Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Turns out clipless pedals no better than flat pedals

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Turns out clipless pedals no better than flat pedals

Old 06-30-20, 08:30 AM
  #26  
AdkMtnMonster
Airplanes, bikes, beer.
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: Off the front
Posts: 278

Bikes: Canyon Endurace CF SL 8.0

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 150 Post(s)
Liked 321 Times in 126 Posts
For me, just me, there is such an overwhelming benefit of riding with clipless pedals that every bike I ride has them. (7 bikes.)

Thats me. Just me. You eat what you like and I’ll eat what I like, and I won’t try to force you to eat what I’m having, wear nice bibs, or ride wide soft ties with clipless pedals on carbon fiber. For ****’s sake.
AdkMtnMonster is offline  
Likes For AdkMtnMonster:
Old 06-30-20, 08:43 AM
  #27  
roundypndr 
Been around the block
 
roundypndr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2020
Posts: 37
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Makes sense, you spent the majority of your ride starting from a stop, so to prevent clip-in incidents, don’t use clipless pedals.
My main concern about clipless pedals was not clipping into them, but the learning curve time frame to retrain my platform pedal muscle memory to quickly dismounting from clipless pedals. One incident of my getting caught off guard by a very strong gust of wind, off cambered footing, with the possibility of being locked in and flopping over into fast moving traffic, comes to mind.
roundypndr is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 08:49 AM
  #28  
woodcraft
Senior Member
 
woodcraft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Nor Cal
Posts: 5,144
Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1416 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 427 Times in 261 Posts
The beating of straw men will continue until morale improves.
woodcraft is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 08:53 AM
  #29  
noimagination
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 266
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked 116 Times in 61 Posts
I disagree.

IMO, clipless is the most significant improvement in cycling in my lifetime. For me, connecting shoes to pedals significantly reduces fatigue, and clipless is far easier and safer for me to use than clips and straps. This has a much greater effect on my riding than integrated shifting, 8-9-10-11-?? speeds, disk brakes, or anything else (caveat: I haven't tried e-shifting, but it's hard to imagine that the effects of e-shift would outweigh the effects of clipless).

As BikerBilly used to say: YMMV
noimagination is offline  
Likes For noimagination:
Old 06-30-20, 09:03 AM
  #30  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,938

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1207 Post(s)
Liked 281 Times in 200 Posts
Originally Posted by woodcraft View Post
The beating of straw men will continue until morale improves.
I'm feeling better! and happier! Really I am! Please make it stop!!!
pdlamb is offline  
Likes For pdlamb:
Old 06-30-20, 09:05 AM
  #31  
Chuckles1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 48 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Safety is a consideration

I recently saw an experienced looking cyclist (based on his equipment and attitude) up ahead of me, going up a hill, fall unexpectedly. As I approached him, struggling to get his feet unclipped from his pedals, I asked if he was OK and If he needed help. He was OK and said his chain came off and he didn't need help, despite the fact he still hadn't managed to get unclipped.

As an older cyclist, I'd be sad to break a hip or anything else over a chain coming off. It's pedals with toe clips, MTB shoes, straps not tightened, on my three bikes. Feet are secure and can't slip off pedals, and I can back out of them instantly. Safest setup of all, I think.
Chuckles1 is offline  
Likes For Chuckles1:
Old 06-30-20, 09:05 AM
  #32  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 803

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S, Nashbar 3sp commuter

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 307 Post(s)
Liked 225 Times in 138 Posts
Originally Posted by noimagination View Post
I disagree.

IMO, clipless is the most significant improvement in cycling in my lifetime. For me, connecting shoes to pedals significantly reduces fatigue, and clipless is far easier and safer for me to use than clips and straps. This has a much greater effect on my riding than integrated shifting, 8-9-10-11-?? speeds, disk brakes, or anything else (caveat: I haven't tried e-shifting, but it's hard to imagine that the effects of e-shift would outweigh the effects of clipless).

As BikerBilly used to say: YMMV
I agree - some advances - dual pivot brakes, then discs, brifters, increases in gear#, etc were cool and all, but the shift from clips/straps to clipless was fundamental, to me at least. It completely changed how I interacted with the bike. Straps held my feet to the pedals, certainly, but engaging with the pedals without the straps squeezing my feet, while still having the float that clipless allowed, was night and day - it was like being part of the bike. It's a cliche, but you can literally dance on the pedals.

Last edited by Litespud; 06-30-20 at 09:09 AM.
Litespud is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 09:20 AM
  #33  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,375

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1262 Post(s)
Liked 455 Times in 236 Posts
I read all of these pedal threads. I may be an oddball in that I use both. My road bike has clipless. My touring bike and my MTB have platforms. My MTB used to have clipless. I had platforms on the road bike but switched to clipless about a year and a half ago. I can see myself switching back to platforms. If there is an advantage to clipless, It is not readily apparent to me. There are disadvantages that have been apparent. I cannot recall my foot ever accidentally coming off the platforms. I can recall a number of times needing my foot to come off clipless and not being able to get it to come off quickly enough. I have also had a number of instances of struggling to get clipped in after a stop and my foot coming off a clipless pedal when I "missed."
Paul Barnard is offline  
Likes For Paul Barnard:
Old 06-30-20, 09:23 AM
  #34  
rosefarts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,280
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 504 Post(s)
Liked 229 Times in 124 Posts
More control over the bike, no shin slams, and the ability to find and keep a perfect pedaling position. Yep, no better.
rosefarts is offline  
Likes For rosefarts:
Old 06-30-20, 09:25 AM
  #35  
AlgarveCycling
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2020
Location: The Algarve, Portugal
Posts: 130

Bikes: Wilier Zero.6 (2019), Trek Madone SLR 6 (2020), KTM Scarp Sonic (2019)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 40 Post(s)
Liked 69 Times in 46 Posts
I am much more confident in my ability to transfer power to my pedals on clipless without mishap. My foot is in the same position and doesn't slide about - in a full gas sprint or even just riding hard generally, my foot is not going to slide off the pedal. In addition, with my Speedplays, my foot is adjusted to the angle that I need to reduce risk of knee injury.

Therefore, I much prefer clipless. My 29er XC MTB has them but my other MTB doesn't, it has flats as does my wife's e-MTB. So I ride both and know the difference. I prefer the security of clipless overall for the type of riding that I do where full gas efforts are required. Flats are great for when the terrain is very technical and I am needing to put my foot down more for balance although I wouldn't use flats for racing under any circumstances, but for fun rides they are fine. On my road bikes there is zero contest to begin with, I can ride harder with absolute confidence on clipless.
AlgarveCycling is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 09:39 AM
  #36  
aclinjury
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 398
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 305 Post(s)
Liked 74 Times in 54 Posts
The studies did not use these guys

aclinjury is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 10:05 AM
  #37  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 10,397

Bikes: '18 class built steel roadbike, '19 Fairlight Secan, '87 Schwinn Prelude, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara Trionfo, '18 Diamondback Syncr

Mentioned: 93 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4051 Post(s)
Liked 1,029 Times in 658 Posts
On a stationary bike in a gym?- sure, use whatever shoe and amount of retention you want(none, straps, spd).
On a 10mi family ride for ice cream?- sure, use whatever shoe and amount of retention you want(none, straps, spd).
On an exercise/enthusiast/training ride?- Im clipping in every time. Hills suck even in the best of conditions, so why make them more difficult with platform pedals?

Ive always considered myself quite athletic with good balance, but maybe this is a time where I realize my balance isnt great because I see benefit in spd when standing and producing torque/swaying up a hill. Regardless, its a noticeable difference.
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 10:13 AM
  #38  
Paul Barnard
For The Fun of It
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Louisissippi Coast
Posts: 4,375

Bikes: Lynskey Backroad, Litespeed T6, Lynskey MT29, Burley Duet

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1262 Post(s)
Liked 455 Times in 236 Posts
Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
More control .
Do you need to control your bike to the degree these folks do?

Paul Barnard is offline  
Likes For Paul Barnard:
Old 06-30-20, 10:15 AM
  #39  
burnthesheep
Newbie racer
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,833

Bikes: Propel, red is faster

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 839 Post(s)
Liked 532 Times in 364 Posts
These studies aren't too good on the flat/clipless thing.

The true way to measure this is to measure the delta from a shoe-insert running style power meter in the shoe worn combined with the hub based power data. Have the person hold ERG mode based on the hub based power and then read the energy input over a given time using the insole based power meter. Which in itself could be a problem given calibration discrepancies.

The squish in the shoes used on flat pedals keeps your foot in contact. That same squish costs energy. It takes energy to squish the foam in a shoe.
burnthesheep is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 10:23 AM
  #40  
icemilkcoffee
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 76
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 36 Post(s)
Liked 21 Times in 16 Posts
I started using clipless recently. Aside from difficulty clicking in when the stoplight turns green, I like riding with clipless. As others have said, it helps your feet stay put when you are spinning fast.
However the downside is that it encourages sloppy pedaling. When I was riding my single speed bike with flat (with straps) pedals, occasionally I have to spin very fast. I notice that I have to focus on my pedal rounding motion to avoid having my feet come off the pedals. Whereas with the clipless pedals that's not a concern. You just stomp on the pedal any which way you like.
icemilkcoffee is offline  
Likes For icemilkcoffee:
Old 06-30-20, 10:39 AM
  #41  
Speedway2
Senior Member
 
Speedway2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Thornhill, Canada
Posts: 322

Bikes: Specialized Langster, Giant OCR, Marin Muirwoods, Felt Speedway2. Norco Indie3. VROD:)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 101 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 111 Times in 83 Posts
I picked up a set of nice pinned platforms when I bought my Hybrid (last summer). I intended to use the Hybrid for casual short rides so running shoes should have been fine.
I started using toe clips back in the late '70's and switched to SPD's in the late 90's. When I started riding with platforms something just didn't feel right. I thought it was the soft flexing sole of my running shoes so I tried riding with stiff hiking shoes.
I ended up swapping the platforms for a spare set of SPD's. My experiment was over.....to each their own.
Speedway2 is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 10:41 AM
  #42  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,974

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '70 Schwinn Lemonator and More!!

Mentioned: 20 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1340 Post(s)
Liked 517 Times in 291 Posts
I ride flats, toe clips and clipless, just so I can always "win" in the pedal war threads!

Originally Posted by caloso View Post
You know what’s really inefficient? Having your foot come off the pedal unexpectedly.
I can't remember ever having my foot come off a pedal unexpectedly. But if it did, I'd blame myself not my pedals.

If mechanical attachment to the pedal is necessary just to keep your feet on them, maybe you're doing it wrong.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Likes For AlmostTrick:
Old 06-30-20, 10:57 AM
  #43  
Troul
:D
 
Troul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Mich
Posts: 2,034
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Liked 129 Times in 100 Posts
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I know people that ride extremely long distances on platform pedals, a.k.a. "infinite float." I have had problems with them. One time I noticed my knees were hurting and realized it was because I had placed my feet on my pedals all katywumpus. I have also pedaled for 20 miles one-legged because my knee got sore on a 400 km ride and I refused to make the call of shame.
That is a real benefit of having the ability to be clipped in.
My personal choice is flat pedals. Gave a shot at being clipped in a few times on various bicycles, & it just is not for me. For a R'bent, as mentioned in a prior post made by a BF member, I'd def want to be clipped.
Troul is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 11:00 AM
  #44  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 8,370

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2268 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 682 Times in 472 Posts
I used to race. Was taught to pedal circles. What a gift! I still do to this day. No, I do not actually lift my upcoming foot of the pedal most of time. but I still can and at times do. Not just climbing. If I don't tighten my toestraps (and yes, I do still use them), I lift my cleated shoe off the pedal regularly.

Now, racing is a little different from just riding around. For one thing, efficiency isn't everything. Crossing the finish line first is and that winner rarely rides the most efficient race. One reason I was taught to "spin circle" was to save the big muscles for when crunch time came in the late miles of the race, but also for the many pack accelerations all through the race. Found it interesting to see a study of the power circles of top level professional racers, American Cat 1/2 racers and strong non-racers, Those top pros had much more uniform power around the pedal circle. (At 300 watts, there's some lifting force happening, Flats don't work. But 300W, while a lot for us, is something the pros can sustain for a long time.)

Now maybe some day there will be "efficiency races" where the win goes to the rider who rode the most efficient race. Interesting concept but I won't watch. "We are awarding this plaque to George Bronkwoski for doing the least work over this 100 mile course."

As you have probably guessed already, I haven't ridden flats in 5 decades. Toeclips were one of my great breakthroughs. Cycling shoes, cleats and pulling the straps tight another. These were up there (or even above) dropped handlebars and sew-up tires in my evolution from newbie to fully conditioned racer.

Edit: My knees insist on no-float pedal systems. With float locked out, clipless pedals and toeclips with straps pulled are identical riding until you come to a stop and have to remember to reach down and release the straps. I use both, toeclips on my fix gears (for the security of being strapped jn even if I unclip spinning crazy RPMs going downhill) and the black LOOK cleats and pedals on my geared bikes.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 06-30-20 at 11:05 AM.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 11:01 AM
  #45  
blacknbluebikes
Senior Member
 
blacknbluebikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: NJ, USA
Posts: 390

Bikes: two blacks, a blue and a white.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 74 Post(s)
Liked 61 Times in 32 Posts
I have repeatedly found that clipless pedals fail to release in the presence of beautiful women. Can't explain it, but easy to reproduce.
blacknbluebikes is offline  
Likes For blacknbluebikes:
Old 06-30-20, 11:04 AM
  #46  
noimagination
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Posts: 266
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 155 Post(s)
Liked 116 Times in 61 Posts
Riding flats around town, for short distances - fine.
Flats on a multi-hour ride at 90+ cadence? No thanks.
I tried using flats on our tandem while I was getting used to it. Hated it. Sore under the balls of my feet; sore calves, having to keep to a lower cadence, bah. Switched my clipless pedals over from my single, felt better immediately. Haven't gone down yet (5+ years), despite significant toe overlap, which is more of an issue than on my single because we ride very slowly more often, I hit the front wheel with my toe nearly every ride, no problems going down or unclipping.
Glad that there are options, and that others find that other solutions work as well for them as clipless does for me.
I don't care about the study, for me clipless pedals just work. Period.
noimagination is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 11:31 AM
  #47  
livedarklions
Cyclesomatic
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 7,335

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Motobecane Fantom CX; Giant OCR A1

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3800 Post(s)
Liked 2,558 Times in 1,471 Posts
Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
Yep.

The problem is that for most people, "flats" means running/tennis sneakers with cheap pedals with no pins.

Yes, but even with that, I've had no trouble.
livedarklions is offline  
Likes For livedarklions:
Old 06-30-20, 11:36 AM
  #48  
livedarklions
Cyclesomatic
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 7,335

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Motobecane Fantom CX; Giant OCR A1

Mentioned: 45 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3800 Post(s)
Liked 2,558 Times in 1,471 Posts
Originally Posted by rosefarts View Post
More control over the bike, no shin slams, and the ability to find and keep a perfect pedaling position. Yep, no better.

Yeah, the clipless guys always tell me that stuff as I pass them while they're still trying to get clipped in.
livedarklions is offline  
Likes For livedarklions:
Old 06-30-20, 11:58 AM
  #49  
rosefarts
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 1,280
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 504 Post(s)
Liked 229 Times in 124 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Yeah, the clipless guys always tell me that stuff as I pass them while they're still trying to get clipped in.
Of all the things that didn't happen, this didn't happen the most.
rosefarts is offline  
Old 06-30-20, 12:22 PM
  #50  
Ironfish653
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Virginia Beach
Posts: 1,227

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 425 Post(s)
Liked 132 Times in 87 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Now maybe some day there will be "efficiency races" where the win goes to the rider who rode the most efficient race. Interesting concept but I won't watch. "We are awarding this plaque to George Bronkwoski for doing the least work over this 100 mile course."

Ben
That day is today. Actually, it’s been around for about 30 years now. Triathlon.
Tri guys do some weird things with their pedal strokes to ‘save’ their legs for the run
Ironfish653 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.