Seems to me that pedal choice is 1
) a very personal decision; 2
) often a subject of over thinking.
My 2 cents worth:
) Typical road pedals/cleats
(Look, Shimano SPD-SL, Time road pedals
). Plus: Large cleat and pedal engagement area means less likely to develop hot spots. Minus: Big cleat hard to walk in and because of softish plastic will wear down.
) Speedplay: Plus: Very knee friendly, lots of float. Minus: cleat can get clogged, big metal cleat tough to run in during transitions
) MTB pedals
(Shimano SPD, Time ATAC, Crank Bros eggbeaters
). Plus: Absolutely bulletproof pedals, SPD cleats used on most gym spin cycles. Minus: A bit heavy for most, smaller metal cleat but still not great for running in transition.
My experience: I have been experimenting with this for years, have nearly one of all of the above pedal types, and my conclusion is that you cannot really make a mistake. For me, I currently have a set of Shimano MTB
) pedals on my tri bike. This allows me to use the same shoes for the gym spin bikes and my own bike. Further, these pedals hold up great to huge amounts of mileage, I have 2K+ miles on my current pair - virtually factory new. As I get closer to racing season I will change out to my Time iCLIC pedals. The cleats on these wear a bit easily and I am a bit dubious that these pedals can handle the huge mileage that the XTs can
(although this is only my impression
), but are uber easy to get in/out of and running on these cleats is easy
(I don't leave my shoes clipped on the bike