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  1. #1
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Another Clipless Thread

    After years of saying I never would go clipless, I am seriously considering doing it this season. SPD's I think.
    I have always resisted for a couple of reasons, the first of which is I'm Ascared ! The second of which, related to the first is, I don't wan't to join Club Tombay. Thirdly, I don't want to be walking around looking like a duck. And finally, as an avid recreational rider, I don't see much of a benefit from a little more efficiency.
    Having said all that, people that I have ridden with claim that I will see a marked difference in riding performance and as much as a 20% increase in speed/efficiency.
    Still not totally convinced but am leaning toward clipless, at least on one bike.

    PLEASE HELP ME DECIDE, NEED SOME OPINIONS, INPUT.
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  2. #2
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    The performance claims are greatly exaggerated, but clipless is a nice way to go. Sounds like SPD would be a good choice for you. My far and above top choice for a SPD pedal for road bikes is the A520. As close as you can get to the platform support of a true road pedal but compatible with recessed cleat shoes for normal(ish) walking ability.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    I like the A324 dual sided (spd cleats on one side, platform on the other). I ride a lot in stop and go city traffic and like being able to switch to platforms at times. I have been clipless for three years now and have never fallen due to the clips. I think a big part of that is that I started out religiously anticipating stops, un-clipping one side and switching to the platform early. My wife took up the 324s last year and has had the same experience as me.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
    The performance claims are greatly exaggerated, but clipless is a nice way to go. Sounds like SPD would be a good choice for you. My far and above top choice for a SPD pedal for road bikes is the A520. As close as you can get to the platform support of a true road pedal but compatible with recessed cleat shoes for normal(ish) walking ability.
    +1
    I resisted switching to clipless for several years but decided to switch when I bought my first road bike at age 60+. I'm sorry I waited so many years As BD said, the performance claims are exaggerated but I feel more in control of the bike when I'm clipped in. Climbing hills became a little easier for me since I didn't have to worry about my foot slipping off the pedals.

    The first thing I determined was which foot I would use to clip-in/start and clip-out/stop. It was natural to use the same feet I used on platform pedals. For the first few rides I found myself unclipping far in advance of where I would be stopping.....this probably avoided a few entries into Club Tombay. It didn't take long for the unclipping process to become a natural motion and done only when I was ready to stop.

    I don't have any problems walking with the shoes for SPD pedals. I even have a pair of the Keen sandals I use with the pedals in the summer and love them.
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  5. #5
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timtruro View Post
    Thirdly, I don't want to be walking around looking like a duck.
    How much walking are you planning on doing???
    Walking on the cleats IS NOT good for the cleats.
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    Timtruro, Yes, exaggerated performance gains even if you're using them as intended vs. platform pedals. SPDs with treaded mountain bike shoes will allow you to walk around near normally, great for charity/social rides.

    If you use toe clips the performance advantage is nill, but there is no toe discomfort or strap loosening prior to a stop. Foot action when disengaging is different. Insted of a lift and rearward movement simply rotate the heel outwards.

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I'm kinda scared of riding at a serious pace without being clipped in (into "clipless" pedals). I like the positive connection with the bike when hitting bumps etc.. You can certainly put in a much greater effort when standing too.

    For me, coming from mounting bikes and using SPDs, I've found no reason not to use SPDs on road bikes. I find them to be easy in and out, positive retention, reasonably lightweight (~300gm for pedals and cleats) and they're walkable. In a similar vein, some friends use Eggbeaters on both mtn and road bikes.

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    I'm a noob cyclist with a mere 2800 miles under my wheels. As such, I try to make use of the wisdom gleaned on Bike Forums. I believe BluesDawg is right in that performance benefits can be exaggerated.

    I've tried to maintain a higher cadence than initially felt comfortable. Now I pedal at 85 to 95 rpm. I found that at higher rpm, my feet tended to wander on the pedals and needed to constantly recenter them. Now I'm on SPD A520, as BD recommended on another thread, and no longer think about my feet. The shoes are normal to walk in and are comfortable. I suppose clipless is more efficient but at my level it is not a big difference. I do think clipless promotes a rounder pedal stroke so it may be the benefits will increase as fitness increases. Worth the expense - yep.

  9. #9
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I was exactly like you a year ago. Wife and daughter got me clipless pedals for Christmas 2009 even though I didn't want them. They went to a lot of trouble to get them on eBay, and were excited to give them to me.

    I just couldn't say "Thanks what a wonderful gift, but I want to stay with my toe clips." So I put them on the bike. I fell three times, once into a freeway lane. I took them off. Then I reconsidered and put them on again, and practiced unclipping literally hundreds of times.

    I now use them all the time and like them. I don't think there's much performance gain, but they feel right.

    They key is to replace your "pull back" automatic reaction to tilting over to a "twist out" reaction. And when you practice unclipping, do it for all different positions of the pedals.
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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Asking for opinions on going clipless could bring some interesting replies! I don't want to convince you one way or another. I can, however, share my experience. I ride with cleats almost on all rides. I've got good shoes for SPD cleats that make walking a breeze, but I really like riding in my road shoes with cleats better. The walking in these shoes, even with cleat covers is not cool. However, I'm fortunate that I haven't had to walk much. When I do have to walk, I take a bike with the SPD pedals on it. My commuter has SPD pedals. I sometimes get the urge to simply jump on one of my bikes and just go without wearing cycling specific shoes. This usually results in me taking off the pedals that require cleats and putting on platform pedals. I've probably done this six or seven time in that last four years. The platform pedals only last about three rides before I end up saying to myself "What was I thinking?" Then I put the other pedals back on. So, as you might gather at this point, I really like riding when I'm clipped in. I don't know if I'm more efficient, but my pedaling stroke is more consistent, and I just like the feeling.

    I'd encourage you to get over the club Tombay fear. Should you make the decision to go clipless, practice clipping in and out while your bike is on a trainer. If you don't have a trainer, practice with you and your bike in a doorway where you can support yourself on either side with your hands. Once you get over the initial awkwardness, clipping in and out becomes second nature...like putting on and taking off your seatbelt in the car.
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  11. #11
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    I like the Speedplay Zeros. fully adjustable and you can clip in at either side of the pedal. just saying.
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  12. #12
    Rabid Member KillerBeagle's Avatar
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    I got Shimano PD-R540 and PD-M505s with my (used) Trek 2100. So far I've been using platform pedals while I get accustomed to this new-fangled technology like brifters. Would the M505's be reasonable, or are the A520's a better choice for clipless beginners?
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  13. #13
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    I just bought my 3rd set of speedplay frogs. the mtb version of speedplay pedals. As will be pointed out, mtb shoes are easier to walk in having a recessed cleat. Performance issues are not something I worry about as I'm not into racing or fast riding as a rule. They are, once you get used to them, awfully sweet to use.

  14. #14
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Asking for opinions on going clipless could bring some interesting replies! I don't want to convince you one way or another. I can, however, share my experience. I ride with cleats almost on all rides. I've got good shoes for SPD cleats that make walking a breeze, but I really like riding in my road shoes with cleats better. The walking in these shoes, even with cleat covers is not cool. However, I'm fortunate that I haven't had to walk much. When I do have to walk, I take a bike with the SPD pedals on it. My commuter has SPD pedals. I sometimes get the urge to simply jump on one of my bikes and just go without wearing cycling specific shoes. This usually results in me taking off the pedals that require cleats and putting on platform pedals. I've probably done this six or seven time in that last four years. The platform pedals only last about three rides before I end up saying to myself "What was I thinking?" Then I put the other pedals back on. So, as you might gather at this point, I really like riding when I'm clipped in. I don't know if I'm more efficient, but my pedaling stroke is more consistent, and I just like the feeling.

    I'd encourage you to get over the club Tombay fear. Should you make the decision to go clipless, practice clipping in and out while your bike is on a trainer. If you don't have a trainer, practice with you and your bike in a doorway where you can support yourself on either side with your hands. Once you get over the initial awkwardness, clipping in and out becomes second nature...like putting on and taking off your seatbelt in the car.
    I like this response in that it is not designed to convince but is a report from an owner user with impressions.

    I cannot add a lot, if any, value to clipless discussions. One of the reasons is that I have been locked into the pedals since 1980 long before clipless pedals were available.

    I used the metal cleats with grooves that were nailed into the bottom of cycling shoes. The groove matched the ridge on the pedal. I put my toe into a cage, secured the metal cleat onto the edge of the pedal and reached down to tighten the toe clip strap. Once secured, I could not get out unless I reached down and released the toe strap. There was no float. I fell over a few times at zero speed because I could not reach down to pull the strap loose fast enough.

    When clipless became available, I could not wait until i could afford a pair. Compared to the old straps and cleats, the clipless pedals were a dream. No more reaching down to loosen the toe strap and no more pressure of the strap across the top of the foot. I vividly remember how nice it was to get the new setup.

    So my feet have been secure on the pedals for 31 years. On occasion, I ride an exercise bike at the gym and my feet fly off of the pedals. I have to slow the cadence down and focus on pushing down. So I do not do that very much. IMO, it would be similar to intentionally swinging a golf club in a funny way after spending years perfecting your swing.

    It seems like I have a clipless fall about once every couple of years. They are not great and not funny. However, I do not worry about it and it seems to happen at times I am doing weird things or trying to be cute. So I try not to do that.

    I have observed many clipless falls by others and none have been serious but that does not mean that they could not be.

    IMO, clipless pedals are the equivalent of spikes in baseball. I wore spikes and did not have a problem. Some guys did and twisted their knee. The same is true in track and field and football.

    However, people play baseball, softball, golf, run track and etc with sneakers and do quite well. Personally, I use athletic shoes designed for the sport. Just as I choose to use cycling shoes with cleats.
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  15. #15
    Rabid Member KillerBeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I cannot add a lot, if any, value to clipless discussions. One of the reasons is that I have been locked into the pedals since 1980 long before clipless pedals were available.

    I used the metal cleats with grooves that were nailed into the bottom of cycling shoes. The groove matched the ridge on the pedal. I put my toe into a cage, secured the metal cleat onto the edge of the pedal and reached down to tighten the toe clip strap. Once secured, I could not get out unless I reached down and released the toe strap.
    I still have mine on the older bikes, and I'd use them in a flash if I could find shoes to fit. Sadly my 1976 Detto Pietro's size 42 are about 2 sizes too small now.

    For me it's the fear of the unseen and unknown that keeps me from trying clipless. At least with clips and straps I could see the working mechanism and it was easy to understand.

    I have the Nashbar platform pedals with SPD-like mechanism on the flip side. Based on some suggestions here about walkability, I think I'll try some MTB shoes for my local and charity rides. With the MTB tread and flippable pedals I could unclip REALLY early and still pedal effectively up to a stop, until I get comfy enough with the unclipping process.
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  16. #16
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    Toe clips, no cleats, can walk around, harder to join club tombay(not impossible) work good (for me),shoes are cheaper also,,,
    Bud

  17. #17
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Club Tombay is not difficult to join- and not all of us here are members.

    Just prepare yourself for it- Plenty of Banaid and a camera to show the blood.

    4 years on road bikes with A520 pedals. Only fall was due to not being clipped in when I put pressure on the pedals.

    And Cycling efficiency gains do exist. You can put pressure on the pedals for more of the crank stroke and that is beside the "Full"Pedalling in circles.
    Last edited by stapfam; 01-11-11 at 11:36 AM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KillerBeagle View Post
    I got Shimano PD-R540 and PD-M505s with my (used) Trek 2100. So far I've been using platform pedals while I get accustomed to this new-fangled technology like brifters. Would the M505's be reasonable, or are the A520's a better choice for clipless beginners?
    The M505s would be easier to learn on as they are double-sided. The advantage of the A520s is that there is some support outside the cleat which, when using MTB shoes that tend to be less stiff, helps to prevent hot spots. The down side is you have to get the right side up to clip in. Just lube the M505s up and set the tension to its lowest setting and go for it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Club Tombay is not difficult to join- and not all of us here are members.

    Just prepare yourself for it.
    From one who is..

    I still ride SPD clipped
    I fell and broke my leg - spiral fracture due to the leg not being free to rotate, as it was clipped
    Walking speed, slippy road
    Most advice is 'leave the clips loose'. In my case, the loose clips meant that I inadvertently re-engaged when I gave about half a pedal rotation to complete a U turn on a skiddy road
    I now have the pedals blxxxy tight, so clipping and releasing is a definitely conscious decision

    Just me!

  20. #20
    Senior Member DGozinya's Avatar
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    My OCD kicks in when doing my bike walkaround and pre-ride check. ALWAYS check your cleats! Sure enough, the one time I didn't was soon after installing new cleats on my shoes. While I thought I had tightened them to spec, they had worked slightly loose. Clipped in, rode a bit, went to stop and the clips were too loose and I couldn't get them twisted enough to get out. Luckily I wasn't in high traffic and could get the other foot unclipped and rode to the side and took my foot out of my unclippable shoe. Got it off and tightened the screws with my ever-handy multitool. Lesson learned.

  21. #21
    Riding my bike
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    While I would probably seriously consider SPD's now, I used Look Delta cleats when they first came out and switched to Keo's a few years ago. I feel funny riding without them (I have a hybrid that sometime has its Keo's changed for platforms if I lend it to someone).

    Will you join Club Tombay eventually? Probably. But I wouldn't dwell on it. I've only fallen (basically from a dead stop) when I was having trouble clicking out of my old Looks due to wear. Since I've changed to the Keo's - no problems.

    If you read through the forums you'd think its a critical controversey in cycling. Its really no big deal. If you want to try it, just do it. Practice a bit on a trainer and you'll be fine.

  22. #22
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wobblyoldgeezer View Post
    From one who is..

    I now have the pedals blxxxy tight, so clipping and releasing is a definitely conscious decisionJust me!
    The only way to go. Without the pedals being really tight- I keep pulling out of the cleat on the upstroke.

    Just a warning--I got to the stage where I could not tighten the pedals enough. Got used to it

    Then I bought some new shoes and fitted a pair of new cleats. All the pedals were at their tightest setting. Had to trackstand till I could get a foot released. 9 year old cleats need changing.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Pars's Avatar
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    I've ridden in toe clips/straps for many many years, but am playing around with clipless. I still haven't done any real riding with them. With the clips/straps, I used to use cleated shoes with straps tightened down, but for the past number years, I just use my Avocet M30 touring shoes and don't tighten the straps completely, just snug enough. I've never come out of them unless I intended to.

    Clipless disturbs me a bit as I've had both hips done and really don't need to join Club Tombay. To try out clipless, I bought a pair of mountain shoes (diadora) and am trying Eggbeaters and Time ATACs currently. Neither seems safe if you aren't clipped in; maybe I would be better off with some SPDs and more platform type pedals. So far I don't see any improvement over the clips/straps in terms of efficiency either. All are lightyears ahead of no retention system however.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the input, I think I will go for spd's this spring on my Roubaix. Meanwhile for the next month I plan to do some riding on the Sirrus in Florida, build up a little mileage and get ready for the good weather in New England when I get back.

    Still a bit apprehensive but since I have been procrastinating for so long, I believe it is time to make the jump. If I like the clipless on the Roubaix, I'll do the Sirrus next since those are the two that I ride most often.

    Club Tombay here I come.
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    Just make sure you spend the time and get shoes that fit well. Try on different shoes from different manufacturers if you can. Try different sizes too. The same size from different manufacturers will feel and fit different. Then get some pedals, have the put on the bike, and the cleats on the shoes, and have at it. After the first one of two in-and-outs, it's really no big deal. Just remember to twist to get out, it becomes natural, after a while, you won't notice your doing it.

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