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  1. #1
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    Nothing but trouble with SPD pedals

    This is simply a winter riding issue, but often on a fatbike we end up on soft snow that the usual winter cyclist may not.
    I simply cannot keep my pedals clear, My shoes pack with snow and I get such a hard ball of it under my foot every time I have to walk my bike or even just stop for few seconds. Usually it takes so long to clip in that I have to put my foot down again because I can't pedal properly over the next log , dip, whatever.
    My shoes are Diadora, my pedals are Shimano XT M785.

    I even tried leaving my shoes in the cold vehicle, and wore thick wool socks. Am I doing something wrong or missing something? why won't they clear the snow out? Even a pointy stick can barely get the snow off the shoe.

  2. #2
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    I have found that shimano pedals are not very good in the snow. I have had no issues with crank brothers pedals in all types of snow. They clear out much easier even in wet packy snow.

  3. #3
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    SPD's suck in snow. The cleats fill up near instantly, as do the pedals. I go to platform in the snow but other people like Crank Bros or Time pedals for snow
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  4. #4
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    Last winter I had my 50/50's on so at least I could just mash if the wrong side came up, and I guess the platform side helped clear the shoe so I didn't realize how bad it was.
    This year I am having knee problems and usually the SPD help me get more power down so I stuck with them, but the clogging is driving me nuts and not having very much fun. Most of the issues are with riding unfamiliar terrain, so foot goes down even more often.
    I have never owned really nice flats, if this keeps up I may be tempted to buy them.

  5. #5
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    Don't give up on clipless. Try Crank Bros. They work well for me in everything but right around freezing and even then a few kicks usually dislodges the snow from the cleat.
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  6. #6
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    That's why I switched to flat pedals. I know SPDs are more efficient. But I had cold feet, even in winter spd boots and the clipping in/out was a pain.

    I wear Sorels and use the 45Nrth Heiruspecs.

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  7. #7
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    I gave up on SPD's years ago after having to ride 2 unclipped laps in a 'cross race because the pedals were packed with mud. I've used Eggs for the past 5 years and have never had an issue with them. That being said, I also switched to flats for winter riding, because I can wear warmer boots that are easier to hike in. Flats are cheap too. $30-40 will get ones with nice removable pins, without having to be a slave to yet another fat-bike specific part.

  8. #8
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    I have not yet tried my SPD system yet, mostly because I don't want to pony up the $$ for overpriced SPD boots when I have nice keens which work well.

    Also, I ride some pretty soft and tricky stuff sometimes, and really think clipless would be a pita.

  9. #9
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    I love my SPD's, and the cleats will live on my summer shoes forever.

    Winter though? Uh uh. No friggin' way. Used Eggs for along time with good results, but recent changes in the spring design have turned them into spontaneous release machines on hard climbs, and after just exploding out of them on a few under extreme load, I dumped and ran.

    Tried Looks, didn't like them any better.

    Got Time Atacs, and for winter, I'll never look back. I do vastly prefer the SPD's gentle centering effect though, and since I have different shoes for winter and summer, who cares what cleats are on what.
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  10. #10
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    Been using SPD's since the day they came out, never a problem. You could try Time Atac pedals people seem to love them.

  11. #11
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    Super simple solution.

    1. Remove your pedals from your bike.

    2. Place them for sale on Craigslist... Or toss in trash.

    3. Buy new platform pedals and instal them. I have these which are cheap and good. They and many other options can be found here... Bmx Platform Pedals at Danscomp

    Nothing but trouble with SPD pedals-image.jpg

    Now that your shoes don't have to attach to your pedals you can explore a world of options!

    4. For winter, get a good pair of boots. I have these which are good to -4 and with wool socks seem to be warm down to -15, possibly colder. They have a side zipper so easy in and out. Made by Pajar in Canada...
    Nothing but trouble with SPD pedals-image.jpg

    5. This will sound crazy, but in summer you can wear any shoe you like. My ultimate bike shoe is the onitsuka tiger serrano. Like biking in house slippers...

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  12. #12
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    I'm going for one last try before I switch, I'm going to wax the inner part of my shoe including the cleat between the treads.
    Otherwise, I have a fabulous lightweight pair of Kodiak Pathfinders, and flats are plentiful as the city has a BMX park.

  13. #13
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    Try spraying your cleats and pedals with Pam, WD40 or something similar.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinta View Post
    Try spraying your cleats and pedals with Pam, WD40 or something similar.
    Silicone is helpful, too.

    I switched to Blackspire platforms for winter riding, simply because I already have a pair of very warm Merrell hiking shoes and $35 pedals are cheaper than winter spd compatible shoes.

  15. #15
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    I also use flat pedals for snow. Mesa MP's. I am very happy with these pedals and there is abundant room and grip on them for either shoes or even heavy winter boots. They have never clogged or iced up even once. The metal pegs are replaceable and you can choose shorter or longer pegs according to your liking. Where I ride, I need to be able to get my feet off the pedals quickly if necessary. The flats work great.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MendonCycleSmith View Post
    Got Time Atacs, and for winter, I'll never look back. I do vastly prefer the SPD's gentle centering effect though, and since I have different shoes for winter and summer, who cares what cleats are on what.
    Time ATAC FTW. I've used them since the mid-late '90s year-round, never any issue in snow, ice, mud...and my knees appreciate the float. They last forever too...I'm still running my originals on one of my bikes....only just the other day broke one of the retaining clips...not bad for 15 years of use. The bearings are still as smooth as the day I bought them.

  17. #17
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    Was riding spd on everything and ran into a situation similar to yours. Was riding with a buddy in 11deg weather and the pedals would fill up with snow then freeze into icecubes. I had to use a multitool as an ice pick so I could clip in. My buddy was running Time Z strongs with no issues. Bonus is Z strongs have a decent platform that actually feels okay with regular shoes Now have Time pedals on every bike with clipless
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  18. #18
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    I've got an older set of the crank brothers Mallets. I love them because they are the best of both worlds- they've got the huge platform and pins of a regular platform pedal and a crank bros clip in the middle.

    If you don't hit the clip, there's still a giant pinned platform that will grip your boots like an angry badger.

    I switch to eggbeaters in the summer, or at least I try to remember to switch, but I really love the mallets and they aren't that heavy anyway...

  19. #19
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    I had the same problems, so I switched to flat pedals, which I actually got used to and started to like. But when the Wolvhammer shoes came out, I had to try SPD again.

    Try adjusting the tension on your pedals as loose as you can and still clip in. I have found great success like this, and it's easier to unclip in an emergency. To clear ice and snow from the shoe/cleat I just tap the bottom of the shoe on the pedal before clipping in.
    So far I've had no problems and I'm loving SPD in Winter again.
    I'm using Shimano M970 pedals (XTR)
    Last edited by KrateKraig; 02-05-2013 at 07:40 AM.
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  20. #20
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    I prefere using flat pedals with Power Grip toe-staps on my fatbike. They provide about 95% of the retention benefit of clipless pedals but are immune to clogging and they can work with regular (warm) boots. I just cannot ride hard with flat pedals lacking toe clips, feels weird and inefficeint to not somehow be attached to the pedals.

  21. #21
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    Try toe warmers.
    You can pick them up in walmart in the camping section.

    Hopefully they will keep enough heat near the clips to melt the snow so it does not pack in.

    I can't say it will work, but it is cheap and worth a try.
    If noting else, at least your toes will be warmer.
    Just stick it in granny and start grinding.

  22. #22
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    I'm another fan of time or crank bros for winter or super muddy riding. I use SPDs in the drier months but I learned a long time ago they flat out suck in winter or spring.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by kinta View Post
    Try spraying your cleats and pedals with Pam, WD40 or something similar.
    This.

    I've been using wd40 on the sole and the cleat and it seems to work pretty well in the snow.

  24. #24
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    I'm new to SPDs and have already been having this problem. I don't want to go back to platforms so my plan is to mostly suck it up and try to stand on big logs/rocks when possible (not usually possible when you're falling though).
    You can find me in the woods -- playing in the dirt and mud -- on my 2013 Trek Mamba -- or in my 1984 Chevrolet K10.

  25. #25
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    I love my Time pedals. I have been riding the Times for ages. I left my shoes home on a 100 mtb race and ended up having to buy a new pair of shoes and SPD pedals to do the race. I HATED those pedals. It ended up being a muddy race and they cost me a lot of time.

    Anyway I had someone tell me I really need to try XT pedals instead of the cheap SPD pedals. I tried it, and then the first time I went riding in the snow I remembered how much I hate SPD pedals.

    So when I got my fat bike, I figured I would just use platform pedals. But, not being clipped in sucks. I have so much more control of the bike when clipped in, and in icy conditions having feet slip on platform pedals is terrible. Sometimes trying to start up hill in snow requires a lot of effort, and being able to work that full circle makes a big difference.

    I did ride Crank Bros pedals for awhile because they came with my bike. The Crank Bros pedals are a lot like the time and work infinitely better than SPDs easier to clip in and clipping out quickly works so much better. However, with the Crank Bros if I hit my pedal on a rock on the down stroke (not a problem in the snow) then the spring releases the cleat. After doing this enough times I decided I don't like Crank Bro pedals. So I switched back to Time pedals. The Time pedals are easier to clip in and out of than the Crank Bros, hold in just as good, and don't disengage when you hit a rock.

    Overall I love my Time pedals in the summer on my 29er, and they have been perfect on the fat bike in the snow. They clip in every time. The only bad thing I can think of on the time pedals is that the brass cleats wear out, but I am more than happy to deal with that if it means having a pedal that works.

    One more thought. The Speedplay rep was telling me that the Drillium pedals are awesome on snow bikes. I've got a few pairs on order to test out. If I like them I'll add a reply.
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