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Ditching SPDs for toe-clips or Powergrips for tour

bicebice Posts: 772
edited April 2015 in Road beginners
I want to take my SPD equipped road bike touring through France.

This means ditching SPDs and shoes and using either old fashioned toe-clips – ie plastic cage and thin nylon straps, which I like a lot and use on my commuter – or considering a pair of Powerstraps.

Are they an improvement on toe-clips, in anyone’s experience?

They seem very expensive (£25) for what they are and are probably reproducible with any nylon strap and four bolts.

Has anyone had experience of them?

I use plastic pedals and very strongly dislike metal ones, so there may be an issue with them pulling out or breaking the pedal.

Old fashioned toe-clips are still valid to me, and so convenient. But they must be made of stiffer plastic than the rubbish that comes on new road bikes.

In all my years using both toe-clips and SPDs I have never noticed a massive improvement with SPDs, although they are better.

I fitted up a road bike for my daughter with toe-clips and we did the Whitehaven-Tynemouth Coast-to-Coast two weeks ago. She wore an old pair of flat-soled ankle-boots (and cycling overshoes, as there was still snow).

Perfectly fine for non-competitive use, and she was faster than all the others in her group up Hartside and Crawley Side.

I would stick with SPDs, but only if I had someone taking my bag with some other shoes because I want to walk about and see things.

Doing it alone means sub 10 kilos of stuff and only one pair of shoes.

Posts

  • jim55jim55 Posts: 93
    You need a pair of touring shoes ,,, stiff soled trainer looking walkable shoes that can take a cleat
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    bice - just wondering why you are ditching your SPDs and shoes for your touring? If they are SPD pedals and shoes rather than SPD-SLs they should be okay for touring and walking in.
  • I consider metal clips with leather straps to be much better than plastic, which I personally wouldn't use. My old Christophe clips and Chossy straps are in retirement, but they worked well and I would definitely use them again. Current offerings from MKS and Zefal look good, though.
  • ravey1981ravey1981 Posts: 1,111
    I would get something like these....

    http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/shim ... -prod70096
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    No, shoes with cleats is a complication too far.

    I want to walk around and visit places in comfortable ordinary shoes. It is not solely a cycling jaunt, and I don't find ordinary toe-clips vastly inferior to SPDs, only a little bit.
  • In that case, I'd maybe consider metal clips with leather lining. You won't get many answers around here about clips and straps, as many haven't used them!
  • rafletcherrafletcher Posts: 1,233
    bice wrote:
    No, shoes with cleats is a complication too far.

    I want to walk around and visit places in comfortable ordinary shoes. It is not solely a cycling jaunt, and I don't find ordinary toe-clips vastly inferior to SPDs, only a little bit.

    Toe clips will mark any shoe you use. I toured extensively with them, and also latterly with SPD's. I use Specialized Taho shoes with recessed SPD cleats and double sided SPD pedals. Perfect for touring, easy and comfortable to walk around in off the bike. I take trainers for evening wear or days off the bike. SPD is such an international standard any bike shop will gave them, and spares if necessary.
  • JayKostaJayKosta Posts: 635
    I use metal toeclips with nylon straps on metal road pedals.
    The nylon straps are thin and have more clearance from the crank arm with wide soled shoes. I've also cut 1/8 inch wide 'spacers' from plastic pipe to use between the pedal and crank arm.

    If you ride with a 'street shoe', just make sure the sole is stiff enough to prevent discomfort from heavy pressure on the pedals.

    Jay Kosta
    Endwell NY USA
  • kevinpkevinp Posts: 10
    bice wrote:
    No, shoes with cleats is a complication too far.

    I want to walk around and visit places in comfortable ordinary shoes. It is not solely a cycling jaunt, and I don't find ordinary toe-clips vastly inferior to SPDs, only a little bit.

    I agree entirely My good lady and I use these half deep toe clips http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-half-deep-s ... h-leather/ with a pair of light walking/trail 3/4 boots for touring in the Highlands and Islands and found the set up works well for us.

    This is like Jay's set up without the straps.
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    kevinp wrote:
    I agree entirely My good lady and I use these half deep toe clips http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-half-deep-s ... h-leather/ with a pair of light walking/trail 3/4 boots for touring in the Highlands and Islands and found the set up works well for us.

    This is like Jay's set up without the straps.

    Well, I've not seen those before. Probably a good thing for a hiking boot.

    I tend to buy trainer type shoes from Clarks in sales for around £25-£35 with a thickish sole.

    I have not ruined any shoes using straps, but the soles (and pedals) do wear out. The shoes I wear with my suit are a bit long for comfort in the toe-clips, so I flip the pedal.

    But toe-clips are great and cheap as chips: you get some up-lift, the foot is kept in place to varying degrees depending on tightness of straps and you don't have to walk around in rigid shoes with metal in them.

    I have used them for London commuting for about 15 years, and the pedals usually break first.
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    Here is a great article on old cycling shoes from a website called "Retrogrouch". The leather trainers I use are very similar to these shoes. I might even buy a pair if they come up on eBay and do the Eroica bike ride on vintage bikes around Tuscany:

    http://bikeretrogrouch.blogspot.co.uk/2 ... shoes.html
  • janwaljanwal Posts: 471
    I used powergrips for 2 years before spd's.They are very good and robust,made of conveyor belt type material.That included 2 trips to Majorca.I did plenty of climbing in them.Infact my best time up Col de Soller was on a mountain bike using them!You put your foot in at a slight angle and twist slightly like spd's.This grips your shoe,twist a bit harder to increase hold if you want to incease power up a hill.You get a similar 'pull up' on your pedal stroke,same as with spd's.Slip back out same way,and easy to get out of in an emergency.Make sure you use a good caged pedal with them with a good axle footpad such as these which I had http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-gr-9-platform-pedals/
    Try them I'm sure you will find them ideal for what you need.
  • janwal wrote:
    I used powergrips for 2 years before spd's.They are very good and robust,made of conveyor belt type material.That included 2 trips to Majorca.I did plenty of climbing in them.Infact my best time up Col de Soller was on a mountain bike using them!You put your foot in at a slight angle and twist slightly like spd's.This grips your shoe,twist a bit harder to increase hold if you want to incease power up a hill.You get a similar 'pull up' on your pedal stroke,same as with spd's.Slip back out same way,and easy to get out of in an emergency.Make sure you use a good caged pedal with them with a good axle footpad such as these which I had http://www.wiggle.co.uk/mks-gr-9-platform-pedals/
    Try them I'm sure you will find them ideal for what you need.

    I haven't used Powergrips, I'm sure they have their place, but I can't imagine that they would be as good as proper clips and straps, if you're going to be tightening them.
  • Back in the day, I used powergrips for racing (MTBs) before I could afford spds.

    I liked them a lot, found them really easy to get in and out of, much easier than toeclips. Once set up no need to change them at all. They acted very much in the same way as spds do, getting in and out and like janwal said twist a little more and they tighten.

    I also found that I could get a better peddle position with them than toeclips.
    Look 675 Light Di2
    Boardman Pro C winter hack
    Cannondale Prophet
    Decathlon Hub geared City bike
  • crankycrankcrankycrank Posts: 1,830
    Bice, my experience is that I did a tour of Greece taking only one pair of shoes which were kind of medium stiff soled walking shoes with clips and serrated mountain cage pedals. Comfort wise it was not great but not a big problem either on some 70 mile days but after about 2 weeks my shoes were so filthy and greasy I would think twice about going to a nice restaurant in them. They would also not be my first choice for walking as I would have chose something a little more comfortable but I knew I needed something fairly stiff for cycling. Next time I'll be taking some decent fairly stiff soled touring shoes that I can do a little walking in and a second pair for when not riding the bike. I have never tried the PowerGrips but have talked to many that have and some love them, some don't. I guess you would just have to try them yourself. If you do use some softer soled street shoes it would probably be best to use some type of platform pedals as mentioned earlier with clips or PowerGrips as the serrated cage type dig in to your feet and get pretty uncomfortable after awhile.
  • alan_shermanalan_sherman Posts: 1,153
    SPDs and Havianas! This does assume the weather is warm enough though....
  • bicebice Posts: 772
    cyd190468 wrote:
    There are literally hundreds of different shoes specifically designed for using spds and hiking. Some are even dsigned for running in so comfort isn't an issue I wouldn't think
    http://bicycletouringpro.com/blog/styli ... ing-shoes/

    Designed for running in comfort? Can't believe that.

    When I walked around Ham House in winter I took off my SPDs to spare the marble and wood floors.

    Buying another pair of SPD shoes is also a £60-80 solution to something that can (for me) be solved for nothing by swapping my commuter pedals with old bike-clips for the SPDs on the road bike.

    I also don't think there is a huge difference in efficiency, but will try out my commuter pedals on a 60-mile cycle club run and see how I get on. If I can't keep up, then I'm wrong.

    I can fully understand the comment about metal jagged pedals. I don't like them even for short distance, and you have to have a thick or hard soled shoe.

    Flat-ish plastic pedals sold for mountain bikes or hybrids are fine.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I've been racing duathlons in toeclips and running shoes - i don't feel like I'm losing much on pedalling but i'm saving time in two transitions.

    If its long distance then I'd change shoes as the transition is meaningless over the time of an Ironman race. For me anyway.
  • I had Powergrips on my old MTB years ago. They are pretty good in that your foot enters them from a slight angle to the side and straightening it up creates tension in the strap which holds the foot onto the pedal. Prior to that I had toeclips and straps and I think I preferred the PGs
  • ddraverddraver Posts: 21,042
    I understand where your coming from bice but I still prefer MTB spds personally

    I ve not used power grips but I have used the fabric strap (over an MTB flat pedal). I think that these are really designed for short commutes or fixed riding and they are good for that but for "proper" riding I would stick to "old skool" clips and straps. You won't be the only tourer doing so by any means
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,994
    I just bought Shimano MT71s - more expensive than the ones already linked to but appropriate for my needs as I'm heading North.

    Anyway, these ones have vibram soles and my conclusions probably would apply to any vibram soled Shimano shoe. Which is that they are excellent. The cleat is entirely recessed so not a bother at all on flat surfaces. The sole is pretty stiff for cycling (particularly if using platform spd pedals like the double sided ClickR variety) yet, due to the shape of the sole, I am unaware that I am wearing cycling shoes when walking (yesterday I walked from Millbank to Kings Cross in them and didn't think about my shoes once). If I want to do off road hill walking, I'd need to take the cleats off and put the screw in cover back on otherwise the cleats would get damaged by rocks. But once on, because of the way that piece is moulded, your shoe sits over the pedal almost as though you are still clipped in - so you can ride pretty nicely with the cover on in place of the cleats on spd pedals. They aren't even too heavy. The MT71s are Goretex lined and would be a bit warm for France but that just means that the cheaper shoes would work even better. I'm so far pretty impressed!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,994
    cyd190468 wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    I just bought Shimano MT71s - more expensive than the ones already linked to but appropriate for my needs as I'm heading North.

    Anyway, these ones have vibram soles and my conclusions probably would apply to any vibram soled Shimano shoe. Which is that they are excellent. The cleat is entirely recessed so not a bother at all on flat surfaces. The sole is pretty stiff for cycling (particularly if using platform spd pedals like the double sided ClickR variety) yet, due to the shape of the sole, I am unaware that I am wearing cycling shoes when walking (yesterday I walked from Millbank to Kings Cross in them and didn't think about my shoes once). If I want to do off road hill walking, I'd need to take the cleats off and put the screw in cover back on otherwise the cleats would get damaged by rocks. But once on, because of the way that piece is moulded, your shoe sits over the pedal almost as though you are still clipped in - so you can ride pretty nicely with the cover on in place of the cleats on spd pedals. They aren't even too heavy. The MT71s are Goretex lined and would be a bit warm for France but that just means that the cheaper shoes would work even better. I'm so far pretty impressed!
    I would only bother removing cleats if you know you will be walking an awful lot. SPD cleats are very hard. I have some that have been used for mountain biking which often involves a bit of hike-a-bike and after over 5 years they are still functioning normally. They are also cheap to replace if they do wear.

    It's only really going to be for off road hiking - I suspect on stoney ground the cleat scraping would drive me mad! Plan is to bring a tube of threadlock to make sure I don't lose anything. The cleat mating surface on the MT71s is softish so the cleats bite nicely without moving or needing to go overboard on tightening them. I reckon for a couple of minutes work, it will be worth it. But I'll find out when I go!
    Faster than a tent.......
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