Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shimano SH-M225E shoes

After 5 years (or is it 8? I can't find any information on this model year anymore), it is time to retire my blue Shimano SH-M225 cycling shoes.

They have seen me through 25°F (-4°C) snow, ice and sleet; squishing past sodden swamps; rolling through meadows redolent with cow manure; up and down foothills and ridges of Mount Diablo, sticky with red clay; over thread-chewing rocks of Fairfax mountains, infested with horseflies; sliding past slippery, rolling pea gravel of Western Australia; chugging up giant, shifting dunes at Point Reyes; and plodding along in the dust, in 114°F (45.5°C) blazing summers. Great shoes.

It took the Crank Brothers Eggbeaters to kill them. (You won't have this problem with SPD™ pedals.)

Some time ago, I used Beater Blockers to protect the carbon sole from the bars / wings of the Eggbeater pedal. They worked, but after they broke I was unable to locate any replacements. The DIY shoe shields, made from steel soft drink cans, appeared to work, but after 1500 km (937 miles), they rapidly fall apart, quickly leading to damage to the carbon fiber sole.

A close up of the DIY shoe shield on the right shoe. On the aft side, the wings of the pedal have worn through the metal, and is beginning to wear through the carbon fiber sole.

The fore portion of the DIY shoe shield on the left shoe has disintegrated. The pedal body has worn half-way through the carbon fiber sole. In this position, the shoe restricts float at the bottom of the pedal stroke, resulting in excruciating pain in my left knee after 50 km (31 miles).

The friendly dealer tried to tempt me with the $$$ Shimano SH-M300 elite competition shoe, which can be thermoformed under heat and pressure (twice) to precisely conform to your feet, yielding a custom fit. He even added that the oven and pressure chamber are on-site  ^_^

Deciding that it sounded too reminiscent of the Singapore education system — that, and SG$409 (US$300) is too rich for my blood — I went for its saner sibling, the 2008 Shimano SH-M225E (size 46). At SG$244 (US$179), it seemed a more prudent choice.

Each Velcro™ strap can be trimmed off via two 10 mm cut-away sections. Rather than the standard "S" model, I went for the "E" variant as it features a roomier toe box for my long toes.

I wonder how the pretty, translucent soles will hold up.

Using the supplied Shimano special tool, the toe studs can be replaced. Tightening torque is 3.5 - 4 newton-meters (31 - 35 inch-pounds).

Do not use any spikes other than those that are specifically designed for the SH-M225 shoes.

Do not use the shoes while the spikes have been removed.

Plugs would be good for those eschewing spikes.

This time, the official Crank Brothers Shoe Shields are available.

Breaking out the hardware. The cleat bolts are made of stainless steel, and pretty, but they don't work as well as the black oxide Shimano bolts, which are much harder.

Premium cleats and shoe shields installed.

One of the ironies of the Eggbeater pedals is this: due to its micro platform, for all but the lightest riders, it requires extremely stiff shoe soles to support the feet. If not, the shoes — and feet — would flex all over the tiny pedals, and pain around the ball of the foot would inevitably result. Carbon fiber soles are very stiff; however, the design of the Eggbeater is such that the pedal wings / bars wear into carbon fiber sole, ruining them in short order.

Piece titled, Harrison Ford with Calista Flockhart.

The old with the new. (Big is not beautiful; and yes, I think Calista Flockhart is hawt.)

Let's see if the Crank Brothers Shoe Shields hold up.

The new SH-M225 comes with a ratcheting buckle. I am not too thrilled about this feature, as it introduces a lot of moving parts that may jam in sandy or extremely muddy conditions, necessitating cutting of the replaceable strap. Anecdotal accounts confirm this suspicion.

Thankfully, the buckle is also removable. Secured by a single Philips screw, it is tightened to 1.3 - 1.7 newton-meters (11 - 15 inch-pounds).

My other (preliminary) grouse about the new shoe are the Velcro™ strap loops:

Old Shimano SH-M225 strap ring
Material:   aluminum
Thickness:   2.9 mm

2008 Shimano SH-M225E strap ring
Material:   coated steel
Thickness:   2 mm

Here's to more adventures!


Unknown said...

Thanks for the great article. I just bought a pair of these on ebay for a great price. Now I realize I got even more than I expected. I'm glad I read thru about the shoe shields as well. I ride with eggbeaters so this would have definitely been a concern to me! Thanks....


-ben said...

Ah! Another eggbeater user! Yes, the shields will help (at the expense of a little stability though as it raises the shoe off the pedal a little). The slightly lower-end model of the shoe uses a rubber / polymer bottom, so it is not affected by the "wings" of the eggbeater pedal. But I like the stiffness of the carbon sole though. The premium eggbeater cleats are made of a slightly harder brass and offer increased adjustability. Worth the higher price, IMHO :-D

Anonymous said...

can i use crank brother shield with shimano spd cleats.. thanks.. :)

-ben said...

Good question. I've never tried that.

As long as the cutouts on the eggbeater shields match the Shimano cleat pattern, I don't see why not.

It will raise the profile of your pedal-shoe interface though, rendering it a bit less stable. Unless your carbon sole is totally wrecked, I see little reason to attempt this combination. I used a heavily worn carbon sole (the blue Shimano shoes in this write up) with a pair of Shimano cleats and it functioned perfectly without the use of the eggbeater shields. The Shimano pedals do not use the 2 "bars" or "wings" that grind into carbon soles.

If you do try it out, do share your observations!

Thanks for dropping by!