This discussion is from local DFW rider Wil Bloodworth on a recent look at the two most popular clipless pedal options.
This is an extremely old topic. Egg beaters vs. SPD vs. whatever. You can easily find discussions on the internet about what style of pedal is best. I’ve been riding the same 26″ Kona Explosif hard-tail since 2004 and, until about a month ago, have been beating up the excellent Shimano SPD pedals shown on the right.
All the cool kids seem to be riding the egg-beater-style pedals so I figured I would give them a go. About a month ago, Chris Lorance (Cadence Cycles of McKinney) sold me the Crank Brothers Candy 2‘s. I was excited to try out these new pedals and was confident that I would simply love them. Everyone is using them. They must be better! Oh, and for good measure, I bought some new shoes to pair them up with.
The last month has been a load of sheer frustration and of feeling like a complete idiot. At the DORBA Super Clinc 2, I attended (three times) a class called, “Switchbacks” taught by Sharon and Jerry McNutt. Honestly, the class should have been titled, “Let’s see how many times Sharon and Jerry can make you fall off your bike in 90 minutes.” I’ve never fallen so many times in my entire MTB history as I did at the hands of the McNutts. Nor have I ever learned as much! Sharon and Jerry are superb instructors.
Sharon noticed that I was repeatedly having difficulties clipping into my pedals and rhetorically asked, “New to clipless are we?!” I explained how I switched pedal styles and how frustrating the new ones had been. She continued with, “Did you put the spacers that came in the box on your shoes?” Spacers? Um, er, uh, well, no I didn’t.
As soon as I got home, I found the Candy 2 box and, sure enough… spacers! Unlike the McNutt’s class, installation was easy and painless and I immediately noticed a huge improvement. However, they still weren’t perfect.
Two days ago, just before the rain showed up to close all the trails, I decided to (ask my wife Julie if it was okay to) buy a used spin bike. I checked on the Dallas Craig’s list and saw that Replay Sports Gear of McKinney had an XTerra MB880 for $249. Sweet! Half an hour later, it was in the living room. And guess what… the pedals were toe cage on one side and SPD’s on the other. Score!
As quick as I could, I found my old shoes and SPD clips, paired them together, and tried them on the spin bike. To my amazement, the ease-of-clip-in-ability factor was off the charts. I could clip into the spin bike’s pedals instantly with damn near zero effort. Again and again.
Am I saying that the new egg beater pedals are horrible and a pain-in-the-butt to deal with? Not really. I’m saying that I’ve been using SPD’s for over a decade and I’m used to them. That could could be the case and I’m willing to give the Candy’s some more time in the saddle to see if I can get used to them.
But what is the attracting force motivating mountain bikers to move away from their beloved SPD pedals in the first place? Weight seems to be a presiding factor. “Coolness” is always a consideration. However, thinking about it logically a bit, the egg beater style of pedal does something people don’t hear often. They take away a larger surface area for your foot to push down on. This means, that to be as effective in transferring power to the pedal, the shoe has to take the place of inherent larger surface area of SPD pedals. My new shoes are much more rigid and that could be an age factor but I think it’s just a fact that shoes have also evolved.
So what are your thoughts on what the best pedal should be for Texas trail riding? Does your opinion change from racing to casual riding? Does your choice change when the technical difficulty increases or decreases? Why would YOU choose one pedal versus another?