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Clipless pedals or not?

Old 11-26-18, 07:47 AM
  #1  
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Clipless pedals or not?

In response to another thread where it was a side discussion, let's discuss the topic here.

I'm in the anti-clipless camp because I don't want extra crap to lug around. I usually commute in street/office clothes and don't want to have to worry about another set of shoes after I arrive at work. (I can't really fit them in my 20 L backpack, which is the largest size that is really usable for a multimodal commute with a subway, train or hovercraft).

I also commute in heavy traffic as shown on other posts and don't like my feet chained should the bike get hit/slip/fall on rained-soaked roads.

However, what is the big advantage to them? People say they're faster, is there any empirical data out there?
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Old 11-26-18, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
... let's discuss the topic here.
Because it's never been discussed before?
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Old 11-26-18, 08:14 AM
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In most commuting situations, I would imagine that the speed advantages of clipless would be fairly minimal.

I commute with clipless anyway because:

- I love the security/stability of having my feet locked onto the pedals.

- they make trackstanding easier.

- they guard against foot slip when I'm up out of the saddle charging full steam to chase a waning green light.



as for shoes, I simply keep a pair of work shoes at the office, there's no need to lug those back and forth everday.

as for harried, trafficky situations, all of my bikes have combo SPD/flat pedals so that I can ride a regular old flat pedal whenever I want to (best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned, but others strongly disagree). Still, I ride locked in on the clipless side of the pedals more than 95% of the time.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-26-18 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 11-26-18, 08:41 AM
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Thanks Acidfast7.

I have been using toe-straps on my commutes for a while. First I thought it was a better idea than clipless because I can wear normal shoes. But in the end, it's worse because it's harder to get into and out of.
I like being restraint (at least regarding pedals...), but the selection of normal shoes is much better than SPDs. And as you say, hauling more shoes becomes so so... so:
No clipless on commutes, especially not in (CAN) winter. SPDs are for recreational rides for me.
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Old 11-26-18, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
In most commuting situations, I would imagine that the speed advantages of clipless would be fairly minimal.

I commute with clipless anyway because:

- I love the security/stability of having my feet locked onto the pedals.

- they make trackstanding easier.

- they guard against foot slip when I'm up out of the saddle charging full steam chasing a waning green light.



as for shoes, I simply keep a pair of work shoes at the office, there's no need to lug those back and forth everday.

as for harried, trafficky situations, all of my bikes have combo SPD/flat pedals so that I can ride a regular old flat pedal whenever I want to (best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned, but others strongly disagree). Still, I ride locked in on the clipless side of the pedals more than 95% of the time.
I agree with everything you have stated with the exception of the combo pedals. Even if you are only marginally proficient at track stands, there is no need for being unclipped in any situation. I've never run across a situation where I felt the need to unclip and, in many situations, being unclipped so that you can "put a foot out to catch yourself" is only going to result in injury to that leg. You aren't going to "catch" anything.
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Old 11-26-18, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I
I also commute in heavy traffic as shown on other posts and don't like my feet chained should the bike get hit/slip/fall on rained-soaked roads.
I assume that somewhere in your education you had to take physics. What makes you think that your shoes are going to do any better job of keeping you from falling if you get hit, slip or fall? Sticking a leg (or arm) out in a collision, slip or crash does nothing to slow you down nor does it "catch" you. The least it's going to do is to cause muscle tears and the worst is a compound fracture that takes months to heal.

To paraphrase a great blue...um...creature: "Keep your hands and arms [and legs] inside the carpet!"
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Old 11-26-18, 08:51 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I agree with everything you have stated with the exception of the combo pedals. Even if you are only marginally proficient at track stands, there is no need for being unclipped in any situation. I've never run across a situation where I felt the need to unclip and, in many situations, being unclipped so that you can "put a foot out to catch yourself" is only going to result in injury to that leg. You aren't going to "catch" anything.
well, as i stated, i ride locked in almost all of the time.

the main reason i love combo pedals is because i can ride my bikes with any kind of shoe i want to.

i don't have a pair of SPD winter boots, so it's nice to be able to ride any of my bikes with winter boots when the weather calls for such.

conversely, if it's nice out and i want to ride up to the grocery store or pharmacy for a quick errand run, i love being able to hop on my bikes in flip-flops if i want to.

but i am aware that many people greatly dislike combo pedals. i always mention them in these kinds of threads because many people falsely believe that this is an either/or situation. it's not, you can have both if you really want to.

i've been exclusively riding on combo pedals for 11 years now and i don't foresee ever riding on any other kind of pedal for the rest of my life. i just love the flexibility they afford.



as always, to each their own.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-26-18 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 11-26-18, 09:35 AM
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Old 11-26-18, 09:44 AM
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Some people don't pull up on the pedal. I do. I know this because whenever I try to ride a bike with platforms, my feet try to fly off of the pedals on the upstroke.

That said, if you're comfortable on flat pedals, keep riding them. If you like being clipped in, ride those. There is no right answer.

I don't however, understand the notion that there shouldn't be "cycling specific shoes." There are specific shoes for running, golfing, bowling, hell, for working in a McDonalds.
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Old 11-26-18, 09:53 AM
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I commute with clipless, both SPD and SL's. I'm quite comfortable with them. I do ride my beater MTB without clipless. I'm also quite fine with either. When I am clipped in I am usually pushing harder and longer than not clipped in.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:07 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
In response to another thread where it was a side discussion, let's discuss the topic here.

I'm in the anti-clipless camp because I don't want extra crap to lug around. I usually commute in street/office clothes and don't want to have to worry about another set of shoes after I arrive at work. (I can't really fit them in my 20 L backpack, which is the largest size that is really usable for a multimodal commute with a subway, train or hovercraft).

I also commute in heavy traffic as shown on other posts and don't like my feet chained should the bike get hit/slip/fall on rained-soaked roads.

However, what is the big advantage to them? People say they're faster, is there any empirical data out there?
For the flat pedals to work well then there are three things you must do: 1) get the flat pedals with pins, 2) your shoes must not have deep knobs and 3) spend sometimes learning the proper techniques (your feet will never slip off). I use both and in my experiences, pedals choice doesn't really matter.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:09 AM
  #12  
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You shouldn't be anti-clipless, you should simply accept that you don't meet the use case for clipless pedals.

You want to avoid carrying a change of shoes on your commute (and cannot leave a pair at the office, I suppose). Or you prefer the improved walkability of street shoes (though there are SPD shoes that are pretty good, it's never quite the same). Or you're unable to get used to the concept of clipping out. Or whatever reason you have, which is probably a perfectly good reason... you are not a candidate for clipless pedals. That doesn't make you anti-clipless, it makes you someone who has made a conscious decision that the benefits of clipless are not sufficient to overcome the disadvantages in your case.

There are others who have done similar assessments with different priority lists, or different weights on each of the priorities in their list of pros and cons, and who have come up with a conclusion that for them clipless pedals make sense. Going a little further, they have decided on which style of clipless pedals and shoes make the most sense for them, and have moved forward along that path. That does not make them anti-platform, it makes them people who have weighed the pros and cons, and have determined that in their case clipless make sense.

Can we agree that for some people clipless are not the optimal choice for their intended use case, that for some people some style of clipless is the optimal choice, the for some people platform/clipless combination pedals make the most sense, and for some people swapping out pedals as needed is the best approach? If we can agree that each person's list of pros and cons will be a little different, and that each person assigns different weights to each of those pros and cons, we can, by extension, agree that there is nothing inherently wrong with either style, and that those who have chosen one, or the other, or some combination have done so to maximize their own utility.

Pro-clipless and anti-clipless are naive positions to take. The mature and honest outlook is to understand that informed, sensible, intelligent people choose what is best for their needs.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:18 AM
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^ this forum needs a "like" button for posts like that.
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Old 11-26-18, 10:31 AM
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+1 more for @daoswald's post (#12).

I'm going to keep commuting clipless, for reasons given above. I don't much care what shoes and pedals anyone else uses to commute.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:03 AM
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I like cleats. For me, they're good. They don't make sense for most people. So I agree with @daoswald.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:09 AM
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I'm old.

Started with toe clips and straps in the '70s

Switched all bikes to clipless (Shimano SPD) in the '90s

Switched all bikes to platform pedals in 2017.

I have no advice for you. All of the systems worked just fine for me. I did not like the limitations of the clipless. Sometimes I like cycling in hiking boots. Otherwise, clipless was the most efficient IMO. Now that I am 60, I care less about efficiency and more about cycling in any shoes in the closet.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:20 AM
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Wow. Thanks for the responses.

It's more of a utility question about the clipless that also stresses the utility of the flipflop pedals.

There are certain days when I need to use the bike to ride to a train to a meeting and I can't go with the clipless. Also, I often stop and shop from the bicycle, so I can't really walk around the shop in another pair of shoes.

It seems like the only way it really works is if someone rides from one pair of shoes to another

However, a flipflop platform would allow people to use both should they want (clipless and non).

I guess my bike is more of a car substitute and more than 75% of the time I stop somewhere while commuting each day!
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Old 11-26-18, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Also, I often stop and shop from the bicycle, so I can't really walk around the shop in another pair of shoes.
i stop and do errands on my bike commutes a lot as well.

95% of the time i'm in my SPD shoes, recessed cleat style.

they're perfectly fine for walking when off of the bike. pretty much like a normal shoe, except for a slight crunching sound if walking on rough concrete.

in fact, i wore them for two weeks straight on land's end - john o'groats bike tour across great britain because i didn't want to bring an extra pair of shoes for when we explored places on foot, as the other blokes in the group did. they didn't believe that one shoe could do it all, but my SPD shoes proved them wrong.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 11-26-18 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
...a flipflop platform would allow people to use both should they want (clipless and non).
There are many styles of "touring" and ATB shoes with SPD (and other brands) capabilities that are easy to walk in with clips attached in a recessed spot on the sole. The stiff sole alone makes the shoes more efficient on platforms or clipped in. I have been pedaling in sneakers exclusively the past couple of years. I'm good up to 50 miles, then I wish I had a stiffer sole.

I never really liked the two-sided pedals, and I have owned several. The clip side is heavier, so the pedal is always upside-down when I want to clip in.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i stop and do errands on my bike commutes a lot as well.

95% of the time i'm in my SPD shoes, recessed cleat style.

they're perfectly fine for walking when off of the bike. pretty much like a normal shoe, except for a slight crunching sound if walking on rough concrete.

in fact, i wore them for two weeks straight on land's end - john o'groats bike tour across great britain because i didn't want to bring an extra pair of shoes for when we explored places on foot, as the other blokes in the group did. they didn't believe that one shoe could do it all, but my SPD shoes proved them wrong.
Sorry man, maybe I'm becoming too British but I wouldn't want to draw attention to myself and the bus/train/hovercraft people would probably have a word with me if they found out. It's probably slip in the tube as well.

I can see why people do it but my commuting probably doesn't allow it.
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Old 11-26-18, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Sorry man, maybe I'm becoming too British but I wouldn't want to draw attention to myself and the bus/train/hovercraft people would probably have a word with me if they found out. It's probably slip in the tube as well.
i've worn my recessed-cleat SPD shoes in all kinds of places. on trains and planes, in stores, through museums, across towns, along trails, etc.

i've never slipped in them and no one has ever had a single word with me about them, even on our 900 mile bike tour across great britain.

they look like conventional shoes, not cycling shoes, so other than some slight crunching on rough concrete, no one would ever know the difference.




Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
I never really liked the two-sided pedals, and I have owned several. The clip side is heavier, so the pedal is always upside-down when I want to clip in.
this is the most common complaint i hear from others about combo pedals, but after riding nearly everyday with them for the past 11 years, that simply isn't an issue for me. somehow my foot just "knows" how to find the correct side of the pedal. it probably helps that i exclusively use the same model of combo pedal (forte campus) on all of my bikes, so i've got that consistency going for me.... which is nice.

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Old 11-26-18, 12:20 PM
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I don't have a car anymore. Use my bike(s) for commuting, grocery shopping, 100 mile charity rides, etc.
Clipless works for me; foot retention in rainy or snowy conditions, same position(stop hitting chainstays), etc.
I'm not going to say to anyone that they should be using clipless too. I'll say try it. Buy some shoes(less than
US$100, closeout/used even better); Shimano SPD M520 pedals($30). I you end up not liking it; you can still
use the shoes with standard pedals/platforms. You're out US$30. In the 10 years I've been using clipless; haven't
crashed because of my pedals. I've slipped on black ice and a wet metal plate. But the type of pedals I'm using
didn't play a role in those incidents.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:31 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
i've worn my recessed-cleat SPD shoes in all kinds of places. on trains and planes, in stores, through museums, across towns, along trails, etc.

i've never slipped in them and no one has ever had a single word with me about them, even on our 900 mile bike tour across great britain.

they look like conventional shoes, not cycling shoes, so other than some slight crunching on rough concrete, no one would ever know the difference.

I think you addressed this is your previous response.

Every other person in your party brought additional shoes for a reason.

Also, if people hear you speaking, people will realise that you're a tourist (maybe you speak with a British accent, it is possible) and not address you. That won't be the case with me and I'll be told off in a few seconds for clicking.

Anyways, it just doesn't work for my commute, especially in regular street/office clothing.
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Old 11-26-18, 12:32 PM
  #24  
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+1 for #12

I use a combo pedal on my commuter bike like @steely_Dan , I ride with SPD mountain bike shoes to commute. I leave the suburbs and head downtown. Combo pedals work for me. I like them also because I can also ride with my 9 yo son around the neighborhood and don't need special shoes.

if i was wearing regular clothes vs cycling clothing I would probably not wear spd mtb shoes as well. I have worn them to bike social events and felt weird because i had on cycling clothes instead of regular clothes. I have baggy mtn bike shorts I could wear but sometimes just slip shorts over the lycra after i get there. I live too far out of the downtown to not be kitted up. I would be a sweaty mess wearing regular clothes.
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Old 11-26-18, 01:05 PM
  #25  
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Fun fact: SPD-SL pedals work perfectly well as platforms for short rides like commutes and errands. Just make sure you wear rubber soled shoes.
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