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Plastic vs metal pedal clips.

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Plastic vs metal pedal clips.

Old 03-23-20, 07:45 PM
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Plastic vs metal pedal clips.

Is one better than the other or is it just cosmetic?
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Old 03-23-20, 08:03 PM
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Toe clips? I've used both. Aluminum ones can be fragile but the steel ones are sturdy. Other than that, it's probably a style decision.
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Old 03-23-20, 09:58 PM
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I have only used steel but I have to admit that plastic makes sense from a functional standpoint. The toe clip itself is needed to get your foot in the right place and to hold the loop of the strap open to make it easier to get your foot into. The only problem with plastic toe clips is that they don't look to vintage. I hate the sound of the toe clip dragging on the pavement. Not a problem with plastic. It is the same for plastic pedals.
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Old 03-24-20, 12:12 AM
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It's just cosmetic ... like wearing a glass eye in an empty socket is just cosmetic.

Last edited by SurferRosa; 03-24-20 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:31 AM
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I've stayed with toe clips and straps on my road bikes (9 now). I've found they work well for me as they maintain their opening nicely so I can slide my shoe in easily, they hold my shoe in place and I can slide back out when needed. Spring steel toe clips hold their opening better than plastic (and look better) but, more important, leather straps hold the opening much better than webbing straps, as found with plastic toe clips and on mtn bikes. I never have trouble "picking up the pedal" after a stop, generally picking up the pedal faster than any clipless rider I'm with. I also set the straps so they are slightly snug but not tight. In and out easily but snug enough that I can use the full crank cycle when I'm riding. Yes, I pull up on the 'back side' of the rotation. No, I have no cleats nailed/screwed/glued to my shoes.

YMMV. This is just what works for me.
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Old 03-24-20, 05:29 AM
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To reiterate what was said, it just depends on the look you are after. I have bikes with either on them and they look equally good. And as Velo Mule said the noise of steel when they drag on the ground is like nails on a chalk board to be. Cheap steel versions seem to rust quicker than better quality ones and can crack but steel/aluminum ones can be shaped (in the toe) to the style of shoe if you are gentle. If you have nice shoes and do not use cleats, the plastic ones do not tend to mark up the shoes as bad and are very durable to abuse. The only real problem I ever had with plastic was pulling a mounting screw through the mounting holes but was my bad for not using an appropriate washer.
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Old 03-24-20, 06:30 AM
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Over the years I tried various clipless pedals and had a drawer full of them as I switched back to toe clips. I have traditional steel with leather straps on one vintage bike but for 8 years now I've been using "half clips" in both steel and plastic. Half clips don't use straps, hold your foot in position, but are easier to get in and out of.
(not a believer in the pedal uplift theory)

I use Zefal plastic ones and am partial to the Velo Orange steel half clip. V-O discontinued them but there is still stock available at online bike shops, ebay, amazon etc.
MKS has some nice ones too and at some point I want to try their stainless steel wire cage half clips. (see Somafab.com)

BTW I like the dragging sound of the clips on pavement. Reminds me that I'm riding a properly equipped classic style bike with a low bottom bracket!
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Old 03-24-20, 07:44 AM
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Not helpful, I know.... But I just hate using toe clips at all. It's one part of "vintage" I won't participate in. I've gone down one time too many trying to free a shoe from them.
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Old 03-24-20, 08:42 AM
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Chromed steel Zefal/Christophe were the standard for a reason. I don't remember any problems with plastic clips breaking when they came out, but by that time most big miles type cyclists had switched to clipless, so it's hard to say. Keep in mine any decades old Delrin or other plastic will be prone to snapage.

Plastic is ugly, yeah, but even so it's the right look for many early MTB.
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Old 03-24-20, 08:51 AM
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On the Shimano toe clip pedals, the plastic clips were not very durable. The chromed steel are much better. BITD, the 600 and Dura Ace versions had chrome steel cages, while the 105 and lower versions had plastic/nylon whatever.
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Old 03-24-20, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
On the Shimano toe clip pedals, the plastic clips were not very durable. The chromed steel are much better. BITD, the 600 and Dura Ace versions had chrome steel cages, while the 105 and lower versions had plastic/nylon whatever.
So true. The 105 plastic or resin toe-clips seemed to crystalize and then break. I use the 600 or Dura Ace ones on my 105 pedals. I was lucky to get some of those metal toe-clips for the triangular pedals really cheap not too long ago.

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Old 03-24-20, 04:20 PM
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I have and like the plastic/resin Cateye clips.



SP-11 CatEye2 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr


But my favorite are the King Cage toe clips. I think they're classy and have a "constructeur" vibe to them. IMO.


SP-11 King2 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr

WIPedals4 by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr
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Old 03-24-20, 10:20 PM
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^ Buckles on the inside? Just for display purposes, I hope.
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Old 03-25-20, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Chromed steel Zefal/Christophe were the standard for a reason. I don't remember any problems with plastic clips breaking when they came out, but by that time most big miles type cyclists had switched to clipless, so it's hard to say. Keep in mine any decades old Delrin or other plastic will be prone to snapage.

Plastic is ugly, yeah, but even so it's the right look for many early MTB.
I prefer the MKS clips to the Christophe versions. Chroming is better and thicker and has more sizes available.
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Old 03-25-20, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Ferrouscious View Post
I prefer the MKS clips to the Christophe versions. Chroming is better and thicker and has more sizes available.
Whatever works best for your feet. This brings up a slightly interesting point. MKS don't fit my feet well, and neither for that matter do/did ALE. Christophe work better for my feet because they are a bit longer on top for a given size of clip. They place the strap just slightly farther back. This is independent of the size, which is the forward extension. For my feet, Christophe clips are noticeably more comfortable, I guess just because of where the ball of my foot is.

Vintage Christophe chrome was pretty good. Probably some years were better than others. Modern might not be as good. Jury is still out for me, but I have some a few years old that have not rusted.
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Old 03-26-20, 05:34 PM
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I love the look of the King Cage toe clips, but they don't seem to be made anymore. I never went clipless - toe clips on every bike.
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Old 03-28-20, 10:56 AM
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For my commuter, the plastic toe clip with double guide loop for the strap is really the best IMHO. It is rugged, doesn't rust, and keeps the opening very big for easy entry. I am usually wearing old jogging shoes for commute, so the wide opening is important. For rainy days, I use Vaude brand nylon gaitors/rain booties. I need the opening real big to make sure I can get in, but also get out without them snagging.
For vintage road bikes, I use metal clips. Steel is definitely more convenient. I have one set of the lightweight alloy type with single guide for strap, and they are very flimsy. I often have trouble getting into those, and miss the first or even second attempt. Those are on a set of MKS Esquartz pedals with the flat toe clip mounting scheme.
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Old 03-28-20, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by frizzen View Post
I love the look of the King Cage toe clips, but they don't seem to be made anymore. I never went clipless - toe clips on every bike.
Somafab has similar by MKS
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Old 03-28-20, 03:59 PM
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I consider this to be old style:



And this to be new style:



I like the new style better, as the clips that have two thingies for the strap to pass through at the top of the foot makes it more comfortable to me. I notice plastic tend to be new style and steel tend to be old style.

Note that the picture of the new style also shows the strap used properly. The end is not tucked into the loop. This makes adjustment easiest.

I agree with @Prowler that leather straps are much better than nylon straps. Nylon straps are too floppy and can get snagged. They also don't last because abrasion wears them quickly.

So if functionality is your primary concern, sacrifice the good looks of steel toe clips. Get new style plastic toe clips and leather straps.
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Old 03-28-20, 05:51 PM
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^ Those look cheap and awful.

Good thing you can still find good vintage pedals and clips for our old, beautiful bikes.
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Old 03-29-20, 05:02 PM
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Combination: Shimano 105 triangle pedals + plastic
is very very bad becouse crashing.

But, I prefere huge plastic clips on non-triangle pedals. It is more comfortable for me.
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Old 03-29-20, 08:58 PM
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For "around the town" I like MKS wide pedals and large alloy Ale clips for size 9 1/2 sneakers.

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