Clipless Pedals: Road or “Mountain”

I run the Crank Brothers Candy 3s on my Ridley because, frankly, it’s convenient to have crank brothers cleats on all of my bike shoes (road, mountain and winter), so I can jump from bike to bike.  In the immediate aftermath of that post, however, I’ve had a couple forum jockies post comments, and I’ve received a few blog comments and emails (some rather strongly worded, so I haven’t permitted them to post through) criticizing this practice.  The gist of the comments is that I should convert to a larger road platform pedal, for greater pedaling efficiency.

Is there really a performance or efficiency advantage going from a mountain pedal (basically, an eggbeater with a small platform around it) to a road pedal? My road shoes are carbon fiber sole (Bontragers…either RL or RXL–can’t recall off the top of my head)…so there’s not really a ton of flex there. And I see that some pros run speed plays, which are just as small, if not smaller, of a platform as my Candys.  And the Candy’s are reasonably light–so there’s not going to be a ton of weight difference (if any).

What’s the skinny on pedals for skinny tires?


12 thoughts on “Clipless Pedals: Road or “Mountain”

  1. During all my road biking years I used CB Eggbeaters with MTB shoes and had no issues. I was faster than everyone I should have beaten and the guys who were faster than me crushed me as expected!

    On my rando bike I use Time ATAC MTB pedals and crank out miles all day with no issues.

    Is it possible road pedals might offer some benefits? – sure. Will it make any significant performance difference for the average road biking enthusiast? – I doubt it.

    If your current pedals work for you I’d keep using them. If they gave you problems than some road specific pedals would be a reasonable option to try.

    In all my years of road riding in MTB shoes I never once walked into a coffee shop or convenience store for a snack/bathroom break and thought to myself..”…gosh…I really wish my shoes were more slippery and harder to walk in!…”

    The same folks who are freaking out about the use of MTB pedals on a road bike would lose their shit when they see my performance road bike has 42mm tires I run at 45psi and a frame that’s stiff as a noodle. They’d lose it worse when I ride away from them, but such is life….

    safe riding,


  2. Agreed although I do run speedplay pedals myself. The only benefits I have read about relate to the larger platform spreading out the pressure making it less likely that you would experience “hot-spots” but if they feel fine keep riding them. As it is you drop me all the time so I don’t think they’re holding you back.

  3. I totally lost a race once because of all the flex in my carbon race mountain shoes. I was pissed.

    Not really, of course.

    I would love to see a lab test of stiffness with multiple shoe and pedal configurations, so we could know with science how much contact patch actually matters now that we have tunable composite soles on our feet lending however much stiffness we want. I would venture to guess it played a bigger part in the early days of clipless when other materials had to be used for shoes, and is negligible now, but the stigma keeps it alive.

    Just a thought, but i wonder of the same people having an seizure are the same guys who run 180psi in their 21c tires.

    • They probably are the 21c tires (btw, 19c is the new 21c)…but it’s a curious point. The Lazy Rando’s comments below are also interesting.

      We just need to get some company to donate a power crank so we can do objective testing…


  4. Found your blog searching for enve 3.4 reviews, kept reading. I recently went back to a road pedal for the reason previously mentioned… On rides over 70 miles I had a hot spot beneath the cleats on my Speedplay Frogs running with SIDI dominators. Moving to Look Keo I feel more locked in and i notice a perceived larger surface area. Plus with the Look cleat attachment i do feel more power in the back stroke at the bottom of the revolution. Don’t care for walking about in the coffee shop.

    • Thanks for the thoughts, Bob!

      I’ve taken a second look at this issue, and am trying out some Time i-Clic Carbon pedals on the Ridley…I’m hopeful that they are an improvement…right now, they seem pretty great.

  5. Pingback: Bontrager RXL Road Shoes Preliminary Review | ridingagainstthegrain

  6. Pingback: Time Iclic 2 Carbon Pedal Review | ridingagainstthegrain

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