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  1. #1
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    Best Way to go clipless

    Hey all,

    I was wanting to go clipless with my bike. I've got a Fuji Nevada 29er (if it really matters about wheel size, I wouldn't know) and was wondering about a relatively cheap way to go clipless while still having a platform-like structure.

    The Crank Bros. Candy 1 looked almost exactly like what I had imagined I might want. But I wanted to know if those were any good. I want to have platform pedaling capability, because I would like the option of not clipping in all of the time and not having to worry if I am wearing or carrying the right shoes. If I am just biking around town, I may not want to carry shoes around, but if I'm just riding, I'd love to try to do it more efficiently.

    Noah

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    All the reading I've been doing lately (considering trying clipless on my 29er next season as I'll have a bike for around town then) says if it new to clueless get shimano pedals first to learn on. They do make a set that has a cage just what your looking for. Plus cheaper in the case u find u don't like clipless.

    I'm not doing it off the hype of more efficient cause it's just that, hype. But in fairness they make it much easier to achieve full pedalling efficiency as it doesn't require near the practice on proper technique as platforms do. But weight savings and not havlng to move my foot back after a pedal strike may be worth it. So understand fully what ur buying before hand if it on a budget cause nothing sucks more than wasted biking budget funds, except not riding at all.
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    I have mostly used Times which have been great, but would agree the Shimanos are nice.

    The one thing I would say to definitely avoid is any pedal that has one side where you clip in and one side where it is a platform.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    I have mostly used Times which have been great, but would agree the Shimanos are nice.

    The one thing I would say to definitely avoid is any pedal that has one side where you clip in and one side where it is a platform.
    Yeah, I can see how that would be really annoying, having to worry about which side you're on. Noted.

    I was reading in some other thread that clipless/platform pedals are not good as flats, as in their not made to be used as such. Is that right? Is it damaging to the bike or pedal to use it that way, or just somewhat uncomfortable or inconvenient?

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    Look at Shimano XT pedals. They have a two sided that is relatively wide. You won't go back after getting used to being locked in. Assume you are doing mostly XC riding. Easy to adjust the tension up and down as your riding improves. They are durable and low maintenance as well.

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    My wife uses Shimano with the multi-release cleat, I ride Candy's and sometimes Mallet. I find the float of the Crank pedals much better in rocks where you have to lean or move on the bike. I tried XTR's but they only lasted 3 weeks and pucked all their grease. XT's seem OK.

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    I use the Crankbros Candy as well and really like them. As said above once you go clip in you won't want to use platform pedals at all. If you want to cruise around town and not clip in, then just buy a pair of platform pedals to change out to when not on the trail. There is not going to be a perfect pedal like you are looking for. The platform on the Candy is wide, but not really intended to be ridden as just a platform pedal with regular shoes. You can, but it won't be comfortable.

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    You'll likely get as many different responses as replies on this issue. When I rode clipless for many years I settled on Time pedals because of the ease of getting in and out and the larger platform size. i also used Cran Brothers Mallets for a long time before Time. Mallets have a much larger platform but can be quite a bit harder to get in and out of over time because the mechanism doesn't protrude so high from the platform and as your cleats wear more, which in my experince Crank Bros wear quicker, it becomes harder to get in and out. But that was years ago and perhaps everything is better now. mallets would certainly be looking into for a try.

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    Going to the lbs today to see what they can hook me up with. I do a lot of commuting, but have been hitting up trails a lot lately. I only can afford to own one bike, so that's why I have a 29er. I can cruse a solid 16-18 mph on pavement and find that it's relatively good to hit some light singletrack with (that's really all that I have close to me). I'm really just curious as to see how much better life can get when I'm clipped in. I'm also considering getting a set of slicks for when I'm predominately commuting, more spring/summer.

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    Make a decision and commit. I've used pedals with a clipless and a flat side. They're maddening.

    If you haven't used non-sucky flat pedals, that's an option.

    I'm content with my Time ATAC Aliums. I haven't used a lot of other clipless MTB pedals, though, since if it ain't broke...

    What else... I get that you don't want to throw a bunch of money at another bike. But I feel like these threads often suffer from a lack of agreement on what that even means. I commuted for a while on a $100 bike. I think that $300 is a pretty good pricepoint for a commuter - that's a mid-90s road bike, which should be pretty easy to maintain, while going back to early-90s or older kinda blows. And my last commuter was $450.

    The problem with One True Bike is that, as you've noticed, every step toward better trail performance you take interferes with commuting utility. And Fredding up your commute bike can make it better at that job - think cheap flashlights duct taped on, racks, fenders, etc - messes with how it rides off-road.

    Whatever you decide, good luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    Make a decision and commit. I've used pedals with a clipless and a flat side. They're maddening.

    If you haven't used non-sucky flat pedals, that's an option.

    I'm content with my Time ATAC Aliums. I haven't used a lot of other clipless MTB pedals, though, since if it ain't broke...

    What else... I get that you don't want to throw a bunch of money at another bike. But I feel like these threads often suffer from a lack of agreement on what that even means. I commuted for a while on a $100 bike. I think that $300 is a pretty good pricepoint for a commuter - that's a mid-90s road bike, which should be pretty easy to maintain, while going back to early-90s or older kinda blows. And my last commuter was $450.

    The problem with One True Bike is that, as you've noticed, every step toward better trail performance you take interferes with commuting utility. And Fredding up your commute bike can make it better at that job - think cheap flashlights duct taped on, racks, fenders, etc - messes with how it rides off-road.

    Whatever you decide, good luck.
    Thanks, I have noticed that everything is a compromise when considering road/commuting needs. As it stands, I haven't had time to commute lately due to rigid school/work/research schedules. It's depressing that I fall into the midwestern stereotype of working 12 miles away from where I live and go to school and not having a solid hour to bike there from the university. So I drive everywhere. It's a drag. That said, I'm doing a lot more singletrack riding lately which is alright, because I got my mountain bike in September, so most things are stock and set up to do just that. By the time I get some dough to drop on new tires, I'll be ready to commute, so I'll probably get some slicks and only put on my knobbies for when I plan on specifically hitting up the trails. It's more work, but that's what it's a hobby for.

    I went ahead and got some Shimano SPD PD-M424 pedals. Got a deal and they put them on for free. I thought (maybe because I'm kinda cheap) that I'd be alright getting these and saving money for shoes. Had $50ish to drop on pedals. but not $100 to drop on shoes.

    As it stands, I like them better than my flats that came with the bike. Some people might not like it, because, to a small extent, the clip in part presses into your foot. It doesn't bother me, and I feel like the ridges on the cage because it actually feels like they hold on to the rubber of my running shoes much better than the small bumps on my old flats.

    I'm happy.

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    Time is on my side, carbon that is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Thanks, I have noticed that everything is a compromise when considering road/commuting needs. As it stands, I haven't had time to commute lately due to rigid school/work/research schedules. It's depressing that I fall into the midwestern stereotype of working 12 miles away from where I live and go to school and not having a solid hour to bike there from the university. So I drive everywhere. It's a drag. That said, I'm doing a lot more singletrack riding lately which is alright, because I got my mountain bike in September, so most things are stock and set up to do just that. By the time I get some dough to drop on new tires, I'll be ready to commute, so I'll probably get some slicks and only put on my knobbies for when I plan on specifically hitting up the trails. It's more work, but that's what it's a hobby for.

    I went ahead and got some Shimano SPD PD-M424 pedals. Got a deal and they put them on for free. I thought (maybe because I'm kinda cheap) that I'd be alright getting these and saving money for shoes. Had $50ish to drop on pedals. but not $100 to drop on shoes.

    As it stands, I like them better than my flats that came with the bike. Some people might not like it, because, to a small extent, the clip in part presses into your foot. It doesn't bother me, and I feel like the ridges on the cage because it actually feels like they hold on to the rubber of my running shoes much better than the small bumps on my old flats.

    I'm happy.
    So your using clipless without the proper shoes? wow

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raven7 View Post
    So your using clipless without the proper shoes? wow
    Having clip less pedals and riding around in regular shoes MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.

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    Is it going to destroy the pedals? Is it a safety issue? Because of the cage on them, my feet don't slip off of the pedals, and they grip cozily onto the cage. It actually feels a lot like a normal flat. So what's the difference?

    Like I said, it's temporary until I get the shoes. I got a deal on the pedals. I made the decision intuitively based on my own limited knowledge. If there is something I'm missing let me know. I don't mind being wrong. I can put the old ones back on if I'm ruining the pedals or I'm going to hurt someone else (I could care less about hurting myself).

    That said, the last two comments would be a bit more helpful if they expanded their comments, because I'm here to learn, since I don't know much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Thanks, I have noticed that everything is a compromise when considering road/commuting needs. As it stands, I haven't had time to commute lately due to rigid school/work/research schedules. It's depressing that I fall into the midwestern stereotype of working 12 miles away from where I live and go to school and not having a solid hour to bike there from the university. So I drive everywhere. It's a drag. That said, I'm doing a lot more singletrack riding lately which is alright, because I got my mountain bike in September, so most things are stock and set up to do just that. By the time I get some dough to drop on new tires, I'll be ready to commute, so I'll probably get some slicks and only put on my knobbies for when I plan on specifically hitting up the trails. It's more work, but that's what it's a hobby for.

    I went ahead and got some Shimano SPD PD-M424 pedals. Got a deal and they put them on for free. I thought (maybe because I'm kinda cheap) that I'd be alright getting these and saving money for shoes. Had $50ish to drop on pedals. but not $100 to drop on shoes.

    As it stands, I like them better than my flats that came with the bike. Some people might not like it, because, to a small extent, the clip in part presses into your foot. It doesn't bother me, and I feel like the ridges on the cage because it actually feels like they hold on to the rubber of my running shoes much better than the small bumps on my old flats.

    I'm happy.
    I've been curious about those pedals in the past. They seem like a much better way to approach the MTB shoes/casual shoes compromise.

    If you're currently driving everywhere for transportation, why is commuting by bike a concern? Are you using it for errands etc.? It sounds like you already found an adequate compromise for short-distance riding...

    I've come to think that the hype people put on clipless pedals is misplaced. I think the shoe is actually the main event. It just commits one to a clipless pedal system because cycling shoes have a stiff sole, compromise traction some, and nobody takes toe clips seriously anymore. Which is fine by me - they blew for mountain biking. So I think it's worth getting nice cycling shoes.

    Now, I get that this isn't a time that you want to spend a bunch of money. The bright side of your situation is that universities and college towns both tend to be good about supporting used bike shops. Cycling shoes don't wear out like running shoes or casual shoes. So make a few phone calls and see if you've got a shop near you with a bin of shoes. Get something serious - the MSRP is likely to have run over $100 - but you can still stay within budget.

    I'd skip the road slicks until you're already commuting by bicycle again. It's hard to predict the future. There's little to gain by throwing money at this particular aspect right now. You could end up with an even longer commute. Or you could end up having everything within walking distance. TBH, the most trouble I was ever willing to go to when I was doing the One True Bike thing was to pump my tires up to 10 psi over the rating on the sidewall for road use. In retrospect, that was probably overdoing it.

    I got my Master's earlier this year, in a professional field. All of a sudden, I have what seems like a lot of money to throw at bike stuff. But I got a BA in Theatre back in 2003, so I have ten years of experience struggling to keep aging bikes rolling. Maybe someone should give me a degree in that too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I've been curious about those pedals in the past. They seem like a much better way to approach the MTB shoes/casual shoes compromise.

    If you're currently driving everywhere for transportation, why is commuting by bike a concern? Are you using it for errands etc.? It sounds like you already found an adequate compromise for short-distance riding...

    I've come to think that the hype people put on clipless pedals is misplaced. I think the shoe is actually the main event. It just commits one to a clipless pedal system because cycling shoes have a stiff sole, compromise traction some, and nobody takes toe clips seriously anymore. Which is fine by me - they blew for mountain biking. So I think it's worth getting nice cycling shoes.

    Now, I get that this isn't a time that you want to spend a bunch of money. The bright side of your situation is that universities and college towns both tend to be good about supporting used bike shops. Cycling shoes don't wear out like running shoes or casual shoes. So make a few phone calls and see if you've got a shop near you with a bin of shoes. Get something serious - the MSRP is likely to have run over $100 - but you can still stay within budget.

    I'd skip the road slicks until you're already commuting by bicycle again. It's hard to predict the future. There's little to gain by throwing money at this particular aspect right now. You could end up with an even longer commute. Or you could end up having everything within walking distance. TBH, the most trouble I was ever willing to go to when I was doing the One True Bike thing was to pump my tires up to 10 psi over the rating on the sidewall for road use. In retrospect, that was probably overdoing it.

    I got my Master's earlier this year, in a professional field. All of a sudden, I have what seems like a lot of money to throw at bike stuff. But I got a BA in Theatre back in 2003, so I have ten years of experience struggling to keep aging bikes rolling. Maybe someone should give me a degree in that too.
    I like them as of now. I'm concerned about commuting again, because once late spring around and spring semester ends I'll have ample time to commute by bike. I wasn't going to drop money on it any time soon. Essentially I'm saving to get anything my bike will need/want for the future. If, come May, I don't need slicks I won't get them, but maybe I'll upgrade something else, or replace worn parts. It's dynamic, but I like to anticipate things.

    Shoes, obviously, and as I've mentioned, are the next purchase for me.

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    Too late, but it seems a better strategy would have been shoes first, then the pedals. A decent pair of clipless capable shoes should work great with platform pedals. I got my Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek V shoes for less than $80 at a REI sale.
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    I'm pretty sure my clipless shoes would suck with flat pedals. More XC-oriented shoes get rid of the waffle tread and have a pretty rigid sole. Not too bad at running up a muddy hill, especially with toe spikes, but they really need a retention system to stay on a pedal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrwSwitch View Post
    I'm pretty sure my clipless shoes would suck with flat pedals. More XC-oriented shoes get rid of the waffle tread and have a pretty rigid sole. Not too bad at running up a muddy hill, especially with toe spikes, but they really need a retention system to stay on a pedal.
    Fair enough, but my cheaper, more general purpose shoes with grippy rubber sole should work pretty well without cleats and on platforms, at least on a temporary basis pending purchase of pedals on a budget. Still seems better than trying to pedal on clipless pedals without cleated shoes.
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    I wouldn't do either. Now and then, I put flats on a bike and ride it with running shoes or hiking boots.
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    Ok no one checked which pedals he bought then jumped his case for no shoes yet.... he bought the pedals that are caged for normal shoe use. Nothing wrong with it it's what they are for. But they aren't for trail use without proper shoes, cage isn't that tough.

    He's fine using reg shoes with those pedals while saving for shoes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Ok no one checked which pedals he bought then jumped his case for no shoes yet.... he bought the pedals that are caged for normal shoe use. Nothing wrong with it it's what they are for. But they aren't for trail use without proper shoes, cage isn't that tough.

    He's fine using reg shoes with those pedals while saving for shoes.
    It'll work, but it's far from optimal. Just like most caged clipless pedals, they aren't intended to be ridden with regular shoes or while "unclipped". They have the platform to give more stability, ability to influence the pedal/weight edges while riding, and ease of clipping back in when unclipping for a dab or to lower the outside foot.

    You are right, he's fine, and what's more, those are excellent beginner clipless pedals. How they work with flat shoes though is no indication of how good they are though. I had to ride my 545s(virtually same pedal with a metal cage) one time with tennis shoes because I forgot my SPDs. It sucked big time. Once he saves up for the proper shoes he'll be much happier I think.
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    the pedals m424, seem like a cost effective place to start. personally, I wouldn't be interested in riding them with flat shoes, I'd be concerned about the clipping mechanism either being an annoyance to my foot or my shoe surface not grabbing and slipping off. I am talking about trail riding not commuting. I rode years on Mallets and this was a common problem in the early days when I wouldn't commit to clip in or a gnarly section would come up and I'd clip out and go "flat". My shoes would slip off the pedals so I had to commit. For commuting you shouldn't have those issues and if you use a thick enough sole shoe you may not be bother by the mechanism jabbing your foot.

    this is just my opinion, I would have kept riding flats and learned from them, then get clipless shoes and clipless pedals when ready to put them together, but there's nothing wrong with the OP approach.

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    There is another option and I think they still make them, power grips. Like a seatbelt for your feet, I used them for many years before going clip less. They work great and I never had an issue with them.Power Grip Sport Pedal and Strap Set > Components > Pedals, Cleats, Toe Clips, and Straps > Pedals | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop
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    Hey all,

    I know riding not clipped on the cages isn't optimal. I'm cool with that. As far as the way it feels, it's pretty much like riding normal flats with a lump in the middle that kinda-sorta pushes into your foot. I barely realized it after the first couple of miles. The plastic cage has some pretty rad lumpy-bumps (ridges) that hold my rubber tennies pretty well. In that way, they feel just like my flats, only smaller.

    Now that we're onto something new then, what are some good shoes for somewhere between $80 - $125 +/- $15?

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    i haven't stayed in touch with clipless stuff so can't offer specific models available today. since you're not really going all-in and using these for commuting, maybe look for shoes that have higher ankle support, are not super stiff, and have enough of a sole ridge height that you can walk in them without wearing out your cleats or falling on your arse. In the past I would look to REI but I don't see much at REI anymore that's cheap, just a lot of cheaply made stuff at full price...Check Shimano for a commuter shoe or type of shoe that can be hiked in. Speciallized used to make a heavy as hell shoe called a Buzz Saw but those have been long gone...

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    Quote Originally Posted by fahza29er View Post
    There is another option and I think they still make them, power grips. Like a seatbelt for your feet, I used them for many years before going clip less. They work great and I never had an issue with them.Power Grip Sport Pedal and Strap Set > Components > Pedals, Cleats, Toe Clips, and Straps > Pedals | Jenson USA Online Bike Shop
    My boyfriend has used those exclusively in his almost 20 years of mountain biking. He loves them. He wears mountain biking shoes but I don't see how you couldn't use regular shoes. I've seen him get out of them really fast before taking nasty tumbles!

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjsb View Post
    Right on. I may just get something like a real devoted mtb clip in shoe, though. I intend to clip in mainly for all off-road purposes, and for longer paved rides/commutes (like potentially to work, I have to change clothes for that anyway). That said, I don't want to have to wear cleats to go around town when I'm just hanging, because switching shoes would just be a pain. Also, people don't want cleat marks on their wood floors and if I don't think I'd like to walk around in some hard shoes.

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    I've been riding in Specialized Comps (IIRC) for the last two years. They work pretty well, although this pair has developed some tears where the toe articulates. Looks like this year's designs may have fixed that. For $100, you would be looking at the Sport. It's the same stiffness, according to the Big S, but it doesn't have that BOA thingie (mine have a buckle there) and you can't install toe spikes. I thought my Comps were stiff enough. Really, the only things I'm bothered about are that the buckle is too far to the side and that there's a wear point where the toe articulates. Given the design changes, I'm tempted to buy another pair now!
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    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    Right on. I may just get something like a real devoted mtb clip in shoe, though. I intend to clip in mainly for all off-road purposes, and for longer paved rides/commutes (like potentially to work, I have to change clothes for that anyway). That said, I don't want to have to wear cleats to go around town when I'm just hanging, because switching shoes would just be a pain. Also, people don't want cleat marks on their wood floors and if I don't think I'd like to walk around in some hard shoes.
    he 5 10s are for real, and they might serve you better given the hybrid type pedal you are using, e.g., the sticky sole of the 5 10 should give far better grip then typical plastic stiff MTB shoes.

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    Update:

    I've been riding, since I got the shoes, both clipped in and not. I have to say, using these pedals, I like both. I read a lot of bad reviews (after buying them, so much for research) about how people didn't like the plastic cage while clipped in and they didn't like the clip in mech while not clipped in. I am having none of those same issues, but maybe it's just me.

    Anyway, I don't ride clipped in anymore, because I realized that the shoes I borrowed from my brother seem to be defective. No matter how hard I tighten the bolts, the left shoe cleat will "float" it's position to an awkward angle that makes it very hard to clip out of unless I twist my foot a lot. This is to the point that I actually have to twist my bike too, so I fell over a few times. I'm going to wait until I get some functioning shoes to clip in again.

    On that note, does anyone have experience with these? Pearl Izumi X-Alp Impact.

    X-ALP Impact - Pearl Izumi

    They look like they'd be just what I was looking for in a cycling shoe. Bike and hike, ya know, because I'm terrible at biking so I end up hiking.

  34. #34
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    Get the Pearls and you should be good. Nice entry level shoe and should work for your purposes. When using them though stay clipped in and get used to it. Once you do you will wonder why you were not staying clipped in before. You will get out of the pedals when you need to. You think you won't, but you will. If you fall it is gonna be a low speed crash due to you not being used to them.
    '12 Flash 29r C3 with a few mods
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  35. #35
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    Falling wasn't so bad, except the time it happened on concrete. My shoulder was all stiff for the next three days. I'm looking forward to getting shoes with a functioning cleat part. Until then, I'm just working on having the best pedaling technique I can right now, because I think that's probably highest priority, clipped in or not. Not to say it won't be better clipped in, because it was, anxiety aside.

    Is there a way to fix the shoes I have, or are they just worn out? They're a few years old.

  36. #36
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    If they mean forefoot flex the way Specialized does - as in nice and stiff from the cleat back - they sound good. Would you be ordering online or buying them from a store? I think I benefit from buying locally when it comes to shoes.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  37. #37
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    I'll buy them at the LBS. Won't buy shoes without trying them on. And I'm a sucker for supporting the local bike shop.

  38. #38
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    Well I ended up doing better than I thought I might on these shoes. I was ready to get those one Pearl Izumi shoes and then I got a super sweet deal on a much better model of the same shoe. only paid about $115 for these (after tax) as opposed to $90 for the ones I was about to get before tax.

    Men's X-Alp Launch - Pearl Izumi

    Thought the velcro was going to be super annoying, but I kinda love the way these shoes feel on my feet. Easy clip in and out and I can walk in them very comfortably. I think that if you are thinking about getting these shoes, then go for it. That might be easier for me to say, considering I got them at about 40% off.

  39. #39
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    Man, I can't imagine riding a bike with platform pedals. Been riding clipless for well over a decade and prior to that I had old school cleated bike shoes and straps. I suppose it is nice being able to wear your tennis shoes but I don't think I could do it quite honestly.

    I just have Shimano SPD pedals and a nice pair of mtb shoes. Just make sure the tension is even on both sides of the pedal and that your cleat is centered properly and you have a bit of float in either direction when you're clipped in.

    Both my road bikes are sporting LOOK Carbon KEOs.

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    I typically ride platforms but use clipless for rolling single track. I just started using Crank Brothers Mallet 2 pedals and Giro Chamber shoes and so far I like them. I feel both have there place. I ride a SS both rigid and with 100mm boinger up front. Riding flats really keeps you honest on a rigid.

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