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Clipless pedals for first time: Look Keo 2 Max, or Shimano PD-R550

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Clipless pedals for first time: Look Keo 2 Max, or Shimano PD-R550

Old 09-20-22, 03:54 AM
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papaki72
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Clipless pedals for first time: Look Keo 2 Max, or Shimano PD-R550

I am about to get clipless pedals on my road bike for the first time in my life (at the age of 50, better late than never). Looking for a budget pair of clipless pedals, I narrowed down my selection to the Look Keo 2 Max and Shimano PD-R550. I can get them at 60 euros (they are in offer) where I live. Which one would you recommend? I will combine them with a pair of Pearl Izumi Road Tour shoes.
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Old 09-20-22, 10:56 AM
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SPD-SL is the standard I'd choose (and use) PD-R550.
Considering the price of Cleats alone, the R550 (with cleats) is a super cheap bargain pedal. I have them on my Wahoo Kickr Bike.

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Old 09-20-22, 12:16 PM
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I like clipless pedals and have been using since 1989

I like the spd-sl but also use spd for commuting or when I need to use a shoe I can walk in a bit (rainy days from bike locker at work to the lobby)

SPD is in general a little easier to get in an out of, but seems a bit less efficient, so depending on your usage spd may be a consideration

your shoes should be able to handle spd-sl or spd
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Old 09-20-22, 12:42 PM
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I would be hard pressed to choose if I were not a long time user of clipless pedals. Back when I started, the only Shimano road pedals on the market were Look clones manufactured under license. So, I started with Look pedals that I bought at a bike flea market for, I think $25. No brainer. These were first generation Looks that used the Delta type cleats. They were great, durable, designed so that you could pull the retention system apart for service, and it was easy to inject new grease into the bearings. They were designed to last almost forever. Later on I tried another couple of systems and gave my Look pedals to my son. He used them for many more years, probably still has them. eventually, I went back to Look pedals when the Keo pedals came out. I got a good deal on them because I was working for a distributor for Look products. I now have 4 bikes with Look Keo pedals. They work great for me. That said, I can see a couple of things about Shimano SPD SL pedals that may actually be better than Looks. I am not about to change over at this point, but if I were starting over I might well choose Shimano pedals. This is coming from a very long time very satisfied user of Look Keo pedals

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Old 09-20-22, 03:55 PM
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My first clipless pedals in 1992 were Look road pedals that took the delta 3-bolt cleat and I used the red version that allowed a bit of "float". They worked well when riding but were a horror to walk in (even with cleat covers), the single side engagement was a nuisance in traffic or town riding and they had a strong tendency to squeak that no amount of oil or was would quiet down. I was happy to replace them.

My next pedals were Speedplay Frog which had a ton of float, were two sided and used recessed cleats. They were very good and light but both the pedals and cleats were expensive and not sold by a lot of shops. They are no longer made so they aren't an option in any event.

I finally settled on Shimano PD-M780 XT-level MTB pedals for my road bikes. They are two-sided, reasonably light, reasonably priced, the cleats are easy to walk in and they are extremely durable. After probably 150,000 miles using them I see no reason to change.
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Old 09-20-22, 08:56 PM
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I used to recommend Looks to riders with smaller feet. I figured the extra width of the Shimano cleat might be awkward off the bike. Otherwise, it's a tossup. I've used both, liked them about equally, but my favorite is Time.
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Old 09-21-22, 04:37 AM
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I had also a look at the Speedplays and Time pedals, but especially Speedplays are more expensive. How much time does it takes for one to get used to clipless pedals?
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Old 09-21-22, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
I had also a look at the Speedplays and Time pedals, but especially Speedplays are more expensive. How much time does it takes for one to get used to clipless pedals?
Most people adapt fairly quickly but it does take a little practice and something you should do for your first attempts on some grass or a soft surface as tipping over at a full stop is one of the most common problems as you try to get a feel for releasing your feet from the pedals. I'll say about Speedplays that they are the only pedals that I can use as they have the free float meaning you can twist your feet a fair amount without any resistance before they release from the pedals. It helps the riders with knees that get sore from being clamped in without enough side to side movement. Something most people don't have an issue with and most mfrs have an optional cleat that gives slightly more movement but something to consider if you find you have sore knees from your new clipless pedals and getting older tends to cause more knee problems.
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Old 09-21-22, 10:09 AM
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Went clipless at age 58 , Look pedals , Shimano road shoes , & Look Delta cleats - took maybe a 1/2 hour to get going with them and then just practice and fine tuning the pedal tension - I'm currently riding with total Look Keo , pedals and cleats but also have Shimano SPD-SL pedals and cleats - disengaging is about the same with each but for me I give a slight nod to the Looks for clipping in .

Good Luck !!
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Old 09-21-22, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
I had also a look at the Speedplays and Time pedals, but especially Speedplays are more expensive. How much time does it takes for one to get used to clipless pedals?
I was a Speedplay evangelist until I realized I was using energy trying to keep my floppy ankles and feet stabilized, because of the unsprung float and narrow platform. Your experience may be different, I favor Time because of the low stack height (foot closer to center of the axle) and a float that pivots differently from Look and Shimano. But they're all great.

I started on toeclips and slotted cleats almost 50 years ago, so in my book any clipless pedal is a cinch. Back in the day we'd all reached down to loosen a strap to put a foot down and fallen over on the side that was still strapped in. I finally went clipless around 1996: Look Delta clones, anything I could get my hands on. The toestraps where hurting my feet. I can hardly keep my feet on flat pedals anymore.
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Old 09-22-22, 01:24 PM
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Started with rat treaps then SPD and SPD-SL now 90% Keo.
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Old 09-30-22, 11:44 PM
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And here I am with a pair of Shimano R550 pedals. First tryout was a nightmare. I fell quite a few times trying to stop. Should I lower the saddle so that I can touch the road with my toe without getting off the saddle? Now I am scared of traffic lights and roads with heavy traffic.
--- Next day edit ---
Being cool always seems to work out things better than expected. The trick to learning these petals is to keep a cool mind. No panic, slow and steady starting and stopping and all is good. Tried again today and it worked out nicely. Carefully, keeping the distances in light traffic and it worked wonders.

Last edited by papaki72; 10-01-22 at 04:41 AM.
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Old 10-01-22, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
And here I am with a pair of Shimano R550 pedals. First tryout was a nightmare. I fell quite a few times trying to stop. Should I lower the saddle so that I can touch the road with my toe without getting off the saddle? Now I am scared of traffic lights and roads with heavy traffic.
--- Next day edit ---
Being cool always seems to work out things better than expected. The trick to learning these petals is to keep a cool mind. No panic, slow and steady starting and stopping and all is good. Tried again today and it worked out nicely. Carefully, keeping the distances in light traffic and it worked wonders.
great! I like to equate clipless pedals to driving a manual shift car. meaning plan ahead. when you see a stop coming up unclip one foot & let it dangle, then when you stop, be sure to lean to the unclipped foot side to put THAT foot down. kinda like rolling to a stop in neutral. learned that after following another rider & watched what he did

another thing I do, is set the release so that even if I forget to unclip, if I try to take a foot off a pedal, it comes off easily, w/o any conscious effort. now that I'm used to them, I guess I can tighten that up a bit ...?

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Old 10-01-22, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
And here I am with a pair of Shimano R550 pedals. First tryout was a nightmare. I fell quite a few times trying to stop. Should I lower the saddle so that I can touch the road with my toe without getting off the saddle? Now I am scared of traffic lights and roads with heavy traffic.
--- Next day edit ---
Being cool always seems to work out things better than expected. The trick to learning these petals is to keep a cool mind. No panic, slow and steady starting and stopping and all is good. Tried again today and it worked out nicely. Carefully, keeping the distances in light traffic and it worked wonders.
Good for you for keeping at it. It just takes practice and most likely with more experience it will become second nature and not something you have to even think about when releasing your foot from the pedal. Your experience is fairly common for people new to clipless.
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Old 10-01-22, 08:53 AM
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Good job for hanging in there. I started a little later in life than you, and with SPD pedals on road bikes, but I am glad I stuck with it. You will, too.

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Old 10-01-22, 02:49 PM
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I started with SPD pedals 22 years ago when I was 50. I fell off a time or two, but got good with them pretty quickly, and have no regrets.
My shoes are mountain bike style, so the cleats are recessed into the soles... this allows normal walking.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:49 AM
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After using flat pedals for about five years, the SPD SL pedals scare me a lot. It takes a few not to loose it when you missed the clip side of the pedal. But other than that I go faster now with a bit of breath still left in my lungs. Walking with these shoes is a problem though. In long rides I will be carrying a pair of snickers in my back pack for walking around, e.g. boarding a ferry.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
After using flat pedals for about five years, the SPD SL pedals scare me a lot. It takes a few not to loose it when you missed the clip side of the pedal. But other than that I go faster now with a bit of breath still left in my lungs. Walking with these shoes is a problem though. In long rides I will be carrying a pair of snickers in my back pack for walking around, e.g. boarding a ferry.
Hate to say this at this late date but you should have chosen double sided Shimano mountain bike pedals and mountain bike shoes. You can walk very long distances in them if necessary…once walked most of a marathon in a pair. There’s really no disadvantage to them over road shoes and being able to walk like an almost normal person is a big advantage.
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Old 10-02-22, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
And here I am with a pair of Shimano R550 pedals. First tryout was a nightmare. I fell quite a few times trying to stop. Should I lower the saddle so that I can touch the road with my toe without getting off the saddle? Now I am scared of traffic lights and roads with heavy traffic.
--- Next day edit ---
Being cool always seems to work out things better than expected. The trick to learning these petals is to keep a cool mind. No panic, slow and steady starting and stopping and all is good. Tried again today and it worked out nicely. Carefully, keeping the distances in light traffic and it worked wonders.
I am glad to see you are getting the hang of it. This thread gives me a lot of encouragement. I have bought two pairs of 3 bolt road shoes and a pair of Speedway Ultra Light Action pedals without (yet) using them for almost 2.5 years. It would have been this summer but for two consecutive foot injuries, one to each foot.
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Old 10-02-22, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Hate to say this at this late date but you should have chosen double sided Shimano mountain bike pedals and mountain bike shoes.
THIS ^^

The mountain-style SPD pedals allow entry from either side. This means you need to wear shoes with cleats, but entry to the pedals is a snap (hahaha... literally), and since the cleats are recessed you can walk without awkwardness or scratching the floor.
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Old 10-02-22, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by sweeks View Post
THIS ^^

The mountain-style SPD pedals allow entry from either side. This means you need to wear shoes with cleats, but entry to the pedals is a snap (hahaha... literally), and since the cleats are recessed you can walk without awkwardness or scratching the floor.
I wish I knew this before. I didn't know such pedals existed! But it is o.k. I am getting the hang of it. A bit slower starting/stopping for now until clipping/unclipping becomes sort of a second nature.
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Old 10-02-22, 10:23 PM
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I'd first look to see which pedal Wellgo copied. (Wellgo in Taiwan, also labeled as Performance, Nashbar and probably a few others.) To me, seeing Wellgo copy a model tells me that Wellgo considers that pedal is worth something. Also that the pedal or the quite worthy Wellco copies will be around a long time as well as the cleats. (Black LOOK Delta compatible cleats are still around, thanks to Wellgo and I cannot tell any difference between the LOOK and the copies outside the fairly recent addition of walking patches on the cleats. I always walk in the covers so that makes no difference.)

Edit: Some of us cannot have float. For us, cleats like the Deltas are a real blessing. (Shimano came up with the SPD-SL I'm quite sure in part because a certain Shimano sponsored racer would not use any Shimano pedals on his bikes, favoring the LOOKs with the black cleats instead. He switched over when Shimano made a pedal that did the same thing.)

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Old 10-03-22, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
I wish I knew this before. I didn't know such pedals existed! But it is o.k. I am getting the hang of it. A bit slower starting/stopping for now until clipping/unclipping becomes sort of a second nature.
This is one form of the double sided SPD, by Coda. I have another pair of these on a Cannondale and found this set recently on C/L, to go on another. I think I paid $25 shipped.
I’ve seen a more square form by Ritchey, and ones that look more like just the mechanism and less frame structure.
Building good muscle memory wont take long. As with lots of disciplines, I feel it’s better to address it in many short sessions over a few days or weeks, rather than fewer long ones crammed into a shorter period. You’ll stay more interested, and have less mishaps due to fatigue, likely building better form in the end.
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Old 10-03-22, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by papaki72 View Post
I wish I knew this before. I didn't know such pedals existed! But it is o.k. I am getting the hang of it. A bit slower starting/stopping for now until clipping/unclipping becomes sort of a second nature.
wouldn't be the 1st time someone switched pedals / shoes, me included (if you decide to switch)
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Old 10-05-22, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
wouldn't be the 1st time someone switched pedals / shoes, me included (if you decide to switch)
Most likely I will. Yesterday I had to go through some heavy traffic and the fear of failing among it took all the fun away.
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