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Old 04-14-07, 04:33 PM   #1
freeranger
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Flat vs clipless pedals..........

Yeah, I know it could go over in the road catagory, but I know the younger crowd will swear by clipless!
After years of mtn biking (on which I use platforms), I bought a road bike. Everyone said I HAD to go with clipless pedals to get the most out of it. I bought Shimano 520's (a spd pedal-fig'd if I liked it I could use them on the mtn.bike as well). They are OK, but I miss being able to change my foot position as I would on a flat pedal. I'm a recreational rider and haven't done any distance over 20 miles at a time yet, haven't had the road bike for very long and lots of rain lately! What riding I have done, I guess the clipless help, but I'm not totally sold on them. Is it just getting used to having my foot in one spot, or has anyone tried clipless and gone back to flats? No problem clipping in or out, the pedals work great! And the "fred factor" doesn't faze me-I may even ride with my Camelback on the road bike!
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Old 04-14-07, 04:36 PM   #2
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I'm just going over to the Dark Side with my first real road bike, and it came with pedals with straps, but I took them off and replaced them with huge Fredable platforms while I get used to the bike. I probably will go clipless when I get used to this bike, or when I get a new road bike. For now, the platforms are fine.

I am aghast, however, that you would seriously consider wearing a camelback on a road bike.
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Old 04-14-07, 04:51 PM   #3
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I started riding a road bike at the end of last year and I really like the clipless pedals. They are especially good when going up hills. If you don't like them the bike fashion police won't get you, but if you use them for a while you will miss them if you change back. Now when I ride my mtn. bike it feels strange with my feet not clipped in.
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Old 04-14-07, 05:12 PM   #4
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You didn't specify M520 MTB pedal or A520 sport road pedal. The A520 has a sport level cage/frame around it to support the foot more. It is also single sided like like other road pedals.

The mechanism is the same for both pedals so the same shoe and cleat are used. With the external cage, you can occasionally unclip for a minute or so if you want to move the foot around. I use the A520 on the MTB as well as the road bike because I'm just to old to remember by reflex which pedals I'm about to clip into so the same all around makes life easier.
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Old 04-14-07, 06:23 PM   #5
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I tried clipless (Shimano SPD) 3 years ago. It seemed like too much bother and too serious for my relaxed/carefree/recreational riding pursuits/aspirations. All (6) of our road bikes have MKS Touring platform pedals with not even a hint of regret. We have enjoyed several 3 day tours, at least one century per year etc with no problems/regrets.......and my wife and I can wear any footwear as dictated by whim.
To each thier own......but our priority is pleasure/enjoyment, not "serious" performance or fashion compliance.
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Old 04-14-07, 06:29 PM   #6
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Mercedes doesn't expect that I wear special shoes with gas pedal and brake attchments; why should I expect my mike manufacturer to do the same? Never ridden with clipless, but always thought that toe clips were a passing fad. My goal is convenience -- I'm to lazy to drive.

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Old 04-14-07, 06:55 PM   #7
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I started with platforms and went clipless. I did a good ride today and if I still just had platforms (no straps) it would have taken a good bit longer. There were many times I was able to increase my cadence and my speed because I was clipped in and was using a lot of the full pedal stroke-especially on climbs.

However, if you prefer platforms you shouldn't feel like you have to change. Go with what you prefer and what you enjoy doing the best. It's all about just getting where you're trying to go.....and there are obviously lots of different ways to do that.

There are clipless pedals that allow you to rotate your foot although you're not able to slide your foot back and forth like you might prefer to do.
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Old 04-14-07, 07:25 PM   #8
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Do whatever works for you. For what it's worth, most of the reasons for using clipless pedals don't really come into play on leisurely rides under 20 miles (same for many cycling specific items). I wouldn't worry about what someone may or may not think about it. I try to use the gear that is comfortable and appropriate for the activity I'm doing.
I have bikes with Look pedals for use with cleats that make it hard to walk. I have bikes with platform pedals (with and without clips and straps). I have other bikes with MTB type pedals for shoes with recessed cleats that are easy to walk in. I go from one to another depending on what kind of ride I'm doing, what I'll be doing off the bike and according to the mood I'm in. Sometimes I'll change pedals if the bike I want to use has pedals other than the ones I want to use that day. It's all about what works for me.
Next week I'll be doing about a 20 mile ride (each way) through the north Georgia mountains to watch the Tour de Georgia. I'll take my good road bike because it climbs the best. I'll be swapping pedals so I can use the clipless MTB style pedals so I can walk around when I get to my spot on Brasstown Bald. OK, it is also so I can walk and push the bike on the steepest sections. and I will be wearing a Camelback on the road. Last year I ran out of water doing this ride. I don't want to go through that again.
It's all about what works best in the situation.

Last edited by BluesDawg; 04-18-07 at 04:40 AM.
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Old 04-14-07, 07:31 PM   #9
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I just put Shimano Multiple release clips on my shoes and they are the best thing since sliced bread. I can get out of these easier than my wife can with her platform pedals. I tried all kind of ways to get out of them and I think they are 10 times better than the clips that came with the 520s. You wont believe it until you try them. I went to Sun & Ski, where I can take them back if I don't like them, they are keepers. Oh, they cost $20.
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Old 04-14-07, 07:50 PM   #10
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I like M520's. The only times I feel sketchy with them is when I trail ride. On the road they are great.

Never heard of the Multiple release clips. I'll have to check them out.

I would never let the babes see me with platforms. It's like admitting you use Viagra. I suppose it's OK but I wouldn't go public with that information.
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Old 04-14-07, 08:10 PM   #11
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I tried both SPD and Crank Bros. clipless pedals. With the SPDs, I had trouble clipping in and out. The Crank Bros. were much easier to use, but the first time I forgot to clip out, I ended up with a concussion. I still use the Crank Bros. on my trike (don't like "leg suck"), but I am now using BMX pedals and shoes on my Fusion. There may be a small loss of pedaling efficiency, but it is too small to make any difference to me (I'm not into competitive racing), and I can get off and walk without clicking everywhere I go.
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Old 04-15-07, 12:43 AM   #12
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I have been riding clipless for- Can't remember but it must be at least 10 years. To be honest- I can't ride a bike wothout using clipless now. Platforms are OK for a trip round to the shops, but any distance and the Feet don't work. They don't stay on the pedals and even trying to put pressure on the pedals and they are dangerous. Clipless may not be everyones cup of tea but I find that using them has altered my ride considerably. Power can be put on at any part of the pedalling stroke and to ride platforms incurs a lot of wasted energy. For me, I cannot ride effectively without them but they do take some getting used to. Give them a good try- And As to that camelback- Same with that. Try a ride without it and just a bottle on the bike and you will be thirsty. You do not realise how handy it is untill you go without it, And how else are you going to carry 5 pints of fluid with you on your non-stop 100 mile ride?
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Old 04-15-07, 04:03 AM   #13
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I've been using clipless pedals for over a decade and couldn't stand to ride more than a half a mile without them. Trying to ride just with my thigh muscles and changing back to that "mash/mash" pedal stroke would drive me nuts. Also I think my foot would come off on every stroke.

I used to use SPD pedals for the road after starting with them on my MBT thinking that keeping the same system would be a good idea, it wasn't. I really didn't like the experiance as the cleat and pedals are tiny (my MBT pedals have a platform around the SPD mechanism) and eventually switched to a more road spacific pedal for my road bike, I suggest SPD-SL as they are easy in and easy out while providing you with a stellar connection.
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Old 04-15-07, 05:14 AM   #14
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Do you use cages/straps on the platforms? Not nearly as good as clipless for those times you want to apply power through an entire revolution, but you can at least lift your foot during the upstroke (and they don't have to be cinched down tight).

But, at the end of the day, I too will swear by clipless. Make sure the cleat adjustment puts your foot/pedal position close to what you're used to (toe-in, toe-out, foot position over axle, saddle height), and give your self a chance to get used to it.
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Old 04-15-07, 05:41 AM   #15
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Another option is power grips if you are not comfortable with clipless.
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Old 04-15-07, 06:50 AM   #16
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My two sons switched from clipless to platform pedals when they switched from cross country mountain biking to freeriding. They do some stuff that I'm not too sure that I approve of but they're not on my insurance anymore.

Aside from them, I can't think of anybody I know who, once they got acclimited to clipless pedals, wanted to go back.
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Old 04-16-07, 02:17 AM   #17
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On my roadbike, I have spd-sl and on my mountain bike and Cannondale BB I have shimano pedals with spd on one side and platform on the other. 70% of the time on those bikes, I'm clipped in, but it's great to have the option of a platform for a casual ride to the store or pulling the baby trailer. You can have it both ways
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Old 04-16-07, 07:38 AM   #18
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Went clipless about 10 years ago and can't ride w/o them anymore. Just feels weird. Have been using Wellgo dual-sided. Still have the original pedals, cleats and shoes. All are intact and still functional in my day to day rotation of shoes, bikes, etc. My girl went clipless about 3 weeks ago and after riding around the yard and falling over 5-6 times she got the hang of it and has gone on several rides w/me and by herself. She's sold on them and thanked me for encouraging her to give them a try.
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Old 04-16-07, 08:05 AM   #19
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My pedals are clipless on one side and platform on the other, and I go back and forth frequently. If I expect a lot of city riding I wear running shoes because I will be stopping a lot, but if I will be mostly on a path I wear clipless. I have no problem going back and forth and basically do what suits me that day.
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Old 04-16-07, 08:14 AM   #20
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If you don't use clipless, you are missing half of your pedaling stroke. If that doesn't bother you, use what you want; it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks.

Pulling up on one pedal while you press down on the other eventually becomes second nature. Most people who use clipless long enough to be doing that correctly, have a very tough time going back to platforms, where trying to pull will lift your foot off the pedal instantly. Those who never start using clipless are perfectly used to only pressing down, so if they never want the more efficient pedaling stroke, and never get the urge to switch to clipless, who's to say they should?

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Old 04-16-07, 08:53 AM   #21
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I'm a commuter and I went clipless at age 50 and for a while had clipless pedals on both my road and mountain bikes. Both sets of pedals failed last fall, and I decided to use platforms for the winter so I could ride in winter boots if I had to. It may be very Freddish of me, but I now plan to get the M324 pedals that are spd on one side and platform on the other. The platform gives you security if you ride in icy conditions that you can get your foot down before you fall, and the option of riding in warmer footwear, but I also like the feeling of clipless that you are more in touch with the bike.

Unlike Bud Bent, I don't totally agree with the whole "exerting power around the full pedal stroke" stuff: clipless might extend your effort a little bit into the top and bottom of the stroke, but I don't believe people "pull up" with the pedal as much as they think. However clipless does give more of a sense that you're one with the bike after you get used to it. I also use a different foot position, with my toe pointing down more when I'm clipless.

Last edited by cooker; 04-16-07 at 10:51 AM.
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Old 04-16-07, 09:03 AM   #22
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Use/wear whatever is most comfortable for you and gives you the most enjoyment out of your bike. Platform pedals have been around since the beginning and still do the job well. Clipless is more efficient but may not appeal to/work for everyone.

I know a few that had to add pedal extenders to their clipless pedals because they felt cramped and started to have physical pain. By looking at the wear pattern on their platform pedals, a 1/2"-1" wider stance put their foot position where they usually were on platforms. Other people are sensitive and can feel the cleat and pedal pressing on one spot no matter where you adjust the cleat position or what shoes they try...it just bothers them and is uncomfortable. Every body is different and one has to make a choice for what they feel is best for them. In the end, it's all good. As long as people are enjoying riding around, who cares if they are using platforms, clips, or clipless pedals.
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Old 04-16-07, 10:12 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooker
I'm a commuter and I went clipless at age 50 and for a while had clipless pedals on both my road and mountain bikes.. Both sets of pedals failed last fall, and I decided to use platforms for the winter so I could ride in winter boots if I had too. It may be very Freddish of me, but I now plan to get the M324 pedals that are spd on one side and platform on the other. The platform gives you security if you ride in icy conditions that you can get your foot down before you fall, and the option of riding in warmer footwear, but I also like the feeling of clipless that you are more in touch with the bike.

Unlike Bud Bent, I don't totally agree with the whole "exerting power around the full pedal stroke" stuff: clipless might extend your effort a little bit into the top and bottom of the stroke, but I don't believe people "pull up" with the pedal as much as they think. However clipless does give more of a sense that you're one with the bike after you get used to it. I also use a different foot position, with my toe pointing down more when I'm clipless.
A lot of people who do use clipless never really develop the full round pedaling style which makes them the most efficient. If you don't think people pull up as much as they think, then you never did. My wife still hasn't, either. I know this because I ride a tandem with her, and end up compensating for her mashing by actually doing more pulling up than I do on my own bikes. Our combined pedaling stroke isn't nearly as smooth if I don't, especially when climbing.

But I do agree with "to each his own". There's not a thing wrong with platform pedals, if that's what you like and want.
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Old 04-17-07, 04:38 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam
... And how else are you going to carry 5 pints of fluid with you on your non-stop 100 mile ride?
Uh, seat tube cage, down tube cage, 2 in handlebar or behind-saddle cages, and 1 in a jersey pocket? Seriously, I like camelbaks too, but some rhetorical questions are too good to pass up.
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Old 04-17-07, 07:52 PM   #25
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I have used SPD clipless pedals for years and they work great for me.
Here is some advice.
I set the tension on the pedal to the lightest setting, so I can get in and out easily. I have never pulled out of the pedal by mistake.
I wear Sidi Dominator mountain bike shoes because they have a little tread that makes the cleat recessed. [I can walk normally with them on]
Make sure the cleat has "float" which allows you to move your foot side to side. It is easier on your knees and with the "float" the cleat does not have to be adjusted so exactly.
I am a spinner and I feel that the clipless system helps me keep my foot on the pedal better and in the proper place.
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