Friday, April 20, 2007

Equipment - new pedals and shoes

After the Bethel Spring Series ends, I make equipment adjustments as necessary. I normally don't make them during the Series as it'll throw me off or I'll get some weird twinge in my knee. Even this year, the year of nothing at Bethel, I still waited. Today we deal with power transfer from me to the bike.

For a long time I've used Shimano SPD-R's, I think for about 10 years. Have they been out that long? Whatever. And I've had Sidi Genius shoes. I'm on the G5's so I must have had G4's before. Or G3's. Something.

The G5's are cool - I got them in 2003 in London while there for work. They're red and blue and oh so cool.

They work well and are totally predictable. But like all shoes with a few years on them, they're starting to show their age.

And the SPD-R's, as durable as they are, have a couple weak points. One is the slightly heavier weight - and when I'm pushing almost 18 pounds of bike around in race trim (and over 20 when training) I started thinking about how to lose some grammage off the bike. But the main weak point is the small amount of cleat surface actually touching the shoe. It's easier to move the cleat on the shoe than it is to move the shoe on the pedal - so the process of unclipping tends to move the cleat and not unclip your shoe with predictable results.

If I loosen things up so I can get out easier, well, it works. I get out a lot easier. The problem is that the shoes unclip too easily - like when I'm making efforts. I learned this the hard way at the Poughkeepsie Crit a couple years ago. I went sprawling at 35 mph while sprinting down a bumpy straight. Not fun. So I keep the pedals really tight and have to hit my shoes with my fist to get the shoes out.

During this year's Bethel I decided it was time to make a change.

A couple years ago I bought some Sidi Zetas - the Sidis that have no buckle, just three velcro straps. Then I learned I couldn't use SPD-R's with them (no adapter, sort of). So they've been sitting, waiting for a "normal" cleat (and pedal). They were part of my aborted Aerolite experiment.

Then recently I bought some cool looking Sidi's with some carbon in the sole. I looked them up, they're the "Energy2 HTs". I got them primarily because they're red and blue. Okay not really, but I didn't want white shoes either. I figure they look like my old shoe so they're sort of stealthy. I think they're heavier but I'm hoping the stiffness helps a bit with my absolute sprint.

I also got three sets of Look Keo's to match my fiancee's Keo. She has the Sprint and I ended up with two Sprints and one Carbon. The latter will go on my main bike (a carbon Giant). The Sprints will go on my spare bike (AL Giant) and the tandem. This way we can do things like swap spots on the tandem, swap pedals if we have to, and have a lot of the same cleat sitting on the shelf as spares.

Both the Zetas and the new Sidis have been assigned the Keo cleats. I'll keep the SPD-R's (I have two sets) and the G5's for something, maybe the track bike or the mountain bike (which I only ride on the road at this time).

For the next week or so I'll be checking the cleat position, the shoe-pedal height (to see if I have to raise or lower the seat), and fiddle with the shoes. I'm so used to the G5's I automatically set the shoe to a certain setting regardless of what it feels like because I know that it'll be right in 5 minutes. The new Sidis are different (buckle plus two fishing wire things) and I have no idea how to set this stuff up.

My first race should be the first race of the year over 60 degrees, the last Plainville race. It's actually tomorrow (Saturday). We'll see how it goes.

The winter shoes I rarely use but I include them in my Sidi fetish shot here. I've skipped earlier shoes as they look too ragged for this nice shot.

(L-R) Back row, Sidi winter road shoes (used twice), G5's, Sidi winter mountain bike shoes. Middle row (pedals), SPD-R's, Look Keo Sprint, Keo Sprints again, and the Look Keo Carbon on the crankarm. Front row, Energy2 HTs, Zetas.


Anonymous said...

Cool post - just got some new cleats myself. Sorry I'll miss you tomorrow, but good luck in your race!

Anonymous said...

Those SPD-R's were great - until the stiff release set in and the cleats would move around on the shoe. I don't know how many times I would slow down to a stop and not be able to get out of the pedals. Hopefully, I would have something to grab onto so that I could pound on my heal to release my feet.

They were durable and very low-profile compared to my original Looks. Very surprising that Shimano would have released such an unrefined pedal - and kill it a few years later along with any shoes that had the unique cleat mounting setup for people that still want to use their pedals...

Unknown said...

great post! i have those new sidi you got. i love them, it takes some gettign use to with the knob things. you will like them.
john O'Fallon

Aki said...

DougB - my trackstand practice came in handy many times with the SPD-R's. When it got to the point that I couldn't get out ever I decided to change pedals. And I even had the new cleats which replaced the first gen of cleat.

John - I raced Saturday and although I thought I was conservative with the turn buckles, I was limping for a full day after the race. I guess I have to keep them even more loose.

Anonymous said...

I think you will love those new shoes. I am convinced that if I can invest in only one carbon component or accessory, it would be the shoes. To me this is the one area where I could immediately noticed the performance benefits particularly in the sprints. I also think that not all carbon, carbon-injected, carbon-composite soles are the same. DMT's full carbon soles (also found on Nike's carbon models) had been the stiffest shoes I've ever used. My current shimano R-215's aren't as stiff but they fit my duck feet so much better. Let us know how you like your new carbon-soled shoes.

Aki said...

I plan on swapping between the plastic sole'd Zetas and the carbon-reinforced EnergyHT's. This way, if it rains, I can use some "broken-in" Zetas and save the HT's. "Broken-in" is in quotes as it really involves riding the shoes enough to make sure the cleat position is good and I get a feel for the straps.

For now, the shoes seem more solid (kind of like when I went from a Columbus Aelle frame to the original Cannondale frame) but I can't tell if it's just new shoe joy or if there's actually a difference. I know they feel much stiffer if you hold the shoe and flex the sole (I did that back when I got the Zetas).

I'll post any pertinent updates though.