Road bike clipless pedals – how much difference REALLY?

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  • Road bike clipless pedals – how much difference REALLY?
  • stevious
    Member

    As per the thread title. Am pondering the idea of moving from MTB SPDs on my roadbike to proper roadie ones. Have been happily using SPDs with some Specialized shoes (the ones with just velcro) and not found much issue with them, even on long days on the bike.

    Is the whole power transfer thing noticeable? Are there any other magic benefits, other than the ability to ice-skate around supermarkets?

    Oh and if you’re thinking of quoting ‘the rules’ at me, just go on and punch yourself in the crotch instead.

    Premier Icon piedi di formaggio
    Subscriber

    I reckon road shoes are probably a bit stiffer and from what I can tell are nigh on impossible to walk in without looking like you’ve soiled yourself. Personally, I’d just stick with the same on all bikes – I do and means all my shoes fit all my bikes, which is much more cost effective

    If you get on fine with mtb pedals I wouldn’t bother changing.

    I did change, but it was because I was getting sore feet on the road bike and I was advised that the wider platform would help, which it did. Other than the comfort thing (which may be particular to me and my previous pedal/shoe combo) I didn’t notice any difference to performance.

    jeffcapeshop
    Member

    if you do much walking around supermarkets when road riding, stick to the shoes with soles!

    goldenwonder
    Member

    I tried MTB pedals & shoes that took both types of cleats as a compromise, but that lasted about 4 months before I bought some proper shoes & pedals. I found pressure built up too much & caused a sore/hot spot.
    Since swapping no problem at all. Just running the cheapest Shimano SL pedals but carbon soled shoes

    jota180
    Member

    I have MTB pedals on my Winter road bike, really so that I can use my MTB boots.
    When I swap back to Summer kit and pedals, it feels different but not particularly better or worse

    mrmo
    Member

    found road shoes to be more comfortable and easier to get decent overshoes for, but each to their own. Clipless are better than flats/clips etc on the road, the type of pedal is less important than something.

    cynic-al
    Member

    It’s about the shoes – just get decent road shoes.

    stevious
    Member

    Cynic-al – will the road shoes take an MTB cleat?

    globalti
    Member

    Road shoes and pedals are less easy to clip and unclip but give you a really nice stiff flat platform when you’re out of the saddle. As others have mentioned the cleats make walking difficult so road shoes and pedals are for fast road trips where you don’t expect to be walking much. SPDs on the other hand are perfect for touring and stooging around in.

    SPD road shoes are rare; Shimano RT32 and RT82 touring shoes are smooth-soled SPD road shoes.

    The biggest difference is the weight: my Shimano road shows with Keo cleats and pedals are around half the weight of my mountain bike and CX/winter bike SPDs and shoes.

    No, road shoes won’t take a mtb cleat, or at least the decent ones wont. Why would they? MTB pedals belong on the mtb, not on the road (unless you like getting off and pushing up hills)

    brooess
    Member

    Personally I stick with flats on MTB, MTB Eggbeaters and shoes on commuter for quick release, and proper road clipless and shoes for the road.

    I generally reckon there’s good reasons for MTB and Road shoes/pedals being different, so go with it… if a single design was optimal then that’s what manufacturers and all the riders would have chosen surely?

    But if your road rides are relatively short and sensible (sub 40miles) then maybe MTB clipless will be ok. For longer rides and/or pushing yourself, I would expect sore spots and lower efficiency would make you wish you had a proper road setup

    mudshark
    Member

    In the winter I use touring pedals – road pedals with mtb cleats, mainly as I have some decent winter mtb boots I like to use.

    Premier Icon Lifer
    Subscriber

    Changed to road shoes/pedals after hotspots. Now no hot spots is the only difference.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear
    Subscriber

    use MTB on both (eggbeaters) no issues or sore spots at all and I save money and can walk in them. Do something like 300km a week on road bike.

    mikey74
    Member

    No, road shoes won’t take a mtb cleat, or at least the decent ones wont. Why would they? MTB pedals belong on the mtb, not on the road (unless you like getting off and pushing up hills)

    Specialized ones do.

    stumpy01
    Member

    Shimano do some road shoes that take an mtb cleat. Can’t remember what they’re called.

    They were on my Christmas list, but Santa didn’t bring me them. Think they’re about £60.

    Depends on your priorities. A trip to the supermarket would be best on flats.

    Roadie shoes tend to be much lighter and with bigger mesh panels which keeps them cool in summer. They’re also far stiffer. Even racey MTB shoes are probably only on a par with entry level road shoes, that combined with the big cleat makes them feel much more direct than MTB shoes/pedals when out of the saddle.

    Basically they feel better (stiffer, cooler, lighter), but probably nt any faster (until you reach the point where MTB pedals might get uncomfortable after a few hours).

    Premier Icon njee20
    Subscriber

    Specialized ones do.

    Only the cheap ones. Decent ones are 3-bolt only.

    There’s nothing wrong with MTB pedals, but road pedals just feel far better IMO. More stable. Nowt to do with the shoes either – I’ve used S-Works MTB shoes and they still feel horrible on the road.

    jonba
    Member

    I am considering going to all mtb spds. To be honest I can’t tell the difference when riding. I’ve done long rides on both bikes over 120miles so a few hours in the saddle. Ultegra pedals vs xt pedals.

    I think good shoes would make the most difference.

    Premier Icon MSP
    Subscriber

    Even racey MTB shoes are probably only on a par with entry level road shoes

    I think in most cases, the equivalent MTB shoes compared to the road shoes in a manufacturers range will be near identical other than different cleat fixings and a bit more rubber moulded onto the bottom of the sole.

    mikey74 – Member

    No, road shoes won’t take a mtb cleat, or at least the decent ones wont. Why would they? MTB pedals belong on the mtb, not on the road (unless you like getting off and pushing up hills)

    Specialized ones do.

    as Njee said- only the cheap ones.

    If you do loads of road riding you will notice a difference in that the cleat platform (Look in my case) just feels so much bigger. As the cleat wears it doesnt really nmake a difference. The movement in a worn MTB spd cleat seems significantly worse. Also, the stiffest specialized MTB shoes are still not as stiff as top road shoes (my specilaized road shoes are stiffer and my sidi’s are ridiculously stiff)

    Personally I would use spd’s if just commuting under 10 miles but if doing long road rides then (IMO) proper road shoes/pedals definitely feel more stable/efficient.

    Taking Specializeds shoes as an example (numbers are ‘specialized’s stiffness index’)

    S-works road 13
    S-works MTB 11

    The road shoes are always one or two higher through the range. On the other hand ‘stiffness index’ sounds awfully like marketing bollocks.

    kcr
    Member

    Agree with Al, it’s the shoes that matter for performance, and more specifically how stiff the soles are.
    I use SPD for walking convenience when commuting and touring, road specific shoes and pedals to save a bit of weight and maximize stiffness for racing. However, with reasonably stiff MTB shoes, the performance difference is minor.

    Premier Icon Dogsby
    Subscriber

    Rule #34!

    mikey74
    Member

    as Njee said- only the cheap ones.

    Well they’ve changed it in the last year or two then, because it was the majority of the range when I bought some road shoes.

    Specialized Elite Road

    carnac notus carbon-soled shoes for £45 from On One/Planet X, basic shimano R540 SPD SL pedals ~£21 including floating cleats from CRC etc, jobs a good un.

    Got a pair of Notus and they are quality shoes, I’m always been a bit dubious about alleged RRPs on stuff youv’e never seen for sale anywhere before (especially from certain vendors…) but if you compare features and materials ~£150 doesnt seem far out and Carnac have a quality rep and heritage. Heavily vented and come up small, both of which apply to most euro road shoes. Can’t see a whole lot of difference other than aesthetics in most of the shimano pedal range, the 540s are a similar weight to the 105 5700 pedals which are ~twice the price but with a more sculpted body, and the alloy ultegra 6700 are ~twice as much again for what appears to be a different paint job to the 105.

    titusrider
    Member

    I’ve just moved from carbon mtb shoes and matching pedals. New setup is carbon sidi’s and time I clicks.

    The change isn’t mindblowing but it is incrementally better, there is a firmer platform that I notice quite a lot when climbing out the saddle. Again less hotspot issues and look very smart 🙂

    mogrim
    Member

    But if your road rides are relatively short and sensible (sub 40miles) then maybe MTB clipless will be ok. For longer rides and/or pushing yourself, I would expect sore spots and lower efficiency would make you wish you had a proper road setup

    I’ve done loads of long rides (7, 8 hours) with my Time Atacs + MTB shoes and it’s never been a problem – assuming you’re using disco slipper type shoes with a decent stiff sole. That said, I’ve not tried road shoes + pedals, so nothing to compare them to.

    Dickyboy
    Member

    Shimano do some road shoes that take an mtb cleat. Can’t remember what they’re called.

    They were on my Christmas list, but Santa didn’t bring me them. Think they’re about £60.

    A600 pedals – just bought some for my road bike but not tried them for any length of time yet

    http://www.bike-discount.de/shop/a27786/pd-a600-spd-pedal.html?lg=en&country=226&cr=GBP#

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Can’t see a whole lot of difference other than aesthetics in most of the shimano pedal range

    You clearly haven’t looked very hard then!

    The 540’s have a relaitvely narrow profile, like a look Keo Easy. The 105 5700’s and above are all much wider, creating a huge platform to stand on and really alleviate hotspots.

    Proper road clipless pedals do make a difference, it’s just how much of a difference is the question. If you’re serious about road riding, then without doubt you’ll want some and a stiff pair of shoes to go with them. If like me, then I can’t abide having to walk anywhere in roadie shoes with the cleats hanging off the bottom, and I’ve already got 3 perfectly good pairs of MTB clipless shoes anyway. That and one of my pairs of shoes is a pair of MW80 winter boots, which in this country stay on my feet about 6 months of the year anyway, and I AM NOT putting some lightweight vented roadie shoes (even with some overshoes on) to get cold and wet feet for anyone!

    I break a whole heap of the Velominati rules when I ride my road bike, and I can live with it… Whilst I’m never the fastest in the groups I ride with, I’m not the slowest either.

    But back on topic… If you do suffer with hotspots, that’s the biggest difference a pair of proper road pedals and shoes will help out with.

    stumpy01
    Member

    Dickboy..

    Shoes not pedals.
    Most road/mtb shoes only have their respective cleat holes, but Shimano do at least one road shoe with both sets of cleat holes.

    Shimano R064.

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    I’ve got some carbon soled Sidis with a crank bros cleat on them ( road pedals that they no longer make) 2 bolt fixing and £200-ish new. Don’t know if the current ones have all the holes still.

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