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What road pedal system can you recommend? They should be durable (pedal and cleats), have no tendency to fail hazardously and work well (a bit of float, support against rotation around the forward axis (unlike SPD), fast and reliable to enter (I can click into RXS faster and more reliable than into SPD, mostly because the pedals are in a predictable angle. I miss the Xpressos more often that not)

I'm especially curious about SPD-SL and Look Keo, since I have no experience with them.

Backstory: I'm currently riding Time Xpresso 4. The cleats wear far too quickly to be acceptable (5 month / 4 Mm to get uncomfortable, after a bit more I rip the cleats out the pedal on hard acceleration). So instead of replacing the cleats I tend to replace the system. I had Time RXS before and switched over to Xpresso because the RXS were good while they lasted (~30 Mm) but one broke and caused a near-accident as well as a nasty scratch from the exposed axis on my shin. I hoped Time had addressed this in newer pedals, since others report the issue as well.

I realize similar question have been asked, but I still could not find one that answers the aspect of durability.

  • Are you walking in the cleats or dragging them when you stop? And do you unclip very often? 3000 ish miles isn't out of range of what most non-recessed cleats last, especially if you have to do a bit of walking without cleat covers and drag your foot a bit on a stop occasionally. – Batman Mar 14 '16 at 15:18
  • walking: yes quite a bit, dragging: not that I know of. RXS cleats lasted for ages, only replaced them once. When I still used SPD cleats day in, day out, they lasted for 1 a / 6 Mm with quite a bit of walking – chichak Mar 14 '16 at 15:55
  • Buy some cleat covers, or go to recessed cleats like spd. – Batman Mar 14 '16 at 16:40
  • If I have to stop I try to put the heel down instead of the front part of the shoe. So the cleats (Look-KEO) last much longer. And a pair of cleat covers are a great addition for a short walk, because the are made of soft rubber they also prevent slipping on hard surfaces like tiles. – Carel Mar 16 '16 at 14:10
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    @Criggie: putting the heel down without sitting on the saddle, of course! – Carel Apr 3 '17 at 10:10
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I'm a hugely biased exponent of speedplay pedals. The cleats are metal and I would say reasonably durable. I just walk around in mine for short distances like cafe stops, to/from the bike racks at work, but you can also get little covers for them. Or they make a walkable cleat (although I have no experience of these).

They have plenty of float with adjustment for heel in/out right the way down to no float at all. The pedals are double sided so clicking in doesn't require you to rotate the pedal to find the right side.

You do need to grease them though, there's a little screw on the side that you have to undo and squeeze grease in through every month or so - depending on your mileage and riding conditions. I've ridden several pairs into the ground before buying the grease gun to do it with, but my current pair are coming up to three years old.

  • Thanks, I'll reconsider them once I have a well-paying job... wonder why they need that much maintenance? Times do apparently not need that much care, but are not serviceable anyway, afaik. – chichak Mar 14 '16 at 17:44
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For completeness - There is no cleat system that has as little wear as no cleat system.

So it may be worth considering toe straps, or plain old flats instead if durability is your top requirement.

Personally I use flats on a wet-day MTB for safety, and on a tandem for convenience, and Look Keo on a road bike to go-fast. However they wear out in 3-6 months or 3-4 thousand km. I loathe toestraps after an accident with an exposed root.

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    You're right obviously, but cleat systems are so much better elsewise. Durability is not my top concern, but it's something you can't figure out by just trying one at your LBS. I guess I'll go back to RXS. BTW, my tandem also has flat :) – chichak Mar 14 '16 at 23:02
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I'd say SPDs, both the pedals I have used (the cheapest Shimano M520) and the shoes cleet seem to last forever. I literally only replaced my pedals when the damp in my garage caused them to rust after nearly 2 years & 8,500km of wear.

Walking in them isn't too bad- as they are designed to be used for mountain biking (and running/walking up hills)- though this will depend on the shoes you buy. A friend has some shoes that look like trainers- and the cleet is so recessed you can't tell its a cycling shoe.

Shimano M520's are double sided, so never going to miss clipping in, and their "hold/float" is adjustable etc.

  • my every-other-day bike and my crosser have SPD, but I'd never again put them on a road bike. You can't do with normal road shoes without rubber soles, they have tons of play around the forward-axis plus I can rip barely-worn cleats out of the pedals. Yes, the sidewards-exit-only ones – chichak Mar 14 '16 at 17:33
  • You know, there is an adjustment screw for too loose mechanism. What do you mean by "forward-axis"? – ojs Mar 14 '16 at 17:40
  • Indeed- sounds like you haven't adjusted the tension so that it's harder to unclip, but also means you get less/no play. – AliGibbs Mar 17 '16 at 14:34

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