What is the advantage of 'road' pedals over 'mtb' pedals?

sdbiker
sdbiker Posts: 29
edited February 2011 in Road beginners
I use Shimano MTB pedals on my roadie and my MTB as i like the idea of having shoes that I can walk in, plus it means I can swap bike type without needing two shoe/pedal types.
My question is: do road pedals actually make such a big difference? I think that if you have halfway decent shoes with stiff soles then your foot is supported over a large area anyway, so how would the bigger platform of a road pedal make any difference?

Comments

  • Garz
    Garz Posts: 1,155
    Don't know about 'big' difference but they claim to give you a bigger surface area contact with the pedal. If your using MTB and see no benefit for switching i.e. they are more practical then I wouldn't worry about it.
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    How many pro's do you see using MTB shoes and pedals?
  • Personally, I don't see any advantage at all. Like you said, you don't walk like a constipated duck, the weight difference is negligible (when taking bottles, water, food etc into account) and you can get shoes that look no different to 'normal' road shoes - I have these... Shimano MO86's in bronze, really cool looking and do exactly what it says on the tin.
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  • ShutUpLegs wrote:
    How many pro's do you see using MTB shoes and pedals?

    Quite a lot on MTB and cyclocross pro races. :wink:

    The big difference between the 2 is mud clearance, that's why there's road and MTB versions. I really don't know which is better and I've Shimano M520 SPD and Shimano 105 road pedals on respective road bikes.

    If I had to choose between the 2 I'd go for SPD pedals and shoes. But then again, I'm not an all outright weightweenie road racer. SPD (for me) have a lot of advantages compared to road pedals.

    The only road pedal I'd really like to try out is Speedplays.
    CAAD9
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  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    There is a clear advantage with road pedals - lighter and a bigger platform. I use them on my race bike but for my hack bike in the winter - I ride time atacs - as you say with decent shoes - it's almost as good (but not quite)
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    I think it's more the road shoes are usually lighter and stiffer. And I think good road pedals can be lighter than MTB pedals also.

    In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't make much difference if you use MTB pedals on a road bike. Many people do!
  • I use MTB shoes. Why? Well, yesterday, after my bike ride (there were over 600 riders there, and it was my first "official" one), there was some walking around to be done. I saw more than one dude wearing road shoes slip and almost fall because, simply, road shoes are not made to walk around with.

    As far as the Pro argument, that's just hilarious...If you're not a pro, why concern yourself over what pros wear/don't wear? Comfort and practicality make a lot more sense than trying to look like a pro, when I'm clearly NOT a pro.
  • No need to get road pedals unless to do a lot of sprinting, or pulling up on your pedals when climbing, I used SPDs' for a while then when my feet came unclipped a few times I made the switch, however it has been reported that some do get hot spots with SPDs' I myself never did!
  • durrin
    durrin Posts: 123
    I "grew up" with Look pedals/cleats and hated SPD when I first tried it, about 15 years ago. But the last couple of years I have grown to appreciate SPD, mainly for the reasons others also have mentioned: I can wear my Shimano MT90 boots like normal boots (although not so good in snow, the snow tends to build up on the cleat), and my other SPD shoes are similarly easy to walk in. I hardly ever wear normal shoes now, just SPD shoes. (Although, I wish manufacturers would pay a little more attention to whether the cleat makes contact with the ground/floor when walking than they do, after all, walking semi-normally is a major reason people use SPD.) It has now gotten to the point, that I am so used to SPD, that I have replaced the look pedals I had on my Wilier Le Roi with SPD.

    I will consider trying the speedplay pedars with inbuilt power meters (metrigear(garmin vector) if and when they come out, depending on price.

    roger: if your shoes come unclipped on SPD when pulling up, you can probably screw up the tension to avoid it.
  • robz400
    robz400 Posts: 160
    No need to get road pedals unless to do a lot of sprinting, or pulling up on your pedals when climbing, I used SPDs' for a while then when my feet came unclipped a few times I made the switch, however it has been reported that some do get hot spots with SPDs' I myself never did!

    I had exactly the same thing, switched to Look's and feel loads more secure when standing up and going for it.

    Still have SPDs on my other bike which I use for commuting etc
  • There's a "significant" (you can decide if it is or not) difference in weight (175g IIRC) between the SPD 520 set-up and a Look Keo set up. That said, for all the reasons listed above, I use SPD for my 30-mile RT commute. I think if I were doing longer rides with far less frequent walking, I'd go for a more road-specific pedal.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • Pigtail
    Pigtail Posts: 424
    I tend to do my own thing - and can get it wrong as a consequence. I heard people saying I need to get clipped on and after looking at reviews bought Shimano 105 pedals and specialized bg elite shoes at Christmas.

    It's been a steep learning curve - I've fell off 4 times now, and as I live in a big town getting out of it can be a bit of a challenge. My feet have also been very cold on occasion, as I don't have overshoes. However they feel good on the open road, and as my technique is developing I'm really getting an appreciation of them. Of course I don't know what SPD's would be like!

    I've just sold my car and am away to start commuting - though I only live 2 miles from work. The intention is to use my mountain bilke with ordinary shoes at the moment, but maybe SPDs would be worth a try.

    James
  • Pigtail wrote:
    It's been a steep learning curve - I've fell off 4 times now, and as I live in a big town getting out of it can be a bit of a challenge. My feet have also been very cold on occasion, as I don't have overshoes. However they feel good on the open road, and as my technique is developing I'm really getting an appreciation of them. Of course I don't know what SPD's would be like!

    James

    I also live in a large town with heavy traffic, so that's also a downside to road pedals for me having to unclip out at traffic lights, junctions and roundabouts. The SPD's are far easier to clip in and out PLUS they are double sided.
    CAAD9
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  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    There's a noticeable difference between a top-quality road shoe / pedal combo and an MTB equivalent, particularly when riding hard in terms of security and ability to transmit power, speaking from a racing perspective e.g. road racing vs cyclocross. With road shoes, they are generally closer to the pedal spindle, the engagement mechanisms and area are bigger - there is typically no 'give' and the shoe / pedal combo is lighter. Whilst MTB shoes can be equally as stiff, the smaller cleat and pedal engagement means that you go get some 'rock' and it doesn't feel quite as positive / secure. However, for most general riding, it becomes a lot less significant and then other factors like convenience e.g. walking about come into play. I've worn MTB shoes for a number of sportives / long training rides, but would alway use a road shoe/pedal for a hilly road race or a TT for example.
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  • springtide9
    springtide9 Posts: 1,731
    Re: Weight differences....

    Shimano XT M770 Pedals : ~£60 : Weight 352g
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-xt-m770-pedals/

    Look Keo Classic Pedals: ~£60 : Weight 280g
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/look-keo-classic-pedals/

    So the weight difference is around 70g when comparing similar priced pedals. 70g might be an advantage for a pro... but for me it's a large bar of chocolate. You obviously can get a lot lighter road pedals (120g) - but you can also get lighter MTB pedals (175g).
    I guess there are also differences in the weight of the shoes.

    I use M770s and I must admit most of the time I don't think it makes much difference, but I must admit I am concious of making sure I don't twist when out of the saddle. But I like to think that as a non pro, this is good for me as a bit of exercise for my core.
    Simon
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    +1 Monty. I have found that that bit of 'rock' is the biggest difference between MTB and road systems. No problem at all in general riding but makes me a bit nervous in races or when giving it a bit of welly. I did get my only RR win in a sprint finish using SPDs though.
    All my winter bikes have SPD but for summer / race I use SPD-SL. I find very little difference clipping in and out on either. The SLs tend to be faster to get in to if I hit it right first time but can be a sod if I don't. I can be clipped in before the pedal gets to the top of the first stroke. Practise makes perfect. :lol:
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    It depends on the level of pedal that you're comparing.

    I use XTR pedals on my MTB, the stated weight is 310g.
    I use Ultegra SPD-SL pedals on my road bike, the stated weight is also 310g.

    So previous comments about road pedals being lighter aren't really correct.

    Obviously, I'm comparing the top or the range MTB pedal against the second in the range road pedal. The top of the range road pedal (Dura Ace) weighs in at 251g, but is also abot £100 more than the top of the range MTB (XTR) pedal.

    The Dura-Ace also has a carbon fibre body, so you can't really compare this to the XTR pedal which is metal.

    As for pedal platform size, a road pedal does have a broader platform, so should be more stable, but MTB shoes have a sole shaped to fit around the pedal body, offering support there.

    Shimano do an 'RT' variant of their road shoes. This is basically the same as the 'R' version, but it has a sole with rubber lugs which fit and support on the SPD MTB pedal. They're a road touring shoe, but are basically the same as the equivalent road shoe, just with the added rubber lugs so that they work with sided MTB SPDs. Weight wise, you've just got the additional weight of the lugged sole, which isn't a huge amount.

    Basically if you use an MTB SPD pedal you get ease of entry. If you use the Road SPD pedal, you'll save a few grammes, but only have single sided entry.

    Unless you're a weight weenie counting every gramme, you probably won't notice a great deal of difference.
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  • MattC59 wrote:
    So previous comments about road pedals being lighter aren't really correct.

    Other than I weighed the pedals and, screws & cleats for both and that's precisely how I came to the difference I did between base-level SPDs and base-level Look Keos. The biggest difference is actually in the cleats (plastic versus steel) - after all, it's not just the weight of the pedal that matters. I used both with the same shoes.

    But, I tend to agree that the weight is pretty insignificant in this discussion. That said, you are moving it something like 7000 revs per hour.

    The long-and-the-short of it is that for many people (and I'm sure the OP) it really doesn't matter which you use.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    MattC59 wrote:
    So previous comments about road pedals being lighter aren't really correct.

    Other than I weighed the pedals and, screws & cleats for both and that's precisely how I came to the difference I did between base-level SPDs and base-level Look Keos. The biggest difference is actually in the cleats (plastic versus steel) - after all, it's not just the weight of the pedal that matters. I used both with the same shoes.
    Point taken, but you're not really quoting equivalents. You're quoting a basic metal bodied pedal against a basic plastic bodied pedal from a different manufacturer.
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • John.T
    John.T Posts: 3,698
    I don't think weight is really relevent in this discussion ( which has been aired many times on here). It is the advantages and disadvantages of each system that matter.
    The better power transfer for road pedals is a non starter. Both connect the shoe to the pedal with no vertical movement between them so no loss.
    The larger contact area between cleat and pedal is also not what it seems. If you look at the area on a road pedal you will see it is actually quite small. The important area is between the cleat and the shoe which on a road shoe is larger. With stiff soles this becomes less important. SPD also use the contact area between the 'pontoons' either side of the cleat and the pedal which helps stabilize the shoe on the pedal. This will wear fairly quickly and the system will start to feel less stable. The clipping points on road systems are farther apart which also aids stability on them.
    The major trade off between systems is Walkability versus Stability. With this in mind both work well. Just use which best suit your type of riding.
  • Urban riding > spd's.

    Road only [best bike] > specific road pedals. I'm a sports injury therapist,so please trust my judgement. Overall better for your feet, better for your knees, better adjustment, stiffer soles.


    And they look less clunky. :wink:
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    Urban riding > spd's.

    Road only [best bike] > specific road pedals. I'm a sports injury therapist,so please trust my judgement. Overall better for your feet, better for your knees, better adjustment, stiffer soles.


    And they look less clunky. :wink:

    Out of interest Captain, can you elaborate please ?

    Surely a carbon soled road shoe and a carbon soled XC shoe are going to be equally stiff (some of the manufacturers state this). Why does a one have better adjustability over the other ? Both my road and mtb pedals have tension adjustment, float and release adjustment, and cleat position adjustment in both the Y-Axis and Z-Axis.

    So why would one be better for your feet and knees ? surely this is down to correct cleat positioning ?
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • It depends on the distance,
    i use both types of shoe on audax rides, at the 150 km mark I always wish I had taken the time to change the pedals, up to 100km have noticed no difference and its much easier to get about at the cake stops
  • Bunneh
    Bunneh Posts: 1,329
    Comes down to the fact that if my tyre gets shredded I'd rather walk home in MTB shoes than bloody road shoes.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    Never found it difficult to walk in road shoes. Wouldn't walk far granted, but why would you if you have a bike?

    Can't see what the problem is.