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The Emperor's new shoes?

neil_sheehan2000neil_sheehan2000 Posts: 529
edited August 2009 in Road beginners
Righto, so I just got some road shoes and Look pedals. I've always ridden with flats on my mountain bikes and never even tried SPDs, and had some fairly poor toe clip things on my road bike until today, so was a bit wary about jumping into the deep end, but I don't know anyone with road shoes in my size so I just went for it.

All kinds of things go through your head the first time you clip your feet on to your bike: what if I can't get my feet out in time? What if I fall over into an oncoming car? How the hell are you supposed to walk in these things? And so on.

Anyway, did a few ginger circles in the park, found I could actually clip in and out fairly easily, and thought I'd go for a wee jaunt. A dog ran out in front of me to test my emergency unclipping, which was nice of it. After about 20 minutes I was left with only one question: what is supposed to be the big advantage of clipping your feet in?

I mean, yes, you can pull the pedals up with your feet easier than you can with flats, but I was rather under the impression that the pros didn't actually do much pulling up anyway, so that seems a rather feeble advantage for all the hassle. Yes, also, the soles are stiffer so your power transfer is better, but when I ride flats I tend to have the pedal under the arch of my foot, so I don't think a stiffer sole would really make that much difference there either. And yes, they're probably lighter than flats and trainers, but is that it?

To be honest, I can see more of an advantage in clipping your feet in on a mountain bike, in terms of controlloing the bike in the air and so on, but I've got no plans to get my road tyres off the road at all.

I don't know, maybe the advantges will become apparent over time, or may be I'm just missing something, but I must say I'm a bit underwhelmed at present...


  • snigsnig Posts: 428
    seems to me you just listed the reasons yourself,having your foot in the correct position is the best reason for SPDs(riding on your arche of your foot is not the best for your foot or power transfer),road bikes as a rule are for speed and distance so any power/speed advantage most be a good thing.
  • bobtbuilderbobtbuilder Posts: 1,537
    Clipless means all the power of your stroke goes directly through the pedal. There is no power wastage as your foot slides around on the pedal. A good heel-cup helps you maximise the your ability to pull on the upstroke, especially when out of the saddle. You can push harder, knowing your foot is safely fixed to the pedal.
  • FlasheartFlasheart Posts: 1,278
    Agreed with should NOT be pedalling with the arch of your foot..only ball sof your feet.
    You'll get the hang of the new pedals and unclipping soon enough :wink:
    The universal aptitude for ineptitude makes any human accomplishment an incredible miracle. ...Stapp’s Ironical Paradox Law
  • sicknotesicknote Posts: 901
    I use to use toe clip and after reading about clipless on here, I gave them a go and I have to say I would not go back.

    Plus now looking for a pair for my hybrid and at sometime will be getting some stiffer shoes but happy with what I am using now.
  • snigsnig Posts: 428
    also check you have the correct size bike/seatpost as if your leg is bent too much it will be very hard to get your foot in the correct position on the pedal,if that was the case using SPDs would seem like a waste of time.
  • Tony666Tony666 Posts: 274
    I had always been quite happy with my old style toe clip pedals. Yes it’s true that they may not be the latest thing, but I had heard so many tales of people falling over because they can’t unclip their feet from clipless pedals (a bit of an anomaly there as you clip into clipless pedals) that I had always decided against them. Well up until recently that is. I have to admit I did wonder if they could improve my performance as it was claimed they would. But elsewhere on the forum someone started a discussion about pedals and along came this post:

    “Using toe straps is an invitation for people who work in bike shops to patronise and humiliate you.”

    Followed by

    “Unless you have a beard and a urine stain on your baggy shorts when they will understand.”

    So that was it, off to the bike shop to buy a pair of clipless pedals and I haven’t looked back since.

    Clipless pedal systems are an improvement over the toe clip and strap in many ways, comfort, safety and speed to name a few. Comfort was improved as there is no need for a strap holding the foot in place, therefore bloodflow is not affected and constant strap adjustment is no longer required. Safety is improved as the need to reach up and down to adjust straps when starting and stopping is no longer required, you simply twist the foot to disengage the pedal when approaching your stopping point whilst still holding the bars with both hands. Setting off is easy, just push down on the pedal and you are clipped in, all the time keeping both hands on the bars and your eyes on the road. Speed is also improved as you clip in and have no straps to tighten or adjust. Built into most clipless pedal systems is a technology called float, float is the amount that your foot can move from side to side when clipped into the pedal, this float is essential as it allows the knee to move naturally during the pedalling motion. And, as you and others have said, stiff or rigid soles to maximize power transfer and efficiency.
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