Is there a noticable performance different between the SPD and the SPD SL systems? I've got SPD SLs on my current bike, but some of the touring I do required quite a lot of walking, so I was thinking of getting some SPD pedals so I could use shoes that were easier to walk in.

My current shoes are racing shoes - exposed cleats - but they will take SPD cleats in it. So if I swap them over, will the ride be particualrily different? Or should I keep them SPD SL and just swap over the pedals whenever I want to use them (as I find them very comfortable with the rigid sole).


1 Answer 1


There likely isn't much difference in performance. Some people do find that SPD cleats lead to "hot spots" (painful spots) on the balls of the feet; that's why I went to SPD-SLs.

You might find a difference in platform height; IIRC the height of the SPD cleats + pedals is shorter than the SPD-SL. You'd want to adjust your seat height to deal with that.

  • I didn't really experience painful spots, but due to the larger cleat of SPD-SL, Look etc, the load was distributed to a far larger portion of the foot, which I found much more comfortable.
    – arne
    Jan 21, 2014 at 7:08

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