Author Topic: Anyone use clipless pedals?  (Read 25542 times)

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Anyone use clipless pedals?
« on: March 27, 2013, 11:45:42 AM »
Been looking into how these work, I'm kind of afraid to try them and from what I can tell, since I stop often (I ride in the city). I looked at how you unclip yourself and it looks like it's almost painful to do it often.

Just wondering if it is worth doing it clipless on my right leg (dominant leg) and normal pedal on left side so I can put down that leg to stop so I don't fall. Would there be any benefit to doing it on just one leg; or should I stick to normal pedals instead?

dizzean

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 12:00:36 PM »
Clipless pedals are excellent!

I switched a month ago and I haven't fallen as a result of them yet.

It's not really worth it to go one pedal clipless and the other one not because then you essentially lose the efficiency gained by going clipless. Another reason is, though you normally dismount with one foot it is very likely that you will need to dismount with your other leg once in a while.

Unclipping is not a problem, it's a simple quick rotation of the foot outwards (for SPD pedals).

The two best pieces of advice I can give you regarding going clipless is spend at least 15 mins just straddling the bike clipping in and out with each foot so you get the muscle memory down and go practice in a grassy area.

Also, you WILL fall at some point, it will be a slow but unavoidable fall but the only thing that will be bruised is your ego.

SmackDab

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2013, 12:05:26 PM »
I think it would feel pretty awkward to have a clipless pedal on one side and a platform pedal on the other, but you could certainly try!

I'm a big fan of clipless pedals for riding anything more than a few miles. Along with facilitating a fluid, powerful pedal stroke, there's the added advantage gained from having to use actual cycling shoes. Although there are all kinds of shoes for different needs, they're generally all stiffer-soled than street shoes, which makes pedaling much easier.

For commuting and errand-running, I'd recommend using the Shimano SPD system, since they're pretty easy to clip in and out, and the cleats are usually recessed deep enough into the tread of the shoe that you can walk on the street without problems. There is a bit of a learning curve...just about everyone (myself included) ends up tipping over at some point. But it typically happens at very low speeds (when you're stopping), so you're likely to be embarrassed at worst.

Matt K

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2013, 12:09:40 PM »
+1 to not doing only one foot, and for practicing getting in and out.

I used to ride clipless. I transitioned to flats (regular pedals) mostly for the type of mountain biking I was doing (learning to ride down ski hills on clips is extra-scary) and because I was having a hard time finding shoes that fit my oddly shaped feet.

For commuting I used one sided pedals (SPD on one side, flat on the other), that way I could wear 'normal' shoes on shopping trips. Those pedals didn't work very well (the SPD side is heavier, so it is always pointing down, which means you learn to spin you pedal before clipping in).

I now use regular toe straps. They cost $10, I can wear any shoe I like, and I get 90% of the benefits of the clipless pedal (the ability to get more power and efficiency by pulling up on the up stroke). If I was going on a tour, I'd want clipless, but for commuting the straps are great. Also, if you are afraid of learning to clip in and out, the straps are great, since you just slip your foot forward or backwards to get in and out.

Russ

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2013, 12:15:23 PM »
It's neither difficult nor painful, it just takes a little time to get used to a movement you're not familiar with. At this point for me it feels unnatural to *not* have clipless pedals on a bike since I'm so used to using my muscles in that way. It sounds like you're familiar with the benefits of a clipless system so I'll spare you that, but as far as any negatives you may have heard... they really don't matter as long as you choose the right pedals and shoes. Sure, it's awful to walk anywhere in road shoes, but I spend all day on and off the bike in my mountain/commuting/CX cleats perfectly fine. awkwardness of clippilg in/out is explained above, you just have to take time to make it natural.

That's about it I guess, besides cost. Just like anything bikes, once you get up to "functional", more dollars only buys you weight savings. For cheapness, I recommend some basic shimano mountain pedals and shoes... the pedals are bombproof and the shoes last forever. I can't even describe how much duct tape I had on my old Shimano shoes patching holes and such before the sole finally broke. I picked them up secondhand 5 years ago from a guy I used to race with. They already had the shit ridden out of them by that point and they still got me to where I needed to be up until 4 months ago. Now I'm on another pair of used Shimanos, even older this time but still going strong.

It would be a huge pain in the ass to do one side clipless and one side not IMO. As Matt K said, clips and straps are the other option. They're not quite as efficient as clipless pedals and IMO harder to get into, but you do get to use any shoes you want.

dizzean

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2013, 12:17:39 PM »
+1 to not doing only one foot, and for practicing getting in and out.

I used to ride clipless. I transitioned to flats (regular pedals) mostly for the type of mountain biking I was doing (learning to ride down ski hills on clips is extra-scary) and because I was having a hard time finding shoes that fit my oddly shaped feet.

For commuting I used one sided pedals (SPD on one side, flat on the other), that way I could wear 'normal' shoes on shopping trips. Those pedals didn't work very well (the SPD side is heavier, so it is always pointing down, which means you learn to spin you pedal before clipping in).

I now use regular toe straps. They cost $10, I can wear any shoe I like, and I get 90% of the benefits of the clipless pedal (the ability to get more power and efficiency by pulling up on the up stroke). If I was going on a tour, I'd want clipless, but for commuting the straps are great. Also, if you are afraid of learning to clip in and out, the straps are great, since you just slip your foot forward or backwards to get in and out.

I think that straps (and cages) are significantly less safe in the event of an accident though aren't they?  With clipless if something happens that though separate you from your bike, you will automatically unclip while with straps/cages the bike is more likely to stay attached to your feet and come with you.

capital

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »
I have them on my bicycles, specifically the convertable kind which both have platforms for normal use and a clipless mechanism:



I found them very nice when I lived in San Diego, where stoplights were far apart, I had a locker to stash shoes in at work, and I did very little walking at bike destinations. In New York City, I mostly use them for long/exercise rides, and I walk a lot during my days so clipless shoes are less fun to wear for commuting/utility rides.

MtnGal

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2013, 12:24:36 PM »
I also agree with clipless on both feet. I have both a road and mountain bike that are clipless. For someone just getting started and just using it for commuting, I highly recommend getting an mountain bike SPD pedal with either a flat on one side, or something bigger around that so you can ride it with normal shoes somewhat comfortably. You can loosen them as much as possible as this helps get out of them easily. Road pedals tend to be stiffer and the cleats/shoes are not comfy to walk around in.

For getting used to them, set up your bike in a doorway and hold onto the frame as you clip in and out over and over again. Not just a couple time but for twenty minutes or so per side. I did this and it helped alot. Granted I still fell over at a stop sign when I unclipped the wrong foot, but it gets easier over time. And falling in slow mo like that doesn't hurt like others have said.

GuitarStv

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2013, 12:42:29 PM »
I really like flat pedals with studs for city riding (commuting and running errands).  I've saved myself from many falls by being able to immediately put a foot on the ground quickly when the bike starts to slide out from me (mud/sand/ice/snow) that I know would have been nasty falls using clips/clipless pedals.  Studded flats are grippy in rain, snow, and on sunshiny days.  If your legs get cramped and fatigued, you can move your foot around to slightly change your pedal stroke which helps relieve the muscle a bit.  The idea of having to buy a separate pair of shoes and special pedals specifically for biking also doesn't really appeal to me.

I don't own a superhero costume to bike in either though, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 01:16:31 PM by GuitarStv »

grantmeaname

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2013, 12:44:00 PM »
I think that straps (and cages) are significantly less safe in the event of an accident though aren't they?  With clipless if something happens that though separate you from your bike, you will automatically unclip while with straps/cages the bike is more likely to stay attached to your feet and come with you.
I don't know. I've always heard that staying with the bike when it goes down is better than sliding around all on your own, and that's held true in my experience.

jnik

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2013, 01:01:22 PM »
I use clipless (Shimano A-520) on the go-fast bike and toeclips on the folder and the hybrid. I progressed platform, power grips, toeclips and I do think toeclips are the way to go for normal shoes--you don't have to pull the strap tight. Never had a fail-to-unclip fall on the clipless although I had one or two on traditional toeclips.

The Shimano T-400's look like a nice pedal to start with: full platform that should be rideable in normal shoes + double-sided SPD. Not light but should be easy to get used to.

clutchy

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2013, 01:14:42 PM »
they'll change your life.

Add more power to your stroke and make you feel more secure. 

I will say though that I wouldn't use them for a go getter bike b/c of the shoes.  Maybe a combo platform and clipless setup.

Left

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2013, 01:25:26 PM »
hm didnt know so many used them here... at this point, I'm still afraid of being attached to the bike if I'm falling. Mainly out of fear that I'd twist/break a leg. I've had bad falls before where the bike's handle bars were bent around a few times. I don't want to be part of the bike if this happens. Yes I was going faster than I should have but when I hit a hole and flipped the bike, I could let go and let the bike fly down the hill leaving me behind where I wasn't hurt.

Another fear is having to stop near bridges/stairwells and falling into/off of them if I don't get my feet loose to put on the ground.

I'll have to give this more thought, I use straps right now so it's fine. My normal rides are about 1 mile to the store, distance might be longer if I go scenic route. But I do stop at each block for the stop signs/cars pulling out of driveways. It's these quick stops that I'm not sure if I'd learn to unclip in time to put a foot down.

But since it seems like everyone's saying either go both feet or neither, I'll hold off on them until I'm a little more brave. I might buy a pair and just try it on a stationary exercise  bike that I put together from an old bike. No fears of falling down there and I'll get a feel for how it feels too

PS: I cheat on longer trips, I got an electric motor on the bike so I can cruise if I get tired. So the benefit of the clip would be lost there if that would be all that's saving me. Same with going uphills, so I didn't need the extra pull from the clip since the motor assists me if I choose it. I just thought it would be more comfortable to use the clips. I get odd looks from other bike riders for using a motor at times, but hey it's either that or I drive... I'm not in great enough shape yet to ride out miles going up/down hills without being really winded to enjoy the casual ride.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 01:27:36 PM by eyem »

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2013, 01:52:31 PM »
It's these quick stops that I'm not sure if I'd learn to unclip in time to put a foot down.
I find that my "oh shit, panic stop!" motion naturally includes unclipping. One thing you may not have considered is that the spring tension of the clips is adjustable, theres an adjustment screw on each pedal. I keep mine pretty loose because I'm also a city rider.

That said I ride unclipped most of the time. Riding clipped in is more comfortable but for rides <5 miles I find the convenience of not changing shoes outweighs the comfort (I have the two sided pedals others have mentioned).

Another option is to replace your pedals with nicer platform pedals.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2013, 03:12:41 PM »
What kind of straps are you using now, and how do you find them? I considered clipless pedals for my commuter, but decided I wanted to wear a wide variety of shoes so it probably wouldn't make sense. I went with Power Grips (http://amzn.to/14p0kMD) instead and have been pretty happy. You still get pretty good pedal retention, and there is still a bit of a learning curve (you have to twist your foot to get in, and twist to get out), but I like that I can wear them with any pair of shoes, and I've never had a fall problem. I remember reading on an other forum that someone outfited his commuted with dual sided SPD/platform pedals, and then put power grips on the platform side.

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2013, 03:34:40 PM »
I use them and love them! I did a lot of face plants while I was learning, but it was worth the effort (C:

Jamesqf

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2013, 04:02:10 PM »
I think that the toe strap/clip should be the way to go for anyone not seriously into racing.  Not only do you avoid the being stuck to the bike when you crash, or often just stop (see how many comments above mention falls!), it's significanty non-Mustachian to have to a) buy a special pair of shoes to ride in; that b) are pretty darned useless for any other activity, like (just for instance) walking on the too-steep-to-pedal and/or too-rough-to-ride sections of roads & trails hereabouts.

m8547

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2013, 04:13:02 PM »
I tried pedals with clipless on only one side for about a day, and I hated them. Having to flip the pedal to the correct side every time you put your feet on them is the worst thing ever!

Don't worry about unclipping in a crash. If you get SPD pedals and Shimano Multi-release cleats, they will unclip if you pull hard enough, and if your legs get twisted out of the normal riding position at all. Even with single-release cleats (which only release by twisting your heels out), I've never been caught in the pedals in a crash.

Bakari

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2013, 04:16:50 PM »
granted, is one more thing to buy.  Although, optimizing the riding experience is still cheaper than driving, so its one expense I accept.  Actually, clipless pedal/shoes is my mos expensive riding accessory.

As far as being attached to the bike in a crash, you aren't.  The impact unclips you without any deliberate action on your part.  The falls experienced when learning to ride clipless (usually one or two per rider) are misleading - those are at 0 mph, and jus involve falling over in place, usually because you are trying to pull backward (as you are used to from clips and straps) instead of sideways

Having ridden 1000s of miles with flat pedals, toe cages, and clipless, I feel much safer in clipless.
you have more control over the bike, you can curb hop, even bunny hop he rare times you need to, with ease, you can control he rear end independant of the front, you are less likely o hit your shin with the spikes on grippy flat pedals, less likely to be trapped to the bike in a crash than with cages.

For a commuter I second the double sided pedals, flat one on side, clip on the other, as well as spd shoes with recessed cleats, so you can walk comfortably in them

destron

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #19 on: March 27, 2013, 05:13:57 PM »
I use clipless, although I don't necessarily clip in on every ride. I triple the recommendation for clipless on one side, flats on the other side.

capital

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #20 on: March 27, 2013, 05:45:37 PM »
I'll have to give this more thought, I use straps right now so it's fine. My normal rides are about 1 mile to the store, distance might be longer if I go scenic route. But I do stop at each block for the stop signs/cars pulling out of driveways. It's these quick stops that I'm not sure if I'd learn to unclip in time to put a foot down.
If you're riding short distances, stopping a lot, then walking around the store, clipless pedals seem worse than useless to me.

Bakari

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #21 on: March 27, 2013, 06:28:07 PM »
I'll have to give this more thought, I use straps right now so it's fine. My normal rides are about 1 mile to the store, distance might be longer if I go scenic route. But I do stop at each block for the stop signs/cars pulling out of driveways. It's these quick stops that I'm not sure if I'd learn to unclip in time to put a foot down.
If you're riding short distances, stopping a lot, then walking around the store, clipless pedals seem worse than useless to me.

Compared to flat, maybe.  Its incomparably easier to clip in after getting started from a stop than to get into cages.  Once you get used to them, its (almost) equally as easy to get started from a stand still with clipless than with flat pedals, as opposed to cages where you have to flip it over and slide forward every time.

Left

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #22 on: March 27, 2013, 09:02:59 PM »
hm after watching some youtubes on how to clip in and out, I'm wondering, can I clip in from a moving bike? Like I have it rolling then I hop on bike then clip in. I thought I could since the other shoe needs to be clipped in once you are on bike anyhow. But I wasn't sure. Reason I'm asking is more out of curiosity than necessity.

I didn't know you could change the tension of the lock, that's nice to know.

I'm thinking I may go the one side flat and one side clip. For some reason I thought they were all made that way because it didn't make sense for me that they wasted money to put clips in on both sides of the pedal >.<. This way I can still share my bike too, without them needing a different shoe.

I don't mind the shoes though, from what I can tell from pictures, they are recessed enough that I should be able to walk in for a while. Reminds me of those in-sole skate shoes that used to be popular. I had them for a time to see what the hype was. I'd imagine they walk around fairly similarly so I could put up with it.

edit: for as good as they are made out to be, why don't I see professional cyclists using them in races? I'm just wondering if there's some big drawback from them that no one wants to talk about.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2013, 09:07:24 PM by eyem »

Russ

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2013, 12:57:44 AM »
hm after watching some youtubes on how to clip in and out, I'm wondering, can I clip in from a moving bike? Like I have it rolling then I hop on bike then clip in. I thought I could since the other shoe needs to be clipped in once you are on bike anyhow. But I wasn't sure. Reason I'm asking is more out of curiosity than necessity.

yes

Quote
edit: for as good as they are made out to be, why don't I see professional cyclists using them in races? I'm just wondering if there's some big drawback from them that no one wants to talk about.

Every single pro road, cyclocross, and cross-country racer rides clipless, as do the vast majority of BMX and track racers. Even if they didn't want to use them they would because of sponsorship agreements... but they do want to. Disciplines where you either don't need to pedal much (downhill) or need to pull a lot of tricks (dirtjump, trick-oriented BMX, I don't feel like making a trials category so that'll go here too) usually ride on platforms. Basically, if the goal of the discipline is to be the best at pedaling, clipless is used. That's because clipless is far better than platforms for getting the power from your legs to the bike.

Every drawback I've ever heard of has already been listed in this thread.

jnik

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2013, 07:51:24 AM »
hm after watching some youtubes on how to clip in and out, I'm wondering, can I clip in from a moving bike? Like I have it rolling then I hop on bike then clip in.
Yes, but unless you're racing cyclocross, why would you want to? Straddle the bike. Clip in one side. Bring pedal to 2 o'clock (forward and up). Step on pedal, pop butt onto saddle, clip in other side. http://www.bikexprt.com/streetsmarts/usa/chapter1a.htm

capital

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2013, 09:29:09 AM »
I'll have to give this more thought, I use straps right now so it's fine. My normal rides are about 1 mile to the store, distance might be longer if I go scenic route. But I do stop at each block for the stop signs/cars pulling out of driveways. It's these quick stops that I'm not sure if I'd learn to unclip in time to put a foot down.
If you're riding short distances, stopping a lot, then walking around the store, clipless pedals seem worse than useless to me.

Compared to flat, maybe.  Its incomparably easier to clip in after getting started from a stop than to get into cages.  Once you get used to them, its (almost) equally as easy to get started from a stand still with clipless than with flat pedals, as opposed to cages where you have to flip it over and slide forward every time.
Any non-flat pedal seems worse than useless to me for local utility riding, where you just want a minimum of fuss, and the difference between 85% and 98% efficiency doesn't really matter.

No clipless pedals here, right? Just lots of people riding basic bikes that work well enough to take them a couple miles.

Jamesqf

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2013, 11:57:58 AM »
Every single pro road, cyclocross, and cross-country racer rides clipless, as do the vast majority of BMX and track racers. Even if they didn't want to use them they would because of sponsorship agreements... but they do want to.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "clipless" here.  Surely most of those racers do use the special shoes that clip into the pedals, don't they?

The real point, though, is that these people are racers.  They are riding their bikes, and only riding their bikes (because they probably have support crews to take care of everything else).  What they choose to do for this purpose does not necessarily make sense for ordinary riders, any more than it would make sense to drive a Formula 1 car to the grocery store.

Russ

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2013, 12:33:31 PM »
Every single pro road, cyclocross, and cross-country racer rides clipless, as do the vast majority of BMX and track racers. Even if they didn't want to use them they would because of sponsorship agreements... but they do want to.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "clipless" here.  Surely most of those racers do use the special shoes that clip into the pedals, don't they?

Clipless pedals are clipless in that toe clips (and straps) are not used to hold your feet to the pedals. Not that clipless cleats don't clip into pedals, because they do. I will concede that it's a very misleading term, but it is what it is.

Quote
The real point, though, is that these people are racers.  They are riding their bikes, and only riding their bikes (because they probably have support crews to take care of everything else).  What they choose to do for this purpose does not necessarily make sense for ordinary riders, any more than it would make sense to drive a Formula 1 car to the grocery store.

Sure, if you want to take my quote out of context. I was responding to the question of why OP doesn't see professional cyclists using clipless sytems (which is why I quoted OP's question above my response...). Even still, I made sure to point out that not everyone who rides bikes for money uses clipless pedals, emphasizing again that clipless is not best for everyone. Of all the reasons to ride clipless given in this thread, not a one of them was "well racers do it so you should too", nor should it be. However, efficiency, safety, and control, among many other benefits listed in above posts, should be of concern to anyone who rides a bicycle. Clipless pedals are superior in all these regards. I feel that they are worth the slight tradeoff in off-the-bike comfort/fashion/etc., even for short trips.

GuitarStv

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2013, 01:04:13 PM »
Sure, if you want to take my quote out of context. I was responding to the question of why OP doesn't see professional cyclists using clipless sytems (which is why I quoted OP's question above my response...). Even still, I made sure to point out that not everyone who rides bikes for money uses clipless pedals, emphasizing again that clipless is not best for everyone. Of all the reasons to ride clipless given in this thread, not a one of them was "well racers do it so you should too", nor should it be. However, efficiency, safety, and control, among many other benefits listed in above posts, should be of concern to anyone who rides a bicycle. Clipless pedals are superior in all these regards. I feel that they are worth the slight tradeoff in off-the-bike comfort/fashion/etc., even for short trips.

I don't buy your 'safety' argument at all.  Any system that forces you to perform an action before moving a foot off the pedal is going to be less safe when your bike starts to slip out from under you on a patch of black ice.  How many people do snowy winter commutes with clipless pedals?  My feet do not slip off of flat studded pedals, they're stuck on like glue.  Due to that claims that clipless are safer for slippage reasons while commuting just seems kinda silly to me.

I'm not entirely sure that I buy your 'control' argument either.  You control the bike differently with clipless than with flats . . . I wouldn't say it's a clear cut better or worse.

I'd be interested in seeing a study showing the improvement in efficiency between clipless and flats . . . it makes sense that they would be a more efficient since you can completely deweight a foot while pedalling at high cadence, I've yet to see a study that shows there's a tremendous difference between flats and clipless.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #29 on: March 28, 2013, 01:04:47 PM »
I ride clipless pedals (specifically these: http://www.crankbrothers.com/pedals_eggbeater1.php).  They have no platform at all and are hard to ride with soft-soled shoes like tennis shoes or Chucks, but they're surprisingly easy to ride with high heels! :D  Unfortunately the build quality on these pedals and cleats seems to have gone down a lot in the past year or two.  I seem to buy cleats more often than I used to, and have heard from bike shop folks that they get a lot of warranty returns on the pedals themselves.

Different bike shoes will perform differently off the bike.  I specifically chose shoes with a deep recess for the cleat, so it's possible to walk in them with a minimum of fuss.  I've even gone hiking in them.  My old pair lasted about 2 years, including 2 long-distance bike tours and lots of commuting, but unfortunately they don't make that model anymore.  My current pair are coming up on about 2 years and still going strong - they are currently in production and fairly inexpensive, as these things go (http://bontrager.com/model/09151).

I do end up buying new cleats pretty often (about 3-4x/year) because I grind them down by walking around in my bike shoes.  That part is not too Mustachian, I'll admit!  Also, every once in a while I'll catch myself about to go in somewhere with fancy or delicate floors (state capitol, historical building, sushi restaurant with tatami mats, etc) with them on - definitely a bad idea.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #30 on: March 28, 2013, 03:48:35 PM »
I'm glad to see the mention of Crank Brothers pedals; I use them too and like them quite a lot. I have the mallet version on my hybrid/city/commuting bike, which could in theory be used with normal shoes. (I say "in theory" because the platform surfaces aren't very grippy... I plan to eventually apply some kind of rubberized or sandpaper-ized tape or coating to them.) Other than the lack of grippiness, I think the Crank Brothers pedals have an advantage over the SPD platform pedals that others have mentioned since you can clip in from either side.

I use the cheapest mountain biking shoes I could find (Shimano MT-31) with them. The advantage to using a mountain biking shoe is that they're designed for actually walking in (since you occasionally have to walk the bike around obstacles when mountain biking), so they have decent tread and look reasonably normal. Unless I lift up my foot to show people the cleat, they don't even realize they're biking shoes. The cleat does just barely protrude below the tread though, so they make a clicking noise on hard surface floors.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #31 on: March 28, 2013, 04:21:51 PM »


I don't buy your 'safety' argument at all.  Any system that forces you to perform an action before moving a foot off the pedal is going to be less safe when your bike starts to slip out from under you on a patch of black ice.  How many people do snowy winter commutes with clipless pedals?
I would agree with you, for riding on ice or snow.
That's a very specific situation though.  How many people do snowy winter commutes in the first place?

Quote
My feet do not slip off of flat studded pedals, they're stuck on like glue.  Due to that claims that clipless are safer for slippage reasons while commuting just seems kinda silly to me.
Maybe you have been lucky so far, or maybe you have very smooth streets to ride on and never curb hop.  I've had it happen, including with studded pedals.  It only takes one time of accidentally hitting your shin with the studs to decide they aren't so great afterall.
If your feet are "glued" to flat pedals, that means you must be pushing down on them at all times, which means your other leg is also having to push up against it.  That's where the efficiency difference comes from.  If you lift up on flat pedals in order to avoid one leg having to lift the other, your feet would slip. 

If you want to really feel/understand the difference for your self, take one foot completely off the pedal, and try riding with only one foot.  Doing it with flat pedals is impossible.  Doing it with cages or clipless is easy (and improves your pedal stroke if you practice it often!)

Quote
I'm not entirely sure that I buy your 'control' argument either.  You control the bike differently with clipless than with flats . . . I wouldn't say it's a clear cut better or worse.
Try doing some serious single track mountain biking and/or full on urban assault style road riding (curb-hopping, speed-bump jumping, track-standing, yellow-light sprinting, confused-pedestrian and careless driver avoiding, all at top speed) with both type of pedal and then say if there is a clear-cut better or worse.

Now, maybe most people have no desire to ride that way, ever.
Personally, that's just how I ride.  Even for a 1 mile trip to the store.  Maybe my bike messenger past.  Then again, I think I always rode that way, and it's why the job appealed to me...

Quote
I'd be interested in seeing a study showing the improvement in efficiency between clipless and flats . . . it makes sense that they would be a more efficient since you can completely deweight a foot while pedalling at high cadence, I've yet to see a study that shows there's a tremendous difference between flats and clipless.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0765159799800550 (scroll to the bottom for Engilsh)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20827654



Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying its that big a deal to not use them. 
I have flats on my folding bike, and its what I ride most these days.  If you don't put in much mileage, its probably not worth the money.
I'm just pointing out that the criticisms presented here don't necessarily hold up.

Jack

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2013, 04:41:34 PM »
If your feet are "glued" to flat pedals, that means you must be pushing down on them at all times, which means your other leg is also having to push up against it.  That's where the efficiency difference comes from.  If you lift up on flat pedals in order to avoid one leg having to lift the other, your feet would slip. 

I never studied anatomy so I don't entirely understand the studies you linked, but am I right in thinking that the biggest advantage to clipless pedals is not that you avoid one leg having to lift the other, but rather that you use a whole extra (other) group of muscles to pull up on the foot that's on the upstroke?

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2013, 04:50:11 PM »
Maybe you have been lucky so far, or maybe you have very smooth streets to ride on and never curb hop.

Most of my riding is done on roads, which don't have curbs.  Even when I do ride where there are streets, I stay on the street, not the sidewalk, so have little if any need to "curb hop".

Quote
Try doing some serious single track mountain biking and/or full on urban assault style road riding (curb-hopping, speed-bump jumping, track-standing, yellow-light sprinting, confused-pedestrian and careless driver avoiding, all at top speed) with both type of pedal and then say if there is a clear-cut better or worse.

Better yet, don't ride in a manner that creates dangers for other people.

Riders like these are one reason I've come to detest "serious" mountain bikers, even though I ride a mountain bike myself.  They've pretty much taken over a number of the better hiking trails hereabouts, riding downhill at breakneck speeds that make it effing dangerous for anyone else on the trail.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2013, 09:53:49 PM »
If your feet are "glued" to flat pedals, that means you must be pushing down on them at all times, which means your other leg is also having to push up against it.  That's where the efficiency difference comes from.  If you lift up on flat pedals in order to avoid one leg having to lift the other, your feet would slip. 

I never studied anatomy so I don't entirely understand the studies you linked, but am I right in thinking that the biggest advantage to clipless pedals is not that you avoid one leg having to lift the other, but rather that you use a whole extra (other) group of muscles to pull up on the foot that's on the upstroke?

I thought so too, but from the research I did to find those links, turns out not so much, its mostly about just getting the upstroke leg out of the way.  Same principal though, you are still using a whole extra other group of muscles to do it


Maybe you have been lucky so far, or maybe you have very smooth streets to ride on and never curb hop.

Most of my riding is done on roads, which don't have curbs.  Even when I do ride where there are streets, I stay on the street, not the sidewalk, so have little if any need to "curb hop".

Quote
Try doing some serious single track mountain biking and/or full on urban assault style road riding (curb-hopping, speed-bump jumping, track-standing, yellow-light sprinting, confused-pedestrian and careless driver avoiding, all at top speed) with both type of pedal and then say if there is a clear-cut better or worse.

Better yet, don't ride in a manner that creates dangers for other people.

Riders like these are one reason I've come to detest "serious" mountain bikers, even though I ride a mountain bike myself.  They've pretty much taken over a number of the better hiking trails hereabouts, riding downhill at breakneck speeds that make it effing dangerous for anyone else on the trail.

Fair enough :P
I'm not advocating anyone ride that way, just saying that the difference in control is there.  Though, myself, I can ride urban assault style without endangering anyone (including myself), and in the dense city (San Francisco and Manhattan where I used to messenger) you can need to avoid pedestrians or delivery trucks parked in the bike lane.


Anyway, overall point was just that, yes, there are some advantageous to clipless pedal systems; however... for the majority of casual riders the differences may be too small to be worth it.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #35 on: March 29, 2013, 10:28:45 AM »
Seems like this is a bit opinionated here. You don't need clipless pedals for riding one mile. You don't "need" them at all. I personally love them. And straps terrify me. Perhaps due to bad falls while mountain biking in them before my clipless pedals. In levels of safety, I'd rank them:
1. Flat pedals
2. Clipless pedals
3. Straps/clips

Like mentioned before, you can adjust the tension of most types very easily, except for egg beaters. On my mountain bike pedals, sometimes I can't tell if my feet are clipped in because they come out so easily. And if you do get them, set up your bike in a door frame and practice it. The first few times you ride you'll be nervous, but it becomes second nature.

And in answer to your other question, yes, you can get in and out while pedaling. When I was first starting on my road bike, I'd have to pedal around a few times with my second foot just sitting on top of the pedal to get momentum before getting my second foot into the clip.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #36 on: March 29, 2013, 11:27:37 AM »
Hmm, I'm surprised so many people dislike toe clips (Which I think is the same as a cage? Never called them that though...). I've been using them for about 20 years and I guess by now the process of flipping the pedal and sliding my foot in happens without my even thinking. I always use the toe clips if I'm riding more than a block. The movement seems quick and safe (same with taking my foot out). I've thought about getting clipless pedals but I'm still not convinced, after reading all these comments, that it would be an improvement; it would significantly curtail my footwear options, and would cost a lot more more.

If you are comparing clipless with flat pedals, I'd go with clipless - I don't have any experience with them, but I rode a road bike for a year with flat pedals and it wasn't good for my knees. But I still think toe clips are a decent, Mustachian option.


capital

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #37 on: March 29, 2013, 01:54:22 PM »
Quote
Try doing some serious single track mountain biking and/or full on urban assault style road riding (curb-hopping, speed-bump jumping, track-standing, yellow-light sprinting, confused-pedestrian and careless driver avoiding, all at top speed) with both type of pedal and then say if there is a clear-cut better or worse.

Better yet, don't ride in a manner that creates dangers for other people.

Riders like these are one reason I've come to detest "serious" mountain bikers, even though I ride a mountain bike myself.  They've pretty much taken over a number of the better hiking trails hereabouts, riding downhill at breakneck speeds that make it effing dangerous for anyone else on the trail.

Fair enough :P
I'm not advocating anyone ride that way, just saying that the difference in control is there.  Though, myself, I can ride urban assault style without endangering anyone (including myself), and in the dense city (San Francisco and Manhattan where I used to messenger) you can need to avoid pedestrians or delivery trucks parked in the bike lane.


Anyway, overall point was just that, yes, there are some advantageous to clipless pedal systems; however... for the majority of casual riders the differences may be too small to be worth it.
[/quote]
Manhattan ain't what it used to be, and riding urban assault style is pretty optional at this point. You can save time by being antisocial and bombing through red lights, but it feels like a violation of the social contract now that high-quality bike infrastructure is common and expanding. I avoid pedestrians with my bell, my voice (people were amused recently when I bellowed "TOURIST" at someone on Broadway stepping into my bike lane against the light), and my brakes (in that order).

I used to have toe clips on my fixed gear commuter, and switched them for downhill flats with a clipless option, and only use the clipless option for fitness rides around the park; in commuting and utility riding, I just wear whatever shoes work best at my destination. When you're riding to places you walk around, rather than spending all day on the bike while messengering, clipless shoes turn you into a tapdancer, and most are ugly and usually not very good for walking.

On my old commute in San Diego, where I had hundreds of feet in climbing to do in each direction, off road stretches where bunnyhopping could be useful, few intermediate destinations, and a locker room at the end, I used my clipless pedals every day, and loved them.

Horses for courses is what I'm saying, and clipless pedals aren't the horse for short-distance utility riding.

Left

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2013, 01:28:02 AM »
I just had my first oh shit moments, a neighbor has these on his bike so I rode around the cul-de-sac to try it out. I used a step stool to stabilize myself on to get on/off. Anyhow when I realized I wasn't going to make the stop, I tried to just lift my leg over the stool and pass by it. Forgetting that the leg was attached to the bike, I ended up kicking the stool and fell. I also found out that I can't just jump off the bike and walk it to a stop.

After realizing that I didn't want to wear another shoe/bring one with me, I'm sticking with normal pedals for the time being. I wear slippers enough when I go out in the summer that I can put up with not having the most efficient pedal motion if I don't have to bring another pair of shoes.

They almost felt like I was snowboarding, feet attached to something that's moving, except I was sitting down.

Well, I guess in the end, they aren't for me. Mostly out of not wanting to bring an extra pair of shoes. The efficiency that it gives doesn't help me, like I said, I got a motor on the bike for that.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2013, 06:49:31 AM »
OP, a few things:

Clips are the bomb, I have too many bikes and all of them have a commuter style pedal. (flat on one side - clip on the other) so I can wear my shoes depending on the distance I am hauling that day.

Keen makes a cleated shoe that looks like a dress shoe but clips into the pedal. Walking on them is almost the same as a normal shoe. They are great for riding to meetings but also in just looking normal when riding around. (there is a big difference between a mountain and road shoe with this respect)

I wouldn't base your final judgement on one ride. Borrow your friends bike, take it to the park, ride in the grass for 15 minutes practicing starting and stopping and clipping/unclipping. After 15 minutes you'll have it down pat and start to see the advantages. Everyone I know (myself included) has taken one fall while riding clipless. Usually when coming to a stop, getting to the point of stopping and then realizing they are still clipped in, and slowly tipping over. After that, you are on your way to a better riding experience!

-onemorebike

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2013, 09:28:34 AM »
I used a step stool to stabilize myself on to get on/off. Anyhow when I realized I wasn't going to make the stop, I tried to just lift my leg over the stool and pass by it. Forgetting that the leg was attached to the bike, I ended up kicking the stool and fell. I also found out that I can't just jump off the bike and walk it to a stop.

Forget about the pedals for a moment.  It sounds like yo may not know he roper way to get on an off a bike.
Regardless of whether your feet attach, you shouldn't need anything to stabilize you, and you should never need to jump off while moving (unless your in he middle of a triathlon or cyclocross race).

The trick is, when you are not moving, you should be in front of, (not on), the saddle, standing over the top tube.  When you are ready to get going, lift one pedal up to about 45 degrees above level (about 10 a clock on the left side, or 2 from the right) - if you have flat pedals, hook your foot under the pedal to raise it up. 
Put one foot on the raised pedal while the other foot is still on the ground (and you are still in front of the saddle).  To start moving stand up on that pedal, which will simultaneously get you moving and lift you up and on to the seat.  Then put your other foot on the other pedal.
Here, sheldon brown has a video: http://sheldonbrown.com/starting.html

Stopping is similar: if you have clipless or cages, remove one (or both) feet in advance.  As you come to a stop, lower one pedal all the way, get off the seat, and shift all of your weight to the pedal that's down.  Take the other foot (the one that is unattached) and put it on the ground as you step down in front of the saddle.

If a stool seems like it would be helpful, you are probably doing it wrong.  Getting used to getting on and off this way will make all riding easier, forever, no matter what type of pedals you use.

It sounds like clips are not worthwhile for you, but just so you know, there are plenty of shoe options with a recessed cleat that you can walk around normally in - even sandals.  I never carry two pairs of shoes, I just walk around in cycling shoes.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2013, 11:21:51 AM »
I was terrified of getting them myself, but I'm really happy I got them. I've had them two years and haven't fallen in them (two near misses). Now I feel weird when I wear normal shoes on my bike ;)

I did toe cages as an intermediary and wound up getting the pedals that are flat on one side and clipless on the other when I upgraded. I much prefer the clipless pedals to the toe cages. I like having the flat on one side so if I "miss" the clip when I'm trying to start fast (riding in traffic) I still have a pedal to use. I also didn't get road bike shoes with the external clip, but the ones with the recessed clip so I can walk around in them easily.

I have the tension adjusted really loose on mine so it takes very little effort to unclip, but haven't had any problems unclipping when I didn't want to.

When I first got them put on, I practiced clipping and unclipping each foot for twenty minutes leaning against a wall.

My tip for people who are just getting them, is to check/tighten the cleat on your shoe every six months or so. This is a "duh" thing that for some reason never occurred to me ;) One of my cleats lost a screw and almost got stuck in the clip because I couldn't twist it to unclip. Fortunately I have my tension low so I was able to get it out and not fall. Don't be dumb like me, folks :)

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2013, 03:17:37 PM »
I like having the flat on one side so if I "miss" the clip when I'm trying to start fast (riding in traffic) I still have a pedal to use.

flat on one side is great if you sometimes want to wear regular shoes, but for what you are describing, pedals with clips on both sides (or all 4 sides in the case of eggbeaters) is even better.  Then there is no "wrong" side.  Step down, and your in the right spot.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #43 on: April 10, 2014, 08:32:01 AM »
Resurrecting this thread versus starting a new one. Been getting some knee pain in one leg despite saddle being high enough. I think it's because in my shoes (versus the boots I've been wearing during the winter), my right foot moves around on the platform.

After doing some research, I think some of the pain is from using to high/slow a gear and straining (especially when I'm hauling the goblins), but the foot definitely moves around.

Would a clipless pedal help reduce the knee pain? Potentially?

Which system would be the easiest to find inexpensive shoes with recessed cleats for normal walking? I'm guessing Shimano's SPD, yes?

One side of the pedal is frozen on the crank (and yes I know they are left-handed thread), so I'd probably have to pay the LBS to get it off, since I don't have a heat gun at home. Any tips on that are appreciated as well :)

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #44 on: April 10, 2014, 09:02:11 AM »
You wrote that the shoes you're wearing don't fit properly and your foot is sliding around in them.  Perhaps get proper shoes, or tie them a bit tighter?

Clipless pedals lock your body into one position and one repetitive motion only.  This is not usually a recipe for reduced joint pain.  Just spend a few weeks with proper shoes really paying attention to your gearing and consciously not grinding away in a hard gear (your drive train will also thank you for this).

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #45 on: April 10, 2014, 09:17:59 AM »
+1 to what GuitarStv said.

If your foot is sliding around on the pedal, and not in the shoe, changing your pedals to something with more bite (larger pins on a flat pedal, or deeper teeth in a metal-band/bear-trap type pedal) will help. Putting toe straps on ($10) will also prevent your foot from moving around (but like the clipless, limits different positions, and so may not be ideal for repetative strain on joints). If you are using plastic pedals, replace them. Even a $20 pair of metal pedals will hold your foot much better in the wet than the best plastic pedal.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #46 on: April 10, 2014, 09:19:45 AM »
Commenting to follow this. I just bought clipless pedals and shoes for my bike -- I've never tried them before, but I think it's time. Haven't swapped the platform pedals out to try yet, but should have time to do that this weekend.

Goblinchief - have no further advice, sorry.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2014, 09:48:10 AM »
Tried my Teva sandals just now on a slow ride and things seem better. I would just as soon NOT buy pedals if I can avoid it. But the pedals on my bike aren't super aggressive so I may replace them with better platforms.

I'm due for new shoes. Keep losing weight, so my feet keep getting smaller. Losing 90 pounds overall has seen me drop almost three full US sizes over past few years.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2014, 09:54:13 AM »
Tried my Teva sandals just now on a slow ride and things seem better. I would just as soon NOT buy pedals if I can avoid it. But the pedals on my bike aren't super aggressive so I may replace them with better platforms.

Look for studded BMX pedals like this:


Those little cleats make your feet stick to them like superglue no matter how rainy/snowy it gets.  Most bike shops will have something similar for about 20$.

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Re: Anyone use clipless pedals?
« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2014, 09:58:33 AM »
Which system would be the easiest to find inexpensive shoes with recessed cleats for normal walking? I'm guessing Shimano's SPD, yes?

Yes, but don't forget that Crank Bros pedals use the same shoes as SPD.