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Clipping in [Flame suit on]

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Clipping in [Flame suit on]

Old 09-10-22, 05:20 AM
  #1  
VegasJen
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Clipping in [Flame suit on]

I got derided in another thread for my opinion about *some riders* decision to use clip-in shoes and pedals. Without reviving that thread, I said I thought there are *some riders* who buy into clipping in because that's what the pros do. And one or two people took offense to that, telling me I'm a n00b and don't know WTF I'm talking about.

I'm a n00b, fair enough. But I'm also willing to try a product out and give it a fair shot. I already had pedals on my bikes that accommodated SPD cleats and I found a pair of bike shoes with Look cleats on Craigslist for a reasonable price. I did have one pair of Look pedals that came with a bike I bought a few months back so I had the opportunity to try both styles.

Now, my intent, to be completely fair, was to ride 6-8 rides for about 200 miles with the SPDs and then switch out and ride another 80-100 in 3-4 rides with the Looks, then go back to flats just as a comparison. I didn't make it that far. I did do about 200 miles on the SPDs, including a 34 mile ride in the Santa Barbara triathlon a couple weeks back. But I only made it two rides for about 50 miles with the Look pedals and that's as much as I'm ever going to do with those pedals again. EVAR,

My ride today was the last straw. I busted my ass three times in just over 20 miles because of these things. I don't think I've fallen three times in a year before today. First time, I just hit a steep hill and stalled before I could get all the way to my low gear. I was able to get my right foot out, but I was falling to the left and no matter which way I twisted, the pedal just wouldn't give it up. It was like slow motion and there was nothing I could do. The second time, I was again going up a good incline and I went down on my front chain rings. I pretty much skipped the center ring and went straight from high to low but maybe it was too fast and the chain popped off the ring completely. I was totally dead in the water, stalled and down before I could do anything. The third and last time, I was on flat ground, sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to turn. I was still clipped in on my left foot but had my right foot out and resting on a curb. When the light turned, I took off. I went to clip in on the right foot but the cleat hit the pedal like owl s*** on an ice cube and I was laying on my back in the middle of the intersection before I knew WTF happened. If I still hadn't been about four miles from the truck, I would have thrown those fkn shoes across the road and walked back. I have chain ring "bite" marks on both my right calf and right ankle and a pretty good size hematoma on my left tibia.

But that's my experience. What I see from it is there is a lot of expense and risk with very little benefit. I tried to determine when and who might benefit from clipping in and to be fair, I suppose if you do a lot of riding in the rain or snow or an oil storm(?) then I can see how keeping your feet clipped to the pedals could give you some reassurance. So there's that. And if I was ever sponsored by a manufacturer that required me using their product, sure, I would clip in (like that would ever happen). But for me, I literally see zero benefit for more cost and risk. I'll be going back to flat pedals on my bike today. Never again.


I know I'll get a lot of hate for this, and I'm OK with that. But I also think there are a lot of new riders that might spend money on pedals and shoes because that's what everybody else does. If you have the money and you see the benefit, fine. If you just want to look the part, that's fine too. I'm all about personal freedom. But if you don't want to ride clipped in, that's totally cool too, and I'll be right there with you.
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Old 09-10-22, 05:37 AM
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You may not realize it, but with flat pedals, it's necessary to keep slight pressure on the rising pedal to keep you foot properly located. That means that one leg is slightly fighting the other leg.

With cleats (also called clipless), you can actually exert a lifting force on the rising pedal. It's really not very much at all, but it's better than pushing down.

Cleats may not work for you, but many riders, myself included, have literally ridden tens of thousands of miles without falling. I use SPD and have not trouble unclipping. I don't even think about it. It's become automatic.
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Old 09-10-22, 06:04 AM
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You can use something like these and get the best of both worlds.

https://www.amazon.com/Venzo-Multi-U...a-668657167634
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Old 09-10-22, 06:22 AM
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Kudos for giving it a try and, by all means, ride the gear you want to ride, but let's not blame the pedals for the failure to anticipate and execute those downshifts.
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Old 09-10-22, 06:27 AM
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If I'm reading OP correctly s/he's blaming clipless pedals for problems with his/her shifting. Correlation is not causation.

fwiw I do see more riders with Look road pedals having trouble clipping out or (mostly) clipping in, but that seems to be an issue particular to that make/model, not with clipless pedals in general.
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Old 09-10-22, 06:38 AM
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Absolutely hilarious. “I failed at something that many others have mastered quite easily, so other newbies should probably just skip it.“
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Old 09-10-22, 06:44 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by VegasJen View Post
My ride today was the last straw. I busted my ass three times in just over 20 miles because of these things. I don't think I've fallen three times in a year before today. First time, I just hit a steep hill and stalled before I could get all the way to my low gear. I was able to get my right foot out, but I was falling to the left and no matter which way I twisted, the pedal just wouldn't give it up. It was like slow motion and there was nothing I could do. The second time, I was again going up a good incline and I went down on my front chain rings. I pretty much skipped the center ring and went straight from high to low but maybe it was too fast and the chain popped off the ring completely. I was totally dead in the water, stalled and down before I could do anything. The third and last time, I was on flat ground, sitting at an intersection waiting for the light to turn. I was still clipped in on my left foot but had my right foot out and resting on a curb. When the light turned, I took off. I went to clip in on the right foot but the cleat hit the pedal like owl s*** on an ice cube and I was laying on my back in the middle of the intersection before I knew WTF happened. If I still hadn't been about four miles from the truck, I would have thrown those fkn shoes across the road and walked back. I have chain ring "bite" marks on both my right calf and right ankle and a pretty good size hematoma on my left tibia. .
Basically you were inept and didn't bother to learn how to use the gear, and are blaming the gear for your unwillingness to master it.

Okay.
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Old 09-10-22, 06:49 AM
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As others have noted above, the problem is not the pedals.

First time...You should have switched to a lower gear before climbing the hill.

2nd time..Sounds like the derailleur is out of adjustment meaning the chain should not have fallen off of the lower ring.

3rd time...I got nothing on that one. That's just user error.

Anyway if you are ok with giving up a little efficiency and just want to ride, then flat pedals are for you.

Otherwise, check out the Time pedals with 10 degree easy release cleats. It's what I use due to bad knees from some past ACL injuries in both knees
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https://www.sram.com/en/time-sport/m...d-atac-eclt-a1

https://www.sram.com/en/time-sport/r...levancy&page=1
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Old 09-10-22, 06:54 AM
  #9  
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Look pedals, like SPD pedals, have adjustable release tension.

I used Look pedals in the '80s and switched to SPD in the '90s, mostly because I preferred using the easily walkable Shimano touring/MTB shoes.

Then, when I started commuting by bike around 2000, I switched my commuter bike to plastic half-clips (i.e., toe clips without straps). I suggest trying a similar setup.

Since I retired, I've been using SPD on all my bikes, but I'm tempted to go back to the half-clips for my shopping.errands bike.
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Old 09-10-22, 07:08 AM
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I started with clips and straps. Switching to clipless was a revelation for me. I fell over with straps more than I ever have with clipless. I've used clipless on every ride, dirt, road, and touring for decades.
I suppose they're not for everyone.
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Old 09-10-22, 07:21 AM
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I use flats myself. Works for me. But I wouldn't presume to guess why anyone else chooses to ride with other pedals.
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Old 09-10-22, 07:57 AM
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Use whatever works for you. But just because something didn't work for you doesn't mean it's a bad idea, or may not be of benefit for someone else. FWIW, I tried clipless pedals after I bought a road bike. Had ridden mtn bikes prior, with pinned flats, as the terrain I was riding sometimes demanded a dab to happen quickly and unexpectedly. Figured with the road bike, since the need to get a foot off the pedal would be forseen easily, I gave clipless a try. Wasn't for me, so went back to pinned flats on the road bike also. Clipless are not for me, but others find them useful, which is fine with me. Ride what works for you, and keeps the wheels turning!
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Old 09-10-22, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
3rd time...I got nothing on that one. That's just user error.

Anyway if you are ok with giving up a little efficiency and just want to ride, then flat pedals are for you.

Otherwise, check out the Time pedals with 10 degree easy release cleats. It's what I use due to bad knees from some past ACL injuries in both knees
Yep, and might I say, your taste is pedals is outstanding. I have been riding ATAC's for probably 12 years now, and I moved all my bikes to them roughly 4 years ago having ridden all versions of road pedals on my road bikes, I just found the ATACs my favorite pedal to use.
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Old 09-10-22, 08:00 AM
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Ive seen several crashes caused by failing to unclip. Arguably, all of them user error. However it wouldn't have happened fad the bikes been fitted with flat pedals. I believe, to the average cyclist clipless pedals causes far more problems than they solve. Arguing ppl should just lean to properly use them is just silly and presumes there is some benefit worth the initial danger and expense. To most there isn't.
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Old 09-10-22, 08:12 AM
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In other words, learning to use clipless is kinda like learning how to ride a bike?
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Old 09-10-22, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Racing Dan View Post
Arguing ppl should just lean to properly use them is just silly and presumes there is some benefit worth the initial danger and expense. To most there isn't.
Then why do most reasonably serious cyclists use them? Are they all simply irrational?
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Old 09-10-22, 08:54 AM
  #17  
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You gave up after one 20 mile ride?
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Old 09-10-22, 09:05 AM
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Everybody falls when they first start using clipless.

SPD are good clipless pedals for anyone coming from platform pedals, as SPDs are very easy to get into and out of. I always recommend them for first timers.

I used SPD on my road bike for years, until I switched to Look Keo compatible pedals with power (Assioma). I won't be going back to SPD, except maybe for touring, where one does a lot of walking around in bike shoes.

The power meter feature aside, the Look Keo pedal platform is broader and more secure than SPD. After some practice, I was able to unclip as easily as with SPD.
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Old 09-10-22, 09:13 AM
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Mistake 1 was you rode before you were comfortable with clipping out.. Most will tell people new to clipless that they should practice somewhere safe and where there is soft landing so that any fall will not really hurt. Practice in grass, in your garage with a soft mat on both sides, on a trainer etc...

Don't take clipless out on a road, gravel or whatever ride until you are comfortable with clipping out. Practice, practice, practice.. We've all been there and there is no shame in falling over in the grass when practicing.

Once you get that muscle memory down, clipping out becomes 2nd nature and you don't even think about it..
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Old 09-10-22, 09:17 AM
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You can, and should, ride with whatever pedals you like. But a poor workman blames his tools.
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Old 09-10-22, 09:22 AM
  #21  
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Yes, use what pedals you like. Also, as said above, retention is usually adjustable. Worn cleats will sometimes make it harder to unclip. We all fall over sometimes. My best was crossing a busy intersection on green to turn left. At the curb I tried to unclip and my heel hit the curb. I fell over onto the sidewalk with my bike pointing straight up. My worst injury was with flat pedals. My foot slipped off the back and I gouged the **** out of my shin.
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Old 09-10-22, 10:18 AM
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You know what also hurts, getting a pedal into the shins, which is what I expect will happen if you ride flats for long enough.


Failing to unclip happens to everyone at least once, I set the bar high, and have had it happen atleast 5 times. One was a year ago to the day, I’ll take the failure to unclip slow motion fall, over a pedal to the shins any day. One just hurts the ego, the other actually causes pain.
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Old 09-10-22, 10:40 AM
  #23  
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It is hard to tell from the opening post, but it looks like you just went to putting some miles on the different pedals and cleats. You may have had better results just practicing with them in an empty parking lot clipping in and out until you feel warm and fuzzy before heading out for a triathlon. If you ever want to give it another go, I'd suggest practicing the starts and stops clipping in and out with the SPDs as they are likely double sided. But foot retention be it clips or cages and straps IMHO is better than flat pedals. But then I also think you should just ride what you are comfortable and happy with too.
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Old 09-10-22, 10:45 AM
  #24  
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Have you considered speedplay zeros? Biggest drawback is the shoe selection if adapters are not your thing.
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Old 09-10-22, 10:59 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
Yep, and might I say, your taste is pedals is outstanding. I have been riding ATAC's for probably 12 years now, and I moved all my bikes to them roughly 4 years ago having ridden all versions of road pedals on my road bikes, I just found the ATACs my favorite pedal to use.
Can one somehow fit Time ATAC cleats onto 3 hole (SPD-SL) shoes?

I was planning to go clipless this summer on (pre-Wahoo) Speedplay ultralight action, but two non-cycling feet injuries intervened. I have read good things about both this and Time ATAC for beginners.
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