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  1. #1
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    Toe clip pedals for new mtb tandem?

    Ok, I just took delivery of my first ever mtb, a nicely equipped Fandango tandem. Feel free to ridicule me, but I reject platform pedals because I want a bit of foot security on the pedals. I also reject the clipless (egg beaters, etc) because they are too secure. For a few years a long time ago, I used LOOK pedals on one of my road bikes. They were ok, but after a decade and a half riding hiatus, I bought a hybrid touring bike (Novara Safari) a few years ago, and it came with toe clips and straps. These are what I started with, way back when, and feel the most comfortable with. I don't cinch the straps down tight, but tight enough to feel secure while being able to get out of the stirrups quickly. I anticipate riding simple singletrack and forest service roads. I wear trail runner hiking shoes and toe clip pedals with straps on all my bikes, but I do have to swap pedals from bike to bike. Most of the pedals I use are decades old.

    I did a search here for this question, but only found "clipless vs platforms" discussed. I'm obviously missing something negative about the straps and cages, but what? My bike dealer ordered some pedals with a toe cage but no straps, but they are back ordered. He actually asked me if the old stirrup and strap pedals are still made.

    Can anyone tell me why I should not use the toe clip pedals with straps? Or tell me some source of these old technology foot thingies? Thanks

  2. #2
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    Have you tried a modern pair of flats/shoes? You might find that they are no less secure than a cage, maybe more secure. Pedals to accomm cages are small and not thin, so essentially they need a cage for security. The pedal surface is not very flat; too much spindle for soft soles; not enough teeth. Thin, generously-sized flats with pins with sticky rubber soled shoes may change your mind. They stick like mad. If you have not tried it, you really should. The distance between your sole surface and the center of the pedal spindle can't be overlooked; getting your sole a little closer (a la thin flats) makes a very big difference in the propensity of a pedal to roll. Combine with a larger surface...you get it.

    I was a die-hard cage clip user for decades; never got into SPD despite trying. I run flats on every bike now.

    Nothing wrong with cages if you like to ride them. But in the most desperate bail, your chances of getting feet underneath you are better with a flat than a loose cage. A flat pedal is more comfortable and allows for various foot positions. We ran them on our Fandango for 60 straight days and would pick that setup again for any kind of tandem riding.
    Last edited by She&I; 07-07-2017 at 09:32 AM. Reason: people care?

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the tip. "The distance between the sole surface and the center of the pedal spindle...makes a very big difference in the propensity of a pedal to roll...."

    I never considered that a pedal could roll, or that I would ever be in a situation where I had to (or should) bail off the bike. I had a kind of slide/spill once on a gravel road where my wheels went out from under me. The toe cages and straps didn't affect my body's interface with the road surface but I never considered jumping off the bike (at 12-15mph) until it stopped moving. However, I have zero experience on a mountain bike, so I welcome the suggestions.

    I will also have to adjust to the straight flat mountain bike handlebars. My first thought was to put trekking handlebars on there, but that will require a different stem.

  4. #4
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    You'll undoubtedly discover many nuances of off-pavement riding which you can address in ways that work for your team and the riding you like and want to do. But it does require some trial and error.

    Straight bars IME are not very comfortable, especially for longer rides. Some backsweep can makes a big difference. (I wish Salsa made a carbon version of the 23°-backsweep Bend Bar.) I would not throw out any ideas that make your bike more useful and comfortable to you – no matter how unorthodox. Particularly, the cockpits of a tandem are compressed, so it's key to dial both in as much as possible.

  5. #5
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    I would echo She&I regarding flat pedals AND dedicated bike shoes. I have been riding my single bike and road bike with clipless pedals for some time but decided to try flats when we bought a tandem 6 months ago. Initially i rode in running shoes which worked to easily get a foot down while we worked out how to ride one bike together. About 2 months ago we both bought 5 10 shoes and i was amazed at how well they stick to the pedals. I almost immediately changed over to flats on my single mtn bike. Doubt i will ever go back to either clips (yeah I am old enough to have used clips and straps) or clipless pedals. The shoes really are remarkable


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  6. #6
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    Plenty of sources for clips and straps. This came up on the first search I did. http://tinyurl.com/yczavmbn

    Like you, we were familiar with toe clips and straps. We tried Egg-beaters, but quickly went back to what we were familiar with, clips and straps. If you know how to get in and out, you're ahead of the crowd and nothing wrong with them at all! On the tandem, my stoker went sans-straps for a while. There are some styles actually made for use without a strap. http://tinyurl.com/yd5jslds

    After a bit of experimenting with a variety of clipless, we settled on Frogs; about the least forgivable system ever, but we're die-hards now.

    My two cents, do what you're comfortable with. We've been riding for a long time, but it still took us a while to trust our own inclinations. With a tandem, there are too many other things to be working out. Let the pedals come later.

  7. #7
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    Thanks very much for the suggestions. I found some very similar to the pedals I've been using, Diamondback brand, on Amazon for $20. They come complete, pedal, toe cage and straps. I was simply hoping to find some with better quality bearings. I don't want to buy special shoes. I don't have any problems getting into or out of the stirrups, and the only time I take my feet off the pedals is when I stop. I've seen videos of riders putting a foot down in a tight turn, but that looks like a great way to fracture an ankle, at least, to me. Again, I've never ridden a mountain bike before.

  8. #8
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    I came here to say what She&I said, but he said it better.

    In any case, your DB pedal solution will be cheap enough to get you going on your new tandem. That's what matters.

    You can find good flats (thin, light, strong, cheap) from Wellgo, and Nashbar has a house flat. "Special" shoes are probably a misnomer, as you can wear 510s anywhere you'd wear your running shoes. Check out 510's clearance section, too, as they end up cheaper than a good pair of running shoes.

  9. #9
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    At the age of 61, my lovely bride transitioned from rat-traps to platforms with decent shoes (not a tandem, though). She's not going back. Give it a try.

  10. #10
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    DeadGrandpa
    While I fall in the flat pedals are good camp, I would say this: riding a mtb tandem has been the most fun thing my wife and I have done together outdoors. I don't think the pedals we chose really impacted our fun factor much. Have ball riding your new tandem


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  11. #11
    Professional Crastinator
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    Funny that I see both of these threads at the same time!

    Toe Clip Pedals

    -F
    It's never easier - you just go faster.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by She&I View Post
    Y
    Straight bars IME are not very comfortable, especially for longer rides. Some backsweep can makes a big difference. (I wish Salsa made a carbon version of the 23°-backsweep Bend Bar.) .....
    There is the Answer 20/20 ProTaper carbon bar. 20deg sweep

    I too started with the Salsa Bend 23 and then found the Answer 20/20. The dimensions to the bends in the middle of the bar are only real difference. Salsa has more straight real estate flanking the stem clamp if you have accessories mounted there.

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