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Question about clipless pedals.

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Question about clipless pedals.

Old 01-23-21, 08:45 PM
  #1  
Helderberg
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Question about clipless pedals.

I have been reading up on clipless and found an article that was out of left field compared to all of the others but I thought I would ask here.
According to this expert using clipless will cause damage to your legs due to the locked in configuration that causes a narrow plane of wear to your joints. This is the only time I have heard/read anything like this and I have to apologize as I did not save the article so I can't give a link. My concern is that I already have an issue with my knees and I was thinking that going clipless would help me keep my knees over my feet and help protect my knees. I have found that I have a tendency to splay my knees out especially when I get tired. I have tried cages but they are uncomfortable on the top of my feet but they do help keep my legs straight when pedaling or the pressure on my feet let me know I am not.
At any rate, I would like to know that I am going in the right direction or at least not going in the wrong direction by going clipless. Thinking Shimano SPD and shoes.
Any input would be very much appreciated, Frank.
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Old 01-23-21, 10:31 PM
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Have you read about "float" yet?
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Old 01-23-21, 10:32 PM
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With clipless, there are two kinds of riders:
Those who need their feet locked in one position. They use special cleats with no float.
Those who don't need the above. They use regular cleats which allow several degrees of float. They adjust the float so that their normal foot position is in the middle of the float.

Neither of these two types get knee damage from riding clipless. It's quite the opposite. If one has ridden a lot, it should be obvious into which group one falls. And one can always change cleats.
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Old 01-23-21, 10:42 PM
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I have been clipless for years both road and mountain pedals, never had any leg, knee, or foot issues. Well, I had some foot issues, but that was due to two things; narrow pedal base and shoes that did not have a stiff enough sole. I found normal SPD pedals were too narrow, so I started riding Time ATACs and found them much more comfortable. Once I got a shoe with a really firm sole, that was the end of my foot problems and that was over 10 years ago.
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Old 01-24-21, 12:46 AM
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I’ve only been riding clipless for 20 yrs but no issues so far. I use Look Keo cleats with some float and I’m not always diligent about replacing worn cleats so I don’t think I’m ‘locked in’.
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Old 01-24-21, 06:30 AM
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Clipless CAN cause issues if you set them up too far from what your anatomy requires.
The less float your pedal/cleat system allows, the more important it becomes to get it (about) right.
Now, once you’re aware that it might not be a guaranteed fit & forget scenario, there shouldn’t be any cause for concern. If you note a new twinge, be ready to tweak the adjustment until comfort is restored. It’s not like a few miles will make your leg fall off.
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Old 01-24-21, 08:55 AM
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I have been clipless for over 30 years with not problems what so ever.

For safety they are required on my tadpole trike.
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Old 01-24-21, 09:35 AM
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Started riding look petals in 1985. Had to drill my shoes myself. All current shoes and petals will not cause any issues. They have float adjustment.
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Old 01-24-21, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed Wiser View Post
Started riding look petals in 1985. Had to drill my shoes myself. All current shoes and petals will not cause any issues. They have float adjustment.
The same here. People in my club thought I was nuts (might be but not for that reason) but the diesel mechanic at my work drilled the shoes for me and the rest is history.
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Old 01-24-21, 09:56 AM
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Thanks all for the input and "No" I have not read up about float but I will now. Sorry for my ignorance and I will do more research before I post again. Also, I have not read about Time ATACs system as I was told by a fellow rider here that I should look into the SPD with the flat/clip system. That way, I was told, I would not need to have wear the correct shoes for a casual ride.
Frank.
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Old 01-24-21, 11:27 AM
  #11  
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Another option is good ol' toeclips and straps, which are what I have happily used on all of my bikes since early 1969.
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Old 01-24-21, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
Thanks all for the input and "No" I have not read up about float but I will now. Sorry for my ignorance and I will do more research before I post again. Also, I have not read about Time ATACs system as I was told by a fellow rider here that I should look into the SPD with the flat/clip system. That way, I was told, I would not need to have wear the correct shoes for a casual ride.
Frank.
Different pedals have different amount of float and some pedals are offered with different cleats depending on how much float you want.
I've been on clipless for 30ish years and I use them on all rides. I find the mtb style SPD pedals don't have a lot of float compared to other pedals. Don't know about the pedals you mentioned.
I also use Kneesaver pedal extenders because I toe-out quite a bit.
FWIW I hate toe clips and straps.
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Old 01-24-21, 06:04 PM
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I think strap in pedals causing knee problems is complete nonsense .

I like mine because being able to pull up with one foot at a time tremendously helps with power output. I can spin faster and more efficiently in a lower gear. Without them, I used to always pedal lazily in a super high gear. Its particularly helpful going up hills.

If you have knee problems, I suggest trying to find a local bikehub program and try to find some spare biopace rings. They are so easy on your knees.

Biopace is oriented so that the most powerful part of the pedal stroke (9 and 3 o clock) has a slightly smaller tooth count to help speed up the crank to get you through the weak spot (12 /6 o'clock) faster. I thought it worked tremendously well... until I installed my strap in pedals. Since I can pull on one side while pushing down on the other, the concept of biopace is totally useless. So I went back to circular chainrings and was more or less happy for the time being...

Then, I ended up going back to biopace yet again,.except this time I found a double setup with the perfect ratios for my needs and I made sure to orient the rings backwards so that the power part of the stroke correlates with an increase in teeth count. Still very easy on your knees, less bouncing, better power transfer... its a super natural feeling and it really helps me take advantage of my gearing. I'm always spinning at a higher cadence now even in larger gear ratios.

This,.paired with the right side crank arms, the correct ratio front rings, and a more aggressive rear cassette with closer spread is a real game changer for performance and comfort/efficiency. Id never go back.
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Old 01-24-21, 06:06 PM
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As for knee issues, finding a bike with the correct reach, top tube length paired with the right size stem and crank arms is critical to properly position yourself at an efficient angle for power transfer. I'd avoid circular rings.
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Old 01-24-21, 10:27 PM
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You might consider these...

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

My left knee does not track parallel to the bike when at the top of the pedal stroke do to some issue with my left hip. Hence it splays out like yours, except mine does it all the time.

Those pedals in the link have +4mm axels on each side. In addition, I add a 1mm spacer to each pedal, for a total of +5mm of extension on each side. This configuration was suggested by my fitter (no he doesn't sell pedals).

With my old pedals, after I had ridden any distance at all, I could barely stand when I got off the bike due to extreme pain in my left hip.

I also shimmed my left cleat +2 degrees to help eliminate some foot numbness.

Problem solved.

Glenn
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Old 01-25-21, 10:23 AM
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Like many I've been using "clipless" for many years without issues to knees, joints, etc., unlike when I casually jog to the store for a big gulp...
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Old 01-25-21, 09:33 PM
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Frank, you might read up on Look Keo pedals. You can get those at a pretty good price point. The Keos offer 3 different cleats. The red and gray ones have float whereas the black ones don’t have any float. I use the gray ones and they seem to be good for me. Note that the SPDs are double sided whereas the Keos are only one sided. I have the SPDs on my gravel bike but I don’t think they have any float.

For pedals without float, your feet are locked onto the pedals and there isn’t any play with your leg movements. Very few people have a perfectly aligned skeletal system so float allows compensation for your joints not being perfectly aligned.
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Old 01-27-21, 12:44 AM
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I started on Look Delta pedals sometime in the late 1980s. All the copies made the Delta affordable and compatible. I tried SPDs but the Look offered a wider platform for my feet. I've got them on a dozen bikes and several pairs of shoes. Changing to a new system would be ridiculously expensive.
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Old 01-27-21, 11:49 AM
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I've have been using Speedplay Frog MTB pedals on my roadie for years. Tons of float, easy in and out release. Very easy on the knees. I rarely have issues.

Last year, Wahoo bought out Speedplay and killed the line. I wish they had at least continued making the cleats for those of us who have the pedals. I complained to them with no luck. Normally, their cleats are under $40 but eBay and others are selling for over $100 a set! Forget that....

So I'm sort of stuck. I bought a pair of Time ATAC's, but haven't been able to dial them in yet. They feel really stiff, as they use springs for tension rather than just the shape of the product. I've got them at the lowest setting but don't like how far I have to turn my leg to reach the release point. I've ordered a set of their Easy cleats. Will get them in a week or so.

Meantime, I found I had a set of Frog cleats in the garage that are pretty newish so they will last me for months while I figure out the Times.
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Old 01-27-21, 04:13 PM
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I have to be honest people, I think I am more confused now then when I started. Not from the post here but from all of the reading I have done in an attempt to educate myself. For the foreseeable future I am going to keep using my flat MTB peddles and when I feel comfortable going to a Bike Store and get some hands on product I will try to make a informed decision.
Below are two of the peddles I was looking at on line. Any input would be appreciated.
Frank.

Shimano M324 SPD Pedals | REI Co-op
Look KeO Classic 3 Pedals | REI Co-op
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Old 01-27-21, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Helderberg View Post
I have to be honest people, I think I am more confused now then when I started. Not from the post here but from all of the reading I have done in an attempt to educate myself. For the foreseeable future I am going to keep using my flat MTB peddles and when I feel comfortable going to a Bike Store and get some hands on product I will try to make a informed decision.
Below are two of the peddles I was looking at on line. Any input would be appreciated.
Frank.

Shimano M324 SPD Pedals | REI Co-op
Look KeO Classic 3 Pedals | REI Co-op
Either of those pedals would be fine for most of us, though I have no use for the flat side of the SPDs. The Look pedal is more of a roadie type and the SPD is more of a casual user deal.
To me, the wider cleat and pedal (like those Looks) supports the foot better. This may not be a concern for some, but I used the SPD mountain bike pedals on the road for several years and when my feet started hurting I switched back to Looks.
Of course, the quality of the shoes is a big factor in your foot comfort.
My suggestion is to get the cheapest SPD style pedal you can find and some lower level shoes and give it a try. If you want to buy higher priced shoes you could get some with a flat sole so you can use them with flat pedals should you decide you don't want to stay with clipless.
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Old 01-27-21, 06:15 PM
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SPD & SPD-SL are not the same thing.

The SPD system is better suited to mountain biking & walking, usually mating to shoes that are similar in appearance to tennis shoes with a rubber treaded sole, but have a very stiff shank in the sole the recessed cleat bolts to.

SPD-SL are road bike specific, one sided pedals & usually mates to shoes with hard plastic soles that have large triangular protuding cleats. Walking in them is a lot like walking in reverse high heels. Although NOT the Look system you link to, they are similar.

Shimano Pedal versus Shimano Pedal-Super Light.

In any case, pedals, cleats, shoes, etc...of any abrand or system generally come with float option by default so that there is freedom & flexibility for your foot to point as needed.

The Zero float option is usually something the consumer must take action to obtain as such a consumer has a specific reason to be locked in. Zero float was convention decades ago, but is no longer how things are done as it really offers no additional benefit over float capable, but does offer injury risk.

Cleats of either type (float/non-float) are readily available for almost any pedal system on the market.

The practicality of the SPD system makes it enormously popular among all types of bikes & uses, as the shoes are still useable as shoes when not on the bike. Nobody wants to walk like a baby deer at a café stop, for example.

Knee issues arise out of so many other things than pedal system I would be keen to dismiss such concerns in favor of proper overall fit. Cleats in a consistant set location may actually be a benefit to avoid sloppy form & inconsistant foot placement.

You wouldn't grap a weight lifting bar at random places when doing a bench press, would you? No. You would line up your pinky finger of each hand on the same smooth area of each side the same each & every single time. Cleats & "clipless" pedals offer the same thing...consistant fit.

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Old 01-29-21, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GAtkins View Post
My left knee does not track parallel to the bike when at the top of the pedal stroke do to some issue with my left hip. Hence it splays out like yours, except mine does it all the time.
How long are your cranks? I encountered that issue after I had my broken fenur repaired. The solution for me has been 165mm crankarms to reduce the required range of motion.
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Old 01-29-21, 01:14 PM
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SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics and the SL stands for Super Light. They are 2 different types of cleats.
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Old 01-29-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
SPD stands for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics and the SL stands for Super Light. They are 2 different types of cleats.
Dang it! You're right.
I dunno what my fingers were thinkin'.
I must've completely forgot the "Dynamics" in my post above & filled in the rest with faulty memory. Good catch!
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