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Speedplays and falling

Old 07-09-20, 10:34 AM
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msl109
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Speedplays and falling

Hi folks - question regarding Speedplay light actions and disengagement. Bought a pair a few years back but never got around to setting them up till now. And as I'm looking over the installation instructions I see Speedplay makes it clear the pedals are NOT designed to disengage in the event of a fall. I'm not a pro, don't race and don't need to be locked in super tightly. Having had my ankles saved once by a pair of traditional Looks, this disclaimer about disengagement furrows my brow - one of the main reasons I like clipless is the idea of automatic disengagement in such instances. Thoughts on the issue? Is the warning just there for legal reasons? Would they disengage in a fall as easily as Looks or is the ankle breaking risk higher? If the answer is that they truly do not disengage, then I'll be looking for recommendations for lightweight Looks, I think ... Any comments are very much appreciated!
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Old 07-09-20, 12:19 PM
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I don't understand the issue. You expect your cleats to disengage in the event of a fall if your feet don't move as if you were clicking out?
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Old 07-09-20, 12:30 PM
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They're not ski's. You'll disengage based on your reflexes and angle of the fall. It's got nothing to do with a crash or not.

Getting stuck then broken is a very minor chance. I think sometimes the bike stuck to you shields you from something else.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:45 PM
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Take it from someone who fell for those pedals, stick them on EBAY. Your life will be miserable with those things. From greasing to cleaning, to getting in and out and the way the housing deforms on some shoe bottoms, they are ridiculous.

Looks are better but they will squeak, creak and groan after long. The Look Keo cleat stinks.

Get Shimano 105 or Ultegra pedals and rest easy. The 105's can be bought for around $100 usually.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:47 PM
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I swear by Speedplays, they have really helped with my knee issues thanks to their adjustable float. I have them on 2 bikes, Speedplay Zero's. I had an unfortunate accident on a roundabout 3 months ago, sprained my wrist. The bike slipped beneath me on what I assume was some sand that I had not noticed. Both my feet disengaged and I made no attempt to consciously do this, just happened. Bike survived with only a scratched brake lever and the edge of one of the pedals, no problems with it though.

Speedplays need maintenance, more so in wet, muddy environments but so long as you don't neglect this, they are brilliant. Lot's of idiots who've never used them passing around reliability issues from those who neglected them - bollocks, they are very good and ideal for those of us who need to stop knees from twisting in the pedal stroke.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
Take it from someone who fell for those pedals, stick them on EBAY. Your life will be miserable with those things. From greasing to cleaning, to getting in and out and the way the housing deforms on some shoe bottoms, they are ridiculous.

Looks are better but they will squeak, creak and groan after long. The Look Keo cleat stinks.

Get Shimano 105 or Ultegra pedals and rest easy. The 105's can be bought for around $100 usually.
Utter rubbish With respect, you may not have got on with them because they require maintenance you didn't like to do but they are excellent pedals. There is a GCN video on Youtube that shows how to clean them in a minute or two, easy. I've had Looks and I have XTR on my MTB currently. Speedplays are great.
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Old 07-09-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
I don't understand the issue. You expect your cleats to disengage in the event of a fall if your feet don't move as if you were clicking out?
I keep tension rather loose on Looks (original, never tried Keo) With the tension loose, I'd think it pretty much impossible to stay clipped into Looks with any violent movement. But when I see a manufacturer specifically making a point about pedals not disengaging in a crash, I wonder why they're emphasizing this. That's all that drew my attention to it. Maybe it's the phrasing "not designed to disengage" that I'm taking as "designed not to disengage"
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Old 07-09-20, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
Take it from someone who fell for those pedals, stick them on EBAY. Your life will be miserable with those things. From greasing to cleaning, to getting in and out and the way the housing deforms on some shoe bottoms, they are ridiculous.

Looks are better but they will squeak, creak and groan after long. The Look Keo cleat stinks.

Get Shimano 105 or Ultegra pedals and rest easy. The 105's can be bought for around $100 usually.
I had the first Shimano Look type and never had issues with them, except weight, which is why I moved toward Speedplay. Didn't want to put boat anchors on a Serotta Legend Ti. I realize the new Shimanos are much lighter - will keep them in mind. Wondering what you don't like about the Keo cleats - I had no issues with the original Look cleats *except walking in them, of course) and they were pretty low maintenance.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
Utter rubbish With respect, you may not have got on with them because they require maintenance you didn't like to do but they are excellent pedals. There is a GCN video on Youtube that shows how to clean them in a minute or two, easy. I've had Looks and I have XTR on my MTB currently. Speedplays are great.
Mechanically they worked well but they aren't worth the time or energy for non-racers. I remember having issues with the metal plate and the reason was they didn't fit the bottom of Sidi shoes well so you had to be careful to torque them correctly. So they couldn't design the housing for arguably the most popular shoe on the planet, if not the most respected shoe on the planet?

I have no doubt they have benefits for racers or pros but they don't make sense for even super enthusiasts. I am a Campy guy but Shimano pedals are without peer.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
They're not ski's. You'll disengage based on your reflexes and angle of the fall. It's got nothing to do with a crash or not.

Getting stuck then broken is a very minor chance. I think sometimes the bike stuck to you shields you from something else.
"I think sometimes the bike stuck to you shields you from something else.". Now there's a thought that hadn't occurred to me ...
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Old 07-09-20, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by AlgarveCycling View Post
I swear by Speedplays, they have really helped with my knee issues thanks to their adjustable float. I have them on 2 bikes, Speedplay Zero's. I had an unfortunate accident on a roundabout 3 months ago, sprained my wrist. The bike slipped beneath me on what I assume was some sand that I had not noticed. Both my feet disengaged and I made no attempt to consciously do this, just happened. Bike survived with only a scratched brake lever and the edge of one of the pedals, no problems with it though.

Speedplays need maintenance, more so in wet, muddy environments but so long as you don't neglect this, they are brilliant. Lot's of idiots who've never used them passing around reliability issues from those who neglected them - bollocks, they are very good and ideal for those of us who need to stop knees from twisting in the pedal stroke.
Thanks - that's helpful.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by msl109 View Post
I had the first Shimano Look type and never had issues with them, except weight, which is why I moved toward Speedplay. Didn't want to put boat anchors on a Serotta Legend Ti. I realize the new Shimanos are much lighter - will keep them in mind. Wondering what you don't like about the Keo cleats - I had no issues with the original Look cleats *except walking in them, of course) and they were pretty low maintenance.
I have the old Look delta cleat on my spin shoes but the Keo cleat is not as robust as the Shimano cleat or the old Delta, not even close.

Go Shimano, you will seriously fall in love with those pedals. They look like hell on my Chorus groupsets but they work seamlessly.
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Old 07-09-20, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by msl109 View Post
I keep tension rather loose on Looks (original, never tried Keo) With the tension loose, I'd think it pretty much impossible to stay clipped into Looks with any violent movement. But when I see a manufacturer specifically making a point about pedals not disengaging in a crash, I wonder why they're emphasizing this. That's all that drew my attention to it. Maybe it's the phrasing "not designed to disengage" that I'm taking as "designed not to disengage"
Now I'm curious too. Especially since I've ridden Speedplay for about 20 years. I've had two crashes. One was a minor slide out in a corner when I hit sand. The other was much more serious. A front brake lock up (not of my doing) that sent me face first into the roadway and resulted in a broken neck. On both occasions I involuntarily clipped out. So, I have no idea why they would make that assertion. Do you happen to have a cite?

Last edited by bruce19; 07-10-20 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 07-09-20, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
Now I'm curious too. Especially since I've ridden Speedplay for about 20 years. I've had two crashes. One was a minor slide out in a corner when I hit sand. The other was much more serious. A front brake lock up (not of my doing) that send me face first into the roadway and resulted in a broken neck. On both occasions I involuntarily clipped out. So, I have no idea why they would make that assertion. Do you happen to have a cite?
Google " speedplay installation instructions light action" and a link to the instructions will come up - copied a link here but it didn't seem to work. Look under "basic operation" at the top of the second column on the second page of the leaflet. Sounds like a horrible crash you had - glad you made it through to ride again.

Last edited by msl109; 07-09-20 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 07-09-20, 02:39 PM
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You're going to come out of them if your ankle twists relative to the pedal - it's not like they're going to clamp down on you like a badger.

Speedplays are great - easy in, easy out, adjustable float. Setting them up the first time can take a little work, but you just have to RTFM, take your time and not be a dummy.
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Old 07-09-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by msl109 View Post
Hi folks - question regarding Speedplay light actions and disengagement. Bought a pair a few years back but never got around to setting them up till now. And as I'm looking over the installation instructions I see Speedplay makes it clear the pedals are NOT designed to disengage in the event of a fall. I'm not a pro, don't race and don't need to be locked in super tightly. Having had my ankles saved once by a pair of traditional Looks, this disclaimer about disengagement furrows my brow - one of the main reasons I like clipless is the idea of automatic disengagement in such instances. Thoughts on the issue? Is the warning just there for legal reasons? Would they disengage in a fall as easily as Looks or is the ankle breaking risk higher? If the answer is that they truly do not disengage, then I'll be looking for recommendations for lightweight Looks, I think ... Any comments are very much appreciated!
This sounds like lawyer-speak to me - so saying that they're "NOT designed to disengage in a crash" basically says that "whatever happens happens, but it's not something we did". There's no way of predicting how the pedal will behave in a crash, because crashes are chaotic and unpredictable, so they're washing their hands of any consequence, which is perfectly understandable. If, in the other hand, they had said that the pedals were "designed NOT to disengage in a crash" - same words, different order and different meaning - then if they do disengage in a crash and an injury results, they're open to liability.
Pretty much any pedal system (except maybe toestraps) will disengage in a crash, but there's no way to guarantee that they will or won't, given the unpredictability of crashes, so manufacturers steer clear of making definitive statements one way or another.
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Old 07-09-20, 03:05 PM
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I've crashed many times with my feet strapped in with quality leather toestraps and aluminum cleats. Never injured my ankles except the bony outside from road rash. My concious rule in my racing days was "don't let go of the bars until I hit the road". Served me well. Lots of road rash but I could get up and get back on the bike. Now to get up, I usually had to reach down and loosen the straps. When I crashed in the Stowe race (over Smuggler's Notch), I had to release 4 buckles.
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Old 07-09-20, 04:51 PM
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you rotate your foot heel out to un attach your foot from the pedal.
make sure you do this before you come to a stop.
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Old 07-09-20, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by msl109 View Post
"I think sometimes the bike stuck to you shields you from something else.". Now there's a thought that hadn't occurred to me ...
...and prevents you from jumping up and getting out of the way of something; like that semi-truck that's right behind you. No thanks! I want pedals that'll disengage if I wipe out.

Cheers
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Old 07-10-20, 12:40 AM
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I've crashed with clipless, toe clips strapped in and open flat pedals. No differences in injuries -- too many other variables determine the likelihood and severity of injury, not foot retention or lack of it.

Get the pedals or foot retention type that suits you best while riding and ordinary stopping -- traffic lights, etc. I wouldn't buy based on a hypothetical crash.

I'm accustomed to old school Look Delta but those are terrible for walking, and aren't great for setting a foot down at a traffic light or whenever necessary to stop and go. SPD-SL are very similar but add grippy rubber pads that hold a bit better on sandy pavement and are a little less awful for walking.

Most of my friends use mountain bike type SPD pedals and walkable shoes, or comparable stuff by other makers. They're more sensible than I am.

One friend prefers Speedplay, but whenever we ride and need to stop or walk around, it seems like he's always fighting to clip in again because pebbles jam the works -- especially in damp weather when sandy pebbles stick to everything. Heck, I get that problem occasionally with Look Delta and SPD-SL, but not nearly as often as he does.
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Old 07-10-20, 06:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
I have the old Look delta cleat on my spin shoes but the Keo cleat is not as robust as the Shimano cleat or the old Delta, not even close.

Go Shimano, you will seriously fall in love with those pedals. They look like hell on my Chorus groupsets but they work seamlessly.
I have Look deltas and Keos. I don't notice any difference between the two. I've had the Keos, what, 10+ years, I'm still on my 2nd (maybe 3rd?) pair of cleats. But then, I wear kool covers and don't walk very far in them. And i don't race, so sprinting, with the risk of pulling out, is an infrequent occurrence.

I've never tried Shimano pedals, AFAIK they didn't exist when I got my first pair of Looks in the early '90s. Never had a reason to try another pedal, though since my wife and I got a tandem (and we do some stopping to walk around and look at stuff), my next pair will be Shimano with recessed cleats when I wear out either a pair of pedals or shoes.
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Old 07-12-20, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
...and prevents you from jumping up and getting out of the way of something; like that semi-truck that's right behind you. No thanks! I want pedals that'll disengage if I wipe out.

Cheers
another excellent point.
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Old 07-12-20, 11:24 PM
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I know I have crashed with Speedplays and never had any issues getting out of them. You might not pop out automatically. At what point would you want that to happen exactly? If this was a major worry, maybe you should have gotten zeros.
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Old 07-14-20, 04:24 PM
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Feels like no one mentioned the primary reason for riding Speedplay: frictionless float. The rotational friction is so low, it almost feels like standing on ice. For some people this is disconcerting and weird. For others nothing else is comfortable (I'm one of these). Look and Shimano equivalents have some float yes, but high friction - you set the angle you want, and friction holds it there until you clip out.

This is apart from quantity of float - original X-series Speedplays have huge amounts, later ones can be limited with grub screws, and Look-style cleats have various amounts depending on shape. No, this is about the quality of the float.

If the OP has no idea which they prefer, it's too soon to decide which system is best for them. Gotta put some miles in to find out.

as for the original question about crash release, I have no concerns about any common clipless systems. I've popped out of Speedplays, Looks, and SPDs in crashes, and all were adjusted for the right amount of tension that I never popped in sprints. They all work.
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Old 07-14-20, 08:12 PM
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I been using speedplay pedals for 15 years and it's the same pair maintenance is easy .Never had a problem getting in or out .have replace the cleats
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