OK, gotta get used to clipless pedals and shoes. Is there a big advantage to these systems?



MotownBikeBoy

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Nov 24, 2012
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I already bought the shoes, some kind of Specialized carbon something or other. The presenter at the bike workshop made it look a lot less intimidating than it seems. So, I'm wondering - never having used these at all, 1) is it really going to make a big difference, and 2) if so, would it be a good idea to convert all of my bikes to these systems?

My last experience with anything remotely like this was with cage-style systems 20 plus years ago, and I hated that.

???????

TIA
 

CAMPYBOB

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Sep 12, 2005
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Quotes by MBB:
"1) is it really going to make a big difference,"

Yes.

"2) if so, would it be a good idea to convert all of my bikes to these systems?"

Yes. At least your road bikes. Well, maybe leave a short hop commuter with flat pedals in order to be able to wear street shoes and walk around at your destination.

"My last experience with anything remotely like this was with cage-style systems 20 plus years ago, and I hated that."

Why did you hate toe clips? Did you use them with or without cleats?

I was a late adopter of clipless pedals...waiting until Campagnolo manufacture the remarkable SGR pedal/cleat system in 1988.



As much as I loved toe clips and straps with deep slotted cleats, the clipless pedals were much more comfortable, easier to get into (Campy had a ratchet mechanism built into the pedal axle that held the pedal in whatever entry position you preferred until you clipped in and disengaged the ratchet, allowing the pedal to then spin freely) and easier to get out of (adjustable release tension, no reaching down with a hand to release the toe clip strap).

The modern pedals from shimaNO, Campy, Look (they manufacture Campy's pedals in France), Time and the rest are the cat's ass for sport-level to racing road cycling.

Don't bolt your first pair to that new Tarmac! Try a set on one of your older, less expensive road bikes to get the hang of it. They do manufacture 'beginner's' clipless pedals that are even easier to get into and have a lower release tension to facilitate fast, almost effortless unclipping.

You STILL have to remember to unclip, but that becomes automatic after a couple of hours on them.
 

MotownBikeBoy

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Nov 24, 2012
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Why did I hate them? Because I fell over on my ass more than once. Comedy should ensue once I start this. Memo to self - who cares if you get hurt, just protect the bike!!!
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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MotownBikeBoy said:
Why did I hate them? Because I fell over on my ass more than once. Comedy should ensue once I start this. Memo to self - who cares if you get hurt, just protect the bike!!!
Well, I'd say everyone who uses clipless pedals has taken an unexpected topple or two, but so what? We've all been there. Any cyclist laughing, that says more about them than about you. And who cares about non-riders? The advantages varies with ride and riders. For a true roadie, biggest advantage is that with your feet stuck to the pedals you no longer need a downward pressure to keep your upward-bound foot on the pedal. You can lift it out of the way by it's own power, freeing up some power from the downward bound leg to propel you forward instead. Then there's a bunch of other things too, which some may consider equally if not more important.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Basically, they emulate the performance of a cleated cycling shoe on quill pedal with a toeclip and strap, with easier entry and exit I did all of my falls using the old clips-and-cleats setup, so clip-in pedals was a no-brainer when I finally switched over.

They keep your feet on the pedals and out of the front wheel, which is especially important at higher cadences and speeds and rough roads. This encourages higher cadence that is beneficial to your legs and cardiac fitness. They keep your feet aligned in their power position on the pedal (even with float). They increase the range of motion through which you can apply power. The shoes are stiffer an more supportive than whatever you've been wearing. And they don't cause discomfort and pain to your feet like toeclips do.

Be sure to try on different shoe brands to get a good fit.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by dabac


Then there's a bunch of other things too, which some may consider equally if not more important.
Like jumping railroad tracks or other obstacles...

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or getting the bike onto the roof rack like Peter Sagan...

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CAMPYBOB

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"Well, I'd say everyone who uses clipless pedals has taken an unexpected topple or two, but so what? We've all been there."

Er...no. Not all of us.

At least not yet. My first road bike may have been a 38-pound tank with gas pipe tubing, steel rims and stem shifters, but by God it had toe clips and straps and I nailed on cleats while I was still 18 years old. Maybe being young gave me the advantage of catlike reflexes and the balance of Nick Wallenda?
 

maydog

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Feb 5, 2010
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Originally Posted by danfoz

Like jumping railroad tracks or other obstacles...



or getting the bike onto the roof rack like Peter Sagan...
Yep, clips are great for those times you have to go over obstacles, around here that would be mostly fallen branches or potholes.

I am pretty sure my roof would collapse under my weight if I tried parking like that.
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by MotownBikeBoy
I already bought the shoes, some kind of Specialized carbon something or other. The presenter at the bike workshop made it look a lot less intimidating than it seems. So, I'm wondering - never having used these at all, 1) is it really going to make a big difference, and 2) if so, would it be a good idea to convert all of my bikes to these systems?

My last experience with anything remotely like this was with cage-style systems 20 plus years ago, and I hated that.

???????

TIA
There is no need for clipless pedals or toe clips. I used to use toe clips and I now use Time clipless. But there is no need to.

The only benefit they provide is that they hold your feet against the pedals. That is important when you don't want to pay attention to such things.

---

There is really no reason to fall in clipless pedals. I never have. I am just to scared to fall. Falling hurts.

I do remember an incident last year. I have bad knees and it is hard for me to dimount. I had just followed a few guys up a hill and there was a traffic light at the top. We had to stop for the light. My feet were in the wrong poistion to dismount and I was leaning the wrong way. As I went over I just pulled both feet out of the pedals, dropped the bike, and then took 5 or 6 bounces on my feet down the slope of the hill, before I came to a stop upright. Not pretty but no fall.
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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MotownBikeBoy said:
Ah, they can laugh, it is funny to be such a klutz. I just don't wanna get hurt.
Most of the time it's a rider coming to a stop, beginning to lean the bike in one direction but unclipping the other foot. Or muscle memory failing and the foot not coming off fast enough. Either way, it's usually a topple while stationary. And unless that brings you into the path of an oncoming vehicle, what gets bruised most is your ego.
 

Volnix

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Feb 19, 2011
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Originally Posted by MotownBikeBoy
1) is it really going to make a big difference, and 2) if so, would it be a good idea to convert all of my bikes to these systems?

Ah, they can laugh, it is funny to be such a klutz. I just don't wanna get hurt.
I had exactly the same problem but then I realized that everybody (well not the single speed hipsters) who is using a road bike is usually using clipless pedals. So got a pair of Shimano 105's...

The performance is actually different. I kinda think its "easier" with clipless instead of flat ones but not "faster"...

Some things that I was worried about:

1. 2 bolt designs having one bolt getting lost and havin the cleat rotating instead of unclipping from the pedal. Not a problem with the 3 bolt SPD-SL's and Look 3 bolt design.

2. Spending alot of money on cleats. I got these cleats for quite long now. They look very bad but they work just fine. They are not terrible to walk with but I dont walk with them at all anyway.

3. Falling:

I only -almost- fell once. Just once and that was when I stopped to check for direction on my 3rd ride with them or so and forgot to unclip the pedals. Just by trying to put my leg down the pedal unclipped... Maybe just luck but... Probably best to avoid dense Cairo-like traffic anyway...

On my last crash (a spill actually) the bike was pulling me sliding on the road. After I unclipped the bike carried on and instead of me actually holding my self to the bike and sliding with my side I had to put my arm down. I might not even would have a scratch if I didn't unclip. Or maybe I would end up in front of a car. Who knows? Again traffic is probably what makes the clipless system scarier, car traffic and cyclists too.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Back before most of us here were born, in 1985, I did my first and only triathlon. I clearly remember passing riders on the side of the road standing with one bare foot desperately trying to free their running shoe that had become wedged between a fork blade and the spokes of the front wheel. If my choice is going over because of a foot coming off a pedal or going over because I can't get my foot out of the pedal soon enough, I'll choose the latter.
 

danfoz

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Apr 12, 2011
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oldbobcat said:
If my choice is going over because of a foot coming off a pedal or going over because I can't get my foot out of the pedal soon enough, I'll choose the latter.
Bingo. And what mpre said...hitting a cadence of 120-130rpm in the final 300m of a race, just not happening without being attached. About racing in the 80's, it's great being able to use the line "I placed in my first bike race before you were born." And almost as good when racing against the young uns... If you win you can tell 'em they just got beat by an old man and if they beat you all they did was beat an old man. I shouldn't get too snarky though, there's probably fellas around here that placed in their first race before I was born ;)
 

oldbobcat

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Originally Posted by danfoz

About racing in the 80's, it's great being able to use the line "I placed in my first bike race before you were born." And almost as good when racing against the young uns... If you win you can tell 'em they just got beat by an old man and if they beat you all they did was beat an old man. I shouldn't get too snarky though, there's probably fellas around here that placed in their first race before I was born ;)
I didn't win. I placed 25th in my age group (30-35) and 55th overall. But I beat my buddy, the "serious" triathlete who dragged me into it. I used toeclips with black lace-up Diadora shoes, a hairnet helmet, spandex cycling shorts over my Speedo, and a wool jersey. It was a very cold swim and nobody was even thinking about using wetsuits then. I think the latex swim cap helped. My only special preparation was to cut the liner out of a pair of Dolphin running shorts so I could just slip them over the Speedo for the run.
 

Squelch

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Feb 15, 2014
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Someone at the LBS back home told me that they also help your knees because they keep your legs moving in a straight direction as you pedal, so your knees don't flex in and out.

I am still using flat pedals, and I can easily keep my cadence above 80, so I don't know how much clipless would help me there.