Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Shimano PD-6800 Ultegra Pedals

I've been using Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals since I started triking back in 2009. They're considered a MTB pedal but suit recumbent riding. After getting my new hips in late 2013 I've been steadily increasing my strength and riding faster. I've become uncomfortable with the excess float (ability to move foot from side to side while clipped in the pedal) of the Eggbeaters. During fast descents on rough roads my feet will bounce around and sometimes my ankle will hit the crank. The Q factor (see Sheldon Brown Glossary for Q factor) on my crankset is 157mm which brings my feet close to the crank. Generally speaking, when clipped in, my feet feel a little to loose for comfort. In addition I fear that if my feet get bounced around enough they may become unclipped at high speed. I live in a hilly area where the roads are wide and invite you to keep your hands off the brakes. I routinely get into the high 30mph range and often into the high 40mph range. Occasionally I'll take a route that gets me up to 50mph and I don't want my feet bouncing around in the pedals.

Recently I replaced the Eggbeaters with Shimano PD-6800 Ultegra pedals. Through choice of cleats the float can be adjusted from 6 degree float to 0 degree float. The spring tension on the pedals can be adjusted making it harder or easier to unclip from the pedals. Being a triker and having no need to unclip at stops I can adjust the tension to keep my feet solidly in place.

The cleats come in a yellow coded version with 6 degree float and red with 0 degree float. The color sections on the cleat not only indicate the degree of float but also serve as walking platforms when off the trike. 

With the change in pedals I had to purchase new road shoes to accommodate these road specific  pedals. Luckily Bontrager makes a road version of the RL MTB shoe I was using, the RL Road.  Bontrager is the most comfortable cycling shoe I have ever worn and I managed to find last year's model (with the silver ratchet lever) in my size at a reduced price.

I'm enjoying the Shimano PDs. My feet truly feel like a part of my trike now. No more bouncing feet on rough roads. Right now I'm using the Yellow 6 degree float cleats. The 6 degree limit on float protects my feet from banging the crank. I may try the 0 degree float cleats later on. Note; If you're using a Schlumpf crank you probably won't be able to hit the shift button with these pedals.

Shimano PD-6800 Ultegra 

Yellow 6 degree float cleat. The Shimano cleat has a wide platform. The yellow tabs on the side of the cleat serve only to add more stability when walking. Thus the reason I choice Shimano over similar pedals from other manufacturers. With the added Kool Kover (picture below) walking is reasonably comfortable.

Kool Kover cleat cover. Prevents cleat wear from walking. Also more stable non-slip platform when walking.

Bontrager RL Road shoe with cleat.

Red 0% float cleat. Note the larger rounded area on top of the cleat compared to the yellow cleat. This is what keeps the float down to 0 degree.

My old  Eggbeater pedal. A good pedal but not right for the way I ride.

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