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What are the advantages of clipless over clips?(18 posts)

What are the advantages of clipless over clips?rpicayo
Aug 20, 2001 7:16 PM
Ok, so I got my road bike (trek 2300) at the beginning of the season and opted to put on a cheap pair of clips on it and got a pair of mt. bike shoes with option for spd cleats. My reasoning was I have a reconstructed knee (a year and a bit ago) and was concerned about hurting it being clipped in to the bike in a wreck. I've put over 1500 miles on that setup and have grown quite used to it. So would it be worth my while to make the switch to clipless?

A little bit of research on this board (the review and surveys) seems to indicate that spd's (the kind that I could put in the recessed spots my current shoes and still be able to walk) are unreliable in releasing (scary) and there is a little bit of knee pain associated with them (bad). The looks seems to be the most popular, but then I can't walk around in the shoes.

What are the advantages to clipless over clips? Will I go faster? Will I run a higher risk of knee pain? Is float the key to alleviating knee pain?

I do a mix of riding, some short distance city riding (12-15 miles in NYC traffic where sudden,unexpected stops are common), some medium distance (40-50 miles) and the occasional 100+ ride, in a mix of traffic conditions.

re: What are the advantages of clipless over clips?badabill
Aug 20, 2001 7:38 PM
If you are not doing any speed training or hard hammer rides I would stay with toe clips. They work fine and are knee friendly. I use speedplay x-2, lots of float and easy exit. You would have to buy new shoes. clipless offers better power transfer. Everyone who goes clipless for the first time will fall over at least once, its a rite of passage :-)
Knees and releasingRich Clark
Aug 20, 2001 7:47 PM
All I can tell you is my own experience with inexpensive SPD pedals, which I use on my two touring bikes. And that is that (1) they are very easy on my knees, which are prone to tendinitis, and (2) that I can pull out of them without consious thought. I rode all my life with clips and straps and just converted last year to clipless, but I can say that after 4000+ clipless miles I feel safer and more confident than I ever did with straps.

Aug 20, 2001 7:51 PM
I have SPD's on my road bike (Shimano) and MTB (Ritchey). Both have been reliable in unclipping for me. I suspect that the problems you read about were in mud and other off road conditions.

Clipless are more efficient and I would not return to clips, but I would not ride them in traffic without considerable practice.
re: What are the advantages of clipless over clips?John Evans
Aug 21, 2001 4:47 AM
I never liked the toe clips on my mtb, I just took them off and road the trails on the peddles. I never could get in and out of then fast enough, they caused me more trouble than any benefit I could have gotten. I just started riding on the road on a Trek 1000. I love the bike and everybody told me you have to go clipless. I was worried about all of the same things you are, knee pain, not being able to get out quickly if I have to. I ordered SPD Performance Topo MC-7 atb peddles from Performance and some Cannondale shoes from Nashbar. I was very surprised at how easily I got use to the system, I never fell once that first night. It was late and I just tooled around my driveway clipping in and out, not trouble. The next day on a ride I got chased by dogs, stopped the bike quick and clipped out without a thought, no trouble. I like the way it feels clipped in and I think the stories about how hard it is to learn are exaggerations. I?m going to get a second set of peddles for my Trek 6000 MTB.
Go CliplessStewK
Aug 21, 2001 4:58 AM
My recommendation would be to go clipless. The main advantage is that your pedal stroke becomes more efficient because you're able to pull the pedal as well as push down. I have clips on one of my bikes and whenever I use it I keep pulling out of the clip when I reach 6 or 7 o'clock because I've gotten better at pedaling circles. The only time in which a clipless pedal wouldn't be an advantage is if you cinch the straps on your clips real tight so that you can pull up on the pedal. I've always kept my straps loose.

As far as the knee problem, I think that if you go with Speedplays you won't have any problem because they don't place your foot in a fixed position. Having had a knee problem that was exacerbated with a pair of Looks I had, I now use Speedplay x/2's without any problem. Since you have mountain shoes you can go with the Speedplay Frogs if you want. I've never used them, but most people seem pretty happy with them.

As far as clicking in and out, I find it very easy and, unlike some other pedals I've tried, clicking out doesn't put any strain on your knee.
Almost convinced on the frogs.rpicayo
Aug 21, 2001 7:36 AM
I'm almost set on getting a the frogs. They would work with my current shoes. My only concern is everyone rants and raves about how easy they are to get in and out and never accidentally release, but what about in the case of a crash? Do they release? Stay attached? I guess I'm just being paranoid, but I imagine the worst cast scenario being my "good" knee's foot releasing and my reconstructed knees foot staying in the pedal and my knee getting torqued. That would probably be not a terribly likely occurrence though.

I'm combing the usual candidates and looking for a good price.

Frog user with a rebuilt kneeMeDotOrg
Aug 21, 2001 7:49 AM
I've got a rebuilt knee. I've used frogs for about a year now, and I love 'em. Recessed cleat, the float is WAY superior to SPDs (what I started with), no knee pain, and the easiest to clip/unclip.

As to whether they stay clipped in an accident - there is a distinct motion you have to make (pivot your heel to outside) in order to unclip a frog. I don't think they "automatically" unclip, nor does any system.

Anyway it's your knee (and your paranoia). I don't think anyone makes a foolproof system. (FYI - I blew out my knee while wearing toe clips). If you go clipless I think frogs are the way to go, but if you don't, well, either way, enjoy the ride...
Also...Mike K
Aug 21, 2001 9:46 AM
I have Frogs on my MTB and X2's on my road bike also do to a rebuilt knee and I love the extra float they offer.
Like the other guys have said, I would not go back to other systems even if they were free.
So far as releasing in a crash with Frogs - I did a beautiful and painful dive off my MTB about a year ago - I released out of my Frogs during the fall with out any binding, etc. After the crash I noticed that my left pedal would allow rotation all the way to the inside (not a good thing). Upon further examination I noticed that the plastic tab that controls inward rotation was broken off. I called Speedplay to raise a stink about a set of broken $170 pedals which were fairly new. They asked me if I had a severe fall with an inward twist on my leg - I told them what happened and they explained that the inward rotation block is made to chip or break off under serious stress (such as an accident) to allow release in either direction. They also replaced the platform on the damaged pedal free of charge.
I have had other wrecks since (obvious in MTB) and have always come out of the Frogs when it counted. I have not had a wreck like the one above and have not noticed any damage to the pedals from all of the duress based releases since. If I have another fall like above and I trash a pedal but walk away with 2 functioning knees again that will be just fine by me.
Speedplays are great all the way around (with the exception of prices).
Aug 21, 2001 5:50 AM
I've had 5 knee surgeries, the latest was 18 months ago. I rode on Shimano SPD cleats, both road and mtn for the last 6 years. This year my LBS finally talked me into trying Speedplays, I had been apprehensive about the extra float, I thought my knees wouldn't like the twisting motion. Boy was I wrong! My knees feel much better on those Speedplay X-1's. I'll never ride anything else again.

Does everyone REALLY fall down?MikeC
Aug 21, 2001 7:24 AM
I don't pretend to be any great natural athlete, but I've never fallen off a bike during a failed attempt to unclip. I've ridden SPD dual-sided with mountain shoes, and both Look and Campy with road shoes, and never had a problem. In fact, the only pedal release issue I ever had was about twenty years ago when I got the top bar of a toe clip caught under my laces, and fell over trying to free it.
So does everyone REALLY fall over, or do we just say so to prepare people for the worst in case it happens?
Well, I fell over yesterday...cory
Aug 21, 2001 7:36 AM
I was the last toe clip holdout, since I have four pairs of (oof!) non-clipless-compatible size 50 shoes, still in boxes, that I bought at a clearance sale a few (CRASH!) years ago (if you've ever tried to find size 50 shoes, you'll know why you snap them up wherever you see them). I got a great deal on some Look pedals and shoes last month, so I've been trying (ouch!) to make the transition since most of my friends say it makes a huge difference in efficiency (OW, damn!).
Maybe it's just because I've been with toe clips so long, but I'm having a hard time. All these years I've laughed at the clipless geeks when they fell over, and now I'm one of them. And so far, at least, on my normal 15-20 mile lunchtime rides, I'm not any faster than I was.
I keep telling myself, "They must be good or everybody wouldn't use them." Just like Biopace chainrings and under-the-chainstay mountain bike brakes...
Well, I fell over yesterday...Trent in WA
Aug 21, 2001 10:29 AM
Cory, if you've used toe clips for years I suspect you've grown accustomed to cinching them down pretty tight and then doing the quick reach and flip to loosen them when you stop. If that's the case, and you already have a smooth, "circular" pedal stroke anyway, you won't necessarily reap any performance benefits from clipless, though (once you adjust to them) you probably will find them easier to get out of. If you've been "pedaling squares" all along and are doing so still with the Looks, you won't (again) necessarily benefit from them.

Hope this helps

P.S. I fell over a few times myself while making the transition to Time road pedals (ouch), but love them now.
Fall down all the time on MTB, never on roadChris Zeller
Aug 21, 2001 11:28 AM
I love the secure feel and double sided entry of clipless pedals but I battle with them all the time while mountain biking on technical terraign. At best it keeps me from going out as hard over bumps and on steep loose hills, at worst I fall over. I have the scars and handlebar dents to proove it. I'm currently riding conventional pedals, sometimes without clips, for the most technical terraign, switching to clipless for moderate rides.

On the road clipless pedals are terriffic! They are light, feel secure, more efficient and with speedplay, also have dual sided entry. I always have time to think about pulling out and I never feel like I'll fall.
re: What are the advantages of clipless over clips?Steeve
Aug 21, 2001 7:48 AM
Clipless pedals are the ones you clip in & out of. There are more clips with clipless pedals.

Who came up with that name anyway?
Where the name "clipless" came fromcory
Aug 21, 2001 9:03 AM
one of the bike magazines did a story on this a few years ago, since it obviously makes no sense to call the pedals you clip into "clipless." The upshot of it was that the toe holsters we USED to use were erroneously called toe CLIPS, so when pedals with actual clips came along, there had to be a new name for them. There was a little interest in calling them "bindings," like on skis, but the idea of being bound to the bike made people nervous. Clipless more or less won by default, because nobody could think of anything better.
I have thought the same thing...UncleMoe
Aug 21, 2001 11:15 AM
Clipless implies no clip, yet we clip into the peddles. I've never wanted to ask...
And park on driveways, drive on parkways ;-) (nm)JS5280
Aug 21, 2001 12:29 PM