Pick my commuter bike pedals
May 9, 2012 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Help me pick which SPD/flat pedal to get for commuting.

I'm a roadie at heart. I ride SPD-SLs all the time. I love clipless pedals. Clipping isn't an issue.
I also have 2 sided SPDs on my current commuter bike. I'm getting a new bike that doesn't come with pedals to use as a commuter I'd like to:
1. have nice SPDs that clip in that I'll use a lot
2. be able to ride it to the store without putting on special shoes if I want to
3. I have commuter/mountain bikeshoes with recessed spd cleats I can walk in that I'd like to keep using.

Shimano 540? 530? 520? M324? Help me!
posted by cccorlew to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I use the M324 and love them.
posted by kdar at 8:44 PM on May 9, 2012

+1 to the M324 -- I have them on three bikes. I think they feel better than the 530s in regular rubber-soled shoes and boots, and I think they're the cheapest of the bunch.

I guess the downside is that they're a bit heavier than some other options, and the grip isn't great in wet weather (but I suspect they're all like that, and I usually ride the SPD side then anyway).
posted by substars at 9:09 PM on May 9, 2012

Wellgo (also sold as Nashbar & Forte) makes solid dual-sided pedals as well that are a bit cheaper.
posted by akgerber at 9:19 PM on May 9, 2012

Yeah, I've looked at those Performance/Nashbar SPD-flats before, and they seem a good inexpensive way to try out whether you'd like the combination or not. Shimano will likely work better/last longer/weigh less, but I'd hate to drop twice as much and then decide you don't like them. You can always upgrade to Shimano later when the Nashbar ones wear out.
posted by OHSnap at 9:30 PM on May 9, 2012

I got the A530's for Christmas, and am pretty in love with them.
-really well weighted so you're not constantly forced to be looking down and trying to flip the pedal around with your foot trying to find the correct side when accelerating from a stop.
- lightweight, considering the size of the platform
- large platform on the non-clip side allows for pretty solid energy transfer even when not clipped in
- super easy to clip in/out of, but without ever releasing prematurely (even on a nasty climb) which is great for commuting in traffic
- Really comfortable to ride on either side. Clips are intuitively placed (at least for my particular anatomy and cleats), and platforms are wide and flat with no annoying bumps from the bindings on the other side

- pretty spendy (at least for my impoverished ass!)
- large platform might be prone to hitting the road if you're cornering super tight/fast....but I've never personally had this issue

I have these on my road bike (which I use for commuting and riding for fun/sport, because I'm too poor to have two bikes), and I'm really happy with them. Definitely pricier than some options, but worth it if you'll be putting in a lot of miles on them.
posted by Dorinda at 10:29 PM on May 9, 2012

I have a pair of Wellgo half/half pedals that I've rather enjoyed. On my commuter they've seen more than 35,000km and are installed on their third frame.
posted by mce at 10:56 PM on May 9, 2012

I found regular clipless mountain bike pedals to be fine for commuting and wearing shoes or sneakers. Even riding up long hills in dress shoes. There's enough surface there that riding around town is fine.
posted by zippy at 11:36 PM on May 9, 2012

If you have pedals you love, stick with them and just buy a pair of platform clip-ons. (They're flat platforms with an SPD cleat on the underside. Clip them into the pedals and you've got an instant flat pedal for your sneakers!) You can't really hammer on them because you can twist them enough to unclip, but at a normal pedal tension they're perfect for grocery trips, etc.
posted by introp at 11:43 PM on May 9, 2012

Unlike introp, I've had nothing but heartache from platform clipons. They can be a pain to attach, they pop off at the absolute worst times, and you have to remember to grab them on your way out the door.

In my experience with mixed purpose flat/clipless pedals, I've found that the more minimal the platform, the more I enjoy using the pedal. In fact, as zippy says, I've even owned a few clipless pedals that weren't marketed as hybrids but had a wide and flat enough profile to ride comfortably in sneakers.

My current hybrid pedals are Crack Brothers Candy 1s and I love them. They use slightly different cleats, so I can't really recommend them for convenience unless you're thinking of switching over to egg-beaters for your other bikes.

You should think about switching over to egg-beaters for your other bikes.
posted by 256 at 9:29 AM on May 10, 2012

I give a resounding "meh" to the 530s. I have them and after using them for a year I replaced them with platforms with PowerGrip straps.

The 530s clip in just fine and seem to be weighted well.

But the platform side just never felt like it was big enough or had enough grip. I had to be very very intentional about exactly where I put my foot and how much pressure I put on it in which direction. I also had to be sure to wear shoes with the most possible tread, which sort of negates the whole "just hop on and ride" benefit.

Twice I slipped when starting from a stop. I don't like them but don't hate them.

The M324s look nicer.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:19 AM on May 10, 2012

I give a resounding "meh" to the [A]530s.

Seconded. The the platform side is too thin to compensate for the difference in stack-height with/without SPDs. Therefore, unless you are wearing very thick-soled shoes, the saddle will either feel too low with SPDs or too high with regular shoes.
posted by wutangclan at 2:41 PM on May 10, 2012

Response by poster: DONE. I ordered M324. Thanks. Will report back if able to later.
posted by cccorlew at 4:30 PM on May 11, 2012

Response by poster: Followup: I like the M324 just fine. I wouldn't want them on a road bike, but for the commuter they are perfect. I was concerned about getting the proper side up, but it's a non-issue.
The cleat side works well, the other side is great fpor when I have a short trip and want to wear regular shoes.
posted by cccorlew at 3:38 PM on June 9, 2012

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