Speedplay vs Look engagement

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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by Wcl4

I have crazy feet and experience hot spots with various pedal systems. I've found the wider contact area pedals help alleviate this and have been riding look blades. On the speedplay site, they claim with their cleats, they offer a broader area of contact, and so I'm interested in trying them.

Can anyone comment on how easy or hard pedal engagement and release is between the two pedal systems?

Thanks in advance.

by Weenie

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by spdntrxi

if went from look to speed play and back to look.. (road bike) and still use speed play on my MTB.

Pedal engagement- slightly easier with speed play.. mostly because of the 2sided-ness.
Release - for me the look is easier (using Keo Max2 set to easiest ) and grey cleats… probably due to less float then speedplay setup I was using.

Sometimes my toes felt numb with SP..going back to look has helped. Looking forward to getting Look Blade2's soon.

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by SalsaLover

Many of feet (and knee) pain problems are solved with proper shoes and orthotic insoles.
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by Rick

I'm not convinced that cleat-contact area is either the cause or cure of "hot spots"; but Speedplays are definitely the easiest entry and exit.
Within speedplay, the X series is easiest (no force exit); Light action (light force exit) and Zeroes (definite force exists, but still only about the same as the lightest setting on Looks.

That is comparing exit force only. You have to rotate your heel out further on speedplays (except zeroes with restricted float setting). So that may contribute to the perception of relative "ease" of exit.

For me, in the past, "hot spots" were associated with shoes that were a little too tight across the balls of the foot. But I am not sure of the definition. It was not a higher temperature spot, but simply a pain at the center of the ball of the foot.

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by barsook77

Used Speedplay for over 15 years. The toughest thing about engagement is when they are BRAND NEW. Virtually impossible to get into. That said, once broken in and lubed correctly (dry graphite) then you are good to go. Never having to look down for engagement is something you don't miss until you use a different platform! Also, TONS of clearance for cornering. :D
Disengagement? Never a problem on the Zero's. Great pedal with no issues until the cleats wear down and cause some lateral "float".

Never experienced hot spots until last year. Thought it was the shoes and traded them out. That helped.

Just to mix it up for the next build I ordered the Time Xpresso 12. So ... we'll see.

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by cookiemonster

Personally I didnt find Speedplays any easier, or harder, to clip in to than spd-sls (which I guess are the same as looks). Although SPs are two sides I seemed to have had a habit of coming down on the edge of the pedal which would then jam at an angle between the cleat and the base of the shoe. Not a big deal, just lift off, another rotation of the pedals and in again; it happened as often as mishook on an spd-sl

The place where SP's had an advantage though was on rough surfaces, like cobbles, where an spd-sl could go into superspin mode and be impossible to catch the right way up!

I reckon that once you get used to either system there's no practical difference - I definitely don't need to look down when clipping into either SPs or spd-sls (or the keywins I'm currently on, which are a little awkward to get into)


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by Wcl4

I agree that shoes have the biggest impact on hotspots. I have lake wide that have helped a ton. The look pedals gave a little extra over spds. Hoping a larger platform even a little more. Yes I can also get another shoe, but I have spent tons of money on finding a shoe that works and lake has been the best so far. Thanks for responses.

Since speedplay would be a new system for me, would you guys recommend the x, zero or light action? I have ridden look, time atac, crank brothers, and shimano spds all with no problem.

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by sugarkane

Get the zeros. The others are not adjustable and I find the floaty-ness of the x series a bit like dancing on ice cubes.. Not nice when your out of the saddle

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by Wcl4


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by Rick

sugarkane wrote:Get the zeros. The others are not adjustable and I find the floaty-ness of the x series a bit like dancing on ice cubes.. Not nice when your out of the saddle

Again, personal preference; but it is actually when I get out of the saddle that I like the float the most. That is where the angle of the bike is changing with respect to the body, as the bike rocks from side to side. I like the elimination of torques on the knee that the free-float gives.

Having said that, the X series is more slippery than the Zeroes. The zeroes introduce a little more friction. I think the cleats of the Zero/Light Action are more rubust against wear than the X series. I have used all three, but I am now using the LA because I just didn't need to use the adjustability of the Zeroes. I was always running the Zeroes with the adjustment screws wide open except for some experimentations with various degrees of restriction, right down to "no float". I ended up deciding I liked lots of float. I would say that I actually liked the float of the X series the best, but I like the superior wear of the Zero/LA cleats.

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by tinozee

I use the zeros and a lot of other pedals (except look, which I still want to try). I agree about custom insoles and carbon soles. I had pretty bad feet hot spots myself. I thought it was pedals, cleat position, too stiff sole, etc., but it was just a need for good custom insoles. Especially with hot spots (ball of foot, outside pad, etc.), thy can make a depression in the insole that takes the pressure off the hot spot. I'd say quality carbon sole and a perfect insole on any of the top pedals is going to work well for most people. It's like a full platform under your whole foot.

Cookiemonster is right about engagement, they are somewhat tight at first and break in a little after time. But it's nothing to shy away from, if you can ride any clipless pedals you can handle these no problem.

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by nealrab

wcl...I also use Lake wide shoes exclusively and have for over 12 years. I collect lots of models since change in form and design can cause disaster if no other shoe can be found. Too bad you can't try the older Look CX6 pedal. I have collected a bunch of those also because of comfort and in/out ease. I find them incredibly comfortable over longer rides. Never bought into the Keo movement. Maybe try and find some CX6 info just for the heck of it...

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by esfrost

Been riding Time Atacs for the past 5 years now on my daily commuter, and just get a set of speedplay zeros for my new road bike. I just love it. As someone mentioned, its pretty hard to get into them when they are new, but it gets easier as you use them. I love the zero float, it keeps my feet dead straight, and i love that it doesn't feel like i'm on ice skates. The pedals feel great under my feet, very great contact. I don't feel any kind of hot spot, or disconfort with them. Clipping out is very very easy, if you ask me.

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by shoemakerpom2010

Been on Zero's for over 3 years with many cleat changes and recently a shoe change. I can definitely say its a combo of cleat position in relation to the bottom of your foot (forward or backwards) and the shoe you use. Once I had that figured out I never had hot spots again.

by Weenie

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by 964Cup

I'm a long-term Speedplay Zero user. The engagement is IMO much easier than Look/SPD-SL; certainly I get clipped in from traffic lights faster than my riding mates. More importantly, for me, using proper Speedplay-specific shoes (Sidis in my case) the stack height is lower which I think makes for a more efficient action.

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