clipless pedal question from a duck-footed n00b.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by volleybrad, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. volleybrad

    volleybrad New Member

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    Hi everyone!

    I am a new cyclist. I just got my Trek 7500 this month and am loving it.

    I have been intrigued by clipless pedals for a bit now, but I have an issue.

    I am kind of duck-footed. My toes naturally point a bit outward. If I'm standing up and point my toes straight forward, then bend my knees...they bend inward and will eventually join together as I bend all the way.
    If I bend so my knees go straight forward/parallel, my toes point out. I hope this makes sense.

    As a result of that, I have nicked the chain a few times with the heel of my right foot as I pedal. I thought clipless pedals might help to keep my feet straighter. )Aside from that, I'm also just interested in using my legs for the whole cycle, rather than just pushing down).

    I've been reading up on them, and I've seen that you need to rotate your heel outward to get your feet unlocked. Along with being duckfooted-it's fairly difficult for me to get my heels rotated out significantly. I'd imagine myself having difficulty getting unlocked. Should this be a valid concern of mine?

    If so, does anyone have any suggestions?
    Thanks!!!

    -Brad
     
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  2. KellyT

    KellyT New Member

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    It wouldn't necessarily be a good idea to try to use clipless pedals to 'straighten' any peculiarities you have in your posture / build. It would probably just cause discomfort, or possibly even joint wear.

    Depending on the type of clipless pedals (there are lots and they differ quite a bit in how they fix and operate), there is a degree of movement in setting the position of the cleat on your shoe. In other words, to some degree you will be able to float the cleat position to take account of being 'splay footed', which would let you have your natural position, and be comfortable when fixed to the pedals.

    Clipless pedals, at least theoretically, are more efficient and allow you to put more power into the stroke. I have to say that I have clipless and platform pedals on various of my bikes and I haven't really noticed any magical increase in efficiency when using clipless. What I DO notice, is that if there is unexpected traffic, or other emergency on the road, the odds of me hitting the deck when using clipless pedals is much, much higher. Some people take to them, others don't particularly. I hate the things, but because they are supposed to be better, I persevere with them.

    Rotating to get your feet out shouldn't be problem, depending on the type of pedal and cleat grade, you are only twisting out by about 7.5 deg' on my pedals, which is very little. And again the rotation is relative to the natural position you have set your shoe / cleat angle to. So it's really unlikely that you wouldn't be able to do this. (On the other hand if you are caught at a junction with Volvo's bearing down on you from all sides, they can certainly give you work to do that you'd prefer not to have.)
     
  3. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I agree that clipless pedals are great, but to use them to keep your feet straight if the reason they are not straight to begin with is an anatomical problem is not a good idea. You will just cause yourself more knee problems.

    That said, clipless pedals are still a good idea. The cleat should be set to your natural angle. From there, the "outward" twist to unlock is relative. Also, the amount of float, or the distance you can move your foot before the cleat unclips is different for different styles of pedals. Some even have adjustable float. My pedals allow only 4 degrees of motion before they unclip. There are some with zero degrees of float.

    Not that it will help your situation, but for those who have the opposite problem (toes pointing inward), the pedals will also unclip of you rotate the heel inward. Most people would be limited in the ability to rotate inward by the chainstay. I usually unclip, though, by rotating inward rather than outward.
     
  4. volleybrad

    volleybrad New Member

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    Thanks for the great information you two!
     
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