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Pedals, straps, city shoes and knock-knees

Old 01-02-13, 11:23 AM
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NeoY2k
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Pedals, straps, city shoes and knock-knees

Hi,

I have a problem to solve: I want to ride my bicycle whatever the weather for commuting, wearing city/whatever soft-soled shoes.
Classic platform pedals will slip when wet. Rat traps will wear through soft-soled shoes and be uncomfortable/provide uneven pressure (I like thin soled "barefoot" shoes for walking).

I bought Power Grips to solve the slipping problem, and put them on classic LU954 Wellgo rat traps. The power grips add to the pressure of the cage and push very uncomfortably through the sole, but it's not the main problem.

I'm knock-kneed (genu valgum) - it's structural, my bones are bent. The Wellgo pedals just seem way too small for me (they indeed actually are on the small side). The Power Grips, due to the "twisting" way they work, add to the lateral load on my knees. The result is pain accumulated in 3 weeks of use that now kill me - I barely can walk after the 50 km I rode 2 days ago (can't ride anymore, of course. Taking some rest).

I'm thinking that Power Grips will be inadequate to my condition due to the "lateral twist" way they lock, always keeping a torsional load on my knees. I think toe clips with loose straps will offer foot retention without that drawback, yet I'm concerned these will try to put my feet too straight? Otoh, it's just stamped steel after all, nothing a pair of pliers wouldn't bend.

Next I'm wondering how to adapt to my genu valgum better.

Wedged shims seem to be commonly used with clipless, but I don't see why I couldn't make varus wedges to attach to the pedals. (of course on the toe clips side, otherwise the varus wedges would tend to make the feet slip out of the pedal!). But is it adequate? I should wear my orthotic insoles that pretty much work this way - but not on the portion of the foot that makes contact to the pedal, so they are useless for cycling.

I'm wondering how much help could bring me "knee savers" (pedal extenders). Yes, I tend to put the ball of my feet on the outside of the pedal and my heels tend to strike the crankarms/crankset. It will mimic the natural stance but put the joints less in line... I would think that the Q factor need to be the right distance according to your hips but... The optimal solution might be to use wedges to fully align the joints and reduce Q factor to natural hips width. But this will mean quite steep wedges! (I have the feet at 11:00' and 2:00'). I don't know.

I'm also concerned that genu valgum not only means angled feet but also a modified movement of the lower articulation that I don't fully know - will it make the feet want to rotate during the movement? Twist? Hard to figure out by myself...

As for the model of pedals to work from, they need to accommodate toe clips and straps.
My wellgo were not optimal - seemed too small and not comfortable.
The MKS GR-9 seem nice, but at 69mm width are even a couple mm smaller than the wellgo. Maybe with wedges will they be adequate, maybe small pedal extenders would put them at the right position. 79mm length sounds nice.
Wellgo B36 seem like they could do the trick, at 112x100mm.
Genetic Drift-R seem adequate too in a more reasonable size. But expensive.
MKS Sylvan (touring) or the like: 93mm large, 63mm deep. Don't seem as easy to mod as the GR-9, but might be more adequate? Larger, but not as deep.
MKS RMX "Sneaker" could be well suited. Would need spacers to put the toe clips, doesn't sounds like a big deal.
MKS "Grip King" or "Lambda". Would just need washers to mount the toe clips too. Ultra long, narrower.

What would you choose? Other pedals to recommend?

Depending on how good the solution will be I might use it for touring - or I might go clipless, with the same challenges still to be solved. So far I just tour on platforms.

So, what do you think of this? Any information, opinion and comment highly appreciated!

Thanks,
Nicolas

Last edited by NeoY2k; 01-02-13 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 01-02-13, 01:56 PM
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What about just a grippier platform pedal?



I'm not sure how soft the soles are on your preferred shoes but I don't think the carbon reinforced plastic "pins" on these would bug you too much. You could file them down a bit if they were a problem. The pedals themselves are pretty big which would allow a lot of flexibility in terms of foot position.

I ride clipless in the summer but use these in the winter.

They also have aluminum and magnesium models with removable/replaceable pins.
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Old 01-02-13, 02:11 PM
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mtb123
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Originally Posted by NeoY2k View Post
What would you choose? Other pedals to recommend?
I would forget about the toe clips and get some Odyssey PC plastic pedals and Hold Fast straps. This gives you a wide plastic platform and might allow you to point your foot/toe in whatever direction is more natural for you.


Last edited by mtb123; 01-02-13 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 01-03-13, 02:17 PM
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Just get some mountain bike flat pedals. Big and wide, make sue to get some with steel pins, plenty grippy. You don't need your feet to be attached to the pedals, esp. if you have foot problems. Thin, flexy bike shoes are not going to help. Try some my bike sport shoes. Somewhat flexible with a good rubber compound on the bottom. They make some skate/ bike park/ downhill shoes that would fit the bill. Try looking at Chrome, Vans or Keen for starters.
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Old 01-03-13, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
They make some skate/ bike park/ downhill shoes that would fit the bill.
If you go that route check out Five-Ten shoes. They make the best flat pedal mtb shoes.
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Old 01-09-13, 07:39 AM
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Thank you all.
I also came across an article by Rivendell about wether to clip in or not.
https://www.rivbike.com/kb_results.asp?ID=45

I actually do want foot retention for grip and more regular (imho) rotation, especially in uneven conditions.
The Hold Fast straps you shown me actually seem to perfectly fit my needs. Will give them a try.
I also am sold on wide "BMX" platform pedals. I think the MKS RMX "Sneaker" will fit fine, no excessive spikes but sturdy and quality manufacturing. Others might be better, as the RMX shape is a bit strange. (And admitedly I have an old crappy pair lying around on a defunct bike that I'l just have to take out for the test first...).

Regarding the Five-Ten shoes, these seem incredible. Are the soles reasonably stiff? I might be highly interested in them for touring.

What I'd like more info is about wedges with platform pedals. Has anyone tried this kind of solution? Any platform solution to knock-knees?

Thank you,
Nicolas

Last edited by NeoY2k; 01-09-13 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 01-09-13, 11:18 AM
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I am not a trained fitter, but have been through the ringer on fitting my own and my sons shoes/pedals. He is knock kneed. If you use platform pedals get some big fat BMX models. They are wide enough to handle most any foot position on them.

If you go clipless (ie, special shoe/pedal interface) seriously look into Speedplay. They have a bunch of models and are about the only set up that can handle extreme leg positioning issues. The road pedals can get pricy, so stick with the cromo axles and you will be fine. I set my son up with Specialized shoes, arch supports and extra wedging inside. The shoes come with a built in 11/2 degree of valgus wedge and we added another degree with the Specialized footbeds and wedges. I am not a big Specialized fan, but their shoes and footbeds seem to be very well researched, thus I use them. These pedals/shoes will not be walking around touring shoes so that may bugger the deal for you.

Pedal extenders or simple spacers may be in order as well. Talk to a fitter at the LBS.
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Old 01-09-13, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I am not a trained fitter, but have been through the ringer on fitting my own and my sons shoes/pedals. He is knock kneed. If you use platform pedals get some big fat BMX models. They are wide enough to handle most any foot position on them.

If you go clipless (ie, special shoe/pedal interface) seriously look into Speedplay. They have a bunch of models and are about the only set up that can handle extreme leg positioning issues. The road pedals can get pricy, so stick with the cromo axles and you will be fine. I set my son up with Specialized shoes, arch supports and extra wedging inside. The shoes come with a built in 11/2 degree of valgus wedge and we added another degree with the Specialized footbeds and wedges. I am not a big Specialized fan, but their shoes and footbeds seem to be very well researched, thus I use them. These pedals/shoes will not be walking around touring shoes so that may bugger the deal for you.

Pedal extenders or simple spacers may be in order as well. Talk to a fitter at the LBS.
+1 on both thinking about clipless (which ironically may actually have more effective float than platforms, particularly with straps) and pedal extenders.
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Old 01-09-13, 12:34 PM
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Ok... here's my take... first off, the PowerGrips can be adjusted. You have the say in how much grip you get when your foot is "properly" oriented for you. It sounds very much like you have yours on the tight side. I like mine snug, almost to the point of hurting, but only almost. I am using decent bike shoes though, they have a lot of material at the sole but also the uppers at the points where the PowerGrips are putting the most pressure. Next, standard toe clips and straps. I use these as well on some bikes. The straps are never tightened and the clips should never need to be bent to accomodate any unique foot placement you might want to come up with. Even with untightened toe straps you can get some power into the up-stroke. These are really your best options. I ride in a fairly large club. I've never used clipless but a lot of them have. They seem to cause more problems than they cure. I got my PowerGrips because I really live on a shoestring budget. Sheer frugality made me opt for paying just for the grips and Shimano MTB41's vs SPD shoes/cleats and pedals. But even with all the float that can be found in some pedals people still complain about them. People with no real bio-mechanical issues. I'm seeing more and more PowerGrips showing up at our club rides ever since I told them that REI sells them.

H
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Old 01-09-13, 01:12 PM
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I've been using Ergon pedals a couple years , they have good support for whatever shoe I have on,
but I dont try to fit any straps ..

I aged out of any of that motivation

the concave shape does enough to make the foot placement automatic,
and the grip tape patch in the center solves the slipping .
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Old 01-09-13, 01:25 PM
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My favorite SPD sneakers are NOT stiff, and to me, that's a feature, not a bug. It lets me alter my pressure points. I use SPD-on-one-side pedals, and I occasionally pedal on the regular-old-pedal-on-one-side side, even with my SPD sneakers, to prevent foot fatigue.

In other words, I agree with Petersen 50%. I like being clipped in most of the time, but there are benefits to having no retention. The biggest one for me is being able to vary my position, because I get numbness and occasional pain.
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Old 01-09-13, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by NeoY2k View Post
Regarding the Five-Ten shoes, these seem incredible. Are the soles reasonably stiff? I might be highly interested in them for touring.
I have the Five-Ten Freerider and I love them for mtb and bmx riding. They have a reasonably stiff sole that I find perfect for pedaling. It is much stiffer than your typical Vans skate shoe. The Five-Ten impact is more of a downhill shoe at it has a noticeably stiffer sole than the Freerider.
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Old 01-13-13, 11:14 PM
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I just put a set of power grips on my hybrid. I've done the shoe specific clipless pedals in the past and got tired of the fact I had to change shoes to ride my bike and couldn't walk around without walking on my heels.
I also want to wear regular clothes and not have to costume out just to commute.
I don't need traps but figured it was worth the upgrade just to keep things interesting for a while anyway. I've used straps or traps before and I can live with them or without them.
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Old 01-15-13, 07:59 AM
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I use loose toe clips and pedal extenders to solve this problem. Harris Cyclery sells extenders in 1/2", 3/4" and 1" lengths and they've allowed me to keep my heels away from my chain stays and also avoid rubbing my toe straps against the cranks.

Good luck.
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Old 01-15-13, 10:12 AM
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+1 for pedal extenders. Knee-savers are pricey, check eBay instead. There's a guy who sells them for $25/pr -- I bought a pair from him (when they were $18/pr!), and they're just fine (as long as you're ok with the one and only size he offers, which is 20mm of extension). I also found a nicer pair made by Specialized for about $20 on eBay one time, they had allen-holes on the bolt-end, which is nice because you can get a wrench on the outside and extra leverage from the other side of the crank to get them off when they're set in. So those are good options, if you want a precise amount of extension for a careful fit, you'll probably have to go knee-savers.
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