I am a road rider who rides with SPDs, and not just for casual road riding; I average 5-6,000 miles a year, with lot’s of centuries (and farther) since I started using SPDs in the mid-90’s. An early adopter of Look pedals, I rode them on at least one of my bikes for the better part of 10 years. However, for touring, tandeming and riding with young kids, the SPD’s walkable cleat placement offered just too many advantages.
Touring is all-day riding, on-and-off the bike for food stops, pictures, and all the stuff that goes with living on your bike for a week. Riding with young kids is more of the same, with lots of on-and-off the bike, and trust me, you only climb a ladder for the playground slide once in Look cleated shoes. And for tandem riding, the captain (front rider) needs a firm foot plant for starting and stopping 300+ lbs. of tandem, team and gear.
So I have kept it simple with one pair high quality, light weight, off-road shoes and SPD pedals on my three main bikes (touring/endurance, road/sport, and tandem). After many seasons in a pair Sedi Rampars, I replaced them last fall with a pair of Bontrager RL Mountain Shoes
. I now have over 500 miles and dozens of rides with these shoes, and I’ve been very pleased with my choice.
The RL feature Bontrager’s Bronze series carbon soles for a good of mix power transfer and flex for comfort and walking. They use customizable eSole insoles, which give you the option of changing the amount of arch support. The breathable InForm uppers were comfy during last falls heat wave, though you will want shoe covers or Gore socks for cold weather rides. I also like the ratcheting buckle, my first shoes with this feature, for adjustment while riding. The aggressive soles, now with a slightly softer material than earlier models, offer a great grip on hard and soft surfaces.
The Bontrager’s RL Mountains (Men’s or Women’s
) are great off-road shoes and a great value at $139.99. And Bontrager also offers the same upper and comfort in a pure road shoe, without the lugged sole, in the Bontrager RL Road
Not sure what pedal and shoe system would be best for you? The staff at Bicycle Garage Indy uses them all: Speed Play, Look, SPD, Shimano Road, Egg Beater and others, and will be glad to help you make the right choice for your riding style. And Bicycle Garage Indy also offer bicycle cleat fitting as part of our Bicycle Fitting Service.
Along with Bontrager, you will find cycling shoes
at Bicycle Garage Indy’s two locations, North (Indianapolis, in the Clearwater area on 82nd St.) and South (just west of I-65 on County Line Rd, Greenwood)