Editor’s Note: Some time ago, a Premium Member wrote in to ask if we could update an article we ran in 2011 in which a couple of us on the RBR Crew provided a quick rundown of our favorite tires, and why we liked them.
It was an excellent idea. So good, in fact, that I immediately decided to make it a regular feature – providing a rundown from RBR Contributors on our favorites across the spectrum of components, nutrition, clothing, accessories, you name it. We started a while back with our favorite tires, and today we’ll pick up the series with our favorite pedals.
(Note that for the sake of scope, we’ve kept our choices mostly to what we ride on – or how we equip – our “everyday” or “most-ridden” bikes. Some of us wax on more than others, and some include bikes other than our road bikes.) I’m committed to making this a regular series and will plan to run a different “favorite” each week for the next several.
We also want to hear from readers on your favorites! Join in the fun either by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites (you can always find it in the Talk to RBR section on every page of the site.) We’ll gather up your submissions and run them as a follow-up to this article (and future RBR Favorites pieces).
Enjoy, and let us hear from you about your own Favorites.
– John Marsh
On my road bikes, which see most of the miles I log, I’ve been using Look Keo Classic and Carbon pedals for so long I can’t remember the first pair I bought (I have ridden with be don’t own any Keo Blades). It was an easy choice for me to go with Looks because they’ve worked well for me since my first pair in 1985. Those pedals were one of the first pair of ski-binding-design clipless pedals in the USA, hand-delivered by none other than Bernard Hinault for the official USA launch of the pedals back then. Even with those debut pedals, entry and exit was smooth, easy and positive, and power transfer exceptional. Modern Keos provide the same great performance plus are lighter, lower-profile and even more durable than the originals. Also, regardless of which price-point Keos you choose, you get the same sweet connection.
I’ve always been an ultra racer and tourist, never a road racer. My shortest race was 300 miles. I choose equipment based on comfort, functionality and reliability.
Because of that, I use SPD pedals with MTB shoes; it’s a combination that makes it easy to walk around in.
For my first decade of road riding I used Shimano SPD-SL pedals. Then, after reviewing a pair, I switched to Look KEO-compatible Sampson carbon pedals, which could use any Look KEO cleats (I prefer the “walkable” version, with rubber tips on the 3 corners for better grip while walking). Last summer I decided to try a pair of Look KEO Blade carbon pedals, which allow me to continue using the same cleats I’ve grown accustomed to.
Next Week in RBR Favorites: The Helmets we Wear
I spent my first six years on Shimano SPD pedals (mountain bike pedals) because they came on the used road bike I bought and as a broke college student I couldn’t afford any upgrades. When those pedals finally wore out I bought Shimano SPD-SL road pedals because everyone I rode with used them with no complaints. I went with the 105 SPD-SL’s because it seemed to be the sweet spot of price and weight. Ultegra was significantly more expensive with only a small weight savings.
I learned how to click in efficiently in a couple days and have no complaints about the pedals, the single-sided entry is not an issue at all. The wider platform of the SPD-SL pedals is noticeable and feels much more stable on the road. Living in the Pacific Northwest I have two main bikes that each see about equal riding time, a summer bike and a rain bike. The rain bike has the older alloy 105 SPD-SL pedals and the summer bike has the newer 105 carbon body.
Shimano all the way around – Shimano road pedals on my two road bikes (SPD-SL), Shimano flat pedals on my fat tire bike and Shimano SPD MTB on my cross bike.
Since I am very much an everyday rider, my equipment has changed over the years to reflect my current style of riding. My road bike is a 2005 Trek 520, and the only things that I haven’t changed are the fork and seat post – everything else has been modified or replaced over the years.
A couple of years ago I switched from SPD pedals to Vice VP platforms, and I wish I had made the switch sooner. I really enjoy the ability to make subtle shifts of my foot placement, particularly when climbing.
On my road bike I used to use Look pedals when clipless pedals first came out but switched to Shimano Ultegra SPD-SL pedals a few years ago. I find the cleats last a lot longer with those. I can get at least a year’s use out of a pair of Shimano cleats. On my mountain bike I use the SPD pedal system. On my gravel bike I have Garmin Vector power pedals (which happen to be compatible with the pile of old Look cleats I still have). So I have three pairs of shoes, each with a different set of cleats.
Time RXS. They are getting harder to find and I only know of one other person around here who uses them. I’ve tried Speedplays but found the pressure of the small pedal in one spot made my foot uncomfortable. The Time RXS have a wider platform, decent float and are quick to engage and disengage. I’ve been a happy user of them for over 10 years now.
Tell us about your Favorites by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites.
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.