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Noob to clips/straps....and how about clipless?

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Noob to clips/straps....and how about clipless?

Old 03-24-10, 11:22 AM
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Chicago Al 
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Noob to clips/straps....and how about clipless?

Rather than hijack the 'do you ride clipless?' thread I thought I would start a new one, because what I read there was useful (like so much on this forum) but I had other questions. As a new rider (starting last summer) the whole question of what kind of pedals is new to me and I am trying to figure out what will work best for me: mostly recreational/fitness riding, but trying to build up some strength and be semi-serious about it. So far I have only tried the original pedals/clips/straps on my two vintage rides.

Actually only the Centurion came fully equipped that way, the Miyata had its original quill pedals, and I put plastic clips but no straps on. I like those and easily got the knack of flipping them up to insert my toes. Obviously they help a lot with the pedal stroke and are a breeze to pull out from.

The Turbo's original clips & straps I have more trouble with. The bike must have been stored for years, and the straps had apparently spent a lot of time folded in so they are now stiff (though almost unworn) and bent inward, making it very tough to get the toes in while pedalling slowly. Also these don't seem so easy to flip up as the 'top' of the pedal is much heavier. Is there a trick I am missing? Once my toes are in it's not bad---I have only had one really embarrassing dismount so far. I gather there's also a trick to pulling them tight/loose while riding, but I'm not to that point yet.

And I also can tell that fully strapped in, pedal stroke is considerably stronger, but my running shoes are the weak element, as they flex a lot. Are old style road shoes still made? Any recommendations there? Not too garish or expensive? Able to be walked in? (Part of the charm of these C&V bikes for me is how much of a bargain they are.)

And any strong suggestions on an inexpensive way to experiment with clipless? Sounds like SPD with mtn bike shoes might be the most easy/versatile way to go and still allow for reasonable walking.

I will be doing a sprint triathlon this summer, maybe more than one, and had been thinking I will bike in my running shoes so as to avoid changing during the transition. But I dunno...

Also...I always bear in my Mark Twain's injunction to beware of enterprises requiring new clothes.

Any suggestions or advice welcome. I suppose the road forum might be a good place to ask about this but my scanning of it suggests I will get a more helpful and friendly response, and one that doesn't require a mortgage on the house, here.
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Old 03-24-10, 11:59 AM
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Hey Alan! Happy springtime in Chicago.

I usually ride in old Shimano MTB shoes, with SPDs attached. Only one of my bikes currently runs SPDs (though I may add a second), but the shoes work well with the rest, which all run with clips and straps. Just be sure to get a pair that don't have thick heels with bulky, knobby tread.

They're nicely stiff (without being uncomfortable) and I can walk in them, which is a plus for most of the riding and commuting that I do. And, if you keep your eyes peeled, they're reasonably priced.

Mine are an older version of this (mine are grey, these are brown). Currently on sale for $29.99 (if you have small feet)!

https://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...5_10000_200383
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Old 03-24-10, 12:09 PM
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I would recommend that you just buy a basic clip-less pedal system. And forget straps and clips altogether. There is really no reason, other than maybe you don't really like to wear biking shoes all the time you go biking (although you could still pedal your bike with no problems with regular shoes in an emergency), why one would not consider clipless pedals as they have been around for so long already that these systems are pretty much totally proven in the field to work pretty well in most situations and we have a myriad of product choices to satisfy our cycling needs.
Anyway, I'm sure you would like the way clipless pedals work with just the quick push down to click action that they have compared to the acrobatics you sometimes have to do with staps and clips, as you have already found out.
If the price of clip-less pedals worry you, note that there are many brands below 100 bucks, such as Look's Keo "Easy" (around 70 bucks). Shimano and PBS's house brand "Forte" also makes nice low priced clip-less pedals. that can get you started the clip-less way for not too much money. End of season sales are also good times to catch even better deals on these pedals and shoes.
Once you go clipless, you will never look back

JMOs
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Old 03-24-10, 12:12 PM
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I tried clipless and couldn't deal with them. You can't move your feet very much at all, and I don't like that. With straps, you can slide your foot back a bit for ball pedaling, or forward for noodling, etc. Plus, you don't need new shoes. IMO, clips and straps provide all the benefits of clipless with none of the drawbacks (new shoes, no foot movement, malfunctions, etc)
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Old 03-24-10, 12:15 PM
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Road clipless, SPD SL, don't have any flexibility. You need to set your clip on the shoe correctly. Often a trial and error process. There are cleats available that will give you 6* of rotation.

Mtn clipless, SPD MTN, work with a shoe to walk in and have the flexibility.

Speed Play, I hear are good for the road, easy in and out with flexibility.

Clips straps are a challenge, both in and out. The method I always used was to tighten the strap once in if I was going for a long ride. I left it loose for short trips. The key to foot removal is to loosen the strap and kick your heal up to disengage the clip.

My preference is the first. Twisting my ankle to get out becomes second nature and much easier than the clips/straps configuration. The only problem is the criticism I get on here for putting SPD SL on my 72 Moto Le Champion!

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Old 03-24-10, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
I tried clipless and couldn't deal with them. You can't move your feet very much at all, and I don't like that. With straps, you can slide your foot back a bit for ball pedaling, or forward for noodling, etc. Plus, you don't need new shoes. IMO, clips and straps provide all the benefits of clipless with none of the drawbacks (new shoes, no foot movement, malfunctions, etc)
I guess there are personal preferences on how solidly one might want their feet to be attached to their pedals. for back and forward movement, clip-less pedals might not work out for some, but do consider that many clip-less pedal systems can provide for some lateral "float" (up to 10 degrees on most, depending on the cleat type you mount on your shoes). I would say that the need for type of movement you described is more of the exception than the rule for most bikers. My experience before I got into clip-less pedals has been that typically, people can't get their feet strapped on tight enough to their quill pedals to keep them from moving or pulling out when biking, especially on hard efforts.

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Old 03-24-10, 12:50 PM
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Cleats that protrude below the bottom of the sole and uber-stiff soles really suck for walking. Some walking is inevitable/desireable unless you are racing.

Clips and straps afford you the ability to wear whatever shoe you want, clipless pedals do not. Clips and straps add some complication to riding but clipless is overly-complicated and restrictive. JMO
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Old 03-24-10, 12:59 PM
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Adidas Adiracer shoes for riding the bike with clips. They're perfectly fine for walking around in... depending on color selection can be dressed up or down if need be and they've got feel of an older shoe aesthetically.
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Old 03-24-10, 01:09 PM
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You've got 2 bikes...try clipless on your "sporty" bike and clips and straps on your "utility" bike for quick trips to the market. Both are easy to deal with once you are used to them. Different strokes for different spokes...I just made that up!
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Old 03-24-10, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 20grit View Post
Adidas Adiracer shoes for riding the bike with clips. They're perfectly fine for walking around in... depending on color selection can be dressed up or down if need be and they've got feel of an older shoe aesthetically.
+1 to that! comfy and stylin.
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Old 03-24-10, 02:35 PM
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hehe, i knew you'd be along eventually to back me up on that one.
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Old 03-24-10, 02:46 PM
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I use SPDs and mtn shoes. The Shimano 520s are fairly inexpensive and work very well...they also have adjustable tension making the adjustment period very easy and painless for most.

For shoes...I use Performance house brand (forte) stuff because I've found that all of the shoes are shoddily made, over priced garbage that fall apart after a season (and if I get a full season, I count myself lucky).
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Old 03-24-10, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by 20grit View Post
hehe, i knew you'd be along eventually to back me up on that one.
Its true!!

plus I think vintage bikes look better with Clips and Straps.
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Old 03-24-10, 03:14 PM
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Shimano M520s and some inexpensive shoes will get you set up for under $100 (I went the eBay route and paid less than $50 for my first pedal and shoe combination).
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Old 03-24-10, 03:43 PM
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Thanks, guys...as I see everyone has their own opinion, which is great. I can sort them out and see what works best. Starting with the cheapest!

Adidas Adiracers appear to be 'driving' shoes, is that the same model you are talking about, Zaphod and 20grit? https://www.amazon.com/adidas-Origina...9466871&sr=8-1
https://www.amazon.com/Adidas-ADI-RAC...ref=pd_sbs_a_4
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Old 03-24-10, 03:49 PM
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I have one bike set up with SPD PD-M324 pedals and one with SPD-SL PD-6620 pedals. I use Specialized Tahoe mountain bike shoes with the SPD pedals and Specialized BG Elite Road shoes with the SPD-SL pedals. Note that the road shoes would also accept SPD cleats.

My experience is that my feet get numb when I ride more than 20 miles with the the mountain bike shoes on the SPD pedals. I assume the soles are just not stiff enough and the SPD cleat are is small, so I get a lot of pressure in one spot. This is not a problem with the stiffer road shoes with the road pedals. But for short rides, the SPD pedals are fine, and the MTB shoes are much easier to walk in.

Since your rides on the sprint triathlons are probably about 12 miles, either should work for you.
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Old 03-24-10, 03:50 PM
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Here is a late opinion:

If you do tris with cage pedals and straps you would really like:

a. the transition time savings
b. the fact that you won't have to walk your bike for up to quarter mile (both in T1 and T2) as some races require, wearing cleats (and maybe try to bind the cleat with mud and stuff they pick up)

I race tris with my running shoes and cage pedal. Of course, I am not even close to placing
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Old 03-24-10, 05:44 PM
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Your first sprint tri is probably better off in the clips and straps, even with running shoes. It's not long enough to really put the feet to sleep, so once you get going, cinch down the straps and get moving. [You'll feel clumsy enough as it is, the first time. Yeah, just like, uh,.... that....

After that, you may want to practice transitions and increase your riding speed, until you think the extra speed is enough to offset the extra transition time.

Knowing I won't win, I bring a milk crate, sit on it, put on my bike shoes with focus and purpose, not anxiety, and go ride, then come back, leave the shoes on the clips, and sit again to pull on running shoes with elastic laces, and off I go again.

The really competitive guys keep their shoes on the bike, wipe off their feet, and take off, put their feet in the shoes once they get going, and then leave them on the bike, pull on running shoes and go. They practice a lot.

For longer legs, like Olympic Distance and Half-Ironman, you're going to be riding quite a while and running quite a while, so don't worry too much about transition.

If you do it right, you'll be hooked...another thing it shares with, er, that....
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Old 03-24-10, 08:59 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/adidas-Origina...ref=pd_sbs_a_7

i have a pair like that in white w/brown stripes. mine are 4 years old. i wore them for 3 years before ever getting on a bike with them. At this point they're too worn out to be a daily shoe, but they serve the purpose on the bike. The soles on the one you posted are a bit different so i can't vouch for how stiff the heel/arch areas are. on mine those areas are fairly stiff with some flex in the toe.
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Old 03-24-10, 09:20 PM
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The Adidas website does not list cycling as a sport they have shoes for, so the Adiracer must be it. I will look for them...preferably really cheap, 'cause I am.

Spotted a pair of Forte combo pedals, SPD on one side, for $20 tonight, and hope to score them tomorrow. If that works out I'll look for shoes to put cleats on. Then I'll know!

Thanks again, and any further tips appreciated too.
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Old 03-24-10, 09:38 PM
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I've ridden clipless ever since the first LOOK pedals became available back in the late '80s. Over the years, I transitioned from the original LOOK system to the Shimano SPD-R system and SPD ("mountain bike" style). I'm one of the few who actually like the SPD-R system, so I've never seen the need to change to anything else.

I think the SPD system is pretty versatile; there are plenty of styles of pedals and shoes available... it's easy to clip in & out of them. So that might be the ticket for you.

For serious and semi serious road riding and training, clipless is the way to go.
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Old 03-24-10, 09:38 PM
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So much misinformation in this thread...

Mountain pedals are my recomendation for new cyclists who are trying to ride seriously. Once acclimated to they are easier and safer to get in an out of than clips and straps (and i say this as a die hard clip/strap user for many years, and have gotten in some flame wars on the topic that I now am mildly embarrassed about). The float varies from pedal to pedal,, and cleat to cleat. For example the times offer up to 17 degrees of float depending on which cleat you put on which foot. Crank brothers also offer an asymetrical cleat for variable float. With road pedals you get a stiffer sole, a bigger platform and a more even distribution of force upon your foot thusly leading to less of a hot spot while riding. Most pedal manufacturers offer cleats that can vary the amount of float (ie look offers 0, 4.5, and 9 deg, between 4-7 is what I prefer myself). Almost every pedal has adjustable spring tension as well, so you may wish to dial them back to the easiest setting when you start out for easier in an out and dial them back up as you get more confident.

Cleat placement for getting started is not too hard. Loosely install the cleats (i generally recommend the back position if you are using mountain). There is one protrusion on each side of your foot, one behind your big toe, one behind your little toe. Feel those out and mark them on the sole of the shoe. Center the cleats between them. I generally err on moving them towards the outside of the shoe for a narrower Q but thats my personal preference. For most people this will get you 90% of the way towards where you need to be and the rest you should be able to dial in by listening to your body and making minor adjustments. If you ever feel like you are clawing at the pedals with your toes, move them back. It is a hold over from being monkeys hanging on to tree branches with our feet, and it is your foot trying to balance and secure itself around the pedal spindle.

For what its worth I prefer Time Atacs for mtn pedals, and Look Keos (particularly the new keo2max for their wider platform) for road.

For me, clips and straps are long outdated for any sort of serious or hard riding. Not that it can't be done, just that there's better options out there and progress marches on. There is a time and place for historical accuracy and time period correctness, and there are times where it is best to chose the right tool for the job.

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Old 03-24-10, 09:44 PM
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Ok, so I've never ridden toe clips either. I'm a dork...anyone know of a video that shows the clip in clip out process? Yeah, go ahead, say it...
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Old 03-24-10, 09:47 PM
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Keith, clips or clipless?
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Old 03-24-10, 09:48 PM
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toe clips? as the cage is hanging down, roll your foot back on the tab on the back cage and pop your foot in...

clipless depends on the pedal, but its generally catch the front of the cleat on the front part of the pedal (a bit of a forward sliding motion), and then push the back side of the cleat down to pop in. twist the heel towards the outside to disengage. it becomes second nature very quickly.
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