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Toeclip pedals for city commuting recommendations

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Toeclip pedals for city commuting recommendations

Old 05-18-22, 10:45 AM
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Toeclip pedals for city commuting recommendations

I was reminding myself of what my first commuter bike looked like, and I realized that it had some Shimano toeclip pedals that were supposed to be used with cleats, which I didn't have. I still loved them, but they would be quite rough on my shoes, which I didn't mind at that time. They looked a lot like these:



Now I'm looking for something similar, but something that will not destroy my everyday shoes. I found some models here and there, but they all had really bad reviews so I guessed I'd be better off asking what you guys use or would recommend.

I tend to abuse my city commuter bike, so these pedals need to be quite sturdy. I'm not looking for anything fancy. After all, the whole point of this bike is to avoid theft which is pretty abundant in my city.

Thanks!
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Old 05-18-22, 10:57 AM
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PS: Sorry if my post is not in the right board. I honestly didn't know where to post. I mostly hang out in the C&V board.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:07 AM
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My apologies for only giving opinion and no help for your question, but I personally would not use clipless or toe clip pedals for city riding.

Assuming city riding will include frequent stops, some of them unexpected, I'd want my feet to come off the pedals without having to have the crank in the ideal position to get my feet out or off the pedal.

Clipless or toe clips are only useful to me when I need to pedal at a very high rpm. And unless I'm racing from one office to the other across town as a messenger, I'm not sure why I'd be pedaling so fast in town. Unless it's while trying to catch up to the driver of the car that PO'd me. <grin>
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Old 05-18-22, 11:21 AM
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Hehehe. All good! I thought exactly the same too, before getting a bike that had them and giving them a try. Toeclips are really in between clipless and normal pedals. When the straps are not too tight, taking them off is almost the same as with a normal pedal. Putting them on is a bit trickier but one gets the hang of it eventually. This never caused me any problems after four years of almost daily use.

I wouldn't go clipless in the city though. As you say, too many stops and unpredictable stuff going on.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:33 AM
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Try Half Clips.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:59 AM
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MKS Urban platform pedal. Which BTW, is a copy of the legendary Lyotard Marcel Berthet from yesteryear.

https://www.mkspedal.com/?q=en/product/node/76

https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.a...=109&AbsPos=28
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Old 05-18-22, 12:06 PM
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I agree with Iride01. For a city bike I would use either Race Face Chester (Race Face Chester Pedals at BikeTiresDirect) with shorter pins or Ride (Race Face Ride Pedal [PD20RIDBLK] at BikeTiresDirect) pedals.
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Old 05-18-22, 12:14 PM
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You could always buy flat pedals that have the option to attach clips, but after commuting for a brief while on clips and straps, I'm against it, too. No matter how quickly you can do it, drivers behind you will be frustrated by any time it takes you to flip your pedals into the correct position and get your feet into the cages after the light turns green.

Originally Posted by Mushrooom View Post
I wouldn't go clipless in the city though. As you say, too many stops and unpredictable stuff going on.
You've got that backward. Double-sided SPD pedals are perfect for commuting, as you never have to flip the pedal to be right-side up. Just put your foot down on it and you're clipped in. Getting out of a pedal is as easy as twisting your heel, and many of us develop the instinct of twisting one heel (or both) when approaching the stop so a foot is ready to put down in advance. Leaving one foot "stuck" to a pedal makes it easier to raise that pedal up for the downstroke to get going again, for that reason I have no interest in commuting on plain pedals.
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Old 05-18-22, 01:22 PM
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You can always go with flat on one side/SPD on the other. That's how I transitioned into clipless. It's also easy to get through intersections from a stop. Clip the 2nd shoe in on the other side. Or not.
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Old 05-18-22, 01:47 PM
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I'm really enjoying the idea of getting a pair of MKS Urban Platform pedals. I could add strapless toeclips later if I ever feel like it. Thanks!

By the way, I have SPD-SL on all my bikes. I just don't see myself changing shoes when I get to work and before leaving work. That's where the idea of toeclips came from. My first bike had them and I kinda liked it!

Last edited by Mushrooom; 05-18-22 at 02:01 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 05-18-22, 09:07 PM
  #11  
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The problem with the MKS Urban pedal, and the reason toeclips are so great, is the issue of foot retention. It’s really dangerous, IMO, to be commuting and have a foot slip off a pedal when you’re in tight traffic. Particularly when starting off from a stop, or in wet weather, foot slippage is treacherous at worst, and at least scary. The Urban, without toeclips, is a horrifying pedal to my eye, because it has almost no grip.

It is hard to avoid toeclips abrading shoes, though, and I don’t know of a good way around that issue, other than to at least use boxier MTB toeclips rather than the narrower, more tapered, road style toeclips.

I commuted with toe clips for north of 30 years, so I know toeclips well and know they work. However, one of the things that really wasn’t available for a long time is the pinned platform pedal, which has replaced the toeclip pedal for me in the past few years. Some platforms have just molded nylon pins, but the real deal platforms have metal pins and provide enough all-weather grip to satisfy my demands. Best of all, they’re more forgiving of shoes; sometimes toeclips would not fit well or get hung up on shoes depending on the shoe design. And, of course, the platforms don’t wear on the shoe upper.

There are tons of pinned platform pedals at every pricepoint, but I’ve currently got $35 Crank Brothers Stamp pedals on the all-weather rig right now, which I really like.

If I could have a closet full of shoes for every occasion, I’d ride clipless because I really like affirmative foot retention. For sport riding, I use clipless exclusively, and if I had more casual shoes with SPD compatibility, I’d use that system more, but for a dedicated commuter, the pinned platform is a hard-to-beat choice.
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Old 05-18-22, 09:50 PM
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I wouldn't recommend riding with straps if you're wearing a closed toe sandle type shoe such as a Keen or Merrel. The strap will hang on the open side notches when trying to pull the shoe/foot out. Flat pedals are best for those situations.

Last edited by seypat; 05-19-22 at 02:52 AM.
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Old 05-18-22, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
You could always buy flat pedals that have the option to attach clips, but after commuting for a brief while on clips and straps, I'm against it, too. No matter how quickly you can do it, drivers behind you will be frustrated by any time it takes you to flip your pedals into the correct position and get your feet into the cages after the light turns green.

...
If you use pedals with large pickup tabs, fast starts and clean pickups isn't hard. Not the cute little triangles barely bigger than small teeth (I'm looking at you, Campy and your Nuevo Record pedals) but big ones like on the Leotard Berthet platforms. I make tabs using 1/2" x 1/8" flatbar (Home Depot) so they extend back the same distance at the Leotards, bent down in front and drilled for a bolt that runs through the reflector hole on the pedal. These are heavy enough that the pedal doesn't hang toeclip down which you need for a clean pickup so I counter balance that with heavy washers on extended toeclip bolts. (It takes a little trial and error to dial in the number of washers and weight but they are cheap.)

Yes, this makes the pedals considerably heavier - but - we are talking riding in traffic, not climbing mountains. Quick, reliable pickups are easily worth a fraction of a pound, especially at rush hour with traffic behind you. And when you do get to that hill, you have toestraps!

I rode the Berthets for a couple of decades on my fix gear. Loved everything about them except pulling fix gear hard on the toestraps up steep hills would eventually loosen all the stamped metal fits. (I don't know what to call the process. Tabs of one plate extending through cutouts in another, then peened back against the second plate. With less aggressive riding, I bet they go close to forever. But I have a large box of dead ones. I stuck with them for that wonderful (and rather unique) pickup tab until they were discontinued and I had to invent my own.

And off topic but funny. I had two fix gears with low bottom brackets. (Workhorse commuters when I didn't have a car. When they died the next one was the first used frame I could find to swap the parts to.) Well, pedals scrape on those low BB bikes. The Berthets have unprotected dustcaps. Left one unthreads after the scrape. All my dead right pedals had been robbed of theirs to keep my then current left going.
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Old 05-18-22, 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Mushrooom View Post
By the way, I have SPD-SL on all my bikes. I just don't see myself changing shoes when I get to work and before leaving work.
Have you considered SPDs? Many recessed-cleat shoes are viable for all-day use.
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Old 05-19-22, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
Have you considered SPDs? Many recessed-cleat shoes are viable for all-day use.
which would you recommend? Every SPD shoe I’ve had (since ‘89!) has allowed the cleat to contact the floor. Besides the clicking, I’m always bothered when the cleat hits a piece of debris on the floor, causing a crushing, grinding sensation. If there are SPD shoes that over more ground clearance under the cleat and aren’t so stiff as to cause an awkward gait, I’d be happy to know, as I’ve been thinking some casual-style shoes would afford me more flexibility and save me the hassle of switching pedals for some trips. TIA!
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Old 05-19-22, 01:20 PM
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I’m a big fan of MKS pedals for use with clips, either the GR-9 or Touring models.

If you’re looking for SPD shoes you can walk in comfortably, I have a pair of Shimano AM5 shoes that are great for this. My only complaint is that they use laces instead of Velcro.
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Old 05-20-22, 09:26 AM
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When I was in my teens, I used toeclips and straps for city riding all the time. I commuted to work and etc. I used the tennis shoes of the day and rat trap pedals. The pedals wore grooves in the bottom of my shoes over time. You definitely don't want cleated shoes. We don't ride fixed gear bikes over gravel passes on the Tour de France anymore. I always put my right foot down, so I tightened the left strap but left the right strap loose when riding in the city or any stop and go traffic. Back then, I could keep up with city traffic just fine, usually out-accelerating them from a stop.

Now, most folks use clipless pedals and special cycling shoes. However, then you have to have another pair of shoes for work or whatever. Tennies are somewhat acceptable in most jobs now - I think?

I though it easier to put my foot into the pedal than it is to hit the clip every time without looking.
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Old 05-20-22, 10:36 AM
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old-school toe clips (of any kind, with or w/o straps) are good for one thing - riding the vintage gas pipe to the Sunday Coffee stop...
keep one or 2 pair of work shoes at work.
if urban commuting - modern day flat pedals with low (less injurious) studs. you'll develop a smooth pedaling style which will improve all other riding...
bike commuting (which was an everyday thing) was always best if I could find a good head space on getting to and coming home, from work.
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Old 05-20-22, 10:46 AM
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If you insist on toe clips I’d use whatever MKS strikes you and these clips

https://www.bike-components.de/de/MK...lhaken-p71392/
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Old 05-20-22, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
When I was in my teens, I used toeclips and straps for city riding all the time. I commuted to work and etc. I used the tennis shoes of the day and rat trap pedals. The pedals wore grooves in the bottom of my shoes over time. You definitely don't want cleated shoes. We don't ride fixed gear bikes over gravel passes on the Tour de France anymore. I always put my right foot down, so I tightened the left strap but left the right strap loose when riding in the city or any stop and go traffic. Back then, I could keep up with city traffic just fine, usually out-accelerating them from a stop.

Now, most folks use clipless pedals and special cycling shoes. However, then you have to have another pair of shoes for work or whatever. Tennies are somewhat acceptable in most jobs now - I think?

I though it easier to put my foot into the pedal than it is to hit the clip every time without looking.
Yep, totally agree. I understand the people ITT suggesting SPD clipless pedals, but it's more of a habit-type thing. I used toeclips for years in a city/traffic environment and they worked just fine for me. Probably not optimal for all the reasons previously stated, but I enjoyed them nonetheless and I still prefer them over platform pedals. I will keep on using clipless pedals in my other bikes destined for other purposes (touring, racing, etc.).

Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
If you insist on toe clips I’d use whatever MKS strikes you and these clips

https://www.bike-components.de/de/MK...lhaken-p71392/
These look pretty stunning and probably the best design I've seen so far. I'm wondering if I can buy them as a kit somewhere (with shipping to Canada).
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Old 05-20-22, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Mushrooom View Post
Yep, totally agree. I understand the people ITT suggesting SPD clipless pedals, but it's more of a habit-type thing. I used toeclips for years in a city/traffic environment and they worked just fine for me. Probably not optimal for all the reasons previously stated, but I enjoyed them nonetheless and I still prefer them over platform pedals. I will keep on using clipless pedals in my other bikes destined for other purposes (touring, racing, etc.).



These look pretty stunning and probably the best design I've seen so far. I'm wondering if I can buy them as a kit somewhere (with shipping to Canada).
Bike-components ships everywhere
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Old 05-20-22, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Mushrooom View Post
Yep, totally agree. I understand the people ITT suggesting SPD clipless pedals, but it's more of a habit-type thing. I used toeclips for years in a city/traffic environment and they worked just fine for me. Probably not optimal for all the reasons previously stated, but I enjoyed them nonetheless and I still prefer them over platform pedals. I will keep on using clipless pedals in my other bikes destined for other purposes (touring, racing, etc.).



These look pretty stunning and probably the best design I've seen so far. I'm wondering if I can buy them as a kit somewhere (with shipping to Canada).
Yeah, I’ve never used them, but insofar as non-marring goes, the wire design probably is best because of the smaller contact surface area. They come in T-shirt sizing, but even the Large look shallow, which would be a downside for me.

They’re MKS brand, so pretty available, even off Amazon here in USA:
https://www.amazon.com/MKS-Stainless...3081198&sr=8-5
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Old 05-20-22, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
MKS Urban platform pedal. Which BTW, is a copy of the legendary Lyotard Marcel Berthet from yesteryear.

https://www.mkspedal.com/?q=en/product/node/76

https://velobase.com/ViewComponent.a...=109&AbsPos=28
I agree. The large tongue on these pedals makes entry into the clips much easier than with other pedals.

N.B. The Lyotard mod. 23 "Berthet" pedals, on which the MKS Urban Platform was modelled, were originally intended as track pedals, where you only get one chance per pedal revolution to get your shoe in the clip. The quicker you can get your foot in, the sooner you can apply real power in a track race.
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Old 05-20-22, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I agree. The large tongue on these pedals makes entry into the clips much easier than with other pedals.

N.B. The Lyotard mod. 23 "Berthet" pedals, on which the MKS Urban Platform was modelled, were originally intended as track pedals, where you only get one chance per pedal revolution to get your shoe in the clip. The quicker you can get your foot in, the sooner you can apply real power in a track race.
In a normal traffic start,. I get two tries. After that I limp across the intersection with a dangling clip, slow down and try again. (High bottom brackets are a huge plus here. $$ savers. The clips get munched by the pavement far less and last radically longer.)
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Old 05-26-22, 07:18 AM
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I discovered Power Grips work like toe clips, clipless pedals and flat pedals. I could wear winter boots, sneakers or bike shoes. Used for commuting. When starting from a stop could simply ride on top of strap until I got to along stretch where I could pot my foot in. Worked well for me for many years.
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