Commuting w/ toe clips vs. clipless vs. platforms?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Commuting w/ toe clips vs. clipless vs. platforms?

    Toe clips, clipless pedals, standard platform pedals... what do you prefer for your commute, and why?

  2. #2
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    Platforms cause I don't need special shoes to ride. If one breaks, worst comes to worst, I can buy the $5.99 crappies at X-mart and still ride, not as good but not as crippled as someone who is used to clip-less. Toe clips are fine but can be a little bit of a pain if you have to put your foot down a lot. YMMV
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    I ride XTR SPD's they have lasted for 44,000 km through 6 winters...still going strong...

    The winter boots are excellent as well.

  4. #4
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    Shimano clipless MTB shoes, with CB Eggbeaters.

    With mountain-bike shoes, the cleats are recessed enough that walking into a store or something on the way home isn't an issue. I do keep a pair of regular shoes at work as well.

    All of my bikes (road, commuter, MTB) are clipless, because it's efficient, easy, and secure.

  5. #5
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    Time ATAC Pedals, Inexpensive Sette MTB Shoes (Pricepoint.com). I leave a pair of business casual shoes at work.
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  6. #6
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    I leave a pair of shoes at work and wear MTB shoes (SPD). All my bikes have some form of SPD pedal. I totally 'get' platform pedals, and like them for play bikes occasionally... I would totally use them for downhill... but typical MTB riding, road riding, commuting...once you go clipless you usually don't go back. Toe clips are horrible... ancient technology. The worst of both worlds.

    On random days when I run home, I wear my running shoes with the SPD pedals... it's not ideal, but I'd rather be a little uncomfortable on those days and 'living the dream' the rest of the time.
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  7. #7
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    platforms, usually. mostly for the convenience factor. I've noticed recently a LOT of people ride road bikes around here with platforms. a friend just built up a Surly Pacer, I think, and put CB 50/50's on it.

    I have been known to swap pedals and go clipless on that bike, too. If I was riding more than 3 miles each way, I'd probably have a 2nd set of clipless pedals for it.

    And +1 that toe clips are the worst of both worlds. I used them for about 5min when I bought my first mtb in the late 90's, and promptly took the clips off and rode platforms for about 6mo until I bought some SPD's and cheap shoes.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TobyGadd View Post
    Shimano clipless MTB shoes, with CB Eggbeaters.

    With mountain-bike shoes, the cleats are recessed enough that walking into a store or something on the way home isn't an issue. I do keep a pair of regular shoes at work as well.

    All of my bikes (road, commuter, MTB) are clipless, because it's efficient, easy, and secure.
    Exactly my thoughts, but i have CB Candy's on my commuter
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    Thanks all... ok, toe clips are out, you've convinced me. I actually have some bike shoes in my closet from some time biking clipless maybe 6 or 7 years ago, so I think I'll just take that route again. I remember several embarrassing crashes at first (mostly of the come-to-a-stop-and-slowly tip-over variety) and then more or less getting the hang of it... hopefully I can avoid the crashing part this time around.

    Any budget SPD pedal recommendations? I'm not looking to spend over $50, basically... and hoping for something with a good enough platform that I can use street shoes about 25% of the time, for shorter trips where shoe swapping just isn't worth it.

    I see Amazon has the M530 for $40, and the M324 for $49... any better options in that price range?

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    I've been riding clipless for the last five years, next week I'm going to switch to flats. I'm tired of my feet getting wet in the winter and I haven't found a good way to keep my feet/shoes dry when wearing MTB shoes. So on wet (or cold) days I'll be commuting in my hiking boots!

    I do keep a pair of shoes in the office as well.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by atreyu View Post
    I remember several embarrassing crashes at first (mostly of the come-to-a-stop-and-slowly tip-over variety) and then more or less getting the hang of it... hopefully I can avoid the crashing part this time around.
    Everyone's done it, so you're in good company. Even after so many years of riding clipless, I managed to do a slow-mo flop into a swamp this summer when I failed to unclip quickly enough. Doh.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by space View Post
    I've been riding clipless for the last five years, next week I'm going to switch to flats. I'm tired of my feet getting wet in the winter and I haven't found a good way to keep my feet/shoes dry when wearing MTB shoes. So on wet (or cold) days I'll be commuting in my hiking boots!

    I do keep a pair of shoes in the office as well.
    Shimano MW81 Gore-Tex Winter SPD Boots | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    The work great I have riden for an hour at -35 C....they are okay up to about 10 C.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    Shimano MW81 Gore-Tex Winter SPD Boots | Buy Online | ChainReactionCycles.com

    The work great I have riden for an hour at -35 C....they are okay up to about 10 C.
    yeah, that is another reason to go clipless. in the winter you'll want to change shoes, anyway. I like those. might need to get some winter boots of my own at some point. I don't have fond memories of trying to keep my feet warm in the wintertime in my well ventilated summer shoes.

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    I just finally got some good winter cycling boots this month. They are going to be great for wind/water/cold/snow. Wish I had done it sooner, but they're expensive!
    Before this year, I used cheap MTB shoes and neoprene socks (got them from Pricepoint). They work well, keep the wet and wind out, and add a ton of warmth to normal shoes (because of the wind/waterproof action). The downside is that your shoes get soaked when its' wet (even though your feet stay dry). This combo worked for me down to 4 below zero F.
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  15. #15
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    I always stuck with platform pedals due to being a large rider and having wide feet. I don't really spend much money on parts but I wouldn't mind buying another pair of BMX Bulletproof platform pedals, I still have my old pair but need to get a new spindle for the right pedal >.>.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    ...once you go clipless you usually don't go back.
    I went clipless and went back. Granted, I`m a dork. The biggest downside is that I have no good excuse to wear hooker boots.

    Not trying to disuade the OP, cause I "get" clickies too, but one point that ever seems to come up when discussing flat pedals (among their other beautiful attributes) is that you CAN move your feet around. Just like bars with options for changing had positions, my feet enjoy a little change from time to time over the course of a long ride. Works for me.

  17. #17
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    ^^I went back too, but mostly because of liking them more for trail and winter riding. I find it easier to keep my feet warmer with platforms, and easier to get a foot down or re-start in dicey situations. I do still use clipless (time ATACs) on my cross bike, which doesn't see much trailriding or winter riding. There is a huge difference between the old beartrap/hiking boot combo and the newer pinned platform/stickyshoe (5.10's) combo. Below 10F I consider an insulated boot instead of the five ten impact highs. Vibram type lugs tend to fall between the pins, so I look for a smoother sole (I have Keens).

  18. #18
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    Get a pair of gators for your shoes I wear those in bad weather stays toasty and dry and they cost about 40$ and you can put them on your mountain or road shoes

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    I picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi Mountain Covers (here). First real good covers I have used. I would have preferred a zipper in the back, but the velcro works well. The construction is full neoprene upper, with kevlar fabric on the bottom. They slip on good, and are, of course, waterproof/windproof.

    Along with the credit card trick (cut a credit card to fit the whole above the cleat plate) they keep the shoe dry and toasty.

  20. #20
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    Platforms, due to logistics. I don't have room to carry workboots with me in my pack, and I can't leave them at the jobsite, so I wear them while I ride.

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    I currently run platforms, but my shoe of choice so far (Merrel Sonic Glove) slowly slides off the front of the pedal as I ride, a behavior made a thousand times worse if there's any water in play. Shoes/pedals are expensive, though, and I don't know the first thing about compatibility. (Is that a concern in shoes/cleats/pedals? It seems to be a theme through cycling that everybody makes up their own standard.)

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodar y rodar View Post
    I went clipless and went back. Granted, I`m a dork. The biggest downside is that I have no good excuse to wear hooker boots.
    LOL, I'm sorry for your loss.

    Time ATAC pedals on 2 bikes, SPD on 2 bikes, flats on one bike for casual riding.

    I favor the time pedals. Time-Z has a big platform. Time pedals also have a lot of float, angular AND side to side.

  23. #23
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    Sanath, I believe the Shimano SPD, Time, and Eggbeaters all use the same two-bolt interface for cleat/shoe.... so any "MTB" shoe should be compatible with any of those 3 cleat types. So you just get MTB shoes, and then pick which pedal you want to use (usually the pedals come with the cleats).
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sanath View Post
    I currently run platforms, but my shoe of choice so far (Merrel Sonic Glove) slowly slides off the front of the pedal as I ride, a behavior made a thousand times worse if there's any water in play. Shoes/pedals are expensive, though, and I don't know the first thing about compatibility. (Is that a concern in shoes/cleats/pedals? It seems to be a theme through cycling that everybody makes up their own standard.)
    Some shoes will require grinding off some of the sole to fit various cleat pedal combo's

    Even some SPD compatible shoes are not as compatible as you would think.

    Not a big deal, but it can really screw up a clean light release.

    For sure Shimano /Shimano will be problem free.

  25. #25
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    I've used and like strapless toe clips like this because they are cheap and a bit more convenient than regular type:
    Amazon.com: Delta Bicycle Strapless Toe Clips: Sports & Outdoors

    And also like these powerstraps that the fixie riders are into these days-they are good for using many different shoes: ORIGIN8 Pro Grip Toe Straps

    Both work on most platform pedals.

  26. #26
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    SPDs. They work best for riding just as do proper cycling clothes. I like to change into street clothes and shoes at the other end.
    I don't rattle.

  27. #27
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    I've used toe clips and clip less both. Toe clips aren't horrendous, IMHO, as a couple of other posters have suggested. If set up properly, clipless are efficient and fairly easy to use. The entry/exit technique just takes a little getting used to. And you have to wear the cleats which may not be to your liking if you have to hoof it at all in those shoes. Toe clip technique has to be learned as well. But you really don't need special shoes. And they work pretty well. I've used both pedals on my commuter. I like the stiff cleated shoes I use with clipless. But sometimes the entry/exit is cumbersome with frequent stops. So which do I like best? For commuting, I have to say I favor toe clips at the moment. They're certainly not horrible--again, only my opinion. But you may prefer clipless. Give 'em both a try!

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    I prefer platforms on commuter bikes and have no problem at all riding long distances with them. It makes no sense to me to change shoes and clothes whenever you are using a bike for transportation. That's just additional hassle for very little benefit. If I am just riding for fun, I ride my cyclocross or single speed road bike - both of which have Eggbeater Candy pedals.

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    I don't take cycling seriously enough to have a whole pair of shoes for it.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelmutHerr View Post
    I don't take cycling seriously enough to have a whole pair of shoes for it.
    Here, here! One shoe does me just fine too
    Recalculating....

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    I even run spd's on my cruiser.
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    I always use clipless, the reason being when I first starting using them all those years back I used my commute to 'practice' and since then I have never used anything else.

  33. #33
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    ATAC. Presently with Shimano MT23 shoes -- here's the sad part: the 23's are the most comfortable AND supportive shoes I own at the moment, so I wear them ALL DAY.
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  34. #34
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    i change it up

    if im just riding to work and/or meeting up ill ride the bike with flats. If i want to ride after work ill grab a bike with clipless.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by HelmutHerr View Post
    I don't take cycling seriously enough to have a whole pair of shoes for it.
    blasphemy!

    My wife is always ripping on my shoe collection Biking, motorcycle riding, running, backpacking, hiking, snowboarding...everything requires a pair of expensive shoes!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    blasphemy!

    My wife is always ripping on my shoe collection Biking, motorcycle riding, running, backpacking, hiking, snowboarding...everything requires a pair of expensive shoes!!
    Flag on the play! You're telling us that a woman is against buying shoes?! I smell a rat...or somebody's shoes
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  37. #37
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    Against buying shoes for ME. She apparently can have multiple pairs of nearly identical shoes which serve no purpose other than fashion...but a single pair of shoes which are designed for a specific purpose is apparently illogical
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    blasphemy!

    My wife is always ripping on my shoe collection Biking, motorcycle riding, running, backpacking, hiking, snowboarding...everything requires a pair of expensive shoes!!
    I have more shoes than my wife does :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy View Post
    Against buying shoes for ME. She apparently can have multiple pairs of nearly identical shoes which serve no purpose other than fashion...but a single pair of shoes which are designed for a specific purpose is apparently illogical
    Same here. I frequently get flak for my shoes for running, hiking, whatever, but it makes total sense to her to get the same pair of shoes in 4 different colors because it's "cute" or somesuch.

  40. #40
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    I'm up to 4 pair of bike shoes. Road(spd), old MTB (too big but kinda work), new MTB, winter MTB

  41. #41
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    ^^ I'm lobbying for some Keen SPD sandals for mellow rides/touring. Just bought the hooker boots though, so it might have to wait a while...
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  42. #42
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    Platforms - specifically MKS Sylvan Touring. Given the rotation of bikes in my stable that I commute on I find comfort in throwing on my dress shoes and going to work.

    The Sidi's stay at home for longer rides on select machines.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by atreyu View Post
    Thanks all... ok, toe clips are out, you've convinced me. I actually have some bike shoes in my closet from some time biking clipless maybe 6 or 7 years ago, so I think I'll just take that route again. I remember several embarrassing crashes at first (mostly of the come-to-a-stop-and-slowly tip-over variety) and then more or less getting the hang of it... hopefully I can avoid the crashing part this time around.

    Any budget SPD pedal recommendations? I'm not looking to spend over $50, basically... and hoping for something with a good enough platform that I can use street shoes about 25% of the time, for shorter trips where shoe swapping just isn't worth it.

    I see Amazon has the M530 for $40, and the M324 for $49... any better options in that price range?
    Hey something with a platform like the cb mallets and for shoes I'd go with five ten hellcats. Most comfortable mtb shoe I've owned and the look good too! The cleat area is recessed enough that you can walk around with them and not sound like your tap dancing

  44. #44
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    Flats.

    I use clipless for mtb and road rides, but for commuting they seem like more hassle than they are worth. I guess if a had a REALLY long commute I'd feel differently, but I've never had one long enough where I even needed cycling shorts.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  45. #45
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    I use old school toe clips and find them very useful. No need for special shoes, expense, or extra time changing in and out of shoes. I'm considering toeclips for other riding, but like the convenience of wearing work or athletic shoes.

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    I meant to say I'm considering clipless for mountain riding and cyclocross if I get into that.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark916 View Post
    I meant to say I'm considering clipless for mountain riding and cyclocross if I get into that.
    MTB and racing is where clickety pedals make most sense, IMO.

    Welcome in, Mark. Profile says you`re in Sacramento. Hope you stick around because our other two Sac-area members seem to have jumped ship
    Recalculating....

  48. #48
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    I now have two pairs of cycling shoes, 1 new pair of Five Ten Sam Hill's and an old pair of Five Ten Sam Hill's. 1 pair to wear at work and 1 pair to play in.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  49. #49
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    flat! So I can wear normal shoes. But I usually don't have to go over three miles on my commute.

  50. #50
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    I have spd's, eggbeaters, shimano road pedals, a couple of off brand spd style pedals. . .
    Did that for a year or so. Got tired of changing shoes when I got to work. Bought some Chrome Clippless shoes. Did that for a few months got tired of my feet hurting from wearing a stiff sole all day (though they do look fantastic. . . ).

    Now on my commuter bike I have good ole welgo metal cage pedals with some toe cages.

    Not as fast and they are a bit of a pain to get in and out of compared to clipless, but for convenience sake it works better.

    I recently tried to make some "power grips"
    ehh . . . my recreation might not have done the idea justice, but they are harder to get into than normal cages and I can't really say I'm a fan so far.

  51. #51
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    I have a SS CX bike for my commuter/road bike and I rode SPDs to work every day until recently. I put some nice platform pedals with half-toeclips on and rode to work in my sneakers. as soon as I got home, i took the platform pedals off and went back to my SPDs. riding hills on sneakers feels absolutely horrible to me!

  52. #52
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    SPDs. I used to grind the soles off my shoes every couple of months with my old flat pedals. With the clipless, the shoes seem to last about two years and fail mostly from weathering and sweat rather than actual wear and tear.

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