Day 159: Clipless pedals – which ones to buy?

11 06 2010

The next upgrade to my road bike will be to finally get clipless pedals. I’ve been researching various styles, brands, prices and options. I’m nervous about learning to use them, but I understand everyone falls down at some point when they’re getting use to being clipped in. (I currently use toe cages.) I’m sure once I get that first embarassing tumble over with, I’ll feel better. My plan is to put the bike on the stationary trainer and practice clipping in and out until I feel comfortable with how to do it.   

I assume choosing pedals and shoes is very similar to choosing saddles: what works great for one person may not be comfortable for someone else. There are several things that make the planned purchase of pedals somewhat confusing: 


From what I understand, pedals range in price from around $55 and up, depending on style, quality and budget. I obviously don’t need a high-end racing pedal, but rather a good entry-level clipless pedal for newbies. 

Adjustable float 

Some types of clipless pedals have more float than others (at least that’s my understanding of what I’ve read so far). As someone with arthritis, which makes me prone to knee problems, I want a pedal that allows me to adjust the float (the amount of distance my foot can rotate in the pedal once I’m clipped in). 

Two-sided vs. one-sided entry 

After putting the toe cages on my pedals not long after I bought the bike, I quickly got used to putting my foot in the cage without looking. My left leg is my dominant leg, so I leave that foot “attached” to the toe cage and put my right foot down on the ground when I stop. That feels the most natural. I’ve tried it the opposite way but it just felt really weird. I think I would prefer two-sided entry clipless pedals, but are there specific reasons why it would be a good idea to buy one-sided entry? Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems like two-sided would be easier to use. 


I have various questions here:
— Can MTB-type shoes  be used on road bikes (depending on the pedal of course)?
— Are shoes with larger cleats better? I understand they take some getting used to when walking on the ground or on a slick floor (such as inside a convenience store). I’m sure I’ll make a graceful butt-busting tumble the first time I try them on a slick floor.
— Do some types last longer than others?
— I’ve previously had problems a couple years ago with plantar fasciitis, so do I need to be concerned with finding a shoe with good arch support? I’ve heard some people include sports orthotics in their shoes to help with this.
— What are the pros and cons of a smaller cleat area vs. larger area? 

Do you use clipless pedals? If so, what type? What were your reasons for buying the type of pedal you use? What kind do you recommend for a newbie like me? And to ask another stupid question: I plan to buy both the pedals and shoes at the same time, but should my purchase be influenced by which pedals I prefer, or which shoes I prefer? I’m probably overthinking all this, but I’d appreciate your advice. 

Here are the types I’ve been looking at (although I think I prefer the Shimano): 

Shimano pedal




Look Keo




Crankbrothers Eggbeater


Crankbrothers Candy








Speedplay Frog


Today’s food journal: 

— Chocolate, peanut butter, banana smoothie = 385 cal. 

— Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich = 430
— Iced tea = 10 

— Corn (1 cup) = 132
— Black eyed peas (1 cup) = 185
— 2 pieces cornbread = 173 

— Skinny Cow ice cream cup = 120 

Life’s a journey. Enjoy the ride! 

…( ) / ( ) 

Thanks for visiting. 




2 responses

13 06 2010

Let’s see .. I have Shimano pedals .. I cannot remember the model of them (and I’m not home right now) but I am pretty sure mine are actually mountain bike ones. They are ones that take SPD-SL cleats and they are the ones with the large yellow pieces on the bottom if you’re not versed on cleats and so on.

When I bought my road bike they went on that day. Adjusting to clipping in is very stressful but i’d suggest leaning against something while sitting on the bike and just practicing over and over again. You will probably learn that one foot is easier and in my case I always start with clipping one foot in and then the other follows.

Ever think you’ll get into spinning (group fitness stationary bike classes)? If so find an SPD clip system (no letters at the end) and use one shoe for both indoor and outdoor activities. If not then I’d just find whatever you think will work best for you. Some clips are two sided so that you can wear shoes or bike cleats .. That is nice and handy as an option.

I went back and forth, read 1000 reviews, and grabbed the pair I have now … it was stressful to decide with so many options! But … They change the cycling experience in a positive way so they are worth it!

13 06 2010

I think the Shimano pedals are the ones I’m going to go with. I talked to the people at the Clarksville store yesterday and they recommended the (two-sided) Shimano pedals with the smaller cleat area. She said those are also the kind that spinning classes use, so that’s an added benefit. I’ve considered spinning classes, but having never been before, I’m not sure if I’d like it or not. Do you like them? Do I remember correctly that you teach those classes somewhere?

I figure once I get the pedals put on, I’ll put my bike on my stationary trainer and practice, practice, practice. I always start with my left foot “attached” to the toe cage first, so I expect I’ll start with that same foot clipping in. I’m nervous about getting used to them (and nervous about taking my first fall without breaking an arm or something), but I’m excited to get them. I’ll keep you posted on what I end up going with. Thanks for your help!

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