Toe Clips to Clipless pedals

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by BHSpeedrom7, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. BHSpeedrom7

    BHSpeedrom7 New Member

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    I am currently using toe clips without the straps as they are unsafe when commuting, and for Duathlon's I am reluctent to buy clipless pedals for the cost of them and I save time in the transition stage as I do not have to change runners, So I am asking do you go faster? I know you become more effecient but from personal experience has your average speed improved on your cycle route from switching to clipless pedals.
     
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  2. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    A simple answer would be yes but I think you answered the question yourself. Effeciency means better power transfer so in the long run faster, but don't expect to become a world class sprinter by changing pedals.You will see more results over longer rides.
     
  3. Solanog

    Solanog New Member

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    Go ahead with the clipless, they are not unsafe, you'll get used to them and would not look back!
    I cannot tell how faster you'll be but it feels great, shoes play a big part on this, rigid outsoles help a lot and are very confortable.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    The evidence on whether or not clipless pedals make you faster or more efficient is not clear. Some studies show that there isn't an improvement or much of an improvement. No matter the case, one thing that clipless pedals do help you achieve is better control over your bike. They also allow exit without loosening straps, in case of an emergency. Like ski bindings, clipless pedals will release your cleats in an accident.
     
  5. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    As noted, power transfer (efficiency) is improved. That translates to using less energy in an endurance event. Sounds like a good thing to me. :)

    That said, you are not going to "fly" just because you use a clipless system. You'll save valuable seconds not changing shoes during transition from bike to run if you use the same shoes for both. So that gives you an advantage. However, a stiff soled shoe is better at power transfer on the pedal and less tiring on your foot - especially if you' have no straps to cinch the toe clips down. With tightened straps or clipless you can use different input to power around the circle. At higher cadence you can add "pull" to the mix to give different muscle groups (quads mostly) a break.

    The guys who do triathlons for a living (that I've seen) seem to go clipless, so my conclusion is that they have explored the transition savings vs. overall performance and have made their choice accordingly. YMMV.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    You do not need a huge outlay of cash to try out a clipless system. There are decent clipless pedals in the $50 dollar range. Bargain shoppers can even find pedals and shoes for around 1 benjamin.

    I use clipless almost exclusively now. After using clipless so long, I notice the squishyness of pedaling in regular sneakers and, to me, it does not feel good.
     
  7. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    The primary use for toe clips (AKA cages) is they keep your feet on the pedals instead of slipping off. Not having a foot slip into the front wheel while standing up to gain power.... is a major big deal by itself. Plus the cage positions the ball of the foot properly (more or less) centered on the pedal. And... maybe.. the toe cages add a tiny little extra efficiency too.

    If you want to wear your own shoes into work (or wherever you cycle) toe clips are a handy option. Taking the straps out of the cage makes them easier to slip your foot out of... and it might be safer that way in an accident as well. There are also nylon/plastic clips/cages that are made so as not to use straps.

    I dont know anything about Duathlon's.
     
  8. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    I used to use toe clips, but I didn't know that I was "supposed" to tighten the straps, so I never did. I left the straps connected, but all the way at their limit, and they always seemed slightly snug on my shoes. Still had a few close calls with getting my feet out of them at a stop, but if I had to loosen the straps first, I probably would have been on the ground. I switched to clipless (Shimano SPD w/MTB shoes so I can walk around if I stop somewhere during a ride), and like it a lot. One incident with those while I was standing around talking with one foot clipped in and I managed to put a pedal into the back of my Achilles' tendon on my left foot, resulting in a little scrape at first that later turned into a bean-sized lump that hung around for about 6 months.
     
  9. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

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    Not that it matters in the venue but I have to add that ski bindings do no always release. Sorry just a compulsive repsonse since I am in that industry.
     
  10. sitzmark

    sitzmark Member

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    And sometimes they release when you don't want them to. Bode seems to manage that situation well. I don't. :) Another compulsive response from a user.
     
  11. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    Racers would reach down and tighten and/or loosen the straps on the toe clips. The tightly attached foot is where the added efficiency came from. I rode with toe clips back in 1963.... and I still do. I have never ether tightened or loosened the straps while riding. I have crashed while riding with my feet in the cages... and whereas removing the foot becomes a reflex... I have also found myself remaining attached to the bike.

    I do not recommend toe clips. Toe clips are an old outdated technology... the clip-less pedals are an improvement.

    However... like old steel bicycles... outdated doesn't always mean useless. There are people who can benefit from using their own shoes when bicycling. And sticking a big old size twelve into the spokes of your front wheel should always be avoided. Toe clips are better than not using anything to hold the foot in place on the pedal... IMHO. The plastic/nylon cages (without straps) are an option if someone does want to try toe clips. Be careful and think ahead.
     
  12. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I used toeclips and slotted cleats, too, from about 1973 to 1998. Reach down an tighten the straps as you pick up speed, then loosen one before coming to a stop. Off-season fixed-gear training was challenging because the feet are in constant motion. And I never tightened the straps on the fixie while carrying a bag of groceries home at the end of a ride.

    Clip-ins are a whole lot easier. On one hand, toeclips are still used (with cleats) for specific track events, and on the other, by recreational riders who are still getting used to the idea of limited foot mobility, or who don't see the point of buying shoes just for cycling, or who simply aren't motivated to crossing over. One compelling reason for crossing over is the lack of good platform pedals that readily accept a clip and strap, the lack of spring steel toeclips and leather (or better yet, laminated leather) straps, and a decent close-fitting shoe with a thin, grippy rubber sole and a stiff shank, like the Bata Bikers of old.
     
  13. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Good to know someone else worn Bata Bikers. Had mine since the 70's, believe I finally tossed them a couple of years ago. They were a great shoe for use with toeclips.
     
  14. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    I used to have a bike that had early Look pedals. I bought it used and it had a toe clip and strap adapter that fit into it so that you could ride with regular shoes with the strap tight and still have a release mechanism. I don't know why these are no longer made. Mine worked ok but I usually just left the strap kind of loose and pulled my feet out when I used them.

    I see that there currently is a product called EXUSTAR SL02C SPD that adapts toe clips to SPD pedals in case you don't want to wear special shoes.

    I thought a half clip adapter with SPD or other appropriate cleats in it would be handy for the times you just want to go a short distance and don't want to change shoes. Or if you need to wear heavy boots. I don't know if anyone makes them but I guess you could just leave the strap off of this one.

    [​IMG]
     
  15. WINDCHIMER

    WINDCHIMER New Member

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    Absolutely get clipless pedals! I read so many horror stories about them but got them anyhow. They something you already love, cycling, into such a high!
     
  16. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    Pedalling dynamics can be quite complex.

    The biomechanics of the downstroke is so much better than the rest of the rotation that neither clipless nor straps do much for power. But w/o a foot retention system you have to keep a bit of downward pressure on the pedal heading upward to keep your shoe in place.
    Basically the leg being extended isn't only powering the bike forward, it's also pushing the leg being bent up. Any foot retention system allows you to use the muscles in the upwards leg to get that leg out of the way, leaving all the power from the downward leg available to push the bike forward.
    If you're actually able to generate a bit of pull as well, that's a (tiny) bonus.
    Now from an aerobic perspective this is often a question of same same but different, as it's still the pretty much the same amount of work that's being done - only distributed across more muscles.
    If your ride limiter is that you're out of breath, don't expect much improvement. But it does cut a few fractions of the load of the downward leg, which can be turned into speed if you have the energy for it.

    I ahve no idea about what fraction of power is lost through a softer sole/bendier shoe, if you're comparing sneakers/running shoes to cycling shoes.
    And I've never been bothered about the "hot spot" that roadies sometimes comment on when stuck with supposedly too soft shoes. I have broken a pair of low-end cycling shoes straight across the sole once though.
    But at least om my MTB, where terrain requirement often means that you have to muscle through some sections, sneakers/running shoes do become uncomfortable fairly quickly. Not ride-stoppingly so though.

    The dangers/difficulties of clipless as well as clips are quite overrated IMO.
    I think everyone that has transitioned from flatties to clips has toppled over while (almost) stationary a couple of times. Then your body accepts the programming of "yank foot backwards" and you're OK. Then when you transition from clips to clipless you topple a few times more, until your body has accepted the programming of "twist heel outwards" instead.
    Switching from one clipless system to another, or simply replacing some well worn cleats may very well prompt another topple.
    But unless you're in a real dangerous spot, it's more a source of embarrassment rather than a cause for injury. Shrug it off, get up, ride on.
     
  17. DeadLights

    DeadLights New Member

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    I just learned this yesterday. A car ran me off the road. They didn't even bother to stop. I spilled and flew right out of the pedals. Luckily I wasn't going very fast and I popped right up flipping the bird.
     
  18. AlanG

    AlanG Member

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    I just noticed that I have a photo of my old clip adapter. This made it possible to use sneakers in road pedals.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

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    Exustar still makes a Look compatible clipless pedal adapter.
     
  20. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I actually never wore them because by the time they came out I was committed to black shoes with cleats. I recommended them to a lot of friends, though. Great shoe.

    Regarding power, perhaps there is no extra power generated by stiff soles, but there is certainly less foot movement and fatigue. "Pulling up" probably isn't as productive as just following and unweighting the pedal on the upstroke. Think about it. Riders with platforms need to weight both pedals simultaneously to keep their feet from flying off, thus forcing the legs to work against each other. Regarding feet flying off, I saw a lot of this during my first (and only) triathlon, in 1985. Several riders were stopped on the side of the road on one bare foot, trying to extricate a running shoe wedged between the spokes of the front wheel and the fork. Finally, when I'm climbing and sprinting, I'm definitely pulling up on the upstroke. I'm also "ankling," striving to generate force through the entire 360-degree cycle. With my weight and gearing this is the only way I can get up some hills.
     
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