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Do clips affect speed?

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Do clips affect speed?

Old 12-21-16, 10:58 AM
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Anthony2
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Do clips affect speed?

I've been on a pair of Eggbeaters for a little over a year now and I've enjoyed them very much, but I think I read something on this site that mentioned an increase in speed with the Speedplays. Is this true? I was considering the Speedplay Zero's but wondered if I'd notice any discernible difference in speed or is the amount (if it even exists) negligible?
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Old 12-21-16, 11:05 AM
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The difference is probably negligible.
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Old 12-21-16, 11:55 AM
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redfooj
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Absodidedly indubitably not
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Old 12-21-16, 11:59 AM
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Probably less difference than having your jersey zipper open.
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Old 12-21-16, 12:02 PM
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Juan Foote
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I went from a set of Eggbeaters to a set of 105 SPD on my road bike a while back. I noted the play in the pedal using for intense workouts as a bit of an irritation. To say that it made any difference in actual speed would be going on a limb.
I have since switched back to the Eggs since they are so much easier to release with my prosthetic limb.
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Old 12-21-16, 12:04 PM
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If you're asking about clipless pedals in general vs platforms, at least for me I'm hopeless if I don't have my feet firmly locked in. But between Eggbeaters/Candys and SPDs (105) I really can't say with which one I'm faster or slower. However on the road I find the larger base of the SPD to be more comfortable.
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Old 12-21-16, 12:05 PM
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Based on my personal experience, contact areas of cleats and stiff cycling shoes does make a noticeable difference while climbing steep hills (10% -15%) when you have to incorporate your hamstring at very low cadence.
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Old 12-21-16, 12:37 PM
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At very high power levels, you may notice a difference in efficiency between pedals with smaller or less secure cleats and pedals with larger more secure cleats. For most riders, this will only happen in sprints and very steep climbs.
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Old 12-21-16, 12:40 PM
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still up to rider effort output...
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Old 12-21-16, 12:45 PM
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Clips?
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Old 12-21-16, 12:57 PM
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No, despite having "speed" in the name, they will not increase your speed.
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Old 12-21-16, 01:28 PM
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Apples vs Oranges

Are clip-in pedals "faster" than regular pedals? It seems to me that the pedals go as fast or slow as the rest of the bike they are attached to.😁

What the clip-in pedals allow you to do is better utilize more of your leg muscles for a smoother/rounder pedal motion. The sweep-back and de-weight, kick forward over the top, and subsequent downward thrust motion are more conststant and can be done at a higher cadence if your foot is attached.

I think the fundamental logic the claim is based on is: More muscles, better incorporated=more power=faster.

Are the "better" than flats, in my opinion, yes. But good stiff shoes with adequate grip level the playing field considerably. Is 1 version of clip-in pedals better than another? I highly doubt it. They all fulfill the engineering requirement (linking the levers of the drive system) more or less equally.

Your results will vary from type apples to type oranges depend on how coordinated your pedalling motion is, but among apple to apple there would be effectively zero difference.

Other things to consider, whether the benefits are real or perceived is: grams of static weight or standardization across bikes in your stable, cost, color, ability to walk (or not) in shoes, etc...To me, any of these would carry more value in the decision process.

Last edited by base2; 12-21-16 at 01:50 PM. Reason: I edit everything
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Old 12-21-16, 03:20 PM
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I used SPD pedals on the road for awhile before switching to Looks and now trying Speedplays. The difference is negligible as pointed out above. The stiffness of road shoes might add a little, but again probably negligible.
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Old 12-21-16, 04:33 PM
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MTB shoes are essentially road shoes with added rubber lugs and different cleat hole pattern.

My wife is riding the MAVIC carbon sole MTB shoe and it is easily as stiff as any high-end road shoe...
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Old 12-21-16, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeTim View Post
Clips?


I do think I had a slight improvement in overall performance going from street shoes with toeclips to SPDs. I haven't tried other varieties. But, at least for hill climbing, it is good to have something secure that doesn't pull out... ever (very rare).

There is a lot of debate about overall speed/power for flats vs foot retention. It likely affects the muscle groups that a person uses somewhat, but a large part of the power is cardiovascular limited. So... foot retention may make less of a difference than people believe. At least in steady state.

Hard acceleration may still benefit from foot retention. I'm often in a little too high gear, but my acceleration truly starts once I hear that "click".
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Old 12-21-16, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post

.

Exactly! I'm surprised at how many cyclists still don't know the difference between clips and clipless.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeTim View Post
Exactly! I'm surprised at how many cyclists still don't know the difference between clips and clipless.
Unfortunately it is a bad choice of historical words... with clipless meaning a lack of toe clips.

But one still clips into clipless pedals

It would probably behove the industry to come up with a new term... "grabber pedals", "locking pedals", "lockjaw pedals"? Although, perhaps it doesn't really make that big of a difference.
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Old 12-21-16, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Unfortunately it is a bad choice of historical words... with clipless meaning a lack of toe clips.

But one still clips into clipless pedals

It would probably behove the industry to come up with a new term... "grabber pedals", "locking pedals", "lockjaw pedals"? Although, perhaps it doesn't really make that big of a difference.
No, one latches into a clipless pedal. I like "latching pedals" but have to say "clipped in" sounds cooler than "latched in."
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Old 12-21-16, 05:51 PM
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Depends on the comparison; if you compare to not using pedals at all, then sure, they're faster than stepping on the bare crank ends.
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Old 12-21-16, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
Depends on the comparison; if you compare to not using pedals at all, then sure, they're faster than stepping on the bare crank ends.
Not necessarily.

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Old 12-21-16, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by rmfnla View Post
MTB shoes are essentially road shoes with added rubber lugs and different cleat hole pattern.

My wife is riding the MAVIC carbon sole MTB shoe and it is easily as stiff as any high-end road shoe...

Not universally though. There are some super stiff MTB shoes that are every bit as stiff as road shoes, but plenty that are designed more for walking that have far more flex built into them.
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Old 12-21-16, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Unfortunately it is a bad choice of historical words... with clipless meaning a lack of toe clips.

But one still clips into clipless pedals
Originally Posted by kbarch View Post
No, one latches into a clipless pedal. I like "latching pedals" but have to say "clipped in" sounds cooler than "latched in."
I actually consider it "engage" or "engaging".

Because clipping is actually pinching something to hold it in place, as were the old toe clips.

Though it is no big, deal, it is a bit of a historic lesson for some who have never heard of toe clips.
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Old 12-21-16, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ClydeTim View Post
I actually consider it "engage" or "engaging".

Because clipping is actually pinching something to hold it in place, as were the old toe clips.
Like a paper clip?

Isn't that why most clipless pedals are spring loaded, so they can "pinch"onto the cleat? Whereas the toe clips pinch onto the toes.

Toeclips aren't entirely historical, and still have wide popularity in some circles, although the old grooved cleats have fallen out of favor.

Terms can change, just as the term "sewups" has generally fallen out of favor, now that many new tires aren't actually stitched in a traditional sense. Instead, the more confusing "tubular" term is now favored.
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Old 12-21-16, 07:16 PM
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Clipless is not faster than good flats.

Are there any scientific studies proving the benefits of clipless pedal systems? - Bicycles Stack Exchange

The Pedaling Technique of Elite Endurance Cyclists: Changes With Increasing Workload at Constant Cadence was published in the International Journal of Sport Biometrics 7:29-53, 1991. However, it seems to come to the conclusion that they don't really make any difference as far as pedaling efficiency goes.

"...while torque during the upstroke did reduce the total positive work required during the downstroke, it did not contribute significantly to the external work done because 98.6% and 96.3% of the total work done at the low and high workloads, respectively, was done during the downstroke."

This is echoed in Physiological and biochemical determinants of elite endurance cycling performance published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 23:93-107, 1991. There are numerous graphs showing that pedal force is only exerted between the top and bottom of the downstroke, represented by a very sharp parabola spiking at 90 degrees from vertical.

That said, I think it's obvious to anyone who has ever done any particularly technical riding that with and without clipless pedals that clipless pedals significantly improve the handling of a bicycle. A fact which is probably more difficult to verify through scientific studies.
There are some other studies that believe the efficiency improves slightly, and some other theories that power increase for specific situations - going uphill or an all out sprint on the flat - but mostly clipless just servers to keep your foot securely attached to the pedal and does not increase speed or power.
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Old 12-21-16, 09:57 PM
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This always provokes discussion, but I've made my 25-mile RT commute thousands of times in 35 years on at least 10 bikes from a single speed cruiser to a Bike E to my Rivendell Atlantis and Rambouillet, on tires from 19mm to 2.5-inch, with BMX platforms and four or five different clipless pedal systems. Nothing makes as much difference as how I feel and how hard I push. FWIW, my fastest time ever was on an '80s Bridgestone mountain bike with Ritchey Quad tires (anybody remember those?) at 80 psi, using old school plastic toe clips.
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