What's the most comfortable road bike pedal system?
August 26, 2011 5:35 PM   Subscribe

What's your recommendation on clipless pedals for knee comfort?

Just sold my current carbon road bike complete including pedals, put the deposit on my upgrade, super psyched! I don't have "bad" knees per say, but I do have discoid meniscus in both knees and had knee surgery in my right one to find this out (long story).

Obviously a highly subjective issue, but what pedals do you recommend? What's your experience? I'm a serious recreational rider, used to do quite a bit of track riding, and built for sprinting.

My last bike was equipped with Ultegra SL pedals. Did not have any float in the cleats, and while they didn't "hurt" me per say, I never loved them and would be very aware of my knee on anything from 70 miles to a century.

Father in law swears by speedplays, rides with full float, there's just something about them that I can't get behind. Also considering Time's pedals, seems like a middle ground to Shimano style and Speedplay?
posted by straight_razor to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm probably dating myself here, but I used to have a pair of BeBop pedals, and loved them. Looks like they still make them, but I haven't seen too many people using them recently.

Around here it's all Look, Shimano, and Speedplay.

The Bepobs have free float, are pretty light, and have a low profile cleat. I liked 'em a lot until they fell apart on me (Pedal literally came off of the spindle while riding.). Perhaps that's not the ringing endorsement you were looking for, but I loved 'em up to that point.

Switched to Speedplays after that. What is it you don't like about Speedplays?
posted by zen_spider at 6:15 PM on August 26, 2011

I use Looks (old-style Deltas) with the red cleats. I had some knee issues, but those went away after a proper fit on the bike. There's been a ton of discussion about this on my team's listserve; the general consensus has been "what works for one may not work for another." Which is totally a non-answer, I know, but in general you just have to find what works and stick with it. I'd move away from Looks (the cleats wear way to quickly), but that's just me.
posted by The Michael The at 6:33 PM on August 26, 2011

Bike fit helped my knee pain. So did Physical Therapy. Pedals were probably very fair behind in making everything better, although I do ride Crank Bros., which have a very floaty fit.

They also break too easily and I hate them for that.
posted by alex_skazat at 7:17 PM on August 26, 2011

I've had really good luck with a cheap pair of Crank Bros. eggbeaters. Light, small, cheap, small cleat, four-sided entry and lots of float.
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:42 PM on August 26, 2011

I talk to a lot of people that aren't aware that Speedplay make a variety of pedals, not just the X-Series (which I love).

The Speedplay Zero series have fully adjustable float, so you can dial in exactly how much float you want in your cleats.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:22 AM on August 27, 2011

I also have eggbeaters. Never had any knee pain from them.
posted by loriginedumonde at 10:25 PM on August 27, 2011

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