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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; Yesterday at 10:09 AM.
Page 2
    • wongataa
    • By wongataa 23rd Jun 17, 1:24 PM
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    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!
    Originally posted by Manxman in exile
    If the tension is set low it isn't a big yank. It doesn't take much effort to release regular cleats with the tension at the minimum.
    • Nebulous2
    • By Nebulous2 24th Jun 17, 11:00 AM
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    Nebulous2
    I use both - spd-sls on my road bike for longer country runs and flats with work shoes on my cyclocross commuter bike. It's hard to demonstrate much difference on either. Average speeds are lower on the CX but it is quite a bit heavier with pannier rack and mudguards and a lot of the riding is stop/start in towns. That makes it impossible to compare. The other thing I do with it, which is against conventional wisdom is wear a pair of trainers with very thin soft soles. I like the 'feel' I get from the flat pedals. We are told to wear stiff soles - in fact my road shoes have quite solid carbon soles.

    I must admit I quite like the rapid series of clicks you get on a clubrun as we slow down at a junction, with the whole group unclipping at once!

    For racing on a roadbike I think you'd be hard pressed to get anywhere without clips. For non-racers I'd say do whatever works for you. I'm happy being on a bike either way.
    • Spelunthus
    • By Spelunthus 10th May 18, 11:24 AM
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    Spelunthus
    Good discussion. I tried cleats, but could not be doing with them, and had a nasty fall once, when distracted. Toe Clips and straps work fine for me on road bike. You get a good attachment to pedal, and can pull on the upstroke. I can also easily adjust strap tension by pulling on strap. No tools etc. On my MB I just have a rigid toe clip, no straps - and that works for me.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 12th May 18, 2:24 PM
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    Nasqueron
    I use both - spd-sls on my road bike for longer country runs and flats with work shoes on my cyclocross commuter bike. It's hard to demonstrate much difference on either. Average speeds are lower on the CX but it is quite a bit heavier with pannier rack and mudguards and a lot of the riding is stop/start in towns. That makes it impossible to compare. The other thing I do with it, which is against conventional wisdom is wear a pair of trainers with very thin soft soles. I like the 'feel' I get from the flat pedals. We are told to wear stiff soles - in fact my road shoes have quite solid carbon soles.

    I must admit I quite like the rapid series of clicks you get on a clubrun as we slow down at a junction, with the whole group unclipping at once!

    For racing on a roadbike I think you'd be hard pressed to get anywhere without clips. For non-racers I'd say do whatever works for you. I'm happy being on a bike either way.
    Originally posted by Nebulous2

    Remarkably I read this post and I thought I had written it - exactly the same with me, SPD-SL on the road bike, SPD on my commuter bike which is a CX (CAADX) with panniers and mudguards! I use speedplay frog pedals on the CX as they're easy release (good for taking it off road on trails) and cleats seem to never wear out
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 12th May 18, 2:29 PM
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    Nasqueron
    Good discussion. I tried cleats, but could not be doing with them, and had a nasty fall once, when distracted. Toe Clips and straps work fine for me on road bike. You get a good attachment to pedal, and can pull on the upstroke. I can also easily adjust strap tension by pulling on strap. No tools etc. On my MB I just have a rigid toe clip, no straps - and that works for me.
    Originally posted by Spelunthus

    Clips just take time to get used to, once you're in the habit of removing one as you approach a junction and are aware of your situation it becomes second nature and I don't worry about it any more. Good for keeping your legs stable and no worries about slipping off when you're working hard (and yes I have some good flats which I have on my 2nd road bike and use them as well e.g. if going somewhere nearby)
    • brat
    • By brat 14th May 18, 7:49 AM
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    brat
    I've just moved from Speedplays to SPD-SLs, and like anything else, they take a bit of getting used to. The speedplays are double sided with vertical pressure only to engage, and are very easy to disengage, so it has taken a couple of weeks to get my head around the slightly more involved engagement on the SPD-SLs.

    That said, I like the feel of the Shimano cleats and pedals - a good positive push and pull, the power transfer seems more efficient - lighter too! My speedplays are now permanently on my CX which is also my commuting/second road/turbo training bike, but I think I'll move over to SPD-SLs when they or my shoes become unusable.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 14th May 18, 12:20 PM
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    House Martin
    I've just moved from Speedplays to SPD-SLs, and like anything else, they take a bit of getting used to. The speedplays are double sided with vertical pressure only to engage, and are very easy to disengage, so it has taken a couple of weeks to get my head around the slightly more involved engagement on the SPD-SLs.

    That said, I like the feel of the Shimano cleats and pedals - a good positive push and pull, the power transfer seems more efficient - lighter too! My speedplays are now permanently on my CX which is also my commuting/second road/turbo training bike, but I think I'll move over to SPD-SLs when they or my shoes become unusable.
    Originally posted by brat
    Maybe you are kidding yourself and imagining you are "pulling on the upstroke " to gain a better pedal action . . . Cleats and the shoes dedicated to locking into them are quite expensive . Ok for the tour of Yorkshire, Italy, France, Spain etc and your local club races but not needed by leisure cyclists.
    Look, the ski equipment manufacturers must be overjoyed at convincing cyclists that they need them..what next ? Disc brakes for road bikes, talk about overkill, they are certainly not needed also..
    You have been conned into buying them as a fashion accessory IMO along with sweaty lycra uniforms emblazoned with logo s.
    Cotton makes much more sense than artificial fibres
    This interesting and truthful bit of research about the "myth of the upstroke " as posted by Johnmc17 is worth reading https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/bike-fitting-the-myth-of-the-upstroke/
    Last edited by House Martin; 15-05-2018 at 5:35 PM.
    • brat
    • By brat 15th May 18, 9:24 AM
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    brat
    Maybe you are kidding yourself and imagining you are "pulling on the upstroke " to gain a better pedal action . .
    Originally posted by House Martin
    No.
    I cycle to work out. On the flat I rarely use the upstroke. On short sharp climbs I use it a lot to maintain momentum. As the other experienced cyclists have noted, they keep your feet securely on the pedal when pedalling hard, which gives you the confidence to do so.

    I did a lot of virtual racing over winter, indeed I won a few age related leagues. Despite the dismissal of such activity by traditionalists, these are tough competitions that often surpass the efforts required to maintain position in a road race. It is not possible to maintain your position in the front pack without using every sinew to close gaps when they open. Clipless allows you to do that.

    I agree to a small extent with your thinly veiled attack on cycle snobbery. I spend more than I need on cycling kit; part of the reason is to look the part, and to feel good about my kit. No different from cars, clothes, holidays, TV size etc.

    Today's 60 mile planned ride will take me over 25% climbs and numerous rolling short sharp ascents and descents, and I will benefit from my clipless pedals whether you want me to or not. My nice 6.5kg bike, Rapha lycra, Giro shoes and DuraAce pedals will help make my ride feel very enjoyable, especially if it helps get my average up to over 20mph for the circuit.

    I marshalled the Fred Whitton sportive on Sunday. helping 2,500 maintain their momentum through a dangerous junction. I saw all sorts of bikes from £400 entry level road bikes to £10,000+ superbikes, with all sorts of different ranges of clothing and shoes. The riders ranged from fashion victims to anti trend traditionalists.

    One thing was universal among all 2,500 riders.

    They all sported clipless pedals.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 15th May 18, 10:55 AM
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    Nasqueron
    Maybe you are kidding yourself and imagining you are "pulling on the upstroke " to gain a better pedal action . . .
    Originally posted by House Martin
    You're mixing up 2 things here. There is little performance gain (maybe 1-2% among the elite) from cleats but pedal action, keeping your legs in the right place etc is different.

    Cleats and the shoes dedicated to locking into them are quite expensive .
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Rubbish, even pound land sell shimano compatible cleats. I got shimano wide fit spd-sl shoes for £56, less than kids will pay for trainers and easily in the range of a decent flat shoe. I wear speedplay cleats for my commuter and they're metal, I still have the same pair I had over a year ago.


    Ok for the tour of Yorkshire, Italy, France, Spain etc and your local club races but not needed by leisure cyclists.
    Look, the ski equipment manufacturers must be overjoyed at convincing cyclists that they need them..what next ?
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Not needed sure but neither is a 10kg bike when you could spend £500 on a 17kg mtb. Your leisure cyclist doesn't need a full sus MTB for off road riding etc etc. Moot argument as it's just opinion.

    Disc brakes for road bikes, talk about overkill, they are certainly not needed also..
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Not needed but great for city commuting especially in the rain. I use disc and rim and happy with both. Better stopping power from disc is no bad thing.

    You have been conned into buying them as a fashion accessory
    Originally posted by House Martin
    lol

    IMO along with sweaty lycra uniforms emblazoned with logo s.
    Cotton makes much more sense than artificial fibres
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Total rubbish. Lycra wicks sweat and dries quickly, vital for a wet weather ride or commute. A cotton t-shirt is not aerodynamic, it dries slowly when wet (sweat or rain) meaning it's uncomfortable for a long time and irritates the skin. Look at any half decent cycling or walking site (for example) and they will tell you why lycra is better. You don't need a branded top, Aldi sell them for £15.

    This interesting and truthful bit of research about the "myth of the upstroke " as posted by Johnmc17 is worth reading https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/bike-fitting-the-myth-of-the-upstroke/
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Again, missing the point of using them. They keep you in place which is good for a bike fit, you have no risk of slipping when climbing or putting power through and so on. You are hopelessly ill-informed
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 15th May 18, 10:58 AM
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    Nasqueron
    Rapha lycra, .
    Originally posted by brat
    Recent convert here, by far the comfiest pads I have ever owned (and I have tried probably 10 different brands, including Endura FS-260 with the pad fit). Since Rapha started doing wider pads for bigger clothing (not as much choice as Endura as not everyone who wants to wear say XL needs a wide pad) I tried some and they were so nice I bought more.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 15th May 18, 12:51 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    Cotton is a terrible choice of material unless you are never going to work up a sweet or get caught in the rain. If you want to use natural materials go with Marino wool.
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 15th May 18, 6:40 PM
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    Johnmcl7
    I also took part in a big Sportive last week with 5600 riders, certainly a lot on clipless with a few on flats including myself as well as my baggy shorts, loose t-shirt and backpack amongst a sea of lycra. Despite running solo, not being much of a road cyclist and running solo I finished in the top 20% ahead of thousands of other clipless riders so you can get good performance on flats.

    The usual counter is to tell me how much faster I'd be on clipless but for the two years I was on clipless (even trying different pedal systems) I was slower as I never liked the feel of the clipless pedals. It's the same reason those who like clipless pedals do better with them because they like the feel of them.

    For that reason I certainly think it's worth trying clipless pedals but at the same time, if you don't like them then don't stick it out because people are telling you to. The pulling on upstroke has long been disproved (regardless of whether you believe you are doing it or not), the performance advantages are extremely small at best and you don't need clipless to do road racing, endurance racing, all day rides etc.

    I dislike taking part in clipless threads as it's always the same but while I don't regret trying clipless pedals, I do regret sticking with them which wasn't just a waste of time and money but really killed my interest in road cycling at the time. I realise why people don't like speaking against clipless as they're treated as heretics daring to question the mighty doctrine but I wish more people had at the time spoken up.

    John
    • Johnmcl7
    • By Johnmcl7 15th May 18, 6:43 PM
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    Johnmcl7

    Again, missing the point of using them. They keep you in place which is good for a bike fit, you have no risk of slipping when climbing or putting power through and so on. You are hopelessly ill-informed
    Originally posted by Nasqueron
    And rather ironically also missing the point as well...if you're slipping on flats, then change to better pedals or shoes. Even riding in horrendous wet and muddy conditions, I don't ever slip on my flats nor should anyone if they're set up properly. It's even easier on the road as conditions are much less treacherous for the pedals.

    It's a similar argument to the one people make for 1x systems because apparently no-one can ever set up a front derailleur any more.

    John
    • esuhl
    • By esuhl 15th May 18, 7:02 PM
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    esuhl
    Disc brakes for road bikes, talk about overkill, they are certainly not needed also..
    Originally posted by House Martin

    Same with disc brakes on cars. No need for anything other than crappy drum brakes.


    Funny how motorists have been conned into the fad of having four wheels on their cars when they only need three. Why drive anything other than a Reliant Robin?



    Cotton makes much more sense than artificial fibres
    Originally posted by House Martin


    Ha ha! Now that is just silly! Anyone who has ridden more than a mile or two at a very slow pace will know how bad cotton is compared to synthetic base layers, jerseys, shorts, etc.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 15th May 18, 10:12 PM
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    Nasqueron
    I also took part in a big Sportive last week with 5600 riders, certainly a lot on clipless with a few on flats including myself as well as my baggy shorts, loose t-shirt and backpack amongst a sea of lycra. Despite running solo, not being much of a road cyclist and running solo I finished in the top 20% ahead of thousands of other clipless riders so you can get good performance on flats.
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7

    That's completely irrelevant. Comparing how you do against casual riders does not give you performance data on the pedals, it just shows how you perform vs other riders. The only useful data is to ride the same route hundreds of times with flat and cleats and compare performance.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 15th May 18, 10:16 PM
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    Nasqueron
    And rather ironically also missing the point as well...if you're slipping on flats, then change to better pedals or shoes. Even riding in horrendous wet and muddy conditions, I don't ever slip on my flats nor should anyone if they're set up properly. It's even easier on the road as conditions are much less treacherous for the pedals.

    It's a similar argument to the one people make for 1x systems because apparently no-one can ever set up a front derailleur any more.

    John
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7

    Nothing ironic at all about that.


    With flats and shoes you can and will slip in certain conditions, if your feet move around the pedal, if you don't seat spot on etc. Moreover, if you have your bike properly fitted you still won't always be at the right angle or position with flats as they are wider and you move around vs being fixed with cleats. Fixed pedals are undeniably more reliable in terms of keeping connected to the bike because of what they are, no matter how much grip your shoe has or how many studs the pedal has.



    Any which way, you've made points, each one has been debunked, so you're moving onto it being about personal preference, which is fine but isn't factual.


    Pro riders on the big stage use cleats, they have the backing of multi million pound investments, testing etc and you don't see them trying to race Froome et al with flats on. Says it all
    • John-K
    • By John-K 15th May 18, 10:48 PM
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    John-K
    Maybe you are kidding yourself and imagining you are "pulling on the upstroke " to gain a better pedal action . . . Cleats and the shoes dedicated to locking into them are quite expensive . Ok for the tour of Yorkshire, Italy, France, Spain etc and your local club races but not needed by leisure cyclists.
    Look, the ski equipment manufacturers must be overjoyed at convincing cyclists that they need them..what next ? Disc brakes for road bikes, talk about overkill, they are certainly not needed also..
    You have been conned into buying them as a fashion accessory IMO along with sweaty lycra uniforms emblazoned with logo s.
    Cotton makes much more sense than artificial fibres
    This interesting and truthful bit of research about the "myth of the upstroke " as posted by Johnmc17 is worth reading https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/bike-fitting-the-myth-of-the-upstroke/
    Originally posted by House Martin
    Just because people donít agree with you that does not mean that they have been conned. I ride in the mountains a lot, and in the wet I far prefer the feel and stopping power of a disk brake over a rim one.

    You clearly do not get on with cleats, but many of us far prefer them. To suggest that we have been conned, that we do not know what we prefer is a bit foolish.
    • brat
    • By brat 16th May 18, 4:59 PM
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    brat
    I also took part in a big Sportive last week with 5600 riders, certainly a lot on clipless with a few on flats including myself as well as my baggy shorts, loose t-shirt and backpack amongst a sea of lycra. Despite running solo, not being much of a road cyclist and running solo I finished in the top 20% ahead of thousands of other clipless riders so you can get good performance on flats.

    The usual counter is to tell me how much faster I'd be on clipless but for the two years I was on clipless (even trying different pedal systems) I was slower as I never liked the feel of the clipless pedals. It's the same reason those who like clipless pedals do better with them because they like the feel of them.

    For that reason I certainly think it's worth trying clipless pedals but at the same time, if you don't like them then don't stick it out because people are telling you to. The pulling on upstroke has long been disproved (regardless of whether you believe you are doing it or not), the performance advantages are extremely small at best and you don't need clipless to do road racing, endurance racing, all day rides etc.

    I dislike taking part in clipless threads as it's always the same but while I don't regret trying clipless pedals, I do regret sticking with them which wasn't just a waste of time and money but really killed my interest in road cycling at the time. I realise why people don't like speaking against clipless as they're treated as heretics daring to question the mighty doctrine but I wish more people had at the time spoken up.

    John
    Originally posted by Johnmcl7
    Hi John,

    There are always options for cyclists, if you get on with flat pedals, that's fine, but the benefits of clipless for those who like them are not imaginary. The Broker research seems subjective and slightly biased as it seems to ignore the primary benefits of clipless, namely the positive connection between leg and pedal, the sense of oneness with the bike, and the benefit of the upstroke *as and when required*. I notice that RCUK, who made the Broker research public, ignore the research a few years later when they did a piece on the benefits of clipless https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/technique/beginners-guide-how-to-use-clipless-road-cycling-pedals/

    Like you I ride solo on sportives, not so many these days, because I object to paying fees to join a group of people when I could do the ride for free. So I only do about 2 per year. I was 3rd in my last sportive out of 250 riders, and 9th out of 800 in the previous one, pretty OK for a 60 year old; but to get those places you need to be constantly on the power, maintaining momentum over rolling hills or short sharp gradients.

    We all use upstroke when cycling, whether its merely enough to combat gravity to raise the leg back to its highest PE, or we may add a little to assist the downstroke. That range may allow a few extra watts to the downstroke during normal riding, but there are other parameters, namely your heart rate and fitness which mitigate the effectiveness of the upstroke during normal aerobic riding. The benefit of the upstroke is to add another muscle group to the mix during anaerobic work, which is often essential to maintain momentum, or to span a gap between groups of riders. These occasional bursts of power are essential to maintain position or momentum. The powered upstroke also provides added resistance for the downstroke to push against.

    So the judicious use of the upstroke, which is only available with clipless pedals, can make a big difference to your individual or race times and positions. But the main benefits for me have to be the security and confidence in the powered downstroke, especially in rough roads, and the feeling that I am at one with the bike.
    Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 16th May 18, 10:20 PM
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    House Martin
    Hi John,

    There are always options for cyclists, if you get on with flat pedals, that's fine, but the benefits of clipless for those who like them are not imaginary. The Broker research seems subjective and slightly biased as it seems to ignore the primary benefits of clipless, namely the positive connection between leg and pedal, the sense of oneness with the bike, and the benefit of the upstroke *as and when required*. I notice that RCUK, who made the Broker research public, ignore the research a few years later when they did a piece on the benefits of clipless https://roadcyclinguk.com/how-to/technique/beginners-guide-how-to-use-clipless-road-cycling-pedals/

    Like you I ride solo on sportives, not so many these days, because I object to paying fees to join a group of people when I could do the ride for free. So I only do about 2 per year. I was 3rd in my last sportive out of 250 riders, and 9th out of 800 in the previous one, pretty OK for a 60 year old; but to get those places you need to be constantly on the power, maintaining momentum over rolling hills or short sharp gradients.

    We all use upstroke when cycling, whether its merely enough to combat gravity to raise the leg back to its highest PE, or we may add a little to assist the downstroke. That range may allow a few extra watts to the downstroke during normal riding, but there are other parameters, namely your heart rate and fitness which mitigate the effectiveness of the upstroke during normal aerobic riding. The benefit of the upstroke is to add another muscle group to the mix during anaerobic work, which is often essential to maintain momentum, or to span a gap between groups of riders. These occasional bursts of power are essential to maintain position or momentum. The powered upstroke also provides added resistance for the downstroke to push against.

    So the judicious use of the upstroke, which is only available with clipless pedals, can make a big difference to your individual or race times and positions. But the main benefits for me have to be the security and confidence in the powered downstroke, especially in rough roads, and the feeling that I am at one with the bike.
    Originally posted by brat
    This link proves you completely wrong about your imagined "upstroke " nonsense. It suggests its even has a negative effect.
    The best cyclists, or the strongest ones are the professionals ( I m currently watching on TV every day in the Giro Italia showing every day on Quest ) simply apply a lot more power on the downstroke part of the pedaling action.
    Just like all pro s , golfers , cricketers , footballers they all hit harder , faster , stronger than amateurs .https://www.gearandgrit.com/the-cycling-myth-that-wont-die-pedaling-circles/
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 16th May 18, 11:11 PM
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    Nasqueron
    This link proves you completely wrong about your imagined "upstroke " nonsense. It suggests its even has a negative effect.
    The best cyclists, or the strongest ones are the professionals ( I m currently watching on TV every day in the Giro Italia showing every day on Quest ) simply apply a lot more power on the downstroke part of the pedaling action.
    Just like all pro s , golfers , cricketers , footballers they all hit harder , faster , stronger than amateurs .https://www.gearandgrit.com/the-cycling-myth-that-wont-die-pedaling-circles/
    Originally posted by House Martin

    Brat posted the link to point out the magazine had printed 2 opposite opinions about the same thing.


    If you look at the science, the pull up effect is fairly limited as the vast majority of work (98.6% on low workloads) comes from the downstroke but it does reduce the positive work needed from the other pedal on the down stroke


    https://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/ijsb.7.1.29



    Clipless are better for performance for the all around gains such as control of bike, keeping the foot on the pedal permanently with no danger of slip which is vital for a difficult climb or a sprint finish. Similarly on unexpected bumps or vibrations (particularly with reduced visibility at night) a clipless pedal keeps you on track and still moving, a flat your foot can come off (no matter how much you spend on good shoes and pedals - which was an argument AGAINST clipless originally if you read back - you can't stop that happening). It may also help save energy as you're not having to keep your foot pressed to a flat pedal



    The fact that all the pro teams use them says that their testing shows clipless is better than flat for pro level riders for performance
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