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  1. #1
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    Road pedals on a mountain bike

    I just got my first mountain bike. I have a spare set of road bike pedals that fit the cleats on my road bike shoes. Would it be a bad idea to put those on my mountain bike? The bike currently has toe clips but I thought cleats would be a little better.

  2. #2
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    If I'm not mistaken, road pedals don't have any float. Meaning, you'll lose the maneuverability that you need while riding dirt. Not necessarily a bad idea, but not the best. Plus, if you have to unclip and walk, the road shoes have no grip on the sole.
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates
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  3. #3
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    Not true. Road pedal do have float that varies depending on the pedal. Some are adjusted by using different cleats, some have adjustments on the cleat like my Speedplays which have more float than my mountain bike pedals.

    Road shoes are definitely not made for walking, especially on the trail.
    Last edited by Nubster; 06-28-2014 at 12:00 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Bad idea. Much as I hate to admit it, mountain biking involves the occasional hasty dismount and a little bit of walking. You want a pedal system that won't have your shoe flying out from under you and that tolerated dirt and mud on the cleat.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  5. #5
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    Yes any cleat would be better than toe clips. You may want to look into going with platform pedals and a pair of five tens. Google platform vs. clipless and then make a decision. Clipless or platform is a personal preference, but toe clips on a mountain bike I would really avoid, unless you are just riding gravel roads. They do make specific clipless pedals for mountain bikes and clipless shoes. The shoes are more walkable.

  6. #6
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    Correct. there is float in a road pedal but the float mostly depends on the cleat. but like others have mentioned its the fact the cleat won't be recessed into the shoe that will make walking on the trail impossible. The shoe itself wouldn't survive many walks ether.

  7. #7
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    I did it many many years ago using a set of Look deltas, when I was waiting for a set of M747's to come in.

    I do not recommend it. The pedal to cleat interface is too strong, making unclipping hazardous in the mountains, and any dabbing of the foot is greeted with a very fast slip and a fall.
    Float is, as was mentioned, not an issue - but I find the float on a road pedal (at least my Look's) to be tensioned (the pedal float is not "free"), and is very awkward on the mountain bike as well.

  8. #8
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    I use one of the old Speedplay models on the road, so boatloads of free float. Actually wish my MTB pedals did that. But it's definitely something to discuss with road pedals, since they have so much variation. I feel like mountain bike pedals have relatively similar goals and ride feel, just different ways of achieving it.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  9. #9
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    Re: Road pedals on a mountain bike

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I use one of the old Speedplay models on the road, so boatloads of free float. Actually wish my MTB pedals did that. But it's definitely something to discuss with road pedals, since they have so much variation. I feel like mountain bike pedals have relatively similar goals and ride feel, just different ways of achieving it.
    Look into the Speedplay Frogs

  10. #10
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    If you can't afford proper pedals, then I would say use the toe clips, or toe clips without the straps, or take it all off and just use the pedals as platforms.
    Unless you use your mountain bike as a road bike, in which case go ahead and use the road pedals and shoes.

  11. #11
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    No way I'd ride toe clips on a mountain bike out on the trials.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    No way I'd ride toe clips on a mountain bike out on the trials.
    Toe clips out on the trails was a pretty common thing back in the old days. It's not so bad. I did it for years, in Tucson, where its pretty damn technical.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    Toe clips out on the trails was a pretty common thing back in the old days. It's not so bad. I did it for years, in Tucson, where its pretty damn technical.

    I used clips and straps "back in the day" myself, also on the trails in and around Tucson. It was all I knew at the time so they didn't seem terrible until I tried spds for the first time, and then all of a sudden they did seem pretty horrible.

    I have been using one-sided road spd pedals on my mtb for over a year now because they were all I had when I put the bike together and they haven't annoyed me enough to deal with getting some proper ones yet. They are 100% perfect so long as you don't have to unclip in a techie section, and then they rather suck.

  14. #14
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    Can you? yes.
    Should you? probably not.

    I'd rather remove the toe-clips and go platform unless I knew the trail was smooth dirt and I wouldn't have to unclip till I got to the far side. In that case, road clips wouldn't be any worse than SPDs because you won't need to unclip or walk.

  15. #15
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    What kind of road pedals are you using? I use road-specific spds on my road bike, and I suppose that they would be fine on a mountain bike. I also ride on the road w/ mtb shoes, so ...

    But are you sure you want to go clipped in right off the bat? Unless you are pretty comfortable riding clipless and quite confident in your bike handling skills, I don't know if that's a great idea. You have enough to worry about getting out on the trails for the first few times without having to worry about pedals, too! I know lots of riders who went clipless right away and don't seem better off for it.
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tystevens View Post
    What kind of road pedals are you using? I use road-specific spds on my road bike, and I suppose that they would be fine on a mountain bike. I also ride on the road w/ mtb shoes, so ...
    It's not the pedals so much that would be the problem...it's the shoes. Many/most road pedals only work with road shoes because the cleats are a 3 bolt pattern as opposed to a 2 bolt like on mountain bike shoes. Road shoes will not work on the trails. No tread and exposed cleats don't mix well with rocks, mud, and other obstacles mountain bikers face when walking around on the trail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Psycle151 View Post
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  17. #17
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    Re: Road pedals on a mountain bike

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I used clips and straps "back in the day" myself, also on the trails in and around Tucson. It was all I knew at the time so they didn't seem terrible until I tried spds for the first time, and then all of a sudden they did seem pretty horrible.
    Yeah, ditto.

    Well, in Santa Cruz. But otherwise, ditto. Less sucky than using a flat pedal designed for toe clips, without the toe clips. But I'd much rather be on clipless, or on a flat pedal designed to be used that way, by a longshot.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
    It's not the pedals so much that would be the problem...it's the shoes. Many/most road pedals only work with road shoes because the cleats are a 3 bolt pattern as opposed to a 2 bolt like on mountain bike shoes. Road shoes will not work on the trails. No tread and exposed cleats don't mix well with rocks, mud, and other obstacles mountain bikers face when walking around on the trail.
    Right, I was just wondering if by chance he was using spd shoes on the road. No way I'd wear road shoes on a trail. I don't even want to wear them on the road (which is why I do my road riding in mtb shoes!).
    '11 Specialized Enduro Expert for the trails
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  19. #19
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    Where did OP go? He's probably out riding his road pedals on the trail.
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates
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