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  1. #1
    It do, but it don't.
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    questions on going clipless

    newbie questions...

    picked up my first road bike a few weeks back. still rocking the platform pedals but looking to pick up some clipless pedals soon. when i got the bike it came with some SPD pedals that i'll probably use and get some SPD compatible shoes.

    questions:
    -how much more efficient will i be with clipless vs. the platforms?
    -how terrible of an idea is it to buy my first set of clipless shoes online without being able to try them on? (there seem to be more less expensive options online versus in the LBSs in my area)
    -is getting "road bike" specific shoes ideal if all i plan on doing is road biking for fitness/recreation? does it depend entirely on how much walking i plan on doing in the shoes?

  2. #2
    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    Regarding buying cycling shoes online, I don't see the harm, just make sure the online place you buy from has a return policy. Remember the cleats usually come with the pedals, not with the shoes.

    FWIW, I have been using mountain shoes with SPD cleats/pedals for years now. I started using them for spinning indoors, and found them much stiffer than regular running, cross training, or tennis shoes. This results in more efficient pedaling and less foot fatigue during longer rides. After using them for a time on the spin bike, I bought a set of SPD pedals for my hybrid, now use them on my road bike.

    I am sure there is some advantage to road shoes (lighter, even more stiff?), but the downside is, you can't really walk in those shoes, whereas you can in mountain shoes, which have a recessed cleat. If there is any chance you will get off your bike and need to walk more than 100 feet, mountain shoes work much better in the real world. The alternative is to plan to bring a change of shoes along with you on the ride, which strikes me as an unnecessary hassle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mshred View Post
    -how much more efficient will i be with clipless vs. the platforms?
    I don't know, but I personally think this is the wrong question to ask. You'll be more efficient, for sure, but the more important thing (unless you're racing) is how it feels. The first thought that went through my head when I got clipless pedals (I was a very new rider) was, "wow, I feel really strong".

    Quote Originally Posted by mshred View Post
    -how terrible of an idea is it to buy my first set of clipless shoes online without being able to try them on? (there seem to be more less expensive options online versus in the LBSs in my area)
    Personally, I like trying shoes on. Whether they're bike shoes, dress shoes, or running shoes, I don't like not knowing what it's going to feel like. I'd be inclined to split the difference and get your pedals online and get the shoes at the LBS.

    Quote Originally Posted by mshred View Post
    is getting "road bike" specific shoes ideal if all i plan on doing is road biking for fitness/recreation? does it depend entirely on how much walking i plan on doing in the shoes?
    You might want to consider MTB pedals/shoes if you're trying to walk around in them a fair bit. I have tri specific shoes (easy on/off) that are perfectly fine for the small amount of walking I do in them, but the cleats would get shredded in short order if I was doing a lot.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mountain Mitch's Avatar
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    1) You will be a much more efficient rider when you figure out how to get the most out of clipless pedals.
    2) Buying shoes online is a crap shoot - might work out ok; might end up costing you.
    3) Don't plan on walking more than a few feet in decent road shoes.

  5. #5
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    I don't really know if they are a LOT more efficient, but I prefer the solid connection when pushing hard. I do pull up on the pedals sometimes. When I occasionally ride without cleated shoes, I have to pay attention to keep my feet on the pedals.

    I prefer to buy my shoes locally, though I have occasionally taken a chance on buying a pair online when it was a really good deal. I have found a huge variety in the actual sizing and comfort, so it's worth a little extra to be able to try them on.

    I ride with MTB shoes. My "road" shoes are a pair of Specialized Sport Mountain shoes, which are styled similar to the road-only version except for some tread on the sole. I also have some Shimano MT-22 MTB shoes, which look more like normal street shoes and are comfortably walkable for longer periods. I wear these when I am expecting to be on and off the bike.
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  6. #6
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    - Efficiency is a neverending debate. I use them because I don't like the feeling of slipping off the pedals and getting whacked somewhere in the general area of the tibia.
    - Online shoe buying is a gamble as a few have stated. Fit is very important, so, unless you know exactly how a shoe will fit...
    - I use MTB shoes for the convenience of walking around and the stiffness is also a never ending debate. My Sidi Dragons are the same as the Sidi Ergos that I tried, the difference is the treaded sole. Your choice is no less valid than anyone's.
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  7. #7
    I got 99 problems.... thump55's Avatar
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    Going clipless is not going to give you instant super powers on the bike. You may not notice any improvement at all to be honest (it takes time for different muscle groups to grow),

    but.....

    Use them for a year, ride alot, and then try and switch back to platforms. That is when you will know how much difference clipless pedals make (and it is a very significant difference).

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Don't feel compelled to rush into a clipless setup. Riding with platforms doesn't give you a bad image (unless you're riding with a bunch of hard-core 'racers'), make you less safe or deny you substantial power. People all over the world ride platform pedals, and have for a hundred years, for primary transportation and recreation.

    Take your time and decide whats important to you. Understand YOUR needs and the pros and cons of various pedal designs. You'll figure it out in due time. Enjoy the process of learning an important facet of cycling without being unduly influenced by style considerations.

  9. #9
    Senior Member tanguy frame's Avatar
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    Here's one: I like to think of my foot as an inflated baloon and pedal in such a way as not to compress the baloon against the pedal. I can't achieve this without clipless pedals and cleats.

    If you know your size, buy online. buying clipless is major, what brand to get is minor.
    -Tanguy Frame

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