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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 01-29-13, 07:31 AM   #1
melvinator
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Difference Between Platform Pedals And Spd (Clipless)

So from help from this forum i purchased and installed my new clipless pedal system to my road bike. Everyone that is currently on platforms is dying to know what the difference is in performance ... well here are two strava segments that i did during identical conditions going to work. First one is with platform and the second one is with clipless o yeah and a 25lbs back pack

http://app.strava.com/activities/37608656

http://app.strava.com/activities/39044652

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Old 01-29-13, 10:22 AM   #2
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I see no meaningful gain with the clipless but more calories used.

However, when safety is a consideration platforms win hands down since you're not attached to the bike as you are with clipless.
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

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Old 01-29-13, 10:55 AM   #3
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I'm not sure the Strava data is meaningful. Clipless pedals might help you eek out a another couple of watts, but without power data we won't know. Ride time is affected by too many factors (wind, traffic, etc) for it to provide a meaningful comparison. The big difference for me was cadence. I find that maintaining a 90-100rpm cadence is significantly easier with clipless pedals. With platform pedals, it's pretty much impossible for me to maintain that cadence!
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Old 01-29-13, 11:05 AM   #4
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If you want to make comparisons I think you should
ride more than twice to get a fair comparison. In the
end it's possible that it may not make too much of a
difference for you(if speed is the only thing that matters)
and you can always switch back.













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Old 01-29-13, 11:09 AM   #5
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i personally felt my legs sore in new places to be honest and also i was carrying a 25lb backpack with me this time compared to last time not having a backpack.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:12 AM   #6
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It does look like he maintained a higher speed on some of the straight aways... perhaps it's the shiny new toy effect but as sstorkel mentioned, there are circumstances where your performance benefits from having your feet strapped to your pedals and higher speed / cadence would be one in my opinion.

If you're just slogging around the neighborhood on a 30# steel bike then yeah, platforms are superior.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:26 AM   #7
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circumstances where your performance benefits from having your feet strapped to your pedals and higher speed / cadence would be one in my opinion.r.
you know that is true i found myself outspinning gears alot easier than normal.
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Old 01-29-13, 12:18 PM   #8
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No meaningful gain = I have ZERO experience
Safety concerns = No meaningful gain
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Old 01-29-13, 11:23 PM   #9
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They won't suddenly give you more power to the pedals. What they do is allow you to utilize more muscle groups while you pedal which in turn allows you to pedal longer before power starts to wane. Nothing magic, nothing dangerous, nothing special, just a very useful tool that allows you to go as fast as you want too for longer periods.
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Old 01-29-13, 11:42 PM   #10
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If it make you want to ride your bike, then it's a gain in my book.
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Old 01-30-13, 04:19 AM   #11
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I have been using clipless pedals for a long time. And before clipless pedals became popular, I was on clips.

When I had a chance to ride using platform pedals (when I bought a new bike), I found myself having a hard time keeping my feet on the pedals (especially my right foot). I may have gotten so used to pulling on the up-stroke. I end up being so conscious of the position of my foot that I adjust my foot's position on the pedals often.

And because of these difficulties, it's hard to spin faster.

On the trail, my foot fell once and ended up with pedal scar.. ouch..
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Old 01-30-13, 05:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Nightshade View Post
I see no meaningful gain with the clipless but more calories used.

However, when safety is a consideration platforms win hands down since you're not attached to the bike as you are with clipless.
While I see no meaningful gain in performance from this truely unscientific, and at best anecdotal comparison that has no real validity whatsoever, I find the assertion that platforms are "safer" than clipless to be positively laughable. Thank you for this morning's levity!
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Old 01-30-13, 06:18 AM   #13
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Cool! It's another clipless/platform debate! I rode with clips/straps starting in the early 1980s, switched to SPDs in the late 1990s (1997 to be exact) and then went to platforms about 18 months ago. Through experience I see no advantage either way in either efficiency or safety with just a couple of exceptions. The exceptions are that if you spin faaaaaast go clipless and there's a small safety advantage to platforms if you're an urban cyclist in a busy city setting ("stop-and-go cycling"). But overall I think it's just a matter of taste.
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Old 01-30-13, 07:20 AM   #14
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crap i didnt know to go clipless or not was such a touchy subject lol! I did see the following online when i did a little research regarding clipless or not.

The purpose of this study was to verify if there is electromyographic difference in biceps femoris (long portion), semitendinous, semimembranous and gastrocnemius (lateralis and medialis) muscles, using clipless pedal and toe clip pedal. Thirty seven triathletes answered a questionnaire about their preferred type of pedal, which showed that 5.4% used toe clip pedal and 94.6% used clipless pedal. Four male triathletes (age: 21.75 +/- 2.50 years old; cycling experience: 5.00 +/- 2.45 years; preferred cadence: 83.75 +/- 7.5 rpm) rode their own bicycles on a stationary roller at 100 rpm. The subjects performed one trial with each type of pedal. Bipolar surface electrodes placed on right lower limb picked up the EMG signal during 6 s. A band-pass filter (10-600 Hz) was used. Two muscles (semitendinous and semimembranous) presented lower activity with clipless pedal for all subjects. Biceps femoris and gastrocnemius lateralis presented lower activity with clipless pedal for three subjects. This led us to conclude that there is less electromyographic activity with the use of clipless pedal.

PMID: 11441642 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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Old 01-30-13, 07:36 AM   #15
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I'm a huge fan of clipping in. I've used them since the very first generation Looks in the mid-80s. And before that I spent several years with standard slot-cleated Dettos with toe clips and straps cinched tight. I can't ride platforms without feeling very insecure.

Having said that, I think the difference between the two rides is way too small to be an accurate indicator of anything. Way too many variables, even on a short ride. But keep in mind there are many other advantages to riding with clipped-in cleats than simply speed, or even power output. You can develop better pedaling technique, leading to more efficient riding that might only manifest itself quantitatively in longer rides and not faster ones. There's the ability to hop over small road hazards. There's the reduced chance of slipping off the pedal and getting injured. There's the opportunity to bring additional muscles into play when climbing. Lots of things to consider besides speed.
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Old 01-30-13, 08:02 AM   #16
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With platforms I get lazier and end up with my foot too far back on the pedals. Clipping in reminds me what I'm doing, like putting your game face on. Other than that I have them because all the cool kids on my group rides use them
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Old 01-30-13, 08:08 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melvinator View Post
So from help from this forum i purchased and installed my new clipless pedal system to my road bike. Everyone that is currently on platforms is dying to know what the difference is in performance ... well here are two strava segments that i did during identical conditions going to work. First one is with platform and the second one is with clipless o yeah and a 25lbs back pack....
Melvinator, the divisiveness of most of these "clipless vs. platform" threads is because many of the responses are made speaking in absolutes by riders who have little or no experience with both. So my advice is simple: Ride whatever pedals you want, and accept that others will do the same. What works for my style of riding, at the speeds that I ride, and over the terrain that I travel, has no relevance to anyone else and their experiences have no bearing on me. If you want to try clipless, give it a try for more than a day and decide for yourself, because no one else can tell you what will work best for you.



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I'm a huge fan of clipping in. I've used them since the very first generation Looks in the mid-80s. And before that I spent several years with standard slot-cleated Dettos with toe clips and straps cinched tight. I can't ride platforms without feeling very insecure.

Having said that, I think the difference between the two rides is way too small to be an accurate indicator of anything. Way too many variables, even on a short ride. But keep in mind there are many other advantages to riding with clipped-in cleats than simply speed, or even power output. You can develop better pedaling technique, leading to more efficient riding that might only manifest itself quantitatively in longer rides and not faster ones. There's the ability to hop over small road hazards. There's the reduced chance of slipping off the pedal and getting injured. There's the opportunity to bring additional muscles into play when climbing. Lots of things to consider besides speed.
+1 to everything you said. I too started with slotted cleats and dual toestraps (yes, even on my mountain bike! ) and I went clipless as soon as the first pair of Look shoes and pedals were available at our local shop, and I have never looked back. I have a pair of Shimano PD-A530 pedals on my FG so that I can pedal one of my bikes around the neighborhood in flip-flops or bare-footed, but everything else is pure clipless because riding at any real speed or over rough terrain is very uncomfortable to me when my feet are unsecured.

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Old 01-30-13, 08:48 AM   #18
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If I was just beating around I would go with just platforms. Townline sprints with the training group, I'd rather have my feet attached thanks. As others have stated to each their own.
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Old 01-30-13, 11:02 AM   #19
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+1 to everything you said. I too started with slotted cleats and dual toestraps (yes, even on my mountain bike! ) and I went clipless as soon as the first pair of Look shoes and pedals were available at our local shop, and I have never looked back. I have a pair of Shimano PD-A530 pedals on my FG so that I can pedal one of my bikes around the neighborhood in flip-flops or bare-footed, but everything else is pure clipless because riding at any real speed or over rough terrain is very uncomfortable to me when my feet are unsecured.
Reading over my post and your response just reminded me of a couple of evenings ago when I tried to organize my spare parts box. I found the extra hardware and mounting instructions from my very first pair of Looks, including the threaded sleeves you were supposed to insert into the holes you had to drill through the soles of your shoes (with the provided template, of course). I'd forgotten all about that - one of the joys of being an early adopter. And no one I knew had a drill press, so I had to use a little makeshift spring apparatus of my dad's that held a hand drill perpendicular to the surface you're drilling and hope for the best. No slots for adjustment, no room for error. Ah, good times.
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Old 01-30-13, 01:07 PM   #20
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From a guy who rode nothing but clips then clipless since 1972 until abut 2010, I can say with complete assurance- I cannot decide! I know that for running about town, I have used platform pedals (BMX style), and it pretty nice to have street shoes to run into stores and the like. that said, I keep changing back to my SPD pedals and shoes. I have not problems with feet staying on the pedals with either, at cadences up over 100. I think part of why I keep coming back to either SPD and/or Look pedals is ingrained non-rational choice. That, or despite my best protestations otherwise, I still want to belong to the roadie tribe.
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Old 01-30-13, 01:32 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gunner65 View Post
No meaningful gain = I have ZERO experience
Safety concerns = No meaningful gain
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stealthammer View Post
While I see no meaningful gain in performance from this truely unscientific, and at best anecdotal comparison that has no real validity whatsoever, I find the assertion that platforms are "safer" than clipless to be positively laughable. Thank you for this morning's levity!
I'm not the topic here nor is my posted opinion.

Now go back and try and help the OP!
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

Last edited by Nightshade; 01-30-13 at 01:53 PM.
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Old 01-30-13, 02:46 PM   #22
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However, when safety is a consideration platforms win hands down since you're not attached to the bike as you are with clipless.
I think it's well documented that you feel this way, but I don't think it's so obvious. Yes, there is a bigger risk of falling over when stopping when you are clipped in. I think there's a bigger risk of your foot slipping off the pedal when you're not clipped in and that can have serious consequences as well.

I agree with the idea several people have floated that being clipped in will help develop you spin better and for more of the cycle. And that this won't happen immediately.

For anybody who doesn't clip in and doesn't want to, don't. For anybody who wants to, give it a try.

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Old 01-30-13, 02:51 PM   #23
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crap i didnt know to go clipless or not was such a touchy subject lol
If you really want to see some fun debates, start a thread about hydration packs!
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Old 01-30-13, 04:17 PM   #24
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If you really want to see some fun debates, start a thread about hydration packs!
Better yet, go to A&S and say "helmets."
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Old 01-30-13, 09:48 PM   #25
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The worst injury I've ever had on a bike came when my foot slipped off a platform pedal while standing on a climb. I was in my early 20s. Tore a nice gash in my calf.

Next day I went out and bought toe clips and straps, and never used platforms on a road bike again. I was perfectly happy on clips for a long time, until I went clipless. I wish I saw the light sooner.
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