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Are Clipless Pedals/Shoes Really That Much of an Improvement

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Are Clipless Pedals/Shoes Really That Much of an Improvement

Old 05-05-15, 07:51 PM
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Inpd
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Are Clipless Pedals/Shoes Really That Much of an Improvement

Hi,

I've done about 500 miles now in toe clips.

I don't mind spending a bit of money going to clipless pedals/shoes but wondered if the improvement is worth the hassle of changing over my pedals and having to change/carry road bike shoes every-time I want to ride.

Is the improvement in speed, endurance, stability or something else?

How much is the improvement?

Thanks.
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Old 05-05-15, 07:56 PM
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Comfort, better control, help to pull up on steep climbs. Even pulling up on shallower grades is a good change of pace for muscle groups.
No dramatic improvement in speed.

I wouldn't ride without clipless on significant rides.
Others don't care and are happy with sneakers on platform pedals. No "right answer".
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Old 05-05-15, 08:10 PM
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I ride with clipless and powergrips and fixie straps (different bikes, duh). The one benefit of clipless I'll stand by is hi rpm cadence simply works so much better with clipless. The one detriment of clipless I'll stand by is they totally suck for stop and go traffic, urban commutes. Otherwise, it's a matter of preference.

Additionally, switching your pedal system back and forth between bikes is a dangerous practice, there is no muscle memory. Be forewarned.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:15 PM
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It really helps with sprinting, fast climbing, and steep climbing, which is usually found in races or fast rides. For the casual rider who doesn't dive into a sprint or 6% grade, they aren't really gaining anything.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Bunyanderman View Post
It really helps with sprinting, fast climbing, and steep climbing, which is usually found in races or fast rides. For the casual rider who doesn't dive into a sprint or 6% grade, they aren't really gaining anything.
Ah. So they are really beneficial for climbing but on the flats not much better than toe clips?

Thanks, that helps a lot. I ride on the flats mostly so probably will skip buying them.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:31 PM
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If you're using stiff soled cycling shoes designed for toe clips and using cleats so you can't pull your foot out, the advantage to clipless is that your feet will be warmer on cold days and you can wear booties in the rain. If you aren't using that equipment now, there's a big advantage going to proper cycling shoes and clipless. Just do it, you'll like it.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Ah. So they are really beneficial for climbing but on the flats not much better than toe clips?

Thanks, that helps a lot. I ride on the flats mostly so probably will skip buying them.
I have never done a full ride on toe clips, but have ridden many parking lots and near neighborhoods in them. I actually don't feel the toe clips helping any compared to clip-ins. Clips helped me a lot on slow speed climbing or out of the saddle. On flats I don't pull up with clips much at all.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Bunyanderman View Post
I have never done a full ride on toe clips, but have ridden many parking lots and near neighborhoods in them. I actually don't feel the toe clips helping any compared to clip-ins. Clips helped me a lot on slow speed climbing or out of the saddle. On flats I don't pull up with clips much at all.
Not trying to justify using toe clips, but if you're just using toe clips without the cleats, you're not getting the full benefit of the system. A good set of toe clips and cleats are just as efficient as a clipless setup. The problem the average rider had with the old system was unclipping in an emergency. It takes a lot longer to reach down and loosen the strap to remove your foot. With clipless you just swing out your heel to unclip.
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Old 05-05-15, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bikepro View Post
Not trying to justify using toe clips, but if you're just using toe clips without the cleats, you're not getting the full benefit of the system. A good set of toe clips and cleats are just as efficient as a clipless setup. The problem the average rider had with the old system was unclipping in an emergency. It takes a lot longer to reach down and loosen the strap to remove your foot. With clipless you just swing out your heel to unclip.
Understood. The reason you give is precisely why I don't where the cleats.

Am I right in saying that if I don't do much climbing, clipless setups don't really add much?


Thanks.
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Old 05-05-15, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Understood. The reason you give is precisely why I don't where the cleats.

Am I right in saying that if I don't do much climbing, clipless setups don't really add much?

Thanks.
Depends on your style of riding too. As mentioned, if you spin at 90 - 100 cadence, it just feels better knowing your foot will not slip or move. A "more connected" feeling. But many people are quite happy without them, so "it depends"
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Old 05-05-15, 09:33 PM
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Clipless helps a lot. You can use the antagonist of the quadriceps muscles. Once you learn how to do it properly, climbing will be much much easier. Also, it is much easier to spin faster which is what you should be doing. You can distribute the load at any time on both of your legs...

I use my SPD shoes to go to school 5 days a week and I couldn't use a bike without. It gives you so much more power and control. No clips and I feel naked. I never had trouble in traffic, you learn to go slowly, just enough to not fall. Yes you will fall... I thought it wouldn't happen to me. 3 times and it was after a while, was going too slow, trying not to put a foot on the ground. Unclipped the wrong foot and had a very embarrassing moment at a busy intersection.
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Old 05-05-15, 10:07 PM
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A number of studies have said that even pro racers don't really pull up with clipless, at most they unweight the foot. There's a lot of mumbo jumbo claims about using extra muscles that all studies seem to say is bunk and doesn't actually happen. Some people feel that they get some advantage, some people feel there's none (I'm faster on flats, but I'm not sure my clipless shoes fit my foot that well).

The biggest advantage of clipless is mainly in keeping your foot firmly attached to the pedal. If you're spinning at 90rpm, your foot coming off the pedal is a big problem.

I don't like toe clips at all - they're worse in an emergency than clipless.

You can buy better flat pedals with pins designed to lock onto your shoe, like these:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZH1H7M/...CTW3UH47&psc=1



Or these:
Specialized Bicycle Components



They make some shoes specifically designed for biking on flats, that use rubber that really sticks to the pedals. Drawback is there's not as much variety. Five Ten makes some, Chrome does to, Specialized makes a few kinds.

If there were a wide variety of shoes designed for flats, I'd just say flats. But the more limited shoe options keep me from doing that.

I don't like toe cages at all - I feel like it's worse in an emergency than flats or clipless. I'd rather recommend clipless than cages.
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Old 05-05-15, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
A number of studies have said that even pro racers don't really pull up with clipless, at most they unweight the foot. There's a lot of mumbo jumbo claims about using extra muscles that all studies seem to say is bunk and doesn't actually happen. Some people feel that they get some advantage, some people feel there's none (I'm faster on flats, but I'm not sure my clipless shoes fit my foot that well).

The biggest advantage of clipless is mainly in keeping your foot firmly attached to the pedal. If you're spinning at 90rpm, your foot coming off the pedal is a big problem.

I don't like toe clips at all - they're worse in an emergency than clipless.

You can buy better flat pedals with pins designed to lock onto your shoe, like these:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006ZH1H7M/...CTW3UH47&psc=1



Or these:
Specialized Bicycle Components



They make some shoes specifically designed for biking on flats, that use rubber that really sticks to the pedals. Drawback is there's not as much variety. Five Ten makes some, Chrome does to, Specialized makes a few kinds.

If there were a wide variety of shoes designed for flats, I'd just say flats. But the more limited shoe options keep me from doing that.

I don't like toe cages at all - I feel like it's worse in an emergency than flats or clipless. I'd rather recommend clipless than cages.
Used to use pedals like those on my mtb's, all I can say is make sure your footing is good on platforms like that or your shins will be all cut up.
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Old 05-05-15, 10:33 PM
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Due to circumstances beyond my control, I had no clipless pedals and no road shoes on Sunday. To get by, I used a pair of old toe-clip pedals, but since the clips themselves are broken, I just had the pedals and straps, with my recessed-cleat touring shoes. It was more foot retention than just flat pedals, but compared to clipless, it really really sucked.

Clipless is better. Much, much better. You'll hear scary stories about being unable to unclip, and falling over, but back in my toeclip days I had more falls due to tight straps than I've ever had since due to not unclipping. And if you don't have your straps that tight, you're not getting the full benefit of foot retention.
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Old 05-05-15, 10:37 PM
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If you treat yourself to shoes that can take LOOK cleats, you can put Exostar track cleats on them and ride your toeclips and have a foot-bike connection that is just as good as clipless. (If you pull the toestraps tight for that connection, you do have to remember to loosen one before you stop. But falling over a a standstill isn't a big deal if you just relax and accept the fact that you just made a fool of yourself. Battered egos heal up quite fast.) You can google Exustar track cleat. you want the basic $20 cleat. not the lock-in cleat for track sprinters.

Those shoes won't be walkable but your everyday shoes will still work just fine.

Ben
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Old 05-05-15, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
A number of studies have said that even pro racers don't really pull up with clipless, at most they unweight the foot. There's a lot of mumbo jumbo claims about using extra muscles that all studies seem to say is bunk and doesn't actually happen. Some people feel that they get some advantage, some people feel there's none (I'm faster on flats, but I'm not sure my clipless shoes fit my foot that well).
On a number of occasions just yesterday I pulled up while out of the saddle going up hill. Nobody maintains pulling-up on the flat at speed, but that's when being securely attached to the pedals is a good thing. But you definitely do pull up in high-power/high-torque situations.
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Old 05-05-15, 10:50 PM
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GCN did a test and found the differences to be minimal, ymmv...
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Old 05-05-15, 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FrenchFit View Post
The one detriment of clipless I'll stand by is they totally suck for stop and go traffic, urban commutes.
I usually carry the tiny allen key for the Shimano pedal tension adjuster, so I often loosen one pedal when I'm riding in busy metro areas, which means I can get my foot out with barely a flick of my ankle. It's even easier with worn cleats
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Old 05-05-15, 11:01 PM
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Clipless isn't too bad in stop and go.
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Old 05-05-15, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Dannihilator View Post
Clipless isn't too bad in stop and go.
Yup. Way better than clips n straps. And once you get moving, way better than flats.
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Old 05-05-15, 11:51 PM
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If people can ride flats on downhill mtn bikes I really don't think your foot slipping off while spinning 90 rpms is a big concern. You just need good platforms and good bike shoes 510s for instance. I ride clipless both road and mtn and prefer the secure feeling but I also ride with a woman that isn't comfortable with clipless off road and she kills me on climbs with a single speed. Ride whatever you want.
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Old 05-06-15, 06:20 AM
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Any bike I ride over smooth surfaces, I prefer clipless. Offroad I use sneakers and flat pedals, but If i got back into offroad riding often, I'd drift back to clipless...

Toe clips suck. MUCH harder to get out of, I've fallen down using them more than clipless!
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Old 05-06-15, 06:28 AM
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Clipless is good enough that it's really worth at least giving it a shot.

That said, good platforms (like those already posted here) are really good as well. I have no problems pedaling 100+ RPM on platforms. I also like the ability to adjust the position of the feet relative to the pedal spindle depending on the conditions (similar to moving back and forth on the saddle). I do still prefer clipless, for the reasons already described - better connection to the bike, better acceleration and so on.

Toe clips, I don't like. For me they don't add extra security while they are a hassle when starting and stopping (unless you use them with proper cleats, in which case you might as well go clipless as it's much more user-friendly).

Last edited by Fiery; 05-06-15 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 05-06-15, 09:31 AM
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I finally made the switch from toe straps to clipless, because one of my bikes came with clipless pedals, and I just had to try 'em. I like the clipless alright- but really, it's no big deal. It made no difference as far as actually riding. Once you get used to them, they're a little easier to get into....that's about the only real advantage over straps. I stay with them mainly for aesthetics- I think my bikes look better with the clipless pedals than with platforms and straps. I'd have no trouble going back to straps, if for some reason I ever needed to. You want something to keep your feet on the pedals. Anything which accomplishes that is good. All the BS about clipless being more efficient and all that, are just myths.
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Old 05-06-15, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Stucky View Post
I finally made the switch from toe straps to clipless, because one of my bikes came with clipless pedals, and I just had to try 'em. I like the clipless alright- but really, it's no big deal. It made no difference as far as actually riding. Once you get used to them, they're a little easier to get into....that's about the only real advantage over straps. I stay with them mainly for aesthetics- I think my bikes look better with the clipless pedals than with platforms and straps. I'd have no trouble going back to straps, if for some reason I ever needed to. You want something to keep your feet on the pedals. Anything which accomplishes that is good. All the BS about clipless being more efficient and all that, are just myths.
Stucky, as usual I appreciate your frank and to the point comments! Your signature should be taking the BS out of BF!
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