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  1. #1
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    difference in clipless pedals, shoes, please help

    First of all, why are they called clipLESS?? You clip or click IN to them!!

    Anyway, how different are all these pedals, and are all the shoes compatable? Are there more 'sneaker' type shoes that are comfortable to run around in when not biking? Will I be fine with a reasonable priced one or are they cheaply made too? Which are the best for if I just hop on my bike with normal shoes?

    Please help, thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    I don't think you will find sneaker type shoes for clipless pedals. There are two major things that a shoe system does. First it allows you to pull up as well as push down. The second is that it has a stiff sole which distributes the preassure over the entire foot, not just a small spot. This second thing is lost with a flexable sneaker type shoe.

    But I use the SPD system, originally designed for off road use. These are not sneakers. But you can walk normally in them and are more comfortable than many dress shoes I have worn.

  3. #3
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobusch
    how different are all these pedals, and are all the shoes compatable?
    The pedals break out into two different classes: Road pedals and Mountain Bike (MTB) pedals. The road pedals require a cleat that extends below the sole of the shoe. The MTB pedals require a cleat that usually is recessed into the sole of the shoe.

    To use either road pedals or MTB pedals, you must have the appropriate shoe. They don't usually mix and match. You also must have a cleat that is compatible with your pedal. The pedal/shoe/cleat package is usually purchased together for compatibility.

    Are there more 'sneaker' type shoes that are comfortable to run around in when not biking?
    In general, no. The cycling shoes normally have a rigid sole to enhance pedaling power. You look like a spastic duck if you try to walk in them. Also, the cleats on the shoes (especially road, but also with MTB), dig into floors, get scuffed on hard surfaces, and tend to hang on things and make you trip. Don't walk in biking shoes.

    Will I be fine with a reasonable priced one or are they cheaply made too? Which are the best for if I just hop on my bike with normal shoes?
    Prices run all over the place. If you want to bike in normal shoes (I do), then avoid clipless pedals like the plague. You don't really need them unless you're climbing mountains in the Tour de France race, and they contribute mightily to dangerous falls and injuries.

    The majority of "bikeforums" experts will soundly trash my opinion, here, but I recommend avoiding clipless pedals, toe clips, straps, and other devices that secure you to the bike entirely. These don't provide any significantly increased efficiency, they make it harder to dismount the bike, and they add unneeded weight and complication. Use your street shoes with platform pedals. You'll be safer, richer, and wiser for the choice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    These don't provide any significantly increased efficiency, they make it harder to dismount the bike, and they add unneeded weight and complication. Use your street shoes with platform pedals. You'll be safer, richer, and wiser for the choice.
    and unable to spin

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    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skanking biker
    and unable to spin
    Not racing? Who cares!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobusch
    First of all, why are they called clipLESS?? You clip or click IN to them!!

    Anyway, how different are all these pedals, and are all the shoes compatable? Are there more 'sneaker' type shoes that are comfortable to run around in when not biking? Will I be fine with a reasonable priced one or are they cheaply made too? Which are the best for if I just hop on my bike with normal shoes?

    Please help, thanks
    Back in the olden days, bike pedals had steel toe clips that strapped over the top of your shoe. The clip-in shoe and pedal combinations were therefore "clipless".

    In general, the things that make a good running or walking shoe are polar opposites of what you want in a bicycling shoe. That's why the tri-athletes take the time to change shoes at the transitions.

    I do a lot of restaurant-to-restaurant type of bicycling. As such, I use SPD type pedals that have a cleat that recesses into the sole of my shoes. They allow me to walk with dignity while still providing secure contact with the pedals on the bike. I've not met anyone who, after getting acclimated to using clipless pedals, wanted to go back.
    Last edited by Retro Grouch; 06-01-05 at 01:59 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bshow1's Avatar
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    I have a road bike, but I use these pedals and these shoes.

    I love them. The cleats are recessed into the bottom of the shoes, so you can walk around in them no problem.

  8. #8
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I've not met anyone who, after getting acclimated to using clipless pedals, wanted to go back.
    Having spent the time and effort to master an arcane, useless skill, why would they want to admit that their effort was foolish or wasted? In my opinion (which, I admit, on this topic, is seriously in a minority on this forum) the majority of clipless pedal users want to appear to others as if they (the goofy-shoed ones) are "professional cyclists." This desire to appear experienced and professional drives the users to exhibit neurotic group behavior. A sociologist would have a thesis or dissertation MADE IN THE SHADE if they wanted to examine clipless pedal users as a group.

    I'm not saying clipless pedals and shoes are completely useless - If you're a racer who does extensive climbing, clipless pedals and shoes may be the Paris Hilton. For the rest of us, though, clipless pedals and shoes are an extreme example of a solution in search of a (non-existant) problem. "Style uber alles" should be the motto of clipless! It just fits.

  9. #9
    Man of Leisure Ivan Hanz's Avatar
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    Wow. An anti-clipless guy. OK, I respect your opinion. (But), if I had to choose, padded bicycling shorts, gloves, or biking shoes, I'd take the shoes. My feet were killing me when I was riding 150 miles a week with clip pedals. As a neophyte, I asked my mentor who said, "well, you gotta get bicycling shoes. And as long as you're doing that, go clipless". I did, several years ago, and like others, would never go back. I'm pretty sure it's not Oedipal, or a sociological disorder. Sometimes I put on my old clip pedals to ride to the tennis courts or for whatever reason, and after about 5 miles, man, do I miss my bike shoes. PS I'd take the gloves 2nd, shorts 3rd.
    Every time that wheel turns 'round, bound to cover just a little more ground.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    I'm not saying clipless pedals and shoes are completely useless - If you're a racer who does extensive climbing, clipless pedals and shoes may be the Paris Hilton. For the rest of us, though, clipless pedals and shoes are an extreme example of a solution in search of a (non-existant) problem. "Style uber alles" should be the motto of clipless! It just fits.
    I'm not a racer but I'm an increasingly avid recreational rider. A year ago I started using mtb shoes with my platform pedals to alleviate numbing on the bottom of my feet. It helped tremendously. More recently I decided to try clipless when I recently got a road bike. Once I got used to the pedals I decided to try them on my hybrid. I was surprised to discover that my average speed had increased almost 2 mph and I was far less fatigued on a familiar 40+ mile mostly level terrain multi-use trail. Now I have the pedals that are platform on one side and clip in on the other for the hybrid. Clipless CAN make a difference to the recreational cyclist.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Having spent the time and effort to master an arcane, useless skill, why would they want to admit that their effort was foolish or wasted? In my opinion (which, I admit, on this topic, is seriously in a minority on this forum) the majority of clipless pedal users want to appear to others as if they (the goofy-shoed ones) are "professional cyclists." This desire to appear experienced and professional drives the users to exhibit neurotic group behavior. A sociologist would have a thesis or dissertation MADE IN THE SHADE if they wanted to examine clipless pedal users as a group.

    I'm not saying clipless pedals and shoes are completely useless - If you're a racer who does extensive climbing, clipless pedals and shoes may be the Paris Hilton. For the rest of us, though, clipless pedals and shoes are an extreme example of a solution in search of a (non-existant) problem. "Style uber alles" should be the motto of clipless! It just fits.
    Different strokes for different folks, eh?

    I rented a bike on the weekend in San Francisco - it was the first time I'd ridden a bike without clipless pedals in more than two years. Not being able to pull up on the pedal when riding up hill was incredibly frustrating. Standing to climb was much harder, and more than once my feet moved around on the pedals when I didn't want them to (which probably goes back to not being able to pull up on the pedal, but wishing I could). I just about fell off when a difficult downshift threw my foot off the pedal.

    As Ivan said, having a solid shoe helps enormously in preventing hotspots on long rides too. I rode about 20ish miles on the weekend on the rented bike and my feet were sore. I can ride 100+ miles with clipless pedals with no problem.

    I'm not a racer by any means, but I wouldn't ride a bike on the roads without clipless pedals. In fact, I wouldn't ride a bike anywhere without clipless pedals - far more efficient, far more comfortable, and far safer IMHO.

  12. #12
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Yep - I said I was in the minority. If you love 'em (clipless pedals), power to you. I respect your opinions, but I don't share them. Anecdotal "rah-rahs" to the contrary, I stand by my opinion that the only people who really need clipless pedals are racers. The reason I'm in such a minority on this issue is that the bikeforums.net crowd is a severly skewed sample of the entire cycling public. If everyone who uses a bicycle regularly were somehow polled, I belive that the (VAST) majority would agree with me - not with you. I further believe that if every cyclist in the world had an opportunity to try clipless pedals and shoes, the majority of them would NOT continue to use them, even if they (the pedals and shoes) were supplied FREE. Since there's no way to test this hypothesis, we'll never know.

    In any case, I've used toeclips and straps, I've used clipless pedals and shoes, and I've used platform pedals with street shoes. My choice (most appropriate for the amount and type of riding I do) is platforms with street shoes. If your choice is different - good for you!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    My choice (most appropriate for the amount and type of riding I do)
    The most importance sentence you've written, and why I say different strokes for different folks. There are more categories of cyclists than simply racers and recreational cyclists. There are recreational cyclists who ride once a year, and there are recreational cyclists who ride every day, and everything in between. There are those who care about pedalling efficiency, and those who do not.

    Neither choice is the wrong choice, and it's not as simple as 'the only people who really need clipless pedals are racers'. It's as simple as 'you don't want clipless pedals', and there's nothing wrong with that.

  14. #14
    Buddha Khan
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    Whenever I commute to work during the weekdays (a lot of traffic) from San Francisco to San Mateo, I take out the clipless and put back the regular platform pedals. I found it safer to not have my feet locked in during those emergency situations that require me to brake hard (such as some idiot driver decides to cut me off or can't decide which lane to take) and I have no momentum and fall over as a result. Of course during commute hours, you also have to come to a complete stop a lot more (unless you want to get run down by other drivers); I found it to be a pain to have to clip in and out so often.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Having spent the time and effort to master an arcane, useless skill, why would they want to admit that their effort was foolish or wasted?

    ...
    For the rest of us, though, clipless pedals and shoes are an extreme example of a solution in search of a (non-existant) problem. "Style uber alles" should be the motto of clipless! It just fits.
    Guess I'm just a fast learner. I had no trouble adjusting to clipless pedals when I started. I had no trouble after a 5 year vacation from cycling.

    If clipless is a fashion thing then why have at least 3 who have written so far said they use SPD, which is NOT what racers use, but rather a compromise that actually looks like you have 'normal' shoes.

    On the other hand when I first started I got a mountian bike and rode with light weight hiking boots. I did not make it 1/2 mile on my very first real ride before I got the laces caught in the chain. I was able to back off and backpedal my way out of that mess, just in time to see a rattlesnake crossing the fireroad 15 feet ahead of me.

    I've never had a problem unclipping, though I do keep my settings fairly low. As others have said you gain a lot of control and have very little risk of having a foot slip.

    But a final decision does depend on just what you plan to do. Ride 2 miles to school on a bikepath? No brainer, stay away from clipless. Same if you ride a short distance and then walk in the sand at the beach with your shoes on. But if you plan on over 20 miles at a time I would recommend real bike shoes for the support and then you might as well go clipless for the other advantages.

  16. #16
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Yep - I said I was in the minority. If you love 'em (clipless pedals), power to you. I respect your opinions, but I don't share them. Anecdotal "rah-rahs" to the contrary, I stand by my opinion that the only people who really need clipless pedals are racers. The reason I'm in such a minority on this issue is that the bikeforums.net crowd is a severly skewed sample of the entire cycling public. If everyone who uses a bicycle regularly were somehow polled, I belive that the (VAST) majority would agree with me - not with you. I further believe that if every cyclist in the world had an opportunity to try clipless pedals and shoes, the majority of them would NOT continue to use them, even if they (the pedals and shoes) were supplied FREE. Since there's no way to test this hypothesis, we'll never know.

    In any case, I've used toeclips and straps, I've used clipless pedals and shoes, and I've used platform pedals with street shoes. My choice (most appropriate for the amount and type of riding I do) is platforms with street shoes. If your choice is different - good for you!
    You said you used clipless before, but did you use it for a week and get frustrated because of falling or was it a more extended time when you got used to them. I was annoyed with them at first but when i got my Specialized sonomas i can wear em to school, they look nice, they are comfy to walk in and allow the benefits of clipless.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Stubacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kobusch
    Which are the best for if I just hop on my bike with normal shoes?
    Back to a question that hasn't yet been answered thanks to the sidetrack...

    You can get a pedal that has a SPD clipless system on one side and a platform on the other - e.g. Shimano PD-M324. There are cheaper copies of this available in other brands too. Biggest disadvantage with these is that they often seem to be on the wrong side for what you want. With something like an Egg Beater pedal it's very easy to clip in without looking thanks to the four sided engagement. With the M324 pedal, you have to spin it so that the clipless mechanism is pointing up before you can clip in, which often means having to look down at the pedal.

    Crank Brothers make an Egg Beater pedal with a significant platform (Crank Brother Mallet C) as do Time )Time ATAC Z Control). Both of these would be better than a straight Egg Beater or ATAC pedal for riding with normal shoes, but still best to ride with the cycling shoe clipped in. The platform is primarily there to give you a bit more shoe stability for the few dabs at the pedal you might take when getting going on a mountain bike, rather than being designed to be a grippy platform for standard shoes.

  18. #18
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    You should look into the hiking/cycling shoes, if you want a more comfortable shoe that supports cleats. As far as engagement or dual action pedals, I'd stick with some hiking shoes and some Crank Bro Mallet pedals (I've used them).
    Linkage...My 2004 Kona Hoss Dee-Lux My Mindless Banter
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  19. #19
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    Crankbrothers. Any model. Any color. The best

  20. #20
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    Well. To be honest, I like the adjustable tension on the shimano pedals, otherwise crank bros reign supreme
    Linkage...My 2004 Kona Hoss Dee-Lux My Mindless Banter
    Disclaimer: I'm 425lb...I put unnormal loads on my bike. This should help you in answering any of my questions.

  21. #21
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Hanz
    ...OK, I respect your opinion. (But)...
    God bless you, Ivan Hanz, for your maturity, your generosity, and your style in debate. Were that there were more of you. Tell your folks they should be proud!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    In my opinion (which, I admit, on this topic, is seriously in a minority on this forum) the majority of clipless pedal users want to appear to others as if they (the goofy-shoed ones) are "professional cyclists." This desire to appear experienced and professional drives the users to exhibit neurotic group behavior. A sociologist would have a thesis or dissertation MADE IN THE SHADE if they wanted to examine clipless pedal users as a group.
    I pity your therapist.

  23. #23
    Senior Curmudgeon FarHorizon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    I pity your therapist.

  24. #24
    cab horn
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    You're walking a fine line towards trolling. What's the point of adding your worthless opinion then asking others to disregard it.

  25. #25
    Toyota Racing Dev. PWRDbyTRD's Avatar
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    what is trolling?
    Linkage...My 2004 Kona Hoss Dee-Lux My Mindless Banter
    Disclaimer: I'm 425lb...I put unnormal loads on my bike. This should help you in answering any of my questions.

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