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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-29-07, 10:38 AM   #1
wils3005
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Clipless - why?

I've trolled these forums off and on for about a year but I've never really had the urge to post before now. A couple of comments in other threads regarding clipless/cages did not sit entirely well with me, so I've decided to pick this fight.

I've owned my fixed bike for about year now. It has been my primary form of daily transportation during that time, except for in October (car hit me, took some time off), and January through March (weather).

When I bought this bike, I paid extra to get the clipless pedals instead of the "regular" ones. I also bought a pair of Shimano DX (that's what it says on them...) shoes to go with the pedals.

I never clip in.

I still wear the shoes. They don't look too ridiculous and the laces are nicely hidden under a velcroed flap. They let me do a nice little tap dance thing at work, too. However, when riding my bike, I use the "normal" side and not the clip side.

When the bike was relatively new, I did use the clips. I practiced engaging and disengaging and all that. I had one ugly spill because I didn't disengage my foot properly. That really hurt. Over time, I came to see them more as a nuisance than any sort of advantage. Over time, I gave up using them.

Why should I clip in?

I've only ever had my feet thrown from the pedals once. It was when the bike was new and I was going down a hill - I was not ready for having to pedal that fast. It has not happened since.

I lied above when I said a car hit me. I actually hit the car. He failed to yield to traffic (me) and took off from his stop sign right in front of me. I hit his right rear quarter-panel doing maybe 20-25 km/h. My bike bounced back while I flew over his trunk, landing in a roll on my shoulder and back. I was barely hurt, though perhaps more than slightly surprised. He got a $90 fine for it. Take THAT, creepy driver guy!

What would have happened if I had been clipped in? Would I have had my upper body whipped forward? Would I have somehow pulled the bike over the car with me? None of the physical scenarios I can think of sound as appealing as what actually happened when I was not anchored to my bike.

I accept the fact that I have only my own experience from which to draw conclusions, and that there are riders out there (and on here) who have more experience than me by far. So, what am I missing?

Why should I clip in?
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Old 06-29-07, 10:42 AM   #2
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It gives you a more efficient pedal stroke. You can produce power on the down and up stroke. It allows you to control speed with your legs as well.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:43 AM   #3
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your shoes would have popped out of the pedals. if you were in clips and straps, theres a better chance your feet would have been stuck, but that depends on how tight you like your straps.
none of the crashes ive been in were exacerbated by riding with clipless. i havent crashed with toe clips yet, for some strange reason, but ill let you know how that goes once it happens.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:43 AM   #4
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Clips and straps are sloppy and uncomfortable!
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Old 06-29-07, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by polara426sh
It gives you a more efficient pedal stroke. You can produce power on the down and up stroke. It allows you to control speed with your legs as well.
I won't argue that I could probably generate more power while clipped in. However, I can control speed with my legs right now, at least on the up stroke. If I require more stopping power than that, I have my brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by radcopter
your shoes would have popped out of the pedals. if you were in clips and straps, theres a better chance your feet would have been stuck, but that depends on how tight you like your straps.
none of the crashes ive been in were exacerbated by riding with clipless. i havent crashed with toe clips yet, for some strange reason, but ill let you know how that goes once it happens.
Please do.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:48 AM   #6
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clipless pedals are just more efficient than toe clips.

it doesn't sound like you're using clips either. hopefully you're using a brake, if not you're probably constantly paranoid trying to figure out what other people are going to do, thus never really hitting your maximum speed/potential unless the streets are completely dead.

when you're on your upstroke, you have nothing to pull up on--that's the efficiency of toe clips and clipless pedals. as far as efficiency is concerned, unless your toe clips are clamped down as hard as possible on your foot, clipless will be more efficient because you're actually clipped in with clipless pedals (i always found this to be a funny statement). with clipless pedals, no matter how good of a cyclist you are, you're 100% efficient (theoretically, what you do with that efficiency is your choice) on your upstroke and downstroke.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:50 AM   #7
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OP needs to learn how to ride a bicycle.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollyisk
clipless pedals are just more efficient than toe clips.

it doesn't sound like you're using clips either. hopefully you're using a brake, if not you're probably constantly paranoid trying to figure out what other people are going to do, thus never really hitting your maximum speed/potential unless the streets are completely dead.

when you're on your upstroke, you have nothing to pull up on--that's the efficiency of toe clips and clipless pedals. as far as efficiency is concerned, unless your toe clips are clamped down as hard as possible on your foot, clipless will be more efficient because you're actually clipped in with clipless pedals (i always found this to be a funny statement). with clipless pedals, no matter how good of a cyclist you are, you're 100% efficient (theoretically, what you do with that efficiency is your choice) on your upstroke and downstroke.
I suppose I was ambiguous in my original post - sorry for that. No, I don't use my clipless OR cages. Just regular shoe-on-pedal action.

But yes, I do have front and rear brakes. I trust them more than my feet acting on the rear wheel to stop myself in a hurry, anyway.

So, assuming I do not want to skip-stop, is efficiency the only reason I have to clip in to my clipless pedals?
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Old 06-29-07, 10:56 AM   #9
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Use whatever pedals you're happy with.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:56 AM   #10
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you dont need to skip/skid with the clips/clipless. but you can slow down better with them, by resisting the pedal rotation in both directions (pushing against and pulling against).

edit: btw roadfix is right. use whatever you want.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:09 AM   #11
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You obviously know you are right and will not listen to fact...therefore. Give up and go away? Ride whatever makes you feel more like a man.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by obstacle
You obviously know you are right and will not listen to fact...therefore. Give up and go away? Ride whatever makes you feel more like a man.
If I knew I was right, I would not have bothered to create an account and post the question in the first place.

What facts am I not listening to?

Feel like a man? Buh?
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Old 06-29-07, 11:52 AM   #13
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What's the point of this other than to get some kind of validation from an internet forum?

You don't use either clips or clipless. Wowie.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:00 PM   #14
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If you make plans and choices based on the fact that you may crash someday youre still just scared from your crash. Get over it.
Everyone crashes and your crash was nothing.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:03 PM   #15
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If you make plans and choices based on the fact that you may crash someday youre still just scared from your crash. Get over it.
That's great logic.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wils3005
Why should I clip in?
so the next time your foot slips off the pedal you don't land really hard on the top tube. *crunch*

hopefully your cleats are embedded into you sole enough that there's not just metal-on-metal (it sounds like you have the double-sided kind of pedals at least).

also, re: "efficient pedal stroke" when you are clipped in, you use your hamstrings so that you both push and pull, which is easier on your knees and makes you accelerate faster.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:08 PM   #17
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Clipless pedals allow the rider to pull up on the pedal more than just a platform pedal.

There's almost 0% chance of your foot ever coming off (or out) with equipment that is in good condition.

Being "locked" to the bike allows you to have more control of the bike.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dutret
That's great logic.

Hey, at least its logic. The OP has none.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:13 PM   #19
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Sigh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by veganaise
What's the point of this other than to get some kind of validation from an internet forum?
The point was to ask what I am missing by giving up on using my clipless. Ergo "Clipless - why?". The bulk of my original post was to provide a context for that question.

Efficiency has been brought up and is something I agree with. Skip-stops have been brought up, too, though they're something I choose not to do. More points such as these are both welcome and encouraged.

I really don't see why I'm being attacked for questioning clipless.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:15 PM   #20
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Wait, arent you questioning clipless AND clips?
Youre idea is just to ride with feet on platform pedals right?
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Old 06-29-07, 12:18 PM   #21
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You have front and rear brakes and you seem to be comfortable with your current setup. There's no real reason to change if you're happy with what you have.

My reasons for clipless are efficiency and, assuming the cleats are properly adjusted, foot position (which lends itself back to efficiency). I don't use them for braking reasons as I make good use of my hand brakes. It's also quite nice to have your foot securely connected to your pedal during a long and fast descent.

Sorry about the snark. That was uncalled for.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:20 PM   #22
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If you never clip in, you should just buy some touring pedals and use those.

But since you are riding clipless pedals and clipless shoes, why not just clip in? There are literally no drawbacks to that situation. In a crash your feet will unclip, trust me. And everyone has a 0mph fall or two while learning to ride clipped in, but you quickly adapt and after 2 weeks, tops, you'll never even think about it again.

After you get used to them, ride up a steep hill unclipped, then go back down, and ride up clipped and concentrate on making full circles with your pedaling stroke. You will never question clipless again.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deathhare
Wait, arent you questioning clipless AND clips?
Youre idea is just to ride with feet on platform pedals right?
Correct. To phrase my question differently, it could go something like "What advantages am I missing out on by not attaching my feet to my pedals?"

My pedals are double-sided. One side clips to my shoe, the other side has a generic toothy platform that merely grips the tread of my shoe.

Having given both sides a chance, I found that the clipless (what a confusing term) side was more of a nuisance than an advantage.

And here I am.
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Old 06-29-07, 12:27 PM   #24
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It's completely a matter of your choice versus efficiency. If you want to tool around comfortably with a hand brake, go with the platforms. If you want to ride fast or race, with quick bursts of power and acceleration, or to climb real hills/mountains, you'll need to make a change. That's all. (don't forget to leave the kickstand and spoke reflectors on as well).
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Old 06-29-07, 12:31 PM   #25
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buy a freewheel
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