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Bike shoes/pedals

Now that I am hooked on triathlon I am looking at buying some new gear.

I thought I would start with the cycle shoes as it is likely to make the most improvement. however I haven't got a clue what a cleat is and whether you need to buy a pedal that fits that or shoe that fits either!!!!! Let alone how to fit them.

Can someone explain to me what basic set up I need.



  • Hi

    There are to main types of shoe/ pedal:

    SPD: the little ones used for montian biking and touring

    SPDL: road ones this tend to be larger

    if you buy a shoes which has a 3 screw in system they will fit any road shoe


    hope this helps


  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    Shoes ; Most cycle shoe companies have a t least one model of triathlon specific shoe in their catalogue. Tri specific shoes tend to be less generous in the upper, have a single (or two) velcro strap and may have a loop at the back.These features are for fast transition. Others may have other features such as ventilation systems or holes in the sole for water drainage. I think the main things to look for are a good fit, especially in the toe area (remember you have to run afterwards) and a stiff sole. Better shoes are lighter and therefore will have a carbon fibre sole, and the velcro strap. I have used both Sidi, Shimano and found them to be excellent, but all the top brands are equally good - if they wern't you'd get to hear. When buying shoes for the first time AVOID mail order / internet as you really need to try them on and even better try them out. Remember feet swell on the bike.

    Cleats wise: Well all the standard brands willaccept allthe cleat systems. There are several on the market - all brand names ; Look, Time, Shimano SPD (road) amongst others. I would say avoid cycling specific cleats - like the Crank Brothers lollipops and stick to a more mainstream triathlon/cycling system. Again its about 1. Power transfer on the bike and 2. Ease of transition (both in and out). Do you run bare foot and enter & exit on the bike or do you shoe up and then mount the bike? Have a look, ask questions and try them out. I use Shimano road for both road biking and tri, mainly because they feel very positive on the drive ie I feel I'm well connected to the pedal partly because I perceive them to be more finely adjustable, but others swear by the latest Time system - for the same reasons! Its a bit like asking which is the best trainer, once you go above a cetain point they are all pretty good its a case of which one ticks all your boxes

  • PatchPatch Posts: 11
    Cheers guys. I appreciate your advice.

    I guess I will spend a bit longer doing research before taking the plunge
  • I'm no expert, but for the record I have specialized tri shoes, which I think are excellent, and Time pedals, which I'm not convinced by as it often takes me several attempts and a couple of hundred metres before I can get the shoes to clip in to the pedals. This isn't a massive handicap in a race where you just have to clip in once at the beginning, but it's a nightmare on commutes or normal rides where you have to unclip every time you hit a traffic light. In my first tri season I borrowed a friend's bike and he had Look pedals which were far easier and clipped in first time, every time. It may just be the fittings on the shoes (not part of the shoes - these fittings came with the Time pedals and are attached to the shoes) rather than the clips but something is not quite right.
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