Do You Need This Feature?

You can't blast me out of the Shimano SH-TR9. Nothing but praise for this triathlon shoe. But I want to talk about the pedal it's mounted to for a minute.

One of the great recent product categories is the pedal-based power meter. Bear in mind, however, that pedals aren’t dumb hunks of metal, or simple mechanical devices. They’re intricate; they perform a lot of functions. I recently wrote about this fact, but I thought I'd drill down a little, mentioning a specific feature important to me.

Speedplay is a double sided pedal, which can be handy depending on your transition strategy. You either run out and back in in your cycling shoes (to the mount/dismount line) in which case this becomes a feature, as well as how your cleats fare if you're running on them. If you attach your shoes to your bike and they never leave the bike during your triathlon this isn't as meaningful a feature. So, do you run in your shoes? If so, the double sided pedal is helpful, and you’ll want to use Speedplay’s walkable cleat cover.

If you attach your shoes to your bike, these features aren't as important. But none of these are the feature I'm talking about today.

I find I need very little float in my cleat. But I’m very picky where that float starts and stops. This is one of the key features of Speedplay. Here’s a quickie video I made that displays it.

It may well be that an Assioma, Powertap or Garmin pedals is your best play. Just, bear in mind the features of pedals, as pedals. Our reader forum is full of praise for these power meter pedals, but also of gripes, generally because they succeed as power meters but are less successful in performing their jobs as pedals (hard to get cleats into the pedals; bearings less than ideal, etc.).

I’m bullish on power meters. Just, is the feature above important to you? Speedplay, Time, Look and Shimano are fine pedal makers. Make sure you don’t need a pedal feature that isn’t found in a power meter pedal.