Vintage rider needs advice on pedals and shoes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    New question here. Vintage rider needs advice on pedals and shoes

    I really need some help on shoes and pedals.

    Ok, I am going to show my age in this question. I have been mtb riding since 1983, nonprofessionally, and have used Suntour XC-II Bear Claw pedals almost exclusively and have clocked about 65-100k miles on only that model pedal, (when worn out I replaced them with the same model). We all know they are not clippless pedals. The shoes that I wear on my rides are regular street shoes. My rides are usually about 50 to 100 mile strictly off-road day trips. The roll of my foot gets a little sore from flexing, but otherwise I have never had any real discomfort and I am still going strong.

    Would I be better off buying mountain cycling shoes even if I do not clip them in?

    Are clippless pedals really that much superior? Back in the day I tried toe clip's on my pedals and swore I would never use them again. My feet felt very trapped so I took them off.

    Your help would be appreciated. I need advice from users not sales people.

  2. #2
    Mantis, Paramount, Campy
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    I'd Say Stick With What Works

    If you didn't like toe clips then don't even consider clipless. I wouldn't ever compare the 2 as far as feeling 'trapped'. With clipless you are one with the bike like it or not.
    Personally I love them and only use flats if I'm gonna mess around out in the yard or in the driveway.
    And I'd recommend against getting MTB specific shoes if you're sticking with your Suntour pedals. Current shoes (Time, Sidi, Diadora from personal experience) aren't really designed to be ridden like that. The soles are so thick (rubber part) and are not designed to line up with cages so if feels like you're riding in combat boots, moon boots, etc (insert your favourite thick soled shoe here). If you can find some early 90's bike specific shoes I'd say go for it 'cause those were more versitile. Otherwise just stick with your current favourite shoe.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ibike4fun
    IWould I be better off buying mountain cycling shoes even if I do not clip them in?
    There would be less flex in the sole, so potentially your feet would be less sore. However, if the shoe does not fit as well as your current shoe, your foot might be more sore.

    Quote Originally Posted by ibike4fun
    Are clippless pedals really that much superior?
    It's up to the individual, but I'd say yes (for me). I could not imagine ridding flat pedals on a trail (okay, I could imagine it, but would never choose to do it). I commute on flats (very short commute), but otherwise do not use them.

    To me, I like knowing that no mater how I ride my foot is on the pedal where it's supposed to be. The bike can be boucing around on the trail, yet my foot is secure - going downhill, my feet and hands are attached to the bike, no matter what. That said, I can get my foot out of the pedal (most of the time) just as fast as I could with flats.

    I say "most of the time" I can free my foot, because not all pedals are the same. Some release very consistently, others do not (especially in mud or sand). Although very non-vintage, Shimano's 959 is a great pedal - far anda away better than anything that Shimano made in the past. I still ride older Shimano pedals, but never in the mud.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  4. #4
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    "Would I be better off buying mountain cycling shoes even if I do not clip them in?"

    IMO yes, just like the other reply, cycling shoes have stiff soles for superior energy transfer of pedal stroke. Mountainbike cycling shoes are designed for this and as an added bonus they are comfortable to use for walking. The cleats sits below the shoes soles which doesn't interfere with walking and some actually look like sneakers.

    "Are clippless pedals really that much superior? Back in the day I tried toe clip's on my pedals and swore I would never use them again. My feet felt very trapped so I took them off."

    Yes at first you will feel trapped. That is the main idea - for your foot to be one with the pedal. The reason behind this is for you to maximize all your legs' muscles throughout the cycling stroke. While one leg is pushing on the downstroke the other leg is pulling up on the upstroke which is not possible if you are using platforms.
    The way to minimize or entirely eliminate your fear of being attached when you want to bail out is break-in the cleats with the clipless pedals first before you start riding. While stationary and leaning on something, clip in, then clip out, about 50 times on each shoe or until you feel comfortable to be trapped and have confidence to get out anytime .
    Put a drop of oil at first on the mechanism of the pedals to help loosen them for the break-in. Also, some clipless pedals have adjustment for tension. Set them at their lowest first.

  5. #5

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    I say go fer it.

    I have had all three kinds of pedals and I really prefer clipless. It does have its disadvantages in that you can't just step on the pedal and go. It takes about a microsecond to line up the cleat with the pedal. Other than that, they are awesome. Try the above suggestion before you ride and you will feel much more confident. MTB shoes...Yes they are the stuff, IMHO. You will feel so much better with those shoes in that they are solid, yet very comfortable. Stable, and easy to walk in. Just my thoughts.

  6. #6

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    I am leaning towards Speedplay Frogs and Crank Bros Candy for long distance touring through mud, dirt, H2O, and sand? And comments on those or others?
    Thanks

  7. #7
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    I have the eggbeaters and I like them. Easy to get in, easy to get out, as long as you break them in first. There is in the instructions which cleat goes to which shoe for easy engagement and disengagement, you just have to read the instructions. They also shed mud easy, water and sand is no problem. The eggbeaters hold your feet with little lateral movement. Past that little lateral play will cause the mechanism to disengage - like the natural movement when you swing your heel from the pedal to prop yourself when coming to a stop.
    I don't have experience with Speedplays. My riding partner have them on his road bike and likes them a lot. Tells me Speedplays have a lot of float (foot moves freely) and he likes the unrestricted feeling. Maybe you can check the reviews on both pedals on the Product Review section.

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