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Thread: Why toe clips?

  1. #1
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    Ok.
    Last edited by dwj444; 06-15-05 at 11:14 AM.

  2. #2
    say, by the way...
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    some people don't want to spend money for new pedals, then new shoes, and don't want to walk around all day in clipless shoes.
    dassezzacklyright, yeeeaaaaah. uh-huh.

  3. #3
    Mad Scientist chzman's Avatar
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    some people just prefer old skool ways - steel frame, threaded steel fork, toe clips

    carbon and clipless is just for posing
    Liberi ed uguali

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    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    I agree that clipless pedals are vastly superior in terms of power transfer. Look up any of the previous 7438952 posts on clips vs. clipless and you will see that I have been a proponent of clipless. However, yesterday, I switched to clips and straps and was able to reclaim the art of the trackstand. I'd been riding clipless for 13 years, and could never get the trackstand to work very well for me, but in just one day of having clips/straps I was able to pick it back up. It was something that was really bothering me, since I remember when I was a kid I could do it no problem, even on a geared bike using the brakes. I switched to clipless when I was ~13 and started racing.

    I now know what Clayton is talking about when he says that clips/straps make you feel more "in touch" with your bike.

    When I race I'll still use clipless, but for now, on the street, I'm a clip/straps convert.

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    Senior Member sanford_w/o_son's Avatar
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    i agree. i took the straps out of my toe clips, so i can disengage from the pedal sideways. i also find it easier to engage. i don't doubt that clipless provides more efficient pedaling, but going clipless sounds like too much of a hassle to even try out.

  6. #6
    slower than you Applehead57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chzman
    some people just prefer old skool ways - steel frame, threaded steel fork, toe clips

    carbon and clipless is just for posing
    Uh, yeah. I thought you were making fun of me at first.
    Now I know you're one of us.

    Clips are cheap, and work well for specific uses.
    I would never use clipless on my mountain bike, much to slow to unclip.
    My trails are full of tree roots & rocks, I need to have my feet available instantly.
    "Lack of opportunity does not constitute virtue". Diana Tickle.

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    Senior Member Kennetht638's Avatar
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    I'm a little bit confused about why you're making such a point of calling them "rat traps." Usually when you replace a word or phrase with something else, it's because the word or phrase is too long to type out every time, but "toe clip" and "rat trap" have the exact same number of letters. Anyway, it's not really a problem, I just happened to notice it and thought it was a bit strange.

    I started riding fixed on clipless pedals, and I bought a set of MKS platforms and clips and straps because I was a bit tired of *crunch crunch*-ing my way around campus. I rode exclusively toe clips for about a month and a half, throwing on the clipless pedals only for road rides (as opposed to commuting), and I got to be pretty proficient at catching the pedal on the first stroke, then reaching down and tightening the strap on the next. I wouldn't even have to do that very much either because I had also become quite good at trackstanding. So the toe clips worked great, and wearing boots allowed my feet to stay warm in the winter as well as walk through snow without feeling unsafe. After a little bit though, I went back to clipless and I switched back and forth mostly at random for a while. I haven't used the toe clips for a couple months now, but I also haven't had classes for a couple months now. I go to the same place every day now and stay there for many hours, so I bring a pair of shoes with me, and ride clipless only. I do prefer the power transfer and ease of exit of clipless, but like beatifik said, I also like to be able to walk around comfortably.

    That was a little bit unnecessarily long-winded.

    Oh, the toe clips look pretty sweet too.

  8. #8
    SuperstitiousHyperrealist jinx_removing's Avatar
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    "I'm guessing that the majority of people on here are going to pound me for saying this, but I really just don't get it."

    You're right. You don't get it. My bike is transportation. After I get to where I am going I don't feel like walking around in special bike shoes. I like the shoes I own.

    If I were a racer I probably would buy a nice clipless setup but clips are way more PRACTICAL.

    It is no surprise that someone who works in a bike shop doesn't understand why people do things for the sake of practicality.

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    "I can think of a half a dozen reasons why they're inferior to clipless pedals, "

    yeah, having to buy and wear special shoes just to ride a bike is far superior.

    any miniscule benefits in power transfer and your inability to to get into the clips is lost when you consider the time you took to change your shoes just to go for a ride.

  10. #10
    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevo
    "I can think of a half a dozen reasons why they're inferior to clipless pedals, "

    yeah, having to buy and wear special shoes just to ride a bike is far superior.

    any miniscule benefits in power transfer and your inability to to get into the clips is lost when you consider the time you took to change your shoes just to go for a ride.
    While I am a clips/straps convert for general use/commuting, the power transfer discrepancy is *not* miniscule. Clipless allows for quite a bit more power transfer and a better "spin"/pedal stroke. There are a lot of hills that I can ride without standing up in clipless shoes/pedals that I now have to stand up on with the clips/straps.

  11. #11
    loves living in the city. Ira in Chi's Avatar
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    I've been using clipless for the last 6 months, because I got a hookup(free shoes and cheap spds), and all of my riding is urban specific, so here's my perspective on the thing: I ride my bike EVERYWHERE, which means i've found myself at quite a few bars, dance parties, and non-cycling related fuctions wearing stiff-soled shoes that clop like hooker heels when I walk. That doesn't always lend to me enjoying myself, so recently I switched to some classic campy road pedals that I can use with sneakers. It is true that I don't have as much power, and I wouldn't race with them, but quill pedals with clips feel very solid for around town riding.

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    i'll agree to an advantage in climbing, but good pedal spin/stroke can be accomplished through proper technique over purchased devices.

    I've read several studies which utilized electro-muscle-analysis (my words; not theirs; i'm no physiologist) to conclude there is no change in muscle activity between riding clipless and riding clips on the flats.

    Empirically, i never saw a gain when i switched to clipless, and never saw a loss when i went to platforms (on the flats)

  13. #13
    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    I think what it comes down to is, if you're a roadie who uses your bike only for going on rides and races then clipless is the way to go. If you're using your bike for everyday transportation toeclips are going to treat you better.

    Personally, I use SPD mountain pedals (Shimano 540) and Adidas Minnret mountain shoes, which are very easy to walk in and don't look like bike shoes, so I don't have much of a problem wearing them to wherever I'm going. So I'll probably end-up having a beater with SPDs, a nice around town bike with toeclips, and my track bike with dura-ace SPDs. Depends though, I really enjoyed the toeclips yesterday and this morning, even though I can't explode from a light like I can with the SPDs...

  14. #14
    It's a Sledgehammer.. DocJ's Avatar
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    From what I gather, its all about culture. If you read several of the different forums here, you'll see that each has its own distinct subculture with its own separate language, values, priorities, etc.. Its really fascinating, actually. Take, for example, the word "bling." What would this mean to various forum members.. Maybe: Fixer = spoke cards, Roadie = carbon, Commuter = headlights, Advocacy = orange hunting vest and necklace of "cager" heads.
    Last edited by DocJ; 06-15-05 at 11:08 AM.

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    Making Records dokushoka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judah
    I agree that clipless pedals are vastly superior in terms of power transfer. Look up any of the previous 7438952 posts on clips vs. clipless and you will see that I have been a proponent of clipless. However, yesterday, I switched to clips and straps and was able to reclaim the art of the trackstand. I'd been riding clipless for 13 years, and could never get the trackstand to work very well for me, but in just one day of having clips/straps I was able to pick it back up. It was something that was really bothering me, since I remember when I was a kid I could do it no problem, even on a geared bike using the brakes. I switched to clipless when I was ~13 and started racing.

    I now know what Clayton is talking about when he says that clips/straps make you feel more "in touch" with your bike.

    When I race I'll still use clipless, but for now, on the street, I'm a clip/straps convert.
    Welcome to the club dude. I'm thinking the same thing you are. For a "serious" ride I want to use a clipless set up but for around town cages are cool cause you can just use your regular shoes. Plus you can start working on all those crazy trick moves...

  16. #16
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    I now use clips/straps for commuting and my SPD's for just riding. I think SPD's are much better, but being able to wear whatever shoes I want is just so much more convenient. Plus, the cage scaping the ground is more incentive to track stand your a** off. Out of curiosity, how many of you use clips and are breakless? I just started doing that a few days ago (not by choice; the old bmx break lever I was using broke off), and twice my foot slid out while stopping hard. What gets me is that I strap down my right foot as tight as possible, and leave the left foot a little more loose in case I have to totally stop, and both times it was my right foot that came out. Would double straps help at all?

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    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    I use both brakeless (don't have a bike with brakes right now). So far I feel more comfortable with clipless, but I've only ridden toeclips for a day and a half, so that may change.

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    DocJ, it's not at all about culture, but rather about what is practical. I came to fixed gear from road bikes, and I ride track bikes for training as much as for transportation. And whether training or riding in the city, I love being able to walk in street shoes. I also love the way nice clips and straps feel. Yes, they are expensive, but then so are the very best clipless systems (even more so when you take into account the shoes required).

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    Making Records dokushoka's Avatar
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    From what I can tell, provided you have the correct size toe clips that are also tightened properly, the only real advantage, braking-wise, seems to be that with clipless you can "pull up" harder. I notice with toe clips, if anything gives out in a skid, its my front foot. Just gotta make those straps tight.

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    mountain troll deadly downtube's Avatar
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    "I'd been riding clipless for 13 years, and could never get the trackstand to work very well for me"

    huh.. after 2 months of riding fixed I could track stand till the cows came home, 4 months and i was no handing it.. spd's then time.. time a little sketchier for breaking out of, lol

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocJ
    Advocacy = orange hunting vest and necklace of "cager" heads.
    hahaha, brilliant

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    As for brakeless, I've never used a brake on a track bike (at least not one of my own), and I am more secure with clips and straps. I've come unclipped in the rain while riding fixed, and it's no fun. As long as my straps are properly adjusted (which is all of the time), I never pull a foot.

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    It is no surprise that someone who works in a bike shop doesn't understand why people do things for the sake of practicality.[/QUOTE]


    There you go. Thanks for the slam. I'll go back to fixing bikes for the commuter and the recreational rider. It's definitely spot on to knock the guy who fixes bikes for people so that they can ride (whatever the reason). It's most certainly never a question of practicality. I'm always trying to sell you something and screw you over. The world is out to get me. Boo-freaking-hoo.

    Thanks for spoiling my thread by being snide. Hope you feel better than me.
    Cheers!

  24. #24
    Slower than you Judah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deadly downtube
    "I'd been riding clipless for 13 years, and could never get the trackstand to work very well for me"

    huh.. after 2 months of riding fixed I could track stand till the cows came home, 4 months and i was no handing it.. spd's then time.. time a little sketchier for breaking out of, lol
    Results may vary....

    All I know is that after a day of riding toeclips I had it down.

  25. #25
    downtube shifter Jose R's Avatar
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    Re: "carbon and clipless are for posing"

    You forgot the

    Re: "I need to have my feet available instantly"

    I have never had a problem dis-engaging from my clipless set-ups, whether SPD or Look, and whether on my road bike or fix. Riding in NYC traffic, with cabs and peds to deal with, I also need my feet available instantly. If you find yourself *stuck* in your pedals, you are doing something wrong.

    Re: "practicality"

    I know many people who have a pair of work/office shoes in their office/work place. And the vast majority of these people don't ride a bike to work. They have either sneakers or walking/street shoes they use outside of the workplace and switch when they get to work. It really isn't that hard people. It takes less than a minute to change shoes. And many of these people carry their shoes with them... Yes, shocking isn't it. And these people don't suffer the insecurities that seem to befall the fix community.

    I will concede though, for just bar-hopping and riding around town, using regular shoes is a plus. But, then again, I usually forget I'm wearing my Sidi mountain shoes when I'm off my bike.

    Re: power transfer

    When comparing a rider using vans and clips/straps with someone using Sidis and SPDs, well no contest whether on the flats or on climbs. When comparing a rider using a proper shoe with clips/straps and someone using Sidis and SPDs then the difference is less so.

    Re: clips w/straps vs clipless

    The only advantage I see is, as Judah pointed out, the ability to trackstand. Something I am still very poor at. Of course, trackstanding is only useful at stop lights or at the track during a match sprint. So, I've given myself a pass until I spend serious time at the track. Meanwhile, I just do small circles while at stop lights. But, then again, many elite riders use clipless systems on the track and are able to trackstand in a match sprint. So, it may just be technique.

    Admittedly, I'm not into doing tricks on the bike: I don't skid, skip, do wheelies, trackstands for show, so there is no added incentive for me to use clips/straps.

    But, ultimately, its a preference kind of thing. Some like broccoli, other don't...whatever.

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