty with super stiff CF soles. Serious mtbing is no less serious than serious road biking...
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

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    Re: Changing from SPD to SPD-SL Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Look harder or spend more? There are plenty with super stiff CF soles. Serious mtbing is no less serious than serious road biking...
    Perhaps I should have added "at my weight".
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  12. #12
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    You could try plastidip... but you'd have to scuff up the shoes with some sandpaper first (I imagine). It's good stuff and you should be aware of it, although I probably wouldn't bother attempting to modify your shoes.

    Personally, I'm sticking with SPDs. I like to be able to walk around when I'm off my bike and I get no benefit from a road style pedal/shoe since I don't ride competitively.

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    I had issues with hot spots with in-expensive mtn shoes, but a pair of Sidi's made that problem go away. I just rode a century sat, not foot/shoes issues at all. I'm at least 180. YMMV

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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    You could try plastidip... but you'd have to scuff up the shoes with some sandpaper first (I imagine). It's good stuff and you should be aware of it, although I probably wouldn't bother attempting to modify your shoes.

    Personally, I'm sticking with SPDs. I like to be able to walk around when I'm off my bike and I get no benefit from a road style pedal/shoe since I don't ride competitively.
    I had hopes for the plastidip solution, but am not sold yet. I was looking for a way to make my hard plastic Sidi Dom 5 tread a bit more secure on potentially slick surfaces (my main focus is CX, so dismounting on anything hard in these shoes can be sketchy). I scuffed up the treads and bit and then did 2 layers of plastidip. Let them fully dry in between layers. Took them on my first real ride (road only) this past weekend and with minimal walking, I already see a few spots on each shoe where the coating gave way. They are small spots, but nonetheless spots. And once ripped, the plasticdip left some streaks on my tile floor. Easy enough to clean up, but still an inconvenience. So the jury is stil out on how applicable that product is under the stresses a cyclicst can put it under. YMMV.

  15. #15
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    I had hopes for the plastidip solution, but am not sold yet. I was looking for a way to make my hard plastic Sidi Dom 5 tread a bit more secure on potentially slick surfaces
    Have you tried Shoe Goo? I haven't used in exactly this way, but where I have used it (e.g., the rubber heel bumpers on road shoes) I think it's been a lot more durable than what you describe here.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Have you tried Shoe Goo? I haven't used in exactly this way, but where I have used it (e.g., the rubber heel bumpers on road shoes) I think it's been a lot more durable than what you describe here.
    Shoe Goo. I'll give that a try. Thanks.

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    Re: Changing from SPD to SPD-SL Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by tednugent View Post
    Switch to Look Keo pedals.

    they have the Keo Grip cleat
    I second that. I'm on Keo 2 Max now and you can sorta walk on a smooth slippery floor on those thin rubber pads they put on down there.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Have you tried Shoe Goo? I haven't used in exactly this way, but where I have used it (e.g., the rubber heel bumpers on road shoes) I think it's been a lot more durable than what you describe here.
    Shoe Goo tends to peel way too easily, but, what's the harm in giving it a shot for $5. I've used it to repair a saddle and a pair of flat-bar bar ends (ergon) after they were both decimated by a pair of my former room mate's obnoxious rabbits.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    Shoe Goo tends to peel way too easily, but, what's the harm in giving it a shot for $5. I've used it to repair a saddle and a pair of flat-bar bar ends (ergon) after they were both decimated by a pair of my former room mate's obnoxious rabbits.
    Exactly. Picked some up last night, will give it a go. Maybe even over the plastidip on some of those higher wear areas.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Nothing you can do to the pedal or the shoe will make that safe and reliable. (I've tried it). It's better to learn not to rely on trying to pedal with a disengaged cleat. That means learning good unclipping and stopping technique, and learning to clip in quickly and reliably when you need to.

    There's no good reason to be riding far with a foot unclipped (and NEVER a good reason to unclip both feet while moving -- keep one engaged until you're stopped and the other foot is on the ground). If you learn to do it right, you can reliably unclip just before you stop. And if you feel the need to unclip earlier, learn to disengage one foot and coast while standing on the other pedal. If you learn that you'll be able to handle the bike safely at low speed, and never lean the wrong way.

    You developed habits with the SPD's that are not compatible with the new setup. You need to unlearn them.
    A lot of good advice here. I too switched from SPD to SPD SL...

    I often leave one foot clipped in when "actively" riding. When I come to a stop I'll just unclip with one foot. If crap hits the fan (aka getting through an intersection), I can always pedal with one leg until I get the other clipped in. I NEVER pedal unclipped as it is dangerous like JC mentioned...bad mojo there.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by krisdrum View Post
    Exactly. Picked some up last night, will give it a go. Maybe even over the plastidip on some of those higher wear areas.
    Use alcohol to thoroughly clean the areas on the shoes where you'll apply it, so it sticks better.
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    Thanks for all the advice. I'll try Shoe Goo first. My concern is maintaining some stability when lightly resting my foot on the pedal after I unclip one foot prior to stopping. I have no issues setting my foot on the ground with SPD-SL cleats. I find the yellow tips on the Shimano cleats are satisfactory for this.

  23. #23
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    It's just something that takes time to get used to. When you're unclipping, are you twisting to the point that your foot is flyyyying off the pedal? Ease back the tension on the pedal. If approaching a light and it's red and it turns green just as I unclip, there's that awkward moment of reengaging. You should be able to unclip with your clip still practically in the same spot it was when engaged so that you just simply need to reapply pressure and move on. Or, pedal with one leg until you can get the other clipped in and going.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary D View Post
    Thanks for all the advice. I'll try Shoe Goo first. My concern is maintaining some stability when lightly resting my foot on the pedal after I unclip one foot prior to stopping.
    I really have to agree with the others trying to guide you to not resting that part of a road shoe on the pedal...ever. If you must un-clip prematurely, as we see it, then you should be able to "ankle out" slowly while still keeping the front end of the cleat engaged in the pedal. Virtually as if in the same position you would be if you where just about to click in. IMO this would be a dramatically safer and more controlled move as you have choice. Choice to clip back in quickly if needed and choice to set down for a stop. Personally, I prefer to ankle-out as late as possible. But I'm an only grouch that still won't take a manual transmission out of gear until the last minute either. I just don't like coasting out of gear (or out of pedal).

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary D View Post
    I have no issues setting my foot on the ground with SPD-SL cleats. I find the yellow tips on the Shimano cleats are satisfactory for this.
    Absolutely. They are some of he best cleats I've used with respect to "walkability". I think others were misunderstanding your original post when they mentioned keo cleats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary D View Post
    Hi. I'm a fairly new rider and just bought new SPD-SL pedals, shoes & cleats. I was previously using SPD's with MTN bike shoes on my road bike. With this set up, I was able to rest my feet on the pedals after I disengage prior to stopping because the MTN shoe had grippy rubber soles. I could even pedal if I had to while disengaged. The problem I have now is with the SPD-SL's, the bottom of my Shimano R078's are hard plastic and my feet slip off when disengaged. Has anyone ever tried to attach a thin layer of rubber with an adhesive back on the arch portion of the shoe? Or even a light grit sand paper like you can adhere to stairs to prevent slipping? Any thoughts are welcome. Thanks!
    Funny, While I ride with SPD's , the bottom of my shoes are basically had plastic with just some rubber strips along the edges to support walking around. I have no issue unclipping and continuing to pedal such as when approaching an intersection.

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