Look pedals okay for commuting? Safer to stick to SPDs? Can'

typekitty
typekitty Posts: 188
edited January 2013 in Road beginners
Hi all! New to the forum :)

I've just bought a new road bike and I'm not sure which pedals to put on them.

I've been commuting (5 miles, not much!) to and from work comfortably using spds for the last 6 months. I'm looking at doing longer distances this year for the first time and have signed up for a few sportives. I've been reading that road pedals (e.g. look, which I'm considering) are the most comfortable for longer rides, as well as being better for power transfer, etc, because of the larger cleat.

However, it seems that, for commuting, I'd be better of in the spds because I can clip out much faster (or something!)?

So are longer distances really that painful in spds? Is it that difficult to clip out of Look pedals? Am I totally over-thinking this?

Happy take any advice on different brands. Look just seem the most common and are fairly affordable.

Thanks heaps!
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Comments

  • pastey_boy
    pastey_boy Posts: 2,083
    edited January 2013
    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... elID=74749
    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/shimano-sm-s ... prod16556/
    http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/shimano-sm-s ... -prod1331/
    These would be ideal , you can use them with mtb shoes for your commute so you can walk ok and for your longer rides , with adaptors you can fit the same cleats to a road shoe. The pedals have a large contact area so should not hinder you in any way.
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  • Think it's more a question of practicality. The advantage of SPDs (as opposed to road type cleats like SPD-SLs and Look) is that you can walk reasonably comfortably in shoes for them, possibly useful when commuting depending on where you have to lock up your bike. Walking any distance with 'road' cleats and shoes is a little awkward to say the least.

    I can't speak for Looks, but as a beginner with SPD-SLs I have found them vary easy to use and I imagine you wouldn't have to much trouble adapting from SPDs to whatever you choose.
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    Can't see why SPD-SL would be any better or worse than Look (or visa versa) for your intended purpose.
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • typekitty
    typekitty Posts: 188
    Thanks for the feedback.

    I've been doing further research and it seems the hotspot issue with SPDs is eliminated with a decent, stiff sole?
  • Don't give too much credence to the arguments about SPDs being inferior for power transfer (if there is a difference it will be unappreciable to all but the most powerful riders) or even for long distance. They are very commonly used by Audaxers, who do far more miles (at a time) than most. I use them myself and have no problems at all.

    By all means consider 'road' pedals - they are after all made for the job - but if you need practicality then have it; you have very little to lose.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    All clipless pedals will be as fast clippIng out.
    Clipping in might sometimes be slower as there's only one side and sometimes it's a bit harder to clip in.

    When putting your feet down looks are slippier than SPDs as the cleats are big and plastic - so they wear quicker.
    Not great for walking on either.

    Depends how far you walk and how often you put your feet down on the commute.
    Personally SPDs and shoes you can walk in would be a better match.
  • nolight
    nolight Posts: 261
    For me, I have 2 bikes for specific purpose:

    hybrid bike for commuting - flat pedals, simple!
    road bike for sport - SPD-SL pedals, no compromise, no-nonsense.

    I cannot imagine myself doing much commuting with road bike for the simple reason that I would not risk locking the bike and be away from it. Since I am taking the bike with me, any "commuting" with it has to be totally light errand, therefore I don't have to compromise by using anything less than SPD-SL pedals.

    For the distance you are talking about, which is extremely short, I would obviously be using a hybrid bike.

    If you have only 1 bike and plans to use it for commuting, then like what people say, the concern is not clipping in/out (it's not like you need 10 sec to clip out), which is a natural thing with practice. The main concern is walking on SPD-SL shoes. Just try walking on your heels, toes not touching ground. It is doable but not comfortable. I have never used SPD shoes, can't comment on it.
  • I'd stick with SPDs. As others have said. The differences in terms of power transfer are small, and they're easier to walk in.
    I commute (3-17 miles) and do sportives and Audax events (200km+) in SPDs with no discomfort.
  • The main thing to think of for commuting is walking in the shoes when you get off the bike. So if you already have SPD shoes I would stick with them, loads of people use them on road bikes.

    When I started upping the distance on road riding to over 30 miles I found my MTB SPD pedals and shoes gave me sore 'hotspots' where the pedal was, particularly when it was cold. I switched to Shimano A520 'touring' pedals for road riding which have a platform for support and the problem went away completely. Have done up to 90 miles in comfort. The disadvantage for commuting would be they take longer to clip in because they are one-sided so perhaps not so good for that purpose. For commuting I use M324 which are flat on one side SPD on the other. Handy if you need to pop out on the bike in work shoes. Can't comment on comfort over long distances with those ones.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    You already have the SPDs so just see how you get on with them for longer distances. Some people complain about hot spots, others don't. I have Look pedals on my Look bike (anything else would be wrong! They are good too!) and SPDs on my Ribble - both I've used for 100 mile plus rides and the difference is marginal.

    You can always have a different pair of shoes for the road bike but if you are sticking to one, for both long distance and commuting then hotspot issue aside, the arguments in favour of the SPDs are overwhelming.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • typekitty
    typekitty Posts: 188
    My old bike (now in the hands of a dirty thief) had dual pedals, so I was used to having to flip the pedal to clip in (m324).

    After all the comments I think I'll stick with the SPDs and go from there if any issues eventually crop up. I'm confident from the replies though that it'll be less of a problem than first thought. A520 I think are the way to go.

    @nolight Two bikes would be fab but I don't have the space or money. Thankfully at both home and work I can keep the bike indoors. Good for security and aesthetics ;)
  • prawny
    prawny Posts: 5,439
    Ive just switched from spds to spd-sl on my roadie. For full time commuting double sided spds are great if you have to I clip a lot, and are fine on longer rides. I don't commute any more and needed some new shoes so I thought I'd make the change. SLs are a bit more solid, but nothing major,they just rock a bit less.
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  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    SPDs are better for commuting. Double sided so easier to clip in (clipping out is easy with most clipless pedals), plus you can walk in the shoes. The cleats are also a lot harder wearing. I find that if I have to kick myself along filtering through static traffic, the Look cleats get worn really quickly, whereas SPDs don't have that issue.

    SPDs are fine for long rides - like you say, the key is getting a stiff soled shoe and if you then dial up the tension on the pedal I can't say there is much difference in power transfer. Graeme Obree I think has always used SPDs for his riding and he knows a thing or two. That said, I use Look pedals on the best bike - the downsides aren't an issue, and they are perhaps a bit stabler with the bigger platform etc but its a marginal thing and the main reason is because SPDs on a road bike just look wrong if you're being a roadie tart!
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    I was ignoring this but as it's bounced up again...

    This endless stream of questions asking the most inane questions about some aspect of cycling, and whether this gel is better than that gel or this pedal is better than that, or what bike should I buy, what tyres are best, what helmet, what saddle, what inner tubes...; it's become beyond dull. In virtually all cases all you'll get is a list of answers saying I use X so X is best, when reality is that Gel A is exactly the same as Gel B but tastes different, or this helmet's a better colour, or this saddle looks nicer with that frame. People are coming new to cycling and clearly imagine that if they can only just get that exact permutation of gear & accessories right they'll be able to see Wiggo off on a climb when the reality is that if you haven't been riding at club level since your teens you really ought to treat it as the fun that it is and just ride your bike and get to know what suits you, not what we all think is the best use of our own money. Gah.

    Pedals. Asking if SPDs are easier than Looks is like asking if it's easier to breathe in or out. There's no difference - I ran SPDs for a while then fitted Looks and it just isn't any kind of issue or difference clipping in & out. It just happens. The Looks are nicer and look the part but any difference is just so infinitesimally small as to be meaningless and if you can't adapt to a slightly different way of doing it after a handful of rides maybe it's time to stick to a car.

    BR should filter out any question that asks which bike, which saddle, which gel, pedal, bar tape or which suppository. Find some interesting questions to ask, not sheep-based queries.

    Over & out. Carry on.
    :evil:
  • extrusion
    extrusion Posts: 247
    CiB wrote:
    Find some interesting questions to ask, not sheep-based queries.

    Oooh, grumpy bum!
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    extrusion wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    Find some interesting questions to ask, not sheep-based queries.

    Oooh, grumpy bum!
    Well. Same ridiculous questions, same answers with weak justifications... It's too dull.

    SPDs are easy because both sides latch on. Looks are weighted so the cleat always hits the right side. No difference in reality from the end-users PoV.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    CiB wrote:
    BR should filter out any question that asks which bike, which saddle, which gel, pedal, bar tape or which suppository. Find some interesting questions to ask, not sheep-based queries.

    Over & out. Carry on.
    :evil:

    Crikey - is the wrong side of the bed a big drop onto a chisel factory?! You may be right but without pointlessly repetitive questions there'd be nothing happening on here!

    PS - there is a difference. It is easier to learn to use SPDs than road pedals - there is a little more finnesse needed to hook into a road pedal than just stomping on an SPD. Once you have got the hang of it, then it makes no difference. Though, of course, the SPD cleats last much longer.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    CiB - you're correct up to a point. Commuting will almost certainly involve some walking. Looks are crap at that and slippery.
  • smidsy
    smidsy Posts: 5,273
    cougie wrote:
    CiB - you're correct up to a point. Commuting will almost certainly involve some walking. Looks are crap at that and slippery.

    Well I take commuting as travelling to and from your place of work so one would suggest that walking would be front door to shed (at most) and bike shelter to office/factory/warehouse etc.

    maximum 50 paces :lol:
    Yellow is the new Black.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    If you want to buy cycling kit based on having to walk a few yards over & above the business of cycling any number of miles, that's your decision. It's as sensible as having your saddle a bit too low so that you can put your feet down at traffic lights though.

    I manage to walk on my Looks without falling over or wearing them out prematurely. When I had SPD cleats they stuck out of the bottom of the shoes much like the Looks do. Like I said, there wasn't enough difference to merit asking the question.
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    CiB wrote:
    I manage to walk on my Looks without falling over or wearing them out prematurely. When I had SPD cleats they stuck out of the bottom of the shoes much like the Looks do. Like I said, there wasn't enough difference to merit asking the question.

    To be fair, if you choose to source SPD shoes that don't have the cleats recessed, you'll get that problem. The point is, you don't have to. SPD shoes which recess the cleats are commonly available - the same can't be said for road cleats (as far as I am aware).

    Ultimately, however you look at it, SPDs are a better cleat for commuting (and if the soles of your shoes are stiff enough, probably for weekend road cycling too) - there are no disadvantages and plenty of advantages. Even if you ignore the shorter period needed to get really slick at clipping in, you can't ignore the fact that a metal recessed cleat will last longer than a protruding plastic one.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    smidsy wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    CiB - you're correct up to a point. Commuting will almost certainly involve some walking. Looks are crap at that and slippery.

    Well I take commuting as travelling to and from your place of work so one would suggest that walking would be front door to shed (at most) and bike shelter to office/factory/warehouse etc.

    maximum 50 paces :lol:

    More like a couple of hundred metres at my place.

    I find it's easier to walk bare feet when im staying in hotels with my bike abroad. Lifts are usually full and walking downstairs carrying a bike in Looks is lethal.
  • MrSweary
    MrSweary Posts: 1,699
    I use SPDs for commuting because I have a 250 yard walk from where I store my bike to where I work and for constant unclipping they just seemed like the easiest / hardiest option. Very pleased with how easy they are to use.
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  • jane90
    jane90 Posts: 149
    CiB wrote:
    I was ignoring this but as it's bounced up again...

    This endless stream of questions asking the most inane questions about some aspect of cycling, and whether this gel is better than that gel or this pedal is better than that, or what bike should I buy, what tyres are best, what helmet, what saddle, what inner tubes...; it's become beyond dull. In virtually all cases all you'll get is a list of answers saying I use X so X is best, when reality is that Gel A is exactly the same as Gel B but tastes different, or this helmet's a better colour, or this saddle looks nicer with that frame. People are coming new to cycling and clearly imagine that if they can only just get that exact permutation of gear & accessories right they'll be able to see Wiggo off on a climb when the reality is that if you haven't been riding at club level since your teens you really ought to treat it as the fun that it is and just ride your bike and get to know what suits you, not what we all think is the best use of our own money. Gah.

    Pedals. Asking if SPDs are easier than Looks is like asking if it's easier to breathe in or out. There's no difference - I ran SPDs for a while then fitted Looks and it just isn't any kind of issue or difference clipping in & out. It just happens. The Looks are nicer and look the part but any difference is just so infinitesimally small as to be meaningless and if you can't adapt to a slightly different way of doing it after a handful of rides maybe it's time to stick to a car.

    BR should filter out any question that asks which bike, which saddle, which gel, pedal, bar tape or which suppository. Find some interesting questions to ask, not sheep-based queries.

    Over & out. Carry on.
    :evil:
    You might be fed up of these sorts of questions, but let me tell you what I'm fed up of. It's arrogant people like you who assume this forum exists only for their personal benefit.

    I'm new to cycling, I started 6 months ago when I graduated from uni and going from participating in sport four of five days a week it was a shock to be suddenly chained to a desk for most of the week. Discovering the wonderful sport of cycling was a godsend to me but because of my circumstances it's a solitary activity. I don't have the time or the opportunity to join a club nor do I know any other cyclists. This forum was (and is) a huge help and a very valuable resource, as, when I started, I knew nothing whatsoever (I still don't, but that's another story).

    If I'd asked a question and seen a reply such as yours, quite possibly I would have thought this was a forum full of rude, unhelpful, arrogant, self-centered curmudgeons, I wouldn't have come back and consequently my enjoyment of the sport would have been severely curtailed.

    By the way, have you looked at the title of the forum you posted in? I'll give you a clue, it's called the Road BEGINNERS subforum. What sort of questions were you expecting here and from whom? If such entry-level queries are beneath your boredom threshold and your not-inconsiderable dignity, perhaps this isn't the right forum for you. I'm sure they'd be very pleased to have you over at Weightweenies.

    I don't know if the population of this forum is representative of the cycling community at large, but in some ways I hope it isn't because there seems to be a sizeable minority of people here with what can only be described as an attitude problem. "Beginners shouldn't bore me by asking basic questions." "People who ride slower than me have no right to ride an expensive bike". "People who wear XWZ brand of clothing are morally inferior to me."

    Get over yourselves.
  • MrSweary
    MrSweary Posts: 1,699
    jane90 wrote:
    You might be fed up of these sorts of questions, but let me tell you what I'm fed up of. It's arrogant people like you who assume this forum exists only for their personal benefit.

    I'm new to cycling, I started 6 months ago when I graduated from uni and going from participating in sport four of five days a week it was a shock to be suddenly chained to a desk for most of the week. Discovering the wonderful sport of cycling was a godsend to me but because of my circumstances it's a solitary activity. I don't have the time or the opportunity to join a club nor do I know any other cyclists. This forum was (and is) a huge help and a very valuable resource, as, when I started, I knew nothing whatsoever (I still don't, but that's another story).

    If I'd asked a question and seen a reply such as yours, quite possibly I would have thought this was a forum full of rude, unhelpful, arrogant, self-centered curmudgeons, I wouldn't have come back and consequently my enjoyment of the sport would have been severely curtailed.

    By the way, have you looked at the title of the forum you posted in? I'll give you a clue, it's called the Road BEGINNERS subforum. What sort of questions were you expecting here and from whom? If such entry-level queries are beneath your boredom threshold and your not-inconsiderable dignity, perhaps this isn't the right forum for you. I'm sure they'd be very pleased to have you over at Weightweenies.

    I don't know if the population of this forum is representative of the cycling community at large, but in some ways I hope it isn't because there seems to be a sizeable minority of people here with what can only be described as an attitude problem. "Beginners shouldn't bore me by asking basic questions." "People who ride slower than me have no right to ride an expensive bike". "People who wear XWZ brand of clothing are morally inferior to me."

    Get over yourselves.

    Here here, a few right miseries on here sometimes. Shame.
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  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    jane90 wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    a bit of a rant...
    a worthy riposte
    Blimey. For my bit of letting off steam that's a good reaction. Thanks for taking the time to post that as it's useful to be able to gauge who's where and what people think. I'd take issue with arrogant btw; call me a lot of things but arrogant doesn't fit. Grumpy, old misery (good spot mr sweary), bored of it all maybe. I'll bat arrogant back though.

    I don't have a problem with beginners asking questions. The world's different to when I learnt about bikes and there are places like this to ask questions now. My issue is that the current generation seems to need too much hand-holding, and gives all the impression of being terrified of making a decision in case it turns out to be 'wrong' - not wrong as in 'pffft that'll never work', but wrong in terms of not fitting in with whatever the meme is at any given time. And the way most of us - just me then? - learnt was by getting things wrong, and by having to mend punctures, fix chains, resolve slipping freewheels & bent mechs and broken spokes and handlebars that came loose. It was part of the fun of cycling and gave [some of] us a good solid understanding of it all and which is why when I'm not being a grumpy old sod you'll probably find lots of responses on here from me helping beginners out and follow ups saying thanks or the good old +1 reply. And we grew up on bikes; for us a bit of a ride as boys & teenagers was 15, 20 miles or so; my first 100 was when I was about 15. We just did it it, we learnt, we got things wrong, we didn't go in bike shops asking what's the best inner tube or what should I lube my chain with, and tbh we didn't get so excited about doing 10 miles on a bike that we felt the need to tell everyone. 10 miles was and still is bike ride; thankfully the glut of threads on here celebrating "Just done 10 miles" seems to have died down.

    And for the record, I don't have an obsession with weight, don't bother with buying top line clothing (Raffa anyone? no thanks), and don't have any issue with people who can't ride at whatever speed might be deemed to be 'good enough', and don't have a top flight bike. What does get on my wick to the point where I had my little rant here (and maybe shouldn't have but hey-ho...) is people asking the sort of question where - like I said - the answer is either I use X so X is best, or that in reality it just doesn't matter.

    Why not join the Stats thing (link below) to compare your mileage? It's free, I don't even ask for your email address I'm so nice, and it's fairly easy to use. I reckon that's got more people doing more miles over the last 3 & half years that it's been running than 'what sort of glue should I use for punctures? type questions.

    :)
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    SaintMark wrote:
    When I started upping the distance on road riding to over 30 miles I found my MTB SPD pedals and shoes gave me sore 'hotspots' where the pedal was, particularly when it was cold. I switched to Shimano A520 'touring' pedals for road riding which have a platform for support and the problem went away completely.

    Exactly my experience - nothing to do with the SPD clips themselves, more the pedal platform.

    I have M520s MTB SPD pedals on my commuter bike and they give me hot spots/pain after about 25 miles, I have A600 touring pedals on the road bike with the larger platform and get no problems on 50 mile plus rides.

    A600s are super light as well, only about 40 grams more than the carbon Dura-ace ones that cost 4 times as much.
  • typekitty
    typekitty Posts: 188
    Few things:

    - Beginner's part of the forum, so expect numpty questions.
    - Seeing as this whole thing revolves around me spending money, I'd rather get advice before purchase.
    - I only have Google as my friend at the moment and I wanted actual people (be you all virtual to an extent) for some relevant advice.

    Thanks so much for the replies, been really helpful and rather interesting.

    For what it's worth, I've gone with the SPDs. If they're fine overtime, wicked. If not, I'll switch to something else. I've got shoes for commuting and an old pair that a good for longer rides (they are the proper flat-soled ones) that will fit the 3 bolt cleat.

    Now for a saddle, but I think I'll stick to Google for that one.
  • jotko wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    When I started upping the distance on road riding to over 30 miles I found my MTB SPD pedals and shoes gave me sore 'hotspots' where the pedal was, particularly when it was cold. I switched to Shimano A520 'touring' pedals for road riding which have a platform for support and the problem went away completely.

    Exactly my experience - nothing to do with the SPD clips themselves, more the pedal platform.

    I have M520s MTB SPD pedals on my commuter bike and they give me hot spots/pain after about 25 miles, I have A600 touring pedals on the road bike with the larger platform and get no problems on 50 mile plus rides.

    A600s are super light as well, only about 40 grams more than the carbon Dura-ace ones that cost 4 times as much.

    It's interesting reading of experiences like these. It would be my assumption that it might not matter much how large the platform is if the shoe has a highly stiff (carbon or non) sole; like a high-end MTB racing shoe. Evidently there must be more to it, but I still can't help but wonder, given that the standard double-sided SPDs without any added platform are really popular among Audaxers...

    I haven't much to compare to myself, given that the pedals I have on the only bike of mine with SPDs are the M545s, which have a very large platform and are so heavy-set that they look as if they are designed to withstand repeated attacks with a lump hammer. My dad had them hanging around unused and I'm grateful.
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    jotko wrote:
    SaintMark wrote:
    When I started upping the distance on road riding to over 30 miles I found my MTB SPD pedals and shoes gave me sore 'hotspots' where the pedal was, particularly when it was cold. I switched to Shimano A520 'touring' pedals for road riding which have a platform for support and the problem went away completely.

    Exactly my experience - nothing to do with the SPD clips themselves, more the pedal platform.

    I have M520s MTB SPD pedals on my commuter bike and they give me hot spots/pain after about 25 miles, I have A600 touring pedals on the road bike with the larger platform and get no problems on 50 mile plus rides.

    A600s are super light as well, only about 40 grams more than the carbon Dura-ace ones that cost 4 times as much.

    It's interesting reading of experiences like these. It would be my assumption that it might not matter much how large the platform is if the shoe has a highly stiff (carbon or non) sole; like a high-end MTB racing shoe. Evidently there must be more to it, but I still can't help but wonder, given that the standard double-sided SPDs without any added platform are really popular among Audaxers...

    I haven't much to compare to myself, given that the pedals I have on the only bike of mine with SPDs are the M545s, which have a very large platform and are so heavy-set that they look as if they are designed to withstand repeated attacks with a lump hammer. My dad had them hanging around unused and I'm grateful.

    You may well be right about shoe stiffness making the difference- I am using Specialized MTB shoes (Tahoe I think) which are certainly nothing like as stiff as proper road shoe or carbon MTB shoes. They are great for commuting/exploring as they are nearly as comfy as normal trainers when walking around, I often wear them all day at work.