Should I go Clipless?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Should I go Clipless?

    Right,

    I learned how to ride on flats. I've been riding nothing but for the last 15 years. I run 66 Pedals with massive spikes that stick to the underside of my soft-soled skate shoe, and have never had problems. I've never had difficulty climbing hills on my geared bike.

    The reason I never really switched over to clipless was that I was always a little more of an aggressive rider. My main ride for the last 8 years was a freeride hardtail that would take all the abuse I could dish at it. I enjoyed the freedom that flat pedals offered me. Quicker 'release' reflexes (just lift your foot off the pedal) easier to get started in sticky situations (no need to clip in after you've just dabbed on that log-ride) and so on.

    Now that I have a rigid singlespeed, however, it seems to me that I'll need to maximize my energy efficiency through cadence, and especially on the hills, being able to power through the entire pedal stroke seems advantageous. I think my riding style will become less about sheer brute force, and more about finessing, i.e. less aggressive.

    Should I drop the platform pedals that I have so much enjoyed over the last 15 years and go over to the dark side of clipless pedals?

    Or will flat pedals offer me almost as much as clipless, while still retaining the carefree attitude that I've so enjoyed all these years?

    It might just be my crazy head speaking, but to me flats have always enjoyed a carefree liberalness that clipless pedals can't. Look at me now, I'm personifying pedals. This IS rock bottom.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    Should I go Clipless?
    Yes.
    Ride more!

  3. #3
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    I've flipped back and fourth over the years and finally found a reasonable compromise. I have my 'normal' everyday bike (Mr.Hyde) with platforms that I goof off with, ride with friends, and try stupid things on, it has platforms. Then there is the xc bike that's light, no nonsense, efficient and setup with clipless pedals. I generally prefer platforms and don't mind the efficiency hit when it's play time but if I want to go fast I don't mind clipping in to get squeeze every bit of speed out of the bike.

  4. #4
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    I would definitely give them a shot, and I don't mean give them one ride and swear them off the first time you fall when you can't unclip. Ride them for a good month or so (assume at least 2 rides per week) Practice on streets or non-technical trails, and practice clipping and unclipping. The unclip will be almost automatic once you are used to it.

    I don't know about freeride, but for general XC riding, using clipless pedals is the single best thing a rider can do to make them a better rider. No matter how fast you were on flats, you'll be surprised how much faster you are when you can use all your legs.

  5. #5
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    There was a thread here on this subject a few months back, and a lot of people dissed the idea that an up-stroke with clipless pedal even existed, let alone was useful climbing.

    I rode my rigid 26'er the first time all season yesterday (it's still on the muddy side where I live) and on every climb, especially standing, I thought of that thread and had to LMAO at how genuinely uniformed some people are. Fact: there is no way I could have cleaned the steepest of those without clipless pedals and an upstroke. It is not even subtle. It is as clear and obvious a help going up as pulling on wide bars.

    So I would strongly recommend it. Someone with your amount of experience can learn to get in and out of them quickly in a short time.

    I like to ride a light simple rigid SS often (especially with tubeless tires), but it's not my only ride The lack of gears and suspension are a feel that everyone in this forum relates to. But there are two place where I draw the line at retro: clipless pedals and disc brakes.

    The idea is to have fun, not be some macho masochist who kills himself for bragging rights.
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  6. #6
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    I go back and forth all the time, yeah clipless pedals offer a more efficient power delivery, but then again if you're out playing with the kids it can be kind of embarrassing (and painful!) not being able to get out of them when your little boy rides in front of you at 2 mph and slamming your knees into the concrete! Yeah I did this last week so changed back to my flatties for messing about on!

    It's nice to be able to lift the bike well up underneath you with clipless pedals but it's also nice to be able to dab, use your feet on the trail and generally go faster on the techie stuff. I'd definitely recommend giving them a go, but don't feel that you have to forget the other way of doing things all together!

  7. #7
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    great_big_abyss: I think my riding style will become less about sheer brute force, and more about finessing, i.e. less aggressive.

    You have it all wrong. Clipless lets you be MUCH more agressive when pedaling. For example, try spinning hard when climbing going over rough terrain on flats and see what happens when you lose your footing.
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  8. #8
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    Oh hell yes.

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  9. #9
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    I switched over to clipless about 5 years ago after riding flats for about the same number of years you did. I sounds like your riding style is more aggresive than mine though. Regarding climbing power a little story. Last year I entered a 18k race in Revelstoke BC, which was quite rocky and rooty. Nearly all of the narly stuff was on the uphill or undulating level, they mangaged to link the down parts onto forest service roads. Two weeks before the race I did the coarse on flats because of the roots/rocks. I Sucked. Next weekend did it on clips, was like night and day. Did the race on clips. I know for a fact that I lost time on the downhill because I do go faster down on flats but I'm sure that I more than made up for it on the climbs.

    When I decided to switch guys said don't worry you'll come out of them and then pretty soon it will be natural. I kinda rolled my eyes and said yea right but you know they were right. It may take awhile but believe me it does become second nature.

    Shimano makes an excellent clipless pedal to learn on, it releases in 2 directions. My wife used them when she switched over and never had a problem.

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  10. #10
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    Yes

    You should.

    Shimano SPD's are fantastic but there are plenty of alternatives...

    I've been riding LOOK pedals on my road bikes since the eighties so I thought I'd try their Quartz mountain bike pedals. They are easy to clip in and out of, and if you MUST, they have enough of a platform to ride "un-clipped."
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  11. #11
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    Clipless (Egg beaters) for XC and flats (Diety) for DH & AM here.

  12. #12
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    For SS rigid Clipless pedals will make a huge difference in your power transfer, and will be a help when climbing. I still ride platforms on my more "freestyle" type bikes though..

  13. #13
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    Increased power transfer climbing is significant, and matters more on a single.

    I think the fact that your new bike is rigid might be even more important. Clipless pedals keep your feet on the bike through fast chattery stuff, a rather crucial part of not eating it. This sort of chatter is cut down exponentially on a bike with plenty of suspension.

  14. #14
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    Okay, the support for clipless is overwhelming.

    I think I'll go to my LBS tonight and go buy a pair of Looks, or maybe Times. I s'pose I'll need to invest in some special shoes, too. That'll make my LBS owner happy because he's been trying to get me to convert for years now.

    And before anyone thinks that I've let a bunch of anonymous (to me) people on a web forum influence a spending decision, know this: I do realize all the benefits of clipless. It's just that I've been resisting the change basically for the sake of resisting the change, and needed some convincing. That's all. And Thanks!

  15. #15
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    Crank Brothers all the way!!

  16. #16
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    Try Time Atac pedals, you won't be dissapointed

  17. #17
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    More complexity = more hassle.

    You don't need to bolt your feet to your pedals just to ride a single speed.

    If you want to make your riding easier, there are things called derailleurs
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  18. #18
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    I would recommend any of the Crank Brother Pedals, no need to spend mega bucks, I find the smartys and the egg beaters do the job.

  19. #19
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    I highly reccomend shimano dx pedals. They have a platform incase you don't want to clip in. You mentioned that you are an aggressive rider that is used to a freeride type bike with a high bb. I assume your single speed has a lower bottom bracket. I have an Ellsworth that has a high bb and I have a single speed with a low bb. This makes me more prone to rock strikes with my single. I have found that crank brothers and some time pedals don't handle hits as well as my shimano spd pedals. Something else to consider. Either way clipless is the way to go for single speeds.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by asphaltdude
    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    Should I go clipless?
    Yes.
    No.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BunnV
    You should.

    Shimano SPD's are fantastic but there are plenty of alternatives...

    I've been riding LOOK pedals on my road bikes since the eighties so I thought I'd try their Quartz mountain bike pedals. They are easy to clip in and out of, and if you MUST, they have enough of a platform to ride "un-clipped."

    I assume that you like those Look Quartz pedals?

    Also, is that a Cube bike?
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  22. #22
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    More complexity = more hassle.
    Complex? Hassle? Do you have the slightest clue what you are talking about?
    You don't need to bolt your feet to your pedals just to ride a single speed.
    You don't "NEED" a saddle either. If being a macho manly man is what you're all about, why not take off the saddle and get rid of your freewheel? Ride a fixie off-road without a saddle and I promise I'll be impressed.
    If you want to make your riding easier, there are things called derailleurs
    If you want to make your climbing more efficient and pleasurable, there are things called clipless pedals.
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  23. #23
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    Second on the shimano dx pedals. Lots of extra platform for sketchy stuff and mine are really beat up from pedal strikes but they keep on going.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Complex? Hassle? Do you have the slightest clue what you are talking about?

    You don't "NEED" a saddle either. If being a macho manly man is what you're all about, why not take off the saddle and get rid of your freewheel? Ride a fixie off-road without a saddle and I promise I'll be impressed.

    If you want to make your climbing more efficient and pleasurable, there are things called clipless pedals.
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  25. #25
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    It depends on the terrain.Try shimano stuff because you can release in more directions than most peddals.Sometimes you might switch to flats for riding where you have to deal with technical,loamy, off camber stuff.I was wanting flats today.Set your cleat tension light to begin with. Really light.Then ease into tighter settings.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Complex? Hassle? Do you have the slightest clue what you are talking about?

    You don't "NEED" a saddle either. If being a macho manly man is what you're all about, why not take off the saddle and get rid of your freewheel? Ride a fixie off-road without a saddle and I promise I'll be impressed.

    If you want to make your climbing more efficient and pleasurable, there are things called clipless pedals.
    Yup, I do. Been riding SS in the mountains for longer than there have been mountain bikes, possibly longer than you have been alive.

    Who said anything about macho? You feeling inadequate this morning or something, is your manhood trapped in the springs of your pedals?

    I do take my fixed cross bike offroad from time to time, but I have no need to impress anyone so I'll continue to ride with a saddle, thanks.

    I use track pedals. They are dead simple, cheap, and don't clog with mud. I don't need special shoes, just ride in walking boots which grip the pedals adequately. There is an ancient cycling skill called "ankling" that enables you to get most of the benefit of a clipless pedal. Try it sometime.

    Clipless pedals have their uses, eg in competition, but they are not necessary otherwise.

    It is simple - I like a simple bike. No macho, no cool, just ride.

    If you want the simplicity of a single speed bike, then why have a complex arrangement to hold your feet onto the pedals?
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  27. #27
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    I purchased a set of the LOOK Quartz pedals.

    After a decent ride last night, so far I'm impressed. It really does make a difference.

    My only beef with them, is that they don't seem to hold my feet in as solidly as I'd like. Maybe its a setup problem, or maybe it has to do with their 'soft entry/disengagement' mechanism. On one particularly steep, long climb I was really torquing my pedals while standing up from my saddle, and on the 'up' stroke (it's amazing how quickly you convert to pulling up with clipless) my cleat would pop out of the pedal.

    Other than that, I'm happy. They have a huge amount of float, so my feet can move around a whole bunch without unclipping. I'm going to call them the 'LOOK Knee-Savers' from now on.


    On a side note, I was at the local Garbage-Dump-Turned-Park and there was an older fellow there riding a 29'r SS with 38-18 gearing. I'm amazed at the fitness level this guy had. I mean, He must have been 15-20 years older than I, and he was repeatedly leaving me in his dust going up the hill. I was humbled. Looks like I have a little bit of work to do.

  28. #28
    dwt
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Yup, I do. Been riding SS in the mountains for longer than there have been mountain bikes, possibly longer than you have been alive.
    Which would make you pretty freaking ancient and light years ahead of the curve, seeing as I was born in 1951. But of course, with an ego as big as yours, anything is possible.

    Who said anything about macho? You feeling inadequate this morning or something, is your manhood trapped in the springs of your pedals?
    The macho is your holier than thou bragging about how long you've been riding and how pure your equipment is. It is also sickening.

    I do take my fixed cross bike offroad from time to time, but I have no need to impress anyone so I'll continue to ride with a saddle, thanks.
    Any jerkoff who takes a fixie off road is all about impressing everyone, since that would be about as much fun as going to the dentist.

    I use track pedals. They are dead simple, cheap, and don't clog with mud. I don't need special shoes, just ride in walking boots which grip the pedals adequately.
    Dead simple but heavy, and if you use the ancient component called toe clips with straps as well, difficult or impossible to get in and out of. Fine if you ride baby ass smooth trails. Not so fine in Moab. Also, most clipless pedal - such as eggbeaters - have MUCH less surface area than your track pedals to get clogged with mud.

    There is an ancient cycling skill called "ankling" that enables you to get most of the benefit of a clipless pedal. Try it sometime.
    Aside from the fact that "ankiling" requires complicated toe-clips and straps, it was debunked 40 years ago as myth. Don't take it from me. The late Sheldon Brown says you are full of crap. Or are you more of an authority on everything with two wheels than he was?

    Clipless pedals have their uses, eg in competition, but they are not necessary otherwise.
    Who said anything about "necessary."? The point is that they are more efficient, which is the reason why everybody who races on the road or x-c off road in the new millennium (and before the new millennium) uses them. As well as most everybody else. Flat pedals have their uses, e.g. downhill and freeride, where efficient climbing is not an issue. Also on the track, but that is sort of irrelevant in this forum, eh?

    If you want the simplicity of a single speed bike, then why have a complex arrangement to hold your feet onto the pedals?
    Back atcha. Why have the cumbersome and obsolete arrangement of track pedals and clips when you can have the efficiency and elegance of clipless pedals?
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  29. #29
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    Look guys, this is a pointless argument that has been rehashed millions of times elsewhere on every single bike-related forum, as well as during breaks on rides, at the pub with your riding buddies, in the car on the way to the trail head, etc. It all comes down to personal preference, and that just cannot be quantified.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    Look guys, this is a pointless argument that has been rehashed millions of times elsewhere on every single bike-related forum, as well as during breaks on rides, at the pub with your riding buddies, in the car on the way to the trail head, etc. It all comes down to personal preference, and that just cannot be quantified.
    BANG! (The sound of the nail being hit on the head.)

    Clipless (personally I prefer "step in") pedals vs. flats... who cares what I like or what you like... let's just ride whatever makes us happy. The problem comes when one of us implies that the other is wrong. That said, we all do that once in a while, too. It's a human failing. Internet forums require a thick skin to a certain degree.

    Oh by the way, I use step in pedals and anybody who doesn't simply cannot be fully evolved.

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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    After a decent ride last night, so far I'm impressed. It really does make a difference.
    BINGO

    On a side note, I was at the local Garbage-Dump-Turned-Park and there was an older fellow there riding a 29'r SS with 38-18 gearing. I'm amazed at the fitness level this guy had. I mean, He must have been 15-20 years older than I, and he was repeatedly leaving me in his dust going up the hill. I was humbled. Looks like I have a little bit of work to do.
    But probably not as old as Velobike or me. We are two cranky old men, that's for sure.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    BINGO



    But probably not as old as Velobike or me. We are two cranky old men, that's for sure.
    Hey dwt, don't leave me outta the OFC (Old Fart's Club). I'm only two years behind you.

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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparticus
    Hey dwt, don't leave me outta the OFC (Old Fart's Club). I'm only two years behind you.
    But not cranky
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Which would make you pretty freaking ancient and light years ahead of the curve, seeing as I was born in 1951. But of course, with an ego as big as yours, anything is possible.

    The macho is your holier than thou bragging about how long you've been riding and how pure your equipment is. It is also sickening.

    Any jerkoff who takes a fixie off road is all about impressing everyone, since that would be about as much fun as going to the dentist.

    Dead simple but heavy, and if you use the ancient component called toe clips with straps as well, difficult or impossible to get in and out of. Fine if you ride baby ass smooth trails. Not so fine in Moab. Also, most clipless pedal - such as eggbeaters - have MUCH less surface area than your track pedals to get clogged with mud.

    Aside from the fact that "ankiling" requires complicated toe-clips and straps, it was debunked 40 years ago as myth. Don't take it from me. The late Sheldon Brown says you are full of crap. Or are you more of an authority on everything with two wheels than he was?

    Who said anything about "necessary."? The point is that they are more efficient, which is the reason why everybody who races on the road or x-c off road in the new millennium (and before the new millennium) uses them. As well as most everybody else. Flat pedals have their uses, e.g. downhill and freeride, where efficient climbing is not an issue. Also on the track, but that is sort of irrelevant in this forum, eh?

    Back atcha. Why have the cumbersome and obsolete arrangement of track pedals and clips when you can have the efficiency and elegance of clipless pedals?
    Yup, I am ancient and older than you.

    Please show where I "bragged" - it was an explanation to your remark "Do you have the slightest clue what you are talking about?"

    You seem obsessed by this macho crap and impressing people, and are pretty nasty with it. Never mind, you'll grow up one day.

    Yes, Sheldon Brown was wrong about ankling. It does work. Your fact is wrong - it does not require toeclips or straps. It was used in the early days of cycling when most bikes were singlespeeds and fixed wheel and nothing has changed in human physiology since. No it is not heavy. My pedals and boots are certainly no heavier than your clipless pedals and boots, and probably lighter. The lugs in the sole of my boots slot into the track pedal so I can get drive for most of the circle.

    Riding fixed in the mountains is something that has always been done over here - we don't do it for any other reason than we like it, and it is fun. Check out Rough Stuff Fellowship for a traditional approach to riding in the mountains. I don't hang out with children, so I can't imagine anyone being impressed by it.

    Now let's look at the efficiency bit: I agree clipless is more efficient but not by a huge margin. But using derailleurs is also more efficient. Why one, and not the other?

    (Bear in mind that the OP stated he had 15 years of riding on platform pedals.)
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike

    (Bear in mind that the OP stated he had 15 years of riding on platform pedals.)
    And nothing suited me better for those fifteen years, especially since they were what I would call my 'formative' years of biking. I learnt how to bunnyhop and J-hop properly by using flat pedals. I learnt how to scale ledges a couple of feet high by lifting my front tire up, then lunging my rear up and forward. I learnt how to absorb bumps properly and how to make sure my feet never left the pedals even on the roughest terrain. I bear the shin scars to prove that my feet have, at times left the pedals - often quite painfully and bloodily. The extra large platform and freedom offered by platforms have allowed me more confidence at taking downhills at speed, and at doing logrides and skinnies out in the Rockies, because my feet were free and allowed me to lift a foot to act as a counterbalancer, or to easily do a North Shore Dismount.

    However, now that I've learn't how to properly ride a bike using flats, I believe that clipless pedals are the next evolution for me. I can now focus on power delivery and, because my feet aren't as free anymore, strive to improve my slow speed balance.

    There are a couple of very short, very steep and very technical climbs in my repertoire of favorite trails that I have never been able to complete. I've come close to, but never actually cleaned them. I've only ever seen three people actually finish those climbs. And they were all using clipless.

  36. #36
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    Atta boy dwt, you found someone on the internet that you disagree with, better jump on their case and call em names.

    Now hurry, run over to the single speed forum, there's a bunch of guys talking about fixed gear riding and they need you to tell them that they are only doing it to prove how macho they are.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    ...I believe that clipless pedals are the next evolution for me...
    That settles that then
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  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    But not cranky
    Been there, done that.

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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by great_big_abyss
    And nothing suited me better for those fifteen years, especially since they were what I would call my 'formative' years of biking. I learnt how to bunnyhop and J-hop properly by using flat pedals. I learnt how to scale ledges a couple of feet high by lifting my front tire up, then lunging my rear up and forward. I learnt how to absorb bumps properly and how to make sure my feet never left the pedals even on the roughest terrain. .
    In all fairness, although I also learned on platforms on a rigid bike, but I could never master bunny hops and j-hops etc. without being clipped in. When I watch the local pre-teens on their BMX bikes doing all that stuff, the level of skill boggles my mind. I tip my hat to those who can perform such moves on platforms. These skills will be with you always, and makes you a superior bike handler.

    That said, it is not physically possible for the the most gnarly platform rider to match a clipped in rider going up a steep grade on a SS - as you have proved to yourself.
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    I initially went with platforms for the whole "simplicity" thing when I first built up my rigid singlespeed. But eventually found they were really holding me back, so I had to compromise a a bit and go with clipless. It made a world of difference climbing the steeper stuff. I have been riding clipless for almost 15 years, so I was already well aware of how they can help in climbing, but when you go to singlespeed it takes it to a whole nutha level. Plus, bombing downhill on a rigid, I appreciate a little more security on the pedals.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    When I watch the local pre-teens on their BMX bikes doing all that stuff, the level of skill boggles my mind. I tip my hat to those who can perform such moves on platforms.
    Boy, you said it! The tricks that kids do these days border on supernatural! Double back-flips!!!! ??????

    When I was a kid, if you could do a "cross up" and a decent wheelie you were cool! Nowadays, to quote my son, that would be "mad wack" if that's all you could do!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Yes, Sheldon Brown was wrong about ankling. It does work.
    Suuuurrree buddy. Whatever you say.

    Actually, the quote I linked to originally was Jobst Brandt posted on Sheldon Brown's site. Sheldon's own opinion is found here in his glossary, and he also debunks the myth of ankling.

    Dissing Sheldon Brown AND Jobst Brandt in one post is an historic feat of chutzpah and hubris. I think it will earn you the undisputed title of Retrogrouch Champion of the World.

    Congratulations!
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    For me it depends a heck of a lot on what terrain you're riding and how fussed you are about speed.

    For me, I ride to relax first and foremost, and I'm more relaxed if I know I can dab a foot instantly and not have to worry with an extra step or two in my bike exit strategy if things go pear shaped. I don't give a hoot how quick I am and can climb most of the hills that geared bikes with SPD's do even when I'm on flats. Sure, it'd give me an efficiency boost and possibly make me faster, but at the expense of some of my enjoyment (because I'd be worrying about clipping out). And, I'm riding to maintain some fitness so giving myself extra efficiency is kind of defeating the point.

    For these reasons, I ride flats and have no intention in the short term of changing back to clipless.

    If I was racing and wanting to put the max power down and had all my technique sorted, then clipless would be the way to go. I'm not, so I don't need to go there.

    Nothing to do with what's cool or retro or will impress people or what's most efficient, it's what's about what I want from my ride experience.

    Your mileage may vary.

    For what it's worth, the organiser of a recent 24 hour race here in Australia when he saw me riding a singlespeed with flats, he said
    "You know, I think most folks ought to ride flats. Lot of people get pushed into SPD's too early, crash because they couldn't get their foot out and they don't feel safe. I've seen lots of folks who've had their confidence shaken who leave the sport because of it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    Suuuurrree buddy. Whatever you say.

    Actually, the quote I linked to originally was Jobst Brandt posted on Sheldon Brown's site. Sheldon's own opinion is found here in his glossary, and he also debunks the myth of ankling.

    Dissing Sheldon Brown AND Jobst Brandt in one post is an historic feat of chutzpah and hubris. I think it will earn you the undisputed title of Retrogrouch Champion of the World.

    Congratulations!
    I am not dissing Sheldon Brown. He created a wonderful resource. Unfortunately it seems to have become a reference point for vehement internet experts who lack his good nature.

    Jobst Brandt is also a great resource and I enjoy his iconoclastic viewpoints, especially his theoretical analysis of wheel structure.

    But there are other resources, eg Archibald Sharp, David Wilson, Alex Moulton, to name just 3, and there are a myriad of opinions.

    However the methods I was taught by the old guys over 50 years ago when I was a young loon in the bike shop still work perfectly well.

    I sorry that what works in practice for me does not work in your theory, but there it is.
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    I initiated that thread a few months ago when i was having problems climbing long sustained climbs. I switched to clipless and geared to a 32 x 20 (instead of a 32 x 16) and now those troubles are over. I ended up getting the Time atacs ( not sure how similar they are to the Looks). Sometimes you just have to try it out for yourself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Now let's look at the efficiency bit: I agree clipless is more efficient but not by a huge margin. But using derailleurs is also more efficient. Why one, and not the other?
    You're massively oversimplifying things. I like riding single speed because it gives me less to think about when I'm on the trail. I like riding clipless because it lets me clear more hills on my single speed without adding any extra mental burden.

    You don't like clipless pedals. That's fine, don't use them. Consider, however, doing so a little more quietly and not charging into every thread that mentions them and banging on endlessly about THE MOUNTAINS!!!!

    Hiking boots and track pedals obviously work well for you in the places that you ride. Awesome. I value that input. It is not, however, the final word in all that is true and good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Babau
    ...Consider, however, doing so a little more quietly and not charging into every thread that mentions them and banging on endlessly about THE MOUNTAINS!!!!...
    I'm terribly sorry, I didn't realise this was a road bike forum. Should we ask the moderators to change the heading?

    The OP was asking a question specifically about whether he should use clipless or not. So you think only those supporting clipless use should answer?

    I didn't make any claims that riding with flats was more efficient. I do make the claim that the % efficiency gain is not that high - it is certainly justified for racing purposes, but my claim is that the advantages are marginal for recreational use, and there are disadvantages.

    Actually it would be good to have some facts instead of arguing over opinions. Where can we find figures on the % improvement due to clipless? Is it a greater improvement in speed than changing from an aggressive rear tyre to a Small Block 8, for example?

    If this was a forum for geared riders with suspension, I wouldn't even raise the issue because they are riders who are using every technological advantage they can lay their hands on, and that is why they are much faster than single speeders in most conditions. (A single speed rider who can beat geared riders, would absolutely trash them on the same equipment).

    However this is a single speed forum where we have sought simplicity in our bike, in some cases because of the personal challenge, in others because of less maintenance, and I suppose there's a few strident fashion victims in here too, but we have already accepted that we are not riding the "optimum" bike.

    Babau, I hate to add to your mental burdens, but consider this - if instead of spending a lot of money on a good set of clipless* pedals and shoes to match, you spent it on specifying a better wheelset and tyres, you would also see a marginal increase in efficiency, and have a nicer bike to ride.


    *(I don't know what clipless pedals and shoes cost in the USA, but I have just paid out over 200 to equip my daughter's track bike with them)
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    I am not dissing Sheldon Brown. He created a wonderful resource. Unfortunately it seems to have become a reference point for vehement internet experts who lack his good nature.
    I'm sorry if you think I lack good nature. But I'm merely quoting two resources whose reputations in the area of bicycle mechanics are highly regarded.

    You, on, the other hand, are no better than I am as far as being just "some guy" on the internet with vehement opinion. AFAIC, yours are the antiquated and inflexible dogma of an angry retrogrouch.

    Surely, there is much debate on the question of the "perfect" pedal stroke. The fact is, however, the most efficient pedal stroke cannot be achieved without the foot being firmly attached to the pedal. Early on, back in your day, that was achieved with shoe cleats, toe clips and straps. Straps are great unless you have to pull your foot of the pedal to avoid crashing. Not so good off road. Accordingly, as bicycle mechanics evolved, the foot-pedal interface became achieved by a pedal with a spring release mechanism attached directly to the cleat. No clips + no straps = "clipless."

    Now, what you call "ankling" I call achieving some degree of upstroke in the pedaling motion, a/k/a "a round stroke." It is axiomatic that an upstroke cannot be achieved at all on a purely flat pedal with no clips, cleats or straps, as a matter of physics and mechanics. There is a debate on how much an upstroke with a clipped in pedal contributes to speed and efficiency, generally, on flat roads, if at all.

    There is no debate, however, that under high torque and slow cadence - i.e. climbing - a pronounced upstroke exists and contributes much to the power and efficiency of the total stroke.

    Do the research - there is plenty on and off-line - and by all means try it for yourself. The vast majority of experienced cyclists on the road and off the road use clipless pedals because they are more efficient - AND less complicated - than the technology of 50 years ago. The vast majority of single speeders in this forum who actually ride a lot and climb a lot have proved this to themselves. The OP in this thread and the OP in the February thread both discovered that their climbing efficiency improved significantly when they clipped in.

    This is not merely "anecdotal evidence" and I don't buy "YMMV" for a nanosecond on this issue. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but nobody is entitled to their own facts. You can't argue with mother nature. If you want to climb longer and steeper pitches better on a SS, get clipless pedals. Period.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    ...Straps are great unless you have to pull your foot of the pedal to avoid crashing. Not so good off road...

    ...There is no debate, however, that under high torque and slow cadence - i.e. climbing - a pronounced upstroke exists and contributes much to the power and efficiency of the total stroke...
    Let's clarify a few things:

    Angry? I thought I was pretty restrained seeing as I was being called a "jerkoff" by you.

    I did not mention anything about using straps. I don't use them. I rely on the lugs on my boots engaging in the track pedal and that is what enables me to get a partial upstroke. Couldn't get less complicated than that.

    I have stated a number of times that clipless is more efficient. What I question is the quantity of efficiency gained and whether it is worthwhile gain for recreational use. The cost involved would help pay for a much better bike.

    The resources you quote are also held in high regard by me, but I don't regard them as infallible or beyond having their conclusions questioned.

    How about we find a source with some numbers of actual test data so we can put a number to this efficiency gain?

    (I'm off to a track meet so you have all weekend to find some figures - no need to come in with guns blazing straight away While I'm there I'll ask the guys at British Cycling if they know where there is some publicly accessible data)
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    Let's clarify a few things:

    Angry? I thought I was pretty restrained seeing as I was being called a "jerkoff" by you.

    I did not mention anything about using straps. I don't use them. I rely on the lugs on my boots engaging in the track pedal and that is what enables me to get a partial upstroke. Couldn't get less complicated than that.

    I have stated a number of times that clipless is more efficient. What I question is the quantity of efficiency gained and whether it is worthwhile gain for recreational use. The cost involved would help pay for a much better bike.

    The resources you quote are also held in high regard by me, but I don't regard them as infallible or beyond having their conclusions questioned.

    How about we find a source with some numbers of actual test data so we can put a number to this efficiency gain?

    (I'm off to a track meet so you have all weekend to find some figures - no need to come in with guns blazing straight away While I'm there I'll ask the guys at British Cycling if they know where there is some publicly accessible data)
    Personally I'm going with my own empirical data. "Recreational riding" is hard to define as some folks consider training for racing (and racing itself) "recreational." I won't speak for anyone else, but the difference dual-sided*, off-road step in pedals have made for me since I began using them in the late 80s or early 90s (whenever they came out) has been nothing short of revolutionary, no pun intended. Especially when I began singlespeeding off-road in 2000, I knew there was no giving them up.

    That's not to imply that they'd make as big a difference to others as they have for me, but they're definitely on my bikes to stay.

    A "better bike?" For me, step in pedals are in my top 3 "better bike" necessities.

    Aside... why do I perfer to call them "step in" pedals rather than "clipless" pedals? Same reason I don't call a vest a "sleeveless jacket." It doesn't make sense to label or define something by what it's not. Platform pedals are also clipless, but they're not step in.

    --Sparty

    *Edit: I should say "multiple entry point pedals" rather than "dual-sided pedals" inasmuch as I use Eggbeaters, which allow entry on four sides.
    Last edited by Sparticus; 04-08-2010 at 09:58 AM.
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    I wonder if the youngsters on Pinkbike could ever keep an argument this restrained and polite? No sarcasm here btw.

  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velobike
    How about we find a source with some numbers of actual test data so we can put a number to this efficiency gain?)
    High-Tech Cycling, by Edmund R. Burke, Phd

    Preview here and read Chapter 5, starting at page 119

    You will find that mountain bikers have the most efficient pedaling technique - as compared in descending order to roadies, trackies, triathletes, and sprinters - and that the upstroke is more pronounced in climbing.
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  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by brassnipples
    Now hurry, run over to the single speed forum, there's a bunch of guys talking about fixed gear riding and they need you to tell them that they are only doing it to prove how macho they are.
    So, why ARE they doing it? Sorry, but there comes a point where people get so extreme that it's just flashing in public and has more to do with impressing other people with useless feats of strength and/or endurance and/or proving how unique and/or cool your are, and less to do with simply having a good time.

    Riding a fixie off road is an example. So is the guy who rode from San Francisco to San Diego standing without a saddle. BFD. What use is that to the general joe trying to improve his bike skills? Contrast that with other feats of athletic performance requiring actual real-world bike handling skills on the same or similar equipment that you ride: like Sam Hill racing downhill or Danny MacAskill doing trials moves.

    OP in this thread was asking whether clipless pedals will help him with climbing on a SS. There's only one valid answer to the question according both to the laws of physics and the experience of the vast majority of all cyclists over the past at least 20 years.. It has NOTHING to do with "whatever floats your boat."

    Those who come off with a retrogrouch "back in the day when we rode uphill both ways" attitude are no help. AFAIC, they're just showing off how "pure" and "superior" they are in their own world, and their advice is of little use in the real world.
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    There's more to clipless than efficiency.

    I always see these clipless discussions get bogged down in arguments over efficiency, and I just have to make the point that pedaling efficiency is not why I use cliples on my mtbs, and especially on my rigid SS.

    I have some steep uphills that I simply cannot make with platforms on my SS. This is fact, because I've tried the same hills both ways numerous times. It's not an efficiency thing (as in using your energy moste efficiently), it's simply a matter of being able to exert more force at critical times in a pedal cycle. You simply cannot have even a brief dead spot in your pedal stroke when you are one pedal stroke from the top and it takes everything you have to keep the bike moving forward. To me, making a steep technical climb is one of the most satisfying parts of mtn biking. I really don't care how efficient or fast I am on the easy stretches, but I want to make those tough climbs.

    The other point is the security and bike handling functionality that clipless brings. I know there are people that can do amazing stuff on platforms and I am jealous of their skills, but I ride both and do much better on clipless. I don't get bounced off my pedals on rough downhills or lose them in the air off a jump. I simply have a lot more fun when I use clipless because I am more secure on the bike.

    I really wish I could ride as well on platforms, but I can't. And it has nothing to do with efficiency.
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    I know this is going to sound crazy, hard to believe even... but there are people, many of them in fact, that enjoy challenging themselves purely for the sense of accomplishment. As it turns out some of these people don't even really care if someone else thinks that what they are doing is 'macho' or 'hardcore'. Nutty eh? I mean, if they aren't constantly considering what other people are thinking about them what could be going through their minds? There is a medication in the works for the condition but it's years away from approval.

    Oh, and get this, there is a fringe group that doesn't realize what perfect bike should look like Seriously. It's like they don't know that there is a right way and a wrong way to setup a mountain bike. Unfortunately manufactures support these dingbats by making a stupidly wide variety of bikes and parts.

    You can help the cause to set these people on the right path. You are an ideal candidate to join the Bicycling Lobbyist's Organization Who Have A Right to Determine Standards and help make sure that the cyclists of the world know what to think and what to ride.
    Last edited by brassnipples; 04-08-2010 at 11:48 AM.

  56. #56
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    Not so fast, my friend

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    So, why ARE they doing it? Sorry, but there comes a point where people get so extreme that it's just flashing in public and has more to do with impressing other people with useless feats of strength and/or endurance and/or proving how unique and/or cool your are, and less to do with simply having a good time.
    Hey dwt, keep in mind this is the singlespeed forum. There was a time when I looked at singlespeeding mountain bikers the same way I look at fixie riding mountain bikers today -- like a bunch of wackos. Who knows, someday I might evolve into an off-road fixie rider, although I shudder at the thought now.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwt
    OP in this thread was asking whether clipless pedals will help him with climbing on a SS. There's only one valid answer to the question according both to the laws of physics and the experience of the vast majority of all cyclists over the past at least 20 years.. It has NOTHING to do with "whatever floats your boat."
    Not to be disagreeable but personally I ride what I ride, where I ride and how I ride ONLY because it's what floats my boat. This is a huge aspect of cycling to me. I get to build my own unique vehicle and then employ it in the course of having the time of my life. I get to determine my own priorities and parameters. I get to choose the exact experience that I want. I love this.

    Sure there are those in our (any) sport who strut, but I take them for what they are. After all, in a way they're doing the same thing I'm doing -- establishing their own priority for what they want from the sport and then creating it. If that happens to be posing, more power to 'em. I'll have a beer with 'em at the end of the ride. BTW, I've seen lots of those guys either get serious or go away, but I've never seen a true lover of the sport turn into a poser.

    Every off-road fixie rider I know (a few) are very serious cyclists. Same can be said for most long term singlespeeders.

    --Sparty
    Last edited by Sparticus; 04-08-2010 at 12:51 PM.
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