New Shoes Save Weight….!! …. A Quick Ride Through the Forest

Whenever I buy new kit, if I act impulsively it often backfires on me. And so it was about two years ago when I snapped a buckle faster on my Northwave road shoes.

I popped into the local bike shop and got talked into a reduced price pair of Bontager road shoes at £45 – I’ve never been happy with them.  So I’ve been building up to sorting that out and settled on some Shimano RP9 shoes.  Now they retail for a heck of a lot (£219) so I was humming and hah’ing…. the next cheapest model was £169 etc etc.  Then I saw the RP9s on Wiggle at £165 so ordered straight away…. fifty quid off!!

Sizing of bike shoes is really tricky – and Shimano famously need you to go “up a size” so being a size 47 I ordered 48 (largest size I could find, actually).  They just about fit so I think we’ll be OK.  My Shimano Winter Boots are 48s too.

I wrote a while ago on the subject of weight – pedals, cleats and shoes.  Read that article by clicking here. They are part of the bike really and it’s interesting (i) how much weight there is (ii) how little focus we all have on it.

To my amazement, I just saved 300gms !!!!!  How much would you spend to save that in a frame, or wheels.  Plus, I guess it is rotational mass which when accelerating you multiply the effect by three – or something like that to do with gyroscopic forces. Or was it centripetal force? I forget.

The new shoes weigh 275gms each, so 550gms the pair. The old Bontrager shoes weigh 850gms.

Getting the cleats transferred was a bit tricky (I have wedges) and they sit pretty much at the end of the adjustment range in some ways.  Anyway – they feel fine, and I have transferred my higher profile Giro insoles too.

So went out in the forest behind Knole to do my baby route – just 7 miles. Also this was the first day in three months on the bike without painkillers and anti-inflammatories…. wasn’t totally comfortable actually in terms of pain, but the ride stats seem quite quick. Interesting….

I have a timed piece of the route – just deleting the traffic jams at the start and end.  I call it “Sprint” on Strava – but that came out as my second quickest ever – 14.9mph.  It’s not far in terms of miles, but I’m still pleased, and I didn’t feel I was pushing it.


N+1 ….Winterising a Trek Domane – with Mudguards….!!

For Club Riding in the winter months, I’ve decided I need to get a quicker bike out of the garage in order to ride with my Group!!  Since I got my slightly heavier old bike out I just have to work so hard to keep up with them!!

The issue in the damp and wet though is to protect yourself from water splatter – and even more importantly, protect your fellow riders.

To my eye, mudguards never make a bike look good. Pity…. The only choice is which mudguard design looks least bad.  You can got lots of partial solutions – mudguards for one side of the brake calliper or the other!  After a bit of consideration, I decided the look that is least bad is with mudguards that seem thin and hug the tyre profile…. and give you, your fellow riders and the frame maximum protection. You can get mudguards in gloss black, silver and occasionally matt black (an interesting choice I think).  My frame has a fair bit of gloss black, so I’ve selected Bontrager full mudguards for best protection – with the frame colour I don’t think it looks too bad !! (he said through gritted teeth)

Another stroke of luck – I ride a Trek Domane (not disc model)  which proudly advertises itself as having “mudguard compatibility and hidden mounts”.

That’s where the easy bit ends…..

The mudguards went on ok and have simple adjustments, but the issue immediately became the tyres.  Despite what Trek say about the Trek Domane, my 25mm tyres fitted under the front mudguard but were rubbing very slightly on the back.  Any thought of 28mm tyres can be forgotten.   Where they rub is not at the top of the bridge as I suspected, but actually on the black mudguard bracket – it’s very small – see photo.

(difficult to see the plastic bracket that causes the problem in this photo – it has two rivets this side, can you see?)

At first I wondered if it was rubbing the brake calliper and got all frothed up about fitting dura-ace brakes instead – but upon close inspection it would not have helped.  The only answer has been to go down to 23mm tyres and we chose Continental GP 4 Seasons winter tyres.  They fit like a dream, but the issue is going to be hardness of ride, grip and so on.  Most probably I  wont be able to tell….!!!  It’s a shame though.

Just for the record, I use Time Xpresso pedals in the summer.  I find in the winter that the cleats under my boots get clogged with mud and debris far too easily.  So in winter, I’ve taken to using Shimano XTR (double sided) pedals – they are the lightest you can get.

(The hidden mudguard mounts, are …. well…. hidden)

Fingers crossed that the downshift to 23mm tyres wont make a difference that I can detect.  Funny how narrow they look though…..

Click here to see the mudguards on Evans Cycles site

Mavic Xsellium Pedal Snaps Off….!!

2015 Broken pedal oneFor two to three weeks, I’ve been worried about my right hand pedal.  I had replaced worn cleats and following this just occasionally it felt like my right foot was being thrown off the side of the pedal.

I’m pretty sure the new cleats are in the correct position (I was meticulous… using marker tape and photos) but the feeling was so bad I took the cleat off and reversed the wedges.

Stupid Boy, I am – why didn’t I check the pedal !  Well, even if I did give it a sight check, I’m not at all sure it would have revealed a crack in the carbon fibre that constitutes the main part of the platform.  But I was out today riding with my friend Bob… We had just had the piece where I was asking advice about cleat fitting.  “It can’t be the axle”, I said.  A mile later, the pedal platform just dropped off at pretty much the mid point of the ride.

2015 Broken Pedal twoIt so happens that these pedals (Mavic SLR model) are the exact copy of Time Expresso 10 pedals which I have on the winter bike.  Or is it an exact copy??  So hard to tell, isn’t it??  I have a feeling that the pedals on the winter bike are Time Expresso 6 pedals which weigh about one Kleenex more but have a body made of some composite – stronger perhaps??

Anyway, I have switched back from Mavic to the Time brand and ordered up some Expresso 10 replacement pedals from Evans Cycling.

Anyone else seen this, or had this experience?

New Time Xpresso Pedals are “On” …..!!

So far, I’m pretty impressed.

pedal on desk

The pedals are a complete rethink of the Shimano type approach.  The spring is visible underneath and you can see clearly what is going on. The instructions are pretty good too.

time box cover

The box is well illustrated, and there’s a good instruction sheet as well.  On the bike, the pedals look great – they have cleats beneath the boot of the same order of magnitude as shimano – but they are maybe just a bit lumpier to walk upon.

pedal on bike

time cleat on boot

Having a bit of a fiddle and a short ride around in the street, I notice the key things are

– much gentler clipping in and release mechanism much easier

– in a shimano, I think the back of the cleat comes out first (then you essentially have to lift the front peg out as an intuitive next stage.)  On the time, it looks to me that the front of the cleat is what gets released, and there is no second phase – once it clicks out, you’re out.  So it’s faster – especially in an about-to-fall-over-scenario…..

– weighs 20% less

Best Pedals in 2013….!!

The July edition of Cycling Plus surveyed the market for pedals.  The winner was the Time Xpresso 6.

They weigh 210gms but I see that they make Xpresso pedals as light as 155g a pair.

This is what the magazine had to say in their summary:-

Time Expresso 6 pedals offer more features with lower weight and great durability, and all at a price that wont make your eyes water.  For the rider new to the world of clipless pedals they offer a huge range of lateral and rotational float – which helps you avoid any biomechanical issues – whilst their easily adjustable release tension will suit learners and more experienced cyclists alike.  Improved cleat engagement and strength are a step up over previous Times, and the only downside is that their lack of mass means they dont always hang down perfectly.  Apart from that the Xpresso 6 delivers a cutting edge performance in a featherlight package.

The description in the Review said:-

The Xpresso 6 is the lightest conventional pedal on test, largely due to the use of a carbon leaf spring instead of coiled steel.  This remains in the open position until the cleat is engaged, when it snaps closed, providing a a +/- 5 degrees of smooth angular float, 2.5mm of lateral float, and great security.  The cleats allow you two Q factor options (the distance between your pedals), are positive in use and stand up to a lot of abuse, which the stainless steel protected enlarged pedal platform shrugs off with ease.  But their lack of weight and improved bearing seals do mean they have a habit of not hanging down to assist engagement.

Weight at the Contact Point……!!

Pedals + Boots + Cleats Weigh as Much as Your Frame….

I’ve just weighed my boots….Why have I been getting all worked up about pedal weights??

I have two types of Northwave cycling shoes.  One with a sole for road cleats, and one with a sole for MTB cleats.

Without their cleats, the road shoes weigh 656g per pair… and the MTB shoes weigh 814g per pair!!! So 10 pairs of shoes weigh about as much as the bike!!  Blimey… (I am UK size 12, EU size 47, so quite large feet).  There are some shoes advertised in the magazines weighing 550g per pair… so this bears thinking through.

We all know that bike weights are quoted “without pedals”, don’t we?   On Wiggle at least, I discovered that although the weights of the pedals are quoted they don’t quote the cleats.  But you can find it if you dig….. Note in the data below that to get it in proportion, your boots plus cleats plus pedals are more or less the same weight as your frame….

Pedal  Type.  Weights>>>    Pedal    Cleat  Total      Shoe           Full Wt.

Shimano MTB M520                  400           51     451         814              1265

Shimano XTR M980                   310           51     361         814               1175

Shimano SPD A600                   292          121   413         656               1069

Shimano Ultegra Carbon           265          121   337         656                 993

Time Xpresso 6                          212             87   299         656                 955 

Time Xpresso 8                          195             87   282         656                 938

The pedals I use on the bike now are the M980 with Northwave boots, giving me a weight of 1265gms ( nearly the weight of a titanium frame).  The best I have looked at here for the dream posh bike might be  938gms including boots (must do research on boots!), a reduction of 327gms, or 26% lighter.

Click here to see Bikeradar on the Xpresso 8

This is what Xpresso Cleats look like

Click here for bikeradar on Xpresso 6

Click here for Wiggle on Shimano M980, lightest of the MTB Choices

Click here for Wiggle on Xpresso 6

Click here for Wiggle on XPresso 8

Click here to see what Cycling Plus said about the Xpresso 6