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Help - clip in pedals/shoes

  • 05-06-2022 1:56pm
    Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭


    I'm a semi casual cyclist (occasionally commute by bike, tend to try get a long cycle in most weekends of 80-100km) and I've so far managed to avoid getting clip in pedals. I was (forcibly) signed up for a charity cycle in August that will be around 300km over 2 days and everyone has been telling me to take the plunge and get clip ins.

    As my own technical knowledge is limited to changing brake pads and fixing punctures, I was thinking of just dropping the bike into a local shop but I got a fairly expensive quote that seemed a bit at odds with the cost when i looked online.

    Would the following pedals be suitable?

    SHIMANO Pedals PD-RS500 SPD-SL pedal, black, One Size, EPDRS500

    My plan was to get a pair of cycling shoes on offer somewhere then but I'll just need to make sure theyre SPD-SL compatible I think?

    Any advice is appreciated!



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,987 ✭✭✭G1032

    Yep. Those are good pedals.

    You'll need Shimano cleats for those. There are 3 different types of Shimano cleats, depending on the amount of float they allow. Yellow Shimano are what I'd recommend. They will give plenty of float.

    You'll need to be careful with your cleat set up though because you're not going to have the freedom of foot adjustment on the pedal which you current enjoy and that last thing you want is to get locked into an incorrect position and end up with knee pain.

    There are plenty of online tutorials about cleat set up which will give you a rough idea of position. Alternatively a good bike fitter will set these up for you for a small fee. I'd be inclined to go for the latter option. Depending on where you're based I might be able to remommend someone.

    Any road shoes you buy will be SPD-SL compatible

  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭kate.m

    I'm in Dublin but I dont mind driving! Id agree it'd probably be worth getting someone else to do a fitting, the long cycle could exacerbate any issues with my set up.

    Looking at the reviews for those pedals they seem to come with yellow cleats, but if they don't google tells me i can get those in decathlon! Thanks a million.

    Wiggle seems to be a good spot for shoes but I'm still looking at some other sites. I like how wiggle has reviews, I'll probably go with the slightly more expensive pair but the shimano ones below are only 80e which doesn't seem too bad.

    Thanks again for your help!

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,640 ✭✭✭Wildly Boaring

    I'd get the slightly better Shimano shoes, with the single boa dial. (Have a pair myself, they're grand, fit pretty true to size, think I went a half size up)

    Couple bits of advice.

    Stick to the cleats with loadsa float.

    Position the cleats as far back as possible to start. And align to make your foot pretty much straight. The float will sort you out

    Main advice.

    Practice unclipping loads of times against a wall or on a turbo. And for the first few rides unclip one foot well in advance of every junction. It will become second nature. But you will learn the hard way at least once and fall very slowly on your side. It will undoubtedly happen in front of people who will find it hilarious.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,690 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    Just to be controversial, if its a charity cycle and its a one off, while clipless are great, they aren't that much better to justify new shoes and pedals for a one off event. Important for a race or events where you might be putting out big power etc. but, in my opinion, have seen plenty of people get by with runners and flat pedals on charity cycles. Unless you plan to use them after, as in not go back to runners and flats after wards, I'd leave it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,987 ✭✭✭G1032

    I wear Shimano myself, mainly because I know they fit!! Just watch out re Shimano that they size on the small side. I'm a 45 in Shimano but a 44 in most other shoes.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭kate.m

    That's fair enough! I think I'll definitely leave them on the bike and still use them going forward, especially for my longer weekend cycles.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,242 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    also, you might want to look at SPD rather than SPD-SL - the clips and pedals are different standards, and are not compatible with each other (though many shoes can take either set of clips). as SPD is double sided, unlike SPD-SL, some people find them easier to use, and some SPD shoes are easier to walk around in.

    the pedals are usually cheaper, and you can also get pedals that are flat on one side and have an SPD mechanism on the other:

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,690 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    I do think they are more comfy for long spins, so if you will keep them, go for it. I use the SPD and SPDSL on different bikes. The former are nicer for walking around if you get the right shoes but the latter, to me are more comfy while cycling as the cleats are larger. Having had wiggle and Shimano shoes, I would choose the Shimano ones, although they are sized slightly small, but not by much. My favourite shoes, which is a hugely personal thing are GIRO shoes but your best bet is to try and get to a local bike shop to try some on (and then buy there if you find ones you like).

  • Registered Users Posts: 876 ✭✭✭byrnem31

    Go spd as you can walk comfortably in them. These to me are the best bang for buck, dead easy to fit with an allen key and shoes will be around 60 quid. So all in for 100 quid you can transform your ride

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,948 ✭✭✭cletus

    If you're going to go SPD, and not get pedals with platforms on one side, or what have you, I'd have to recommend Shimano M520 pedals. They are pretty much bombproof

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  • Registered Users Posts: 976 ✭✭✭8valve

    As above, go with spd if you're starting off.

    Easier to walk on without prematurely damaging/wearing cleats/soles of shoes, as the cleats are recessed into the underside of the shoe's sole.

    Plus you still have the benefit of the stiff sole to transfer pedalling energy to the pedals, over normal runners/trainers with flexible soles.

    Easier to clip out of in an emergency stop, also.

    Most importantly: get them asap and get used to them; you don't want to do a couple of hundred km in new shoes...ask me how I know! Ouch!

  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭kate.m

    Thank for all the advice 👍

  • Registered Users Posts: 54 ✭✭Pomodoro

    Plenty of good advice above! One extra thing I'd add is the fit of your shoe is very important, and different brands / models suit different people. If you can, get to a shop with lots of different brands of shoe.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,567 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Agreed, get the shoes before you get the pedals, fit and comfort is more important than cleat type.

    And the more expensive the better, i was lucky enough to find a pair of half price Sidis when i first went looking which i love. As above took a few spins to find the cleat position that was most comfortable for me, and clipping out needs a bit of concentration the first few times but it soon becomes second nature.

    I have double-sided spd Boardmans, never ridden spd-sl but i do note my mate constantly flipping his pedal over to the correct side before clipping, wouldn't be my preference but i assume that becomes second nature too after a while

  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭Mr. Cats

    If you are going to buy shoes online, Mantel will let you return worn shoes within one month for store credit. I think that you need to pay return postage and there’s a few other T&Cs.

    It might be a decent option if you are very unsure what to go for.

  • Registered Users Posts: 574 ✭✭✭kate.m

    I had never heard of that site! Seems to have everything - thanks for the recommendation!

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,242 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    what do they do with the worn shoes?

    as a bit of a tree hugger, that's a site i'd now avoid (unless there's evidence to the contrary) as my assumption would be they just bin them, unless you can buy pre-worn shoes at a massive discount from them.

  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭Mr. Cats

    I think they do sell the returned shoes at their physical stores.

    Heres the full policy:

    Bought shoes on our website or in one of our shops that aren't as comfortable as you first thought they'd be? No problem! With Mantel's Guaranteed Fit plan you can try your new cycling shoes for 30 days without obligation. If they don't fit well, you can simply send them back or bring them back to our shop. You will then receive a refund equal to the purchase price. This way you can buy other cycling shoes from us that are more comfortable or a better fit. Note: If you order from other countries than the Netherlands, you will be charged return costs when you return an item to us under Guaranteed Fit.

    The only condition that applies is that the returned cycling shoes are still wearable and able to be sold. So, for example, a splash of mud and marks of the mounted cleats are no problem. However, we do not recommend cycling with them on a rainy day or through a soaking wet forest.

    A good way to test this is to ask yourself if you would still buy the used cycling shoes if you spotted them during a sale with a great discount. If the answer is 'yes', there is a good chance that you will be able to return the uncomfortable cycling shoes and receive the purchase price in return.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,619 ✭✭✭MojoMaker

    Pretty good policy in fairness

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 49,242 CMod ✭✭✭✭magicbastarder

    it's just that AFAIK it's standard practice pretty much now in the garment industry to bin returned items - with the obvious caveat that fast fashion is driving where the garment industry is going and there'd be a difference between cycling shoes and fast fashion i guess.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 533 ✭✭✭Mr. Cats

    Yes, it seems fairly unusual but I guess they have a good view on frequency of returns.

    I haven’t used the service so can’t say how strict they are with what is reasonable or not. It doesn’t apply to all shoes on the site either I think, only those where ‘guaranteed fit’ applies.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,200 ✭✭✭JMcL

    Another +1 for SPDs. I'd say for anybody not racing SPD are the way to go - you can walk in them without looking like a constipated duck, and the cleats don't (really) wear out. I got SPD-SLs on a new bike recently after 10 years on SPDs, and I'm seriously considering going back as I'm not getting on with them at all. They're grand so long as you don't have to unclip, but I particularly dislike them when trying to start off in stopped traffic which would be something to consider in terms of your commute.

    The 2 sided pedals others have mentioned are very practical and allow you to just jump on the bike regardless of what's on your feet - you won't do that with road pedals

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,352 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    Like with everything - "it depends" - I've spd touring shoes that pretty flexible soles, and I've xc mtb shoes which wouldn't be that different from road shoes bar the recessed cleat. I do 100km+ road spins in my mtb boots without issue (pedals are cheaper than a second pair of boots!).

    I will say I have no problem jumping on spd or spd-sl pedals for a short spin down the shop, but I do have flat/ spd dual pedals on the outright commuter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,228 ✭✭✭Breezer

    I use SPD shoes made by Shimano with a Gore-Tex lining for water resistance, and the dial mechanism for tightening them up. I really can’t fault them. I had non-waterproof ones with laces originally and even though they look a bit more normal for walking around in, they’ve been in a drawer ever since I got the Shimano pair.

    I’ve Shimano PD-M520 pedals on the gravel bike, which are great and cheap, and a set with clips on one side and flats on the other on my hybrid. If you use your bike for short spins around town or whatever you might want to look at those, so you can wear normal shoes sometimes too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,634 ✭✭✭✭Squidgy Black

    Bought a pair of adidas velosambas a while back, the most inconspicuous spd shoes out there, and they’re not impossible to walk in either since the sole isn’t super stiff

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 24,690 Mod ✭✭✭✭CramCycle

    What are they like to cycle in, was considering them as my next pair of runners

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,634 ✭✭✭✭Squidgy Black

    They’re grand, the sole isn’t as stiff as a regular spd style shoe but I haven’t noticed a massive amount of flex when pulling on the pedals (granted I only use them on short spins and shop runs).

    Only gripe is the sizing, it’s slightly smaller than regular adidas sambas etc, but they don’t come in half sizes

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,280 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    Could also just get pedals with toe clips for a one-off as a slight improvement to just flat pedals.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,567 ✭✭✭standardg60

    Nah, it's time for the OP to take the plunge and go full on ninja, all the lycra, clip ins, owning the road and tackling motorists head on (not to be taken literally)

    Let's face it, most of us would be fairly miffed if our dedication to 80-100k weekend spins was described as 'semi-casual'

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,280 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    I wouldn't choose anything other than clipless myself, but I wouldn't be advising someone to try them for the first time on a 200mile trip.

    Even with maximum float on them he could still do damage to his knee if he makes a balls of setting them up, and can't tell as he's not used to them

    Toe clips will at least help him stay on the pedal and will give him a slight ability to use upstroke. And no issues with getting out of them