Speedplay pedals for a newbie? (asking for a friend)

Hey guys and gals. Asking for a friend (actually my 15 yo son). :slightly_smiling_face:

He’s started to get into road cycling. He’s pretty much my size (actually about an inch taller now at just over 6’) so I set him up on my old road bike (winter bike) with flat pedals. He’s thinking of taking the leap to clipless now.

I personally run Look style pedals (Assoima Duos) and I have some spare sets of Look Keo pedals kicking around, but I’m concerned about the learning curve with the single sided entry on the Looks. I’m thinking of maybe getting him some Speedplay Zero pedals to get started as he figures out how to use clipless. I like the dual sided entry, micro-adjustability fore-aft/side-side and float “forgiveness” as he figures out his natural pedaling foot motion. Hard to get him a bike-fit in these troubled times, as you can imagine.

Anyway, I have zero (ha) experience with these pedals, but looking for feedback from the community from people who do if these are a suitable pedal for a newb to clipless.


Seems unnecessary. I’d have him go straight to the hand-me-down Looks.

15 years is not young. He can figure it out. The learning period for him should be a matter of hours.


Personally for me learning to clip into speedplay pedals was much harder then when I first started off with single sided shimano pedals as I strugled to step accurately onto the speedplay every time. I only changed to them for a bike fit reason really in the end, so personally id just start on the look pedals as it will also save you a decent amount of money.

I really like the double sided feature of Speedplay, especially not having to look down at the pedal to clip in. Rode with Shimano SPD-SL for many years and don’t miss them.

I’d stick with one pedal system as well.

If you let him, he could always ride wit( power on your pedals on the trainer or as a hand me down later.

I’ve run Speedplays for years on my road bikes and they are great, but keep in mind the cleats are fairly pricey. Speedplays are otherwise super reliable and the float they offer is a nice benefit.

One thing to think about is if he starts to get serious and wants a power meter, power meter pedals are likely a great option since they can be easily moved from bike to bike in the future. So perhaps starting him out on the Look Keo’s, before investing in a set of Speedplays, may make some sense.

Our bike fitter recommends Speedplay Light Action pedals as they are pretty easy to get in and out of. He has thousands of hours fitting and instructs, so I’d believe in his advice. Which ever way you go it’s always a good idea to start on a trainer so they learn how to engage and release.

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Thanks for the input guys. I think maybe I’ll set him up on the trainer with my Looks some time this week and let him play around. Maybe I’ll hook him up with Disaster as a workout… :joy:


Speedplay have a metal cleat, so there’s a lot more feel to the engagement.

Just give him your old pedals, he’ll learn very quick, and if the bike is on the trainer, there isn’t even a risk of him falling off.

I do have Speedplays and I think they are great for the float and clipping in/out. I was always scared I won’t clip out of the Look S Track pedals I had on my previous bike (after I fell a couple of times). However, recently I’ve developed hot spots in my feet and this might be a reason to try another pedal/cleat.

If you are thinking about speedplays have a look at this video. If it was my 15 year old son I’d go for the light action speedplays as they are much easier to get in and out of.


Thanks for that! Awesome resource!

Excellent video thank you. He does have some gait irregularities (“duck walking” a bit as they call it in the video) so that’s why I was initially thinking Speedplay due to the wider range of adjustments. He was running with my wife but developed a painful corn on his foot (yes, he is using proper shoes but these things happen) so that’s what got him on the bike as the riding doesn’t put pressure on that spot. He’s trying to stay fit for when basketball and volleyball start back up when this Covid BS is over.

As mentioned, I think I’ll try him on the Keos and see how that goes to start. Ideally if he continues with it (i.e. he wants his own rig rather than riding my winter bike) I’ll get him in to see the bike fitter at my shop and go from there.

Thanks for the input all.

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I learned on a pair of my dad’s old Look pedals when I was about 16. Was great to be able to swap bikes with my pops and young minds/bodies are better at pretty much all of this stuff :grin:

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Haha, yes this is true. 30 years ago I was more nimble that’s for sure!

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Why not do that. Let him train indoors for a bit. I made the switch from Eggbeaters to SPD-SL four months ago, and it is alright.

If you encounter any problems, you could still throw money at the problem. (I would have gotten Speedplays if I hadn’t won Shimano Ultegra pedals in a raffle, woot!)

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Well, his shoes arrived this week so I set the boy up with my old Look Keos and put him on the trainer to practice for about 20 mins. Then we went out for a ride. He figured it out pretty quickly and the only incident was after our first stop. When we started to go again he tried to clip both feet in before pushing off and the slow motion “TIMBER!” happened.

He was fine and laughing all the way down and when he got back up. I just laughed my ass off at him and reiterated that you can clip in ONE foot while stopped, but start going again before you try to get the other one in! :rofl:

Thanks again guys for the input.


Learning to ride with clipless pedals is even more fun on a mountain bike. But clipping in and out soon will become second nature — especially for young whippersnappers like your son.

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Sorry to use an old thread to go off-topic, but our lad also runs and cycles, and with increased mileage since lockdown a small corn on his toe turned into an issue with footwear on and off the bike. Which part of his foot was your son having trouble with? It sounds like it wasn’t anywhere that would hurt when riding.