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Best Pedals???

Old 11-09-22, 01:18 PM
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bowers32
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Best Pedals???

Newbie to this forum... love it!!! so much knowledge.

I have been riding a few years and have been upgrading my equipment bit by bit.

So question.

I love my bike, fitted perfectly for me... love my bibs.. perfect fit... now I need to ensure I am using the right pedals.

I do one type of cycling and one type only. I do long distance (for me anyway) rides (75 to 125 miles) on flat trails... mostly "rail to trail" type paths. I don't get on the roads, I don't do mountain biking (yet). I don't race.. just me out there trying to reach a goal in mileage

With all that said... what is the best pedal for me? Some tell me to get the clipless pedals and shoes.. but if I am not racing or even group riding and I am in Florida so most trails are very flat.. are they really needed?

I have learned that a "cycling shoe" is a better option than straight athletic sneaker so I wonder if getting may be a really good flat pedal with good biking shoes is good enough for what I am doing.

Thanks for the input in advance.
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Old 11-09-22, 03:21 PM
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epnnf
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Its a very individual thing, but I would think flat pedals (like Race Face chesters) & 5/10 or Ride Concepts or similar shoes.
YMMV
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Old 11-09-22, 04:02 PM
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Brett A
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People can only tell you what they prefer. There is no best pedal. Can you afford to try two types of setups? You can get Race Face Chester knockoffs for $30. And it may not be too hard to find a set of SDP pedals cheap, especially if you have a shop that sells used parts, or if you know any longtime cyclists (we often end up with boxes of spare pedals). Then it's a matter of shoes and cleats, which may be harder to find super cheap, but worth considering.

Personally, I've been riding SPDs since they came out in the 90's, so it's what my legs are used to. I even put them on my '61 Raliegh 3-speed. But I would never tell someone that they are what is correct.
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Old 11-09-22, 04:34 PM
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bowers32
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Thanks for the advice... sounds like I was correct that a good paid of biking shoes and flat pedals will suffice for what I am doing.

I went from regular sneakers and pedals to clipless and cleats. I tried out that on a few medium range rides. My feet had a hard time with the cleats and because a lot of these rail to trails go through rural towns, you do have to stop and start often at crossways.. so getting in and out of the pedals was a pain.

I could see how the clipless gave a bit more power as my mph was a tad higher. But when I started thinking that I really don't need to go faster and never see hills and such, then the "cons" of the clipless didn't really seem worth it.

I look forward to trying out the suggestions on better flat pedals and shoes

Last edited by bowers32; 11-09-22 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 11-10-22, 05:52 AM
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I have pedals that are SPD on one side, platform on the other on most of my bikes. Thus, I can use regular shoes on one side, SPD cleated shoes on the other. But my road bike is SPD only.

I have my pedals adjusted so that the cleat release is as loose as it will go. I have never yet had an accident where I ride up to a stop sign and fall over due to forgetting to uncleat, but I have seen that happen and have heard plenty of stories from others. So, when I first started using them, I tried to get in a habit of having one foot out of the pedal and foot hanging down 20 feet before the point where I stop. I think that helped me avoid falling over because I forgot to uncleat.

You mention often riding on rail trails, that I assume are gravel. I have done several bike touring trips on gravel, some were on conditions much worse than a typical rail trail. There were some days that I correctly anticipated being on very rough terrain where I thought I would prefer my hiking shoes instead, and that is why I have pedals that have both platform and SPD. On really tough terrain there have been several times when I was concerned about getting my feet on the ground as fast as I could, and on those occasions I used the platform side of the pedals. An example would be climbing up a steep hill at 3 or 4 mph in a really low gear, suddenly the rear tire loses traction and you come to a halt almost immediately, I do not want any delay getting my foot off the pedal in a situation like that, thus use the platform side.

I do not know what you used for cleats, but generally shoes with SPD cleats are quite good for being able to walk. On bike tours I have often walked through a lot of grocery stores with my bike shoes with SPD cleats, and often wore my bike shoes for quite a while after I got off the bike at the end of the day on a bike tour.

I do not see the cleats as giving me more power, I like them because when I hit a bump, my feet stay where I want them to stay. A friend of mine hit a pothole that he did not see, he was not using cleats and his foot slid off the pedal. He woke up in the hospital.

My folding bike does not have SPD pedals, I have toe clips on that bike instead. But I would not recommend them to a new user, I used toe clips for decades before I got SPD cleats so I am familiar with them.

That said, everyone is different, there is no perfect answer. If there was a perfect answer, there would only be one kind of pedal.

But shoes, you need stiff soles. My hiking shoes have soles that are stiff enough, on some bike tours I have worn my hiking shoes for a full day on the bike (using platform side of pedals) and my feet did not get sore at all. Soft soles, like deck shoes, your feet might hurt after several hours of riding.
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Old 11-10-22, 06:15 AM
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I love these MKS platform pedals, along with a good set of clips and straps. I did long-distance touring back in the day, and wanted to be able to just get off the bike and walk around anywhere that I stopped. That's pretty much my philosophy now too.

Your cycling/walking shoes can have as stiff a sole as you want. I just ride in sneakers now, but when I was doing distance I did find that a stiffer sole was better. These particular pedals are pretty comfy even with soft-sole shoes.

MKS (Mikashima) GR-10 Pedals
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Old 11-10-22, 06:30 AM
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I did my first season of riding brevets on flat pedals with some shimano 'touring' shoes that were much stiffer than regular shoes. It worked out well enough. I really only had a problem with the flat pedals in heavy rains, the shoes would slip off sometimes since they had a fairly hard sole the pins didn't grip very well.
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Old 11-10-22, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bowers32 View Post
I do one type of cycling and one type only. I do long distance (for me anyway) rides (75 to 125 miles) on flat trails... mostly "rail to trail" type paths. I don't get on the roads, I don't do mountain biking (yet). I don't race.. just me out there trying to reach a goal in mileage

With all that said... what is the best pedal for me? Some tell me to get the clipless pedals and shoes.. but if I am not racing or even group riding and I am in Florida so most trails are very flat.. are they really needed?
Flat roads, not racing, not sprinting? Clipless is optional.

A few pros and cons of clipless given your situation, starting with the pros:
• They feel good
• They lock your foot into a specific position, which improves your fit
• Clipless all but requires you to use a stiff sole, which improves power transfer

The cons:
• If your cleat is in the wrong spot and/or your shoes are too tight, you can develop foot issues (neuromas, plantar fasciitis etc)
• On rare occasions, if you can't unclip fast enough, you can fall over (mostly an issue when you're first starting)
• More expensive
• More awkward for walking

If I were in your shoes (*cough*) I'd skip clipless unless you start experiencing issues with your bike fit.
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Old 11-10-22, 07:13 PM
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I have been using toe clips and clipless for a very long time. I actually have more knee problems with flat pedals, because I often put my feet on them catawampus and then don't change until I realize my knees hurt.
I know there are accomplished long distance riders using flats for rides much longer than 100 miles on a rail trail.
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Old 11-13-22, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have been using toe clips and clipless for a very long time. I actually have more knee problems with flat pedals, because I often put my feet on them catawampus and then don't change until I realize my knees hurt.
I know there are accomplished long distance riders using flats for rides much longer than 100 miles on a rail trail.
I think this is an important concern. When I ride flats I like to have a shoe/pedal combination that isn’t super grippy so that my foot isn’t locked into a potentially slightly wrong position. If your shoe can move a little bit you’ll naturally find the right position. The only exception is if you’re riding off road and need to grip the pedals well so your feet don’t bounce off of them. In that case clipless might be better.
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Old 11-13-22, 05:37 PM
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cleated shoes & pedals would be good for your rides. you may not want them right now, but you might try them sometime down the road
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