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SPD vs SPD-SL - HELP!!!!!

daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
edited September 2014 in Commuting chat
I assume that this is an old topic thats been done a gazillion times already, hopefully you can help me with a well rehearsed answer!

I went to the LBS today to seek their help, and went in fully prepared to part with cash. But despite being the only customer in the shop AND saying hello to a member of staff, I was ignored! So I decided to help myself and find the best fitting shoe then order it online.

So......

Do I spend £53 on some Shimano R077 SPD-SL shoes from Wiggle? I already have the SPD-SL pedals and cleats, but not used them because I'd not found the right shoes, up until now ;-)

Or

Do I spend £55 on some MTB style Shimano MT43 shoes and £28 on some M540 SPD pedals from CRC?

These are the two choices I have narrowed it down to in the SPD vs SPD-SL war in my head.

I'll be using the road bike mostly for (dry) commutes, and have spare shoes at work. However, I quite like the idea of being able to walk unhindered, straight after getting off my bike. Hence the MTB style SPDs...

So my questions:
Are the MT43 shoes (or similar) wearable as regular shoes when they have cleats attached? i.e. could I do a full days work at the computer job in them, or are they only good enough for some light shopping? They felt a bit weird when I tried them on, but do they just need wearing in?
Do the M540 pedals come with cleats - can't see anywhere where it says they do or don't on either Wiggle or CRC?
Is the SPL-SL noticeably better than the SPD system?
Is it sacrilegious to wear MTB shoes whilst riding a carbon road bike? Will the aero god punish me with constant headwinds?

Or - just tell me what you would do/have done/would recommend!

Thanks in advance :-)
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Posts

  • I wear shimano MT42s the predecessor to the 43s, for commuting they are absolutely ideal. Easy to use, easy to get along with, cheap as chips, far better than clips and able to walk around "nearly" normally. I used them last year for walking around black gang chine on an isle of wight cycling holiday without issue, although they don't have the best grip and are USELESS for running in! (school sports day - cycled - parent's race - don't ask!)

    I'm not sure I would want to work a full day in them, but they might be OK for office duty (I work in a factory on my feet all day, and so have my work boots at work which I change into)

    As an aside, I use the M520 pedals without issue, they work flawlessly, come with cleats and are bargain basement price wise - what's not to like?

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... tAodUlEAhw
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    I wear shimano MT42s the predecessor to the 43s, for commuting they are absolutely ideal. Easy to use, easy to get along with, cheap as chips, far better than clips and able to walk around "nearly" normally. I used them last year for walking around black gang chine on an isle of wight cycling holiday without issue, although they don't have the best grip and are USELESS for running in! (school sports day - cycled - parent's race - don't ask!)

    I'm not sure I would want to work a full day in them, but they might be OK for office duty (I work in a factory on my feet all day, and so have my work boots at work which I change into)

    As an aside, I use the M520 pedals without issue, they work flawlessly, come with cleats and are bargain basement price wise - what's not to like?

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Mode ... tAodUlEAhw

    Magic, thats exactly the soft of info I am after - thank you!

    Yeah, I'm mostly going to be sat at my desk with the odd trip walking up and down the road to clients to turn their computers off and on again for them, bless 'em.

    Anyone else got an opinion?
  • I use SPD-SL on everything now (with Shimano shoes too).

    Love the proper connection to the bike with SPD-SLs you get, that SPDs get half the way there towards, but don't quite manage. In my opinion obviously.

    Bit of practice means the single side is a easy enough- even for my commute across london and 50+ sets of traffic lights.

    You can't walk in them. but its fine for a cake stop or the walk from the garage to your desk, just not a morning stroll.

    I'm not really helping am i?
  • trooperktrooperk Posts: 189
    Sounds like you already decided the answer before asking the question.
    Specialized-The censored of bikes.
  • What Gosport-commuter said. I use Bontrager shoes that look like outdoor shoes but you really do look a bit special walking in them. I really would change them when you get to work.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    I'm not really helping am i?

    Not really! Now I am almost forced into going down the SPD-SL route. If I don't then every time I clip in I'll think "This would be better if I'd bought the big boys pedals" ;-)

    So its the performance of SPD-SL vs the convenience of SPD shoes. Is there such a thing as a SDL-SL shoe that one can walk in normally?
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    trooperk wrote:
    Sounds like you already decided the answer before asking the question.

    I was all set to get SPD-SL... Just wish the shoes weren't so cumbersome!
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    sandyballs wrote:
    What Gosport-commuter said. I use Bontrager shoes that look like outdoor shoes but you really do look a bit special walking in them. I really would change them when you get to work.

    And this is the point, if SPD shoes are still not 100% wearable then I guess I might as well go SPD-SL and just change shoes ASAP after getting off the bike.
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    SPD.

    Did that help?
  • I would make my decision on how much you need to unclip on your commute.

    A large number of times would mean i would personally go for SPDs. You can probably get away with missing a clip-in with SPDs which you cannot with SLs. Also foot down a lot is a lot of wear on the shoes/cleats. With SPDs it will only be shoe wear.

    On the flip side, SLs feel much better on the bike. I also find I do not get hot spots on my feet with SLs that I do get the SPDs. You also have the pedals/cleats for SLs.

    I wear SLs as I do not have too much stopping/foot down on my commute

    Or get both. Swapping pedals only takes a couple of minutes
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    iPete wrote:
    SPD.

    Did that help?

    Sort of but not so much!

    Would you spend any time in your SPD shoes, or would you chose to change them as soon as you could?
    Have you tried SPD-SL, and if so how does SPD hold up?

    Thanks though!
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    daddy0 wrote:
    iPete wrote:
    SPD.

    Did that help?

    Sort of but not so much!

    Would you spend any time in your SPD shoes, or would you chose to change them as soon as you could?
    Have you tried SPD-SL, and if so how does SPD hold up?

    Thanks though!

    Hard for me to comment as ive never used SL but do plenty of walking around, sometimes pop via the shops on the way home, they work much better on a fixie, you can buy 'casual' SPD trainers, they also last forever and I've done several Tri with them inc ironman.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Cheers Coopster, good food for thought there. I probably only put my feet down 5 or 6 times on my commute, and if I was clipped in I'd probably try to make that less by not racing up to red lights or track standing a bit. After all, my greatest cycling achievement was winning the slow bicycle race at primary school without moving from the start line 8)
    Or get both. Swapping pedals only takes a couple of minutes
    Yeah I was thinking the same thing, might put SPDs on the hybrid and SLs on the race bike...
  • pdwpdw Posts: 315
    I use SPDs on my commuter, and SPD-SLs for weekend rides. SPDs are much easier to use, and don't slip off if you miss the cleat on the first attempt. I'm happy wearing SPD shoes all day, although I don't tend to. But will happily wear them to pop into town at lunchtime, or if I'm stopping at the pub on the way home.
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    pdw wrote:
    ...or if I'm stopping at the pub on the way home.

    I think this might have just won the argument, I don't think I could walk into a pub wearing SL shoes... Not that I ever get to go to the pub any more now I'm a daddy :-( But if there is a chance of a pub visit this summer and I'm on the bike, I don't want to be wearing the wrong shoes!
  • +1 to pdw.

    SPD-SLs are great on the bike but a nightmare off. For the sort of riding I do (commuting, touring, a bit of off-road, trips to the pub etc.) SPDs work better. I have worn them all day when I've been out and about on the bike or when I forget my work shoes (before I learnt to leave a pair of regular shoes at work). I've actually got 3 pairs of SPD shoes in different styles - some are sporty and lightweight almost like SPD-SL shoes, one pair is more like a pair of trainers and one like walking boots. You can wear them with lycra, baggies or jeans and not look a fool.

    Either way you will never go back to regular shoes and toe clips.
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • Mikey41Mikey41 Posts: 690
    daddy0 wrote:
    And this is the point, if SPD shoes are still not 100% wearable then I guess I might as well go SPD-SL and just change shoes ASAP after getting off the bike.
    SPD shoes are very wearable, but you couldn't use them to walk in all day. The soles are still very stiff even on cheaper shoes. I change out of them once at work, but walking short distances is just like wearing normal shoes.
    Giant Defy 2 (2012)
    Giant Defy Advanced 2 (2013)
    Giant Revel 1 Ltd (2013)
    Strava
  • One of the commuters at the office has a pair of SPD hi-tops. In fact, when I first saw him get on his bike with SPD pedals and the shoes, I thought he'd had some sort of shoe emergency. But no, click clunk and off he went. I've seen him jog up the stairs in them too so can't be too hard to walk around in. They're DZRs - I made a note for next time I'm shopping for SPDs.

    His pair look a little like this
    http://www.alwaysriding.co.uk/dzr-ovis-shoe-879.html
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    Cheers for all your help everybody!

    After distracting myself by looking at new wheel sets for an hour, and wondering how much trouble I'd be in if I spent another £300 (I feel a new thread brewing), I pulled the trigger on a pair of Shimano MT43 shoes and a couple of pairs of M540 pedals for both my bikes, all from CRC for £111.

    Can't wait for the snow to do one now. :-)
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    I don't walk a great deal on my cycling shoes, as I keep proper shoes at work. I use Mavic Road Pedals (a bit like SPD-SLs) on my road bike and SPDs on my tourer. I commute on both, and to be honest there isn't a great deal of difference on the commute because you're constantly stopping and starting. In my experience, SPD and MavicRoad/SPD-SL aren't much different in terms of ease of clipping in/out. Though I would say that Mavic Road Cleats wear out pretty quickly (in about 4 months) if you're commuting on them, I assume SPD-SL cleats are similar in that respect. On the other hand I've not replaced the cleats on my SPD shoes in 5 years.

    I like the Mavic cleats for faster rides because its a more stable platform when out of the saddle or giving it beans. The SPD pedals are convenient because they have a flat platform attachment for one side (came with the Day 01) so I can ride the bike with normal shoes.

    tl;dr If your bike is mainly for commuting, and you never do any sport cycling with it, then just go for SPDs
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,415
    notsoblue wrote:
    If your bike is mainly for commuting, and you never do any sport cycling with it, then just go for SPDs

    This be the truth. SPD-SLs for pleasure SPDs commuting and off road, flats for short commutes and off road.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • Like others, I use both: SLs for anything which will have me on the bike for a decent length of time and wanting to apply the power, plain SPDs for pure commuting (more the ease of walking around off the bike than clipping in and out issues).

    Daddy0's done the deed now, but if anyone else is checking this thread out with interest, I've discovered that Ultegra pedals are way easier to clip into than 105 and lower (less spinny) and they don't cost that much more.
  • rubertoerubertoe Posts: 3,993
    edited January 2013
    I use SL's dont have any issues with them on my commute and for some reason I actually counted how many lights were on my commute this morning and of the 67 lights I stoped at 14 of them - so its no real issue.

    Only problem is the left cleat wears out quicker than the right... and I dont tend to walk that far in them
    "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got."

    PX Kaffenback 2 = Work Horse
    B-Twin Alur 700 = Sundays and Hills
  • daddy0daddy0 Posts: 686
    I'm hoping to do some long rides this year and I am quite keen to take some Strava scalps. Seeing as I have the pedals already I will probably end up getting some SL shoes to help me achieve teh powerawesome.

    Now about these new wheels... ;-)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    I have the r077 and they are cheaper online. Think I paid 45 18 months ago. I would recommend the R086 or r087 as it has the ratchet strap.

    The thing people overlook at SLs is that they are fine to ride on with normal flat shoes. I know you can also do the same with the double sided MTB-style pedals, but then you can't use SL shoes.

    I borrowed a mate's SPDs for a month, then went straight ahead and bought SLs. I mostly commute on my bike (but also do post/pre work rides and sportives) and sometimes I miss a pedal, but it's never made me feel nervous or wobble. Just pedal with the other leg and clip in the next time the pedal comes round.....
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,415
    coriordan wrote:
    sometimes I miss a pedal, but it's never made me feel nervous or wobble. Just pedal with the other leg and clip in the next time the pedal comes round.....

    Agreed SPDsls are fine for commuting, but there are 2 reasons I would stick with MTB SPDs for commuting

    1. The frankly alarming (to me) rate that the cleats wear from clipping/unclipping. I've never had to replace an SPD cleat but my SPD SLs are looking a bit worn after 3 leisure rides.

    2. In the event of a terminal mechanical a couple of rides from home I'd rather have the option to walk as there's no PT on my route to work/home. I wouldn't want to have to walk too far in my road shoes.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,692
    True re walking if a catastrophe. As for wear, mine are 18m old....
  • RoastieRoastie Posts: 1,968
    IMO it really depends on how you intend to use them and how much walking you intend to do on and off the bike. Personally for commuting, I prefer to use SPDs as the shoes are (/can be) far more walkable* which is great for running to catch trains, looking for a table in a coffee shop, negotiating my way to the bar. All of these things can be quite hazardous in road shoes (like SPD-SL).

    That said, if you don't need to catch trains, and have no intention of ever popping in anywhere after work to do some socialising, then the performance advantages of SPD-SL might be preferable. You do feel much more secure and, particularly if you have a longer, steady commute - they will probably be more comfortable.

    If, however, you have lots of traffic lights (and are not good at track stands) then they can be a pain as your getaway will be slower. Personally I keep road shoes and pedals for road racing and the occasional weekend rides on the road bike (I usually ride my cross bike which has SPDs).

    *SPD shoes are available in many flavours - "touring" type shoes tend to be very walkable, and I sometimes just wear mine around the office as well. MTB race type shoes are much less walkable, and also will generally make you look like a freak.
  • notsobluenotsoblue Posts: 5,838
    On walkability, SPD shoes are only relatively walkable compared to road cleat shoes. I bought a "normal" looking shoe with SPD cleat and while it looked ok, it was still pretty uncomfortable to walk in for any distance because the shoe needs to be very rigid to function properly as a cycling shoe.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    notsoblue wrote:
    On walkability, SPD shoes are only relatively walkable compared to road cleat shoes. I bought a "normal" looking shoe with SPD cleat and while it looked ok, it was still pretty uncomfortable to walk in for any distance because the shoe needs to be very rigid to function properly as a cycling shoe.

    I've walked 6 miles home in a pair of SPD shoes (Shimano MTB style ones) without a problem (two punctures took out both tubes)
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
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