Index Pedals & Shoes

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Engine Connections

Think of your legs as the pistons driving the crankshaft of a fine automobile from the comfort of an easy chair. Almost sounds like a video game. Ideally your feet are attached to the pedals and the crankshaft has just the right stroke to match your physical needs. Hitching your feet to the drivetrain not only protects you from the dreaded "Leg Suck" it also allows you to rest your legs after a hard climb.

Comfort doesn't end on the seat .

Many years ago someone came up with the brilliant idea that strapping one's shoes to the pedals would allow them to not only push down, but pull up as well. As in all things biking, one thing led to another and today we have umpteen different types of Clipless Pedals, which is considered by many a misnomer.

Clipless Pedals work by clipping your shoes to the pedals. First you'll need shoes that the pedal cleats can screw into and second you'll need the cleats. That way your feet aren't likely to slip off the pedal, hit the ground and slam the back of your calf into the front axle.

Not all Clipless Pedals take the same cleats; which also means not all shoes take the same cleats too. We'll cover 3 of the most common systems.

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD) pretty much set the standard for Clipless systems. First you'll find the most shoes available to fit this design. This design works pretty well and several smaller pedal manufacturers have made lower cost pedals that are compatible with the SPD cleats.

The pedal platforms come in various sizes. Most people tend to find the wider platforms more comfortable on long rides. The Shimano A530 pedals are about $65 and include cleats. They also have high quality bearings that the cheaper imitations skimp on.

On the pedal you'll notice a 3mm hex head screw with - + on either side which is to adjust the spring tension. New pedal springs are generally pretty tight so feel free to back them off when they're new.

For 95% of the riders the SPD pedal system works very well. They have a little bit of float which allows your foot to rotate few degrees at the cleat which is good for some riders. If you need much more float chances are your cleats need to be adjusted in your shoes, or if you have wider hips you may need to spread the pedals a little further apart with Kneesavers.

 

Speedplay makes an appealing looking disk shaped pedal that uses a magnetic attraction to latch keys into slots around the pedals.

They advantage is they allow additional float in a more natural feeling manner.

Speedplay pedals come in 4 styles and start at about $125. Not all shoes will fit the cleats and expect to clip clop when you walk with these cleats.

Popular with the Roadie-chasers and handicapped.

 

Eggbeaters were designed more for Mtn Bikers as the mud-clingingest shoe can still find a way to latch on. MalletDH

The cleats fit nearly all SPD compatible shoes. Left and right side cleats are different so be sure to mount the cleats to the proper shoes before clipping in.

They don't spread the load very wide so your feet may favor shoes with stiff inserts across the ball of your foot.

Lightweight and simple they range from about $100-$300 depending on how much you like Titanium.

Lower priced steel units have been reported to have some breakage problems among the Mtn Bike crowd, but that's not likely to be a problem on a trike.

All pedals have left and right hand threads. The pedal on the right side is right-hand thread. The pedal on the left side is left hand thread.

Biking Shoes like all things biking come in a variety of prices and styles. Most common are the sneaker style Mtn bike shoes that have a recessed adjustable mounting plate for cleats. Mtn Bike shoes have the cleats recessed which is great for those little trips to the grocery store on your trike.

Like any common shoe they need to be sized and sometimes a size 9 is actually a size 8-1/2 & vice versa. We've all experienced that the shoe store. Moreover just like at the shoe store those with wider feet don't have a very wide selection. Wide shoes are have offerings from Shimano, Specialized and Lake Cycling. Buying them from the local Bike Shop or REI is the best way to assure a fit however buying online from Amazon or Nashbar will offer a savings, sometimes significant.

Biking Sandals tend to be a must-have for avid warm weather trikers. Your feet will thank you on those hot days on a ride. Just don't forget to apply sunscreen to your feet!

Road Bike shoes are more like ballerina shoes with the cleats exposed so on those trips to the grocery store you'll clip-clop like a horse down the aisles. These are a must for the weight weenies as they typically weigh a few ounces less per shoe then Mtn Bike shoes. Some have a little more rigidity in the sole and a little more adjustability for the cleats then Mtn Shoes. Its best to buy these at the Local Bike Shop rather then on-line as they tend to be a little tighter and less forgiving on sizing discrepancies.

Many trikers tend to put off the purchase of Biking Shoes until after they've purchased their trikes. Chances are 9 out of 10 you'll be using Bike Shoes within the first two weeks of your trike purchase so be sure to add shoes to the shopping list and trike budget.