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I use the same bike for commuting, fast lunch-time rides, and not-very-fast weekend touring. I recently switched from flat pedals to clipless (Shimano PD-M520) but am finding them impractical on my commute - too much clipping in and out, for no obvious gain. I figure a good compromise would be pedals that are part-clipless, part-flat, but all the options I have come across so far (such as the Shimano M324) seem to be flat strictly on the one side and SPD strictly on the other, meaning I'll have to flip the pedal over even when wearing ordinary shoes. Is there a pedal that can be used as a flat pedal on both sides, and as an SPD ideally on both sides too but otherwise on just the one?

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Not SPD, but I love my Crank Brothers Mallet pedals, can ride flat or clipped in on either side. –  Glenn Gervais Apr 24 '13 at 14:31
    
I have the Shimano A530 Pedals which are cleated on one side flat on the other. I find that they work quite good in that configuration. They are weighted so the cleat is point up, which makes it easier to clip in. I find I can ride on the wrong side (either with or without cleats) if I'm careful not to push to hard, and it is wet. SPD shows on flats works quite, probably depends on the shoe. This can be useful when starting out, so you can clip in or flip the pedal once you get going a bit, and for riding in traffic, when it's better to go unclipped for a bit, at least with one foot. –  Kibbee Apr 24 '13 at 17:16
    
Definitely a duplicate post, I remember seeing this question a year ago. Actually, I think I'm thinking of this question which is similar but perhaps not a duplicate bicycles.stackexchange.com/q/3912/607 –  meagar Apr 24 '13 at 18:30
    
why do you have to clip in-out too much on your commute? –  trailmax Apr 25 '13 at 0:10
    
A story: I got these sort of pedals, but I almost never rode them in normal shoes. I recently got a pair of recessed cleat street shoes. These are exactly what I wanted. Now I can clip in and walk normally. Better than having to choose everytime I get on the bike. –  Jeshii Apr 25 '13 at 2:27

5 Answers 5

up vote 1 down vote accepted

I think the most approximate thing, at least on Shimano is the Shimano PD-M424, which is a clipless pedal with a resin cage, or the Shimano PD-M545 which is the same but with an alluminum cage.

I have been using these on MTB and commuting since year 2000 and I think they would fit your needs. The are easy to Clip In an out, but the cage provides very good support when used with regular shoes. I have commuted with those kind of pedals using Tennis shoes, flip-flops and even Office Shoes (with rubber soles). I have used hiking shoes to MTB with them and with good performance.

There are other similar like the Shimano PD-M647.

My father used them too with regular running shoes in light XC riding for years until I convinced him that platforms would be cheaper and more comfortable (He would never use clips).

The only care you must take for serious riding is that the shoe must have good sole texture, so it kind of grabs the center of the pedal and has good grip to the cage, because they are less safe than plain platform pedals.

Another Solution for you are these platforms that attach to the clipless mechanism, converting your regular clipless pedals into platforms. http://problemsolversbike.com/products/deckster_clipless_pedal_adapter. You need to buy extra cleats because the platform adapter dos not include it. This kind of solution would be a little cumbersome as you would have to install the platforms for commuting days and remove them for performance riding.

I'm pretty sure that a skilled machinist with the right tools can craft a DIY version of these, that has a cleat-like shape incorporated so it has a flatter profile. (I have this project in my bucket list)

Finally a tip: your complaint about too much clipping/unclipping makes me think that it is (still) kind of difficult for you to do so, but it shouldn't. As you get more practice, clipping in and out becomes so natural that you won't be counting how many times you do it. Second, adjusting the mechanism tension to a lower setting makes it easier to pull out of it. Personally, I use mine in the lowest possible setting but I don't have unexpected release issues, and I constantly lift the bike by pulling both pedals up.

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I had a pair of Shimano PD-M545s. They were OK, but not very comfy in flip flops.

There's also the PD-M424 & PD-M647

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Yeah, there are several like this, usually marketed to the mountain bike crowd. They work well with some shoes but others will not easily snap into the cleats. –  Daniel R Hicks Apr 24 '13 at 17:58
    
I found I was able to "modify" one pair of shoes to fit these style pedals by trimming the protrusions on the sole –  mattnz Apr 25 '13 at 3:09

I'm a total convert when it comes to clipless pedals now to the extent that riding without my feet clipped in feels unnatural. The clipping in and out will become second nature before long and you won't notice it.

If you are wanting to have the option either way though I would definitely recommend the single sided pedals over the caged SPDs (like the m545s mentioned). The cleat is raised in the centre of the cage and is uncomfortable to ride any distance with normal shoes.

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Thank you - I've marked another answer as accepted because it's a more direct answer to my question, but after some further research it looks like you're quite right, the cleat on e.g. the M545 is too high. For this reason I'm leaning towards the M324 illustrated in Benzo's answer. –  jeatsy Apr 25 '13 at 12:06

I use Shimano M324 pedals on my commuter so I can clip in or ride without special shoes. It works great on 4 different pairs of shoes with SPD cleats. One side has a cleat, the other side is flat.


enter image description here
Product Link:
http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-PD-M324-Clipless-Clip-Pedals/dp/B001AT33CW/

I prefer the 2 separate sides vs dual sided for the reason that dual sided pedals tend to be uncomfortable on longer distances due to the cleat mechanism being present when riding with non-clipless shoes. This model also doesn't seem to have the issue of the cleat mechanism being too recessed and causing trouble clipping in with some shoes, since it does not have to accommodate both types of footwear on each side.

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Not actually what the OP asked for. –  James Bradbury Apr 25 '13 at 13:16
    
I realize this didn't address exactly. I was providing an option, the OP mentioned he may actually prefer this style. I'll leave it for reference. –  Benzo Apr 25 '13 at 14:38
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A year and a half on, an update may be in order: I did actually go for these pedals (Shimano M324), and found that finding the right side is easy after all, if you have the knack. The knack is: when you stop, keep your left foot on/in the pedal and put your right foot down. Then, when you move off, either: (a) if using clipless, the cleated side naturally falls upwards for you; or (b) if using ordinary shoes, do a half-revolution with your right foot, then let go for half a revolution so that the flat side faces upwards, then put your right foot down. Hard to describe, trivial to do! –  jeatsy Aug 10 at 21:40

Perhaps not the answer you want, but I vote to persevere with the flip pedals. If you can accustom yourself to the flipping, you'll have a better platform for ordinary shoes and no restrictions on what bike shoes you can use. I like my Time All-Road Grippers and now I'm properly used to them, I can hop on and ride without thinking.

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