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Spindogg

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Reply with quote  #1 
I've always tended to use road shoes and look style pedal but with more and more gravel races having gnarly trail sections I'm thinking about switching to more of a mtb shoe. I've always been on a look pedal system as well. What are people using? Really looking for a stiff shoe and a pedal system with power transfer that is as good as a Look style system.
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trippertim

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Reply with quote  #2 
I run the iSSi triple pedals and Giro Code VR shoes. I think the shoes are still going to depend on your foot, but pretty sure most manufacturers have their footbeds and lasts duplicated with road and knobbie soles. http://ridinggravel.com/gravel-news/pedal-issi-triple-clipless-pedals-long-term-review/
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #3 
My current shoe and pedal preference are Crank Bros. Eggbeater pedals and Shimano XC - 61L Mtn. Bike shoes. I ride these on all of my bikes - road, gravel, tandem road. I too am a big fan of Look road pedals, but I've phased them out in favor of the Eggbeaters. The Eggbeaters are  easy to engage and release for quick mounts and dismounts, very rugged and dependable, good with clearing mud. I also like the durable metal cleats. The Shimano XC 61's have a stiff sole for good power transfer, and most importantly came in a large range of sizes and offer a wide width option for my EE feet. Both the pedals and shoes are reasonably light weight, and reasonably priced. While I no longer race, I frequently do fast paced group road rides and find no disadvantage with my Shimano Mtn bike shoe - Eggbeater setup. The pedals, I recommend without reservation. But, shoes depend on fit and comfort. These shoes fit me well and have proven to be both funtional and comfortable. They may not however, work for you. My advice is to only buy shoes that you can return for a full refund after riding in them for awhile.
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2bikelabs

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Reply with quote  #4 
I have been riding with Speedplay Frogs and Sidi MTB shoes for years.  I chose the Frogs for their mud shedding ability and ridiculous amount of float (bad knees); a feature which may turn some people off.  At first I was skeptical of the raised metal retention mechanism but after numerous century/double century rides, I can confirm no hot spots.  I now use this setup on all bikes, road included.  The walkability of a MTB shoe is an added bonus.  I don't miss road shoes or pedals.
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Andypstockman

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Reply with quote  #5 
I have always preferred he way road shoes/pedals feel for long rides. The secure platform and solid feel of a road pedal/shoe has largely been unmatched by any MTb style pedal set up. Having used many different pedal systems off road i find they all have a little "wiggle" to them. not just the float but way the cleat can rock on the pedal platform itself. some pedals are worse than others but all have it. All but the speed play syzr pedals. while I wouldn't endorse there use off road, for road riding in MTb shoes (or gravel riding) i have found nothing better. They are very solid, no cleat/pedal rocking at all. The float can be dialed in from loads to little. There is a reason pros like ted king use them when they need a shoe they can walk in/has mud clearance but need the efficiency of a road system.
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Spindogg

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Reply with quote  #6 
thanks guys - i can't make up my mind now lol. Need to sit on it for a while. Reality is that 99% of the time the gravel rides/races I've done were rideable, very few not rideable (hike a bike etc). Is it worth the tradeoff - how much of an impact on power and stability compared to a look style cleat? Anyhow need to think about it.

If i was going to make the switch i was thinking of something like the Bontrager xxx mtn shoe and then likely a shimano xtr pedal. Anyone care to chime in on that setup? as compared to a good road race shoe and look style pedal.
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bobknh

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spindogg
thanks guys - i can't make up my mind now lol. Need to sit on it for a while. Reality is that 99% of the time the gravel rides/races I've done were rideable, very few not rideable (hike a bike etc). Is it worth the tradeoff - how much of an impact on power and stability compared to a look style cleat? Anyhow need to think about it.

If i was going to make the switch i was thinking of something like the Bontrager xxx mtn shoe and then likely a shimano xtr pedal. Anyone care to chime in on that setup? as compared to a good road race shoe and look style pedal.

IMHO - if you like the shoes and pedals - go for it. As far as the discussion about road vs. mtn. set ups --- I don't notice much difference. I used to race with Rocket 7 custom made road shoes with Look Keo Ti pedals. They were great, light weight (and expensive) shoes and pedals. My Shimano carbon mountain shoes and CB Stainless steel pedals are somewhat heavier; but just as comfortable and perform as well, at a fraction of the cost. And when I do get off to walk - I don't have to worry about walking around or damaging my cleats.
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Il_falcone

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Reply with quote  #8 
I also gave the Syzr a solid and long testing period before I jumped all in and bought another two pairs for the other bikes. In the winter I even ride them on my mountain bike although they are somewhat prone to accidental release in hard core mountain biking conditions. If you stand on one foot too heavy and toe down it might happen from time to time that it slips out of the pedal because the moving claw on this pedal is the front one and not the rear one as on Shimano's SPD system.
But it never happened to me on my gravel bike and in any other aspect I like them much better than SPD. Especially not relying on shoe lug pedal contact is a big bonus since SPD pedals generally tend to develop creaking noises under me because I seem to pull quite a lot on my pedals in the upward motion of the leg. And if the shoe's sole doesn't have a very firm contact to the pedal then there's a slight metal on metal (cleat against pedal claw) movement creating that noise.
Be prepared to fiddle with the float  and preload adjustment during your first rides before you'll find your perfect setup. But it's worth the trouble. With regards to power transfer they very much feel like road pedals.
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gemper

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Reply with quote  #9 
I used to use Crank Bros. Candy pedals.  The problem is that I was told by a bike shop that they can't be rebuilt because the bearings are sealed.  He recommended Shimano SPDs, which can be rebuilt because the bearings can be replaced.   So I use SPDs on both my road bike, gravel bike and my mountain bike.  As for shoes,  I use mountain bike shoes.  I was using Northwave, until they took too much of a beating and needed to be retired.  I picked up a pair of Giant MTB shoes for about $100 that are very comfortable.  I have a high arched foot so I tend to need a wide shoe.
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drwelby

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Reply with quote  #10 
If you want a more solid feeling system you might be able to get good results with a one of the mountain bike racing shoes with carbon soles (Giro Code, Sidi Dragon, Mavic Crossmax Pro, etc) with a Time MX 12 pedal. Some combinations might work better than others depending on how the sole and pedal interact. 

I have the Mavic shoes and regular ATACs on my gravel bike and some older MX pedals on my mountain bike. The MX pedals feel more supported and remind more more of the feeling of old Look pedals with delta cleats.
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reanimated

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Reply with quote  #11 
You might consider the Shimano PD-A600. It is a single sided "road" SPD pedal, all the advantages of SPD just with only one entry side.  It is actually a very nice and probably under-rated pedal.  Because of the way they are weighted, they behave more like an SPD-SL pedal in terms of how you clip in.  

With high-quality shoes to match I do not believe there is anything at all lost in power transfer, etc.  After all, 20 years ago the top-of-the-line Dura-Ace pedal was a tiny little SPD pedal and they worked just fine.

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PastorBillV

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Reply with quote  #12 
I'm using Sidi MTB shoes - they're exactly the same uppers as my road shoes, but have MTB bases.   So, an MTB cleat receiver and approx. quarter inch rubber cleats.    I use XTR pedals and love how easy and consistently I connect up (unlike my Look KEOs on my road bike!). 

Bill
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Slim

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spindogg
I've always tended to use road shoes and look style pedal but with more and more gravel races having gnarly trail sections I'm thinking about switching to more of a mtb shoe. I've always been on a look pedal system as well. What are people using? Really looking for a stiff shoe and a pedal system with power transfer that is as good as a Look style system.


There are plenty of stiff soled mtb shoes out there, so that is not the problem. The next thing is to make sure you have a shoe with good(rigid soled) arch support, same as in road shoes.
If you expect there might be very long walking sections, you might want to choose a more walk friendly shoe.

The problem comes from the fact that mtb pedals (except Syzr) use a small shoe-pedal interface to connect, instead of a large cleat-pedal interface.

This always creates a less stable connection.

Still, needs must, if there are hike a bike sections, so my advice would be a large platform pedal(Shimano 'trail' version, CB Mallet etc) to maximize the stability of the shoe on the pedal.

The Syzrs are another interesting option, but reviews are very mixed, some great, some horrible.

Whichever option you go with, make sure it's well suited in mud, since that might be the most likely scenario forcing you to walk.
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #14 
I also use Crank Brother egg beaters and Mt. bike shoes.  I like the stiff sole types and I try to find the stiffest but lightest ones I can.  Many to choose from so I buy when on sale.  I also have several and take them all to longer rides so that I can change shoes especially if it rains.
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Nubster

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Reply with quote  #15 
Time ATAC carbon pedals and Lake MX237 shoes have been a perfect combo for me. Pedals are great and fairly light. Shoes are light and comfy and as still as any road shoe I've ever seen with real leather upper which I personally love and dual BOA closures which is fantastic. I'm ordering a second pair sometime soon so I can rotate them to reduce wear and hopefully get a lot of years out of them.
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gemper

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Reply with quote  #16 
I use Shimano SPD pedals and the cleats are mounted to mountain bike shoes, in case of a hike a bike section or a steep muddy uphill.  I got new road shoes and mtb shoes this year as my old pairs were well over 5 years old and showing lots of wear and in one case I could not get a replacement buckle.  I have Velcro straps and find them easier and quicker to deal with than fancy buckles or other fasteners, plus they were about 50 dollars cheaper.  My mountain bike shoes are Giant.
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texag

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Reply with quote  #17 
I am fairly new at the gravel scene but I put my  SPD-M530 pedals on my gravel bike and use my mountain bike shoes.  The 530s are trail pedals with the frame around the pedal.  The tread of my shoes sits on this frame and gives me a nice stable platform. 

I used the PD-A600 previously mentioned on my road bike before moving to SPD-SLs.  They are good pedals that I still own and may move over to my gravel bike at some point to save a few grams.

I've noticed on road centuries that my road SPD-SL shoes and cleats get beat up pretty good walking around rest areas that are dirt/gravel and I don't like dealing with cleat covers all the time.  My thought was I didn't want to shorten the life of my nice road shoes using them on gravel.
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Smithhammer

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Reply with quote  #18 
For most of my gravel spinning right now, I'm using Candy 3s with Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduro IVs or Giro Privateers.

Just ordered a pair of the Giro Republic LX shoes, will report back after some use...

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GHC

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Reply with quote  #19 
Shimano spd 530 with shimano 089 spd shoes ....they are great, shed water and dry fast
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owly

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithhammer
For most of my gravel spinning right now, I'm using Candy 3s with Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduro IVs or Giro Privateers.

Just ordered a pair of the Giro Republic LX shoes, will report back after some use...


Like the X-Alp Enduro IV. Probably not the best for racing, but great for walking around in.
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Smithhammer

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by owly


Like the X-Alp Enduro IV. Probably not the best for racing, but great for walking around in.


Yeah, it's a great all around shoe and really comfortable. But not a racing shoe.

Got my first ride in on the Republic LXs yesterday and I think I have a new favorite. I'm also reminded of why laces are so much awesomer than buckles/straps.

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crapknees

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Reply with quote  #22 
Just switched to Syzrs and Giro Code VR's from regular Speedplay and road shoes.  Got to test them out at the Landrun 100 and they had no issues in the crazy muddy clay.  I clipped in and out with no issues when the shoe and pedal were completely covered and also had the advertised float.

They do release easier than spd's or other Speedplay but it never presents a problem when riding it just seems to give piece of mind if I'm crashing.
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