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why use clipless pedals ?(12 posts)

why use clipless pedals ?nn23
Jun 4, 2001 5:13 PM
I currently use pedals with those plastic and strap cages. However I realize that almost every other serious rider uses clipless instead. So I'll assume that I has it's benefits. But as I've never used clipless before, could you tell me what advantage does clipless have to offer.

re: why use clipless pedals ?Joe B.
Jun 4, 2001 6:27 PM
I didn't want to answer this, because I'm the least "roadie" person here as of yet, being an mtber returning to the road after 10 years. BUT, since there've been 15 views without a reply, I'll give you the mtb perspective with just a smidge of road. Really the benefits are similar in both cases I would think.

Well, for one thing, I would rarely cinch down my straps all the way if riding the road in stop and go traffic when I rode road before, due to the difficulty of getting out quickly with cleated shoes. Hence, I rarely had the ability to put truly consistent power throughout the whole stroke vs just mashing. So, AFTER releasing becomes intuitive to you, you will have all the benefit of tightly cinched clips/straps/cleated shoes, with none of the risk. However, there is somewhat of a delay between when you start using clipless and when releasing becomes intuitive.

On the mtb, the loose-straps problem is worse, as you really CAN'T tighten them all the way for technical riding unless you are pretty confident in your ability to "clean" a section without putting your foot down. Also, I was aware that my pedal stroke had become almost totally square due to the loose straps. When I went to clipless and got used to them I found that it drastically helped to smooth my pedal stroke and also benefitted my climbing quite a bit. Of course, since getting a roadbike again recently I've discovered that my stroke is still not very spin like.... (but I'm working on it :-) ) I've not done any significant climbing on a roadbike with them, but I'd assume that the smooth pedal stroke benefits would still be there...

Having the mtb only as a true before/after, I'd say that there was an explosive difference in how much power I could put to the ground, though there are plenty of people who ride mtb's with clips/straps, or plain old flats --- and do it damn well.

I'd say you should definitely give them a try, though I use mtb pedals on my roadbike, so I can't give you any suggestions on models. Be aware that (with mtb pedals, presumably the same) many designs restrict the ability of your foot to "float", which is really just finding it's own home relative to the pedal and your knee, such that precise cleat installation is important to avoid inflammation.

re: why use clipless pedals ?Dutchy
Jun 4, 2001 7:52 PM
The Clipless shoes, whether they are the Road type (look pedal) or the MTB type (spd) give a much better transfer of power to the pedal. If you use "toe straps" you would normally wear running shoes or sneakers etc, which have very soft soles. The soft sole absorbs enegry, so when you pedal, energy is lost. The Clipless shoes have a hard rubber or plastic sole with little cushioning so they absorb very little energy, better power transfer. Also the lock in pedals let you pull on the up stroke, so as one leg pushes forward, the other lifts. Also runners get soft after riding with them for a while, so the foot starts to feel the pedal through the shoe. With clipless shoes, you can't even feel the pedal through the shoe, so the feet stay more comfortable and don't get numb.
If you want more speed and comfort get a pair they are fantastic!
Buy a cheap pair and try themmike mcmahon
Jun 4, 2001 7:57 PM
Hit e-bay or the classified here and you can probably pick up a decent pair of used clipless pedals for about $20. You'll probably really dig them once you get used to them and want to go out and buy a really nice pair, assuming the $20 pair aren't up to snuff. My guess is that you'll never go back once you go clipless.
On second thoughtmike mcmahon
Jun 4, 2001 8:01 PM
If you really want to give them a try, I've got an old pair of Look pedals (red) sitting in my garage that I haven't used for years. Although the tension adjustment knob broke off the back of one pedal, they are still perfectly serviceable and will prove useful in determing whether you want to go clipless. If you're interested, you can e-mail me your address and I'll send them to you by USPS or UPS.

The Forgotten ReasonMisJG
Jun 5, 2001 11:10 AM
Another added benefit of the clipless pedal: your feet come out when you wreck. To the best of my knowledge, the first clipless pedal was designed by Look, a manufacturer of Ski bindings. Ski bindings are designed to "unclip" when you fall, so the added leverage of the ski doesn't break your leg when you're tumbling down the mountainside. You can see the benefit this would have in a road race pile up!
Jun 5, 2001 1:18 PM
there were clipless pedals long before Looks... they just weren't perfected (nor were they endorsed by a World Champ and popular TdF winner right off the bat [BTW, it's the same guy that popularized sunglasses and hardshell helmets in the peloton]).
actually was HinaultTom C
Jun 5, 2001 7:53 PM
Lemond followed Hinault in using the first Look pedals. Hinault used them in the 84' Tour when he made his comeback fronting the newly formed La Vie Claire team that Lemond joined the following year. Hinault finished second to Fignon, then Lemonds teammate on the defunct Renault Elf/Gitane team.Don't take my word for it though, find a copy of the Tour de France issue of Winning from 1984, all the photos depict Hinault as the only rider "clipless". Lemond is quoted as saying his preference for clips and straps stem from the insecure feeling he got from the clipless Looks he tried. American Jingoism seemed to solidify that this is one more thing first done by Greg. Next thing you know he'll be getting credit for long top tube, slack angle frames not Guimard.
it's the FLOAT peopleduh...
Jun 5, 2001 1:09 PM
Clipless pedals have float, and don't lock your foot in one position. Those of you that have been around since the old days would know this. Old racing shoes had nail-on or bolt-on cleats, that were basically a slot in which the pedal body fit and had absolutely no float (contrary to what someone erroneously posted awhile back). As such, these were a b!tch to dial in. If you are riding in cleatless touring shoes or sneakers this obviously doesn't apply, but does lead right into the shoe stiffness/power transfer discussion.
If you are referring to me...Joe B.
Jun 5, 2001 4:00 PM
I wasn't implying that cleated shoes with straps have float. What I was doing was pointing out that not ALL clipless designs are forgiving of less-than-optimal cleat positioning. For example, (again, mtb-centric) Time ATACs were/are frequently recommended for people who want to go clipless but already have knee trouble, as they tended to have more float than the SPD designs that were available when the ATAC's first gained popularity. Since then, I think the SPD designs have improved the amount of float available, but I didn't think this level of detail was required. I was just making sure the guy would look out for his knees, as it seems logical that not all road pedals will have excessive amounts of float, as the ATACs do.

If you weren't referring to me, then please ignore this clarification.

I'm the last toe-clip man...cory
Jun 5, 2001 5:41 PM
Actually I do have clipless on one bike, and I realize this argument was lost about six years ago. For everyday riding, though, I don't find any advantage in clipless pedals. Commuting, for instance, I can ride in any shoes, and leaving the straps a little loose lets me get my feet in and out instantly. On the mountain bike, it's easier to walk in my old, on-their-last-legs touring shoes than with cleats.
I'm not ANTI-clipless--use 'em if you like 'em--but a good pair of clipless pedals plus a good pair of shoes (I wear size 15US/50 Euro) runs $300-$400. They'd have to have little jet engines in them to give me a performance boost worth that much.
Jun 6, 2001 12:58 PM
I had posted a thank you not here yesterday but it nver showed up. Apparently I made an error somwhere. Anyway's I wanted to thank all of you for all your suggestions and tips.