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What beginner SPD Pedals and Shoe's - HELP!!

adamsgreg200adamsgreg200 Posts: 4
edited March 2012 in Road buying advice
Afternoon All,

Very much a beginner here but, I have taken the plunge and opted to pick up an entry level Specialized Allez Sport 2012 via a 'Cycle to Work' scheme.

I was hoping someone can offer some advice with regards to suitable SPD pedals and appropriate shoes?.

When speaking with the scheme's techy represenative, I mentioned the below clipless/flat combination pedals on the basis that I may need to use the bike as a 'run around' on occasions and also as a good introduction to clipless pedals.

M324 SPD Clipless MTB Pedals - ... s_1883.htm

I am aware that they are probably designed for MTB's and will also add a bit of weight to the bike, but I was wondering if anyone has been using this set up on their Road bikes or if anyone has any suggestions for beginners SPD's and shoes?.

Thanks in advance,


  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    This is something I got from a friend while looking for pedals:

    Basically there are 2 main types, mountain bike style pedals (SPDs) and road bike style (SPD-SLs).

    I started with SPDs as I borrowed them off a friend as had a spare set of pedals and shoes in my size. When he wanted them back, I went nuts and spent £100 on new pedals and shoes.

    The mountain bike ones are generally a bit easier to use as the clip on the pedal is on both sides, and you can literally stamp down into it.
    The road bike ones are single sided and you have to step into it a bit more carefully (toes hook in, then heel) a bit like a ski boot.

    For commuting, the SPDs are more than suitable and an excellent start to clipless pedalling. They are easy to clip in/out of, and you can only expect one or two embarrassing falls in the 1st week. I started riding clipless about 2 months ago and have only fallen twice (basically you come to a stop, forget to unclip and topple over - very embarrassing!).

    I found the road ones give a slightly nicer connection to the pedal and have a larger contact area, so are more comfortable for longer distances.

    For shoes, if you decide to go down the road pedal route, I bought the "shimano r077" which are about 75 quid RRP but can be bought for 44.99 if you go to Evans and get their pricematch deal. Basically, if you find it cheaper elsewhere, they will pricematch it for you to that cheaper shop.
    Be aware though, that they do have approved 'pricematch' stockists, of which the other shop is not one of them. I just made a little bit of a fuss, kinda said I didn't understand, but the clincher is to say that your friend has done it. (true story!).
    Shoes: best price: ... Road_shoes - these are 75 at Evans, I got them pricematched to this deal.

    For pedals, I would highly recommend the shimano r540 (20 quid)- a great entry level road pedal - thousands of people use these and are very happy with them. If you want something a bit stiffer and lighter, the shimano SPD-SL pd 5700 are the model up (50 quid or so, less if you look online). Bling king over here has the model up again, the SPD-SL 6700 which retail for 99, but I got from Evans, pricematched to 59. I'll put some links at the bottom.

    The differences are: Lighter, stiffer (the pedal itself wont 'flex' so you get a more efficient stroke "paedo" of the pedal, and the bearings are better, so they will last longer and again, are more efficient.
    Frankly, the 540s or 5700s are absolutely fine, but I have ultegra gears, so wanted ultegra pedals to match.

    If you go down the MTB route, there are 2 spd pedals - shimano M520 and A520. They are both the same, EXCEPT, the A520 has a flat on the other side so can be used with shoes, and the M520 is double sided. I reckon the A520 is more convenient, and if you get MTB style shoes (read on) they are a bit more comfy.
    There are also slightly more MTB specific shoes. Road shoes are generally very stiff on the sole and the cleat on the shoe protrudes outwards. This makes them a bit hard to walk in but also wears the cleats down (they are plastic). MTB shoes have quite deep tread with a gap running down the middle where the cleat sits. This means when you walk on them, the cleat on the shoe is recessed, so they are easier to walk in and doesnt damage the cleat. (although on SPDs the shoe cleat is made from metal).

    Regarding "which shoes" I would go to a couple of online shops (, chainreactioncycles, and work out which is the bestseller from the reviews. ... e-ec029437 looks heavily discounted. You can see where the 2 holes are (the cleat screws in here) are slightly recessed from the tread. Just makes like more comfy. are also very good. DHB are wiggle's own brand, and generally make excellent gear. I think I have a discount code for wiggle so let me know what you think. 520 reviews of an average of 4.5 stars is pretty good, eh! Also, velcro/straps are key over laces as they are easy to adjust if you put a crease in the tongue or need to tighten/loosen them.

    Pedals wise:

    R540 ... s-ec006321 (evans price) ... aign=Cycle (cheapest)
    Evans - sold out (but Im pretty sure that most places have them in store) ... duct/14840 (cyclesurgery - one by moorgate)
    6700 ... s-ec029047 (evans) ... 700/7946/p (best price - I got this deal at the Clapham High Street Branch)


    M520 ... aign=Cycle (best price)

    A520 ... pedal.html - (best price)

    If you are going to pricematch, then I would recommend perhaps not buying everything at once, as it may look like you are taking the piss - but perhaps bring a printout of what you are looking to pricematch (or have it saved on your phone so they can see). Um and err a bit then say my friend did it, and you will be fine!

    As for the cleats - these come with the pedals. You screw them into the shoe yourself with an alan key. Its dead easy. Couple of things to make sure:
    Grease the thread of the pedal before you attach
    perhaps grease the screws for the cleats before you screw them into the shoe
    make sure you have the pedals 'easy on, easy off' to start with

    Enjoy the acceleration from the lights - it is unreal, climbing is easier, everything is easier!
  • Oliver19Oliver19 Posts: 97
    What an excellent reply! Just the information that I was looking for, thanks :)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    One thing - I think the Shimano r086 have now superceded the r077.

    The upside is that it has a ratchet strap and 2 velcros, as opposed to the 3 velcros on r077, so you can get the tension 'just right' and possibly adjust more easily.
  • @ coriordan - Thank you very much indeed for an extremley comprehensive reply!. I really appreciate the time you have taken.

    In your opinion do you see any pro's to starting of with these though? ... s_1883.htm

    And what are your thoughts with regards to fitting them to a road bike?

    Also, just noticed your location as I live in SW17. What are the guys/girls in Evans Wandsworth like if you have ever frequented?
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    No worries - its something I wrote a few months ago so check the prices/links are up to date. I can't see the exact set of pedals but I presume they are Mountain bike ones.
    There is really no issue fitting whatever type of pedal you wish to any bike, all the threads are the same. If you like to do shorter rides, perhaps aren't super confident in having your feet clipped in or would appreciate the ability of walking around properly (road shoes are quite restrictive, I wouldn't want to walk more than 20m in mine) then I'm sure they will be perfect. If you fancy longer sunday rides, sportives or reckon you can get used to it quickly, then why not go for the road pedals?
    I'm glad I have road pedals as I do prefer them to mountain bike ones (having tried them both) as I like the more secure connection, but many many people I see on the commute had mountain bike ones and are as fast of not faster than me!

    As for the evans in wandsworth, I don't know. I actually live in SW6 now! I bought mine from the guys at Clapham Common as it used to be on the way to work.
  • marcusjbmarcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Just on the specifics of the M324 - they are a great pedal - particularly to begin with or for a bike that you just want to hop on and go to the shops. I see plenty of people commuting with them.

    My GF has them on her commuting road bike - most days she'll be wearing her Sidi shoes, but likes the option of being able to just jump on the bike with trainers if she wants.

    We have them on the tandem as well - perfect for that - we often wear cycling shoes touring, but equally it's great to be able to use the pedals with just sandals on in summer!

    They are quite heavy - but life's too short to really stress about weight until you're at a fitness level where it really starts to make sense!

    coriordan's summation of the differences between SPD and SPD-SL is very good.

    I run SPD on all my bikes (except the Brompton) - means I don't have to own multiple pairs of shoes (I do - but for other reasons). I would only run SPD-SL on a road bike that was only ever used for racing. The disadvantages of SPD-SL are too numerous to make sense on a commuting, leisure, touring etc. bike - not being able to walk easily, cleats that wear out quickly etc.

    A commonly-raised disadvantage with SPD is the small platform giving you potential issues with hot foot etc. - I don't believe that for a minute. It certainly doesn't count on something like the M324 and, if you've got a decent pair of shoes, it doesn't really cause any issues on a pedal like the M520. Let's just say I've ridden for 750 miles in one go on SPD pedals without any foot issues!

    Cleat position is everything - and takes some time to get right - look out for aches and pains and adjust accordingly. There's a lot of good reading online about where pains can occur and what t do to counteract them.

    In short - the 324 is a great pedal that gives you plenty of options for shoes (cycling specific and not!). Don't worry about whether it will look 'right' fitted to a road bike - it doesn't matter, all that matters is whether they are right for you or not.

    And finally - definitely start with fairly low tension on the release mechanism, and practice releasing each foot at home. You will probably have a clipless moment at some point - no harm done (except to pride if you have an audience for it!).
  • edindevonedindevon Posts: 325
    For anyone who hasn't noticed, Halfords have some Shimano pedals reduced and also 3 for the price of 2. I think this makes them the cheapest around right now if you've happy to buy 3 pairs of pedals at a time:

    Shimano SPD M520 - 3 for £45.98 = £15.33 each

    Shimano SPD-SL PDR 540 - 3 for £53.98 = £18 each.

  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    Quick one back from me - I dont race or anything, but wouldn't change back to SPDs from SLs any day. There is a slightly different feel to them, as I prefer the SLs. I do not do tours though, but this may change, in which case SPDs might be more suitable.

    As for cleat life - I commute on my bike nearly every day and cleats are fine - unclipping at lights, walking in work garage etc (bought in July or so).
  • g00seg00se Posts: 2,221
    Just as an alternative, there are other MTB 2-hole cleat systems other than shimano SPD (still fit to the same type of MTB shoe with recessed cleats so you can walk better in them). such as TIME ATAC and Crank Eggbeaters.

    I've got TIME ATAC on the road bike and did have TIME Allroad pedals on the hack (until I fitted a Dutch child seat mounting on the bike and ended up with pedal strike) . Allroads are clips on one side and platforms on the other, like the M324. The ATAC system has more float that the SPD and a bigger contact area on the shoe:





    the Allroads are £25 on Chainreaction at the moment (or give me a PM if you're after a lightly used old pair :) )
  • mikeabanksmikeabanks Posts: 116
    I went for the M324s and the cheapest DHB shoe and I can recommend them as a beginner. The flat side is useful at junctions etc even when wearing the shoes. As I am increasing my miles I am finding the shoes are starting to become uncomfortable after about 25miles with my toes and sole starting to become a bit numb (mainly the left one). I did realize I was tensing my foot and have made a conscious effort to relax it which helped a bit.
  • Can't thank you all enough for your opinion and expertise. It is very much appreciated.

    I feel comfortable knowing that as I become more confident on the bike and start to rack up the miles that I can easily upgrade the components to suit my level.

    Thanks again,
  • RDWRDW Posts: 1,900
    When speaking with the scheme's techy represenative, I mentioned the below clipless/flat combination pedals on the basis that I may need to use the bike as a 'run around' on occasions and also as a good introduction to clipless pedals.

    Check out the Shimano A530 too - another SPD/flat combination, but more of a road pedal than the one you mention: ... HIMPEDA732
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