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Old 06-15-10, 03:12 PM
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pedals

I know there's probably a lot of threads on pedals, but I was hoping you guys could give some advice on my particular complaints.

So I made the switch to cleated pedals some time ago, but have never been completely happy. I like them in some situations (such as when I'm tired and doing a lot of coasting), but I prefer platforms in other situations (such as when I'm doing lots of accelerating and decelerating in heavy traffic). So I got single sided pedals that are platform on one side, but the problem is I always end up hitting the cleated side and I automatically end up clipped in and since I'm scrambling to hit the pedals and mashing in heavy traffic that's when the problem is worst (guaranteed I end up clipped in).

Now I was hoping that after a while I would just get good at landing on the side I want, but after a year with single sided pedals it never happened (I always end up clipped in). So do you guys have any recommendations for a solution that will give me more control over being clipped/unclipped? Adjusting the spring doesn't really help because the cleated side of the pedal is too slippery to ride on unclipped.
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Old 06-15-10, 03:37 PM
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A. Wear shoes with no clips
B. Put platform pedals on your bike
C. Get some proper 2 sided clipless pedals and learn to love them. (my recommendation)

I don't know if you are ever going to get your pedals to think for you, You have to tell them what to do.
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Old 06-15-10, 04:49 PM
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Your post makes it sound like you are trying to pedal on the platform side with clipless shoes (i.e. shoes with cleats). Wear normal shoes and you shouldn't have problems accidentally clipping in. The platforms on single sided pedals were never meant to be used with clipless shoes (I'm not sure how your feet are not constantly slipping off). I would keep your current equipment and just use the clipped side. With more use unclipping will become second nature.

By the way, how does using clipless help when you are coasting?
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Old 06-15-10, 04:54 PM
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Based on the situations you pointed out you may be better off with PowerGrips instead of clipless pedals. Check it out https://powergrips.mrpbike.com/.

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Old 06-15-10, 05:31 PM
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I don't get why you don't want to be clipped in while you're accelerating through traffic. That's when being clipped in seems to help me the most...

I've noticed that if you wait with your 'foot off' side in the down position, you should make sure the part of the pedal you want your foot to land on is facing the ground. In your case, the platform side. When the crank moves to the up position when taking off, your foot should land on the platform side. I've reached the point where I check every time I stop to make sure my cleat side is facing the ground so i'll clip in automatically and it seems to work usually.

Although, I agree about the powergrips.. maybe better for you.

Last edited by bhop; 06-15-10 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 06-15-10, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky
So I made the switch to cleated pedals some time ago, but have never been completely happy. I like them in some situations (such as when I'm tired and doing a lot of coasting), but I prefer platforms in other situations (such as when I'm doing lots of accelerating and decelerating in heavy traffic). So I got single sided pedals that are platform on one side, but the problem is I always end up hitting the cleated side and I automatically end up clipped in and since I'm scrambling to hit the pedals and mashing in heavy traffic that's when the problem is worst (guaranteed I end up clipped in).
If you don't want to clip, don't wear a shoe with a cleat.

I often hit the clip side of my pedals, but it's only slightly uncomfortable for a few rotations, and then I'll flip it as soon as I get going. But if I'm wearing bike shoes, that means I want the clips.

Alternatively, at least with my pedals, with a bit of thought I can hit the flat side just by making sure I make contact at the front of the pedal. When the bike is at rest, the heavier clip side flips downwards, so as soon as I start, when my stabilising foot makes contact with the pedal, it's near the top of the rotation, and is about half flipped. My natural approach to the pedal (from years of toe-clips) is from the rear and hits the clip side, but if I plan and approach from the front, I get platform.
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Old 06-16-10, 12:57 AM
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I'm not trying to be rude, but how would Power Grips help? The OP's foot would still be attached to the pedal...
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Old 06-16-10, 03:18 AM
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When your foot is on the ground, which way up is your pedal?

If it is always the same way up, clips on top, then you may need to train yourself to catch the back end of the platform with the toe of your shoe as you lift your foot up. This would rotate the pedal half a turn and then you would be on the platform.

z

Last edited by azesty; 06-16-10 at 07:37 AM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 06-16-10, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
I'm not trying to be rude, but how would Power Grips help? The OP's foot would still be attached to the pedal...
You have to consciously hook into Power Grips. It would be virtually impossible to accidentally get into them.

I have Power Grips for commuting and recreational riding and I really like them. They give you secure attachment to the pedals when you want it, you don't have to get into them until you want to, and they're easy to get into and out of. Plus, they're cheap.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
I'm not trying to be rude, but how would Power Grips help? The OP's foot would still be attached to the pedal...
Powergrips are easier to slip your foot into/out of in a hurry, if you just can't get used to doing so with clipless.
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Old 06-16-10, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by bhop
I don't get why you don't want to be clipped in while you're accelerating through traffic. That's when being clipped in seems to help me the most...

I've noticed that if you wait with your 'foot off' side in the down position, you should make sure the part of the pedal you want your foot to land on is facing the ground. In your case, the platform side. When the crank moves to the up position when taking off, your foot should land on the platform side. I've reached the point where I check every time I stop to make sure my cleat side is facing the ground so i'll clip in automatically and it seems to work usually.
That's a good tip, I'm going to have to try it.


With my normal SPD shoes and combination platform/clipless pedal it doesn't really matter which side I hit, the shoes will work on either one. The cleats seem to fit nicely between the edges of the platform if I should end up on that side of the pedal. And I guess I've never saw much of a downside to the shoes clipping in if I hit the mechanism side.

There are certain situations like when I've unclipped and found that I need to go another 20 feet forward or something where I may not really want to clip in again. What it comes down to I think is having the confidence that you can unclip quickly if you need to. If you have that confidence then clipping in won't be a concern.

I will agree with others about powerGrips. They work pretty well for places with lots of starts and stops. You don't get quite the same ability to pull though.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Arcanum
You have to consciously hook into Power Grips. It would be virtually impossible to accidentally get into them.

I have Power Grips for commuting and recreational riding and I really like them. They give you secure attachment to the pedals when you want it, you don't have to get into them until you want to, and they're easy to get into and out of. Plus, they're cheap.
Ah, that makes sense. If the strap part is down, would they drag on the ground? I'm asking, seriously, I know the week I had cages on my bike that's what happened and it was real annoying, but obviously power grips are different.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Kotts
Powergrips are easier to slip your foot into/out of in a hurry, if you just can't get used to doing so with clipless.
While I think that clipless are easier to get into out of once you become accustomed to them, I have to admit I have a friend who just can't get used to clipless and I can see how powergrips might be mentally familiar enough that it would be easier.

Another option would be to forego clipless altogether and get platform pedals with the pins in them.

"chucky" - I'm curious, do you know which exact pedals you're using? Do they say Shimano on them? Like these (M423's) -


Or these (A530's) -


I know people have said some of the spd knockoffs are harder to clip in and out of than the actual Shimano pedals. 'course, maybe you just don't want to be clipped in either.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:39 AM
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Despite what less demanding riders might think, being clipped in IS NOT always best. Rain, cold, and lack of maintenance gum up the spring mechanism which transforms "confidence" in being able to unclip into "false confidence". It's not a lack of unclipping being second nature that's the problem, but the nature of the beast itself. It's also a fact that no matter how great one's skills are, unclipping will never be as fast or easy as simply removing feet from pedals and these micro delays and fatigues start to add up in situations which require more foot removals than actual pedal revolutions (such as filtering/crawling through heavy traffic), especially when compounded by the imperfect mechanical operation of the clipless mechanism.

Full platform pedals with platform shoes aren't an option because platforms aren't always best either. For example after averaging 15 mph over 30 miles of potholes and heavy urban traffic even the effort of keeping one's feet on the pedals becomes significant from which foot retention provides relief. This is really the only benefit to being clipped in as studies show that foot retention doesn't actually produce more power.


I considered powergrips, but my concern is that they won't work well with sandals, which I find indespensible in winter due to their ability to accommodate adjustable layers of socks. Do you guys think powergrips will hurt the tops of my feet with sandals? Do you think noncycling sandals would be stiff enough so I can use regular cage pedals or would I need to use pedals with pins to provide sufficient grip for my Shimano sandals?

Last edited by chucky; 06-16-10 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
"chucky" - I'm curious, do you know which exact pedals you're using? Do they say Shimano on them?
I'm using these pedals:

They have adjustable metal pins on the platform side (which I find essential to provide sufficient grip for the slippery bottoms of cleated shoes) and they're easier to unclip than my Shimano double sided pedals.
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Old 06-16-10, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky
I'm using these pedals:

They have adjustable metal pins on the platform side (which I find essential to provide sufficient grip for the slippery bottoms of cleated shoes) and they're easier to unclip than my Shimano double sided pedals.
Interesting. Could you share a link or name for those pedals? Just the pic itself doesn't let me look them up. :-)
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Old 06-16-10, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky
Despite what less demanding riders might think, being clipped in IS NOT always best. Rain, cold, and lack of maintenance gum up the spring mechanism which transforms "confidence" in being able to unclip into "false confidence". It not a lack of unclipping being second nature that's the problem, but the nature of the beast itself. It's also a fact that no matter how great one's skills are unclipping will never be as fast or easy as simply removing feet from pedals and these micro delays and fatigues start to add up in situations which require more foot removals than actual pedal revolutions (such as filtering/crawling through heavy traffic), especially when compounded by imperfect mechanical operation of the clipless mechanism.

Full platform pedals with platform shoes aren't an option because platforms aren't always best either. For example after averaging 15 mph over 30 miles of potholes and heavy urban traffic even the effort of keeping one's feet on the pedals becomes significant from which foot retention provides relief. This is really the only benefit to being clipped in as studies show that foot retention doesn't actually produce more power.


I considered powergrips, but my concern is that they won't work well with sandals, which I find indespensible in winter due to their ability to accommodate layers of socks. Do you guys think powergrips will hurt the tops of my feet?
To me the downside to PowerGrips is that they have to be adjusted right to work well at all. Depending on the tread pattern a given shoe may be difficult to get in if the Powergrip is adjusted tight enough to be effective. Riding with different pairs of shoes isn't so easy since each may require the PowerGrips to be set differently.

I also found that over long distances they caused my feet to go numb but not everyone has that problem and for short distances, even with sandals they should be fine.

If you're more concerned about foot retention than power, then adjusting them right isn't so important. If by studies your talking about the same one on the Rivendell site, that has been shot full of holes. You do definitely get more power out of foot retention, but I agree that it doesn't come automatically or 100% of the time.

Another option to consider would be BMX style pedals with pins.

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Old 06-16-10, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
Interesting. Could you share a link or name for those pedals? Just the pic itself doesn't let me look them up. :-)
Nashbar Highlander also sold as Wellgo WAM-D10. The pins on the platform side are actually screws which you can screw in/out to adjust their height.

I'd love them if it weren't for the fact that I can't seem to hit the platform side when I want to use it.
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Old 06-16-10, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by tjspiel
To me the downside to PowerGrips is that they have to be adjusted right to work well at all. Depending on the tread pattern a given shoe may be difficult to get in if the Powergrip is adjusted tight enough to be effective. Riding with different pairs of shoes isn't so easy since each may require the PowerGrips to be set differently.

I also found that over long distances they caused my feet to go numb but not everyone has that problem and for short distances, even with sandals they should be fine.

If you're more concerned about foot retention than power, then adjusting them right isn't so important. If by studies your talking about the same one on the Rivendell site, that has been shot full of holes. You do definitely get more power out of foot retention, but I agree that it doesn't come automatically or 100% of the time.

Another option to consider would be BMX style pedals with pins.
Where is the study on the rivendell site? I only see a rant/article. I'm talking about a scientific study published in a sports journal. If you get more power out of foot retention then nobody told the crank arm I broke riding on the platform side of my pedals.

Pins are great for rain and slippery shoes, but they don't help when your leg cramps and tries to flop your foot off the pedal after hours of repeated hard accelerations.
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Old 06-16-10, 10:11 AM
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Ok thanks for your input everyone.

I think I'm going to try putting my cleats at an extreme angle so I really have to rotate my foot to clip in. Hopefully I'll have sufficient grip when combined with pedals like this:


If that doesn't work then I'll try powergrips with shimano sandals and with noncycling sandals.
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Old 06-16-10, 10:21 AM
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I have clip-in pedals on every bike I own. I will often ride in regular street shoes, when I don't want to wear cleats. I'm so used to doing that, that I don't even think about it anymore.

It's all on what you get used to.

Question for the Power Grip owners/users:
When you take your foot out of the pedal, it flips over and the strap is hanging down, right? Just like old fashioned toe clips & straps, right?
So, how do you flip it back upright, if there's no tap on the pedal to facilitate that?
The old "quill" pedals (and the modern ones too) have that little triangular tab and you just flip it with your foot and slide in, then cinch down the strap. Super easy to do, and with little practice, you do it without even thinking.
How is this system better (if "better" is the right word)?
Please explain.


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Old 06-16-10, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky
Despite what less demanding riders might think, being clipped in IS NOT always best. Rain, cold, and lack of maintenance gum up the spring mechanism which transforms "confidence" in being able to unclip into "false confidence". It not a lack of unclipping being second nature that's the problem, but the nature of the beast itself.
I don't think you're right about weather gumming up clipless pedals. These guys (cyclocross racers) ride clipless despite being literally coated with mud, not to mention running through mud in their shoes.


If clipless pedals hold up to that stuff (and I've heard that they do, though Time and Crank Brothers seem to be better at it than Shimano spd's), I think the stuff you run into in a commute isn't going to be a problem.

I personally ran clipless all last winter, living in Minnesota where there's plenty of snow and road gunk. They never seemed to change their ability to clip in and out (not my mountain pedals at least).

With good pedals, as they wear they become easier to clip out of (which is a problem for people sprinting all-out on their bike, but not usually commuters).


Originally Posted by chucky
It's also a fact that no matter how great one's skills are unclipping will never be as fast or easy as simply removing feet from pedals and these micro delays and fatigues start to add up in situations which require more foot removals than actual pedal revolutions (such as filtering/crawling through heavy traffic), especially when compounded by imperfect mechanical operation of the clipless mechanism.
Clipless is certainly never going to be faster than platform pedals, whether it's "as fast" is another issue. I've never ridden through traffic where I was taking my feet on and off the pedals more often than I actually completed a single revolution of the pedals though.

Originally Posted by chucky
Full platform pedals with platform shoes aren't an option because platforms aren't always best either. For example after averaging 15 mph over 30 miles of potholes and heavy urban traffic even the effort of keeping one's feet on the pedals becomes significant from which foot retention provides relief. This is really the only benefit to being clipped in as studies show that foot retention doesn't actually produce more power.
There aren't any "studies" that say that foot retention doesn't actually produce more power, that's just absurd. There's a debate about whether it produces "significantly" more power and whether it's worth it, yes.

I understand what you're saying about being attached to the pedals. But if you believe that clipless doesn't help with power consider that the pedals with pins come from bmx riders, and they're doing so crazy crazy stuff where they're in the air and need to come down with their feet on the pedals (they also use extra grippy shoes - "5-10" makes a lot of them). To do that, pins must provide a pretty solid grip on the pedal.

Originally Posted by chucky
I considered powergrips, but my concern is that they won't work well with sandals, which I find indespensible in winter due to their ability to accommodate layers of socks. Do you guys think powergrips will hurt the tops of my feet?
You use sandals in the winter? Maybe I'm confused...do you live in a nice warm place like Florida or something where "winter" means lots of rain? Makes sense then...
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Old 06-16-10, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by modernjess
I don't know if you are ever going to get your pedals to think for you, You have to tell them what to do.
Question: Why do Crank Bros Mallets and other such "downhill" pedals advertise that you can ride them unclipped? How do you do this without accidentally clipping in?

Originally Posted by PaulRivers
I don't think you're right about weather gumming up clipless pedals. These guys (cyclocross racers) ride clipless despite being literally coated with mud, not to mention running through mud in their shoes.
Yeah and then they go home and clean and lube them. Playing around in a race where the clock stops once you cross the finish line is completely different from performing day in day out in the real world.

Originally Posted by PaulRivers
There aren't any "studies" that say that foot retention doesn't actually produce more power, that's just absurd. There's a debate about whether it produces "significantly" more power and whether it's worth it, yes.
Oh no? There are many studies which confirm that pulling on the pedals produces less power for the same amount of effort. For example.
"The aim of this study was to determine the influence of different shoe-pedal interfaces and of an active pulling-up action during the upstroke phase on the pedalling technique. Eight elite cyclists (C) and seven non-cyclists (NC) performed three different bouts at 90 rev . min (-1) and 60 % of their maximal aerobic power. They pedalled with single pedals (PED), with clipless pedals (CLIP) and with a pedal force feedback (CLIPFBACK) where subjects were asked to pull up on the pedal during the upstroke. There was no significant difference for pedalling effectiveness, net mechanical efficiency (NE) and muscular activity between PED and CLIP. When compared to CLIP, CLIPFBACK resulted in a significant increase in pedalling effectiveness during upstroke (86 % for C and 57 % NC, respectively), as well as higher biceps femoris and tibialis anterior muscle activity (p < 0.001). However, NE was significantly reduced (p < 0.008) with 9 % and 3.3 % reduction for C and NC, respectively. Consequently, shoe-pedal interface (PED vs. CLIP) did not significantly influence cycling technique during submaximal exercise. However, an active pulling-up action on the pedal during upstroke increased the pedalling effectiveness, while reducing net mechanical efficiency."

You know what I think is absurd? Roadies who wouldn't know what fast was if it bit them in their pansy ass lycra shorts. A roadie friend of mine recently told me I could qualify for CAT1 just based on my average commute times in traffic. My response? "I'm not interested in playing around."

Originally Posted by PaulRivers
You use sandals in the winter? Maybe I'm confused...do you live in a nice warm place like Florida or something where "winter" means lots of rain? Makes sense then...
Unlike shoes which have limited space for extra insulation, sandals allow a practically unlimited increase in insulation as temperatures drop. Moreover, the adjustable straps allow you to prevent overtightness, which promotes circulation and keeps the feet warm. So you can use thicker and thicker socks combined with a goretex/waterproof outer sock to customize your footwear as the weather requires.

It works so well that I got rid of all my winter boots which pale in comparison to the warmth of shoveling snow in sandals with appropriate sock layers.

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Old 06-16-10, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky
You know what I think is absurd? Roadies who wouldn't know what fast was if it bit them in their pansy ass lycra shorts. A roadie friend of mine recently told me I could qualify for CAT1 just based on my average commute times in traffic. My response? "I'm not interested in playing around."
Your roadie friend isn't much of roadie 'cause he doesn't know what he's talking about. There are specific requirements for moving from one category to another. Getting from 5 to 4 isn't too hard. Taking a racing class alone gets you part way there.

It get's more difficult as you move up. You earn points based on where you place in sanctioned races. The larger the field and the higher the finish, the more points you get. I don't think you get any for a "really fast commute time".

So a Cat 1 ranking is not something you qualify for based on talent alone. You have to earn it over time by consistently proving yourself to be among the top in Cat 2. And of course you don't get to Cat 2 without first proving yourself in Cat 3.

This is my understanding of how it works anyway.

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Old 06-16-10, 02:27 PM
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Posts: 903

Bikes: 2010 Kona Dr. Dew, Moose Bicycle XXL (fat bike), Yuba Mundo V3

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Originally Posted by PaulRivers
Ah, that makes sense. If the strap part is down, would they drag on the ground? I'm asking, seriously, I know the week I had cages on my bike that's what happened and it was real annoying, but obviously power grips are different.
If you're riding with the strap part down, yes, they'll drag a bit (though this may vary depending on your shoe size and bottom bracket height). It's not really a problem, though, just a little noisy.

Originally Posted by frpax
When you take your foot out of the pedal, it flips over and the strap is hanging down, right? Just like old fashioned toe clips & straps, right?
So, how do you flip it back upright, if there's no tap on the pedal to facilitate that?
The old "quill" pedals (and the modern ones too) have that little triangular tab and you just flip it with your foot and slide in, then cinch down the strap. Super easy to do, and with little practice, you do it without even thinking.
How is this system better (if "better" is the right word)?
Please explain.[/B]
The straps will hang down basically whenever your foot isn't in them. However, it's pretty trivial to flip the pedal over and put your foot in. It becomes second-nature in a very short amount of time.

As far as how they're "better": They're very quick to get into and out of, they allow you to use normal shoes and platform pedals, and you don't have to get into them until you're ready (after you reach an easy cruising speed, for instance). That makes them very appealing to people who are on-and-off the bike a good bit, or are in stop-and-go traffic, are going to be doing more than just riding, etc. The fact that they're cheap is a great bonus.

I have not personally compared clips, clipless and Power Grips, but I've heard their effectiveness is more-or-less comparable.
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