Poll: Going clipless has improved my pedaling efficiency by...

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  1. #1
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    Considering Clipless

    So, I think I'm going clipless. While I'm proud of what I did with running shoes on platforms and I'm worried about not being able to unclip before falling on my @ss, I'd like to climb more efficiently. I got a pair of real bike shoes yesterday and am now shopping for pedals. I am wondering though how much of an improvement I can expect (see poll). Also, I've been reading posts and reviews here, but if anyone has a suggestion for a set of SPD pedals, the most important criterion being the ability to clip in and out easily / quickly, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    If you have access to a stationary bike with SPD pedals and a power meter (Watts), you can find the exact number out very easily. Most stationary bike in gyms have power meters but not clipless pedals. Ask if you can bring your pedals and put them on there if you promise to put it back (doesn't hurt to ask). Do two identical rides on the bike- first with gym shoes, then recover as you switch out the pedals and do the same ride in clipless. As you ride, record the Watt data. The difference between the two is what you gain (or I guess, lose as the results will show).

    I think the actual number is probably something like 15-20%. It doesn't sound like a lot but that's a lot of effeciency gained in a single equipment upgrade. It also requires no fitness improvement from you. Pedaling clipless keeps your pedal circles nice and round. Your shoes will help regain the energy lost as your running shoes squished each time you pushed down on your pedals (since that's what running shoes were designed to do). You also don't waste any energy trying to keep your feet on the pedals. (Yes, platform advocates that takes engery)

    Really, there's no question that clipless is the way to go. As you learn, you'll flop over in slow motion once or twice if you forget to unclip before stopping. Those are embarassing falls, but they usually aren't painful. Everyone remembers doing the same thing when they learned. The only people who point and laugh are those who never tried clipless pedals.

    Beginners usually fret about "not being able to get out". Clipping out ultimately ends up being the easy part. Clipping in is the real skill. Expect a few bashed shins as you learn to clip in at any point on the trail. I still give myself one or two a season.
    Last edited by hairylegs; 11-09-2008 at 11:11 AM.

  3. #3
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    Shimano pedals have the most adjustable tension.
    Quote Originally Posted by mikesee
    Better suited to non-aggressive 125# gals named Russell.
    I ride so slow, your Garmin will shut off.

  4. #4
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    I can't say how much my efficiency improved, but it's really helped my technical riding. I used to bash my shins on the pedals all the time because my foot would slip off most of the time whenever I hit technical technical sections, especially on the climbs. Learning clipless can be scary at first but it becomes second nature after a few falls. I find it easier to unclip with my eggbeaters rather than Shimano.

  5. #5
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    only complaint on crank bros is they can unclip on pedal strikes.

  6. #6
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    you will be mad that you spent any time on a platform pedal after going clipless.
    as far as efiiciency, you will still suffer, you just will have more control and go faster for roughly the same amout of effort.

    TIME ATAC are my personal favorites
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  7. #7
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    Time ATAC's are the best I've tried, following 10ish years of SPD's and 1 year on crank bros....

    Clipless all the way. You will be shocked and amazed, but just don't give up right away if you have some..... issues (an by issues I mean that it is quite likely that you will come to a stop and at a very inopportune moment you will simply fall over). But once you get the muscle memory and your setup down you will find that the dreaded fear of getting stuck in your pedals really isn't that big a concern as you will learn to unclip as fast as you can thnk about it. The control and power you gain will over shadow any negatives rapidly.
    +1 for Noob's note re: rockstrikes on Crank Bros. The simple way their springs work allows for forces applied from the bottom to open the jaws on the top. SPDs are great and work dependably and the bearings are practically indestructable. Times offer a bit of float, but stil have a solid feel and positive "click" to let you know you're in, but have that telepathic release that you're gonna want.
    **** censorship

  8. #8
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    Well, its one of those personal things again --just like with tires -- everyone has their favorite pedal they swear by! IMHO, the amount of float a pedal has and the ease of release are the two key components in what makes a pedal easy to unclip. I, personally perfer the spd pedals. I can adjust the tension from anywhere to super light release to a harder release. I like that option -- don't have that with crank bros or the time atac. With them its all about which cleat goes on which shoe for ease of pedal release.
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  9. #9
    Oh, So Interesting!
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    I switched to platforms and improved in techy riding about %20 immediately... clipless pedals suck. Get some 5.10s and return your shoes. I've never had an issue with slipping off platforms. Also, with Kona wah wah pedals and 5.10s my foot is way closer to the spindle, lowering my cg and making up for some of the losses in effeciency. I'd only use clipless if I was racing xc, and thats never going to happen.
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  10. #10
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    How are your knees?

    Clipless pedals can help minimize knee problems. When you're cranking up a hill you can pull up on pedals as well as mash down - that'll save wear and tear on your knees. And it'll be better for traction as you're distributing the driving force over the whole pedal stroke. Plus for me there have been times in techy situations where it's been better to pull up on a pedal rather than mash down on the other one.
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  11. #11
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    I think every rider would benefit from being comfortable with both clipless and flats.

  12. #12
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    2nd the Time ATAC suggestion.

  13. #13
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    Clipless is great for xc riding, better pedaling efficiency, and it just seems to make things go more smoothly. Unclipping becomes second nature after a few rides.

    I second DanD's point about how everyone should ride both. Whenever I do any downhill riding, I use platforms and find that I like it better. It really helps you 'flow' with the bike more, and learn to be a smoother rider. This smoothness transfers over to riding with clipless and you become a better rider overall.

  14. #14
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    Thanks for all the info. I think I'm going to pick up a pair of Shimano PD-M324s. I tore my ankle up when I slipped off my platforms yesterday, so falling a couple of times from being unable to unclip quickly probably won't be worse than that.

  15. #15
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    Get these!!

    They really do make a difference. Clipless will take your overall riding skill up a notch.

    The only reason to have platform is if you are riding pure DH or dirt jumping. Yet still, even a vast amount of DH riders use clipless.





  16. #16
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    I'm adding in my .02 and voting for the SPDs- I tried crank brothers and couldn't get out of them...especially my left foot/ankle was significantly weaker than my right. The frog pedals are intriguing, but definitely get something with adjustable tension.
    If you don't stop whining- I'll call the whaaaa-mbulance!

  17. #17
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    The ONLY thing that matters in the end

    Is how much you enjoy the ride, Platforms or pedals

    After riding a MTB (a bike ridden off road and often times on a narrow hiking trail) since 1970-71, I bit on the idea of clipless a few years ago. Road riding, no problem, never a tip over. Hill climbing my fire road climbs was noticeably easier. Taking them out on the ST, I was constantly clipping out the first year at the smallest rock and lost the sense of fun I enjoyed for 30+ years on a MTB. Another year later, I could ride them confidently on an "XC" trail, buff, groomed, a few small 6" obstacles, but I still wasn't having "fun" on my normal trails.

    "Maybe you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

    I've switched back to platforms for most of my rides. I miss the "little" better efficiency on hill climbs of clipless, but love not having to think about clipping out on my favorite technical trails. My foot stays placed on my new platforms much better than than my "bike" shoes/SPD"s ever did. Maybe too well ! I have to deliberately pick my foot up off the pedal to shift my foot/knee position to get some " float"

    To paraphrase what we say at my BP'ng forum board "Ride YOUR OWN ride"

  18. #18
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    This is my first year of clipless riding, and my only problem is coming unclipped when I bump my pedals on rocks etc. I have only fallen a couple times because I forgot to clip out, and it really only took me a couple of rides to figure everything out. Personally, I think clipless makes starting on a hills a little tougher because you can't just jump on and mash the pedals to get going. I would recommend getting pedals that have a little bit of a base for your foot that way if you can't clip in quickly or you come unclipped suddenly you still have some grip.

    I am currently riding some shimano SPD's but if I had to do it over again I would've gone for the Time ATAC's.

  19. #19
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    I hated the learning curve for clipless, but am glad that I switched from toe clips (old road rider). Definitely have more control. It took a while, but unclipping is now unconscious, even on techy stuff.

    Shimano makes a cleat (SH-56) that releases in more directions than their standard SH-51 cleat. Try those for learning if you go with SPD pedals with light spring tension.

    My $.02 worth.

  20. #20
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    This season was my first with clipless and I started with crank bros. smarty pedals. They have enough base that you can pedal without being clipped in, and they are easy enough for me to clip in/out of. I can't say as to any pedaling efficiency change, but that's not why I switched to clipless. I was tired of my feet slipping off my platforms on uphill tech, and going clipless has definitely improved my tech riding. With crank bros. pedals you can set your cleat release to earlier or later by changing the orientation of the cleat on your shoe.

    That said, I agree that it is annoying that crank bros. will unclip on pedal strikes.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyguy
    I'm adding in my .02 and voting for the SPDs- I tried crank brothers and couldn't get out of them...especially my left foot/ankle was significantly weaker than my right. The frog pedals are intriguing, but definitely get something with adjustable tension.

    Did you try switching the cleats between left and right foot? Depending on which shoe you put the cleats on they either release easier or harder.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dub*
    Thanks for all the info. I think I'm going to pick up a pair of Shimano PD-M324s. I tore my ankle up when I slipped off my platforms yesterday, so falling a couple of times from being unable to unclip quickly probably won't be worse than that.
    http://www.mtbr.com/cat/drivetrain/P...78_135crx.aspx
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  23. #23
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    The poll completely misses the point. Just do it.

    Sure, there's efficiency gains. Most of the gain is achieved through your technique. Pedaling in circles requires conditioning of different muscles. Application of good technique varies since it requires a conscious effort before it becomes automatic.

    The learning curve is steep and you will fall over. After you get used to them, you'll feel like you can't ride down any steep technical without being clipped in. The biggest efficiency gains come gradually and only with effort and conditioning. Control, efficiency, and comfort come with using clipless pedals. Once you make the switch, you'll find it hard to ride flats or toe clips again.

    -Chuck

  24. #24
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    I've been battling the clip problem for years. 1 summer clips, 3 summers toe cages, this summer 1/2 clips 1/2 platforms.

    I love platforms, but I noticed when riding my hard tail up technical stuff (specifically Apex on the Pint to Pint) I kept hitting the dead spot on the top. This never happened with clips or cages, it was really annoying.

    Now I don't know what to do, I think I may go back to toe cages or make some kind of franken-pedal.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyguy
    I'm adding in my .02 and voting for the SPDs- I tried crank brothers and couldn't get out of them
    I had the same experience with the Crank Bros. I tried them for a couple months this year and ended up going back to my shimanos. They are a bit heavy but entry/release is very consistant.

  26. #26
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    Toe cages? for real? Those things scare the crap outta me!!

    To really get them to work right, ya gotta crank em down over your foot -- when you do, there is NO gettin out! Of course, if you are just putting your foot into the cage part and not crankin anything down, then .... you're using them, why?
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  27. #27
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    XTR spds



    I've been riding spds for years to the point where I really can't ride flats anymore. I feel about half as fast on flats compared to spds.
    It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.

  28. #28
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    Sure, there's a learning curve. Probably about a half season before the clips just disappear from your thinking. Once your brain has 'em dialed in, you don't even think about getting in or out, it just becomes instinct.

    Setup is key, though. Make sure you have the cleats lined up for the mechanics of your legs. Some "float" is nice (play in the rotation before they actually release), especially if you can fee the release point. I have used Shimanos since forever.

  29. #29
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    It looks like a lot of people are happy with their clipless pedals. Good for you, but I don't share your enthusiasm.

    I started out with beartrap pedals on my mountain bikes in the '80s and made the switch to SPDin the 90's. A few years ago I took up mountain unicycling where clipless is not an option, and was blown away by the grip of good pinned platforms (I'm riding Atomlab's AirCorps). Since then I've switched back to platforms on my mountain bikes and have no plans to go back, despite the substantial weight penalty.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yetigirl
    Toe cages? for real? Those things scare the crap outta me!!
    I think because I rode cages for 3 years they have become my instinct. I got used to pulling my foot back and out instead of the to the side. I tried clips again this summer and hated them. My friends got sick of me complaining

    I crashed more on XC clips than I did racing DH (with flats). I typically have a good instinct for crashing so I'm not fighting that instinct anymore, no clips for me. Everyone is different, and I know I'm really far off the norm here

    I'm going to design my own damn pedals.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ithnu
    I think because I rode cages for 3 years they have become my instinct. I got used to pulling my foot back and out instead of the to the side. I tried clips again this summer and hated them. My friends got sick of me complaining

    I crashed more on XC clips than I did racing DH (with flats). I typically have a good instinct for crashing so I'm not fighting that instinct anymore, no clips for me. Everyone is different, and I know I'm really far off the norm here

    I'm going to design my own damn pedals.
    I guess it really depends on what you get used to! Its like I said earlier -- everyone has their own opinion on what works best -- for them! And that's as it should be! You have to find what works for your very own riding style. For me, its the Shimano XT pedals -- best ever. I try to stay away from the M520s (which I rode forever) BIG diff between the two!!
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  32. #32
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    I would say go clipless. I have more of an issue going down than up with platforms. Ever since I started using clips going down I find it to really keeping my feef secure and in place. And yes, it really has help improve my riding alot. For the first month...I had bruised hips and thighs...just a warning.

  33. #33
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    Time ATACs for XC/AM, Flats + 5.10's for DH and DJ. Personal preference.

    Jumping while clipped =

  34. #34
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    If you go with SPD's, I second the opinion of getting the multi-release cleat (SH-55 - or SH-56 it might have changed to). Some shops will trade you, many will charge you $25 for the new cleats - but just do it and do not let them talk you out of it! If you ignore this advice, you will discover all sorts of ways that you cannot rotate a heel to get out of your pedals - most of which are spectacular. My favorite is when you're seat is up too high, you are dropping down something technical, and the seat smacks you in the butt - there you are with your knees hyperextended and toes pointed, in the air and going over the top - your heels are not going to rotate enough to run over the handlebars and you are going down.

    Another good one, especially for those of us who alias the cleat to ride pigeon-toed, is the point on the back stroke where your foot is parallel to the crank arm. Try rotating your heel when your toe is already up against that crank arm. Again, you are going down, and always with an audience, and always when you really, really need to get that foot out in some steep boulder field lined with cactus.

    Make new mistakes - learn from ours. Get the sh-55's and keep them clean/lubed.

    Time and Crank Brothers are better clearing snow and wet-sand/mud from creek crossings, but SPD's will far outlast them (at least the eggbeaters).

    jon.

  35. #35
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    Ride what feels right for YOU.

    Jason Shelman rode flats on the CTR this year and finished 2nd.

    The late Rob Sears rode clipless everywhere- slalom races, freeride comps, dj's etc.

    Brand new low-profile flats and 5.10 shoes approach clipless levels of performance. I have seen a guy wear birks on flat pedals and kill it (Jared from LV Cyclery). I rode the CT the last 2 years and was about the same speed on flats vs. clipless. Flats did make my achilles hurt though over 500 miles.

    I think riding both is the ticket if you have two bikes, one for xc and one for play.

    I did notice one thing about clipless and a gravity dropper post. My feet tired quickly descending with the post down as I am used to working the pedals with flats in the middle of the foot. When I clipped out and rode unclipped with my foot in flat position the pain stopped.

    What we really need is the world's first remote controlled clipless/flat pedal with clipless body that recedes into pedal upon command (remote clip-out while still firmly on the pedal). Since clipless already approach 400 bills for top-o-line stuff I dont think 500-600 bones for a bar remote, air-powered pedal is out of the reach of most mtb folks. Press a button and tiny compressors extend or retract the clipless body from the platform, slightly twisting to allow remote clip-out or clip-in. It could work as well as a gravity dropper post to improve your ride. Imagine clipping out without leaving contact with the pedal body. When extended the clipless body would work like a normal pedal and allow manual entry/exit.

    Build it Ithnu! I will buy the first pair.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by optiman
    A few years ago I took up mountain unicycling where clipless is not an option, and was blown away by the grip of good pinned platforms (I'm riding Atomlab's AirCorps).
    True.. I've found that I'm typically too lazy to switch out pedals, so it's been flats all season this year. You'd be amazed how far through the pedal stroke you can retain power with a good pedal/shoe combo.

    Plus.. for those that have only ridden clipless, try grabbing a pair of flats and go practice some jumps. You'll quickly realize how many bad habits you've aquired. Spending some time to refine your technique on flats will certainly up your game.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dream4est
    .

    I did notice one thing about clipless and a gravity dropper post. My feet tired quickly descending with the post down as I am used to working the pedals with flats in the middle of the foot. When I clipped out and rode unclipped with my foot in flat position the pain stopped.
    Sounds like you might need better shoes.

    but to your statement above, I'm pretty confident that you'll start seeing cleat mounts slide back. It's becoming more common in road as some view the calf muscles as the weak link in the chain and in Tri's to save the calf muscles for the run.

    for more info...Joe Friel has forgotten more than I'll ever know

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump

    Plus.. for those that have only ridden clipless, try grabbing a pair of flats and go practice some jumps. You'll quickly realize how many bad habits you've aquired. Spending some time to refine your technique on flats will certainly up your game.

    man, that's a fact. I was on some badly moto rutted west mag stuff sunday and my foot popped out of the pedal(need to replace my cleats) and almost caused an ugly wreck. Still wrecked but not too ugly.

  39. #39
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    Different strokes for different folks

    Quote Originally Posted by thump
    True.. I've found that I'm typically too lazy to switch out pedals, so it's been flats all season this year. You'd be amazed how far through the pedal stroke you can retain power with a good pedal/shoe combo.

    Plus.. for those that have only ridden clipless, try grabbing a pair of flats and go practice some jumps. You'll quickly realize how many bad habits you've aquired. Spending some time to refine your technique on flats will certainly up your game.
    Not too many cross country or all mountain riders using flats. I've not seen any that I can remember. Probably not going to see it 15 miles out in the boonies. You can do it, but why? If you can ride flats and keep up, more power to you. But, I don't think it's going to happen.

    -Chuck

  40. #40
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    FWIW: An informal "ground survey"

    In all my rides around Fort Collins north to Laramie/Cheyenne, I see "about" equal numbers of riders using in descending order, Cages, Flats, Clipless.

    Not everyone has to keep up with the Jones'es.

    Ride what gives you the most FUN.That's all that matters.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Not too many cross country or all mountain riders using flats. I've not seen any that I can remember. Probably not going to see it 15 miles out in the boonies. You can do it, but why? If you can ride flats and keep up, more power to you. But, I don't think it's going to happen.
    Hmm.. seems to be a pretty good mix here: Random Pictures of Bike Riders Riding Bicycles...

  42. #42
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    Endurance vs. Technical riding is a pretty clear split of useage

    Quote Originally Posted by thump
    Hmm.. seems to be a pretty good mix here: Random Pictures of Bike Riders Riding Bicycles...
    The common theme seems to be knee pads = flat pedals = long travel suspension. I guess if I were jumping or doing tech DH, I would want to be able to bail at a moment's notice too.

    I don't have anything against pads. I always take mine to Downieville, CA and carry them until hitting the fast rocky downhills. Lycra with knee & elbow pads are a strange looking mix. That's a different story.

    My point is that if you're riding XC/AM, you probably want to be using clipless pedals/shoes. There's a lot of ground to cover and flats would put you at a disadvantage.

    -Chuck

  43. #43
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    It's a personal preferance. I didn't like the spd a first but now I don't like to ride without them

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    I took the road less traveled by and
    It has made all the difference. R Frost

  44. #44
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    Definitely go clipless if you want to improve your pedaling efficiency. You should be pulling up on the pedal as well as pushing down (the one legged pedal drill). That's a lot less efficient with a toe clip and just plain impossible with flats.

    Personally, I prefer the Speedplay Frogs. I have bad knees and the extra float allows some rotation of the foot while pedalling and causes less knee strain. There's also a decent surface for starting and pedalling without needing to be clipped in.

    And the learning curve...It was definitely painful for me. Lots of elbow to rock contact the first season. Now that I'm comfortable, I can't ride without them.
    What, me worry?

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sked
    Definitely go clipless if you want to improve your pedaling efficiency. You should be pulling up on the pedal as well as pushing down (the one legged pedal drill). That's a lot less efficient with a toe clip and just plain impossible with flats.
    Pulling up on the trailing pedal is generally not efficient, though it can be useful on occasion when high torque is needed. Efficiency comes largely from unloading that pedal so you are not fighting yourself to make the cranks spin. This can be done reasonably well with good platforms and shoes that engage the pins.

    Clipless are more efficient, no doubt - the half pound of weight savings alone guarantees that - but the difference is a lot smaller than many here seem to believe.

  46. #46
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    The longer the event duration, the more efficiency is realized

    Quote Originally Posted by optiman
    Pulling up on the trailing pedal is generally not efficient, though it can be useful on occasion when high torque is needed. Efficiency comes largely from unloading that pedal so you are not fighting yourself to make the cranks spin. This can be done reasonably well with good platforms and shoes that engage the pins.

    Clipless are more efficient, no doubt - the half pound of weight savings alone guarantees that - but the difference is a lot smaller than many here seem to believe.
    Try up to 30% gain. http://www.pedalpushersonline.com/?CID=1014. Not a lot of facts here, but enough to substantiate arguments for clipless pedals.

    Even a 1% efficiency gain is substantial over 5 hours. e.g 10MPH x 5 Hours = 50 miles. 50 miles x 1% = .5 miles. When your legs are shot, that last half mile could be a big deal.

    While I may agree with you in the context that you presented above, the word "efficient", in my interpretation, applies to how much energy output a rider can transmit through the drivetrain to provide forward motion. Clearly, if you were to use a watt meter to measure your power output, clipless pedals would allow a rider to apply turning force through most of a single crank revolution and thus provide a higher wattage reading. This translates directly into how fast the bike is being propelled.

    Yes. It takes more energy to pedal in round circles and you will use more calories per hour using clipless pedals. However, to achieve the same speed using flat pedals will require much greater force on the downstroke compared to clipless pedals. Your quad muscles will be subjected to a greater demand and will be subject to increased fatigue.

    Simply put, you'll get tired faster using flat pedals because you cannot sustain the effort.

    Usage of clipless pedals, on the other hand, provide the ability to utilize a different set of muscles on the upstroke. The more "circular" your pedal stroke is, the more efficiency is gained. While nobody has a perfectly round pedal stroke, there can be no denial that the efficiency gains are substantial and certainly worth using clipless pedals for endurance riding. You'll even have stronger, sexier legs.

    -Chuck

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Try up to 30% gain.
    Do you honestly believe I am wasting 30% of my effort??? Don't you think I would have noticed this immediately when I switched from clipless to pinned platforms? For me, the platforms were an improvement (YMMV).

    Repeat after me, please: Just because I read it on the internet, doesn't make it true.
    Even a 1% efficiency gain is substantial
    Now that's a more reasonable figure. If the poll asked whether the improvement was 1% or 2%, I might not have made my comments. But the poll started at 25%, and several comments supported this overstatement of the value of being clipped in.
    Clearly, if you were to use a watt meter to measure your power output, clipless pedals would allow a rider to apply turning force through most of a single crank revolution and thus provide a higher wattage reading. This translates directly into how fast the bike is being propelled.
    The word "clearly" often indicates an argument lacking support. In this case, current thinking suggests that a cyclist should lift the trailing foot, but not pull it for best pedaling efficiency. Also, good platform pedals with platform-specific shoes will not allow the foot to move without first pulling it off the pedal, so a cyclist who has learned to pedal efficiently can largely transfer the motion to flat pedals. The loss of efficiency may turn out to be very small (though tiny improvement in efficiency may be meaningful to some cyclists).
    However, to achieve the same speed using flat pedals will require much greater force on the downstroke compared to clipless pedals.
    This is simple untrue. Since the trailing foot does not pull up on a clipless pedal (when cycling at best efficiency), similar results can be obtained on flats with almost identical forces. Clipless pedals are more efficient mainly because you can risk being sloppy and pulling up on the back foot, without losing your foot placement, but long pins and grippy shoes (like my 661 Duallys) hold my feet in place surprisingly well. Clipless also have a big weight advantage.

    I'm not advocating one type of pedal over the other, just trying to educate people by explaining that the difference is not as great as many claim it is.

  48. #48
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    Pffft.. amatuers. I prefer to drill holes in the sides of my feet and slide them directly onto the spindles for optimum foot position and efficiency. This also allows me to eliminate the weight and extra wind resistance of shoes by just wearing a brightly colored skinsuit with footies.

    Now please excuse me, I have to go plan my calorie intake for tomorrow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by optiman
    ... the trailing foot does not pull up on a clipless pedal (when cycling at best efficiency), similar results can be obtained on flats with almost identical forces....
    IMO, you're only partially correct about not pulling up and, most importantly, your "model" of pedaling efficiency only applies when in the seated position.

    There is a reason for the phrase "pedaling in circles" and the idea behind this lies in distributing as much force as possible throughout the duration of the pedal cycle. "Efficient" pedaling does not stop at the bottom of the pedal stroke and begin at the top. Nor does it involve using your shin/calf/ankle (ankling) through the flat spots. True 360 degree pedaling is limited by physiological factors (hip flexors vs quads/glutes - who wins that one).

    Yes pedaling involves two legs and thankfully the dead-phase for one leg coincides with the strongest phase for the other. We try to minimize the dead-spots (and equalize leg strength) by doing one-legged drills or using power cranks or rollers in the off-season but ultimately you can only do so much. We can also minimize the dead-spots mechanically by using things such as rotor cranks, q-rings, toe straps/cages and... ...clipless pedals.

    All that being said, I guarantee that you (or me or anyone else) can apply more force throughout a longer duration of the pedal cycle using clipless pedals than you (or me or anyone else) could using flats... ...that is indisputable.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by thump
    Pffft.. amatuers. I prefer to drill holes in the sides of my feet and slide them directly onto the spindles for optimum foot position and efficiency. This also allows me to eliminate the weight and extra wind resistance of shoes by just wearing a brightly colored skinsuit with footies.

    Now please excuse me, I have to go plan my calorie intake for tomorrow.
    You're close. Track Cyclists used to (probably still do) screw/bolt their shoes to the pedals.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckjoga
    Usage of clipless pedals, on the other hand, provide the ability to utilize a different set of muscles on the upstroke.
    I think this is the most appealing benefit. Often, I'm climbing and my quads are burning while my hamstrings and glutes are just chilling, enjoying the ride. As for personal preference, I understand that. Having only ridden platforms, I've got to try clipless to establish a preference. Now I've just got to buy them

  52. #52
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    Time ATACs for ten years now.

    Whatever system you buy...go to a park with a large grassy field.

    Practiceslowly coming to a stop and unclipping...then practice panic stops and unclipping - do it for about an hour, get the action burned into your muscle memory. Horizontal trackstands are so much less painful in the grass than on the trail.
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me


  53. #53
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    I stand corrected. I've reviewed the material I've read on pedal strokes (and it wasn't from the internet). The main objective on the upstroke is to unweight the pedal. Clearly this can be done with flats or clipless. Regardless, I'm a huge fan of clipless and can't imagine riding techy stuff without my feet firmly tied to the pedals.
    What, me worry?

  54. #54
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    I notice way more difference in effeciency between tires (of similar type and weight) than I do with pedals.

    The 40 or so people that voted over %25 have their heads somewhere dark and stinky
    .




    Strava: turn off your dork logger when you're not on sanctioned trails.

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