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Toe Clips or MTB Cleats for Urban Riding

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Toe Clips or MTB Cleats for Urban Riding

Old 03-01-20, 11:18 AM
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Toe Clips or MTB Cleats for Urban Riding

We are having a debate here. Please list the advantages and disadvantages of using Toe Clips and Straps for Urban Riding and the advantages and is disadvantages of using recessed MTB Cleats for Urban Riding. Including problems with the Toe Clip Strap hanging up or Toe Clip hindering a Bailout and MTB Cleats not cleating up or not uncleating causing a problem. What incidents have you had with either that created an unsafe situation? Compare costs, ease of use, maintenance and safety...Thanks,mjac

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Old 03-01-20, 11:22 AM
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1/2 clips aka mini clips w/o straps
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Old 03-01-20, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
1/2 clips aka mini clips w/o straps
How much uplift do you lose for quick acceleration?
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Old 03-01-20, 12:23 PM
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You don't need clipless pedals to ride a bike....Toe clips and straps have a huge advantage over clipless. The main advantage is that it allows you to wear any type of shoes or boots you want. Toe clips and straps also provide most of the benefits of foot retention that you would get with clipless.
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Old 03-01-20, 12:25 PM
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If you can't decide use a pedal with both spd and flat pedal
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Old 03-01-20, 01:13 PM
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For urban riding (e.g. grocery store, library, work), I just use plain rubber-block pedals, no toe clips or cleats. I only use cleats when riding outside town for fitness/recreation.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post

If you can't decide use a pedal with both spd and flat pedal
If you are on the flat, do you lose the advantages of both toe clips and MTB Cleats?
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Old 03-01-20, 01:15 PM
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I like bmx style platform pedals for urban riding; that way you can use any shoe you want.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I like bmx style platform pedals for urban riding; that way you can use any shoe you want.
Do you miss the uplift for quick acceleration and foot placement of toe clips and MTB Cleats?
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Old 03-01-20, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
Do you miss the uplift for quick acceleration and foot placement of toe clips and MTB Cleats?
Nope. Don't get me wrong I've used clipless and toe clips and straps for a long time. I like them both. But for urban riding, there's a lot to be said for wearing any shoe you feel like. It's a big platform to push against and that will get you rolling fast.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:21 PM
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A lot of this is going to come down to personal preference. Most of the "safety" issues are mitigable. What is a deciding factor for one person is not for others. You have to be the judge as to which is right for you.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
I like bmx style platform pedals for urban riding; that way you can use any shoe you want.
Again, do you miss the uplift for quick acceleration and foot placement of toe clips and MTB pedals. Can't quick acceleration can get you out of trouble while urban riding?

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Old 03-01-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
Nope. Don't get me wrong I've used clipless and toe clips and straps for a long time. I like them both. But for urban riding, there's a lot to be said for wearing any shoe you feel like. It's a big platform to push against and that will get you rolling fast.
Good, you have had extensive experience on both sides of the issue. What are their advantages and disadvantages and what are their best usages?
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Old 03-01-20, 01:33 PM
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For the sake of this discussion I am going to remain neutral.
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Old 03-01-20, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DroppedChain View Post
A lot of this is going to come down to personal preference. Most of the "safety" issues are mitigable. What is a deciding factor for one person is not for others. You have to be the judge as to which is right for you.
What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages and uses for both to help people decide, especially beginning riders?
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Old 03-01-20, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
Do you miss the uplift for quick acceleration and foot placement of toe clips and MTB Cleats?
Toe clips with straps allow me to pull up with ease and I find it very helpful when climbing hills or accelerating
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Old 03-01-20, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages and uses for both to help people decide, especially beginning riders?
Advantages for toe clips? They are cheap and fit on many pedals. Disadvantage is they are more difficult to slip into than clipless and they can be much more difficult to get out of if you cinch them down for maximum retention and efficiency. Clipless pedals are easier to attach you foot to if you use 2 sided pedals and foot comfort is much better because you don't have a strap cutting off blood circulation to your feet. Getting out is actually easier than with toe clips once your body trains itself how to unclip.For beginners, probably neither is better. New cyclists have so many other things to think about that foot retention to the pedal is possibly going to be a distraction until they become more comfortable on the bike. I started cycling when clipless pedals did not exist, so toe clips were "de rigeur" for serious cyclists and that was the route I took. I must say however, that my first rides with clipless pedals were a revelation. I could disengage from the pedals easier and my feet no longer went numb on longer rides. Riding with loose straps can negate the numb feet, but they do nothing to help you when you wish to sprint. To this day, many high performance velodrome sprinters use toe clips, usually with double straps to keep from pulling out of the pedals
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Old 03-01-20, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
Advantages for toe clips? They are cheap and fit on many pedals. Disadvantage is they are more difficult to slip into than clipless and they can be much more difficult to get out of if you cinch them down for maximum retention and efficiency. Clipless pedals are easier to attach you foot to if you use 2 sided pedals and foot comfort is much better because you don't have a strap cutting off blood circulation to your feet. Getting out is actually easier than with toe clips once your body trains itself how to unclip.For beginners, probably neither is better. New cyclists have so many other things to think about that foot retention to the pedal is possibly going to be a distraction until they become more comfortable on the bike. I started cycling when clipless pedals did not exist, so toe clips were "de rigeur" for serious cyclists and that was the route I took. I must say however, that my first rides with clipless pedals were a revelation. I could disengage from the pedals easier and my feet no longer went numb on longer rides. Riding with loose straps can negate the numb feet, but they do nothing to help you when you wish to sprint. To this day, many high performance velodrome sprinters use toe clips, usually with double straps to keep from pulling out of the pedals
The context here is for Urban Riding. You are not going to cinch down toe clip straps for Urban Riding. Having the Toe Clip Straps slightly loose with the proper shoes which is easier to get into and get out of Toe Clips with Straps or MTB Recessed Cleats in your opinion.

High Performance Velodrome (Track?) Sprinters still use Toe Clips and Straps albeit doubles?...Thanks,mjac
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Old 03-01-20, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
If you are on the flat, do you lose the advantages of both toe clips and MTB Cleats?
I have read articles that say most don't really use the pull up motion that much with clipless or toe clips. Is kind of like rubbing your belly and patting top of your head same time, has to be trained into your pedal stroke. I've used clipless for years and comes in useful if you work at it. So extra power over just flats. But also have to get use to motion to unclip or pull feet out of town clips for stopping, especially in a panic stop.
Main thing I like about clipless is your feet won't slip off pedals. But have ridden many miles with just flat pedals and not that bad around town or sometimes the smart thing to do on rough terrain.
i dislike toe clips with a passion because uncomfortable to me strap around my foot but some love them. Power Straps better for that route if you choose.
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Old 03-01-20, 03:42 PM
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Urban riding is riding nonetheless. You talk about efficiency accelerating. This cannot be achieved unless your toe straps are tight. I commuted for years using pedals with toe clips and straps. I kept my straps tight for the sake of being able to accelerate quickly. That meant some discomfort from the tight straps. I was Urban Riding, into the downtown core of Montreal, a large city by most standards. When you have to stop and start often and wish to accelerate quickly, you either need tight toe straps or clipless pedals, unless you are stopping so frequently that flat pedals make more sense
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Old 03-01-20, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
I have read articles that say most don't really use the pull up motion that much with clipless or toe clips. Is kind of like rubbing your belly and patting top of your head same time, has to be trained into your pedal stroke. I've used clipless for years and comes in useful if you work at it. So extra power over just flats. But also have to get use to motion to unclip or pull feet out of town clips for stopping, especially in a panic stop.
Main thing I like about clipless is your feet won't slip off pedals. But have ridden many miles with just flat pedals and not that bad around town or sometimes the smart thing to do on rough terrain.
i dislike toe clips with a passion because uncomfortable to me strap around my foot but some love them. Power Straps better for that route if you choose.
Very good answer. From years of urban cycling, I learned how to pull up/push down when accelerating from a stop. Once moving, the best efficiency came from simply teaching my body to maintain a smooth pedal stroke and having my foot comfortably attached to the pedal was a huge plus
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Old 03-01-20, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by hillyman View Post
I have read articles that say most don't really use the pull up motion that much with clipless or toe clips. Is kind of like rubbing your belly and patting top of your head same time, has to be trained into your pedal stroke. I've used clipless for years and comes in useful if you work at it. So extra power over just flats. But also have to get use to motion to unclip or pull feet out of town clips for stopping, especially in a panic stop.
Main thing I like about clipless is your feet won't slip off pedals. But have ridden many miles with just flat pedals and not that bad around town or sometimes the smart thing to do on rough terrain.
i dislike toe clips with a passion because uncomfortable to me strap around my foot but some love them. Power Straps better for that route if you choose.
If you use MTB Clips in Urban a Riding have they ever failed to unclip and put you in danger?...Thanks,mjac
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Old 03-01-20, 03:56 PM
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I hated commuting with toe clips and straps. When the light turns green and you need to get going, having to flip up a pedal, get your shoe in, and pull the strap are a lot of steps to get right in a row. If you don't get your foot in right away, you either need to coast a little longer to try flipping the pedal again, or pedal on the back side of it before you can try again, and that's awkward and unappreciated by anyone behind you. Especially if you step on the cage and mash it down so you can no longer fit your shoe in it.

Clips and straps are a C&V affectation.

With flat pedals or double-sided clipless, you can just put your foot on the pedal and go. Boom.
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Old 03-01-20, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
If you use MTB Clips in Urban a Riding have they ever failed to unclip and put you in danger?...Thanks,mjac
Never, The pedals do not fail, not being able to unclip is invariably user error

Last edited by alcjphil; 03-01-20 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 03-01-20, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mjac View Post
If you use MTB Clips in Urban a Riding have they ever failed to unclip and put you in danger?...Thanks,mjac
As a beginner I recommend setting tension low on retention till you get use to clipless.
I highly recommend as a beginner

Shimano PD-MT50 Clickr type with sh56 multi directional release and is is built with a lighter tension. Heck I use in my touring bike because I just love them. But I have the ridiculously priced XT pedals which may be too much to spend until you figure out what works for you.

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