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To SPD / SL or not that is the question

RodmcRodmc Posts: 42
edited September 2009 in Commuting chat

I need some assistance from those who know. After the unwanted recent change of ownership of my old hack mountain bike, I purchased a shiny new road bike with the insurance money.

I am currently using old trainers and old flat pedals, however I have two colleagues in work who are trying to persuade me to go clipless.

One is all for MTB shoes and SPD's, recommending Shimano MO76 & M520's.

The other chap is saying roadie shoes and 105's are the best way forward.

I know each have their own merit but I am stuck. What do you use and how does it work out for you?

P.S Thanks in advance


  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I have SPD-SLs. Have used them for 2.5 years. Get on fine with them. Need to change the cleats evey 6 months or so though.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • RodmcRodmc Posts: 42
    Do they were out because you are walking on them or just through general usage?
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I do have a short walk of 30 yards through from the entrance to work to the lift, but that's not the reason. It's more the unclipping and untouching down at traffic lights or zebra crossings. I do about 150 miles a week though, so you still a fair amount of mileage out of them.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • I have both SPD's and SL's, which I recently put on my road bike to replace the SPD's on there. I've got 105's as you have been recommended and do prefer them on the road bike, although I don't use that for commuting, I use SPD's as they are double sided and I do have a bit of faffing and walking.

    Two types of cleat though, I have the zero float which won't necessarily work for everyone's knees.
  • flicksta wrote:
    I use SPD's as they are double sided and I do have a bit of faffing and walking.

    Same here - have used Shimano M520's on 4 different bikes now.
    They just work - that's it.

    As for shoes, I use Specialized Tahoe or Lidl cheapo shoes
    I would perhaps advise you to reduce the tension on the pedals for the first few weeks to allow you to clip out more easily.

  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    I use SPD's for the commute and Look roadie pedals at the weekend.

    Main advantage of MTB SPDs for the commute is that they are double sided, just stamp and go for a quick getaway from the lights. I'm getting used to roadie pedals and have improved at getting in them quickly but I can't see them ever being as easy as the MTB ones.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    P.S. Glad to hear people get on with the M520s. About to buy some for off-road fun.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • Stuey01Stuey01 Posts: 1,273
    cjcp wrote:
    P.S. Glad to hear people get on with the M520s. About to buy some for off-road fun.

    They are excellent and ridiculously good value.
    Not climber, not sprinter, not rouleur
  • crakercraker Posts: 1,739
    yeah I've put spd-sls on my roadie - great once you're in but I'm not so great at getting them clipped from standstill.

    M520s on both my other bikes -
    + excellent quality, quick clip in / out
    - not as much support for your feet (starts to ache on longer rides) , also I keep them maybe too loose to confidently put down sprinting amounts of power
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    cjcp wrote:
    P.S. Glad to hear people get on with the M520s. About to buy some for off-road fun.

    In case you didn't know, merlin has them for under £20
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    I have 3 pairs of SPD-SL pedals, but I wouldn't use them for commuting.

    Keep to the MTB SPDs for commuting.
    I like bikes...

  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    pastryboy wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    P.S. Glad to hear people get on with the M520s. About to buy some for off-road fun.

    In case you didn't know, merlin has them for under £20

    Cheers! Think Parkers and CRC do as well, although need to check postage.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • I also use both. SPD SL Ultegra on the road bike and normal SPD's on the commuter and MTB.

    For commuting the double sided nature of SPD's is much more practical for quickly and easily clipping in and out of them, wheras SPD-SL is a little trickier (for me anyway). I can't imagine using SL's on the commuter and can only imagine myself folling off sideways at every other junction as I fight to get into them.

    The other appeal of SPD's on a commuter is the nature of the shoes. You can use heftier MTB shoes which are much easier to walk in. You'll also save on your cleats as the shoes will take the knocks rather thatn the cleats.

    Merlin does do a good deal on pedals...
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  • I finally got myself some 105 pedals and Sidi shoes. Think I'll be sticking with the SPDs for the commute. I have so much abuse from car drivers while I was failing to clip in on my little four mile test run of them. :?

    Practice makes perfect I suppose ...
  • RodmcRodmc Posts: 42
    OK SPD's for the weekly commute and sawp them for SPD-SL's at the weekends for.

    Cool guys thanks for you wisdom.
  • I'd probably recommend SPDs for the commute now. I use SPD-SLs and will now continue to do so but it took (quite literally) a year or so of use before I was intuitively comfortable clipping in in traffic which with hindsight is way too much of a faff.
  • I've been using M520's and I have to say I find them great, especially as I got them for £16. That said, I've never tried the higher up the range/SL types, but they are so much better than flats. I also use Lidl cheapie shoes. I'm dead classy me like.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 10,695
    I just use the M520's, ridiculously cheap as already mentioned.

    I pair these with a pair of Diadora MTB shoes, that have a rock hard carbon sole.

    I've never had numb feet, though I occasionally get an aching toe, but that soon fades away, so isn't a problem or cause for concern.

    This includes a 79 mile ride I did the other week.

    I think as long as the sole is inflexible enough, you won't get the 'hotspot' on your foot problem.

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  • And apologies to anyone who already knows this but, for god's sake, grease the thread of your pedals before you put them on! It's not fun having to drill them out when you want to change them.
  • SPD's for commuting. Roadie clipless for other, but I'm not a fan of SPDL; tensioned float and the cleats wear out far too quickly for my liking. Anything is better than flat/cages though!
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  • cjwcjw Posts: 1,889
    Another vote for what has been said before. I have SPD on mountain bike and they are easy in easy out - would be great for commuting.

    SPD-SL on road bike. Easy out (although tougher than the SPDs) but a pain in the proverbial to clip back into after stopping at lights / traffic / junctions. Probably why so many RLJs - they just hat the thought of clipping back in :lol:

    Fortunately I live and commute (when get the opportunity) in rural Essex so very few stops and keep the SPD-SLs on road bike as I prefer the feel of them to the SPDs especially when standing up to power up the mountains (read gentle hills) we have around here :roll:
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  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    For a commute bike I'm no fan of SPD-SLs (or any similar road pedals). I'd definitely go for the MTB type pedals.

    My pedal of choice is the Crank Bros Eggbeater, but SPDs are also decent, and provided you keep the mechanism lubed through winter they'll serve you well.

    One reason I don't like using road shoes and pedals for the commute is the inherent need to walk, and touchdown a foot at lights. On road shoes you are so much more precarious, especially when it is wet. With SPDs and decent MTB style shoes, safely put a foot down at intersections and walk around as neccesary.

    The other area where road pedals can be a liability is getting away from junctions. The number fo times I have either been slowed up by some dude battling to clip into his pedal at a light is beyond me. Also, the number of times I have heard "it is safer to RLJ because then I don't have to unclip and clip back in again" ...

    In contrast, with SPDs and MTB shoes, you can easily get away, even if you miss the clip in on the first go, without fear of your cleat just slipping off the pedal.

    A decent MTB shoe is well stiff enough for riding; I use two pairs, my "slow shoes" which are a bit more flexy (and hence comfy) and great for nipping to town for a coffee and a bit of shopping or touring adn my "fast shoes" which are very stiff, a bit less suitable for running to catch trains, but better for training and SCR.

    Don't get me wrong, I do love my Keos for racing, but I don't think they have a place on an urban commute bike.

  • markp2markp2 Posts: 162
    I have used Shimano SPD single sided touring pedals and Lidl cycling shoes for the last 4 years and 10,000 miles.
    The shoes are currently on offer at £9.99 a pair and look like trainers and are OK for walking.. I use them for commuting, sportives and mountain biking, all with a reasonable degree of sucess.
    Why pay more?
    Genesis Croix de Fer - my new commuting mount
    Saracen Hytrail - the workhorse - now pensioned off
    Kinetic-One FK1 roadie - the fast one - hairy legs though!
    Cannondale Jekyll Lefty MTB - the muddy one which keeps tipping me into gorse bushes!
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