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Bike shoes, clip vrs clipless and is it difficult to transition?

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Bike shoes, clip vrs clipless and is it difficult to transition?

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Old 01-29-19, 09:49 AM
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Larsenex
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Bike shoes, clip vrs clipless and is it difficult to transition?

Greetings again folks. I am transitioning from a Trek mountain bike for commuting to work to a road bike. I have always just worn my regular tennis shoes or hiking boots while riding to work and then wear those for work. I am willing to change to a clip or clipless but I am entirely ignorant of them.

I think I want a city shoe and two hole and double sided pedals?

My commute is 20 miles a day and I wanted to simply change to a new system and expand my love of cycling to a road bike. I have already been riding my trek for 12 years 2-5x a week so my endurance for this is fine, traffic is not crazy but can be a bit at 5pm when I get off work as compared to early morning when i go in.

What is the difference between a clip less and clip on?

I have about a $400 dollar budge for the set > I guess I should buy both the shoes and pedals together or is this false? Do I want to go in like I would normally do so to buy shoes at a distributor/retailer?

Is there a significant advantage to riding with clip in shoes verses regular pedals? Is it more comfortable? Is there a safety concern?

My fear is I may have to set my foot down and in my haste fall off the bike such as at numerous lights I may stop at.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:10 AM
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Clipless refers to "not toe clips", which would be the other main foot retention system.

Walk-able two hole shoes & SPD or equal pedals is a good set. Stores often have limited choice & stock of shoes- try on if you can

but buying online may end up happening.

The pedals come with the cleats, so not necessary to buy together with the shoes. Shoes < $100 and pedals < $50 are easy to come by

so your budget is higher than needed.

I don't have a bike with flat pedals & pretty much never ride without clipping in, but others go the other way, & will no doubt tell you about it.

It's common to take a spill or two from forgetting to unclip as part of the learning process- it even has a name. You too could be a member of the club.


I like tennis-type shoes for around town, pretty much regular shoes with cleats. These were ~ $40 on close-out from REI.


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Old 01-29-19, 10:15 AM
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I'll add some items to woodcraft's excellent suggestions. Turn the tension on the pedals down. It makes it easier to unclip.

As for falling at a light, learn to track stand That way you don't have to get out of the pedals.

Buy Shimano M520 pedals. They work better than just about any other pedal and they are dirt cheap as well as rugged.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:20 AM
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May want to try practicing in an un/lightly used parking lot. Maybe one that's pretty much vacant on the weekends.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:31 AM
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Some people feel more connected to the bike when they are clipped in. It also puts your feet in the same position on the pedals every time, so there is a need to be sure that position is a comfortable / effective position.
Most pedals have some "float", which basically means your heel can rotate a bit left or right while clipped in.
You rotate your heel away from the bike when you want to un-clip - this needs to become something you don't have to think about. It's having to think about this when other things are happening that leads to falling down at a stop.
I perform better when clipped in - at least on the road, which is 95% of my riding.
I am using Shimano pedals for my primary commute bike and like them a lot. The shoes are no good for walking in though, which makes no difference in my situation, I keep a pair of shoes at work.
Try it - you can always hate it and go back.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
Is there a significant advantage to riding with clip in shoes verses regular pedals? Is it more comfortable? Is there a safety concern?
sounds like you've made up your mind but a cpl answers, in my opinion
no
no
yes

with that out of the way, I started using cleated pedals & shoes on my road bike last summer. I don't bike commute anymore, just a joy rider. if I remember correctly all my road bike rides (except 1) were on paved rail trails away from traffic (except for intersections) & I had no falls. I did eventually (& proudly) have 1 long ride (35? miles) in traffic on unfamiliar roads & I survived & enjoyed it. I don't notice any great improvement, but I'm not sensitive. I did it cuz I thought it would be interesting & fun to try. you might too

prior to that I was (& am) a fan of "1/2 clips" aka "mini clips" (not cleated shoes/pedals) which are basically toe straps w/o the straps. cuz they provide foot retention w/o locking me in. I still use them on my other bikes & like them very much





I got the FUNN Mambas cuz they have a big platform on the other side, which is handy starting out from a stop or approaching an intersection. meaning I uncleat while rolling but well before a stop. they are easy to uncleat from (I refuse to use the word "clips")







good luck with your decisions! be happy!
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Old 01-29-19, 10:54 AM
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I have two commuting bikes, a road bike with a clipless/flat combo, the other just flats. It does not take long to develop muscle memory using clipless and I use them in downtown Boston traffic without issue. I would recommend the combo pedal though so it is SPD on one side and flats on the other. If you commute, but also like to ride to lunch/coffee you can jump on your bike wearing work clothes/shoes for the short trip. Also if your cleats fail, you can still limp home on the flat side.
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Old 01-29-19, 10:58 AM
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I started with SHIMANO M324 SPD MTB Cycling Pedals and since they are dual platform, have migrated to just using regular shoes with no clips. I bought a cheaper Giro shoe with SPD and found that the shoe was not very good for support. If I did any walking around, my feet hurt afterwards. Now I wear a good shoe with arch support and do not have to worry about clipping out when stopping. Clipping out never came naturally to me as I tend to enjoy the scenery during a ride and at times completely forget that I am clipped in. Like stopping and getting a picture of something and falling over because I was more concerned about the picture than clipping out.
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Old 01-29-19, 11:00 AM
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FWIW, I manage to go between clipless (Look), toeclips and slotted cleats, and flat pedals with no foot retention without problems. As others have mentioned, you seem to develop a "muscle memory" that activates appropriately on whatever bike you ride.
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Old 01-29-19, 11:50 AM
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This is very helpful. The first poster with the photos > thank you. How do you 'cleat-out' or unlock them?
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Old 01-29-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
This is very helpful. The first poster with the photos > thank you. How do you 'cleat-out' or unlock them?
Rotate your foot, usually heel out about 20˚.
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Old 01-29-19, 12:12 PM
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Frankly, having put them on two bikes recently - and done the recommended falls - I’m not 100% convinced. On the road bike, yes, maybe, but on the multi- purpose touring bikes, which may well go over tougher terrain, I’m thinking not essential, and could be even harmful.

Up to you, of course. I’m not convinced they add much to my climbing ability or speed on the flats, but that could just be age creeping inexorably up on me.
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Old 01-29-19, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by avole View Post
- Iím not 100% convinced. On the road bike, yes, maybe, but on the multi- purpose touring bikes, which may well go over tougher terrain, Iím thinking not essential, and could be even harmful.
This is totally a 'your-mileage-may-vary' situation, But I find the SPD pedal lest me 'ride through' situations that might have had me put a foot off on flat pedals. A lot depends on your bike handling and riding style. I'm a long way from my XCracer days but i still think like one. Even on a road bike, or commuter, clipless pedals let me handle the bike the way i want to.

As far as shoes, @Larsenex , get thee to a bike shop. For walkable shoes, stay with the ones that look more like 'regular' shoes. Laces instead of straps/buckles. The more 'racy' they look, the less good they'll be off the bike. I have a pair of Pearl Izumi 'Fuel' shoes that look like a pair of chunky trainers, and wear about like my work (safety) shoes.
Sizes vary from brand to brand, and they often come in EU instead of US sizes, so it pays to try them on before you buy.

For the 'starter' pedals, I reccomend Shimano; either the M-530 (double sided) or A-530 (single-sided) They're hard to beat for performance and value.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:30 PM
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Have tried all three over the years; flat/platform, clips and clipless.
Like clipless the best; feel the most secure, no slipping in the rain, feel most efficient for me.
Do long club rides, grocery shopping, 100 mile charity rides, etc.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
This is very helpful. The first poster with the photos > thank you. How do you 'cleat-out' or unlock them?
For most systems; you twist your heel out to disconnect. Shimano has a cleat that let's you unclip twisting inside and/or up.
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Old 01-29-19, 08:51 PM
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I put my first toe-clips on 50 years ago and was sold from the first ride. 5 years later I bought cycling shoes, the slotted cleats and pulled the straps tight. Wow! Been sold ever since. I developed knee issues 40 years ago (as a racer and not related to the pedals or cleats). Learned that I needed to force my feet to an unnatural position to spare my knees so when clipless came along, I held off until I learned of systems that allowed me to lock the foot position in place, ie no-float.

So now I have bikes with toe-clips still (my fixed gears so I cannot accidentally unhook from a pedal completely spinning fast going downhill), LOOK Delta pedals and black (no-float) cleats and on one bike I have 2-hole SPDs with the tension set very high and all the possible toe-in set.

I am a huge fan of having my feet locked on. I fear a high speed separation fror the pedal far more than a no-speed fall-over. I learned how to make those no-speeders no big deal. As that fatal moment comes when you realize you screwed up and you are going over - relax! Rotate your arm and leg out so they hit the ground first. Keep yo0ur hands on the handlebars. Accept that you just make a fool of yourself, try to laugh and try to roll. And guess what? If you do this, rarely do you come to worse than a minor bruise or two, maybe a small patch of light roadrash, a couple of dirt patches on your clothes. We've all done it. For those to whom it is not a big deal, it isn't. Oh, and while you still have a choice, pick the easier fall! You fall a shorter distance and don't hit as hard. This means often choosing to fall rather than doing your darnedest to stay up.

Put on some grubby clothes and practice falling on grass. The real secret to not getting hurt is to not be afraid of getting hurt.

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Old 01-29-19, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
I think I want a city shoe and two hole and double sided pedals?.
I started with clipless X platform. I found I was never on the bike with street shoes, and finally went with clipless both sides.

It took all of one day to become accustomed to clipless, though I admit to a couples of falls later. Uncliping and putting a foot down became automatic very quickly.
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Old 01-30-19, 12:47 AM
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Two years ago I started riding clipless and never had a problem, no falls so far (one close call when I lost speed on a short uphill).
I have only tried Shimano 2-bolt (MTB) cleats/pedals. I have PD-A530, these are good combo pedals which have a flat side should you ride in regular shoes. Also you can use the flat side in areas with many lights and frequent stops if you do not want to clip/unclip frequently. There are similar pedals, PD-M324; they look more durable, but the flat side is harsher on the shoes.
I have only used Shimano's M51 cleats which require twisting the back of the foot to the side in order to release. Never had a problem with them. I have "multi-release" M56 cleats lying around, never bothered to try them.
Also, Shimano has Click'R pedals which are MTB pedals which make it easier to release the foot -- e.g., PD-T400 (I have them on the hybrid, got them for $14 on sale). Regular (non-click'r) A530's can also be relaxed so that releasing the foot is not a problem.
There are also Click'R PD-T421 which have one flat side. PD-T400 and T421 have reflectors if you need them for commuting.
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Old 01-30-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
Is there a significant advantage to riding with clip in shoes verses regular pedals?
No, not for anything except racing.

There are several myths that have been disproven about clipless. People claimed it was hugely faster but pro racers tested in the lab are no faster wearing clipless than they are wearing tennis shoes. They don't actually pull up either, human biology is not suited towards that being an efficient way to pedal. Here's one video where they tested the speed thing:

Main advantage with racing is that it's the most secure foot retention system when you're sprinting wildly trying to avoid being dropped by other people who are also sprinting. Some people believe that one can pull up while standing up and sprinting and it adds speed (at the cost of expending more energy). That's harder to test in the lab. Some people believe it's a tiny bit more efficient which is again hard to test.

I put it as - if a 20 second difference in your ride time is not going to make a huge noticeable difference, then clipless has no advantage over flats.

Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
Is it more comfortable?
Most of the time people find flats to be more comfortable. There are a few people that find clipless more comfortable.

Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
Is there a safety concern?
Most people have a single, extremely low speed fall when they start out, as they come to a stop and their brain unclips a millisecond to late. I wouldn't recommend it for someone for whom a low speed fall is likely to have severe consequences.

Other than that is depends on how well a persons brain acclimates to new system. I highly suggest several lower speed rides to get used to it before doing a regular route or more intense ride. Most people get used to it but some people don't.

Originally Posted by Larsenex View Post
My fear is I may have to set my foot down and in my haste fall off the bike such as at numerous lights I may stop at.
I've used almost every clipless system available, I had no problem acclimating to clipping in and out after a few more careful practice rides, but I went back to flats anyways. I just found clipless to be a huge hassle with few benefits for non-racing riding.

I wear Five Ten Freerider Shoes (flat). They use special rubber that extremely grippy on metal pins:
https://www.adidasoutdoor.com/five-t...men-bike-shoes

And DMR Vault Pedals, they're very expensive but the most comfortable pedals I've used for my size 12 feet:
https://www.dmrbikes.com/Catalogue/P...lt-2/Vault-NEW

I've read good things about RaceFace Chesters which are much less expensive as well but I haven't used them myself.

While I think clipless is a perfectly good system if you're racing, or if you just like them, I don't personally find them worth the hassle. It's been really nice to not have to bring 2 pairs of shoes for every ride, not have to change shoes at the beginning and end of every ride, not have to mentally remember that I'm clipped in so my feet need to behave a little differently, and not put a foot done and wonder if it will slide off because of some slippery road surface. Also clipless was very uncomfortable for me with hotspots and foot numbness and it all went away with flats and a well designed flat pedal.

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Old 01-30-19, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
...


... They don't actually pull up either, human biology is not suited towards that being an efficient way to pedal. ...


Main advantage with racing is that it's the most secure foot retention system when you're sprinting wildly trying to avoid being dropped by other people who are also sprinting. Some people believe that one can pull up while standing up and sprinting and it adds speed (at the cost of expending more energy). That's harder to test in the lab. Some people believe it's a tiny bit more efficient which is again hard to test.


...

I will readily confess I am no pro, I have however pulled my foot off the pedal many times with slotted traditional cleats when I haven't pulled my straps tight. Both out of the saddle and in the saddle. Seems I do in fact pull up (as all of us racers were taught to do 40 years ago). Every time I see those videos carefully explaining how impossible what I have been doing for years is, I have to laugh. In fact, I have ridden for miles on numerous occasions "deleting" the downward portion of the pedal stroke, pulling back, up and over the top, then relaxing for the downstroke to ease pressure on my chrondomalcia patellae knees. (I didn't learn this skill because of my knees. I already had the basics just from my race training courtesy of the vets in my club.)


Also, some of us are more comfortable climbing out of the saddle in bigger gears. (Again, this allows me to spare my knees.) I pull hard against the grip on my handlebars. On really hard climbs, I feel it in my forearms.


As I said in a previous post, going to cleats and pulling the straps tight was a "Wow!" moment and my cycling has never been the same since. The single biggest jump in my riding; the move that turned hills from drudgery to challenges that I thrive on. Pedal retention also allows me to ride without worry long after I am past the point of being able to focus on foot placement. (Say mile 120 of a 132 mile day.)


Gotta admit, it is kinda fun to hear what I do is actually impossible.


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Old 01-30-19, 01:33 PM
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Since taking up cycling at age 23, I used toe clips (no cleats) for a couple of decades, followed by a year or two of Power Grips, followed by SPD mountain-style pedals/shoes for a couple more decades. Currently have double-sided SPDs on one of my singles and one-side-SPD/one-side-plain pedals on our tandem and a second single. I very seldom use the plain side on the two bikes with them. Have never used Shimano pedals - have used a variety of Performance/Nashbar/Wellgo/Victor pedals.
Cannot remember ever falling related to foot retention pedals. Of course, I'm working with an older man's memory. If a newbie to clipless thinks that it is inevitable that he/she will fall, that increases the odds that a fall will happen. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Probably easier to become proficient with clipless if already experienced with toe clips. Important to always be aware of what's going on with the feet/pedals related to what's going on with the ride.
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Old 01-30-19, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I will readily confess I am no pro, I have however pulled my foot off the pedal many times with slotted traditional cleats when I haven't pulled my straps tight. Both out of the saddle and in the saddle. Seems I do in fact pull up (as all of us racers were taught to do 40 years ago). Every time I see those videos carefully explaining how impossible what I have been doing for years is, I have to laugh. In fact, I have ridden for miles on numerous occasions "deleting" the downward portion of the pedal stroke, pulling back, up and over the top, then relaxing for the downstroke to ease pressure on my chrondomalcia patellae knees. (I didn't learn this skill because of my knees. I already had the basics just from my race training courtesy of the vets in my club.)


Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Also, some of us are more comfortable climbing out of the saddle in bigger gears. (Again, this allows me to spare my knees.) I pull hard against the grip on my handlebars. On really hard climbs, I feel it in my forearms. As I said in a previous post, going to cleats and pulling the straps tight was a "Wow!" moment and my cycling has never been the same since. The single biggest jump in my riding; the move that turned hills from drudgery to challenges that I thrive on.
Come on...you're just baiting me now. "I took Zincore, and it changed my life! My hair regrew on my head, women were falling over themselves to go out with me, I stopped needing sleep and my life has never been the same since! Thanks Zincore! Order yours now for only 3 easy payments of $29.99! Hurry! Supplies limited! Operators standing by!"

If we're going to go that way, here's flats vs clipless for me:
- Clipless: feet got hotspots and numbness every ride. Cheap Flats: Most of that went away. Expensive Flats: All of it went away, feet feel great at the end of the ride.
- Clipless: Constant hassle in switching shoes before and after each ride. Flats: Switch shoes once, I'm good for the rest of the day. Only need to wear shoes where I'm going.
- Clipless: Slight mental load in remembering I was wearing clipless. Flats: More relaxing ride without thinking about it.

My leg, knees, and feet all feel much better with flats than they did with clipless. There are a few people for which it's the opposite, which is why I mentioned them, but I imagine it's a much much smaller group.

Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Pedal retention also allows me to ride without worry long after I am past the point of being able to focus on foot placement. (Say mile 120 of a 132 mile day.)
If you're so tired you don't know where your feet are, I'd say you should probably be worried, as should anyone in your vicinity.

Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Gotta admit, it is kinda fun to hear what I do is actually impossible.
Indeed it is.

But you're strawmanning your argument about pulling up. It's not that you "can't" it's that the claims about it's supposed greater efficiency are unfounded and it seems to be the opposite that people who force themselves to pull up are pedalling less efficiently than the people who win races - who do not pull up. At least in their regular stroke.

I don't know if pulling up is possible for short sprints, it seems to be hard to study, I mention it as I don't want to get into making claims of racing-level speed where 20 seconds is the difference between 1st and 3rd place as that's not a field I have much experience in. But the post above was about commuting to work not pro racing.
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Old 01-30-19, 03:51 PM
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reminds me, one thought I had last summer after "transitioning" was that I thought I was better learning how to use them because I'm a long time automotive manual transmission user. meaning I'm used to anticipating upcoming events for shift points &/or neutral, aka "thinking ahead"
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Old 01-31-19, 02:40 AM
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I went from flats to toe clippers and then to road peds and spd peds . you can choose toe clips with full straps or no straps .

Hardest part is re learning muscle memory . when you might fall or need to put a fiot diwn your reflex usualy lifts up or just moves , when you are clipped in the reflex has to be trained to twist to the side first . otherwise you fall , go boom .

Id just get some basic shoes or if you really want some shoes try a bunch out . i like the bontrager expresso for city riding in the warm months and lake 303s for the cold . id stick with the basic shimano spd system and set the tension to the lowest .

I personaly started on road peds keo blades and took to them naturally . but 3 hole has less winter options so i just train with them and use home made booties.
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Old 01-31-19, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
There are several myths that have been disproven about clipless. People claimed it was hugely faster but pro racers tested in the lab are no faster wearing clipless than they are wearing tennis shoes. They don't actually pull up either, human biology is not suited towards that being an efficient way to pedal.
While most riding does not involve pulling up on the pedals, even non-racers can find themselves in situations where pulling up is important; e.g. sprinting through an intersection to get out of the way of traffic and jamming up a steep incline. I *know* I pull up on my pedals in situations like that because I have literally torn the sole off my shoe doing so, leaving it clipped to the pedal and my soleless shoe still on my foot.
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