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Eggbeater vs. SPD
Which do you prefer?
I've had egg beaters for the better part of a decade. Unless you got money to blow, I'd go with XT instead of XTR- or just lose weight. Anyway, Crank bros has great customer service and a durable product. I smashed and bashed my egg beaters for years before sending them off to get rebuilt or refurbed. The clips are made of brass and wear out by the end of a long season. Anything XC, I've been quite happy with egg beaters. The DH'ers will look at you foolishly, but for big air they're right. You need to get out or away from your bike unhindered in an instant when doing that stuff. With XC'ing in terms of losing control, crashing or needing to be quick footed, I can get in/out with more than enough time to spare or in a flash. You can also find good used ones on ebay. When you start to get a gaggle of bikes, it becomes a nuisance to change everything on every particular ride.
shimano 540 the cheap pedal or one of its variations with shimano M56 cleat. this set up is nice. you can set the tension and it'll release when you need it to. very tunable.