Differences between Toe Straps/Cage and Cycling Clips/Shoes
I bought the cheap plastic cages when I bought my used Raleigh C40 and they really make a big difference over just using plain pedals. Can anyone describe the benefits of buying cycling shoes and the clips for your pedals? It's hard for me to imagine that they would be a great improvement over the cages that work so well for me but I'd love to hear why they do.
BTW I am not out to win any races or anything just looking to make our rides the most enjoyable that they can be. Currently we go about 15-25 miles at a time on casual rides. Thanks!
Clipless pedals require special shoes which tend to have a firmer footbed and better ventilation... this helps with power transfer and ventilation.
To get the maximum efficiency from cages and straps you also need cleated shoes, cleats, and have to keep those straps down tight... I do find them to be a major improvement over flat pedals and when used ride are almost as good as clipless.
I was forced to adopt clip-less because my left leg and foot does not have 100 % feeling and will shift off the pedal and even slip out of a cage / strap... doing this has really helped me regain a lot of my cycling ability and allows me to apply more power with my good leg.
If your rides are that short, casual, and you feel that your plastic toe clips are working well for you then there may be little advantage to clipless for you. I use strapless plastic toe clips (I assume that is what you have) on my commuter which I ride about 10 miles a day and they work extremely well. They keep your feet where you want them on the pedals and they are drop dead simple to get out of when you need to. The clipless pedals (and I started using them this year on my hybrid) give you a tighter connection to the pedals which allows you to pedal as vigorously as you want and still maintain your foot position on the pedals. They probably have some advantages for people who are trying to optimize their pedaling technique ("pedaling in circles") but if one asserts that too strongly on BF an argument is certain to ensue. Casual riders don't worry about that generally, intermediate level riders start to worry about those sorts of things. If you tried them you might find you like them, a lot even, but they are somewhat expensive and there are people that use them for years and then switch to something else and find that they don't miss them at all. So it's hard to advise you on the matter.
There is an intermediate step, PowerGrips. You might consider giving them a try. They give you a tighter pedal connection than strapless toeclips but they have a much lower cost than clipless pedals. If you try them and like them then you might be good clipless material since clipless is better yet and easier to get in and out of, in my opinion/experience. If they seem no better to you than what you have then you probably would have no reason to use clipless and you haven't spent a lot of money.
I installed a set of Strap pedals on the F4, have only rode about ten miles on them so far. I
like the feel of them, very easy to use. Keeps my feet planted in the same place, but how
much performance do you really get ? Went on a easy ride to the post office tonight, ( resting
after yesterdays huge biking day ). I told myself going to keep it easy, being careful of my left
knee. Rode up there in 2 and 4 to 2 and 7, pretty normal for a slow comfort ride. But coming
back, still with the mind set of easy on the knee, found myself having to shift to 3 and 7, to
keep a nice pace, never before have I had to hit the 3rd chain ring unless racing back or working
out. I do not believe it was the placebo effect, because I kept reminding myself to take it
easy on the knee. Do they really help that much ? Never rode with clips or straps before, I
researched on the net about them. And get mixed reviews on why they are better. Just
wondering what you guys think about increased performance. Richard