Advantages and disadvantages of using SPD-SL for long ride

When considering the pedal to be attached to the road bike, I think that everyone may wonder which of SPD or SPD-SL is better.

Especially when assuming a long ride, opinions are split between two, whether SPD-SL which is easy to transmit force is better or SPD that can walk is better.

First of all, I would like to consider the case of using SPD – SL.


Easy to convey power (advantage)

Not to mention the advantage is that the contact area of the pedal and shoes is wide, and the power can be directly transmitted. If you only think about riding, SPD-SL would be better.

Difficult to get off the hill (disadvantage)

SPD-SL is good when releasing the pedal, but there is a problem when catching the pedal. It is because the sole of the shoe is slippery and slippery. If you do not catch the pedal, the sole may slip on the pedal and fall.

Especially when starting on a hill, the bicycle is not stable, so catching a pedal becomes difficult. You have to learn techniques such as keeping rowing with one foot.

Solution: Apply rubber to the sole

If you attach a rubber plate to the sole of the shoe, it will be hard to slip even if you catch it, and it will be easier when you start off the slope. You can ride your bike without catching the pedal for short distance.

The weight of the shoes will increase, but if you consider safety, it is a recommended solution.

When you are in an unexpected situation, you can not walk (disadvantage)

You can walk hardly with SPD-SL. In addition to that, as you continue to walk, the cleats attached to the shoes will be broken.

In long rides, unexpected situations such as the occurrence of a mechanical malfunction may occur. At this time, you can not go to the station or home unless you can walk.

Solution: Prepare money to take a taxi

If something goes wrong, please take a taxi. I will prepare for that amount of money in advance. It depends on negotiations with a taxi company, but if you go home with a bicycle, you may need a bicycle bag.

Solution: Carry super lightweight shoes and portable backpack

Please carry lightweight shoes and sandals for walking. New Balance’s minimalist is recommended. It is lightweight and it can be made compact.

Also, you need a backpack carrying cycling shoes. I usually have a portable backpack that can be folded.

This will increase by at least 400 grams and it will be a difficult part as it will require a space to put the backpack and shoes. You will need a huge saddle bag like a Revelate Design.

On the other hand, SPD is not quite suitable for walking. Anyway, You can not walk long distances just by walking. Therefore preparing shoes that you can walk comfortably may be better choice that SPD.


Because SPD-SL has drawbacks that it is hard to walk, it tends to be avoided in long rides. However, there are also solutions for those shortcomings, so it may be a good idea to stick to the SPD-SL with those solutions.

Lets discuss about SPD next.

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