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  1. #1
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    Clueless about Clipless

    I have to admit it. While in concept I know what a clipless pedal is, the reality is I wouldn't know one from a hair clip. My bike has Lyotard pedals and my bike shoes are Adidas "Stan Smith" specials, (it's a little known fact that Stan Smith used to ride when he wasn't playing tennis!)
    I have enjoyed all of the fall down stories people relate about themselves and I know on my next bike I will have some kind of attached shoe pedal. I know that using the complete crank cycle has to me more efficient. Having said that is there a standout favorite, or do they all cause you to fall?

  2. #2
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    In my opinion (shared by virtually NOBODY ELSE on these forums), they all cause you to fall, sooner or later. Usually more sooner and less later, but you've still got to beat the learning curve.

    Since I must ride in traffic, because I'm allergic to falls, and because I want to ride in any shoes I happen to have on, I'm a platform pedal guy - no clips, no straps, no falls.

  3. #3
    there ARE no bad rides
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    You shouldn't fall because of the pedals, however you may not be able to prevent a fall because you can't/don't unclip soon enough. Gee, does that even make sense?
    Anyway, I've found that when mtn biking, clipless have actually prevented me from falling because my feet can't slip off the pedals when climbing rough terrain, tearing down nasty descents and getting wet and muddy.. It's a bit different on my road bike, as there's less chance of slipping off the pedals due to unexpected changes in terrain. Unexpected stopping is another story, however. The increased pedaling efficiency makes them well worth the investment.
    We all have our favorites. All brands and styles have their own advantages and disadvantages. I run Ritcheys, my wife likes Crank Bros. Candies and my closest riding buddy uses Times. It's all personal preference. They'll all make you fall or help keep you from falling equally.
    I didn't know Stan Smith rode bikes.........I wonder if he was as good a rider as he was tennis player 'cause he sure could play!

    aj

  4. #4
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Clipless are great because it is easier to pedal. You just have to set your brain that whever there is any chance you might have to hit the brakes and stop, then unclip. If you might have to unclip, one of these times you will have to and if you're clipped in you're going down. Not fun on grass, would be worst on pavement.
    Hi 'o Silver away

  5. #5
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    I feel pretty safe in clipless. Having used them for years, I don't really feel trapped or bolted to the bike. Once that push down and twist (Looks) motion is habitual, you simply do it without thinking. I can recall throwing my chain on a steep climb and not being able to put a foot down because I was strapped tightly to my platform pedal. I can also recall a painful crash when, hitting an unnoticed pothole, my foot bounced off the seemingly safe no-clip/no-strap touring pedal putting me in freefall. Hello pavement.

    FarHorizon...don't immediately dismiss clipless....they have many advantages and those initial worries, for me and others, seem to melt away with use.

    P.S. I used to ride "Power Straps" on my mtn bike and recumbent.....extremely easy to disengage your foot and they have the benefits of securing your foot throughout the pedal stroke. Another alternative worth a look.

  6. #6
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    In my opinion (shared by virtually NOBODY ELSE on these forums), they all cause you to fall, sooner or later. Usually more sooner and less later, but you've still got to beat the learning curve.

    Since I must ride in traffic, because I'm allergic to falls, and because I want to ride in any shoes I happen to have on, I'm a platform pedal guy - no clips, no straps, no falls.
    I share your opinion, FarHorizon! I didn't at first -- I guess I was still trying to justify my purchase of them. But unlike some folks on this forum, I have no fondness for falling, which I did, nor do I enjoy worrying about falling, nor do I enjoy almost falling, which I did on several occasions. On the other hand, I've had absolutely NO near-misses on platform pedals and my feet have not slipped once since I use mountain bike pedals with a pretty good grip. Maybe my pedaling is less efficient but I couldn't tell a difference and I don't mind a good workout.

    There's a thread in the commuting forum on this topic right now and several have admitted that they prefer platform pedals so you're not alone, FH!

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    I have steel clips on my cheap platforms that seem to fit snugly w/o tightening up on the strap. I can pull up with them and can cadence with the "wiping mud off the sole" style and get my foot out OK for normal and emergency stopping, so far. Am I missing something in the way of performance by not using clipless? I know my pedals are much heavier than those fancy road clipless models, for one thing.

    Am on the look for higher quality lighter clip pedals. Saw a pair on a parked expensive looking road bike recently. Should have left a note and my email. Saw a pricy pair on the web from Great Britain. Maybe the price isn't too bad considering what most riders are paying for clipless.

    For possibly my initial experiment with clipless, what do the experts think of Nashbar's bargain shoe and SPD like recessed cleat pedals package at about $55.00 total? Do clipless ever fail to uncleat? I hear there is liability disclaimer in the Shimano pedal packages.

    I am an oldie newbie road biker wannabe who now bikes about 100 miles/wk on 10-20 mile rides.

    Sinchi

  8. #8
    OM boy cyclezen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p8rider
    ... My bike has Lyotard pedals and my bike shoes are Adidas "Stan Smith" specials...
    I have enjoyed all of the fall down stories people relate about themselves and I know on my next bike I will have some kind of attached shoe pedal. I know that using the complete crank cycle has to me more efficient. Having said that is there a standout favorite, or do they all cause you to fall?
    No question that for almost every pedal design there are proponents. Clipless designs were a large step forward for most forms of cycling and just as importatnly opened cycling shoe design from the very restricted profiles of those shoes that would fit reasonably well into clips. Now we can have almost any shoe design that you can imagine for a street/sport shoe.
    On the + side the Stan Smiths are prolly very comfortable for the short ride around town. On the minus, after about ten miles your feet prolly feel like they're sitting directly on the pedal cage. Without a stiff sole to improve efficiency ands also distribute pedaling pressure over the entire forefoot, the foot will fatigue much earlier than a solid shoe design.
    The key points that I used to decide on my new pedals for almost all my bikes were based more on good riding performance and also 'safety'. By safety I'm referring to the most dangerous part of any cycling shoe, even way back as far as I can remember using leather and then plastic cleats. That being the simple act of 'walking' when not on the bike. I see as much more dangerous the slippery cleated shoe than the worry of not getting out of clipless (or toeclips and straps) pedals. With that in mind all current raod shoe design were immediately elminated, since they all have exposed hard cleats or pedal mounting plates.
    That left a huge selection of shoes that looked just like 'road' shoes, worked just like road shoes and fit as varied as shoe desing might allow - that being MTB shoes that had some form of sole allowing for the cleat to be recessed (unlike road shoes). That also meant that 3 bolt cleat systems (like look) were not in consideration. Most all use the 2 bolt compatible pattern used by SPD pedals. That didn;t mean they all used SPD cleats, but just used the 2 bolt pattern.
    I immediately tried a pair of SPDs based on the wide usage base, and found that SPD can be a difficult system to step into. I've since retired the SPD design pedal and cleat because of the difficult entry. I tried a number of other pedal designs and Crank Bros eggbeater design, for their ease of entry, their large amount of 'float' allowing the foot to make small adjustments during pedaling without sacrificing a reasonable level of performance. Crank Bros, although not an 'SPD' system, it does use the SPD cleat hole patterm. Add in 2 distinct cleat orientation to allow 'easy" or harder entry/exit.
    The shoes (Pearl Isumi vagabonds) are also easy and comffortable to walk sizable distances.
    my 2 cents

  9. #9
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I recently moved from toe clips to clipless (shimano 105s) and this has increased my overall average speed and my riding enjoyment. I don't find getting out of the clipless any more difficult than pulling out and inserting into clips. The only time I had a problem was a major calf cramp where I essentially had to lock my right leg extended to stop the pain and then through the pain think about how I was going to dismount. I didn't fall but it took a little effort.

  10. #10
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    I appreciate everyone's input. A few good ideas and questions for me to follow up on when I begin my new bike search in earnest. It's nice to begin speaking with the LBS having some knowledge instead of being my typical clueless self.

  11. #11
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p8rider
    I have to admit it. While in concept I know what a clipless pedal is, the reality is I wouldn't know one from a hair clip. My bike has Lyotard pedals and my bike shoes are Adidas "Stan Smith" specials, (it's a little known fact that Stan Smith used to ride when he wasn't playing tennis!)
    I have enjoyed all of the fall down stories people relate about themselves and I know on my next bike I will have some kind of attached shoe pedal. I know that using the complete crank cycle has to me more efficient. Having said that is there a standout favorite, or do they all cause you to fall?
    Sooner or later, you will have a fall from an encounter with clipless peddles. I know of no bikers that have used for any length of time that cannot recount at least one incident. The REAL challenge is to mimimize the falls as much as possible. I have found Speedplay X series pedals to be excellent to clip in and out of. They are easy to mash into on take off and they also click out with a simple rotation of the ankle to the outside, pull and you're out. They really are that simple.

    Even with these, my favorite peddles, I have falling over recently. Went up short steep hill, came to an abrupt stop, failed to get unclipped quick enough and simply fell over. It happens.

  12. #12
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    I for one have no fondness for falling. However, clipless does not, to my mind, mean increased falling. I've fallen due to bad luck and personal stupidity-- but never due to clipless (started riding them 1991). Getting used to a new technique, state of mind, or piece of equipment may take a little time, during which one overcomes apprehension, adapts, and learns through sometimes error. I'm no road animal but I found the short period of adaptation to clipless worth it. I ride Look clipless, Campy clipped quills, and clipped touring platforms. Personally, I don't feel securely enough connected to the bike to ride vigorously on "open" platforms. Maybe I should adapt to them!

    I do think it healthy and productive to be open to new things-- but, in the end, who cares...there are many styles of riding and variety is good.

  13. #13
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I have got so used to Clipless pedals, That I cannot ride a bike comfortably without them. That may seem a bit strange, but for one thing, your feet cannot slip with SPD,s and there is an increase in power input using this sort of pedal. I am always falling off the bike, but never due to using clipless.

    It does take a lot of courage to use this type of pedal, and the expense of pedals and shoes does seem daunting, but is probably the best investment I have made for cycling efficiency.

  14. #14
    Jim Shapiro
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    In my opinion (shared by virtually NOBODY ELSE on these forums), they all cause you to fall, sooner or later. Usually more sooner and less later, but you've still got to beat the learning curve.

    Since I must ride in traffic, because I'm allergic to falls, and because I want to ride in any shoes I happen to have on, I'm a platform pedal guy - no clips, no straps, no falls.
    You're not alone. I have bikes with pedal straps, toe clips, and even one with SPD clipless pedals. Just today I converted my fixed gear bike to Shimano 105 toe clips, my favorite pedals, and I must say the ride was worry-free and wonderful. On a fixie you often have to get unhooked from the pedals quickly and these pedals fulfilled that requirement in spades. Next in line for toe clips is my Bianchi Imola, at which point I can throw away the silly shoes and ride without worrying about not being able to unclip in time.

  15. #15
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    I'm planning on trying "mini clips" without straps on my fixed-gear bike. We'll see how that works out..

  16. #16
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Since you bring up clipless, do any of you adjust the shoe clip forwards or backwards?

    If so, how much and what is the result?
    Hi 'o Silver away

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    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Depends on desired position over pedal....traditionally, many riders like to position the ball of their foot over the pedal spindle and will slide the cleat back and forth on their shoe sole to get that position.

  18. #18
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    I'm planning on trying "mini clips" without straps on my fixed-gear bike. We'll see how that works out..
    My wife has a "Half-Clip"on her bike and These are just about acceptable for me. They just cover the toes and use no straps. They are made of a fairly rigid plastic, and do stop the foot from moving about, but with no straps are easily got out of.

  19. #19
    Isaias NoRacer's Avatar
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    My combination of choice is platform and cross-country running spikes. Slippage has decreased quite a bit compared to using plain running shoes. In Baltimore, I've had way too many close calls where I've had to hit my breaks hard (usually from cars right hooking me or left hooking, but slowing down right as they come into a driveway), the bike starts to skid out from under me and I manage to keep from dumping completely on one side because my foot is free. There's been only one occassion where while making a left turn, I sprinted to stay up with traffic, and my foot slipped off the pedal. I almost lost it right in the middle of the the intersection, but I think that was before I switched to the xc spikes -- or, that may be when my chain was slipping of the second chain ring under high stress.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Seems no one else whats to answer your question. I went with SPD years ago and for most non racers it seems a good choice. I've had only one fall in my parents driveway when learning to use them. (By and large people have problems because they when starting they try to clip in while stationary or when stoping stop and only then think of clipping out. Starting clip in one side while standing and then start up and clip in the other while going slow. Clipping out just requires being ready when you stop).

    Many of the other clip out problems is that some folks are racer wannabees. Almost every clipless system is adjustable and if set very high they can be hard to get out of. This is good for a real racer, no chance of coming out in a hard sprint, those guys know what they are doing and have strong legs to overcome the strong setting if they want out. Set the same way for a weekend warrior is a recipe for trouble. The same wannabe ideas or bad advice leads to selection of true racing setups, the ones where you end up walking like a duck. These are great if speed is the issue and you are only on the bike. They are not so good at lights and rest stops.

    Again, for general use SPD or some other system that is meant for general or offroad use. Honestly I would start in that ballpark and then look for the SHOES that fit comfartably then decide between the systems compatable with those shoes if I were picking out all over today.

  21. #21
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    I still use old-fashioned road quill pedals and toeclips on all of my bikes, with the straps cinched just to the point that I can yank a foot out, as needed. My release instincts are so ingrained at this point that I am afraid to try clipless, particularly if I were to do so on only some of my bikes. (With my bargain-basement physical coordination, I am lucky even to be riding a bicycle!) For commuting and transportation, I like being able to use either street shoes or cycling shoes (I have a pair of Lakes and a pair of Diadoras, both with the clip mount opening still covered by its original flap of sole material). For me, practicality and safety win out over maximum efficiency or performance any day.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  22. #22
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I use Shimano Mtn Bike clipless (about $55.00) on my road bike. Work great. I use traditional toe clips on my other road bike and my "scoot about town" mtn bike. You can also walk on just about any surface with mtn bike clipless and shoes.

    I have no problem interchanging between the toe clips and the clipless - none at all. I can also use just the plain platforms my wife has on her bikes.

    The Shimano are less expensive and work really well.

    I use SPD sandals with the clipless, and also have a pair of mtn bike shoes which I used to use with the clipless. But, I haven't worn them at all since I got the SPD sandals.

    I love clipless - makes me feel as if the bike and I are joined into a single unconquerable machine!

    I fell 2 times in 1999 getting used to the clipless, and none since. I ride about 3,500 miles per year or so.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-15-05 at 04:28 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  23. #23
    Get A Life - Get A Bike cheeseflavor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by p8rider
    Having said that is there a standout favorite, or do they all cause you to fall?
    I can't say enough about Speedplay. We (my wife and I) started out on SPD cleats. I had a heck of time getting clipped in quickly - not good if you need to cross a street in hurry - though clipping out was easy. Like some others have pointed out, the spring tension is adjustable so clipping in and out isn't hard *as long as you can find the clip*. That was our problem.

    With the speedplays, the entire pedal platform what you're aiming for. It's hard NOT to clip in. They're also easy to clip out of. It requires some getting used to, but they're great. Swivel your feet out to the side a bit and you're out. My only complaint about them is the cleats are susceptable to getting debris caught in them. With the purchase of cleat covers, that takes care of that problem when you're not on the bike.

    One other thing - they're not easy to walk in. They protrude about 3/4" below the surface of the shoe, so that takes some getting used to.

    Hope this helps!

    Steve

  24. #24
    "Old & Slow Rider" BJ Ondo's Avatar
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    I found I didn't care for the plastic mnt. bike half-clips, they seem to pinch my toes, even wearing bicycling shoes. I finally found a pair of "metal" Christophers, like I had on all my bicycles 20 years ago and I'm a "happy camper"! I feel the good old metal "half clip" is perfect! I was on a ride today and we were riding on a trail, we had to turn a 90 degree from dirt to wood bridge and two riders with "clipless systems", fell, I had "no problems"! I just like to be able to pull out of the clip with ease in any situation, without thinking about it so I just don't think I could ever use clipless pedals but maybe I'll get brave enough down the road.
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  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    I've always found it interesting that riders can clip in and clip out of pedals that have no clips (clipless).

    Al

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