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Best pedals for a beginner?

Weeman1973Weeman1973 Posts: 471
edited September 2012 in Road buying advice
I am currently riding with what I call 'standard' road pedals with toe clips that I use with regular training shoes. I am now thinking of going to more advanced pedals - question is which?

I know nothing about SPD or clipless and to be honest am a little wary about 'attaching' my feet / shoes to a pedal as I just know I will fall off due to not being to release them in time before stopping (par for the course?)

Anyway, anyone got any suggestions on which pedals / shoes I should be looking at that won't break the bank but get me into the world of 'real' pedalling and also advise on exactly what I need in terms of pedals, cleats, shoes etc. to get me started.


  • dennisndennisn Posts: 10,601
    I don't believe that any of todays pedals offer anything more or less than their competitors. They all hold you foot to the pedal in the same position. Clipping in and out is not much different from one to the other. They all provide "float". None of them are the "best" to walk in. Then again they are all made for riding. I very rarely hear people complain about pedals. What's it all mean? Pick the ones you like the looks of and can afford. FWIW I have Shimano SPD-SL's and can't fault them in any way.
  • team47bteam47b Posts: 6,424
    After using spd pedals for a while you will consider not being attached to the pedals as something to be wary of, tried riding today on my hybrid using the flat side of pedal (shimano A530) ie not clipped in and it felt that my feet would slip off at any moment and go through the spokes of the front wheel, had to clip in to feel secure!

    This style of pedal gives you a choice and helps you to get used to being clipped in and allows you to ride for example in stop start traffic not clipped in.
    my isetta is a 300cc bike
  • I choose the ones that I know I can clip out of easily - many manufacturers state only that their pedals have adjustable tension, which is a poor description. Look quote ranges from about 8nm to 18nm on tension. I found even their 12nm tension was too great, so ended up with Look Keo 2 Max (not carbon), which have a tension range of between 9nm and 15nm - I have mine set at 9nm which is easy to unclip and there is no danger of the foot coming out when pedalling. I think the other lower priced pedals they offer, eg Look Keo Classic, Look Easy, also offer low tension adjustment. I have noticed that Mavic (another French producer) also quote tension ranges, but in a different way - they state tension is kg/cm, and I have worked out that the minimum they often quote, which is 80kg/cm, is about 8 nm.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I'll mostly disagree with dennisn here but it does depend on the sort of riding you do.

    If you are just out for weekend rides then yes, it really doesn't matter that much. You get used to whatever sort of pedal you buy. If, on the other hand, you commute or ride in traffic a lot, things get more polarised

    The obvious choice is Shimano SPD - M520 pedals (£20 on line) and some cheap shoes that use MTB cleats.

    1) MTB shoes are easier to walk in - they are usually just like trainers only with a more rigid sole.
    2) The cleats are metal - so they last a very long time. Road cleats wear much more quickly.
    3) Double sided pedals with easier entry action. Road pedals require you to hook the nose of the pedal and press down. SPDs just require you to press on the pedal as though you were using normal flat pedals. As long as you place the cleat over the pedal, it snaps in - it's easier to learn (but as I said, you will learn anyway whatever pedal you pick). And they are double sided too. This does make the learning process easier.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Tell us what you've got in mind first.

    eg Its no use us suggesting SPD-SLs if you want to be able to walk any sort of distance in your shoes.

    But then SPD-SLs might be more appropriate if you want a slightly more stable and secure feel.
  • Cheers guys so far for the replies - apologies, I should have given you the full brief to begin with!

    Basically I will only be using them for recreational cycling at weekends / evenings etc. - not in heavy stop / start traffic and definitely not for commuting. Will probably be doing about 75-100 miles a week (3 to 4 x 25 miles). Looks like for cost and ease of use (easy to get in & out of?) I am looking at SPD-SL?
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