I dont think theres anything close to a frog. I use frogs, and when i run out of new cleats, im going back to time. I think some models have adjustable tension, so maybe turning down the tension would work for ya?
I’ve played this game. There’s no replacement.
To me the Frogs are the most intuitive to engage, they have a lot of free float, and then a solid-short point of disengagement. It also allows you exit in a direction other than directly sideways. They are also decent to pedal prior to clip in.
The Syzr, which I’ve got a set sitting here, are not the frog. They are the road pedals with some limitations. You can buy these (just a few miles w/ cleats) off of me for $100.
The ATAC XC pedals are decent by aren’t as easy to get into and feel sloppy (left / right rock). The float on paper is better, but the free float isn’t any wider than Shimano. They don’t pedal well unclipped. The Cyclo gravel pedals are udder s*** - they gave up before they were finished with them.
The SPD pedals are easy to get into but the float isn’t there. These are slippery when unclipped. The 1-sided SPDs are hard to get into even with practice.
The crankbros aren’t good. IIRC, they were always under tension.
The Look pedals are basically the same as the Shimano, but have more traction and seem to allow more free float (this should be cleat dependent). The shoe lug/pedal interface allows more rocking.
The best I’ve found are the Look x-track pedals with the Easy cleat (I think these work with Shimano). The Easy cleat allows off-the-flat-plane of the pedal disengagement.
All of them rock more, because for trail/XC biking you want to move around more. They leave some space between the shoe side lugs and the pedal.
Another good option if you haven’t tried it, flat pedals and the right shoes. I was surprised when I tried HT AR06 (HT) with Vans Authentic. It’s almost as good at clip-in. With the wrong shoes, it’s not.
Frogs are insanely easy to use. Its like having a v-clip you slide onto a stud that locks on. There’s no rocking (when they are fresh) like a road pedal. There’s no side-to-side resistance and a very defined disengagement point like road speedplays. They’re like road speedplays but way easier to engage, even though road speedplays are easy to engage. If you want float or just clip-in without the nonsense, they were perfect for gravel/xc/touring/newbies/road.
I’d really like to 3d print/cast a housing for a different spindle as well as mfg as cleat/interface as a project. I think casting the black part would be easy. The pedal interface would be easy. Getting that cleat to work would be hard.
The only pedals I haven’t tried are the Time road pedals and the HT with the M cleat. I don’t have high hopes for either.
Frog cleats? No, I had been going through 2x year. The market has already bought these up.Your best bet for those is a random bike shop off the internet no one has found yet or random CL ad. If you buy an expensive pair, get the funny looking ones (prior design) as they last longer.
The wiggle is usually the metal bit on the pedal coming loose or the pedal body wearing down.
I’d get the x-track (regular or next step up) with the easy cleat and try to live with them. If you don’t like those, you won’t any of the other options. You can maybe try the Szyr (Buy now!) or Pave.
@jfranci3 I’ve put 5 hours into the X-Track and easy cleats. It’s definitely the closest to “free-float” I’ve felt in a non Speedplay pedal. I haven’t quite got the cleat position dialed in, but pretty happy overall.
Speedplay is still 10/10 for me, I hope Wahoo produces Gravel/MTB pedal. I’d give the X-Track a 7/10.