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Flat pedal suggestions...for triathlon..trigger warning

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Flat pedal suggestions...for triathlon..trigger warning

Old 04-01-19, 07:53 PM
  #1  
samsquanch357
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Flat pedal suggestions...for triathlon..trigger warning

Hey guys and gals,

This might get some blood boiling but hear me out...I race triathlon, have been road cycling for years. have been using spd's and garneau shoes since i started doing tri (3 race seasons)...Ive been having severe lower back issues for years, finally got a physio to work out whats going on. Turns out, my right leg is 40mm shorter than my left, made my pelvis sit crooked, causing the back problems. Now, I want to go back to flats so i can use my oh so attractive corrective runners on the bike, now that my hips are sitting proper its pretty uncomfortable riding(right knee hyperextends big time). I know I'm gonna lose power transfer, and i know flats and runners are heavier than my clipless setup but, can any one recommend any particular flats? I also commute to work so it would be a nice perk to not have to take 2 pair of shoes in the morning. Thanks for the input
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Old 04-01-19, 08:14 PM
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Raceface Chester's

https://www.raceface.com/products/de...chester-pedals
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Old 04-01-19, 08:24 PM
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CliffordK
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I'm requesting this topic get moved to: https://www.bikeforums.net/adaptive-...t-other-needs/ where similar questions come up from time to time.

Although, another cyclist recently asked a similar question here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/touring/1...solutions.html

Correcting for a leg length discrepancy cycling is probably slightly different than for walking as you can correct for the leg length discrepancy in several different ways, adapting for different situations.

Keep in mind that your short leg can be short because of the femur (upper leg), or tibia (lower leg), or a combination of the two.

You can correct with:
  • Crank Length
  • Shoes
  • Pedal Blocks
  • Pedal design (to some extent)
  • Perhaps also seat adjustment, and just how you are holding the pedals.

You might choose a combination of methods.

In the other thread, I had suggest looking for an ultra thin pedal for the long leg, and a more chunky pedal for the short leg... just as a starting point.

What some people have said is that they don't need to be 100% corrected, but going to 50% corrected or so seems to be good enough.

Of course, if you wish to just wear your corrective shoes, then leave everything else the same, and look for just a good pair of pedals. Your local bike shop should help you with options.

Probably a new MTB style pedal with "pins".

As far as hyper-extending the knee. For now, I'd set your seat a little bit low, so it is less likely that you'll 100% straighten the knee.
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Old 04-01-19, 11:44 PM
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There is literally 100s of flat pedals out there in any price bracket you can imagine. For tri, flats might be an advantage as you can save on transition. I have seen this done, on purpose, on the shorter distances. From experience I find bigger platforms to have less hot spots. The smaller ones tend to dig on the foot after a while.
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Old 04-02-19, 06:38 AM
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On my touring drop bar bike I have Xpedo spry pedals - very nice, very lightweight for the price, have pins and grip is good, low profile, great price vs performance.

Don't fret about power transfer - I ride with a power meter on my flat pedal touring bike and on my wife's road bike with clipless. When I overlay the power curves one on top of the other the only difference is in sub 15 sec sprint efforts where clipless gets me more peak power. That's... not terribly useful in your typical triathlon. So, don't sweat it. I do use shoes which have somewhat harder and thinner soles than a running shoe would, but I don't expect that to matter much.

I have a slight difference in leg length myself, but it's really slight for me, so on flats I ride with feet in a slightly different position, and on clipless my clips are setup in slightly different places left and right.

Last edited by Branko D; 04-02-19 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 04-02-19, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by samsquanch357 View Post
Hey guys and gals,

This might get some blood boiling but hear me out...I race triathlon, have been road cycling for years. have been using spd's and garneau shoes since i started doing tri (3 race seasons)...Ive been having severe lower back issues for years, finally got a physio to work out whats going on. Turns out, my right leg is 40mm shorter than my left, made my pelvis sit crooked, causing the back problems. Now, I want to go back to flats so i can use my oh so attractive corrective runners on the bike, now that my hips are sitting proper its pretty uncomfortable riding(right knee hyperextends big time). I know I'm gonna lose power transfer, and i know flats and runners are heavier than my clipless setup but, can any one recommend any particular flats? I also commute to work so it would be a nice perk to not have to take 2 pair of shoes in the morning. Thanks for the input
I personally have a slight leg length discrepancy as well, which prevented me from using SPD pedals for a while.

Until I discovered these cleat shims: https://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-SH...eat-Spacer-Set

They allow you to "raise" the shoe on your shorter leg sligthly (you can put 1mm, 2mm, 5mm, depending on how many shims you stack up), keeping your legs equal for a given saddle height, and your perlvis straight. They work for me, I'd say give them a try too!

Good luck!
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Old 04-02-19, 07:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I'm requesting this topic get moved to: https://www.bikeforums.net/adaptive-...t-other-needs/ where similar questions come up from time to time.
  • n the knee.
Why move the thread? The OP asked for flat pedal recommendations... not solutions to the leg & back issues.
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Old 04-02-19, 09:31 AM
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Thanks for the recommendations. GrainBrain i actually saw those race face's on sale at my LBS yesterday, will definitely give them a look, gives me a reason to go back haha. CliffordK, you're right about only needing to compensate for about 50% of difference, at least thats how it is with my shoes, a big 20mm white block in the outer sole, not gonna win any beauty contests with these babies. for seat height i'm kind of in limbo, need to find the balance of not over extending the short leg but letting the long leg so straight enough that it not so engaged for the whole rotation..Branko D those seems like a good value as well, those and the raceface's Grain brain suggested are actually lighter than my current Spd's...One of my friends did a cross country ride last summer, with no experience whatsoever, bought a new touring bike, rode it literally 5 bocks and then left the next day. he was on some real basic flats that it came with, normal runners, never complained about his feet. Did however complain about major saddle sores, had no padded shorts, made it a brutal 600km before he got some at a Canadian tire in Regina...maartendc good to hear they're working for you, I've seen those spacers at my LBS, not sure they would be thick enough for me though even all stacked up, one of the service guys there said he uses them but his total leg length difference was only about 15mm.
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Old 04-02-19, 02:04 PM
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.. so 1 shoe sole 40mm thicker? shock absorbing running shoes spongy sole will also be spongy pushing on the pedal

but you knew that..

there are pretty light platform pedals some have adopted magnets so shoe need a steel patch ..

not competitive minded @ 70, ( my daily ride has Ergon Pedals . curved , grip tape patch in the center)..





...
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Old 04-02-19, 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
.. so 1 shoe sole 40mm thicker? shock absorbing running shoes spongy sole will also be spongy pushing on the pedal

but you knew that..

there are pretty light platform pedals some have adopted magnets so shoe need a steel patch ..

not competitive minded @ 70, ( my daily ride has Ergon Pedals . curved , grip tape patch in the center)..





...
The one sole is 20mm thicker, very stiff foam..the physio said that 50% height correction is pretty normal
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Old 04-02-19, 09:49 PM
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Update for anyone interested, I was looking for an odd ball rim in my parts bikes collection, and noticed one of these crusty mountain bikes had some alloy pedals, on closer inspection they were Wellgo lu-313's, I snagged them and put them on my tri bike to test out this evening, they worked great, the bearings need some love but this was more for proof of concept. I took the same route i did yesterday, about 1:15...surprisingly feet and legs felt better with the flats, I didn't have my strava running so I don't know if speed was much different if at all, perceived effort felt pretty equal. I feel like that reduced fatigue was more due to me being able to shift my foot position around to make it easier on my janky legs haha. My only strife now is these are around 200g heavier than my spd pedals, so I'll likely look into getting some lighter flats. I appreciate the recommendations.
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Old 04-03-19, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by samsquanch357 View Post
Thanks for the recommendations. GrainBrain i actually saw those race face's on sale at my LBS yesterday, will definitely give them a look, gives me a reason to go back haha.
I have a set of Chester's on my single speed. Have used them on my mountain bike. I would recommend you get a better (but similar) pedal that has hollow pins instead of the solid pins like on the Chester. The hollow pins will grip a running shoe better than the solid pins. Take look at something like the Crankbrothers 5050 or Stamp 7 pedals and you'll see what I mean. I have the 5050s on my mountain bike and even then they perform best using a bike specific flat shoe like 5.10's that have a very grippy sole.
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Old 04-03-19, 06:15 AM
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Originally Posted by samsquanch357 View Post
The one sole is 20mm thicker, very stiff foam..the physio said that 50% height correction is pretty normal
Huh. Iíve been correcting for a 50mm leg length difference for 35 years, and Iíve never heard that. For a long time I was going with a 45mm correction, but at some point it got changed to a full 50mm.

But in my case the discrepancy was caught as it was developing (one leg mostly stopped growing after an accident when i was a teenager). If you have been walking around uncorrected for a long time, I guess a full correction might cause problems.

I have a lifted set of shoes for clipless pedals. It was not easy to find someone who could do it, though. It is a bit more involved than just sticking a lift on.

Becuase most of my discrepancy is above the knee, it took a lot of experimentation to figure out what works best. For me it ended up being a 40mm lift (as measured under the cleat), and a 5mm difference in crank lengths. Makes buying new cranks a PITA.

Last edited by Kapusta; 04-03-19 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 04-03-19, 07:06 AM
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MKS Urban is a good choice. I ride those with clips and straps. I have used them in tris before. You could go with clips or half clips and no straps.

https://road.cc/content/review/14218...teel-half-clip
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Old 04-03-19, 08:29 AM
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I used to ride on wellgo r146 and they were pretty good to me... they don't have the massive platform of a bmx pedal but I didn't have much issue with them and I've fairly large feet. They look the part from a few feet away.
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Old 04-03-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post


Huh. Iíve been correcting for a 50mm leg length difference for 35 years, and Iíve never heard that. For a long time I was going with a 45mm correction, but at some point it got changed to a full 50mm.

But in my case the discrepancy was caught as it was developing (one leg mostly stopped growing after an accident when i was a teenager). If you have been walking around uncorrected for a long time, I guess a full correction might cause problems.

I have a lifted set of shoes for clipless pedals. It was not easy to find someone who could do it, though. It is a bit more involved than just sticking a lift on.

Becuase most of my discrepancy is above the knee, it took a lot of experimentation to figure out what works best. For me it ended up being a 40mm lift (as measured under the cleat), and a 5mm difference in crank lengths. Makes buying new cranks a PITA.
yeah for my situation the 50% thing may have to do with it going for so long without being corrected
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Old 04-03-19, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
I used to ride on wellgo r146 and they were pretty good to me... they don't have the massive platform of a bmx pedal but I didn't have much issue with them and I've fairly large feet. They look the part from a few feet away.
Ill see how it goes with the flats as is, but because i commute with lots of red lights I think having a half clip like that could be nice, so I can back pedal at a stop without stepping off the pedal.

Last edited by samsquanch357; 04-03-19 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 04-04-19, 12:51 PM
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I recently checked my Strava data back to June 2017 when I got a road bike (my first since the 1970s -- mostly I rode hybrids). For all of 2017 I used the Wellgo platform pedals that came with the road bike. In January 2018 I switched to clipless (the older Look pedals were much heavier than the Wellgo platforms).

I don't see any consistent difference in speed or times on familiar routes that I've ridden dozens of times. Any minor improvements are due to conditioning, and carry over to my hybrids with platform pedals.

I know I pull up some with clipless -- occasionally on short, steep sprint-climbs I can feel the rear wheel lift slightly off the ground when I stand to pedal because I'm pulling up too much. With platforms I focus more on consistent downstrokes.

For me the main advantage to clipless has been foot arch support and relieving some thigh cramps -- quads and hamstrings. The rigid soled Scott shoes provide more support which reduces arch cramping. And being able to spin in circles and pull up a bit on the pedals can relieve quad cramps -- until I go overboard into hamstring cramps. But I suspect some stiff soled Five Ten or similar shoes could provide similar foot support with platforms. Not sure about the thigh muscle cramps -- lately those have occurred after I finish a ride, rather than during (nope, it's nothing to do with dehydration, electrolytes or mineral supplements, etc.).

And I prefer platforms for suburban and urban rides. My road bike shoes have Look cleats -- not good for standing or walking, so I mostly ride rural routes where I might not need to unclip for 20-30 miles. I haven't tried SPD with shoes designed for walking. Might solve that problem.

I'll probably keep using clipless on the road bike. I'm accustomed to it now. But I'm not strong enough or consistent enough to notice any significant performance advantage over platforms.

I'm about to add another road bike so I may experiment with clipless on one and platforms on the other for a few months to compare data and subjectively how each feels. If nothing else I'd be more comfortable taking a road bike on group rides without clipless.
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Old 04-04-19, 05:20 PM
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The most comfortable pedal I've personally used is the DMR Vault's. Not cheap though. I tried some other decent pedals first but the long slightly curved platform of the DMR Vault's was the best feeling on my feet.
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