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School me on pedals and shoes

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

School me on pedals and shoes

Old 07-21-19, 10:24 AM
  #1  
hammer down
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School me on pedals and shoes

I'm going to give a couple new disciplines a shot: cyclocross and gravel. I picked up a crux on the used market but I'm a little lost on pedals and shoes. Is there a pedal and shoe combo that I could use for both gravel and cyclocross racing? I'm assuming I can't just use my road set up due to the mud, having to get off the bike and carry it, etc.
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Old 07-21-19, 11:07 AM
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Any MTB pedal and shoe combo will do you fine, pick what suits your eye and wallet the best. I'm one of the seemingly very few that doesn't like Shimano SPD, so I have to look elsewhere. A lot of folks like Crank Brothers Eggbeaters/Candy, but I don't like those either.

Most "good" MTB shoes will have bolt-on front studs for better grip in muddy conditions. My Giro Code Techlaces have a very stiff sole, but are super comfortable and can easily be walked in.
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Old 07-21-19, 11:15 AM
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I like spd compatible mtb shoes w flat soles but you might like the ones w knobby edges for better grip for worse terrain than I ride for pedals there are lots of choices but Iíve been happy with big platform types with the cleat on just one side
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Old 07-21-19, 12:55 PM
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Maybe not your thing but if you look to platform instead of clipless consider a trail runner with a pinned pedal. The runner has knobbies like an mtb tire and sits in place well on the pins.
I use this combo off road as I also trail run and love the capabilities and comfort of the shoe but I don't race cyclocross so..?
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Old 07-21-19, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by hammer down View Post
I'm going to give a couple new disciplines a shot: cyclocross and gravel. I picked up a crux on the used market but I'm a little lost on pedals and shoes. Is there a pedal and shoe combo that I could use for both gravel and cyclocross racing? I'm assuming I can't just use my road set up due to the mud, having to get off the bike and carry it, etc.
Shortlist for multi-use that are well reviewed. Any of these will take a licking and keep on ticking:

-SPD, say M9**0 or 8**0 (cleats are cheap, can get them anywhere; and are rebuildable easily at any shop. you can abuse them and they'll work)
-TIME ATAC (Like SPD, but with more float, not as common out in the boonies)
-Speedplay Frogs

There are other options, but they aren't that common in the wild either due to being new, or just plain expensive compared to the above Old Faithful:
-Look (Just saw them listed...not cheap, kind of an SPD LOOK-A-Like yuck yuck yuck)
-iSSi (another SPD look-a-like)
-Speedplay Syzr (not cheap, also can get clogged with crud)

Mention to Crank Bros....because it'll come up....IMHO they're a great race-day pedal for CX due to shedding mud; but durability long term is frequently a gripe (either the bearings got to crap, or the X-wing cracks, or both). Your shoes need protector plates--as the pedals shred soles otherwise.

Last edited by Marcus_Ti; 07-21-19 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 07-22-19, 07:07 AM
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Absolutely love my SPD pedals/shoes, so much easier to use than the SPD-SL pedals on my road bike, and you can actually walk in the shoes. Get mtb shoes, the road SPD shoes don't usually have much, if any, tread on them. I went with Shimano XT Trail pedals and they've been great.
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Old 07-22-19, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
Mention to Crank Bros....because it'll come up....IMHO they're a great race-day pedal for CX due to shedding mud; but durability long term is frequently a gripe (either the bearings got to crap, or the X-wing cracks, or both). Your shoes need protector plates--as the pedals shred soles otherwise.
I 've had my Eggbeaters for 2 years now and I can confirm that the bearings do wear out fairly quickly. However they make a kit to replace them and it's only about $25 CDN and takes less than an hour and you don't have to take the pedals off the bike.

They did mess up my Garneau shoes but my Mavic Crossmax's seem to be holding up well. When you buy the Eggbeaters they come with protection plates.

Best thing I like about them is that clipping in and out is a breeze. Just put your foot on them and roll it forward. Easy peasy.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:12 AM
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I've been using CrankBros Doubleshot 3s for quite a while and love them. So much so that they're on mt trail and gravel bikes, as well as on the GFs cross bike.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:13 PM
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I've been enjoying Frogs for about a year, very easy to get in and out. Then I went on a 100 mile gravel ride this weekend and there was one little muddy patch. I had to put a foot down to get through, and my cleat kept popping out of the pedal for the last 50 miles. First thing I did this morning was put SPDs back on the bike. I hate to put 3 pairs of perfectly good pedals into the parts bin, but if one little dab in the mud is going to cause that much havoc, they are not the pedals for me. I've resisted SPDs for years, but it's time for me to admit that they just work.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:22 PM
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SPD or Crank Bros. Done.
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Old 07-22-19, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I've resisted SPDs for years
Why??
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Old 07-24-19, 09:40 AM
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shoes with boa are kind of nice (typically not cheap though).
https://www.boafit.com/en-us/cycling


Gravel and CX are basically the same - you need to be able to hike a bike - although good shoes will have removable spikes so you can run up that muddy hill...
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Old 07-24-19, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I've been enjoying Frogs for about a year, very easy to get in and out. Then I went on a 100 mile gravel ride this weekend and there was one little muddy patch. I had to put a foot down to get through, and my cleat kept popping out of the pedal for the last 50 miles. First thing I did this morning was put SPDs back on the bike. I hate to put 3 pairs of perfectly good pedals into the parts bin, but if one little dab in the mud is going to cause that much havoc, they are not the pedals for me. I've resisted SPDs for years, but it's time for me to admit that they just work.
I've been using Speedplay Frogs for over 2 years on my gravel bike and never had any issues with mud preventing clip in/ clip out. I'd go back to flat pedals before going to SPD.
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Old 07-24-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by scotton View Post
I've resisted SPDs for years, but it's time for me to admit that they just work.
Clogged with mud, half worn out, tired rider with bad form - doesn't matter. Just slam your foot down and they click. They are ubiquitous for a reason.

The only time people seem to have a problem with them is when they buy the wrong cleats. Sometimes people get multi-releast cleats thinking they are single release or vice versa, or don't know the difference and get the wrong kind for their riding style. Mostly its aggressive riders who get multi-release cleats and pull out or people who like to ride to bars with single-release cleats and fall over because unclipping requires more coordination.


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