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Clipless or flat pedals on your gravel bike?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Clipless or flat pedals on your gravel bike?

Old 08-01-18, 09:47 AM
  #51  
taz777
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@noglider: Are these the Shimano Click'R ones you mentioned?

Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R Clipless MTB Pedals | Chain Reaction Cycles

The price is quite reasonable and the comments are generally very good.
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Old 08-01-18, 09:50 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
@noglider: Are these the Shimano Click'R ones you mentioned?

Shimano PD-T400 CLICK'R Clipless MTB Pedals | Chain Reaction Cycles

The price is quite reasonable and the comments are generally very good.
Yes, those are the pedals my friend has. Shimano pedals are extremely high quality, so this is a good value.
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Old 08-01-18, 10:24 AM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by Facanh View Post
I'm not defending SPD to death (even though it might seem like it) but I feel like most people here that talk negatively about it never actually tried them and/or used them long enough to get used to them.
+1 Same -- I have no problems with people who prefer flats but my own experience is that I prefer clipless over flats and I wonder if people have given them a fair shake. To wit:

My dad wanted to try clipless a few years back. He borrowed my road bike which had SPDs at the time (we have similar builds so we can borrow each others bikes with minimal adjustment.) But he went on one short 10-mile ride and decided he didn't like them -- I think he didn't like the unclipping process but I can't remember -- and refused to try any adjustments to the cleat position or the tension in the pedals or anything, and insisted he preferred toe cages from then on.

Fast forward a few years after he'd been on several multi-week tours, and I noticed all his bikes had clipless pedals. He's never told me why he changed his mind, but at some point I guess he saw the benefit.
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Old 08-01-18, 11:35 AM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Facanh View Post

Also, what about overshoes? Can you use them on flat pedals and regular shoes?
Hmm, I don't really see a reason someone would need overshoes while using platforms...you just ride with something more insulated like boots.
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Old 08-01-18, 12:08 PM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by RJM View Post
Hmm, I don't really see a reason someone would need overshoes while using platforms...you just ride with something more insulated like boots.
There are insulated SPD winter boots too, i'm just not sure if you can beat the waterproofness of a one piece neoprene cover.

I guess you could wear wellingtons tho.

Last edited by Facanh; 08-01-18 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 08-03-18, 12:12 PM
  #56  
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been thinking about the same thing myself. only hesitation would be those steep climbs out of the saddle where you almost make it to the crest of a climb but fall short & have to hop off & straddle the top tube

fwiw been playing with some old spd pedals I found in a drawer & on my 2nd cleated ride w the road bike, took a dirt trail. survived, so might be getting pedals for one or two more bikes

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Old 08-03-18, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
Thanks for all the replies. I'll look into clipless in a couple of months time as I would need to get a pair of shoes with the pedals. I sold my old SLD-SL pedals and shoes a while back.

For the first few weeks I'm going to use the flat pedals from my MTB just to get used to the bike, and then think about switching to clipless.
if you do, keep this in the back of your mind. when I was shopping for the cleats I found out the Shimano SH56 SPD Cleats are easier to release than the Shimano SH51 SPD Cleats I bought both but am just using the (56) model cleats. I also loosened the tension on the pedals a smidge. so far so good, but I've been wicked careful due to all the "tomaby" hype ... I use 1 sided MTB pedals, I mean 2 sided, actually don't know what I mean, anyway the clip is only on one side, so when I approach a road crossing or whatever I have options
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Old 08-03-18, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MPE View Post
those are on my wish list $$!
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Old 08-03-18, 12:32 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Bingod View Post
Both - Shimano PD-A530
those are what I've been experimenting with but the flat side is kinda slippery
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Old 08-03-18, 12:42 PM
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someone mentioned the Shimano PD-M324 Clipless/Clip Pedals but I can't find the now. anyway fwiw I like the price point on these
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Old 08-03-18, 12:44 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by ksryder View Post
Ah man this thread is entirely too civil!
been driving Wifey's manual shift 5 speed car since she broke her wrist. combined with experimenting with cleated pedals, it's my opinion that if you drive a stick you're better equipped to switch to cleated pedals cuz you're used to planning ahead for stops & switching gears
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Old 08-03-18, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
those are what I've been experimenting with but the flat side is kinda slippery
I agree, they're not ideal. There are a couple of videos on youtube showing how to grind them down and add pins. I would do something similar, i just don't have good enough tools.
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Old 08-03-18, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Bingod View Post
There are a couple of videos on youtube showing how to grind them down and add pins. I would do something similar, i just don't have good enough tools.
oh interesting! but yeah, don't think I would do all that

Last edited by rumrunn6; 08-07-18 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 08-06-18, 12:18 PM
  #64  
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When I started back biking about a year ago I did it the opposite of most other posters here. A buddy was a serious road biker and he helped me get started. He started me in clips, then he had me do a number of exercises to get comfortable getting out of clipless pedals. I still had issues getting out. It seemed to me that figuring out how to set a pair of shoes and clips up to work together is an important part of learning how to use clipless pedals.

Another factor that seems relevant to me is the conditions one rides in. The gravel roads I ride on have major hills and major curves, although there is not a great deal of traffic, cars tend to show up unexpectantly. The roads are also very narrow with steep drop offs, right at the edge of the road. Age plays into reaction times and coordination at some point in time. At close to 69 I may have lost a step or two myself. I bruise easy and heal slower so I take less risks. Flat pedals and 5/10 Freeriders are what I am using, at my age, in my conditions. I am not worried about high speeds or a perfect cadence. I don’t want extra worries about gear that may need adjustment or maintenance. Flat pedals are just easier.

Last edited by McMitchell; 08-06-18 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 08-06-18, 03:07 PM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
someone mentioned the Shimano PD-M324 Clipless/Clip Pedals but I can't find the now. anyway fwiw I like the price point on these
I use them, and they are outstanding. They are built like tanks.
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Old 08-06-18, 03:27 PM
  #66  
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1- I think it is important to try QUALITY pinned flat pedals and QUALITY shoes (like Five Tens) before dismissing flat pedals. No way you are slipping off the pedals even in the rain.

2- I think it is very important to try pretty much anything other than SPDs before dismissing clipless as too hard to get in or out of.
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Old 08-06-18, 04:26 PM
  #67  
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Much too old for any sort of pedal restraints. I use Chester Race Face on a gravel bike and a Trek DS.
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Old 08-06-18, 06:49 PM
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+1 for Shimano PD a530
Loving them on gravel bike. Was worried about the half measures of single sided clipping or getting the wrong side when starting off-road but it's been remarkably simple.
Best of both worlds.

Last edited by jeremybart; 08-06-18 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Typos
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Old 08-06-18, 07:52 PM
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Rode SPD's for years, got on well with them. Recently switched to Catalyst pinned platforms and am loving them. While riding I can't tell any difference except that I no longer get hot spots on my feet.
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Old 08-06-18, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DRSADV13 View Post
I have been really happy with the Shimano Deore XT PD-T8000 SPD/Flats combo I have on mine. Much better for the off-road stuff than the Shimano PD-A530 (which I have on my road touring bike). Little pricey but I got mine on sale...
​​​​​​
+1. Great combo pedal. They come with SH56 clips. I use mine with Nashbar MTB sandals and they work great on both sides with no problem. They tend to lean toward resting in a position that the clip side is up so you may have to manipulate for the platform side. Even though the platform side is a true high quality pinned wide platform and better than any other combo pedal, I personally would not use combo pedals with straight up flat shoes on purpose long term but they are great when you are mid ride and come across an area that you want to go unclipped. In the heat of the moment you would end up on the clipped side too often. I have a set of good low cost platforms and it takes 3 minutes to swap if I want a pure platform day.

Last edited by u235; 08-07-18 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 08-07-18, 09:07 AM
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The plot thickens a little. I've started researching SPD pedals and now find that there are variants of similar pedals, classed as 'race', 'trail', 'trekking', etc.

Race seem to be frameless and lighter compared to trail pedals. Do these variations make any difference in the real world?
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Old 08-07-18, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I use them, and they are outstanding. They are built like tanks.
ah, thanks!
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Old 08-07-18, 09:15 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
The plot thickens a little. I've started researching SPD pedals and now find that there are variants of similar pedals, classed as 'race', 'trail', 'trekking', etc.Race seem to be frameless and lighter compared to trail pedals. Do these variations make any difference in the real world?
I'll guess the trail & trekking cleated pedals have larger platforms to support the rest of the shoe. that's why I like the look of the FUNN Mambas
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Old 08-07-18, 05:45 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by khutch View Post
Rode SPD's for years, got on well with them. Recently switched to Catalyst pinned platforms and am loving them. While riding I can't tell any difference except that I no longer get hot spots on my feet.
Ditto on the recent switch to Pedaling Innovations Catalyst platform pinned pedals after using Time Atac and SPD pedals for years. Change was forced by chronic metatarsalgia and small fiber neuropathy. It has not been a cure, but so far, I don't believe I am getting worse. Using a Xero shoe but would like to try some Five Tens. I do mostly road riding and have no problem spinning. For the moment, I do not expect to revert to SPD, which concentrated all the pedaling force on the ball of my foot. Pedaling Innovations has some interesting arguments as to why their platform pedal is better for the foot and even performance, as well.
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Old 08-07-18, 06:39 PM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by khutch View Post
Rode SPD's for years, got on well with them. Recently switched to Catalyst pinned platforms and am loving them. While riding I can't tell any difference except that I no longer get hot spots on my feet.
I have them on my mountain bike. And they are fantastic!
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