What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Pedals ?

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Psamathe
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What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Pedals ?

Postby Psamathe » 8 Feb 2015, 4:54pm

When I started cycling again I initially took the toe clips off the bike. Then last summer I put them back on and spent a bit of time getting used to them (getting feet in when starting off, remembering to take feet out when stopping, etc.). I'm now mostly used to them but I remain unconvinced as to their benefit.

I never noticed an advantage to the toe clips but that might have been because I was more concerned/pre-occupied getting used to the things. When I was cycling without the clips I used to move my feet around on the pedals a fair bit (don't know why and not due to fatigue/discomfort). With toe clips I don't/can't and don't feel like I want to and don't feel "constrained".

I assume that toe clips have a similar (probably lesser) advantage over the proper shoes/pedal clips (SPDs, etc.). So, for general recreational solo cycling (country lanes with no time/speed pressure) what are the real benefits of attaching your feet to the pedals ?

Ian
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robgul
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby robgul » 8 Feb 2015, 5:07pm

Night & day!

... go clipless and you'll never go back (although you WILL fall off a few times!) - the difference is amazing ... especially when honking as you have confidence that your feet will stay in the correct position on the pedals.

One tip : buy the shoes first (from the LBS) and get used to riding in them without cleats (the soles are stiff and feel different) .. then go back and get the LBS to fit the cleats and SPD pedals in the right position - that's important.

Rob
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Brian73
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby Brian73 » 8 Feb 2015, 5:11pm

.....also you cheer up other road users by forgetting to unclip at junctions and falling over comically. :lol:

I did this on Heathrow's Northern Perimeter road when I first started using them in 1997, you learn quickly though.

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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby A1anP » 8 Feb 2015, 5:11pm

As someone just getting used to spds (two 20-odd mile rides in them so far), I'd like to know the answer too :D

I had no problems with flat pedals, but I've just succumbed to peer pressure! I tried out toe clips last year for a month or two. I didn't feel any particular benefit, and I almost rode into a couple of parked cars while trying to flip the damn things right side up. So gave up on them for safety reasons. Spds are simple in comparison and easy to get out of when set on the "easiest" setting.

What has worried me are twinges in my right knee after using them. I'm going on a cycling holiday in a few weeks and don't want to damage my knee if I've not set them up right, so may revert to flats in the meantime, or at least take an emergency pair along with me.
Going upwards at 45 degrees...

kwackers
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby kwackers » 8 Feb 2015, 5:30pm

robgul wrote:... go clipless and you'll never go back (although you WILL fall off a few times!) - the difference is amazing ... especially when honking as you have confidence that your feet will stay in the correct position on the pedals.

I went clipless and I went back.
I spent months using them and found no difference plus I didn't like losing the ability to move my feet around on the pedals.

Each to their own though but just thought I'd take you up on that... ;)

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DaveP
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby DaveP » 8 Feb 2015, 6:11pm

Up until about about 5 years ago I almost invariably used quill pedals with toe clips and in some cases, (loose) toe straps. Then I got some spd's, largely out of curiosity. Obviously I had to get a special pair of shoes to go with them, and then I found I needed to fit multi release cleats 'cos I couldn't use the standard ones properly. After that I got on fine - even managed not to experience the clipless fall, although it was a near thing once or twice 8)
About a month ago I started planning for my next trip. We took too much baggage last time and I wanted to improve in this area. One night it dawned on me that one carefully chosen shoe could serve on both on the bike and for days afoot - as long as the bike had flat pedals. So that's exactly what I am going to do.
So, what am I passing up?
Well. I quite like to have some way of positively locating my feet on the pedals. I find that helpful on long days, steep climbs and very cold rides - you know, when your extremities start to get a bit clumsy. We'll be going to southern Europe, to a flat area and we don't want to be doing more than 50 miles a day. I'm not expecting to have a problem. :D
The other thing I liked was using a pair of purpose made cycling shoes with stiff soles. I'd never had that luxury before, and I'm not turning my back on it now, it's just that, as above, I know I can manage without it.
I'm probably going to use a carefully selected pair of trainers, quill pedals and some sort of toeclip.
I really don't understand your comments A1anP - one of the things I liked about toeclips, and which spd's don't give you, is that the weight of the clip always made the pedal hang at the same angle and I found it easy to learn how to place my foot on a consistently presented pedal. Bare flat pedals just seem so complicated!
All the same, if you don't like these aids, then don't use 'em! There is a fair bit of peer pressure to use spd's, especially in magazines, and there's no doubt that the industry pushes you in that direction as well - nearly all the upmarket pedals are clipless, and I can well understand the feelings of someone who's just invested a four figure sum in a new bike and is faced with putting something that looks like a £20 pedal on it, but Hey!
Some £20 pedals look better than others :D
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A1anP
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby A1anP » 8 Feb 2015, 6:30pm

@DaveP - re my problems flipping up pedals with toe clips, I found that the sole of the shoe would often hit against the unclipped side of the pedal as I tried to engage, spinning the clip further away. Then I would try to flip it horizontal to that I could push the shoe home. All this while trying to pedal away from a junction. Sometimes it worked other times I would have to take my eyes off the road to work out what the hell was going on. Maybe I'm just clumsy and possibly using grippy soled trainers didn't help.
Going upwards at 45 degrees...

Brucey
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby Brucey » 8 Feb 2015, 6:36pm

What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Pedals ?


-well..... it gives you something to fret about...? :wink:

cheers
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby mjr » 8 Feb 2015, 6:46pm

Psamathe wrote:So, for general recreational solo cycling (country lanes with no time/speed pressure) what are the real benefits of attaching your feet to the pedals ?

None whatsoever and I'd challenge anyone who thinks otherwise to look at the research. Racers may get some slight benefit (trading some efficiency for a bit more power) but if there's no need for speed, why would you unless you've some knee problem that requires you to be absolutely in the same place all the time?

The extra risk of injury from a failure to unclip means that I took the clips off my pedals years ago.
DaveP wrote:... nearly all the upmarket pedals are clipless, and I can well understand the feelings of someone who's just invested a four figure sum in a new bike and is faced with putting something that looks like a £20 pedal on it, but Hey!
Some £20 pedals look better than others :D

I think that's a big part of it, plus if you've spend over a ton on pedals and shoes, are you really going to admin (to yourself, let alone others) that it was a mistake.

All of my bikes currently have £10ish pedals, but I took quite some time choosing the right grippy £10 pedals for each bike (I think currently Wellgo LU868s on the roadster, Vavert Commuters on the utility and MKS folding somethings on the folder). If you've never bought decent flat pedals, I heartily recommend it - bikes come with some real junk in most cases and even the ones that make an effort only really supply average pedals IMO. The problem is that most reviewers seem to have drunk the klipless koolaid and so flat pedals never seem to get top marks.

The only flat pedal "objects of desire" I've seen so far are MKS Lambdas and even they're only £30 a set.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Heltor Chasca
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What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Pedals ?

Postby Heltor Chasca » 8 Feb 2015, 7:03pm

I've had clips which were awful in an off as the bike tended to stay with me and that can hurt. I've had clipless which made me 'feel the part' and to be honest I enjoyed. I'm now back to sharp flats (ignore this musicians). I'm not a mamil and on my tourer I tend to wear normal'ish' clothes and don't like clip-clopping about the place when I'm not on the bike. I also find shoes a pain in luggage. The fewer the pairs the better.

ALSO there's this: http://www.roadbikereview.com/reviews/l ... n-the-road

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Mick F
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby Mick F » 8 Feb 2015, 7:04pm

What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Pedals ?
You become part of the bike.
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foxyrider
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby foxyrider » 8 Feb 2015, 7:33pm

advantages
smoother pedalling action
improved safety

disadvantages

?

Most peoples issues with step in pedals seem to relate to confidence and poor set up. I struggle to ride more than a few yards without being clipped in. I used toeclips for many years (and have the scars to prove it!) but eventually gave in and started using step ins. I've been using them for @ 25 years now and whilst the original 'fixed' cleats could be an issue with knee rotation, the 'multi release' spd cleats and extra float road cleats have pretty much sorted that out, setting the spring tension correctly for you is important. My commute bikes have lower tension than my 'performance' machines, in fact my carbon play thing has fixed tension pedals but with extra float cleats its no more difficult to disengage. The issue of release in a fall - well if set correctly you should be free of the bike almost as soon as things go awry.

They do provide more efficiency in your pedalling on action, you can push and pull for a full 360 degrees, you lose @ 90 degrees with toe clips and flat pedals give @ 160 degrees of useful stroke giving a jerky action.

Most leisure (as opposed to road race style) shoes use a recessed cleat fixing so you can walk unhindered in the shoes.

Regardless of your riding you can benefit from using step ins but much like any 'new' technology, power looms, steam engines, aeroplanes, integrated shifters - there will be people who will argue against them based on, well usually little or no direct evidence for their arguments. Step in pedals are not always appropriate, toe clips can be useful on multi use bikes but much like drop bars and tyres with enough air not everyone wants to get the advantages as everyone else is clearly wrong.
Convention? what's that then?
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gaz
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby gaz » 8 Feb 2015, 8:10pm

I like SPDs. I like toe-clips and straps. I like flat pedals. In that order but I like them all.
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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby MikeF » 8 Feb 2015, 8:49pm

I've used toe clips for many years. I have clipless, but haven't used them much.
With toe clips your feet aren't attached to the pedals merely constrained by them, and you don't need specials shoes, as with cliplesss. You can move your feet to a certain extent with clips, but why do you want to move them very much? You need your feet positioned where they are most effective, and that should apply to recreational riding.

Advantages of clips (and clipless):-
a) if you stop with one foot on the ground you can easily pull up the other pedal to a good position to start again. Without clips you need to put your toe under the pedal to pull it up or some other faff so you can't start as quickly or easily as you want eg at a junction.
b) if you go over a violent bump your foot won't "fly" off the pedal as can sometimes happen. This can cause unintentional wobble or worse.
c) you won't be able to pedal with your instep or point your feet in twisted directions (which I've seen some cyclists do).
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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Re: What Are The Benefits Of Attaching Your Feet To The Peda

Postby gregoryoftours » 8 Feb 2015, 9:11pm

A1anP wrote:What has worried me are twinges in my right knee after using them. I'm going on a cycling holiday in a few weeks and don't want to damage my knee if I've not set them up right, so may revert to flats in the meantime, or at least take an emergency pair along with me.


That's a sign that you need to adjust the angle/position of your cleats. I never got on with Shimano spds, they have a bit of free play but I always felt that I was having to fight the spring tension a little to turn my foot, and my knees didn't like it. I find that Time and Crank Brothers systems have a bit of free play so your foot can twist around a bit on the pedal with no spring resistance. Definitely better for my knees. Downside with those systems is that the cleats are expensive and made of brass so don't last half as long.

As for clippless vs clips vs flats, I used to ride clips and straps with normal shoes but not tighten the straps. Stops feet from slipping off but doesn't give you any extra power on the up-stroke. You get used to flipping the pedal and putting your foot in right and don't even have to think about it after a while.

Most of the time I ride flats cos I don't like walking around with spd shoes. I use flats with studs, like DMR V8s or equivalent. Very secure grip, no pulling up on them though.

I tend to use clipless on longer road rides. Being able to really pull on the upstroke makes a big difference to me on climbs as I spend a lot of the time out of the saddle, and most of my riding is done in the Peak District. I find it a bit strange that some people say they don't make any difference - if you pull on the upstroke then they are going to make a difference, this just may not be your riding style.