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clipless pedals...? NO CLUE!!!

gavedgaved Posts: 56
edited September 2010 in Road beginners
Hello friends :D

Been riding for just over a year now, and a mate of mine has advised me that clipless pedals are the way forward.

Had a bit of a look into this, OMG :shock: cleats? SPD? what does it all mean?? :shock:
Does anybody know which would be the best for a newbie currently using toe clips...??
and do clipless pedals really enable you to generate more power and speed...?? :?
Please excuse my complete lack of knowledge regarding this, hey, everyday is a school day :lol:

Thanks very much :D
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Posts

  • SPD is a type of cleat. generally used for mountain biking but alot favour it for road bikes as the shoes are generally more suited for walking around in.

    Other types Include SPD-SL, Look, Speedplay

    For a beginner then SPD's are a very good starting point.

    They wont technically enable you to generate more power as that is all done from the legs however the ability to generate forward motion more consistantly as your legs work all the way round and not just on the way down means you can be more efficient.
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  • and do clipless pedals really enable you to generate more power and speed...?

    Yes, you can ride for longer without getting as tired, as the motion/power is more fluid. Use a little bit of upwards motion power, not a lot. That way you're using both muscles types when pedalling.

    I'd recommend A530 pedals for road noobies. I wouldn't get SPD-Sl as my first pedals, as they're harder to clip in/out of
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  • You been given good advice so far, I'd like at add a few things...

    Firstly, in my earlier training days, I'd been taught that the pedaling motion should be a "scrape and lift". A mantra I still use to this day. This motion focuses on using the calves, hamstrings and glutes into the pedal action. This combined group of muscles is more powerful than the quads alone. This can be (successfully) argued* more power full than the quads alone.

    But with practice, its the fluid motion that helps a huge amount.

    It might help to jump into the deep end and then feel your way from there. Pedals can be as personal as saddles, otherwise there'd only be two or so fits. Be careful here as a lot of the time (no pun intended) the brand represents a unique cleat mechanism and there aren't always compatible. Look=look, Time=Time, SPD-SL=SPD-SL etc.

    In general there are two styles; mountain bike and road. Road style are well.. for the road. Generally for long/fast non-stop riding, while the mountain bike style are.. you guest it. But the mountain bike style are also good for commuting, lots of stop start (for red lights :-) ). So firstly choose your style of riding, this will dictate the kind of shoe you'll need - they are different for the two activities. Then you can choose they type of cleat system

    IMO, for noobes the best first choices are SPD for mountain bike, and Look for road. This is personal to some degree, but a safe starting point, this is nothing like what I use today. But allows you to experiment with some of the feature you might want to change, like the amount of rotation (float) by buying new cleats (cheaper than a new pedal system) and retention strength (ability to get in/out)

    With some first hand experience you'll be able judge what works for you.

    * But I can't be ar*ed arguing it
  • schweizschweiz Posts: 1,644
    I'd recommend A530 pedals for road noobies. I wouldn't get SPD-SL as my first pedals, as they're harder to clip in/out of

    The other half went clipless with her new Trek 2.5 and I thought that SPD would be better so I got a pair of A530 so she could ride SPD or flat. Anyway, she never rode flat and after 2-3 rides I ended up putting a pair of SPD-SL pedals on. The force required for release is higher and you have to be a bit more precise with clipping in but the increased comfort of SPD-SL over SPD means she is happier with SPD-SL over SPD. I'm just glad she had a pair of shoes that would accept both types of cleat or else that would have been yet another expense!
  • ryan93ryan93 Posts: 186
    My brother just switched over from flats to SPD's this summer. Going on the advice he read in MBUK he decided to buy some Shimano M424's (£28.99 from ChainReaction). He has been very impressed by these as they have a large cage round the actual pedal making it easier to re-engage the shoe if you take it off the pedal for cornering or, like I done hen I first tried SPD's, falling off alot on the grassy field behind my house :lol: Alot of people have also recommened Shimano's MP66 SPD shoes (£47.99 from ChainReaction). Both me and my bro are using Specialized's BG Comp shoes, but they're a little bit more than the MP66's at £99.99 from Evanscycles.

    Hope this helps.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    I originally had SPDs but other than they were easy to clip into when starting off uphill (I can't track stand), they aren't as good as road specific pedals as the shoe sole flexes too much. Look Keo's are a night mare for me to clip into on an uphill start so I end up doing plenty of one leg stuff until I manage to clip the other foot in. I'm looking to change to Speedplays on my upgrade bike.
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  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    and do clipless pedals really enable you to generate more power and speed...?

    Yes, you can ride for longer without getting as tired, as the motion/power is more fluid. Use a little bit of upwards motion power, not a lot. That way you're using both muscles types when pedalling.

    I'd recommend A530 pedals for road noobies. I wouldn't get SPD-Sl as my first pedals, as they're harder to clip in/out of

    I went from flat to SPD-SLs and they're very nice. After only half a dozen rides it's only clipping in when it's dark that causes an issue and i'm getter much better at that, should be be sorted in another few rides.
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  • Haven't read all comments in detail so not sure if this has been said but SPD are good for town riding and commuting (as well as MTBing) as they are double sided (you can clip in on both sides) which is handy when you are constantly clipping in and unclipping at lights etc. Some systems are 4 sided so you can clip in on the side as well.

    The disadvantage of SPD and 4 sided systems is that the surface area of the pedal is smaller which can lead to uncomfortable hot spots on the foot on long rides when you're simply out on a long A road pounding at the pedals for a long time. For long road and club rides, SPD SL, Look, Time etc offer larger pedal surface area but only 1 sided "clipability". So it kind of depends what sort of rides you'll be doing.

    As a noob I wouldn't automatically spend a load of cash on the SPD system simply because it's double sided, only tofind out that you want SPD SL or whatever for longer rides after 1 year. You must be used to flipping the pedal up if you use toeclips, so not having double sided clips may not be an issue.
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  • LogicLogic Posts: 54
    i wish id loke abit harder for advice on this as i got 105 spd-sl pedals on my new TREK bike and although i had DX spd on my mountain bike and ended up putting flat DMR's on it, i was still determined that my road bike would have clipless sl's,

    so i practised clipping in and out in the house for a few minutes before i went out and "oh dear" what i fool, all the gear and no idea im afraid. pulled out of first junction and could not clip in, luck i read to keep pedalling with the cliped in foot or i would have been off.

    But like most things after you do it a few times you get used to it and by my second ride i was getting the hang of it. I ride in a rural area and dont stop more than a few times so the SL's are the best choice and i think if id had spd and then went over to SL's i would still of had this issue im sure. and looking back now it must have looked funny to all the people near me when my foot kept slipping off all the way down the road. lol
  • I started off with flats on my MTB then went to basic SPD's.
    As my riding has developed Ive now gone to M647 DX which give me the benefits of clipped and a flat pedal for when I need to dab or if its technical.

    Ive run the original SPD's on my road bike for a couple of months but suffered with ankle and knee pain as Im putting more power out through the pedals constantly in comparrision to MTB riding.

    Bought Shimano 105 SPDL's and matching shoes and the pains are gone.
    Takes a while to figure out the clipping on SPDL's but worth it.

    As the other posts say you can use SPDs for shortish commutes on a road bike but if your putting in the miles then the SPDL's or similar will be better in the long run.
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  • rhextrhext Posts: 1,639
    It occurred to me reading your original post that a bit of a jargon-buster might help. But this is the test....will I get it right?

    For clipless pedals you need three things: the pedals (obvious), a set of shoes (also obvious) and the cleats.

    The cleats are the fixings which you screw to the bottom of the shoes so that they clip into the pedals. While shoes are generic (so you can use any clipless shoe with any clipless pedal), cleats are specific to a particular pedal. I think they're often supplied with the pedal. So to get started on (for example) SPDs, you'd buy a pair of SPD pedals and some cycling shoes. The pedals would come with a pair of metal cleats, which you'd screw into the bottom of your cycling shoes and then you're off.

    As to whether it's worth doing, from my point of view the answer is a very loud YES. Don't know about the specifics for power and efficiency etc, but to me they just feel more secure.
  • Just my $0.02 worth. All sound advice above so a couple of things that I don't see mentioned above (I think).

    If you think they might be of use for how and why you ride, you can get a "regular pedal" that accepts an SPD cleat on one or both sides. That way you can also ride the bike - easily - without your cycling clogs on.

    If you have to walk a bit when you are cycling then the SPD is good as generally they are recessed in the sole of the shoe, therefore you get a sole to walk on rather than a wee bit of slidy plastic that an SPD-SL or Look style cleat offers (think about trying to walk in a ladies heeled shoe where the heel has been put at the front of the shoe).

    All cycling shoes generally have a much stiffer and flatter sole than a regular shoe, and aren't designed with a lot of walking in mind, although you can get some off-road and touring shoes that claim to be good for trail walking or a light hill walk. "MTB-style" shoes generally have chunky grips to offer some traction on the ground if you need to put the foot out or shoulder your ride. "Road-style" shoes generally have a much stiffer sole (to the point of being completely rigid) that isn't sculpted with walking in mind. With the former sorts you are more likely to stay upright and people won't turn round expecting to see a horse and cart when they hear you walking.

    You can get SPD shoes that basically look like trainers if that's your thing. Or you can get SPD shoes that look like road shoes if that's your thing.

    Loads of possibilities.

    I use SPD for my touring ride and my commuting single speed and olde Look Deltas for my road bike.
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  • crakercraker Posts: 2,060
    rhext wrote:
    While shoes are generic (so you can use any clipless shoe with any clipless pedal),

    not true.

    count the bolt holes on the bottom of the shoes. Some have two holes (SPD compatible) , some have three (SPD-SL) and maybe other iterations.

    Generally two bolt shoes are mtb friendly (lots of tread for walking on, more flex in the soles). Road shoes generally follow the 3 bolt pattern. Because the cleat on road shoes sticks out the shoes aren't designed to be walked in too far, very stiff soles & no tread.

    Read the shoe info before you order to make sure it matches your cleat type.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    My SPD-SL shoes have 5 holes to take either. But SPD shoes usually recess the cleat (to make walking easier) so won't take the large SPD-SL cleats.
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  • Skipped a lot of posts but bottom line is.........
    Man-up and go straight to spd-sl unless you have loads of walking to do once you are out
  • Skipped a lot of posts but bottom line is.........
    Man-up and go straight to spd-sl unless you have loads of walking to do once you are out

    An excellent example of poor advice :roll:
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    I like my SPD-SLs which I went straight to from BMX pedals. Why is StanwaySteve62 giving such poor advice?
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    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • Mr WillMr Will Posts: 216
    It seems to me that you can pick your pedal type based on the clothing you wear on your bike...

    Always wear lycra: SPD-SL
    Sometimes wear normal clothes: SPD
    Only occasionally lycra up: Dual sided SPD/Flat
    Never lycra: Flat

    :wink:
    2010 Cannondale CAAD9 Tiagra
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