Delta Vs. SPD; Which Is The Best for Power Transfer?


Delta Vs. SPD

Delta and SPD cleats are among the most commonly used cleats in the world of biking and spinning. Unfortunately, the two systems are incompatible. Therefore, you have to choose between using Look Delta and SPD cleats. Nevertheless, in most cases, the type of pedals on your bike will determine the cleats you will pick. 

SPD is a favorite for MTB and everything from recreational riding to commuting. SPD pedals are also great for spinning classes!

LOOK DELTA (also known as DELTA, LOOK). Most used on Peloton bikes and also used for road biking.

The most apparent difference between the two cleat systems is that Delta uses a three-hole cleat feature, while the SPD system uses a two-hole cleat feature.

So, today we will tackle Delta Vs. SPD. Which includes:

  • What is a Delta Clip?
  • What is SPD Clip?
  • Feature Difference Table Between SPD and Look Delta
  • Similarities Between Delta and SPD Cleats
  • Differences Between SPD and Delta Cleats
  • Is Peloton SPD or Look Delta?
  • SPD or Look Delta, Which is Good for Peloton?
  • How to Use SPD Cleats on Default Peloton Pedals
  • Convert Look Delta Cleats to SPD?
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a Delta Clip?

A Delta clip is a cleat design from the Look company, which has become a representation of three-hole cleats.  It is triangular in outlook and has three large holes attached to pedals in the same design. Look also designs the Look Keo cleats, which are in the same design as the Delta option, and only the holes are narrower. Despite both cleats being 3-hole, it is common to hear people use Delta to refer to three-hole cleats.

Peloton pedals are Look Delta, and so are the shoes. Thus, the bike company has probably also played a significant role in the popularity of the Delta clipless design.

Delta Clips Uses;

  • Delta is most common in road bikes and almost always a signature for clipless riding.
  • It has also been adopted in indoor spinning, most notably by the Peloton bikes.
  • The Delta shoes have a rigid outsole associated with better power transfer, hence speed and minimal fatigue in cycling. Therefore, most cyclists will consider the clips for optimal power transfer.

Is Look Delta the Same as SPD-SL? Not exactly. Delta makes are from the Look company, while the SPD-SL designs are from the Shimano company. However, both Delta and SPD-SL fit into the same design of clipless pedals and cycling shoes. Therefore, you can use them interchangeably.

What is SPD Clip?

SPD clip refers to cycling shoe clips created by the Shimano company, which have two holes. The initials stand for Shimano Pedaling Design. Fundamentally, the clips are in a rectangular design, and due to their popularity, they currently define two-hole cleat designs.

Other than the SPD design, Shimano later introduced a new 3-cleat design, the Shimano Pedalling Design- Superlight (SPD-SL). The design fits into the Look Delta design and whose design Look Delta fits.

Uses of SPD Clips;

  • SPD clips are the prevailing clips for biking
  • They are the most popular clip design for indoor spinning and most cycling studios.
  • Users who commute in clipless pedals prefer the SPD options, as the cleats are recessive. In addition, it makes the shoes easier to walk in compared to the protruding shoes.

Feature Difference Table Between SPD and Look Delta

Features SPDDelta
Used forMountain biking, indoor cyclingRoad cycling, indoor cycling
Cleats that fitSPDLook Delta, SPD-SL
Number of holes on the cleats23
Recessed cleat area on cycling shoesyesno
Type of cycling shoe outsolerigidsemi-rigid
Cleat float0, 2, and 6 degrees0, 4.5, and 9 degrees
Cleat float color representationRed, blue, and yellow tips to represent 0, 2, and 6 degrees float, respectivelyBlack, gray, and red to represent 0, 4.5, and 9 degrees float, respectively

Let’s get on to the similarities and differences between Delta and SPD Cleats to understand the two better;

Similarities Between Delta and SPD Cleats

While there are significant differences between the two cleat systems, you will be surprised to learn that they also share some similarities;

1. They are used on Clipless Pedals

There are two main categories of pedals, flat and clipless pedals. Both Delta and SPD cleats work with clipless pedals. 

If you want to change your flat pedals for the clipless pedals, you can choose between the type of cleats you want to use. SPD and Look Delta are among the typical choices you come across.

2. Suitable for Dual Pedals

The best part about being typical is that a product is easily considered. In most cases, pedals that allow for at least dual compatibility will be excellent for SPD and Look Delta cleats. This is because most bikes come with pedals of either system, especially the spinning and road bikes.

Differences Between SPD and Delta Cleats

As we have mentioned, Delta and SPD cleats cannot be interchanged. Let’s take a view at the reasons behind this incompatibility;

1. The Number of Cleat Holes

Delta cleats come with three holes, which form a triangular shape of the cleats. On the other hand, SPD cleats have two holes, which give the cleats a narrow oval shape.

This difference in holes is the main reason that the two cleat systems are incompatible.

2. SPD Cleats Can be Recessed

True, both Delta and SPD cleats can protrude, prevent walking and be a pain even if you attempt to leave the pedals. However, they also make a disturbing noise and let’s not forget that walking in cycling shoes is quite risky and awkward.

Nevertheless, there are SPD cycling shoes that come with a recessed cleat area. Hence, you find it easier to walk in these shoes. Furthermore, it makes commuting in SPD recessed cleat shoes easier since you can cover short walking distances without changing shoes.

On the contrary, there are not yet Delta cleat shoes that come with a recessed cleat plate. Therefore, Look Delta remains secondary to SPD cleats if you want a walk in your cycling shoes.

3. Delta Cleats are Primary for peloton Bikes

If you have a Peloton bike, you will definitely need the Delta cleats for the pedals that come with the bike. After all, it is necessary to maintain the pedals if you want your warranty on the bike to remain valid.

However, if you really cannot do without your SPD shoes, you can always swipe the pedals for SPD pedals. Or dual pedals that can accommodate both Delta and SPD cleats. But remember that this comes at the cost of your Peloton bike warranty.

4. SPD Cleats are More Common in Spinning Bike Studios

While Look Delta cleats are more popular with the peloton riders, SPD cleats top in other spinning studios. 

If you have a spinning class in your town, you will most likely use these Shimano cleats. Actually, this is a major reason people who spin in studios and have a Peloton choose to switch pedals.

5. Power Transfer

Power transfer in cycling ensures that the pedals handle the excess strength you should bring into cycling. It makes it easier to pedal so that you cycle faster and over more extended periods.

Delta cleats tend to offer more power transfer compared to the SPD cleats. Not necessarily because the cleats are better, but also because of the type of outsole that each cleat fits into. All Delta shoes will come with a rigid or semi-rigid sole, ruling out walking but enhancing power transfer by significant margins.

Is Peloton SPD or Look Delta?

Peloton is Look Delta in pedal design, and the Peloton shoes are also Look Delta. Thus, one will need SPD-SL or Look Delta shoes and cleats when buying the accessories separately.

SPD or Look Delta, Which is Good for Peloton?

Definitely, LOOK Delta is best for Peloton because they are actually the only option for the Peloton brand pedals. 

However, you can change the Look Delta pedals for dual pedals with Look Delta and SPD cycling preferences. However, since using other pedals could nullify your parts warranty on Peloton, there is another option. You can put pedal converters on your Peloton pedals for SPD cycling. 

In this case, you can use Look Delta for classes where you need optimal power transfer, such as HIIT and Hills, Climbs and Power Zone classes. 

On the other hand, SPD cleats easily clip in and out, hence the best option for Bootcamp classes. In Peloton bike Bootcamp, you will interchange cycling sessions with floor strength sessions, hence the need for easy clipping in and out, which SPD provides.

How to Use SPD Cleats on Default Peloton Pedals

Can you use SPD cleats on the Peloton brand pedals? Yes, you can, but you have to make some changes. Venzo Peloton Pedal Converter converts Peloton pedals into dual pedals, which use SPD and Look Delta cycling cleats.

  • First, you only need to remove the cover on the Peloton pedals, which is screwed on the lower side of the pedals. 
  • Second, screw in the Venzo converter onto the Peloton pedals.
  • Third, install the SPD cleats on your SPD cycling shoes (luckily, the adapter comes with a set of SPD cycling cleats).
  • Fourth, get into your cycling shoes and hop onto your Peloton with an SPD cycling option without messing with your Peloton warranty.

This video provides a visual guide option.

Convert Look Delta Cleats to SPD?

Can I convert my Delta cleats to SPD? Yes, you can. Whether you need to hit the mountains and have to Look at Delta shoes, you don’t have to worry about making a whole new pair of shoe purchases. All you need are cycling shoe cleat adapters, which are less costly and with the same function.

A good example is the WellGo Cycling Shimano SPD Shoe Adapter. The converter comes with its own fitting bolts, which are universal for different types of cycling cleats. So how do you fit in the SPD adapter on the Look Delta cleats?

  1. First off, uninstall the cleats from your cycling shoes. 
  2. Secondly, fit in the cleat adapter onto the two top holes of the Look Delta cleats.
  3. Use the washers and bolts to fix the adapter onto the cleat. Ensure that the bolts are tight on the cleats.
  4. Install the cleats back on your cycling shoes.
  5. Hop onto your SPD pedal bike for a new riding experience.

Can You Convert SPD to Delta?

Unfortunately, there is not yet an adapter that converts SPD cleats or pedals to the Delta design. Therefore, if you are an SPD user ready for a Look Delta option, the best decision would be to purchase new Look Delta pedals or SPD pedals with a Look Delta cycling option.

Which is the Best for Power Transfer; SPD or Look Delta?

Look, Delta is best for power transfer. Power transfer increases with an increase in shoe rigidity, which Delta shoes offer. The SPD shoes are flexible or semi-rigid, hence less superior power transfer feature.

Benefits of Using SPD Pedals;

  • They are cheaper than the Delta pedal design
  • They are easier to commute in since the shoes have a recessed cleat plate
  • They are the most popular in spinning classes, hence economical to invest in the shoes and cleats.
  • SPD pedals clip in and out more easily, saving you time and strain.

Benefits of Using Look Delta Pedals:

  • Look Delta pedals offer more power transfer due to the rigidity of the shoe outsole.
  • They are the best investment for Peloton and SoulCycle at-home cyclists.
  • Due to optimal power transfer, Look Delta pedals are the best for competitive cycling.
  • The shoes and cleats are more durable because one is never tempted to walk in them.

How to Use the SPD Clips

Here’s a simplified process for using SPD clips;

  1. Hop onto your bike, and position the ball of your foot on the pedals.
  2. You will feel the clip platform, so move your weight back on your foot, and you will hear a pop sound. That is the sound of a successful clipping in with SPD clips.

How to Use Look Delta Clips

Let’s see how you get onto the bike with Look Delta clips;

  1. Stand on your bike, and set your pedals in the six o’clock position.
  2. Then, point your toes up, and bring your weight to the back of your foot to clip in. a pop sound will confirm that the clipping in is successful.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Look Delta cleats work with Peloton?

Yes, they do. Peloton pedals are of the Look Delta design, hence requiring the use of Look Delta cleats in their default form. Actually, all the Peloton brand shoes use Look Delta clips.

Do Spd cleats work with Peloton?

Yes, they do. However, you will need an adapter to convert the Peloton Look Delta pedals to pedals you can use with SPD cleats.

Do I need to buy cleats for my cycling shoes?

Yes, you do. Most cycling shoes come with cleats, but you will need to buy the cleats separately if your shoes don’t. They are inexpensive, approximately $20 bucks, but necessary for clipless cycling. Cleats are the accessories that clip into clipless pedals, which means that cycling shoes are useless without them.

Is SPD the same as Delta?

No, it is not. SPD utilizes cleats in the two-hole design, while Delta utilizes cleats in the three-hole cleat design. 

Is Delta the same as SPD?

No, it is not. Delta is a design of the Look company, in the three-hole cleat design. However, SPD is Shimano, with a two-hole cleat design.

Can You ride Peloton without cleats?

Yes, you can. Peloton is compatible with some clips or toes cages, which allow you to ride Peloton without cleats and in regular sneakers.

Final Thoughts

Look, Delta Vs. SPD cleats? The cleats are so different yet manage a couple of similarities.  And which of the two cleat systems is better? Of course, the better cleat system will depend on the purpose you use with the cleats.

If you want a competitive road bike venture, Delta is best. However, when you want commuting cleats, SPD will work great for you.

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