Best clipless pedals for a long commute with stops?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Best clipless pedals for a long commute with stops?

    Hi everyone, new here.

    I just moved up to the Stanford, CA area for a short-term project. I'm commuting from Mountain View over to SLAC, a distance of about 8 miles. So far the best route I've found still has plenty of traffic and stoplights (I probably stopped 20 times this morning), plus a few mild hills. However for the long stretches and hills I would really prefer to keep using clipless pedals, plus it's my tri-bike and I don't want to have to switch pedals out.

    I currently have LOOK pedals (it's kind of an old bike) and it's clear that this is not going to work for this commute, as it's murder on my knees to constantly clip in and out so much, and the shoes are really impossible to walk on. Last night I had to walk my bike through a tunnel under the CAL train and slipped and fell pretty hard.

    My background is basically triathlons and long bikes out in deserted parts of Texas. So this "style" of biking is kind of new to me. I would like the following:

    (1) pedals that are pretty gentle to get in and out of (so, probably adjustable)
    (2) shoes that one can walk in without looking like a clown/making noise/falling down
    (3) a pedal system where if you miss cleating in, you can still catch the pedal pretty easily (currently on my bike I have problems with this, especially starting on an incline!)

    I have used SPD before on a bike team where we shared bikes, they seemed ok. But I have also been recommended these "Time" pedals - supposedly used by bike couriers? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Yup Shimano SPD's and any of the many MTB shoes consider something for colder weather as well....ie less vents.

    Also a track stand at a light is fun

  3. #3
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    Either the SPD's or the Times will be fine. Personally, I like my Time Aliums.

  4. #4
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    Cheap SPD's adjusted to be pretty loose. Check out Wellgo or some of the other cheap options. millions of shoe options, inexpensive,..win/win.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
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  5. #5
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    Try the Forte MTX Pedals from Performance; about $40. SPD clip on one side, Platform on the other. Then get a pair of comfortable MTB/Touring Shoes; REI has a nice selection. That way you're good to go with with or without cleated shoes, and even when you're wearing shoes you can just choose not to clip if the lights are too close together......or you clip one side and not the other.

  6. #6
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    Some good suggestions here... thanks metamorphic for the tip about REI and the flip pedals. I am pretty comfortable with SPD so that may be the way to go.

    Do people even use LOOK pedals anymore? Or is it just my impression they don't?

  7. #7
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    I LOVE my basic Time ATAC Aliums for commuting. Kinda heavy, but reasonably cheap, and they work great. Once they (and the cleats) break in a little, it's a piece of cake for my uncoordinated self to snap both feet free at the same time in a 1/2 second, yet they stay in very well, no matter how hard I crank on them.

  8. #8
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I've never used LOOKs...but they are still fairly popular I think They make some killer carbon blade road pedals that are serious commuting overkill.

    I had the Forte' MTX pedals way back before Forte' existed, when they were called the Performance "campus" pedal. I used them for years and always liked the concept and the, well, performance They were a cheap solution to a common problem. I'd definitely recommend them if you might use the bike in a non-biking shoe. I wish I had pulled them off of the bike they were on when I sold it.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  9. #9
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    For ease of clipping in and out, I have always been partial to crank brothers "eggbeater" style pedals. Mountain Bikers love them because they allow clipping in even in heavy mud. Serious roadies seem to dislike them because they allow a lot of float. They make clipping out super easy. The attachment for your shoe is about the same size as the SPD attachment which makes it very easy to walk, especially if you wear mountain shoes.

    I ride with Crank Brothers Candies which have a small platform around the clip which means if you miss clipping in you can just continue to pedal away until you get your foot situated.

  10. #10
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    I used Shimano SPDs in the past and they started to rust after getting wet on my commutes and other riding. Towards the end they became more and more difficult to clip in and out of. (This could have been because I did not properly "maintain" them)

    On my new build I went with Egg Beater IIs and so far they are buttery smooth clipping in and out.
    "I have one speed. I have one gear: Go." -- Charlie Sheen

  11. #11
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    If you're going to be doing a lot of walking on your commute consider an SPD shoe with a fairly standard sole. These are a few examples. The flat treaded sole of a shoe like these makes it easy to walk or ride clipped out on top of a SPD pedal..

    Shimano MT42
    Wiggle | Shimano MT42 SPD Multi Purpose Cycling Shoes Offroad Shoes

    Northwave Rocker
    Wiggle | Northwave Rocker Touring Shoes Offroad Shoes

    More aggressively soled MTB race shoes are good in mud but the soles are often too stiff to be comfortable if you have to do extended amounts of walking. Their tread isn't that suited to walking on tarmac either.

    For pedals Shimano SPDs are good because they allow you to adjust the release tension. If you put some wet chain lube on the springs from time to time it keeps them working smoothly. The pedals come with cleats included.

    Shimano M545 (or M424) pedals have a built in cage making it easier to ride clipped out
    Wiggle | Shimano PD-M545 Free-Ride Pedals Clip-In Pedals

    Shimano M520 pedals are cheap
    Wiggle | Shimano PD-M520 Pedals Clip-In Pedals

    If your current pedals are hurting your knees when clipping out try an alternate technique - bring your leg to the bottom of the stroke so that your knee is straight and then twist the pedal inwards to release. If the knee is straight then you can use the strong muscles in your hip and upper thigh to unclip the pedal. Twisting your heel inwards to release (instead of twisting your foot outwards) can reduce the strain on your knee when unclipping also.

  12. #12
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    I've used Time ATACs for ages and I really like them.

    Be warned, though, they have a pretty wide stance. SPDs run a bit narrower, I think. If you care enough about aerodynamics to get a tri bike, maybe you care enough to want a narrow Q-factor too. It probably makes a bigger difference than presence or absence of a tread on your shoes. So having a pair of casual MTB shoes as described above and a racy pair would be a good, if somewhat expensive, combination for commuting in greater comfort and not swapping out your pedals to compete.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  13. #13
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    For commuting, you want a pedal system that is going to be practical and efficient. If you go with a softer soled commuting shoe you lose efficiency, but you gain comfortable walking. It depends on the distances you want to walk. If your just looking for something that you can walk on for short distances then a mountain biking shoe would probably work best. As someone already mentioned they are pretty stiff but have enough tread where the cleat doesn't hit the ground and if you miss clipping in will still grab on to the pedal. I use Lake MX235 with speedplay frogs and on concrete the cleat touches occasionally but on all other surfaces their fine.

    I have two recommendations.

    1) Speedplay frogs - they are easier on the knees and are easy to get in and out.


    2) Shimano or any manufacturer that makes the regular cage pedal with an SPD clip-in (WR304 also recommended these).

  14. #14
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    Loving my Shimano M530 (same body as the m520 but with the added outter shell of the XTR trails) and they weren't to expensive. However, I am looking at a pair of these shoes for work as they got pretty good reviews recently from Bikerumor/Radar (dont remember which).

    Men's Shoes - DZR

  15. #15
    One Colorful Rider
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    Shimano SPD. 505's 515's 520's

    I have a pair of 515's with 10,000 + miles plus on them
    I have a pair of 520's with 7,000 + miles on them riden in winter months only

    been riding Shimano spd's since 1992

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    I've never used LOOKs...but they are still fairly popular I think They make some killer carbon blade road pedals that are serious commuting overkill.

    I had the Forte' MTX pedals way back before Forte' existed, when they were called the Performance "campus" pedal. I used them for years and always liked the concept and the, well, performance They were a cheap solution to a common problem. I'd definitely recommend them if you might use the bike in a non-biking shoe. I wish I had pulled them off of the bike they were on when I sold it.
    The MTX is actually different that the Campus. The campus is more of a basic bear trap pedal while the MTX is more of a DH pin platform unit.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by emmiesix View Post
    Hi everyone, new here.

    I just moved up to the Stanford, CA area for a short-term project. I'm commuting from Mountain View over to SLAC, a distance of about 8 miles. So far the best route I've found still has plenty of traffic and stoplights (I probably stopped 20 times this morning), plus a few mild hills. However for the long stretches and hills I would really prefer to keep using clipless pedals, plus it's my tri-bike and I don't want to have to switch pedals out.

    I currently have LOOK pedals (it's kind of an old bike) and it's clear that this is not going to work for this commute, as it's murder on my knees to constantly clip in and out so much, and the shoes are really impossible to walk on. Last night I had to walk my bike through a tunnel under the CAL train and slipped and fell pretty hard.

    My background is basically triathlons and long bikes out in deserted parts of Texas. So this "style" of biking is kind of new to me. I would like the following:

    (1) pedals that are pretty gentle to get in and out of (so, probably adjustable)
    (2) shoes that one can walk in without looking like a clown/making noise/falling down
    (3) a pedal system where if you miss cleating in, you can still catch the pedal pretty easily (currently on my bike I have problems with this, especially starting on an incline!)

    I have used SPD before on a bike team where we shared bikes, they seemed ok. But I have also been recommended these "Time" pedals - supposedly used by bike couriers? Any suggestions?

    Thanks!
    Road bike shoes/pedals are great. For road biking.

    For commuting where you're getting on and off the bike, a mtb shoe and pedal are better. The recessed cleat and actual sole are much better to walk on. Walking in road shoes with cleats is sketchy on tiled floors or sidewalks for that matter. Oh, and double sided pedals!

    I personally wear mtb shoes and Time ATAC pedals that have a larger platform. I think they're for DH/All-Mountain but they're great for commuting. Nice large platform that I can pedal if the cleat doesn't home in a "click" into the pedal. Also great for pedalling around with normal street shoes for a short distance.

    And a good route from the SLAC off 280 to Mountain View:

    -up to Junipero Serra Blvd which turns into Foothill - longer stretches between lights and nice wide bike shoulder that many area cyclists use.
    -then cut north onto Arastradero, El Monte or Grant depending on where you're going in Mountain View

    If you need to stop off for a beer, food, etc into town:
    -Bryant St between downtown PA and Mountain View (only up to Charleston Ave) is a designated bike route (read very light traffic)

    El Camino and Alma suck to ride. Same with Middlefield.
    Amolan

  18. #18
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    I've tried shimano spd's, time roc atac's, and crank brothers eggbeaters.

    My favorite is the Time Roc Atac's as well.

    The spd's cleat clicks and clacks when step off the bike more than the other two kind of cleats do.

    I didn't like that eggbeaters reputation for poor durability, not a problem with the other two.

    Also didn't like that when clipping into the eggbeaters I couldn't tell by feel when I clipped in, had to pull up for just assume that it worked - again, not a problem with the other two.

    Spd's aren't terrible, they're way better than some road pedals, but when you walk through gunk the time's and eggbeaters have a better reputation for just working afterwards where the spd's get gummed up. I'm winter biking with snow and stuff so it's important to me though. Spd's are fine in everything short of walking through mud, I've read. But eggbeaters and time's work fine after walking through nasty mud, to. Just one less thing to worry about.

    There were some other things I didn't like about the eggbeaters but they mostly related to mountain biking.

    I personally really like my Time Roc Atac's.

    P.S. Personally I do not like the "one sided" pedals with a clip-in on one side and a flat platform on the other. I can clip into 2 sided pedals (after some practice) without even looking down, so I'm not screwing around looking down at my pedals at an intersection when I need my head up. Other people say that if your foot lands on the platform side you can just pedal across but with the hard plastic soles on my mountain biking shoes I did not find this to be the case, hard plastic against metal was very slippery. I also felt like the soft soled commuter shoes were hard on my knees when riding vs my hard soled regular mountain bike shoes.

  19. #19
    jrm
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    flat pedals w/ toe clips

    is an option that allows you to get more power to the pedals while being able to wear regular shoes.

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