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Pinkbike Poll: What Do You Look For In a Clipless Pedal?

May 3, 2024 at 14:12
by Matt Beer  
Dak Norton - Yoshimura pedals
Yoshimura is latching onto the idea of clipless pedals.

Not much more than a decade ago, there were only a few players in the clipless pedal market. Shimano, Speedplay, Crankbrothers, and Time each use their own system to connect a purposely designed shoe to a spring-loaded binding of sorts located in the pedal body. Now, there's a plethora of pedals to choose from. One of the most ubiquitous systems in the world of clipless mountain bike pedals is the Shimano Pedalling Dynamics (SPD) interface.

If you aren’t totally aware of how clipless pedals work or why they’re beneficial, you’ll want to check out Ben Cathro’s “Science Behind How Pros Clip In” insights first.

In terms of features and sizing, the pedals vary from a robust platform with grippy pins around them, while others are so svelte they look like they’re missing pieces, depending on the riding discipline.

The SPD system, as it’s universally known, offers adjustable degrees float between the pedal’s clip mechanism and a steel cleat bolted to the specifically made shoe. This requires the rider to connect their foot to the pedal by pushing the leading edge of the shoe into the mechanism first - toes first.

For riders’ new to clipless pedals to find the connecting sweet spo, they’ll often resort to sitting down on the saddle or placing the pedals at 6 and 12 o’clock in order to unweight the foot which needs to connect. On smooth, flat terrain, that’s not usually an issue, but try that on a difficult trail and you might end up getting bucked off the bike or striking the lower pedal.

Time Speciale review
Time Speciale 12 is an enduro pedal with a firm hold and fixed cleat position.

Similarly, but lacking any float or lateral positioning in the cleats, Time’s parallel, spring-loaded bars connect in the same fashion. A machined ramp on the platform aids locking into the pedals. Like the SPD system, this requires the rider to precisely place the cleat behind the forward latch, but not behind the rearward latch. On their newer models, the tension in the spring is adjustable and traction pins are found around the platform.

photo
The retired Shimano DX model was coveted by SPD fans. It featured a plastic platform that was spring-loaded at a lower angle and rotated on the axle independently from the clip mechanism.
Shimano Saint SPD review
Shimano has since simplified the SPD system by bolting the spring mechanism to the platform. For better or worse that fixes the clip mechanism in place, parallel to the pedal body.

Hope Union TC pedal review
Hope Tech has also entered the clipless market with three platform sizes. They appear to run on the SPD system, but in fact use their own proprietary cleat.

photo
Crankbrothers Mallet DH features their exclusive and unique Eggbeater mechanism to clip in.

Another popular take on connecting the rider’s feet to the bike is Crankbrothers Eggbeater system. This uses a patented design featuring a four-sided spring-loaded mechanism which rolls 360 degrees around the axle, independent of the platform, something no other clipless system allows for.

A key benefit here is that the rider can place their foot on the pedal with the cleat in front of or behind the Eggbeater and slide their foot in either direction to connect. That’s something that no other clipless system can achieve.

One downside is that the spring retention system has more of an even tension on the cleat throughout the rotation. The tension also isn’t adjustable. For riders accustomed to SPDs, this can feel vague as the tension does not build before the cleat releases.

Crankbrothers’ and Time cleats are also formed from brass to slide on the springs easily. The compromise is that the slippery material is also soft and therefore wears faster than steel, which is most commonly used in most SPDs.

Durability, security, and user friendliness are the most widely contested characteristics. Each one has pros and cons, but once a rider draws enough experience from a system, it’s rare for them to switch from their preferred “clip” type.

Which system do you find the easiest to clip into?


What's the toughest one to clip into?



What Do You Look For In a Clipless Pedal?

Select all that apply.





How often do you change your cleats?

(measured in days of riding)



Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
388 articles

254 Comments
  • 223 4
 I generally look for it to say "Shimano", followed by "XT", and possibly "R" as well if I'm feeling like I have extra money.
  • 85 1
 ^^ This is the correct answer. I have SPDs from like three hub standards ago that still work great.
  • 25 20
 And where is "100% consistent release?" under "What You Look For?" In low-speed tech, only Shimano guarantees release w/ tactile feedback at consistent point in rotation. Even w/ CB cleats Dremeled to mimic Shimano's release angle, I had so many simple, low-speed dab situations in rock gardens turn into crashes that I scrapped my CB pedals. Didn't even want to give them away to anyone I liked, IMO they're simply dangerous.
  • 44 9
 @powturn: maybe, just maybe, they werent dangerous before you dremeled the shit out of them?
  • 14 1
 @powturn: I actually have the same issue. I have eggbeaters on my xc and road bike. I sometimes have trouble getting out of them quick because they feel sorta "gummy" and I can't tell when my foot is going to actually come out. Made me fall a couple times when I need to dab in a hurry. I have SPD's on my Enduro and they pop out with a nice click at the same angle every time.
  • 10 3
 @vemegen: Nope, they were even worse because you had to rotate your foot twice as far. CB lack of consistency & defined release point is widely documented issue, and evident to anyone who has ever tried them back to back with SPD. Wasn't for lack of trying either: like @loganbeck I stubbornly spent over a year trying to modify my technique & then CB's sticky brass cleat b/c I wanted to run Eggbeaters on a road bike and Candies on an XC bike. Gave up over a decade ago, and have had zero failure-to-unclip crashes since.
  • 7 0
 I don't know why I can't twist my leg enough to get out of Crank Bros but I will twist my foot as far as I can and it still wont release unless I also rotate my hips. When I tried Crank Bros for a couple days I ended up getting MCL/ACL pain from the twisting forces on my knees. No problems like that at all on Shimano.
  • 8 0
 Must say SAINT!!
  • 3 0
 @powturn:
EXACTLY!!!!!
  • 5 0
 @timinger: I have some from 4 speeds ago!! M-535 (LX) from 1994. When Shimano went from 7 to 8 speed they introduced LX and bike shop employees could get a discounted price for an almost complete group. Hubs, crankset, STI shifter/brake lever, brakes, cassette and pedals. Best $200 I every spent. Those pedals though, 38,000 miles, no rebuild (if I took them apart, they would never be the same) and have pretty much been 100% retired, but if I had to, I could use them.
  • 5 0
 @timinger: I have spds from 3 decades ago that I still use.
  • 2 0
 Evidentially most people don’t understand the meaning of the word float when used in the context of a clipless pedal. It’s got nothing to do with how ‘stuck to the pins’ your shoe is, It refers to free movement in the cleat. Look at the CB website, their standard cleats are advertised as having 6 degrees of float. This doesn’t mean your shoe slips about it just means there’s 6 degrees of variety as to the angle your foot can sit on the pedal.
  • 1 0
 Posted the above on the wrong bit
  • 1 0
 Just changed from 785s to 8120, after 12 years, due to chunks of metal missing. Good stuff
  • 1 0
 @dividebyzero: Try pointing the Tip of the cleats towards your big toe
  • 91 12
 I'll never understand the cult following crankbrothers has given their irregular feel, lack of adjustability, and horrible durability
  • 19 2
 I lasted about 50 miles on crankbrothers before I gave them away and bought some spds.
  • 18 2
 Having owned Time, SPD, and Crankbros pedals over the years the only ones I've ever broken are the Crankbros, 3 demolished pedal bodies and 1 snapped spindle. Switched to Shimanos years ago. XT M8020's just will not die.
  • 9 2
 Crank Bros are kinda sick when they are new. Unfortunately they only seem to last a year or so before they start getting unforgivably sloppy.

I have ridden them for over a decade but just bought HTs this year because I broke 2 spindles in the span of a year. All I got was a "well this doesn't normally happen".
I'm hoping the HTs hold up better. When you have to rebuild crank bros they are never the same again.
  • 20 12
 Crankbrothers products are complete garbage
  • 1 0
 @chrod: What pedal was the snapped spindle on? The old ones used to snap/bend them all the time but I can't find anyone else that has snapped the newer ones.
  • 14 0
 @chrisclifford: synthesis wheels are pretty bloody good.
  • 10 0
 My (least) favorite thing about Crankbrothers is when you bash a rock and it unclips your since it's all one spring. Surely a bigger problem with Eggbeaters than their platform pedals, but still. Never got to the durability problem since that behavior was a hard pass for me. I have a set (2 actually) of 747 SPDs still going strong. They don't clear mud as well as the updated design, but they work just fine otherwise. 30 years old. I use the current XTR pedals on my everyday mountain and gravel bikes though.
  • 33 1
 CB mallets feel fundamentally different to me in that your foot is actually pressed onto a platform. I've tried to set up saint SPD pedals with multiple different shoes and was never able to get close to sitting on the platform, so it just felt like I was balancing/swiveling around on the cleat. I suspect I'm not far off with thinking there's a fundamental difference given that every single DH racer not locked into some sponsorship deal is using crankbrothers

I'd love to be wrong, I'm not thrilled about spending nearly $200 on pedals with no tension adjustment that wear out relatively quickly, but I haven't seen anything that could be a viable alternative to the mallet DH
  • 17 1
 Does a cult following ever make sense? I run CB on everything and I can’t tell you why but wouldn’t run anything else
  • 6 1
 @chrod: the old cb stuff was pretty bad. New stuff is much better, not Shimano level yet, but what is? If I could get spd reliability with cb feel underfoot and mud clearing I would use those things forever. For now I take the feel over the reliability. My main pedals are Mallet E with the long spindles, on the third set of cleats without opening either pedal. Ride rain or shine. Honestly I wish my rear shocks lasted as long as my cb pedals…
  • 4 1
 @1000paces: similar issue is what caused me to move away from my old Time pedals. Why have clip ins if a rock strike causes you to pop out. Loved the way the pedals felt while pedaling though
  • 8 0
 @chrisclifford: I really like their m17 multitool
  • 3 3
 My Mallets are 6 years old. They have 800 or so days on them and have been rebuilt once. What the hell are you talking about?
  • 9 4
 @Kookfest247: Its still 2010 in the minds of "crankbrothers sucks" guys. The wounds caused by unreliable early dropper posts heal very very slowly I suppose
  • 5 0
 @tornare: I had 2 pairs of 2020 stamps break at the spindle. Its possible they still make stuff that breaks.
  • 3 1
 The biggest problem with mallets is that the bails can spin within the platform. It means the part your cleat engages with is in a slightly different place every time. I never did figure out how to consistently get into those pedals. No issue whatsoever getting into shimanos, times, etc.
  • 3 0
 @Kookfest247: Mine were 4 years old, 3 of those years spent in a box with one rebuild when the spindle snapped. The other set was 1 year old with no rebuilds when the spindle snapped. They do not sell replacement springs, which causes the pedal to be useless when it wears.

I really like the feel of them but I'm taking a break until it is proven that replacing $50 spindles at 6 month intervals is not preventative maintenance.
  • 9 0
 @tornare: Totally, I run CB mallets for the same reason. I could not get on with the SPD Saints that I tried first because I could never get my shoe to actually contact the bloody platform. I'd happily ride different pedals if I could find some that gave the same "flat pedal" feel while still being clipped in, but I haven't found that pedal yet.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: not sure what you mean. Rock strikes won’t cause the time pedals to unclip, by design the two sides are independent.
  • 3 0
 @tornare: have a look at the Hope Union pedals, gravity version. You can install shims on top of the platform, making them concave like a Mallet DH, but with the durability and predictability of Shimanos
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: Same same.
  • 3 0
 @tornare: this is my experience as well. I love how CB mallets feel like you are on a flat pedal, and I hate how SPD feels like you are balancing on the mechanism. However, I have had difficulty getting out of CB pedals and crashed as a result. I even bought some 250 dollar Shimano shoes hoping for a better shoe to pedal interface than I had on my 510s, but find I still float above the pedal platform
  • 3 1
 lol, Because your shoe sits on the platform of Mallets, Hence why shimano sponsored riders use them....
they dont have a ice skatey feel like a SPD, especially shimano's version.

Durability? Had my mallet enduro's for 2 years, no issues.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: I’ve broken shimano xts and by far the coolest thing about them are the availability of spare parts.
  • 1 0
 @mtmc99: Are there any pedals that don’t do that? My Shimanos are worse than my Times in that regard.
  • 1 0
 I have E-mallets or whatever they are called on mountains, candies for trail and commuting and SPD for spinning. It's no big deal. I've run same pedals for years without any issues. The biggest upside with SPD is that you can actually jump on friends bikes to try them as SPD is so much more common.
  • 3 1
 CBs give the most locked in feeling. Fewer blowouts. As previously mentioned you don’t feel like you are floating or swiveling on top of the cleat.

Another biggie not mentioned is that their brass cleats protrude less from the shoe. Way better for hike a bike sections. SPDs feel like walking on a bottle cap.

Spent many years on SPDs, Times, CBs. All of them. XTs and Times were super durable. CBs performed best for me by far.
  • 1 0
 I hate the auto release function. Scrape a rock or stump and the mechanism sticking out the bottom of the mechanism catches and releases your foot.
  • 2 0
 It’s about mud. I used to run shimano pedals and had many race runs ruined because my shoe and pedal packed with mud, which made it so I couldn’t clip in. Cb doesn’t pack and is reliably decent vs shimano being sometimes great sometimes unusable (especially in race runs)
  • 1 0
 @e-loop: CB definitely beat SPDs in the mud. I just can’t get past the brass cleats and terrible reliability. SPDs last forever
  • 1 1
 big fan of mallets
  • 1 0
 I first tried crankbrothers and have not tried any other clips, and have learn to live with the CB. Change cost money and time, and at this point I don't want to spend money on different combo and try to find the setup that works for me.
  • 1 8
flag lucaj (Jun 2, 2024 at 1:58) (Below Threshold)
 CB are the only ones with actual float, the only reason I use them. I generally choose Shimano products for all my bikes, but need that float. Also tried Time pedals, less knee pain than Shimano’s but not as good as CB’s for me. Wish Shimano’s had actual float, they’re so much more durable.
  • 7 1
 @lucaj: not sure what you are referring to as 'float' but my foot on CB has zero float, my shoe is against the platform = Why DH pro's use them.
Shimanos? They have oodles of float, I've tried Nearly every shimano made SPD including other brands and they all move around so much because no platform.
  • 3 6
 @HeatedRotor: float refers to how much lateral movement the cleats allow before unclipping. It has nothing to do with the platform or lack thereof on a pedal
  • 1 6
flag lucaj (Jun 2, 2024 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 @HeatedRotor: Yeah as 'chrisclifford' said. Float refers to how much in the way of degrees of free movement there is without the cleat 'trying to release'. Shimano and Time pedals allow some movement, but it's not float as the cleat still wants to centre. Standard CB cleats have 6 degrees of float and a 15 degree release angle. I think Time have in the past (like 10 years ago) incorrectly used float to mean release angle in their marketing
  • 1 5
flag RonSauce (Jun 2, 2024 at 7:40) (Below Threshold)
 @abzillah: the cost of crankbrothers cleats adds up and quickly become more expensive than some pd520 pedals
  • 5 0
 @chrisclifford: which is even crazier, My shimano's have heaps.... quick turn of my foot on my mallets and my foot pops out, verse wrenching my foot around on shimano's.
I really dont understand this arguement, Shimano's have heaps of free movement vs mallet when both setup correctly, is it that everyone isnt using these systems correctly?

'float' - move or hover slowly and lightly in a liquid or the air; drift.
exactly what shimano's do with the icy skatey feel.
  • 1 6
flag lucaj (Jun 2, 2024 at 15:37) (Below Threshold)
 Evidentially most people don’t understand the meaning of the word ‘float’ when used in the context of a clipless pedal. It’s got nothing to do with how ‘stuck to the pins’ your shoe is, It refers to free movement in the cleat. Look at the CB website, their standard cleats are advertised as having 6 degrees of float, it’s a selling point. This doesn’t mean your shoe slips about, it just means there’s 6 degrees of variation as to the angle your foot can sit on the pedal.
  • 2 6
flag matyk (Jun 2, 2024 at 15:57) (Below Threshold)
 I had a spindle failure on a set after about 100 miles. The threads snapped off and the body slid right off while attached to my shoe. Exact same thing happened to a friend, but the jagged spindle sliced his shin open and required 15 staples. I won't even consider buying a crankbros multi tool.
  • 1 0
 @juanmenendez: the alloy synthesis was the fastest i ever went through an alloy rim...haven't had the carbon though.
  • 4 0
 @matyk: there’s a lot of CB fan boys who don’t seem to like any criticism (perceived or real) of their chosen pedals! Down votes are rife!
  • 3 2
 @lucaj: Fan boys of anything are really quite fragile, especially when they choose to support junk like crankbothers.
  • 1 0
 @RonSauce: yes. I do some Alibaba cleats and I console myself that I don't car commute after buying yet another set of Candy 1s for $55CAD.
  • 1 0
 @beestrangler: heh heh...just you wait!!
  • 1 0
 @collintimmermans: Looking forward to hearing about whatever you're teasing haha
  • 1 0
 @matyk: I must be fragile then for having good results with crankbrothers pedals. dang maybe i should sell all of them for shimano now because of your comment...
  • 1 0
 @brycemcl: wow. Interesting. I had them on a crestline and another set on a repeater PT and been bombproof. They are the e-bike version though.
  • 1 0
 @CobyCobie: the snapped spindle was on a Mallet - so at least 5 years ago, probably 2-3 years old at the time.
Good to hear that the new stuff is much less snappy. Your theory seems to be holding up.

The other issues were - bent pedal arms on Eggbeaters / Acids, just seemed like they didn't handle rock strikes very well, being a bent wire or cast loop vs. a forged plate like the good SPDs are. Hopefully those are fixed. And an Acid pedal body cracked near the outer edge at the bearing seat
  • 2 0
 @brycemcl: I've ridden the Synthesis Carbon wheels since January and they've held up as well as my Hope alloy rims, which I loved. Better than E13 LG1+ EN's though that's not a high bar Wink

The Synthesis carbons have taken a lot of abuse so far, a half-dozen bonks from sharp-edged rocks that would have dented my old alloy rims; I was sure I'd see a cracked rim and hear the hiss of a pinch flat, but no issues, and no visible damage. I like CB's warranty plan, have read good reviews of their customer service, and so far it looks like I won't have to take advantage of it. :fingers-crossed:

The Synthesis carbons also don't "feel" like a carbon rim to me, that is I don't notice a difference between these and an alloy rim in handling or harshness. A good thing IMO - slightly lighter, bulletproof so far, good handling, and no comfort compromise. If they hadn't come on the bike I wouldn't have bought them. But given their benefits, and the fact that second-hand carbon wheels without transferable warranty sell for under 50% of MSRP, I'm keeping them. Hopefully for many seasons.
  • 59 1
 I know this was a while ago but still really happy that pb added a "just want to see the results" button to polls
  • 26 0
 Agree. Flats for me, but I'm clipless curious.
  • 5 0
 Missing the option of “no clip mechanism”.
I was clip curious, I resolved it by going back to flats.
  • 2 1
 Seems like you've been heard. The option is there now in the poll. Riding flats too indeed.
  • 7 1
 indeed, especially when you haven't tried all the systems in order to give a rational overall opinion.
  • 2 0
 @mountainyj: That was the option I was hoping to find lol.
Yeah, I did clipless a couple of times here and there. If I was going to race xc, sure I'll install a set of clipless pedals for the day, otherwise I'm heels down on a pair of Diety deftraps.
  • 32 6
 Traction pins are just odd. They can't engage your shoe when you are clipped in or it would make clipping out super difficult. The only situation where they could help is if you weren't clipped in... who the hell is riding not clipped in? You have bigger problems if you can't clip in, it's really not that hard. If you are struggling to clip in, maybe it's because you have pins that are catching your shoe making it more difficult. Seems more like a fashion thing than something that actually does something for you. Convince me otherwise.
  • 39 2
 They are for those oh shit moments, when for insert reason here> your foot becomes inclined before navigating something like a rock garden or steep descent.

I know I've used mine. Sometimes you are actively in trouble and don't have time or whatever to get clipped in again.
  • 9 0
 They seem like they're there to draw the clip in curious crowd away from flats
  • 2 0
 I took mine out, they just make the float awkward and if your not careful, they can cause a half-clipped in scenario.
  • 10 0
 I appreciate them on the CB Mallets. I can certainly feel them while descending and it adds some confidence compared to my past experience on basic SPD's where I would always get the "balancing on marbles" sensation
  • 1 14
flag justinfoil (May 31, 2024 at 13:01) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah, if you even look at many of the pics in various shoe or pedal comparisons, most soles curve up, or are just held up by the clip mechanism, such that the rubber is barely touching the pins, if it's even touching at all. If you're not racing to put dinner on your table, and thus don't need the extra security of maybe blowing a foot in the heat of a maximum effort moment, do yourself a favor and just ride flats. Your knees and ankles will thank you. Your fellow riders will thank you, both for not clickity-clacking about getting clipped back in every time you stop, and for not getting completely wrecked in even a minor crash because you couldn't bail and run it out.
  • 1 1
 @Canadmos: How does your "foot become inclined"?
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: Inclined to be unclipped, I reckon.
  • 7 0
 I'm not sure... I run the HT X2 pedals and when my foot is unweighted the sole of my shoe doesn't contact the pins, but I know that when I'm in rough terrain, or especially during high g-force corners the sole of my shoe flexes into the pins and creates a confidence-inspiring locked-in feel. There are grooves/indents in the sole of my shoes to prove it. But I also turn my feet a lot while cornering, to the point that I'll unclip myself out of SPDs, so I can't run them. For me pins are a must, otherwise I'll just run flats.
  • 5 0
 Traction pins are great when not clipped in. I always clip in for trail rides. For a casual cruise with the family, I don't clip in, and the pins provide plenty of bite with any shoe I happen to be wearing. SPD's without pins are pretty miserable to ride when not clipped in, regardless of platform size.
  • 6 0
 @justinfoil: some feet have weak morals and integrity and are easily influenced.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: sorry, I failed to proofread my comment before submitting.
  • 1 0
 Yeah agree, they're actually pointless. I used to always put the pins in Saint pedals. Then I once did a ride where I put a new set of pedals on and in a rush I forgot to put the pins in... Miles better!
  • 2 0
 You can set the height just high enough so they don't bother you in clipping out but still be able to feel like you're standing on a solid platform
  • 1 0
 I have a few pins on the flat side of my one sided spd's so I can ride in regular street shoes and not absolutely slam my junk into my top tube.
  • 25 0
 30 years on shimano spd system

- tuff as nails
- easy to adjust
- spring is on the back of the cleat not the front , imo has a more natural clip in feel …..Like a ski binding
- even the spindles don’t bend
- can literally get replacement cleats any where

Down side . Needing a special tool to properly service the spindals
  • 13 0
 The special tool (TL-PD40) is annoying but at least it's super inexpensive. But the higher-end pedals don't use that tool; they come apart with an ordinary 17 mm spanner.
  • 9 0
 @barp: ya was just trying to find a down side to be honest
  • 2 0
 @mxmtb: Haha, fair enough!
  • 5 1
 Main downside of some models is the spindle unexpected loosening up and roasting the bearings. Channel lock or vice grip pliers work in a pinch.
  • 9 0
 This was such a wholesome exchange for the internet.
  • 2 0
 I prefer the spring loaded front and rear of og 737s, you can clip in without having to go toe first, just press down .
  • 1 0
 @kingbike2: I went back to some old 424s w the spring thingy. Definitely easier to clip in.
  • 4 1
 Been using SPDs since they came out, but gave up on them because not enough float. I tend to twist feet/ankles a bit and had too many bad timed unclips (?). I switched to Time ATAC in 1995 and never looked back. Easy to clip in/out, 13/17° float, almost indestructible and pretty affordable.
  • 1 0
 @CamNeelyCantWheelie: the Saints, at least the first model years, were guilty of that. I went through a couple of sets that would come undone through a ride and toast the bearings. Always replaced under warranty, but by the third time I replaced them with XTs
  • 1 0
 @cool3: agreed on the float of the ATACs. Used them for over 20 years but last year I bought a pair of ATAC 10s and I found the platform not to be stable under foot. Switched to XTR’s a couple mounts ago and they are vastly more stable but the lack of float is terrible and most noticeable on big log overs where I’ve come unclipped and crashed. Thinking of going with the Speciale’s which I presume have a more stable platform. Are you on these or the plastic ATAC’s and does you foot roll on the Speciale’s?
  • 4 0
 @Superburner: I use both the plastic ATAC MX's and Speciale's. I find both to be very stable. They solved my unclipping problem from the SPD's.
  • 1 0
 @Superburner: I have 3 pairs of ATAC (carbon and carbon-ti) from before the XC series, but I'd like to try the Speciale, especially (!) for fatbiking, when those clips are packed with hard snow and you need some traction...
  • 20 0
 I purchased some replacement discount cleats and was SHOCKED at how poorly they performed vs. shimano cleats for SPD pedals. The price difference was like $2, don't buy cheap cleats.
  • 2 1
 Yeah, but that $2.....
  • 11 0
 Shimano Shimano Shimano
Cheap as chips they work and they bloody indestructible!!!
When the apocalypse finally happens an the surface of the earth is cooked into a nuclear desert... Eons and eons into the future alien archaeologists will find a working, fully functional set of SPD pedals an shoes & marvel in wonder & awesome at what this mechanical device from billions of years into the past could actually be for.......
  • 3 0
 I’m still running a pair of low-end SPDs that I bought new 23 years ago one of my bikes. A bit of rust and a ton of scrapes but they still work perfectly
  • 10 0
 I change cleats when I start unclipping involuntarily all the time. Well... roughly a month after that starts to be a problem.
  • 8 0
 In our household we’re all still rocking Shimano DX pedals. They work well and last forever. The resin body seems to shrug off damage better than their metal counterparts and they don’t dissolve when they come into contact with bad weather like CB Mallets.
  • 8 0
 I'll try another a system besides Shimano SPD when my current pedals wear out. I bought M520s eight years so please run this poll again in 2030.
  • 11 3
 I like to first make sure it’s a flat pedal
  • 7 0
 *learner pedals Smile
  • 2 6
flag iamamodel (Jun 2, 2024 at 3:47) (Below Threshold)
 @IllestT: Disagree. If you can't ride flats, you can't ride.

Learning to ride on flats will improve your clipless riding.
  • 4 0
 Ease of release is actually the most important feature for me (that doesn't mean prone to accidental release). Crank Bros requires WAY too much twist for me to be able to get out of the pedal, even with the cleat angle cranked I couldn't twist my leg enough to get out reliably. Shimano release feels perfect, it holds your foot in reliably so you don't accidentally unclip but if you give it a firm twist youll get out with minimal motion.

I would like to try other brands like Time but pedals are too expensive to just buy and hope they work.
  • 3 0
 I use the egg beaters on my gravel bike but otherwise ride flats, 20 years of foot out riding can’t be undone that easily, full props to those who can ride flat out on DH courses whilst being attached to their bike, I tried for a few rides last year and it was hilariously terrible
  • 4 0
 % of WC pros on some sort of clip is fairly high I think.
  • 4 0
 Really high possible spring tension. I'm on Look X-track En-rage (what a dumb name) and they have the highest adjustable tension I've found in a pedal that still takes a Shimano cleat.
  • 1 1
 I've switched to X-Tracks, they're great. Newer Shimano's wobble in short order (and needle bearing adjustment be damned). Meanwhile I have some dinosaur Shimano's that will probably never die. What's up w/ that?
  • 1 0
 Been using en-rage plus for two months now, really liking these.
  • 3 0
 I was always on flats until two years ago. Got crank brothers enduro pedals for my son and I. I ended up not really liking them, primarily because the pedal bushings and cleats both wear quickly, and foot stability relies on changing out the height of the outriggers on the pedal body, which changes as the cleat wears and requires taking the pedal apart.

We’ve since switched to SPD.
  • 10 5
 Can we collectively decide to accurately name these pedals? Call them clip-in pedals!

Flat pedals are clipless! (and superior - LOL)
  • 1 0
 trudat any day! and yes, traction pins for clipless (flat) pedals!
  • 3 0
 @thomasjkenney1024: Considering that the first successful design was from ski company Look, I could get on board with this.
  • 3 0
 I call them clip-ins. Interestingly, a 16 y.o. female BMXer I sold a bike to called them clips. Like me, she said that she rode flats and clips. Oops, I said clips! Maybe toe clips need to change to toe cages.
  • 2 0
 As a german speaker, I always call them click-pedals.
  • 1 0
 @Pussyslayer: Yup, and the shoes you have to wear, you can tap dance with them and make click-aty-click sounds on any hard surface with or without the cleats! You can turn into Fred Astaire and go dancing in rain instead of getting splattered in mud!
  • 3 0
 Almost had my right leg amputated due to a 10mph fall while using my favorite Crank Brothers mallet enduro pedals.. 2 years later and Massive reconstructive surgery now has me on Shimano SPD SH53’s because they actually will release if your right foot is in the 9 o’clock descending position with one’s heal very near the chain stays unlike CB‍
Very tough lesson to learn……
  • 1 4
 My mallets release at about 10:30/4:30 and when new like 9:30/3:30
the best thing to do is go for a walk in your cleats, regardless of brand.

the best thing for you is now shimano's SPD with worn easy cleats - they will float and unclip easier than flats lol.

Clearly beforehand your legs wernt up for clips.
  • 2 0
 @yamaboy2000 I think you mean SH56?
Good bet on your situation,I tried them once and found it too easy to unclip,scary at times.
  • 5 0
 I use a pair of Deore LX SPDs from the 90s. Never been serviced. They work as well as they did out of the box a quarter of a century ago. They’ll probably out last me tbh.
  • 3 1
 You forgot about Nukeproof Horizon pedals, compatible with SPD cleats but clips in from the front and back almost like the Eggbeaters, fantastic reliability and adjustable pin length. Tried many and I stayed with them for a good few years now. Really shame they weren't included here
  • 8 1
 I'm not entirely sure nukeproof is still in business...
  • 2 0
 I've been curious in the past about HTs, mainly for their supposedly extra-strong retention, but I can't justify trying anything else when I own two pairs of shoes with SPD cleats attached, and my old XTR pedals (and 520s, and DXs) simply refuse to die.
  • 5 0
 SPDs with the tightest tension possible and serviceable bearings and / or grease ports is what I want.
  • 2 8
flag justinfoil (May 31, 2024 at 12:54) (Below Threshold)
 If you're going with the lightest tension possible, why even bother? Even single-release cleats will pop out pretty easily with a decent upward pull, unless you're consciously pulling up hard from your toes, which will just roast your shins and is pretty bad pedaling form overall. At that pointy you might as well be on flats and develop the actual skills to maintain pedal pressure in a variety of conditions.
  • 6 0
 @justinfoil: I said tightest, not lightest
  • 1 0
 I feel Crank Bros pedals have much lower tension than SPD but due to the nature of the mechanism, I have never accidentally unclipped from a CB pedal. I wish CB pedals had the longevity of Shimano but I'm willing to trade frequent rebuilds for a better riding experience
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: Just for discussion, I do go for the lightest, or close to it. I've spent a long time on flats but now I race XC (which means clipless) with Shimano pedals wound all the way to the lightest setting, and then I turn it in one turn. Because I can swap between flats and clipless, I never come out of light tension.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: lol you thought that t was an l
  • 2 0
 Last round of purchases it was for them to not say "Crank Brothers" or "Time"

Crank Bros: I broke 2 spindles in the last year. The first one was abused but the second one basically had a season on it. Pretty unacceptable.

Time: I had always heard good things about them but it looks like Sram owns them now and you literally can't buy replacement parts. At all. At the end of their 2 year warranty they're done.

I ended up buying HTs. Hopefully they hold up. I have heard they need frequent rebuilds but if they can be rebuilt to like-new condition I don't mind.
  • 2 0
 Mallett E LS CB clips or TMAC flats. I use the Doubleshot CB one-sided clip for the mix of around town/commuting and real riding. I like the adjustable traction pads on the Mallets so once I'm clipped in it feels locked in (minimal float). I hate SPD for that vague floating feeling, even though I rode them for years.
  • 2 0
 I want a Time pedal with a proper platform, that doesn't cost $400 CAD, and with maximum float. So it feels like a CB pedal, but with actual reliability and cleats that last. Speciale 8's don't count - they're just as skatey and vague as any old SPD.
  • 2 0
 They just released the speciale 10, which can be had with either a small platform (same as the old speciale Cool or a large platform (same as the old 12). The 10 is priced about the same as the old 8.

The 12 still exists and is still overpriced.
  • 1 0
 Look for a pair of Z Controls or Z Strongs in the classifieds, ebay, fb marketplace etc. I've had a pair for over a decade and I wasn't even the first owner of them
  • 2 0
 I'm on my fourth set of Shimano XTR PD-9120 pedals. About every 9 months the drive side pedal will freeze up. I usually un- freeze it via brute force while on a ride and will continue to use or warranty at my leisure.

Funny story about that the first time this happened: I was climbing Blackcomb to access Dark Crystal. Later on that trip I was riding the bike park and coming out of dirt merchant into mid-Aline my pedal completely came off the spindle attached to my shoe. Great timing for that to happen vs. on DM.

Great pedals while they work. I'm ready to try something different however Shimano keeps warrantying them for me.
  • 1 0
 That stuff also happened w the previous gen xtrs. Lemme guess - the right pedal came off?
  • 2 0
 I bought some XTR's for super cheap because the bearings were binded up. All it needs is to redo the tension on the preload and then it's back to normal. The preload bolts coming loose is because of the titanium axle, titanium has no give in the threads, if you dont crank the hell out of the preload they will come loose. The steel axles don't have that problem.
  • 6 1
 Time (atac) is the only option. Has been for the 25 years I've used them. No other options need to be on the poll.
  • 3 1
 I rode SPDs for a while and never had a thought to switch. Had a random chance to give Time (atac) a try. I've never been back to SPDs since. The feel on Time pedals are truly better than SPDs. Anyone who tells you otherwise has never tried anything other than SPDs.
  • 4 0
 Or perhaps people just like different things.

Personally I went from SPD to CB to Time (atac) and I think the Times have the best feel both for clipping in/out and whilst clipped in.
  • 2 0
 saint spd are pretty much my sweetspot regarding size of the platform, just a bit heavy IMO. why shimano isn‘t able to produce a real enduro pedal alla CB mullet-e boggles my mind. trail versions of xt and xtr are a joke compared to saints.
  • 2 0
 I value being able to unclip in a tricky situation. For that reason I run the very shallow angle release cleats. Never accidentally unclipped and it's got me out of trouble more than once.
  • 2 0
 I ran Crank Bros and HT for ages but ultimately settled on SPD because I don’t want to do regular maintenance on my pedals. Hope shimano makes a new model with better shoe contact.
  • 6 1
 I just look to make sure they're Mallets
  • 4 1
 Crankbrothers cleats simply go to shit in a month of proper riding. Currently using LOOK pedals and their cleats last for more than a year.
  • 1 0
 I was a longtime user of Speedplay Magnum and Frog. Infinite float, but you're standing on ice. It trains the muscles, and after a while isn't a problem. It probably saved my knees over the years. Also, $30 for new cleats is a little steep.
  • 1 0
 Agreed on the pins. I have Saints and I'm not sure there is a universe where the pins actually touch my shoe in any way. Love them or hate them, I have 20+ year old pairs of SPDs that work like the day I bought them and I'm usually 5+ years on a single set of cleats or longer (shoe wears out before the cleats).
  • 7 2
 I look for flat pedals….thats what I look for.
  • 1 0
 One option should have been platform size, but not just width. Sometimes you can't clip in on something technical or you accidentally clip out at a bad time and and having a decent enough platform gives you something to stand on. Some XC stuff is so minimal and there's not a lot of support if you don't have shoes with really stiff soles.
  • 2 0
 For me it's a stupid reason. Acoustically I just like the sound of crankbrothers more than anything. It's subtle, but sounds so nice in combination with the feeling of clipping in.
  • 1 0
 I haven't bought a pair of clipless since 2008 ... and they're Shimano (where's Mike Levy so he can read this too).

I want durability and EASE of rebuilding. The 2008 pedals above are an abomination to maintain - Shimano had awful designs in those years. But I'll probably go with them again.
  • 2 0
 I broke a pair of crank bros pedals while i was riding with the crank bros in Laguna, it was pretty funny. they met me at their HQ and gave me a new pair which I sold and bought SPD's
  • 3 0
 i mean thats at least pretty nice of them to hook you up
  • 2 0
 @Ironchefjon: I agree, they were friends of mine and I wanted to support them but their pedals kept breaking.
  • 4 0
 "What Do You Look For In a Clipless Pedal?" SPD compatibility. Everything else is secondary and bike dependent.
  • 2 0
 Well clipless pedals for me starts same as ski - with the boots, u need to find performance boot that is comfortable for your feed, then choose pedals that start with Shimano XT
  • 1 0
 so what is the best lipless pedal for enduro/ free ride? I use Race face Atlas when I'm on flats and I have Shimano Saints and HT T2 pedals. I like the float on the Saints, I like the weight and getting used to the HT's and ride majority on the Atlas. what I'm asking is there any lipless pedal out there that has pedal to foot feel that lasts?
  • 3 0
 Hope is in the survey (never seen a pair in the wild), but HT isn't? (HT consistently comes up whenever there's a discussion of pedals--I have 4 pairs, the T2s are excellent)
  • 1 0
 Personally i can't ride float because it causes my knee pain(either) and when i tried the non float clipless and the pain went away which is 0 degree float from crankbrothers mallet and way better than Shimano unless they make 0 degree float SPD because i like there adjustable like how easy or hard you want to unclip.
  • 1 0
 I’ve been riding mallets for ever, and there are a couple things to know, first if you have never used them they take some time to get used to as they are very different from shimano. Second the cleats require a break in period and at first seem hard to release, but after that they are good for years. I’ve had the same cleats on my shoes for years. Third they work better with a flat soled riding shoe like five tens and not shimano style shoes with big cleats on them. The last thing about them is that they sometimes require a bit more setup to disengage. The cleats have two release angles 15 and 20 degrees and it is determined by which cleat is placed on the right or left shoe. I’m surprised no one has mentioned this on here yet, also you sometimes need to put a shim under the clear if they are disengaging. It’s definitely more of a setup than shimano but once they are setup correctly they feel so much better to me than shimano, give you freedom to adjust your foot without unclipping and actually unclip only when you want them to.
  • 1 0
 shimano xt and xtr trail pedals are the ideal pedals for me. the weight, the durability, the slim profile. i just wish i could find shoes that mated with them that fit my feet.
  • 2 0
 and thats the problem with shimano SPD. No mating with the platform, it might aswell not even be there for most shoes. Crankbrothers, giro chamber, Spesh 2fo and fox union are the best shoes for Shimano Clips IMO and they are the 4 most comfy.
  • 3 0
 Coveted? I’ve got 4 pairs of DX pedals rotting in the spares box for my clip curious friends. Saints all day for me now.
  • 4 0
 Can you send me a pair?
  • 1 0
 You got some gems there. I found some on ebay almost new, these are the best pedals ever .Love how easy it is to clip in and they just work
  • 1 0
 @bashhard: My wife has a set of the red DX M636 in the box. Ridden a few times. She keeps them in the hope she'll go back to clipless pedals.
  • 3 0
 I've only ever owned Mallets but these comments have me feeling like it's time for a change.
  • 3 0
 Nah if what you’re using is working don’t bother
  • 2 0
 Meh, some people get it and some people don't. I've tried both SPD and CB and I absolutely hated the SPD system. Been using Mallets for 5 years now, they're the only pedal on the market I've been able to find that feels like riding a flat pedal while actually being clipped in. If that's what you're after then I don't think there is another option - but if there is, I'd love to hear about it.
  • 1 0
 I hated how spds dont work when your cleat is muddy wheras mallets do
  • 1 0
 I love(d) my TIME DH pedals until i went back to (good) flat pedals and found back my good reflexes and a better flexibility in my riding. I'll stick to flats. That's a statement.
  • 3 0
 What do I look for in a clipless pedal?
That's easy - I look for the words "XT Trail"!
  • 4 0
 Where's the "cleat compatibility between all my bikes" option?
  • 4 0
 I look for Shimano XT pedals. 'Nuff said.
  • 1 0
 Honestly the only thing I look for is for my foot to actually make contact with the platform & pins when I'm clipped in, I like the flat pedal feel. That's why I run crankbros over the shimano system.
  • 4 0
 Shedding mud should of been a option
  • 3 0
 Exactly why I prefer ATACs
  • 2 0
 And reliably smooth release in gritty sand. SPD has gotten better, but spring design of ATAC and I guess CB is inherently less prone to mucking up
  • 1 0
 Still using DX's on all my bikes, have a few sets spare just in case. Best pedal I've ever used, last forever and it the cage breaks you can just replace them. Shimano still carry spares.
  • 1 1
 People don’t think traction pins make a difference? Wut?

Maybe for noobs who never unclip while cornering etc, but having pins is nicer than not if you somehow can’t get clipped back in before a tech section and need to just ride it like a flat.

It isn’t critical, but definitely makes a difference…
  • 1 1
 Lots of CB hate. Sure their shoes are low quality but I've got some Mallets that are a decade old and still going.
Nothing beats the platform feel of the Mallets and if you use the beginner cleats ( reddish ones) it's almost like wearing flats. I never have issues unclipping.
There must be something to them given their dominance in DH.
  • 1 0
 On the XTR XC and XT Trail for the last several years. They work. My GF has been using the Crank Bros Candy for the same amount of time and they work for her. I also ran Eggbeaters before the Shimano...they worked just fine.
  • 1 0
 Always rode SPD's. Switched once to HT pedals, went on a ride, crashed and couldn't unclip in time because of the different feel, broke my leg, switched back to SPD's for good...
  • 1 2
 I will ride clipped in on a curly bar bike if someone gives me pedals and shoes for free. I don't know what I was given, but I know they provide a 10% increase in sprint power for a 100% increase in mortal fear on the descents.
  • 2 1
 Time ftw re: tightness - I switched from SPD and Time's loosest setting is nearly the same as the tightest I could get with my Saints
  • 1 0
 I still have tan original pair. Dh 636 1995. And several pairs of DH636. Bullet proof and float. Tried many others and return to 636
  • 1 0
 Can anyone please give feedback on Hopes pedals? I am curious on them, but not sure if pull trigger. Thank you for for r
The feedback .
  • 2 0
 Pinkbike had a review awhile back (by Kazimer I think) if you want a professional opinion. Now for my unprofessional opinion:

I have the trail Hopes and like them a whole lot. Ive previously had Times and Shimano XTs. The clip in feels pretty similar to the XTs and the platform actually provides support for my foot which helps keep my foot from tiring out on long descents.

I moved on from the Time pedals because the clipping mechanism could pop loose if you hit the bottom on a rock which annoyed the hell out of me. Both the XTs and Hopes don't have this issue
  • 2 0
 @mtmc99: Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated mate!
  • 1 0
 I just look for a feeling where your foot is supported by the pedal frame as oppossed to feeling like you're stood ontop of the actual clip in mechanism.
  • 1 0
 I typically look for the pedals that are without clips, they are a platform style pedal with many small spikes that grip your shoe.
  • 2 0
 I love the Eggbeater feature of spontaneously unclipping you from the pedal when the bottom of your pedal clips a rock.
  • 1 0
 HT components was criminal to leave out, mud clearing properties similar to CB, adjustable like shimano, and a cleat durable to out strip any other.
  • 1 0
 Just check those screws
  • 1 0
 HT got that shit on lock. Steel cleats so they last forever, adjustable pins as well as tension, and the best feeling clip in/out in the biz
  • 1 0
 Hope hardly getting any votes coz not many people ride them but they're sick. Much prefer them to Shimano which I ran since the original DX
  • 1 0
 There is no "can only afford one set of shoes/clips so that's all I've used" option.

There is no "used once and got scared and sold them" option.
  • 2 0
 Once you went down one alley, there is no real way back...
  • 3 0
 The Shimano DX were goat
  • 2 0
 Clips to clip my shoes in too..
  • 1 0
 Changed from Shimano to HT on my trail bike, love em, so bought the DH one's for the DH rig.
  • 2 0
 maximum hold with decent escape ease
  • 1 0
 I have SPD's,Crankbro's and Time ATAC pedals..... I use DMR V12's on all my bikes with 510's
  • 1 0
 Look clipless have been great. 5 years on my xc and gravel bikes and no play. New cleats whenever I buy new shoes
  • 1 0
 Look X-Trac: SPD compatible with better tension and a bigger platform on the XC version.
  • 2 0
 Flats, Deftraps. Clip ins, Shimano. Road, Shimano SPD-SL.
  • 1 0
 I have 5 pairs of spd shoes and 4 bikes with spd pedals. Clip retention varies from nonexistent to vice grip
  • 1 0
 I can't see myself spending more for a clipless than the indestructible mt520.
  • 1 2
 I just want to see the results is both the hardest to clip into and the second easiest to clip into. Your data is fkt pb, time to reboot the servers again
  • 4 2
 Clips?
  • 1 0
 30min too late...
  • 4 4
 What do I look for in clipless pedals? How about a gift receipt, so I can return them and get a pair of flats instead?
  • 2 0
 Bluetooth 5.0
  • 1 0
 Shimano multi release cleats ate DA BEST
  • 1 1
 *are haha

for reals tho.
  • 4 2
 Flat pedals for life.
  • 1 0
 For it to work so trouble-free that I forget it exists
  • 1 0
 I’m always seeking to have a good Time.
  • 2 0
 HT clips for the win!
  • 2 1
 My ocd won’t let me wear a clipless thing that is all about the clip !
  • 2 1
 Dang... Looks like someone drew that pedal on a napkin
  • 1 0
 I generally look for the kind that have no clips
  • 1 0
 I look for Shimano DX, then get annoyed and buy some other Shimano.
  • 1 1
 I've never tried clipping in to anything but spuds...
  • 1 0
 "My foot"
  • 2 2
 generally look for a pedal thats clipless (AKA flats)
  • 1 0
 Hell yea Yoshimura
  • 2 0
 Yeah dude! 3
  • 1 0
 Something like a TMac
  • 1 2
 Where is the i ride flats option
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