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I've been cycling for almost 15 years. I am about to buy my first set of clipless pedals for a road bike, believe it or not. I was looking at Shimano's Ultegra pedals and cleats for about $70. Can anyone explain to me if that's a good price and/or what I should be looking for and spending, for the best value, but also something I can grow into over the years? My riding level is at least intermediate and I currently and intend to ride 50-100 miles a week, including LBS rides, charity rides, and occasional races. I also could use advice on shoes. I know the more expensive they are, usually the better they are, etc. I am also looking for why things are more expensive and what values I should consider if I go outside of my budget.

Thanks,
 

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monkey with flamethrower
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Personally I don't think that the Shimano road or Look style pedal is that easy to learn on. I would recommend a mountain bike pedal, something like the pd970 from Shimano with a nice mountain bike shoe. It'll be easier to clip into and the shoes are actually walkable. You won't lose anything with a mtb setup other than the snob factor that road stuff has.
But if you are set on a road setup I would recomend one of the many Speedplay models or Time pedals. The double sided entry is very nice with the Speedplay although you can't walk around very well with the cleats.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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IndianMillsBoy said:
I've been cycling for almost 15 years. I am about to buy my first set of clipless pedals for a road bike, believe it or not. I was looking at Shimano's Ultegra pedals and cleats for about $70. Can anyone explain to me if that's a good price and/or what I should be looking for and spending, for the best value, but also something I can grow into over the years? My riding level is at least intermediate and I currently and intend to ride 50-100 miles a week, including LBS rides, charity rides, and occasional races. I also could use advice on shoes. I know the more expensive they are, usually the better they are, etc. I am also looking for why things are more expensive and what values I should consider if I go outside of my budget.

Thanks,
You don't say what model Ultegra's you priced at $70, but if they're the PD-6620's it's a great price, but I'm guessing they're the 6610's. The SH-11 cleat offers 6 degree float, which IMO would be a better choice for you right now, it being your first set. The tension is adjustable, but I suppose they're harder than some other pedals to snap in/ out of, but once the learning curve is over, they're fine. It's a matter of choice.

I use Specialized Elite road shoes (about $115) and they are everything I need in a shoe - rigid (partial carbon sole) and comfortable. As you go up in price there are some added features like a ratchet type system for the top closure, but I actually prefer the triple velcro fasteners.
 

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I see this walkability issue raised all the time

It is nonsense. PROVIDING that you have the proper cleat cover for your choice of equipment (I have Look Delta cleats with Kool Covers), been riding them since the 80's and have no problem wearing proper road shoes and walking in cleat covers.

Now if you are talking about walking 3 miles, that is not cycling, that is failure. Again, been riding since the 80's and have never had to walk more than 1/4 mile in cycling shoes.
 

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Agree with you there. The farthest I walk in my Sidi shoes with Look Keo cleats and kool covers is out of my garage to the driveway, into the coffeshop after a group ride, or, if I have a breakdown on the road I can't fix, to the nearest patch of shade where I call my wife on the cell phone and wait for her to pick me up. The latter seldom happens.
 

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Whatever clipless setup you go with, I'd recommend choosing something that has adjustable tension. When you're getting used to clipless it's nice to have them loose until the reflex to clip out is 100% automatic. You can crank down the tension later if you find yourself unclipping while sprinting for town limits signs.

I've ridden Shimano, Look, and Speedplay road pedals, and Shimano, Time, and Speedplay mtn pedals. I've found the Shimanos easiest to get into (both road and mtn). That being said, I ride Look Keos on the road (they're way lighter than Shimano) and Times for my mtn bike (due to mud clearance issues here in the NW), If you have a chance to try some buddies' pedals that may help you decide.
 

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I'd go with an spd type pedal and whatever shoe is comfy and in your price range. Walkability is the #1 reason I like spd pedals/shoes. I run as many errands on my bike as possible. I also like to have just one pair of shoes for my road and mtb. Most modern pedals have decent float and I've never seen the larger platform of look and time road pedals as an advantage. Just get a pair of spd pedals and a pair of mtb shoes that don't look like hiking boots, usually those don't have very stiff soles. I had look pedals for years and always found it a pain to waddle around in them. You'll be happy with whatever you get, but you'll be happier if you get something that you don't have to waddle in.
 

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I also like the walkability of a MTB shoe, though I use Shimano A520 pedals, which is a road version of their popular M520 MTB pedals. For a casual cyclist, as the OP sounds to be, being able to walk around comfortably and safely, is a nice feature. I prefer Shimano's MTB shoes, largely because they have smaller lugs on the shoes than most MTB shoes and look more like a road shoe. I used LOOK pedals for 20 years and switched to SPD type pedals a few years ago and it is so refreshing to be able to walk into a store for a bottle of gatorade, to be able to put my shoes on at the house and drive to a ride, etc. I realize they may not be quite as efficient as race type pedals and shoes, but to me, it's worth the trade off for the convienence.
 

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Scott in Maryland
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I'm more than just a casual cyclist... I try to finish in the top half (barely) of my tri races... and I use SPD mountain pedals (Shimano PE-M540) on all my bikes. This was a great recommendation from my LBS. 540's weigh about 20 grams more - less than one ounce - than a similar Shimano racing road pedal (SPD-SL) and 2 grams more than the top of the line mountain racing pedal. Benefits are than I can use my same shoe for all my rides, and I can walk around in it. If you spin in the gym during the winter, the spin bikes are going to have SPD off road cleats on them as as well. Expect to pay $75 in an LBS or about $60 online. Make sure you put the right pedal on the right side (and left on left). Use an allen wrench thru the back side of the crank to torque them. Then walk around a lot while your buds hobble around on $400 three-hole shoes. Don't buy that baloney that "real cyclists don't walk" and all that. Happy trails.
 
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