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  1. #1
    rides-with-dogs aperkins's Avatar
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    Are clipless worth it?

    Sorry! I'm new to this and have only used clips...and that only for about 25 miles total so far.

    So are clipless pedals and shoes really worth the price? I'm not doing many miles yet, but am thinking I would like to. So what is a reasonable point to go clipless? And how are they superior to clips?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Curmudgeon
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    Clipless are superior to clips in that the release is more positive. With straps, if you have the straps tightened, you'll have to reach down and release tension if you want to get your foot out - not a good thing to need in an emergency stop. Even if your straps are loose, the bottom of your shoe (particularly if you're wearing rubber soled shoes with texture) may hang on the pedal - again, not a good thing in an emergency stop.

    With clipless pedals, you merely rotate your foot and the spring-loaded clip will release the metal cleat on the shoe. This makes it easier to get your foot out fast.

    Now back to your original question: Are clipless pedals and shoes worth the price? In my opinion, no. If you are racing or if you live in mountainous areas where you climb frequently, the attachment to the cranks allows you to "ankle," which is a euphamistic way of saying that you can pull up as well as push down. It also allows you to spin the cranks very fast without your feet coming off the pedals.

    The actual efficiency gained, however, is relatively small (seconds, not minutes on an hour's riding). I don't have any authority for the previous sentence but claims by Rivendell Bicycle Works, who don't seem to be keen on clipless pedals. My personal experience agrees with Rivendell, though. The efficiency gained is minimum.

    The disadvantages of clipless pedals and shoes, though are anything but minimum.. You are physically attached to the bike which is not a good thing in the event of emergency stops. Clipless pedal users also frequently (at least while learning) forget to clip out or try to do so unsuccessfully, leading to falls. A single such fall in traffic or at an unfortunate point in the ride can lead to anything from a bruised ego to death.

    Given the high severity but low probability negatives (injury, death), and the small (if any) benefits in efficiency, it seems that most riders would be better off without being physically locked to their pedals at all.

    Platform pedals with no clips or straps are safer in emergencies, allow you to ride in any shoes, and are cheaper. I vote platforms (but you'll find that I'm a minority of one on this topic in these forums). If you do decide to experiment with clipless, buy used. Then if the system isn't for you, you can resell it with minimal loss.

    Good luck!

  3. #3
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I went clipless for the road and never looked back. Clipping in / out is second nature to me so the whole emergency arguement is a moot point to me.

    I still use platforms offroad however just due to the fact that it's what works for me

  4. #4
    Junior Member clementg's Avatar
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    i just got these today



    Shimano M520 SPD Pedals & Shimano MO38 Shoes

    First time on clipless, I was worried and thought I wouldn't ride it(clipped) home after installing in the shop. but i tested it on a trainer in the shop, clipping in and out couple of times and thought it was OK, and i rode home no probs.

    Overall it's good, a plus to efficiency. I reckon it needs to conform with the saddle's height, which the good mechanic in the LBS adjusted perfectly for me, to be able to clip-in-and-out better and the pedalling is much smoother.

  5. #5
    No longer in Wimbledon... womble's Avatar
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    I went clipless years ago for my mountain bike and it was the single best upgrade I've ever made.

    Despite what FarHorizon/Rivendell might claim, they feel far more efficient than toe clips. I'd previously toured on toe clips, and they didn't seem anywhere as good as clipless pedals. Toe clips seemed to offer minimal efficiencies and were both harder to get in and out of.

    They also feel much more secure on bumpy offroad descents where my feet would otherwise be in danger of slipping off.

    I have no problems disengaging when necessary- I've developed the reflex of disengaging when I think I might fall. Admittedly it's a bit of a weird reflex and maybe not everyone develops it.

    The learning curve problem is also trivial. I fell off maybe 3 times because I forgot to disengage. However, this invariably happened when I was practising away from roads. Even if you stopped at a traffic light and fell, all the cars around you would have stopped as well.

    If you want to make a gradual transition, you can get single sided clipless/platform pedals (I started on Shimano 343s). I quickly upgraded to Time Atacs because they're better in mud, offer good float and are dead simple and require minimal maintenance. I believe that the current pedal of popularity in the MTB world is the Eggbeater, which seems to have copied the design.

  6. #6
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    I love my Time ATAC Control Z's My next set will undoubtedly be another set of Times It's my opinion that they are far superior to any of the offerings from Shi*No and certainly on par with the Eggbeaters

  7. #7
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Yeah, go clipless, it's awesome. I have the same shoes as pictured above and I love them, especially for commuting because you can walk in them with no problems.

  8. #8
    Giggity giggity giggity. crb189's Avatar
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    I went clipless not too long ago and I'll never go back. I saw my times immediately drop significantly due to the fact that you can do a complete pedal stroke (i.e. pull the pedal upwards as well). I got a pair of ultegra pedals for $120 and Specialized shoes for $100 (but you can get pedals for cheaper, but at my LBS I couldn't find shoes for too much cheaper than that). The only downfall I can see is that it's harder to commute with the clipless (as opposed to platforms where you can wear regular shoes), but I guess that's what my beater is for.

  9. #9
    la vache fantôme phantomcow2's Avatar
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    I went with egg beaters in Novemeber or December of last year. I got Candy SL's for 70 bucks shipped on ebay. Starting out was rough, it took about a month for me to get used to and i got frustrated. Then i started being confident enough to use clipless on the road, and platform offroad. ANd now I use clipless on and offroad always, no hesitation. I feel like it gives me more control, when i ride without being clipped in I feel like im riding another bike, that isnt good. Are they worth it?
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  10. #10
    But Getting Smaller Bigmark's Avatar
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    I went clipless from toe clips, and what everyone forgot about, is the fact that clipless shoes hold your foot to the pedals, where as toe clips keep your feet from moving to far forward. With toe clips my foot would end up pushing against the front of my shoe causing foot pain. With clipless my whole foot is attached to the pedals, and the foot pain was gone.

    As for any speed or climbing benefits, clipless as well as toe clips are not magic. You are not going to transform into a “super~cyclist” just by going clipless. But if you want to alleviate foot soreness, the clipless is definitely the way to go.

    One more thing, after going clipless I had to readjust my seat height, and distance from the bars. The clips must have raised me about a quarter of an inch. Just something else to think about.
    ~~"Get on your bikes and ride!"~~
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  11. #11
    Back in black cydewaze's Avatar
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    You can go clipless on a budget too, if you shop around. Some online retailers have shoe/pedal combos that can save you money.

  12. #12
    On my TARDIScycle! KingTermite's Avatar
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    I went clipless about a month or two ago....and all I kept thinking after DAY ONE was "why didn't I do this a year and a half ago when I started riding?".

    The first thing I noticed (may not be true for many other riders) is that my form improved immediately. I was born with a problem where my feet naturally sway out a little, which carries over to my riding (even with clips, which allow movement on feet) such that my knees were not straight but out a lot.

    When I went clipless it forced my feet to remain straight on pedal, which in turns keeps my legs straight. I picked up a few miles per hour in my average speed instantly because of that.

    Additionally....I definitely feel it helping me on the climbs during the upstroke.....I never really felt that when I had the toe clips.

    And I don't have that annoying problems with pedals naturally turning clip side down because of the weight.....clip pedals, even with clips on one side, seem to be like any pedal...50/50 as to which side is up. Plus...they make pedals with clip mounts on both sides so it doesn't matter which side is up or down.


    It's quite worth it and not extraordinarily expensive. I got a pair of shoes for $50 and pedals for $60.
    Quote Originally Posted by coffeecake View Post
    - it's pretty well established that Hitler was an *******.

  13. #13
    My Alphabit's say "Oooo" InfamousG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clementg
    i just got these today

    Shimano M520 SPD Pedals
    I bought these same ones the evening before leaving to do a triple-century charity event. I practiced clipping in and out for about 5 minutes, went for a 7 mile ride doing all sorts of testing (hills, stopping, stopping fast, stopping very fast, tight turns, starting on hills, etc.). I have had no problems and will not go back standard pedals or toe clips.

  14. #14
    Je suis ici ! Mike_Like_Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingTermite
    I went clipless about a month or two ago....and all I kept thinking after DAY ONE was "why didn't I do this a year and a half ago when I started riding?".
    <snip>
    Additionally....I definitely feel it helping me on the climbs during the upstroke.....I never really felt that when I had the toe clips.
    <snip>
    It's quite worth it and not extraordinarily expensive. I got a pair of shoes for $50 and pedals for $60.
    My sentiments exactly! I also went clipless about a month ago and I love it! I bought the Nashbar Special ATB Pedal ($20.00!!!) because I wasn't too sure how I would do being clipless and didn't want to spend money on something that I might not like. Since using the pedals I've noticed that on climbs and flats I've been pedaling a lot more efficiently. I also love how I can now mash on one crank while pulling the other up (kind of like having a foot stuck in deep mud) while climbing. So, yeah, I think it was money well spent and the pedals are well worth the price!

    Good Luck!

    p.s. I've only fallen over twice, and both times have been when I was at a complete stop and hesitated whether to go or not while in group rides...

  15. #15
    rides-with-dogs aperkins's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your input! And thanks, Mike, for the link to the $20 pedals - that looks like a really good way to go. Shoes will have to be bought (or at least tried on) locally, as I have very picky feet.

  16. #16
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
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    I haven't tried toe-clips, but I went clipless recently and its a HUGE improvement over platforms. Doing the same routes the ride feels easier, and my legs get less tired. Its pretty evident to me that my cycling is now more efficient.

    I got pedals with a platform on one side, SPD-style clip on the other, so I still have both option available to me.

  17. #17
    Unique Vintage Steel cuda2k's Avatar
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    yes. (period)

  18. #18
    Senior Member DaveTaylor's Avatar
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    Clipless pedals are absolutely worth it for all the reasons others have mentioned. In addition I feel very strongly that warnings made by one responder about safety are mis-guided. I, for one, feel very much saver with my feet attached to the pedals knowing that they will not slip off accidently. If you can walk and chew gum, you will quickly learn to release one foot when required and experience will quickly teach you to release in anticipation of having to put a foot down. If you are not a serious roadie, the many spd style take-offs are probably the best way to go.

  19. #19
    rained out
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    Using clipless for about six weeks now. I've fallen twice (both during the same ride, if you can believe it), with nothing worse than a skinned knee and bruised pride. I have "campus" pedals (SPD on one side, platform on the other) because I also use my bike for errands and a very short commute (4 miles with lots of stopping), and it isn't worth clipping in for those occasions.

    My shoes are Cannondale Roam. Easy to walk in and look like sneakers. Total cost for pedals and shoes was around $100.

    I say go for it. My average speed has improved. And I can't tell you how nice it is not to have my feet slip off the pedals when spinning fast.

  20. #20
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womble

    Despite what FarHorizon/Rivendell might claim...
    What did they claim... I went to the Rivendell site and was unable to really find anything... Nice looking bikes and glad to see good lugged steel frames available... with a 70-80s mindset (just like the 80s bikes I ride today that I keep wondering are outdated... )

    RE clipless... went there myself back in the late 80's or so (maybe early '90s) and haven't looked back. The comfort has been fantastic since. Spinning and releasing are just so much better... with clips, the whole "reach down first thing was just an accident waiting to happen. Most commutes I did with loose straps, just tightening on long trips.

    Clipless rules.

  21. #21
    rides-with-dogs aperkins's Avatar
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    Ah, please forgive me for what may be a very silly question...I found a pair of Shimano MO38 shoes that fit well...so will they work with all of the pedals on this page ?

    (hey! I think I got the link to post right! I hope...still new to posting, too.)

  22. #22
    Work hard, Play hard forum*rider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aperkins
    Ah, please forgive me for what may be a very silly question...I found a pair of Shimano MO38 shoes that fit well...so will they work with all of the pedals on this page ?

    (hey! I think I got the link to post right! I hope...still new to posting, too.)
    Yup they will work.

  23. #23
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Clipless has the advantage over clips in that you don't cut off circulation or cut into the flesh of your foot. Clip straps are tight just around the midsection of the foot, while with clipless, the load is spread evenly over the whole shoe. Also the clipless connection may have some float (slight play) in it so your foot position relative to the pedal can be changed slightly as you ride, lessening leg and foot fatigue.
    Clipless has the advantage over platforms that your foot won't slip off, which can threaten your man- or womanhood if you happen to be standing.
    Clipping out is easily learned. I started at age 53 and I'm quite happy.
    Get mountain bike shoes where the tread is designed to keep the cleat off the floor or sidewalk when you walk.

    Robert

  24. #24
    Wer wagt, gewinnt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FarHorizon
    Clipless are superior to clips in that the release is more positive. With straps, if you have the straps tightened, you'll have to reach down and release tension if you want to get your foot out - not a good thing to need in an emergency stop. Even if your straps are loose, the bottom of your shoe (particularly if you're wearing rubber soled shoes with texture) may hang on the pedal - again, not a good thing in an emergency stop.

    With clipless pedals, you merely rotate your foot and the spring-loaded clip will release the metal cleat on the shoe. This makes it easier to get your foot out fast.

    Now back to your original question: Are clipless pedals and shoes worth the price? In my opinion, no. If you are racing or if you live in mountainous areas where you climb frequently, the attachment to the cranks allows you to "ankle," which is a euphamistic way of saying that you can pull up as well as push down. It also allows you to spin the cranks very fast without your feet coming off the pedals.

    The actual efficiency gained, however, is relatively small (seconds, not minutes on an hour's riding). I don't have any authority for the previous sentence but claims by Rivendell Bicycle Works, who don't seem to be keen on clipless pedals. My personal experience agrees with Rivendell, though. The efficiency gained is minimum.

    The disadvantages of clipless pedals and shoes, though are anything but minimum.. You are physically attached to the bike which is not a good thing in the event of emergency stops. Clipless pedal users also frequently (at least while learning) forget to clip out or try to do so unsuccessfully, leading to falls. A single such fall in traffic or at an unfortunate point in the ride can lead to anything from a bruised ego to death.

    Given the high severity but low probability negatives (injury, death), and the small (if any) benefits in efficiency, it seems that most riders would be better off without being physically locked to their pedals at all.

    Platform pedals with no clips or straps are safer in emergencies, allow you to ride in any shoes, and are cheaper. I vote platforms (but you'll find that I'm a minority of one on this topic in these forums). If you do decide to experiment with clipless, buy used. Then if the system isn't for you, you can resell it with minimal loss.

    Good luck!

    Very well stated.

    I too have recently gone to clip style pedals, since about 3 weeks ago.
    I find absolutley no difference in performance at all.
    (Eliminating the false claim by so many, for the average mediocre cyclist)
    I also have a lot of discomfort with my feet now, mostly sore bottoms.
    I really like my toe straps and the comfort of wearing good sneakers.

    I will however keep using the clips for another 3-4 weeks just to make sure
    I give them a enough time to see if there is any difference, though I seriously doubt it.

    I love how so many new or beginner average riders are so quick to hail the benefits
    of something when their bicycle is a lot better than they are!
    I always tell them, "When you become better than your bike, you can start
    extolling the likes of weight savings, and high tech gadgets..."
    Until then though...just shut up and ride!

  25. #25
    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    I'm far from fit as a rider right now, only been riding for a couple of months after 5 years off the bike. But I'll bet I can drop 99 out of 100 riders who ride with tennis shoes. Most rather quickly and most of the rest after a few miles at pace when the strain of having your foot flexed on each power stroke.

    Good cycling shoes are much the same as good hiking boots. They are of little use for a walk in the local park, but go on a real trail with a pack on your back and they make a big difference. Also like hiking boots they often take some getting used to.

    When I first went clipless over 15 years ago I only had one fall, the very first time using them. No clipping out related falls since then. They simply are not all that difficult to use. Perhaps I had an advantage as the clipping out is not unlike clipping out of downhill skiis.

    15 years ago there were some good reasons to not go clipless. Systems where you did not have to walk like a duck were just getting started. But today there are several well established systems that have shoes that are quite nice for walking.

    This is not to say that one should go clipless for every person for every bike. Just as it would be foolish to put $200 tires on a junker car worth only $150 it can be foolish to put a $150 pedal system on a $100 K-mart bike.

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