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  • FIRST POST
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 21st Jun 17, 8:28 AM
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    House Martin
    Cleats. Are they worth the stress?
    • #1
    • 21st Jun 17, 8:28 AM
    Cleats. Are they worth the stress? 21st Jun 17 at 8:28 AM
    i ve been trying out Shimano cleats on my last few rides but have found they are not worth the trouble and serve IMO very little benefit and add the dangers of broken collarbones when toppling off the bike locked in like a prisoner when some sort of emergency stop crops up as it surely will. Having to do an unnatural twisting motion on the foot requires brainwork when you at least likely to be thinking of it. Leisure cyclists , as most of us are, do not need the possibly slightly more efficient pedalling motion
    After researching advice from the acknowledged expert on the subject ,Dr Jeff Broker , its clear and obvious that there is absolutely no benefit from locking into the pedals and trying to exert an upstroke. The added power from exerting on upstroke is clearly a myth and is exploited by manufacturers to sell the unwary or impressional, items they do not ever need.
    The feet do not move around on the pedals neither so the ridiculous claims that they do are also discounted.
    I don t even think we need a bike computer dominating the handlebar with all sorts of spurious info which is nt needed. Possibly trip mileage only is useful, everything else..not needed..and detracts from enjoying the countryside instead of gawping down at the screen to see if you are averaging 15 mph or whatever. They spoil the run. I want to be enjoying the countryside and hearing and looking at Yellow Hammers on the hedgerows and Skylarks etc rather than careering around trying to keep up average speed. May just as well stay at home on a Turbo Trainer . Anyone who normally cycles in towns must be sick to death of constantly unlocking one of the feet to avoid looking a complete berk toppling off and heading for A and E..
    I m back to very lightweight flat pedals now and can relax and can enjoy the ride..good riddance clips and special shoes .. They are good for the ski slopes and cycle racing only. I m going to use a nice pair of very breathable leather slip ons
    Last edited by House Martin; 22-05-2018 at 10:09 AM.
Page 1
    • JP08
    • By JP08 21st Jun 17, 9:53 AM
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    JP08
    • #2
    • 21st Jun 17, 9:53 AM
    • #2
    • 21st Jun 17, 9:53 AM
    Depends what you want from your cycling really. Fitness or sightseeing, or a bit of both.

    Cleats are more efficient (as they allow you to pull up as well as push down) and for the same reason may also help the fitness, as you can do more work per pedal cycle and therefore per hour of cycling.

    I don't use them as I have one knee that just won't allow me to twist the foot far enough quickly enough to get out in the emergency stop situation you describe (and yes, I've ended up lying in the road or on the verge several times as a result).

    Personally I use old fashioned toe clips and straps. Set right they give you some of the advantages of cleats (ie pulling up etc, as well as putting your foot in the right position on the pedal - even if you don't do up the straps the clip parts are useful for this - it makes a real difference) but you can get feet out pretty easily - just watch for ridged soles on your footwear, they can catch on the pedals and you're back on your side in the road again.

    I liked the bike computer - have it set showing average speed for the ride and the distance. Gives me an incentive to keep the pace consistent, and gives me a measure (I log things) as to whether I'm getting any fitness benefit - ie distances going up or times for the same ride dropping.
    • maisie cat
    • By maisie cat 21st Jun 17, 10:08 AM
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    maisie cat
    • #3
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:08 AM
    • #3
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:08 AM
    I've been using spds for about 25 years and I wouldn't change them.
    I did once do a spectacular del boy like fall over in the snow in Shropshire, but they are fine once you get used to them.
    It does depend on your cycling style, I tend to anticipate like you do when driving and change down/twist ankle as I approach a junction. If you have a lot of stop/start cycling they may not work for you but they are certainly more efficient
    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 21st Jun 17, 10:15 AM
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    jack_pott
    • #4
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:15 AM
    • #4
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:15 AM
    I thought I might give clipless pedals a try once, but I never managed to find a pair of shoes that fitted properly.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 21st Jun 17, 10:17 AM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #5
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:17 AM
    • #5
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:17 AM
    I don't like road cleats but I do have SPD peddles on all my bikes. Once you have mastered them there is no issue of getting your foot out inven in emergency stop situations. When I first used them many years ago I did have a few embarising incidents of failing to unclip when coming to a stop, but is all second nature now.
    • wongataa
    • By wongataa 21st Jun 17, 10:40 AM
    • 1,865 Posts
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    wongataa
    • #6
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:40 AM
    • #6
    • 21st Jun 17, 10:40 AM
    If you don't like using pedals with cleats then don't use them. If you prefer them then use them. There is no right answer. It is down to personal preference in the end.
    • vacheron
    • By vacheron 21st Jun 17, 1:07 PM
    • 1,068 Posts
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    vacheron
    • #7
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:07 PM
    • #7
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:07 PM
    I've used clipless pedals since 1992 and genuinely don't notice them anymore.

    I personally prefer them as they stop your feet skipping off the pedals on bumpy terrain, keep your foot right over the axle correctly and let you pull up on the pedals for hopping up kerbs and pull-push sprinting. Also the shoes are stiffer to allow better power transfer without the flex and sponginess of normal shoes / trainers which absorb energy which would otherwise be used to push you forward. Getting out is easy if they are set up and maintained properly, but it does take some getting used to at first.

    Before that I was using toe-clips from about '87 until '92 I started with SPD's, moved to Crank Brothers Eggbeaters and now use the Look Quartz pedals. I have the same pedals on my MTB and road bike as I can't be bothered with 2 sets of shoes / kit and prefer not to clack about and waddle like a duck when off the bike. It also means I can use "standard" looking shoes so I don't need to carry another pair of shoes when I commute to the office.

    The only time they annoy me is on very technical terrain when you need to step out a lot. In these scenarios I'd prefer a dual sided version with a platform on one side. But now I'm getting older the rock clambering and 12 foot drop-offs are fewer and farther between.
    Last edited by vacheron; 21-06-2017 at 1:14 PM.
    The rich buy assets.
    The poor only have expenses.
    The middle class buy liabilities they think are assets.
    Robert T. Kiyosaki
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 21st Jun 17, 1:09 PM
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    Johnmcl7
    • #8
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:09 PM
    I agree with the post above, if you like the feel of clipless pedals then stick with them but if not, then stick with flats. I wouldn't worry about efficiency as the boost for clipless is small and the 'pull up boost' doesn't actually happen*

    I was badgered relentlessly for a while to change to clipless pedals being told about how much faster and further I could go and do all day cycling. I gave in and changed to clipless pedals but never liked the feel of them even after a lot of adjustment. Still I was told how much better they were and to stick with it so I changed to another clipless pedal system, didn't get on well with them either so eventually gave in and switched back to flats. I wish I'd done it sooner, much prefer the feel of the flats and I've had no problem with century rides, endurance racing, CX races and all day riding. With a good set of shoes/pedals there's no issues with pedal slips even on rough terrain.

    I appreciate that many people like the feel of clipless and will be better when riding them but I dislike this mythical status they've now got where the benefits are so massively overstated that people now will genuinely claim it isn't possible to do certain tasks without clipless pedals. I was doing a race on a hefty bike (15kg+) against super lightweight carbon fibre bikes that probably weighed less than my wheelset. I got second in class and even managed to lap some of the bikes (in local club colours) yet it wasn't the fact that I did so on a much heavier bike that surprised people...it was the fact I did it with flat pedals because it's not possible to do that without clipless.

    I still get regularly told how I should switch to clipless and I'll appreciate the benefits when I start to do longer rides, people are genuinely surprised when I tell them I have no issue doing longer rides on my flats and a good bit faster than when I rode clipless. Not because flat pedals are more efficient but because I prefer the feel of them, same reason why people think their clipless set up is much faster.


    * https://roadcyclinguk.com/riding/bike-fitting-the-myth-of-the-upstroke.html
    • JP08
    • By JP08 21st Jun 17, 1:46 PM
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    • 893 Thanks
    JP08
    • #9
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:46 PM
    • #9
    • 21st Jun 17, 1:46 PM
    Johnmcl - thanks for that link - interesting. Kind of glad to find the pull up is myth - could never quite get the brainspace (if you know what I mean) going to try to do it consistently on every stroke anyhow. Still find the loosish toeclips useful for locating the foot on the pedal though - even on the old 10 speed cycle-a-couple-of-miles-to-the-station-in-office-shoes bike.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 21st Jun 17, 2:00 PM
    • 2,607 Posts
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    Johnmcl7
    Johnmcl - thanks for that link - interesting. Kind of glad to find the pull up is myth - could never quite get the brainspace (if you know what I mean) going to try to do it consistently on every stroke anyhow. Still find the loosish toeclips useful for locating the foot on the pedal though - even on the old 10 speed cycle-a-couple-of-miles-to-the-station-in-office-shoes bike.
    Originally posted by JP08
    You will get a slightly longer pedal stroke with clipless pedals but with pedals just ride with whatever suits you best.

    I agree with your earlier comments about using a bike computer, I was bad for either storming away at the start and wasting too much power or taking it too easy so keeping an eye on my speed and gradient to keep a reasonable pace.
    • brat
    • By brat 21st Jun 17, 4:04 PM
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    brat
    I use the upstroke more these days than ever before. The upstroke is an essential part of sprinting, and obtaining max anaerobic power for a short period of time.
    I've (sadly) been virtual racing on the turbo trainer this spring, and there is no question that if you want to keep in touch after each break from the front, or if you want to break from the pack, you need to push top watts for a short period to get back or stay in the group for best aero assistance. To do that, you really need the benefit of the upstroke.

    So, I don't use the upstroke routinely, but I would argue it's an essential part of the racer's arsenal, to provide a 'turbo boost' when necessary.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 21st Jun 17, 5:07 PM
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    House Martin
    I only switched to cleats because i wanted to test out this upstroke pull theory and how much more speed is obtained.. but "energy in, energy out " will just transfer itself to the muscles occupied in trying to up-pull.There`s no free lunch and I ended up using more energy with, IMO, absolutely no gain. Its too complicated to keep up..I also remember trying the "rotating ankle joint theory" in an effort to apply some more downforce.. after a few near misses in looking stupid/heading for A and E , I think I will flog the pedals and new shoes on Ebay and relax a bit as I zoom up to a junction.
    I wonder if those super humans in the Tour de France use the technique ?.I agree that the technique is ok for racers and pro cyclists but people like me who like to look at the scenery passing they are just not required/needed and potentially more dangerous.
    In my younger days I cycled from Yorkshire to Greece and many other trips just pushing down steadily on the pedals and managed over 100 miles a day on my Jack Taylor Tour of Britain bike..with no 3d nappy shorts on neither on a Brooks Pro saddle
    Last edited by House Martin; 21-06-2017 at 5:35 PM.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 21st Jun 17, 8:17 PM
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    esuhl
    I've got a friend who keeps telling me to use clipless pedals. It's starting to get annoying now!

    I just like the jump-on-and-off-ability of flat pedals! My bike is my only transport, so I want to be able to ride around town in normal clothes some of the time.

    And I also find that my legs/ankles get uncomfortable if I keep me feet in the same position.

    I'm not overly concerned with efficiency. If my bike gets more efficient, I'll just have to spend longer exercising to get the same workout!

    And I find it hard enough to get normal shoes that fit. I hate shopping, so the idea of spending ages finding the "right" MTB shoes for me would drive me crazy!

    As for a bike computer... I love mine! I got it to measure distances, so I could more accurately follow maps without getting lost.

    But I also use the "total distance" as a guide to how much further I can keep going before my muscles become limp and I'm stranded! And also to give me an idea of my level of fitness. If I start to feel exhausted after 20 miles, I know that cycling to my friend's house 30 miles away is out of the question.

    Also, the "average speed" really helps me because I can see if I've been pushing it too hard and need to slow down so I don't burn out too quickly.

    If I'm averaging over 14mph (on my heavy mountain bike with knobbly tyres and panniers), I know to calm down a bit so I don't run out of steam on the way home.
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 21st Jun 17, 8:35 PM
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    esuhl
    I use the upstroke more these days than ever before. The upstroke is an essential part of sprinting, and obtaining max anaerobic power for a short period of time.
    I've (sadly) been virtual racing on the turbo trainer this spring, and there is no question that if you want to keep in touch after each break from the front, or if you want to break from the pack, you need to push top watts for a short period to get back or stay in the group for best aero assistance. To do that, you really need the benefit of the upstroke.

    So, I don't use the upstroke routinely, but I would argue it's an essential part of the racer's arsenal, to provide a 'turbo boost' when necessary.
    Originally posted by brat
    Ah, that's interesting. I don't ride competitively at all, so that sort-of backs up my theory that I (personally) wouldn't find much benefit in cleated shoes.

    The one thing that did attract to me to them was the fact that you use extra muscle groups. From a purely healthy/keep-fit point-of-view, it seems that the more muscles you're exercising, the better (?!)
    • glennevis
    • By glennevis 21st Jun 17, 9:22 PM
    • 294 Posts
    • 211 Thanks
    glennevis
    I've used cleats since the eighties (before SPDs were invented) and still use them now. My current Look pedals are cleated on one side and flat on the other. I have both non-cleated and cleated stiff-soled cycling shoes so I know that for me personally it definitely takes less effort to ride in cleats, especially uphill. That is just riding tempo, not competitively at all.

    Town riding is not a problem; try 'forward observation' and plan your stops. Being able to do the occasional track stand gives you time to unclip if caught out. And it helps if you adjust the spring so that it takes very little twisting force to unclip.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 22nd Jun 17, 4:51 PM
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    Manxman in exile

    I don't use them as I have one knee that just won't allow me to twist the foot far enough quickly enough to get out in the emergency stop situation you describe (and yes, I've ended up lying in the road or on the verge several times as a result).

    Personally I use old fashioned toe clips and straps. Set right they give you some of the advantages of cleats (ie pulling up etc, as well as putting your foot in the right position on the pedal - even if you don't do up the straps the clip parts are useful for this - it makes a real difference) but you can get feet out pretty easily - just watch for ridged soles on your footwear, they can catch on the pedals and you're back on your side in the road again.
    Originally posted by JP08

    I agree. Both my knees are a bit dodgy and I've never liked the thought of "twisting" to get out of clipless pedals. I also use toe clips together with loose toe straps and they are more than sufficient for what I like to think of as fitness sessions!
    • wongataa
    • By wongataa 22nd Jun 17, 7:39 PM
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    wongataa
    I agree. Both my knees are a bit dodgy and I've never liked the thought of "twisting" to get out of clipless pedals. I also use toe clips together with loose toe straps and they are more than sufficient for what I like to think of as fitness sessions!
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    You can get multi release cleats for Shimano's SPD system that will allow you to release your foot with a yank in any direction, not just a twist.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 23rd Jun 17, 9:25 AM
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    House Martin
    You can get multi release cleats for Shimano's SPD system that will allow you to release your foot with a yank in any direction, not just a twist.
    Originally posted by wongataa
    I ve got them, they don t release with an upward yank unless its extremely hard,still need an awkward sideways twist to release..hopeless and totally unnecessary IMO .
    Brat has supplied the answer.They can potentially yield more watts in an eyeballs out sprint or fast as possible breakaway in using the small section of the pedal action from around 9m to 12pm of the circle on applying an upstroke..strictly of benefit to amateur and pro racers only..No need for the average cyclist tootling around the countryside to waste their money ..A money sucker and a win win for Shimano and Look. because some of the shoes and cleated pedals cost over a 100 ..
    Maybe they stop the shoe slipping off the pedal..never found that a problem personally.
    My flat pedals are extremely light and cheap, Wellgo CNC M142 , only 27 and 236 gms a pair, that is around 24grms less weight as Shimano Ultras carbon fibres at 80 a pair, 260 grms.Paired up with lighter comfortable shoes such as breathable Hotter leather slip- ons and lower the aggro and weight too..I dont need to "forward think " at junctions as well. .
    Last edited by House Martin; 23-06-2017 at 10:19 AM.
    • Manxman in exile
    • By Manxman in exile 23rd Jun 17, 9:51 AM
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    Manxman in exile
    You can get multi release cleats for Shimano's SPD system that will allow you to release your foot with a yank in any direction, not just a twist.
    Originally posted by wongataa

    I'm sure that's the case but I'm afraid even the thought of a "yank "rather than a twist makes me wince!
    • jack_pott
    • By jack_pott 23rd Jun 17, 10:10 AM
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    jack_pott
    I find it hard enough to get normal shoes that fit.
    Originally posted by esuhl
    Me too. For years and donkeys years I used to use Stead and Simpsons' Hobos, until they stopped making them. They were ideal: wide enough for my feet, narrow enough for the pedals, soles that were very tough enough for cycling, but flexible and comfortable to walk in. They were also water resistant, very hard wearing, and less than half the price of a cycling shoe.

    I've never really found anything I'm happy with since.
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