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SPD's and Brakeless

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SPD's and Brakeless

Old 11-16-14, 12:37 AM
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Bakersb
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SPD's and Brakeless

I've been researching this topic, and I can't seem to find anything more recent than a few years back.

The most detailed thread is this: https://www.bikeforums.net/singlespee...-skidding.html
And its a thread back from 06.'

I was just wondering if there are any more recent verdicts on this topic. Is it a terrible idea? Its obvious that the best idea is to just throw a brake on, but I've just been wondering about this. I've been riding my spd-sl's brakeless, which held up fine but I wasn't sure for spd.

Also: another question, will the Time MX2 cleats fit onto a casual spd shoe (ie. chrome truk pro spd)?

Last edited by Bakersb; 11-16-14 at 12:42 AM.
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Old 11-16-14, 12:45 AM
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Personal preference: SPDs for my 3x9 Speed Hybrid. Old School Toe clips/straps for my SS/Fixed. Allows me to bail but I'm a chicken. Maybe you have more balls.
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Old 11-16-14, 12:54 AM
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You'd want to be careful about which cleats you use. I've only ever used the multi-directional cleats because you can reef your foot out from any direction. Clearly, this wouldn't be of much use for brakeless where you want to pull up. You'd also need to do the clips up tight. I can't see why you couldn't make it work.

Back when I used to use clipless, I preferred SPD to SPD-L but mainly because I wanted to walk. I also had brakes and used them. However, the SPDs worked for me, multi-directional cleats and relatively loose settings and all. I found the double sided pedals to be the best because you were always on the correct side to clip in. Never had a problem clipping in either, provided you picked up the pedal on the first or second stroke, but that's the same for SPD-L, toeclips or straps as well.
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Old 11-16-14, 01:10 AM
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Ive always found it far easier to unclip from my pedals than it was to try and pull out from straps
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Old 11-16-14, 01:30 AM
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Originally Posted by GENESTARWIND View Post
Ive always found it far easier to unclip from my pedals than it was to try and pull out from straps
I find it half and half. I've pulled out of cleats in a hard Sprint or doing a dumb skid but I've also never felt secure in straps and have pulled out of a strap before while skidding.

I prefer spd over straps just cause it's easier to get in and out of.
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Old 11-16-14, 02:10 AM
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I ride my fixed with Shimano PD-M324 pedals (I don't really need the flats, I just had them laying around). You definitely want the SH-51 lateral release cleats, not the SH-56 multidirectional release cleats. You can visually tell the difference. The 56s have a ramp on the underside of the front of the cleat, the 51s do not.

Until these start to wear out from too much walking (I pretty much live in bike shoes during the summer, put on about 200 miles a week, and wear at least one set of cleats out every summer), they work fine. As they start to wear, you will get inappropriate releases from the toe. Just replace your cleats when this happens. Not really a big deal.

I've had a fixed around since the '80s, and was strapped until about 2010 or so. I much prefer the cleats (after I got used to the change-up). They are far less fiddly, and don't require any attention when I am playing in traffic.

Edit to add: I think it is really wise to run at least a front brake (I do). If the chain breaks, or I pop out of the pedals and end up going run-away (granted it doesn't happen often, but it can), at least I have a better option than laying the bike down in traffic, or running into a stationary object.

Last edited by jwarner; 11-16-14 at 02:15 AM.
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Old 11-16-14, 07:15 AM
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I spent a month or so this past summer riding fixed on the Kilo. Used SPD's. Still ran both brakes, though, as I have a very hilly commute. I had more problems clipping in than getting out.

Switched back to SS and platforms for the winter as I wear insulated hiking shoes. Will do fixed again in the future.
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Old 11-16-14, 07:15 AM
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I ride SPD, I use Shimano M520 MTB pedals on my fixed gear and I wouldn't have it any other way. I ride with a brake but literally have NEVER used it. I have only had my foot break free from the pedal once or twice during very hard braking and that is attributed to the very old and worn cleats. I feel more secure and "one with the bike" over any other kind of foot retention.
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Old 11-16-14, 11:46 AM
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Thanks for the input,

Has anyone tried Time Atac? How are those compared to spd? Would spd's with the lateral cleats be better than time atac (mx2)?
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Old 11-16-14, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Bakersb View Post
Thanks for the input,

Has anyone tried Time Atac? How are those compared to spd? Would spd's with the lateral cleats be better than time atac (mx2)?
I have used time attack, ultegra with spd-sl, and speedplays. Speedplays are awesome for movement and comfort but you cant really walk in them and they dont really fit the coffee shop hopping fixie lifestyle. Time attack spd's are by far my favorite. Clip in firm hold super tight and can be adjusted to be really easy or really hard to come out of just by rotating the clip on your shoe. Get the pedals designed for mountain bikes as they have a firmer spring. Once you break them in they are perfect. I have mine on shimano spd mtb shoes and they are good to walk in and look fine. You will never feel like you might come out of them unless you want to.

I dont think i would run any of these on the street without a front brake though.
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Old 11-16-14, 12:35 PM
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Anytime someone considers a clipless pedal for a fixed wheel bike, the number one consideration has to be the reliability of engagement. This is doubly true if riding brakeless.

Unlike a freewheel bike, where one can stop pedaling and re-engage, re-engaging to a moving crank is extremely difficult, leaving you with no means to control the bike, and a spinning a crank looking for an ankle to club.

Of couse you can increase latch spring tension, but keep in mind that there's a narrow window for disengaging as a fixed wheel bike comes to a stop, and an overly tight cleat can have you providing entertainment for the locals.
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Old 11-16-14, 01:34 PM
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^ that's where tark standing comes in handy.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:10 AM
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or training wheels
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Old 11-17-14, 02:07 AM
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Thanks for the help. I got some Time Atac MX2's online and a shimano 105 caliper off a friend.

Now all I need is to drill my fork for a front brake..
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Old 11-17-14, 11:03 AM
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It depends where you ride. If there is lots of grass or other stuff to aim for you can just ditch dive and hope for a soft landing. If you try to slow down and can't you can disengage and hop off the bike and jog along until you slow down. If that's not an option wear a couple layer of clothes so you can lay it down without the sliding embedding too much gravel in your skin.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bakersb View Post

Now all I need is to drill my fork for a front brake..
if you've ridden brakeless up to now, why drill a hole in your fork?
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Old 11-17-14, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Bat56 View Post
If you try to slow down and can't you can disengage and hop off the bike and jog along until you slow down.
haha. as someone riding clipless + brakeless this is my new go to move for dismounting.

time atac are the shizz nit. i've yet to come out unexpectedly. i've only had 1 occurrence of not being able to get out. (i was noob, practicing track stand, people laughed). I have a fair amount of play and still know my limits for dis-engaging. It takes a really quick forward rotation of the ankle to disengage, a motion that is quite different from normal riding movements so I'm never really worried about popping out. they work really well with casual bike shoes. they aren't crazy expensive. uh, there's more good things about them I'm sure.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bmontgomery87 View Post
if you've ridden brakeless up to now, why drill a hole in your fork?
On my roadie I have a clipless setup and I really wanted to convert my Raleigh to clipless as well. I've been riding that brakeless with cages. If I were to throw on clipless on my Raleigh, I guess it would be the best option to throw brakes on top for safety.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:22 PM
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Wouldn't hurt to have a backup plan I guess, especially in the rain.
If I had that little faith in my SPDs, I wouldn't use them.
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Old 11-18-14, 01:19 AM
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Has anyone here ever tried researching the concept of brakeless? I never got it. I was told a million years ago that rear wheel only braking took twice the distance to stop that front wheel braking did. That also meshes with my (not documented) experience. So, this afternoon I got curious. Made up a fictional bike and rider, then cranked numbers.

The bike + rider I chose. (I realized just now that I did not include the bike weight in the calcs. For fixies, the fore and aft weight distribution will be pretty close to that of the rider so it really won't change things much.) I assumed a 160 lb rider with a center of gravity 36" off the pavement and 23" behind the contact point of the front wheel. Wheelbase = 42". Weight balance between the wheel was assumed 45% front, 55% rear. And to make things simple, I figured a friction coefficient of 1.0, ie 1 lb of weight on the tire gives 1 g of braking force. Really good tires!, but this doesn't change the relative difference between front wheel braking and rear wheel braking. I also am assuming that skidding is as effective as the best that can be done with brakes. Given our contests as kids to lay down the longest skids, I highly doubt this is the case. Also I know the brakeless fixie crowd stays a long ways away from good gripping tires because they pull muscles trying to skid them.

And the results? Well, with those super tires a really hard front brake stop, one that will have the rear tire just barely touching the road, will stop the rider at 0.64 g. But when that same rider uses only the rear brake (or legs), the weight on the rear wheel decreases as he decelerates, lessening the possible maximum. In fact the best that can be achieved is only 54 percent of the initial weight on the rear wheel, But the rear wheel started with only 55% of the weight on it. 55% of 54% is a measly .30 g. In other words, front brake alone stops a bike 64/30 = 2.15 times faster.

Which leads me to think that those who ride brakeless either: never need to stop fast (because they never go fast? Isn't going fast the point of riding bikes?) or they are ignorant of basic physics or they just don't care or they have a death wish (I've heard of two fixie riders punching out van rear windows so far. Neither lived.)

Maybe I should start a poll like the SS/FG weight poll to see where the brakeless forum riders fall.

I make no claim to be very smart, but it seemed obvious to me that good, working brakes, set up to be reached instantly, was a no-brainer, and I got that when I was an impetuous 23 year old. Those brake have served me very well over the past 38 years and 90,000 miles of fix gear riding. I know of exactly zero riders who started riding fixed without brakes in my 1970s racing days and are still riding them. (Actually, should read ...are still riding. )

Ben
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Old 11-18-14, 08:56 AM
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^Not a bad little write up.

I'm not even going to argue with the point that brakes are better than no brakes, you'd be an idiot to argue against that.
Lots of people just enjoy riding without them for some reason. I've only needed mine once or twice in the last year of riding brakeless, and I still avoided the accidents, albeit it was a bit sketchy.

I say just let people ride the way they want to ride. Driving a car is also safer than riding a bike, but we aren't arguing against riding bikes. Wearing helmets, seatbelts, etc are much safer. Worry about you, and let other people worry about their silly choices.
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Old 11-18-14, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by bmontgomery87 View Post
^Not a bad little write up.

I'm not even going to argue with the point that brakes are better than no brakes, you'd be an idiot to argue against that.
Lots of people just enjoy riding without them for some reason. I've only needed mine once or twice in the last year of riding brakeless, and I still avoided the accidents, albeit it was a bit sketchy.

I say just let people ride the way they want to ride. Driving a car is also safer than riding a bike, but we aren't arguing against riding bikes. Wearing helmets, seatbelts, etc are much safer. Worry about you, and let other people worry about their silly choices.
Their silly choices affect me. I get the brunt of road rage from the drivers they infuriate and here in Portland, OR, it is a near certainty that I will take out a fixie rider on my rear wheel when I use the good brakes he doesn't have one of these days. (Those same riders have never called out their presence behind me.) I hope I will be lucky and that it is just them that goes down, but given that they will have done nothing to slow, that probably won't be the case.

Ben
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Old 11-18-14, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bmontgomery87 View Post
I've only needed mine once or twice in the last year of riding brakeless, and I still avoided the accidents, albeit it was a bit sketchy.
One or two times in a year X 38 years = 38 to 76 close calls. Do you think you can pull off that many close calls without buying it? I think you have just highlighted my statement about the number of riders still riding without brakes who started riding fixed when I did.

I wish you a lot of luck. You are probably going to need it.

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Old 11-18-14, 11:53 AM
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Hey, Ben. You're really wasting your time here. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
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Old 11-18-14, 12:05 PM
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TT has a point.


I just disagree that their behavior affects you. Motorists will hate cyclists for one reason or another, so don't blame it on the kid riding through stop signs on his brakeless fixie. They hate the roadies decked out in spandex riding 4 wide on 55 mph rural roads too, but I don't see anyone going on a tirade against spandex or carbon road bikes.
Let people ride, and worry about your own safety.
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