Training effect of clips/baskets

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by DAC17, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. DAC17

    DAC17 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a simple question. Is there a greater training effect by using clips/baskets or not? It would seem that having the clips would "balance" the muscle use better, as both the calves/hamstrings and quads would get involved, but is it more complicated than that?

    Thanks.
     
    Tags:


  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,857
    Likes Received:
    97
    I take it you're referring to toe clips or other systems to firmly hold your shoe to the pedal as in clipless pedal systems and cleats on shoes.

    If so the biggest advantage is positioning your foot in a stable manner so that it doesn't move around as you pedal such that sometimes you're pressing down with the balls of your feet as you should, sometimes you're pedaling on your toes, and sometimes you're pedaling with your arches or heels and it keeps your feet from slipping unexpectedly mid stroke which definitely helps. From an efficiency standpoint that's the biggest impact, sure you'll hear a lot of folks talking about 'pulling up' on the pedals or other things but studies using force measuring pedals have consistently shown that experienced cyclists and racers don't actually pull up much if at all during the backstroke. Mostly experienced cyclists just use enough lifting to get their feet up and out of the way on the backstroke and push down on the downstroke to generate power and propel the bike.

    Still good clipless pedal systems or old school toe clips and straps definitely help keep your feet where they should be and can provide a margin of safety by connecting you firmly to the bike. That's useful in situations like unexpectedly hitting a pothole on a descent and not having both feet fly off the pedals or when you want to bunny hop easily over a bad patch of road or some road debris. It also makes fast descending feel a lot more secure as you basically carve the turn with a lot of weight firmly planted on your outside pedal where being securely attached is a very good thing.

    The vast majority of active recreational and virtually all racing cyclists (outside of BMX perhaps) use some form of clipless system or toe clips and straps and they're definitely a very good idea. Just don't expect huge improvements in speed or pedaling efficiency just because you attach your feet to the pedals. It certainly doesn't hurt but when sports scientists have looked into this it turns out not to help nearly as much as many people think.
     
    dhk2 likes this.
  3. DAC17

    DAC17 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great post; exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.
     
  4. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    I had learned to ride (a road bike) with the clips and leather straps back in the 60's... and continued to use them until recently. Back when I started with the clips I was told that although they didn't help much with efficiency they did keep your feet on the pedals... and out of the spokes. That was really helpful when standing up. Particularly helpful.... in wet conditions.

    Somewhat recently... I switched to clipless.... so I could complete my kit with proper cycling shoes (I needed new shoes). Although I never felt or believed there was any efficiency gain with the clips and straps... I feel there is more than just the safety advantage to the clipless. I really feel that at least when lifting off the saddle... I grab a little more power when I use the foot-wiping motion at the bottom of my pedal stroke.

    I do agree with your post! I don't think there is any huge improvement. But I do think the improvement is more than worth the price of switching over (even if I hadn't needed shoes anyway).
     
  5. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    I think the greatest benefit of clips or clipless pedals is how they make you feel connected to the bike and the improvement in bike control they give. As for any increase in energy put into the drivetrain, I think it's likely people would be surprised by how little increase there is. Improved efficiency? I think any increase in mechanical efficiency just might be difficult to measure.
     
    qdc15 likes this.
  6. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    What of the safety hazard of not being able to quickly dismount when needed? I've been riding with clipless peddles for several years and my cleat frequently does not release 100% cleanly and I still fall over because of it occasionally. I worry about not being able to get my feet off the peddles in a bad situation more than I worry about my feet falling off the peddles in a bad situation, but maybe that is a hang-up of mine.

    I also never had problems with numb feet until I switched to clipless peddles. I think the ability to move my feet around on peddles helps to prevent that problem.

    I don't use clipless peddles on my mountain bike anymore and I've actually been debating going back to platforms on my road bike as well. I think the only things stopping me are the fact that no one I ride with uses platforms and people are always telling me a need to get some real peddles for my mountain bike.
     
  7. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    What of the safety hazard of not being able to quickly dismount when needed? I've been riding with clipless peddles for several years and my cleat frequently does not release 100% cleanly and I still fall over because of it occasionally. I worry about not being able to get my feet off the peddles in a bad situation more than I worry about my feet falling off the peddles in a bad situation, but maybe that is a hang-up of mine.

    I also never had problems with numb feet until I switched to clipless peddles. I think the ability to move my feet around on peddles helps to prevent that problem.

    I don't use clipless peddles on my mountain bike anymore and I've actually been debating going back to platforms on my road bike as well. I think the only things stopping me are the fact that no one I ride with uses platforms and people are always telling me a need to get some real peddles for my mountain bike.
     
  8. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    Well I am not into giving into peer pressure... if that is what you think that is. I have nothing against using platform pedals. But I would not want to stand up very often without having at least a half-clip making sure my foot stays on the pedal.
     
  9. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    Safety hazard? Using clipless pedals isn't a safety hazard any more than riding a bike. If your cleat frequently does not release 100% cleanly, then there is something amiss with the pedal or cleat (like possibly a worn cleat or pedal, a maintenance issue, and etc) or you need to practice disengaging from your pedals more. Clipless pedals don't of themselves cause numb feet. Numb feet are more likely the result of poor fitting shoes, a fit problem, or a physical issue with the rider.
     
  10. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    70
    If you are still struggling with clipless pedals after several years you should switch over to platforms.
     
  11. gudujarlson

    gudujarlson New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Messages:
    311
    Likes Received:
    4
    I have ridden well over 10,000 miles on clipless peddles. I've mainly used SPD mountain bike peddles for several years. I have used several different pairs of shoes, multiple cleats, and 2 sets of peddles. I also tried speedplay peddles (the light action version) for a few days. The speedplays were easier to get into but a lot harder to get out of. I think I have more than a fair amount of experience with clipless peddles, yet I still worry about not being able to clip out. Perhaps I am alone. In that case, my only theory is that I don't have enough flexibility in my hips to rotate my leg enough. I have flexibility problems with a lot of my body and stretch twice-a-day to help with it. One thing I have not tried is a non-floating cleat. In theory it takes less hip rotation to get out of those.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think BMX bikers tend to use clipless peddles. Clipless peddles are certainly not used on dirt bikes (which I used to ride). Of course on a dirt bike, you don't have to peddle, you can squeeze the motorcycle with your lower legs for stability, and the seat is a lot more forgiving; so it is not a great comparison.
     
  12. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2004
    Messages:
    375
    Likes Received:
    10
    One alternative to clipless are PowerGrips. Much easier to get out of than clipless, although harder to get into (but still hands free). They don't require special shoes and are not affect by mud and dirt. Some say they're every bit as efficient as clipless, although I suspect it's more like 75-80%.

    And they're cheap. You can get the straps and pedals all ready to install for like 35 bucks.
     
  13. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2010
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    30
    I use mountain-bike clipless pedals (2 years now). All it takes is an outward flick of the heel to get out of them. I haven't fallen--just a couple close calls, but managed to get the fall-side foot unclipped and on the ground in time. I've just always put my left foot down first--whether riding with toe clips, clipless, or riding a motorcycle, so I naturally lean slightly that way as I come to a stop.

    When I first started using them, I did get a hot spot in my right foot after about 45 minutes of riding that would cause my two smallest toes to go totally numb. Eventually I figured out that I was tying the shoes too tightly--what was just "snug" when I started out turned into tight enough to cut off circulation later on. My feet swell slightly when I'm riding (I suspect that's true for many folks, too). Once I started tying the shoes more loosely, I wouldn't get hot spots anymore.
     
  14. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    I know that is "standard procedure" and I have always mounted/dismounted and rested to the left myself. But recently showed my nephews son to always use his left.... and was surprised that even my brother didn't know to do that. I wonder if that is an over-looked practise?
     
  15. qdc15

    qdc15 Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    12
    I didn't know that either. What is the advantage?
     
  16. davereo

    davereo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    1,639
    Likes Received:
    70
    The advantage is whenever he stops he is leaning closer to the passing traffic. Risk reduction principles at work.
     
  17. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    There isn't a functional advantage. Release on which ever side is easiest/most comfortable for you.
     
  18. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    Messages:
    12,596
    Likes Received:
    160
    And that's a good thing. If he leans just far enough the forum will no longer have to be polluted by what oozes out of his pie hole, and some lucky driver passing by might get to have a rusting front quarter panel replaced on an insurance claim. Win-win.
     
  19. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    Similar to dismounting a horse the habit makes for an expectation. If you're riding behind me... and I am stopping you know what side my foot is coming down on. So... horse or bicycle you can avoid my foot in your face. For mounting (same as a horse) mounting on the left prevents accidentally catching the chain with your foot as you swing you leg over. With ether, the habit works just like a habit. So little thought is needed... the cyclist becomes "programed" to work from the left.
     
  20. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2012
    Messages:
    603
    Likes Received:
    27
    If traffic scares you that much.... there is always mountain cycling and bicycle paths.
     
Loading...
Loading...