Time to Change Road Pedals

IMG_0457I’ve had my road bike for a number of years now.  I don’t really remember how long it’s been – but – the time has finally come to replace my pedals.  I’ve been using LOOK’s pedals (an older model that is no longer made) and have really had no issues with them.  I simply wore them out.

At first, I thought it was my cleat.  I would try to pop my left foot into the pedal – only to find that it wouldn’t click in.  I inspected the bottom of my shoe and there really wasn’t much of a cleat left.  Of course, my local bike shop no longer carried that style cleat – so I thought I would have to wait for them to order one in.  The owner then scavenged around the back room and found some used cleats that I could use (If you ever doubt the advantages to buying local, consider scenarios like this.  It’s why I love dealing locally).

Happily, I installed the new (used) cleats and set out on my next ride.  Before hopping on, I had noticed that left pedal was a bit skewed, so I took a quick moment to pop it back into place.  Instantly, I clicked in and started pedaling.  It was working fine – until I stopped and clipped out of the pedal.  As soon as I went to click in, it didn’t work.  I noticed the pedal was skewed once again.  Upon closer inspection, I realized that one of the pivot points was broken.

So, I’m in the process of reviewing new pedals.  For those who know me, change is really hard for me.  I’m a creature of habit, and even though the thrill of a new product intrigues me, I often fret over the change (even losing sleep).  I’m certain that my cell phone carrier has blacklisted me for all of the times I’ve tried a new phone – only to return it after a day or two because I just wasn’t comfortable with my choice.

If they made the same exact pedal, I’d probably just buy the same one.  Unfortunately, I have to choose something different.  In times like this, I need to force myself to adapt and make the change; however, there are so many options to consider.

The local bike shop reps showed me the new LOOK pedal KEO – and it just might do the trick.  It’s reasonably priced and looks very similar to what I’ve been riding in the past.  I’ve always liked the platform feel of the pedal.  It would be nice, however, to have a pedal that can click in on either side.  That helps avoid those fumbles at busy intersections when I just want to get out of the way of the vehicles behind me.

The Specialized SPD pedal series was also on display.  I use Specialized pedals on my mountain bikes – and they’ve held up well.  The road pedals would probably work, too.  I just don’t know if I should consider a different manufacturer for my road pedals than my mountain pedals.  It’s a silly thought, I know.  Welcome to my mind!

Finally, I was shown the Speedplay pedals – and the reps told me that I would probably want to get the Zero model (priced around $130).  These are a bit pricier, and the small lollipop shape worries me a bit – but it’s a new-and-shiny concept that truly intrigues me.

It does allow clipping-in from either side – which could be a nice change from the past.  The reviews I’ve read are all over the place, though.  Some think that it feels like you’re “riding on ice” as you pedal (even going so far as to say they work better when sitting – and are more “slippery” when standing or sprinting) – which leads me to believe that the curved cleat must rotate a little easier than the “square” cleats of the LOOK.

Currently, my left cleat/pedal combination rotates a little bit now when I’m riding, and I don’t like it.  I like the secure feeling of knowing I’m locked into the pedal.  So, I do worry that it might take time to adjust to the Speedplays.  It appears that there are adjustments to reduce the float, so this may not be as big of an issue as I’m making it.

Finally, the Speedplays look like they take maintenance.  The bike store rep did mention that it was easy to spray some lube into the pedals when needed.  The reviews make it sound like you should do this after every so many rides to keep them working fluidly.  Maintenance just seems to take time – time that I’d rather use riding than maintaining.

A lot of the reviews for the LOOK pedals say they are great for “first time clipless pedal users and/or recreational cyclists.”  Well, I’ve been on clipless pedals for a number of years – so I’m no “first time” user; however, because I don’t really race, am I a recreational cyclist?

A lot of the reviews for the Speedplays say that they are for the “more serious cyclist and/or racer.”  Hmmmmmmmm…..  I know I’m no racer – but do I consider myself a “more serious cyclist?” (Yes.)

I guess I can consider myself a “more serious recreational cyclist.”  So I’m not really sure where that leaves me.  As I review what I wrote, It appears that I would probably be better off going with the LOOK pedals.  They’d be the closest thing to what I have now – and there would be less of a learning curve for me (both my wife and my best friend would appreciate this).

What pedals do you ride – and – do you have any suggestions for me?

2 thoughts on “Time to Change Road Pedals

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