Decided to post my own adventures here on this wee topic. Up front, going to go ahead an say that I basically agree with Cal, certainly as far as Shimano vs Time are concerned.
1. Speedplays. Used them for 2 years. Thing is, float really is great. I had an issue with knee pain on Shimano 105s before, and it's gone away as soon as I switched to Speedplay. I now actually think that this might have been actually stack height and not float (so just need to put the seat higher), but still experimenting, and TBD. What I like about speedplays:
- Float and stack height. Both are miles better than anything. Stack height is around 11.5mm for 3-hole mount shoes. That's 2mm better than Shimano/Time and 3mm better than Look. That's 2mm off seat height, and therefore a somewhat more comfortable position.
- They are totally user serviceable. This is in the negatives column as well though, because they need a LOT of service
. But you can take these things apart, clean, re-grease, reassemble, replace bearings if you have to (the latter can be harder).
- You can buy them in Cro-mo and them buy a bunch of Ti parts for them. So I first swapped the spindles. Then I also bought Ti bolts and bow ties on ebay. All generally fine. I also got some Ti cleat bolts (the ones that fix the shim). Net result: pedals weighed 138g, and the aero walkable cleats with all hardware - another, wait for it, 142g. Sheesh. Light, but total system weight is basically like Dura Ace, for a whole lot of extra effort.
- The aero walkable cleats are actually the best of the lot for walking, unless you really go into the mud. Better than shimano.
- Pedal and cleat are really low profile together, and yeah, probably a bit more aero than Dura Ace. But, come on: talk about a truly marginal
- Clipping in is a breeze, because they are double-sided, and pressing the shoe down will mean that the hole in the cleat and the pedal naturally find each other.
The negatives are well known. These are very
high maintenance pedals. Bearings can go bad after riding in a intense rain (that rubber ring "seal" does not really do that much). They can develop clicking noises, which are hugely difficult to get rid of. And the damn rocking. That hit me just recently for the first time, and, man, that is not like float at all and really, really wobbly, and just not what I want the pedal to do. Got me thinking about how much energy I was wasting just keeping my feet level. That, coupled with the fact that simply to replace the plastic body (all I need, since I have all the other parts) is 80 quid, if you can find them or more, and I just HAD it with these things. Off I went in search of a less capricious and still comfortable. Have I mentioned that if you loose one of them plastic covers for the aero cleats (which I have), then it's more expensive to replace than the whole set of shimano cleats? Yeah.
2. Shimanos. The thing about these, is what everyone else says:
- They are bulletrpoof and just work. You know these will last for years, with zero maintenance
- Yes, the cleats are great for walking. Plus cheap to replace and widely available.
- They always hang the right way up
- The float is less than Time and does not come close to Speedplay, but 6 degrees is actually ok. At least I did not find Time to be a revelation compared to Shimano on this metric.
- least float;
- stack height is 13.7mm per spects - they could have done better by just using a thinner cleat!;
- weight. DA spec is 228g but I weighted two samples at 240g. Plus cleats - total is 310g. You can do better. Although you can also shave off 10g from cleats by buying Ti bolts and washers on Ebay.
3. Time. I bought and tried a set of Xpro 12. Fully agree with everything Cal said about them.
- Yes, cleats are terrible to walk in -really the worst design, and it's shocking that they could not make them less "stacked".
- Aero - indeed, "give me a break": they are much more prominent under the shoe than Shimano, let along Speedplays.
- Yes, they don't always hang the right way.
- The float did not blow me away. It's ok. I mean, sure the foot can move a bit more than Shimano, but overall it's a pretty marginal difference in feel.
- No, clipping in is not, IMO, any better than Shimano. Like Cal, I did not "notice" the iclic, and actually missed it a bunch more times while testing than I ever did with Shimano. Maybe I am not used to them, maybe I am doing something wrong, but I just don't see this as a selling point.
- The whole design just seems so much less robust than DA. A lot of plastic, much of it exposed - I expect these to get scuffed in daily use pretty badly. No idea how the bearings will last either: maybe as long as Shimano, but nore likely not.
As for weight: I weighed the pedals at 195g (7 grams over spec) and at 285g with cleats all the hardware. So minus 15g over Shimano (after Ti mod).
Decided in the end that I was not impressed with the float or the weight differential over the Shimano enough to overcome the negatives. Returning them and will be riding Shimano unless knee pain returns and then will just have to go back to Speedplays.
Missing from this list are Look Keo blade carbon Ti. I weighed these at 200g for the pedals alone (10g over spec). Did not weigh the cleats/hardware, but spec is 62g, so should be overall the lightest package in this price bracket. But I decided to not even try these because of the 14.7mm stack height. They need to do better on that score.