Re: Alternative to Speedking...?
If you're going to be trying out different types of pedals, you might want to look into a strap drive. I have an old Speed King (which has never given me any problems btw) that is my main pedal, but I wanted to get a cheap pedal for use on my practice kit. I picked up the Gibraltar strap drive (forget the model number). It has a different feel from the direct drive. I can't say that it's better or worse, just different.
I started with nothing and still have most of it left.