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  1. #1
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    Clipless for over 50?

    Hi,

    My first post on this particular forum and would like to introduce myself along with a question. I am returning to a road bike after 10+ years and age 58, I recently have lost 48 pounds, power walk 5 mi/day and finally have a BMI of 23. I want to return to cycling in order to complement my walking regimen.

    So, I am about to pull the trigger on a 08 Trek Madone 5.2. Hopefully, it will be the only bike I will ever need. The question(s) I have is:
    1. Should I consider a double or triple crank?
    2. More importantly, I have always used toe clips and straps with never a problem. If I go with clipless (Speedplay), is that necessarily an injury just waiting to happen to someone approaching the big six oh?

    The clipless system seems a bit intimidating as I have seen countless motorcycle riders drop their bikes on slippery pavement at traffic signals, etc. and the shoes seem to be impossible for walking which I like to do on rides.

    Any thoughts?

    Best regards,

    dave

  2. #2
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    You have come to the right place for advice on clipless. There is however a lot of it, and like everything, everyone has a favorite.

    If you can handle toe clips and straps, then you can do clipless after just a little practice. The principal cause of falls is the "I forgot".

    If you really want to walk comfortably, then you may want to look at MTB pedals, shoes and cleats as they are recessed into the shoe. Many touring bikers choose these specifically for the ability to walk.

  3. #3
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    1. If a double will give you the range you need, then go that route. Doubles are lighter, shift better, easier to adjust the FD, etc. But, if you think maybe you do or will in the future need really low gearing, without losing a high enough gear, then go triple, right from the start. My hybrid has a 46/38 crank with an 11-34 cassette. That's high enough and low enough for my needs but the high would be too low for many.
    I couldn't do without a triple on my recumbent, as I need really low gears to spin up hills.
    2. Use toe clips. You're used to them. They work. Don't go clipless until you decide it's right for you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave_gt View Post
    So, I am about to pull the trigger on a 08 Trek Madone 5.2. Hopefully, it will be the only bike I will ever need. The question(s) I have is:
    1. Should I consider a double or triple crank?
    2. More importantly, I have always used toe clips and straps with never a problem. If I go with clipless (Speedplay), is that necessarily an injury just waiting to happen to someone approaching the big six oh?

    The clipless system seems a bit intimidating as I have seen countless motorcycle riders drop their bikes on slippery pavement at traffic signals, etc. and the shoes seem to be impossible for walking which I like to do on rides.

    Any thoughts?
    Only bike you'll ever need? Bwa-hah-hah! You have obviously never heard of the n + 1 rule.
    1. if you have to question which to get, double or triple, then you need the triple.
    2. go clipless, you will not be sorry. If you live. Seriously, just get walkable shoes and you'll be fine.

  5. #5
    Road Runner DougG's Avatar
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    My road bike has Shimano A520 pedals, which have the MTB-style SPD clips. I like them because I can walk around in the shoes. They're much more comfortable for me than toe-clips, which used to give me problems with my feet going numb from the pressure on top of my foot. Now I'd feel really weird riding any bike without being clipped in.

    I originally went with SPDs so I could use the same pair of shoes for trail and road riding, but I became just a bit style-conscious and realized that the off-road shoes were too clunky for the road. I ended up with two pairs of shoes, but of course I can wear either pair with either bike.

  6. #6
    Don't Bug Me mantis's Avatar
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    Hi Dave,

    Welcome to the forum and congrats on some serious progress in your physical fitness!

    My .02 on these issues is as follows:

    1. Get the double. If you progress on the bike like you have been, I would think the small chain ring will get obsolete fast.

    2. Get clipless. Intimidating a little at first, but it turns to indispensable once you are comfortable with the system. The reasons why nearly every roadie uses clipless are that the initial apparent drawbacks are greatly outweighed by the bio-mechanical advantages. You do give up some mobility as far as walking in the cleated shoes, but you will learn to ride closer to where you need to go ;-)

    Incidentally and for what its worth, I have been riding motorcycles since 1965 and I am about your age. I currently ride a '07 Honda CBR600RR which will do 0-60 in 2.9 seconds and corners like it is on roller coaster rails. It is simply thrilling to ride and I love it, although I do get some funny looks when when I pull my helmet off. I admit I am a little unusual because, prior to my retirement from the Federal government, I was extensively trained to ride a motorcycle professionally. My point here is, I think you have been watching some very sorry, very lame motorcyclists.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave_gt View Post
    Hi,
    So, I am about to pull the trigger on a 08 Trek Madone 5.2. Hopefully, it will be the only bike I will ever need.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  8. #8
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Dave,

    Re: the double vs. the triple...you don't mention what kind of riding you hope to do. A double willl probably be fine if you plan to ride only moderate hills or the occasional mountain road -- especially if you get a compact crankset with a 34-tooth inner ring.

    However, if you live somewhere particularly mountainous, and plan to regularly go on long rides in the hills, you should consider the triple.

    As for clipless -- I've used two clipless systems (SPD, and I just switched to Look on one bike). I think clipless riding is the best, would never go back.

  9. #9
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Blues,
    As had been said already, there are opinions all over the page on the questions that you asked. My take goes like this:
    1. Consider this your first bike, not "the only bike that you will need."
    2. Get platform pedals with the bike until you are comfortable on this bike. Often, a LBS will put a cheap set of platform pedals on a new bike for free. It may have much different handling than what you were used to in the past. Once you are comfortable riding it, then get SPD pedals. Shimano has several that are good: 520, and 540 are good places to begin.
    3. Get a triple for this your first bike. It is a bit expensive to switch from one to the other so get the one that has the widest range of gears. The only thing that you really give up is a small amount of weight. A very small amount.
    4. For your second bike get one with only a double, a compact double if you plan to ride in the hills a lot. And buy your second bike with SPD pedals as well so that they will work with the same set of MTB shoes you have for bike #1.
    Good luck with the new bike.
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  10. #10
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maddmaxx View Post
    If you really want to walk comfortably, then you may want to look at MTB pedals, shoes and cleats as they are recessed into the shoe. Many touring bikers choose these specifically for the ability to walk.
    Conversely, if you really want to pedal efficiently on long rides, road pedals like Look, SPD-SL or Speedplay Zeroes are the way to go. Short walks at rest stops are not hard to do, especially if you use cleat covers, but they are not practical for more than minor amounts of walking.

    It all comes down to priorities. You can always get both types of pedals and shoes to match and swap them out depending on what kind of ride you have in store for that day.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  11. #11
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    Loads of advice coming your way, I'm sure.

    My own tuppence worth

    Double or triple? Classic double might be a 52/38 (teeth per chainring on the front). Many feel that this doesn't give enough low hill climbing gears. To counter this, a 'compact double' with 50/34 is now becoming very usual. It gives 'almost' the same low hill climbing gears as a triple, and 'almost' the same high speed gears, and reduces complication and gear redundancy (overlap)

    Clipless - MTB shoes (SPD and similar) allow you to walk, don't cause you to skeeter when putting a foot down on a wet road, and also provide the firm connection to the bike which improves efficiency. Pure road shoes might give a marginally improved effiency for people who want to save a couple of minutes over a Century.

    No advice is impartial. Guess what - my current best bike has compact Ultegra and MTB pedals!

    Happy choosing!

  12. #12
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse View Post
    Blues,
    As had been said already, there are opinions all over the page on the questions that you asked.
    Uh, I didn't ask a question. dave_gt was the OP.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

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    Hi, Benny...

    A fellow middle Georgian?!! Glad to meet you.

    Hope all is going well for you and I appreciate your Lifeline link. Really cool, that...

    Now, as far as that one bicycle thang, ummmm...I don't know but getting a new bike is going to be a bit of a financial strain what with the economy like it is but am working on some ideas to fund it. Of course, if I/we are successful in getting my wife's health back to where she can ride, I will have to find her a bike, too....

    Or a tandem...

    Glad to hear from you!

    dave

  14. #14
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    Platform pedals on a Madone would be an abomination. SPD's or Eggbeaters or Frogs are almost an abomination, but special dispensation is available for 50+ folks who see some practicality in being able to walk.

  15. #15
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave_gt View Post
    Hopefully, it will be the only bike I will ever need.
    But.....it will not be the only bike you will ever want. You just do not know you need it.........yet.

  16. #16
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    Welcome. As you can see, there are indeed numerous ideas. When considering your purchase, how much is cost an issue? For example, the SpeedPlay Zeros are a great pedal, but their cleats are very expensive compared to most others. (BTW, the SpeedPlays require some getting used to if you haven't ridden clipless before. The amount of float - lateral movement available- can throw some folks off. If you go that route the Zeros are a good choice). In terms of double or triple, I suspect there is no way you'll really know for sure until you start riding and see how you do. Will the bike shop loan you a bike with each setup for an extended ride in the kind of terrain you'll be riding? Some folks like the compromise a compact up front (34 or 36 and 50 tooth are the standard). This allows some flexibility based on the rear cassette you choose. I tend to favor the compact and have several cassettes I can swap depending on where I'm riding. What you'll come to learn is that when you first start riding everything is a compromise until you reach the point where you know how and where you ride like the back of your hand. So, I guess my final advice is to relax and enjoy whatever you get. You're purchasing a very fine bike and should get years of enjoyment out of it.
    Oh I used to be disgusted and now I try to be amused. But since their wings have got rusted, you know, the angels wanna wear my red shoes. But when they told me 'bout their side of the bargain, that's when I knew that I could not refuse. And I won't get any older, now the angels wanna wear my red shoes.

  17. #17
    Banned. The Weak Link's Avatar
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    1. Triple. Of course.
    2. Clipless. Of course.
    3. Ditto M520. Best pedal for the money.
    4. Ditto for MTB shoes for recessed cleats.

    All other advice is suspect.

  18. #18
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dave_gt View Post
    Hi, Benny...

    A fellow middle Georgian?!! Glad to meet you.
    dave
    What part of Middle Georgia, Dave? I'm in Milledgeville and pres of the club here. See the second link in my sig.

    If it is as hilly where you are as it is here, a triple might be a good option for you, depending on how fit you are. But if you are below the fall line, a regular double might do the trick. A compact double might be the ticket to split the difference. Mostly it will depend on how strong a climber you are. Don't forget that you will probably be doing some riding in North Georgia at some point, and you'll want the lowest gearing you can get for that, unless you turn out to be a hill climbing phenomenon.

    Since you are already used to the hardest to master pedal sytem there is (imho), clipless (either road or MTB type) should be no trouble at all for you to learn.

    Come over and ride with us sometime when you get your new bike. We have many beginner-friendly rides (anything I'll be doing on a bike right now will be easy) and we also have more advanced rides as people progress to longer and faster riding.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Terrierman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    1. Triple. Of course.
    2. Clipless. Of course.
    3. Ditto M520. Best pedal for the money.
    4. Ditto for MTB shoes for recessed cleats.

    All other advice is suspect.
    +1.
    It's all downhill from here. Except the parts that are uphill.

  20. #20
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    Well, I'm older than you and had no clipless experience. so you have two ups on me. I have used those dreaded toe web thingys. I bought my new Versailles with SPDs on it. It took me all of maybe an hour for using them to become second nature. So, never fear, you aren't too old to learn. Just be sure to clean and lube them just like you do your chain.

    As I get more experience I may go to a different style cleat. But, cleats are sooooo nice I can't imagine ever going without them, except for winter biking of course, IF I do that.

    Oh yes, Double or Triple? I went triple simply because most of my riding in in hills, some are very long and steep hills. Plus, I haven't the foggiest where I might ride in the future. Triple gives me the ability to ride anywhere; doubles don't.

    As for it being the bike to last you for the rest of your life...You don't plan on living very long I take it. I'm a real newbie and already I figure I'll not be able to resist the latest and greatest in a couple years. Besides, as the country song says: There ain't no trailers on the hearse.
    Last edited by HawkOwl; 08-05-08 at 10:10 AM.

  21. #21
    Live to ride ride to live Carbon Unit's Avatar
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    I ride with Speedplay Light Action pedals and a triple crank.

    First the pedals. If you were riding with toe clips and straps, you are going to love pedals they are so much easier.

    I like the Light Action for recreational riders. Speedplay claims that they are the easiest pedal to get in and out of. I have used them since November 2006 and have never gone down or had a problem getting out. You just step down and they go "click" and you are in. If you miss the sweet spot, just keep pedaling and clip in after you are moving.

    What I do is move either pedal to the top position and then as you push down on the pedal and start moving, I clip in with the other foot.

    Before I had Speedplay, I had Shimano SPD-L pedals for about three weeks and when down three time because I could get out of them easily. I really love the Speedplay pedals. Walking in them is more difficult than the Look style pedals. However, if you put coffee covers of them, they are then extremely easy. You wouldn't even know you were wearing clipless shoes.

    Here is a picture of them:

    http://www.coloradocyclist.com/product/item/SPEMXSPL


    As for triple vs compact double. The triple gives you a larger range and still a close range. For example, you could put a 12-27 with a triple and you would need use an 11-30 to match that range with a compact double. However, if you use an 11-30, the jumps between gears is more. The triple will have closer spacing.

    The down side to a triple, they weight a little more. However, they may not weigh more if you had a compact with an 11-30 on it. The large cog in the back is going to be heavier.

    The shifting between chain rings will be a little slower, but not bad at all.

    The triple isn't as "cool" as a compact double.

    However, the nice thing about the triple, you can spend most of your time in just one chain ring. In my case it is a 42. I seldom use either of the other two chain rings. The hills have to be really nasty to need the small chain ring or I need to be exhausted. The large chain ring is used mostly on declines where I want a lot of speed.

    I think with a compact double you will be shifting between chain rings more often.
    Last edited by Carbon Unit; 08-05-08 at 11:21 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Weak Link View Post
    1. Triple. Of course.
    2. Clipless. Of course.
    3. Ditto M520. Best pedal for the money.
    4. Ditto for MTB shoes for recessed cleats.

    Quote Originally Posted by Terrierman View Post
    +1.
    And another +1.
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  23. #23
    Live to ride ride to live Carbon Unit's Avatar
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    One last note on the difference between mountain and road shoes.

    Mountain bike shoes take a smaller cleat.

    Road shoes have a three bolt pattern and cleat that is three or four times the size.

    Mountain bike shoes have a two hole cleat.

    Road shoes are lighter and stiffer. The entire sole of a road shoe can be carbon fiber. However, high end mountain shoes have probably gotten stiffer now too.

    Road shoes are more aero because they are smooth. This is probably a non-issue unless you are racing over 30 mph.

    Mountain shoes are much easier to walk in and in most cases are easier to get in and out of, but I think the Speedplay Light Action is as easy as any mountain bike pedal.

    Also, using coffee covers makes the Speedplay shoes extremely easy to walk in.

    I perfer road shoes because they are stiffer and use a larger cleat. I don't walk very much when I am riding so it is a non-issue for me.


    Last point, road shoes and pedals are generally more expensive than mountain bike pedals and shoes.

    Light Action pedals are about $110 and good Shimano carbon shoes are probably $130 on sale.
    Last edited by Carbon Unit; 08-05-08 at 10:32 AM. Reason: I forgot something

  24. #24
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    I went clipless at about 62 which is about the time I got into much more serious riding. Been using them for about 7 years, mostly single track. I chose to go with Shimano SPD because of the multi-release cleat option (go with the new#56 and not the old #55). Easier to learn and always easier to exit. Holding power is more than sufficient for a bunny hop, much less cross-country or road.

    I hated straps and clips.

    Al

  25. #25
    Gilpin County Wheelman SKYLAB's Avatar
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    DAVE DAVE listen to me......
    nothing wrong with starting with a triple. I did and still have it, though as I got more attuned to riding I bought a second bike with a Campy Record double. You can ALWAYS use a second bike. 'If its pretty much flat where you live then yes, a regular double is fine. I don't have that luxury.
    as for pedals - SPEEDPLAY FROGS. Easy to get in and out of - the easiest really. Lots of float for aging knees. No "tension adjustments" whatsoever to worry about.
    Try then and you will abosultely love them - for mountain or road.
    Thanks you for listening.
    And you know that notion just crossed my mind.

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