Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

What's so great about clipless pedals?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

What's so great about clipless pedals?

Old 04-10-10, 01:56 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 137
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
What's so great about clipless pedals?

I was recently at a bicycle safety course in San Francisco where the teacher recommended clipless pedals for more efficient pedaling but also stated that they require special shoes.
What's so great about clipless pedals?
Thanks
techman is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 03:24 AM
  #2  
Kid A
 
TurbineBlade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,778
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Sigh - this will be a good one. Full of calm, rational discourse with no personal bashing .

Most people believe that clipless systems provide more efficiency during all or part of the pedal stroke. They also are good at keeping your foot at the same spot to avoid slippage, while still allowing some lateral movement to prevent knee problems (float).

I own 2 types of clipless pedals, the crank bros. eggbeaters and an old shimano SPD. Both are easy to use and work well.

That said, I ride with flat bmx pedals and chuck taylors on my 30 mile commute to and from work. I like the ease of just wearing whatever shoe I feel like and not having to change my clothes and gear all the time. This is just my personal choice and nothing more.

------------------------------------

Just because everyone around you uses them doesn't mean a damn thing. Everyone around me commutes on super-light road road bikes with 23mm tires and a huge backpack....all of which I absolutely despise.

If you intend to ride in groups, do fast-paced riding or racing, or off-roading, etc. then you'll probably like your clipless pedals. If not, you may still like them....or you may find that (like me) they aren't necessary and aren't worth the hassle.
TurbineBlade is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 05:06 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Timber_8's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: South East Massachusetts
Posts: 1,090
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 3 Posts
It is probably personal choices with people, I don't think everyone likes them. I haven't had them that long but I personally like them better. I like the platform the shoe provides for my feet better than a street shoe. It does appear that I pull the peddle up simultaneously as my other foot pushes the peddle down through the stroke. I think I have become a riskier rider since I started using them avoiding to unclip and waiting to the last moment. Strange as it may sound I have actual forgotten to unclip. I have not fallen from it but it is strange feeling. I don't have a problem changing my shoes at work or home, I just keep shoes and cloths at both places. I use SPD clips and mountain shoes & found them to be a affordable and convenient alternative for peddling my bike. So what I think is so great about them is simply that I like them, nothing more
Timber_8 is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 06:00 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
ortcutt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Cambridge MA
Posts: 289
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm an amphibian: I have Look clipless pedals on my racing bike, and MKS Touring (plain) pedals on my commuter. I find that foot retention facilitates spinning at higher cadences, as I often do on my "fast" road rides and during indoor sessions on my trainer. But on my commute I have other priorities, such as wearing footwear that looks "normal" and is walkable and appropriate to the weather. Some people will make impassioned arguments that clipless pedals are safer than plain pedals, or vice versa. I haven't found, in my own experience, that either style of pedal is notably safer than the other (not, at least, once you're accustomed to clicking in and out of clipless pedals). There's one case in which I strongly prefer clipless to plain pedals, and that's when I'm on a fixed-gear bike.

Last edited by ortcutt; 04-10-10 at 06:04 AM.
ortcutt is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 06:05 AM
  #5  
cyclepath
 
daredevil's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: "The Last Best Place"
Posts: 3,550

Bikes: 2005 Trek Pilot 5.0, 2001 Specialized Sirrus Pro, Kona Lava Dome, Raleigh hardtail converted to commuter, 87 Takara steel road bike, 2008 Trek Soho

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
The teacher probably would have been the one to ask but he was correct. You want to be as efficient as possible with the pedal stroke? Go clipless and you'll quickly see the benefit. If you are afraid to fall though, don't get em cause you likely will a couple times.
__________________
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Without music, life would be a mistake."
-- Friedrich Nietzsche
daredevil is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 06:22 AM
  #6  
Seņior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
I have them, and since I'm not that into "improving my form" - I'm just a guy going to work and back - I haven't seen that much difference to toe clips. In fact, I put my toe clips back on a few weeks ago, and except when I'm getting in and out, I can't tell the difference. I put the toe clips back on so that I could use regular shoes if I decided to just go somewhere, instead of having to go back inside and change shoes.

I'm sure that means I'm "not doing it right" when using clipless, but I don't much care. For me it was not a night and day difference. There's probably a small difference but not that much. Logically the only difference with toe clips is that you can't pull the pedal backwards around the top of the stroke, but I tried doing that for weeks once, and I never could really do it anyway.

If you do go clipless, mountain shoes look pretty normal and you can walk in them normally.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 06:46 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
clasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Kitchener, ON
Posts: 2,738
Liked 148 Times in 103 Posts
Since spring is here I'm commuting with clipless... I change into work boots anyway, so it doesn't matter much, I could wear road clipless if I wanted to. I have some bikes with clips for when I want to wear nice shoes if I'm going out, but otherwise I'm a clipless fan. I learned by balancing myself against a wall on my bike and just practised clipping in and out for a while before trying it on the road. I once got stuck in an old pair of pedals I didn't check before using, but aside from that I've never had any problems with the first set I bought with my shoes.
clasher is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 06:50 AM
  #8  
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,861

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
I'll be getting sandals to use with my clipless pedals.

I like clipless better than toeclips because they're just as easy to get into (if not easier), they don't scrape against the pavement if I have to turn while unclipped, and they hold my feet more securely while still being easy to get out of. If I pull the straps on toeclips snug enough to make them useful, they're hard to get out of, too.

But, I have plain MKS pedals on my commuting/short-hop bike. I don't ride very far, very fast, or climb many hills with that bike, though.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 07:08 AM
  #9  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 157

Bikes: They have two wheels!

Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 7 Posts
Fun Read:
Grant Petersen's Opinion on Clipless vs. Platforms


My own experience is as follows:

Fixed Gear(unless geared nice and low with brakes): Clipless>Platforms
Steep, Fast Climbs: Clipless>Platforms
Flat Riding of any Nature: Clipless=Platforms
Riding to Class/Grocery/Practice/Coffee Shop, Etc. : Clipless<Platforms
Mucking about on a MTB: Clipless<Platforms
Riding a Bike with a Basket: Clipless<Platforms
vaultbrad is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 08:28 AM
  #10  
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mississauga/Toronto, Ontario canada
Posts: 8,721

Bikes: I have 3 singlespeed/fixed gear bikes

Liked 2,492 Times in 1,287 Posts
I don't use clipless pedals because I like to wear normal shoes, I hate the idea of having to change into special shoes just so I can ride my bike. However I do use toe clips and straps on my fixed gear bike for safety reasons and much better control of the bike.
wolfchild is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 08:40 AM
  #11  
cyclopath
 
vik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Victoria, BC
Posts: 5,264

Bikes: Surly Krampus, Surly Straggler, Pivot Mach 6, Bike Friday Tikit, Bike Friday Tandem, Santa Cruz Nomad

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by techman
I was recently at a bicycle safety course in San Francisco where the teacher recommended clipless pedals for more efficient pedaling but also stated that they require special shoes.
What's so great about clipless pedals?
Thanks
I've given up on clip less for all my biking except performance road biking. Being able to wear street shoes is awesome and I don't miss being clipped in at all...I commute, do my errands, bike tour and mtn bike with flat pedals.
__________________
safe riding - Vik
VikApproved
vik is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 08:53 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 169

Bikes: 1997 Trek Multitrack 730, 2003 Gary Fisher Tassajara, 2003 KHS Flite 800, 2005 Santa Cruz Chameleon, 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 2011 Santa Cruz Butcher

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Efficient pedaling and a set efficient foot position...great for the open road on your road bike. Up to the individual whether or not it's good for commuting and city riding. I occasionally ride clipless in the city on my road bike, but my dedicated commuter has a nice, wide platform BMX pedal. I choose convenience over the hassle of having to wear clipless shoes.
lshobo is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 09:02 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
The problem with clipless is that you've got to invest some time and money to figure out whether they really make a difference for you or not. If you're thinking about getting them I guess the question to ask is what is it that you expect they'll do for you?

If your commute is flat, under 10 miles and/or involves a lot of intersections, you're not going to get to work much if any faster with clipless. I still wear them on my commute because I've grown accustomed to having my feet attached to the pedals but the real benefits come on other types of riding.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 09:13 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Eastern Iowa
Posts: 502

Bikes: surly cross check

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I run double sided pedals on my commuter because I love being clipped in. It does make an appreciable difference when climbing or trying to maintain a high cadence, which I do regularly on my commute. I use my 10 mile commute as an opportunity to train so I really prefer being clipped in, but during the really cold and snowy months and the really hot and humid months I change my tactic and I just poke along during my commute.

I commute with my clip-less shoes about 75%, the other times I am either wearing heavy winter boots or sandals.
ryanwood is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 09:53 AM
  #15  
Seņior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
When you guys compare clipless to platform, are you talking about platform with toe clips, or just plain platforms?

I absolutely hate plain platforms except for just noodling around a mile or less. But I find platforms with toe clips almost identical to clipless, as far as maintaining a good cadence or climbing.

Oh, and I never have fallen due to clipout problems. It's not a guaranteed fall.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:14 AM
  #16  
Steel is real, baby!
 
frpax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 2,532

Bikes: 1984 Pinarello, 1986 Bianchi Portofino, 1988 Bianchi Trofeo, 1989 Specialized Allez, 1989 Specialized Hard Rock, 2001 Litespeed Tuscany

Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
frpax is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:25 AM
  #17  
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,861

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by vaultbrad
More like a sales pitch thinly disguised as a philosophy. But who am I to tell him how to run his business..
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:29 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
m_yates's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 634
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
This dead horse needs one more beating: I read a touring journal by a guy who biked cross country. He was having knee pain until switching pedals to plain, cheap, BMX-style platform pedals:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...ssage_id=76745

According to him, having the ability to move his feet around on the pedals resulted in less pain from repetitive motion, but only a "very very slight" decrease in speed.

I've always used plain platform pedals and I will be riding a century in 4 weeks using them.
m_yates is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:30 AM
  #19  
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,861

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by tjspiel
The problem with clipless is that you've got to invest some time and money to figure out whether they really make a difference for you or not.
True. In my case, I decided to try them because of what I liked about my first set of toeclips n' straps, and hoped to not deal with the few aspects that I didn't like. Now I'm either riding clipless or plain platforms. I've thought of adding clips to my MKS pedals, but then I wouldn't want to ride them in my open-toe sandals.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:33 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
coldfeet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 2,118
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I personally like clipless, it certainly feels more efficient. They're not for everyone though, on the other hand, neither are traditional clips and straps. I hated those, couldn't get on with them.

One thing, if you try them, set up one foot first, to make sure you can ride, unclip, dismount normally. You don't want to find that the unclip tension is too high with both feet fastened.

Last edited by coldfeet; 04-10-10 at 10:33 AM. Reason: spelling
coldfeet is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:42 AM
  #21  
Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped.
 
BarracksSi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 13,861

Bikes: Some bikes. Hell, they're all the same, ain't they?

Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by m_yates
This dead horse needs one more beating: I read a touring journal by a guy who biked cross country. He was having knee pain until switching pedals to plain, cheap, BMX-style platform pedals:

https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...ssage_id=76745

According to him, having the ability to move his feet around on the pedals resulted in less pain from repetitive motion, but only a "very very slight" decrease in speed.

I've always used plain platform pedals and I will be riding a century in 4 weeks using them.
I wonder how much float his clipless pedals had.

Ah, never mind, he used Power Straps (actually "Power Grip" straps):
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/forum...nested=1#76745

I would have thought that those straps would let the foot move around more than traditional toeclips and maybe even clipless pedals.
BarracksSi is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 10:51 AM
  #22  
Bike addict, dreamer
 
AdamDZ's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Queens, New York
Posts: 5,165
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ah... another one....

It's a highly personal choice. You have to try (do it properly though or you'll get discouraged) to make up your own mind.

Theoretically, clipless pedals offer certain benefits. But they don't benefit all riders, at all times and in all types of riding. For me, the nuisances overweight the benefits:

Benefits:

- better power transfer between feet and pedals
- ability to pull as well as push
- no slipping off your pedals
- improve bunny hopping as you can lift your bike with your legs
- for fixie riders they offer total integration with the bike and improve control (braking, trackstand...)

Nuisances:

- there is a learning curve, if you acquire bad habits it'll take long time to learn
- you need special shoes
- you can't ride a bike equipped with clipless pedals wearing regular shoes/sneakers *
- the shoes are either completely useless for walking (roadie) or annoying (SPD), you will still slip on hard surfaces, scratch floors, etc.
- chances are you will forget or be unable to unlicp in time and fall over now and then **
- cheap clipless pedals suck, you need to spend more money on good pedals

* Adapters and semi-platforms exists but they don't work as well as neither real clipless or plain platform pedals, they're a compromise.
** I found it particularly hard to perform sudden/emergency stops: when my legs were tired, when I got a cramp, sudden obstacle (a dog, pedestrian, etc.)

I'm also color conscious, I wear a combination of bicycle an casual clothing and I want to have a choice which pair of sneakers to wear in the morning. I also have sneakers for hot weather, cold, weather, cold and wet weather. I'd need at least three pair of clipless shoes, it would just complicate things for me. And I'd rather spend that money on bike upgrades.

So the way I see it, for serious cyclists: fast and hard riding roadies, hard core mountain bikers clipless pedals are a necessity. The same goes for strong and skilled fixie riders.

For an average cyclist, a commuter, recreational rider or even a non-competitive enthusiast, such as myself, clipless pedals will provide little or no benefit and be a nuisance most of the time. Like I said above, for me they're more of a trouble than anything. I've done centuries using platform pedals and still averaged 16-18mph, I commute 14-20 miles a day on platform pedals. I tried SPDs for nearly two seasons and I went back to platform pedals and never looked back. I tried road pedals for an hour and sent them back the same day. They're torture.

This subject, however, appears to be a delicate one. You may see statements like "I had to ride a bike with platform pedals and I couldn't, there was no power transfer, I ended up walking it" that are a pile of steaming bullsh*t from people who like to boast, Lance wannabes, etc. Don't believe any of that. Clipless pedals are not required to ride a bike...

If you can learn to ride with clipless then more power to you. But clipless pedals are not required to ride a bicycle effectively and have fun while doing it. People traveled the world using platform pedals. A bicycle is an extremely efficient machine anyway, and having platform pedals doesn't render it useless. I personally like wide, grippy BMX pedals with bolts/studs. They provide tons of grip, I never slipped even in wet or icy weather and I choose wide sneakers with harder soles and I think my power transfer if quite good.

So... try clipless pedals, learn to ride them well, but if you never grow to like them don't obsess, don't panic, don't force yourself, don't feel inferior, don't be ashamed, there is nothing wrong with good platform pedals.

Last edited by AdamDZ; 04-10-10 at 10:59 AM.
AdamDZ is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 12:31 PM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
tjspiel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 8,101
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 13 Posts
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
When you guys compare clipless to platform, are you talking about platform with toe clips, or just plain platforms?

I absolutely hate plain platforms except for just noodling around a mile or less. But I find platforms with toe clips almost identical to clipless, as far as maintaining a good cadence or climbing.

Oh, and I never have fallen due to clipout problems. It's not a guaranteed fall.
The only plain platforms I have now are BMX style with little pins. I prefer some type of foot retention for a variety of reasons but getting to work faster isn't really one of them. Having regular platforms may mean I'm slower on certain parts of the commute but the overall difference isn't that much.

I've used toe clips, power grips, and clipless. For me they all have their pros and cons but my least favorite are toe clips. You've got to flip them the right way to use them which in of itself isn't so bad. If you don't get them flipped however, they scrape the ground which is annoying. You've also got use the right shoes and cinch them down pretty good in order to realize their full potential. That's not real practical on my commutes.

Power grips are similar except that they don't scrape as annoyingly if the pedal is flipped the wrong way. If they're adjusted correctly you don't need to cinch them down either. Like toe clips though they work better when the pedal mates with the shoe well. They don't work as well for long distances for me because it's sort of like wearing shoes that are too tight. They'll cause my feet to go numb, especially the left one. It's probably possible to wear sandals with PowerGrips but I never tried it.

Last edited by tjspiel; 04-10-10 at 12:34 PM.
tjspiel is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 03:12 PM
  #24  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Far beyond the pale horizon.
Posts: 14,517
Liked 1,478 Times in 1,023 Posts
The basic advantage of clipless is that it make it easier and more reliable to use a higher cadence. There is, also, some added efficiency and it gives you a few more options when climbing (especially).
njkayaker is offline  
Old 04-10-10, 05:46 PM
  #25  
rebmeM roineS
 
JanMM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Metro Indy, IN
Posts: 16,217

Bikes: Bacchetta Giro A20, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

Liked 349 Times in 227 Posts
Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
Oh, and I never have fallen due to clipout problems. It's not a guaranteed fall.
+1
__________________
Bacchetta Giro A20, RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer
JanMM is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.