Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 22 Feb 2021, 4:01pm

I use plastic pedals with toe clips - robust ones but with straps - on three of my bikes, and SPD cleats on two.

I really like plastic pedals: they are comfortable under foot especially with light shoes, and they are even more comfortable on your shins when you bash into them in the hall.

I use heavy, broad plastic pedals and heavier duty plastic toe clips and straps. Some I have gathered as they came along, others I have bought on online after carefully scrutinising the pictures.

I have cycled like this for years, usually every day commuting in London, and sometimes long distance outside when I don't want a road bike. I think they are not much more disadvantageous compared with SPDs.

But I have broken a couple. The worst are "road" plastic pedals, which are very flimsy - the stuff sold with road bikes when new - and not worth bothering with.

Also, but ... they don't seem to be sealed at all really. The crank side bearings are often visible, and the only seal is whatever grease you squeeze in there. I have now dismantled a pair and the bearings are lubricated in rusty slush, and are filthy.

These are ordinary plastic pedals: I don't like the look of the broad MTB pedals with studs in them: I quite like to ride in crocs at times, which would be shredded.

Are there any good quality plastic pedals out there which would be strong enough for touring for several weeks and able to fit toe clips?

Or should I fit my toe clips to MKS Sylvan Touring pedals - looks like they would fit - which seem in a different league in terms of quality compared with what I have got. I just know they will hurt if I bash into them.
Last edited by Bice on 22 Feb 2021, 5:47pm, edited 1 time in total.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

chris_suffolk
Posts: 577
Joined: 18 Oct 2012, 10:01pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby chris_suffolk » 22 Feb 2021, 4:16pm

Gave up on toe straps more years ago than I care to remember. Once strapped in, it's impossible to get out without releasing the strap, where-as with clip-ins - no issues.

Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 22 Feb 2021, 4:28pm

chris_suffolk wrote:Gave up on toe straps more years ago than I care to remember. Once strapped in, it's impossible to get out without releasing the strap, where-as with clip-ins - no issues.


Well, today I went to supermarket, fruit and veg stall and post office, and managed to get in and out of my pedals without incident. You just have them a bit looser. I did do a 230km ride, including loads of tracks, on a retro road bike and tightened the straps for greater efficiency. But even then they were not a big deal to get out of.

They are under-rated and you can use ordinary shoes.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

chris_suffolk
Posts: 577
Joined: 18 Oct 2012, 10:01pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby chris_suffolk » 22 Feb 2021, 4:31pm

Bice wrote:
chris_suffolk wrote:Gave up on toe straps more years ago than I care to remember. Once strapped in, it's impossible to get out without releasing the strap, where-as with clip-ins - no issues.


Well, today I went to supermarket, fruit and veg stall and post office, and managed to get in and out of my pedals without incident. You just have them a bit looser. I did do a 230km ride, including loads of tracks, on a retro road bike and tightened the straps for greater efficiency. But even then they were not a big deal to get out of.

They are under-rated and you can use ordinary shoes.


When I used toe straps I had a cleat under the show that clipped over the back edge of the peddle - believe me it was impossible to remove your foot without loosening the straps first.

simonhill
Posts: 3343
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby simonhill » 22 Feb 2021, 5:00pm

They don't sound like 'normal' toe strap arrangements to me. I have mine fairly loose so easy to get in and out, but tight enough to keep my foot in place. OK not as efficient as locking yourself in, but then again, not as dangerous.

I use MKS Lite pedals and Zefal plastic clips with nylon straps. The pedals are less clunky than the plastic ones, less sharp edges than the Sylvan Touring, but I'm sure they can catch the shin of an unwary one in a narrow hallway.

Main advantage for me of clips and straps is that I can wear ordinary shoes, so less hassle on tour.

DaveReading
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Joined: 24 Feb 2019, 5:37pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby DaveReading » 22 Feb 2021, 5:54pm

I've used toe straps for the last 40+ years, so I've never experienced the helplessly falling over phenomenon that, we're told, is an essential part of one's initiation into the clipless fraternity.

slowster
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Joined: 7 Jul 2017, 10:37am

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby slowster » 22 Feb 2021, 6:01pm

MKS 'Urban Platform' and/or GR9/GR10 pedals might be what you are seeking. The former has sealed cartridge bearings and the latter unsealed cup and cone bearings. Personally I think the Sylvan Touring is better and have never injured myself with that style of pedal. I've also never found the found the lack of a tab on the Sylvan Touring to flip the pedal round a problem. As it happens the only time I've ever seriously gouged my shin on a pedal was on the tab of a racing pedal.

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/pedals-cleats/mks-urban-platform-pedals/

https://www.sjscycles.co.uk/pedals-cleats/mks-gr9-platform-road-pedals/

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

Bice
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Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 22 Feb 2021, 6:50pm

slowster wrote:MKS 'Urban Platform' and/or GR9/GR10 pedals might be what you are seeking.


Thanks, I had never come across these. They do look good, and no sharp edges.

I wonder whether you can use them only on one side: I often cycle with one foot out of the toe clip, when stopping and starting for eg, or when ice, diesel spill etc.

Not sure my cheapie plastic (and really useful) toe clips would be an adornment. But I see you can spend out on some retro leather and metal toe clips - probably cost more than all the plastic ones I have ever bought put together.

But they do look good quality pedals, that's for sure.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

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TrevA
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Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby TrevA » 22 Feb 2021, 8:49pm

I’ve gone back to using toe clips and straps on all my bikes, due to knee problems, but I use metal pedals paired to plastic MTB style toe clips and nylon straps (you don’t seem to be able to buy leather toe straps any more). I buy my pedals from the likes of Halfords and find they last a couple of years before the bearings give out, which for me is probably getting on for 8000 miles. I’m tempted to get some Sylvan pedals, as I won’t be going back to clipless.

I don’t find toe clips to be a disadvantage, I can still out climb some of my SPD-clad club mates and can certainly outsprint them all in the race for the cafe!
A cart horse trapped in the body of a man.
http://www.jogler2009.blogspot.com

Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 22 Feb 2021, 9:08pm

TrevA wrote:I don’t find toe clips to be a disadvantage, I can still out climb some of my SPD-clad club mates and can certainly outsprint them all in the race for the cafe!


With my club, I thought about ditching SPDs in winter because my cycling shoes are ultra-ventilated and freezing cold. I have over-shoes, but they are a pain and it's still cold. So I thought: just use waterproof trekking shoes and toe clips.

I would have been happy to do this, but I then saw and bought some bargain new US police SPD leather shoes on eBay, which keep my feet warm and dry. Anyway, this winter I have not been allowed out of London, so it became a bit theoretical.

But you are right: toe clips are nearly as good. In all my years commuting with them I just found I used up a pair of shoes every 3-4 years.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 23 Feb 2021, 9:14am

This thread on cheap pedals by Brucey is absolutely superb quality and he should compile his posts into an online 'book' and get the recognition for it:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=124951&hilit=pedal+axle

He does not think much of plastic pedals - some ARE better than others - but it has this final sentiment:

"Now it may seem a waste of time, servicing a £10 pair of pedals, but IME this can make them work as well and as reliably as a much more expensive set. In this day and age any re-use and life extension of anything is one tiny act that spares the planet, just a little bit, too."
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 25 Feb 2021, 1:27pm

I have now stripped, replaced bearings and repacked two pairs of basic plastic pedals.

They are not THAT bad, but would be an unnecessary risk on long tours, so I am now considering a pair of MKS Sylvan Touring pedals to use with my plastic toe clips.

The advantages to me of basic plastic pedals are primarily:

1/ They don't hurt if you bash into them (a serious consideration if you keep bikes for daily use in the hall);
2/ They won't trash the paint of other bikes when stacked on a car rack of four when the family go off somewhere.
3/ They are comfortable in any shoes.

So, plastic for from-home use, and something better for longer.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple

Slowroad
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Location: Nottingham, UK

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Slowroad » 27 Feb 2021, 6:51pm

I use toe-clips too, either mountain bike all-plastic ones, or ones with the strap wrapped round so it is only on the inside so I can get my foot out easily. Works for me :-)
“My two favourite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything. The perfect day: riding a bike to the library.”
― Peter Golkin

ANTONISH
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Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby ANTONISH » 28 Feb 2021, 10:10am

My first experience of toe clips was in 1955. I moved on to using them in conjunction with shoe plates.
IME tightening toe straps to the point where you couldn't pull out was only needed near the end of a road race coming up to the sprint ( even then if you pulled up really hard it was just possible to clear the slot in the shoe plate and pull out.)

In 1997 I was persuaded that spd's were much superior and I would obtain great benefits from their use - so I bought the pedals and shoes.
After the usual clinging to any upright and falling off I mastered the unclipping technique.
I have yet to experience the promised benefits.
In addition I find they are tricky to set up( my left foot is markedly "heels in") to the exact precision obtainable by using shoe plates ( I just used to pedal around for a while without shoe plates and the pedal would mark the sole of the shoe to give alignment.

I have also been taken aback by the number of times I see people fall using clipless pedals ( couldn't unclip in time etc ) this seems to be acceptable as some sort of normal - I saw very little of that when toe clips and straps were common.

Apologies to OP this thread was about plastic pedals. :(

Bice
Posts: 82
Joined: 18 May 2020, 7:33pm

Re: Joy of plastic pedals and toe clips

Postby Bice » 1 Mar 2021, 10:16pm

ANTONISH wrote:I have also been taken aback by the number of times I see people fall using clipless pedals ( couldn't unclip in time etc ) this seems to be acceptable as some sort of normal - I saw very little of that when toe clips and straps were common.

Apologies to OP this thread was about plastic pedals. :(


It is a great comment.

My likening for plastic is just that it has advantages for everyday use, especially if living in a city house. As well as not hurting so much if you walk into them, they are more forgiving on furniture, doors etc when moving them about. I am so used to them that metal, even through thick soles, feels harsh. I actually removed a pair from a bike for this reason.
Daily: Carlton Courette 1982 mixte frame, 42, 32, 22 7-speed on Tiagra
Favourite: Lazzaretti steel 1996 10-speed 48/34
Trek 1.7 10-speed triple 2010;
Ciocc steel 1984 50/34 7-speed used for Eroica in Italy
Marin Bolinas Ridge MTB c1995, 7-speed triple