Advice on cyclocross pedals

Hi all

I’d be interested in hearing any first hand experience of pedals for cyclocross. I’ve been using shimano m520s for years, but I’m now keen to try something different. As a rider known for lack of technical skills, I find myself running a fair amount and therefore pedals and cleats quickly get jammed with mud. It’s not a huge issue but one that I’d be interested in eliminating.

I’d be especially interested to hear from anyone using looking s-track pedals, speedplay syzrs or time atac mx8s.

Open to suggestions :slight_smile:

Check out Xpedo. Lighter and cheaper than XTR, way better in the mud due to a larger front claw. Works with shimano spd cleats.

Eggbeaters. Nuff said.


Forgot to mention. I tried eggbeaters and wasn’t impressed at all. They have a really vague feeling, with not much noticeable “snap” when clipping in and out. Didn’t try them long enough to test their durability but haven’t heard good things about that side of things either

Thanks, that looks like an interesting option. I have looked at xpedos previously but dismissed them because they looked so similar to shimano. I must’ve overlooked the cxr. I’ll check them out!

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One thing to consider for CX pedals as well: Do you want a platform? I switched to Shimano XT trail, this year and I’ve been really happy with it. I had always used non platform pedals for CX but just decided to try it as I had beat up my old pedals. What I like about it is that if you can’t get clipped in right away, it is easier to pedal for a few strokes while you ride away from what ever your dismount was.

Prior to switching, I was somewhat nervous that the extra ‘stuff’ on the pedal might interfere and make it harder to clip in. But if anything I’ve found it easier, certainly no harder. I’ve had a few muddy races without any additional difficulty too.

Almost all manufacturers make platform versions of their clipless pedals, so you should have that as an option whatever you choose. My n=1 with eggbeaters is similar to what someone said above: lack of positive clip in sensation bothered me, and I did feel the durability was crap, I never got the expensive models though. That said I have friends who swear by them so YMMV

Long time MTB’r with Time ATAC use since 1997 (still have the same pair in service on my gravel bike now) and I have never failed to clip in, be that mud or snow/ice. They are bulletproof and dead reliable for my needs. I have a newer XC6 on my XC race bike and they perform right on par with the originals.


Thanks. I don’t need the platform, I’m more interested in mud shedding capabilities. I find the small shimano platform to be plenty suitable if I can’t clip in, I’d just rather i COULD clip in

The XC6 looks like a go-er. Cheaper than xtr, lighter and possibly better mud shedding. What’s not to like? They seem to share a similar design with the Look s-blade. Any thoughts on how they compare? Atleast based on a design perspective since I’m guessing you’ve never tried the Looks.

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Correct, I’ve never used the Looks, but my riding partner uses them and swears by them as well. I think neither of us has tried the other’s pedals, but they seem really good from what I can tell.

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I have been a Speedplay Syzr user for the last three years. Use them for Cross all the time. My experience is that even when my cleats, shoes and pedals fill up with mud I still am able to clip in without too much issue. I like them so much I put a pair on my gravel bike.

I have had good experiences with XT/XTR pedals.

This has been my expereince w/ EggBeaters as well. Used them for a number of years on my cross bike (but not racing). Worked “OK” but was never thrilled with them. Switched to XT this spring in advance of DK and have never looked back. Better feeling when engaging the pedlas and, IMO, easier to release.

Rode ATAC for years after they came out, but never liked the feeling of “sliding off” the pedals you can get when on off-camber stuff.

Will be sticking w/ Shimano…actually just ordered a pair of 520’s today for my fat bike (which still had EggBeaters on it).

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Crank bros Candy, they have just the right size platform that you can find quickly every time. In addition to that, crank brothers make a metal plate that mounts between the cleat and shoe. That gives you a more constant feeling engagement and makes disengagement feel a lot quicker.

Check out the HT Components Leopard M1.

I had the same criteria as you and these seem to tick all the boxes for me. Solid foot retention, predictable release, relatively easy clip in, and they’ve shed mud well in a lightly muddy race for me. I’ve tried crank bros candy, xpedo M-force, Shimano xtr, time atac, and now the HT’s. Time were good in the mud but very vague retention and the spring retention pin disassembled itself over the course of 1 season. My only regret is missing out on the excellent clip in of the xtr pedals in the dry, but the terrible mud performance is not worth it.

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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.

I managed to pick up a pair of look s-tracks on ebay for super cheap so I’ll give those a few rides and see how they feel.

Keep the suggestions coming though because if I dont like them then I’ll be trying something else

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Have you tried the simple solution of spraying your pedals with Pam cooking spray before the race?

Interesting. I’d think the best place to reduce sticking would be in the shoe/cleat pocket. That’s the location that picks up the mud/snow/ice in the first place.

So adding slip (reducing sticking) that allows the debris to slip out of the pocket seems like a place to start. I guess I would try the shoe and pedal in the worst cases.

The problem with spraying the bottom of the shoe is traction, you could probably be selective in where you apply it, but commonly it is only applied to the pedals

Yes, my assumption was to simply get into the cleat pocket and not hit the outer lugs of the shoe. A simple cardboard template with just the pocket hole would be an easy way to “mask” the shoe and control spray location.

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