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Old 06-19-07, 04:05 PM   #1
lpress
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Clipless pedals add about two percent

I just did an experiment comparing clipless pedals to toe clips. I found about 1.9 percent improvement on a climb and 1.85 percent on a flat course. How much do clipless pedals help you?
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Old 06-19-07, 04:19 PM   #2
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I asked this question a few weeks ago and didn't get any replys. I know that they do increase your power output, but didn't know how much. I also read where they say to put the clips on your shoes as far back as they will go. The same if you have knee problems. In Andy Pruitt's book he recommends the clipless for more power output, but he didn't give any figures. I feel they helped me, but others say they don't.
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Old 06-19-07, 04:48 PM   #3
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I don't know and don't really care. I've been riding clipless for 16 years and can't stand riding a bike without.
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Old 06-19-07, 04:51 PM   #4
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Clipless gives you the ability (or better ability) to pull up with the off leg. You can use that motion to increase your power or to relieve your "push" muscles for a while and let the O2 catch up with the debt. The actual effect is extremely dependent on the situation, the rider, and the current gravitational constant.
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Old 06-19-07, 04:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpress
I just did an experiment comparing clipless pedals to toe clips. I found about 1.9 percent improvement on a climb and 1.85 percent on a flat course. How much do clipless pedals help you?
Since going clipless in January 2007 when I got a set as a gift for my 65th birthday, I have:
  • lost 40 pounds (18%)
  • upped my average miles from 128 to 163 per week (27%) and 229 per week the past 4 weeks (79%)
  • increased my average speed over the same 30 miles course from 14.2 to 16.6 (17%)
  • dropped my resting heart rate from 56 to 48 bpm (14%)
  • got off my bp meds and lowered my bp from 138 to 116 (16%)

My Egg Beaters don't deserve all the credit, obviously, but I could not have done it without them. Any one out there make that sort of progress on flat pedals or toe clips????
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Old 06-19-07, 04:52 PM   #6
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I know they help me when I am pedalling up hill. I use muscles that I can't use with regular pedals. After using them for a while it just doesn't feel right without them.
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Old 06-19-07, 04:58 PM   #7
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From a motorsports background, something that can give a 2% improvement in lap time is absolutely amazing. I have no intention of ever using clipless, but my first reaction was 2% -- wow!

Paul
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Old 06-19-07, 05:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George
I asked this question a few weeks ago and didn't get any replys.
Well, in my test they helped by 1.85-1.9 percent. Does anyone else have any data?

Larry
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Old 06-19-07, 05:16 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc20010
Since going clipless in January 2007 when I got a set as a gift for my 65th birthday, I have:
  • lost 40 pounds (18%)
  • upped my average miles from 128 to 163 per week (27%) and 229 per week the past 4 weeks (79%)
  • increased my average speed over the same 30 miles course from 14.2 to 16.6 (17%)
  • dropped my resting heart rate from 56 to 48 bpm (14%)
  • got off my bp meds and lowered my bp from 138 to 116 (16%)

My Egg Beaters don't deserve all the credit, obviously, but I could not have done it without them. Any one out there make that sort of progress on flat pedals or toe clips????
I think you are "suffering" from (actually benefiting from) what I call new toy syndrome. I noticed this effect when I got my first set of clipless. I noticed it again when I replaced my heavy steel bike with a lighter aluminum setup, and yet again when I replaced that bike with a CF frame, and, yet again when I bought my first set of real road riding clothes (bibs and jersey if that's what you call 'em).

The clothes don't do anything physically to add to my speed or reduce my weight or increase my riding time. But the novelty (not to mention the comfort) makes me want to just ride and ride. Besides, as long as I'm moving, I don't hear any comments about how I look in those clothes, so, I ride and ride without stopping (and I lose weight and look a little better every week!!).

I used to be almost stoic in my insistence that there was some benefit to platforms (variable foot positions, and so forth) until I actually installed them - not because I wanted to improve my performance, only because I had run out of toys to purchase for my bike, LOL.

They have improved every aspect of my riding experience.

Caruso
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Old 06-19-07, 05:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpress
I just did an experiment comparing clipless pedals to toe clips. I found about 1.9 percent improvement on a climb and 1.85 percent on a flat course. How much do clipless pedals help you?
If you wore "sneakers" with toe clips, then your experiment was set up a little bit flawed. You want to compare the difference between the two pedal systems, but you threw in the shoe variable, too, if you didn't wear bicycling shoes using both pedals.
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Old 06-19-07, 05:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc20010
Since going clipless in January 2007 when I got a set as a gift for my 65th birthday, I have:
  • lost 40 pounds (18%)
  • upped my average miles from 128 to 163 per week (27%) and 229 per week the past 4 weeks (79%)
  • increased my average speed over the same 30 miles course from 14.2 to 16.6 (17%)
  • dropped my resting heart rate from 56 to 48 bpm (14%)
  • got off my bp meds and lowered my bp from 138 to 116 (16%)

My Egg Beaters don't deserve all the credit, obviously, but I could not have done it without them. Any one out there make that sort of progress on flat pedals or toe clips????

What ever it is your doing right, congradulations
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Old 06-19-07, 05:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
I think you are "suffering" from (actually benefiting from) what I call new toy syndrome. I noticed this effect when I got my first set of clipless. I noticed it again when I replaced my heavy steel bike with a lighter aluminum setup, and yet again when I replaced that bike with a CF frame, and, yet again when I bought my first set of real road riding clothes (bibs and jersey if that's what you call 'em).

The clothes don't do anything physically to add to my speed or reduce my weight or increase my riding time. But the novelty (not to mention the comfort) makes me want to just ride and ride. Besides, as long as I'm moving, I don't hear any comments about how I look in those clothes, so, I ride and ride without stopping (and I lose weight and look a little better every week!!).

I used to be almost stoic in my insistence that there was some benefit to platforms (variable foot positions, and so forth) until I actually installed them - not because I wanted to improve my performance, only because I had run out of toys to purchase for my bike, LOL.

They have improved every aspect of my riding experience.

Caruso
That's what I keep telling my wife. She really knows I need a new bike.
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Old 06-19-07, 05:58 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carusoswi
I think you are "suffering" from (actually benefiting from) what I call new toy syndrome. I noticed this effect when I got my first set of clipless. I noticed it again when I replaced my heavy steel bike with a lighter aluminum setup, and yet again when I replaced that bike with a CF frame, and, yet again when I bought my first set of real road riding clothes (bibs and jersey if that's what you call 'em).

The clothes don't do anything physically to add to my speed or reduce my weight or increase my riding time. But the novelty (not to mention the comfort) makes me want to just ride and ride. Besides, as long as I'm moving, I don't hear any comments about how I look in those clothes, so, I ride and ride without stopping (and I lose weight and look a little better every week!!).

I used to be almost stoic in my insistence that there was some benefit to platforms (variable foot positions, and so forth) until I actually installed them - not because I wanted to improve my performance, only because I had run out of toys to purchase for my bike, LOL.

They have improved every aspect of my riding experience.

Caruso
You are probably right. I recently got a Garmin 305 and notice that I like to beat each previous ride, so I go hard to do it.

I've been wearing bike shorts and jerseys for quite a while and now face a dilemma--the current stuff is starting to get a bit baggy, but I have not lost all the weight I want to. Should I get one set to carry me through or wait a bit until I get to my fighting weight??? Anyone need some used XL and XXL shorts and jerseys??
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Old 06-19-07, 06:01 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by ctyler
I don't know and don't really care. I've been riding clipless for 16 years and can't stand riding a bike without.
I'm with ctyler. I don't know and I don't care. I started riding clipless in 1993. Riding with a platform (or toe clip) pedal just doesn't seem right.
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Old 06-19-07, 06:12 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by George
That's what I keep telling my wife. She really knows I need a new bike.
Of course you do. I think a Cannondale Road Warrior 1000 would do you really well.
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Old 06-19-07, 06:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc20010
You are probably right. I recently got a Garmin 305 and notice that I like to beat each previous ride, so I go hard to do it.

I've been wearing bike shorts and jerseys for quite a while and now face a dilemma--the current stuff is starting to get a bit baggy, but I have not lost all the weight I want to. Should I get one set to carry me through or wait a bit until I get to my fighting weight??? Anyone need some used XL and XXL shorts and jerseys??
Sounds like you're fighting pretty damn well right now! You can reward yourself with some shorts that fit rright.

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Old 06-19-07, 07:02 PM   #17
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In a related thread that was on here just a few weeks ago, a couple of people posted summaries of data gathered from scientific tests which showed that clip & clipless pedals improved performance by at most something less than 0.5%. And I think it might have been closer to 0.2%. These improvements are vs using a platform pedal.

This was based upon the amount of force that one applied in the upstroke vs the downstroke. That the force of the downstroke overwhelms the marginal force actually generated on the upstroke side. I believe there was some data suggesting that for most riders, the difference is very close to 0, that you would have to really work at it to get it up to 0.5%.

I've since seen many bicycle shops advertising clipless as being 20% more efficient, and a couple claiming 30%. If one thinks about how much force they generate on the downstroke vs what they achieve on the upstroke, it is readily obvious that it is no where near 20%. You would have to be pulling up very hard - and it would feel like you lifting weights as you did.

I haven't reviewed the actual study or numbers, so I have no comment on their validity, although it seemed to be from a credible source.

I don't know if this holds true for all riders under all conditions. But I would think it would be very difficult to get anywhere near 5%, much less the claimed 20%. And if someone isn't working hard at developing and maintaining a very active upstroke, and is rather just pedaling along clipped in, I wouldn't be surprised at all if the difference was less than 1%.

If anyone has references to a legitimate study, I'd like to see them.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlc20010
Of course you do. I think a Cannondale Road Warrior 1000 would do you really well.
That's a nice bike, but only a small step up from where he is now.

George needs to make the BIG commitment and go to a new Madone or Specialized S-Works road bike! Or maybe a custom-fitted bike.

No small steps this time George!
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Old 06-19-07, 07:24 PM   #19
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lpress...I like how everyone has an opinion but only one person (you) actually tested it out. Good work!
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Old 06-19-07, 07:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanMM
If you wore "sneakers" with toe clips, then your experiment was set up a little bit flawed. You want to compare the difference between the two pedal systems, but you threw in the shoe variable, too, if you didn't wear bicycling shoes using both pedals.
If you read his experiment, his purpose was to figure out which shoes to wear in a triathlon. Since clipless added so little advantage, he doesn't need to waste time worrying about those shoes.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:35 PM   #21
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I don't really care if they improve my performance. They are just one of the things that indicate I'm a "serious" cyclist, and, by God, I'm gonna use 'em.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:45 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George
That's what I keep telling my wife. She really knows I need a new bike.
Here's one for you...from a guy who managed to win 5 Tours de France and to become known as the greatest bicycle racer of all time - all without clipless pedals.

and it's on sale!

http://www.chicagolandbicycle.com/merckx_axm.htm
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Old 06-19-07, 07:47 PM   #23
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Riding clipless means: you're confident, you gots mad bike skilz, it's cool, its rad, you transfer 100% of your animal power to forward propulsion, you climb like a scalded monkey and float like a butterfly.

Riding without clipless (go for it, you grammarians) means: kids laugh at you behind your back, motorists despise you, women loath you (if you're a guy), you got lots of cellulite, you were lycra bike shorts on your head in the evening while you're at home, and you mow your lawn wearing bib shorts.
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Old 06-19-07, 07:53 PM   #24
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Here's one for you...from a guy who managed to win 5 Tours de France and to become known as the greatest bicycle racer of all time - all without clipless pedals.

Yeah, but he was riding against other guys without clipless pedals. I hate to say it, and there is not way to really prove it, but I suspect that even in his prime he would have had a hard time with some of today's riders if they were using modern equipment and he was using the stuff of his time. I really believe that even riders of his era used the best equipment they could get their hands on.
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Old 06-19-07, 08:03 PM   #25
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The comfort factor of clipless alone makes a huge difference. Toe clips aren't comfortable for long rides. But they do have some strengths. For example, track racers still prefer toe clips over clipless pedals because of the added security of not coming unclipped. But once you get past track distances, give me some comfortable Sidi's with clipless pedals any day.
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