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clipless for commute ?

This topic contains 29 replies, has 19 voices, and was last updated by  Drewbacca 10 mos, 4 weeks.

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cowchip

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Nov 28 2013 at 11:18pm #

I am thinking of going to clipless pedals and a mountain bike type shoe . How many of you do ? is it a hassle or worth it ?
I wanted imput before spending around $200


salty

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Nov 28 2013 at 11:26pm #

You should be able to get pedals and shoes for way less than 200, but either way it’s not really worth it IMO. I rode around with clipless for a few years but have been using platforms for the past few months and I don’t really miss bring clipped in.


stefb

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Nov 28 2013 at 11:39pm #

I like clipless and use shimano SPD pedals with a pair of 100 dollar SPD compatible mtb shoes. I also have chrome commuter shoes. I like to be clipless all of the time, but I must return to platform pedal world for white a while and I am not looking forward to it. I feel that clipless allows me to get going faster in traffic, but I hear hold fasts with platforms work well also.


Drewbacca

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Nov 28 2013 at 11:50pm #

I just reverted back to a platform peddle for the winter and I HATE it. There are benefits to being clipped in:

-use more muscles on the upstroke, sharing the burden between your legs. (that really doesn’t sound right, but anyways…).
-more confidence when standing in the pedals, it feels more secure.

There are down sides:

-adjusting/learning… this isn’t ideal weather to experiment. 0mph crashes might happen at first.
-spd/mtb style is great for walking around on, but may not provide enough support for long distance riding (road bike shoes have a wider and harder platform to distribute pressure but are a bitch to walk in).
-place to get crap and winter grit stuck while riding in the snow.

If you’re unsure, I’d start with

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014UG3WE/

or http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001AT33CW


Marko82

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Nov 29 2013 at 12:28am #

I’ve been using SPD for over 20 years in summer/winter. Once you get used to it ( a few weeks or so) you don’t even notice it. Platforms & power straps are ok too. It just comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

And clipless should be way less than 200 raindeer.


salty

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Nov 29 2013 at 12:37am #

pulling up is largely a myth, but a pretty pervasive one. I haven’t had any problems with my feet slipping on the pedals but I’ll concede that is a possible benefit of clipless in some situations. I miss being able to pull up on the pedal to properly position it after stopping, but hooking it with your toe isn’t exactly tough…

I’m not sure if I’ll keep using them for longer rides or not. This is all anecdotal, but when I rode the GAP/C&O, my right knee and ankle were bugging me, which is not a common problem for me. Granted, it could have been due to a bike setup problem, but none of the saddle adjustments I made helped; unclipping so I could vary my foot position a bit certainly did.


cburch

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Nov 29 2013 at 12:56am #

“did not significantly influence cycling technique during submaximal exercise. However, an active pulling-up action on the pedal during upstroke increased the pedalling effectiveness, while reducing net mechanical efficiency.”

this is pretty much exactly when i want the added power. when I’m climbing or accelerating at or near my maximum effort.

i use platforms w/holdfasts on my road bikes, SPDs on my non-dh mountain bikes and platforms on my downhill and dirt jump bikes


salty

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Nov 29 2013 at 1:11am #

Sure, but it’s not very common to be expending maximum effort when commuting… even when I’m pedaling my fat ass up Negley.


cburch

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Nov 29 2013 at 1:19am #

it is if you’re tubby like me and you commute fixed!


Drewbacca

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Nov 29 2013 at 2:02am #

salty wrote:pulling up is largely a myth

Perhaps, as an unconscious act. There are times at the end of a long ride where I find myself intentionally putting more work into the upstroke just to mix up the muscle usage. I imagine that without an intentional effort, the difference between using those muscles and basic momentum is probably negligible.

According to the study you linked, such an active pulling up action does make a difference. Take it to mean whatever you will, the study doesn’t state what is considered “significant” in the abstract and the article in its entirety is unfortunately behind a paywall:

” an active pulling-up action on the pedal during upstroke increased the pedalling effectiveness, while reducing net mechanical efficiency.”

Regardless, I find it more comfortable on the up and down stroke. Comfort isn’t quantifiable. I’m confused by the effectiveness vs mechanical efficiency statement in the abstract.


edmonds59

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Nov 29 2013 at 2:05am #

After experimenting with every possible shoe/pedal configuration available, I settled on 2 sided platform / SPD pedals with SPD clips (like Drewbaccas second link, above) on every type of shoe, Mountain, Road, and commuting, even SPD sandals. My commute has substantial climbs both ways, so I could not imagine not being clipped in, but if I want to go for a short jaunt during the day in whatever office shoes I happen to be wearing, I can do that also. SPDs have the greatest variety of equipment available, so I can wear any of several different shoes with any of several bikes, whichever I want to ride at the time. At this point, I probably have four or five different SPD type shoes, & 5 or 6 SPD equipped bikes. Only on the zingiest road bike and the mountain bike do I NOT have the dual sided pedals.
Also, I tend to stand and pedal out of the saddle quite a lot,, sprinting, climbing, whatever, so being clipped in is more a matter of control and security for me, as well as any little bit of additional power.


Drewbacca

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Nov 29 2013 at 2:12am #

salty wrote:This is all anecdotal, but when I rode the GAP/C&O, my right knee and ankle were bugging me, which is not a common problem for me. Granted, it could have been due to a bike setup problem.

Do you walk pigeon-toed or duck-footed? Moving the cleats in or out might help?

Saddle position is an odd adjustment. I really like the approach here as well as what Peter White says where there is a focus placed on optimal balance.

As for the slipping, being clipped in makes a huge difference when I’m standing and tackling a hill with speed as opposed to my more frequent leisurely climbing from a sitting position. It also helps in wet conditions (but then, so does a platform pedal with good grip/traction) so that might not matter with a good platform pedal.


jonawebb

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Nov 29 2013 at 9:11am #

Going clipless was the best single thing I did to improve my biking. I really like clipless pedals, especially as compared to toe clips and straps — they are much easier to get into and out of. I use shoes that look as much as possible like regular shoes (here is a pretty good guide) and switch to regular shoes when I get to the office.


Mikhail

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Nov 29 2013 at 10:01am #

salty wrote:Sure, but it’s not very common to be expending maximum effort when commuting… even when I’m pedaling my fat ass up Negley.

With my weight I pull up a lot when I am climbing, As a matter of fact I ripped off my old warn clip (speedplay zero) of my shoe during one of the climbs.


byogman

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Nov 29 2013 at 10:34am #

I have toe straps and they’re ok. I don’t use them to pull up (zero confidence I wouldn’t slip out) so much as avoid slipping off the pedal and give the ability to push over the top part of the pedal stroke a bit better.

I’ll probably keep them on my beater/short distance transportation bike where I don’t want to change shoes, want max flexibility for walking and/or need the flexibility of wearing a big boot.

But now that I’m more reasonably confident my bike will make it through winter, I’m really looking forward to making my next bike a road bike and going clipless with that and commuting with it as much as possible. Partially for efficiency, partially to eek out a bit more power on the climb home, and partially to avoid fidgeting with toe straps. In areas with a lot of stops I wind up one foot out right now b/c every time I slide in I have to stop pushing briefly and I don’t always feel comfortable doing that with cars directly behind.

Probably the spd pedals and mtb shoes with a well recessed clip so I can avoid going clickity clack too much. It looks like there’s a cheap model at performance that looks inconspicuous enough to be a regular shoe, so I may not even change when I get to work in the morning.


neilmd

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Nov 29 2013 at 5:14pm #

I commute on crank brothers pedals — I’ve always been very comfortable in them and certainly like being able to keep the effort more even around the pedal stroke. Being able to walk around in my bike shoes is a huge plus, and for long rides I am perfectly happy with the model they have with some base (Candy, I think). Even egg beaters don’t bother me on a long ride — I often toss a pair in my luggage if I am going someplace where I can rent a bike. Went up Rist Canyon in Ft. Collins on them. Nice climb. It is great fun to see the TSA people puzzling those egg beaters out…

However, we live at the bottom of a pretty steep hill and I just don’t ride on ice; somehow the ground gets harder as you age… I’m not really sure that platform pedals would make any real difference even with that; by the time ice has happened it is probably better to stay attached to the bike anyway (Stevo had some line about having his hands taped to the handle bars some time ago…).


Ahlir

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Nov 29 2013 at 6:15pm #

Some kind of positive shoe-pedal coupling is great to have. Speaking as primarily an urban/commuting cyclist.

Clipless is ideal (and I use mtb shoes so that I can walk around).
Clips are perfect if you want to wear normal shoes. I have both.

Platforms, at this point, make me a bit nervous; I’m just not used to feeling my foot lift off the pedal. And it’s annoying to continue having to adjust your foot position.


gg

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Nov 29 2013 at 6:26pm #

I have used both. Like my eggbeaters, but I need super comfortable shoes at work and seem to be too lazy to change shoes there for some reason. Have flat pedals on my winter/rain ride and have cages on my fixed that I ride 90% of the time. I would rather have eggbeaters on both bikes in a way, but I just get lazy about it. Flipping cages up on your shoes is sometimes a drag and I also have crossover (pedal cage/wheel) on my track bike and clip less might help that. Sort of up to you I guess. I would ride about anything and be happy.


Mick

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Dec 2 2013 at 1:32pm #

I love just having platforms.

With other systems, there is extra power.

But there’s also a learning curve, a certain amount of danger (standing falls, etc.), and a certain amount of repetitive motion issues like knee problems.

When I was recently hit by a car, I threw my leg up and slid onto the hood. If I had been cleated in (or even had toe clips), I believe I would have crashed to the pavement with an unpleasant level of force. Sometimes the quarter second it takes to unclip is important.


J Z

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Dec 2 2013 at 1:45pm #

cowchip wrote:I am thinking of going to clipless pedals and a mountain bike type shoe . How many of you do ? is it a hassle or worth it ?I wanted imput before spending around $200

Clipless Time ATAC Aliums & mtb shoes here. For me, it was a minor hassle, but IMHO, worth it long term. I’d have to say +1 to whomever said that making the change now, to be very cautious, due to the on again off again weather conditions.

You can get outfitted for way less than US$200, for sure.

I briefly went back to platforms & boots when it got really cold a couple of weeks back, but I didn’t like it, specifically not feeling connected to the pedals and the small extra step of being able to prep or load my pedal arm position at stops easier. Been using booties for when it gets cold at the moment and it seems okay so far.


Benzo

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Dec 2 2013 at 4:56pm #

I prefer SPD for commuting now. Once you’re used to popping in and out of the pedals, it’s great. I like shimano stuff since you can adjust the tension on the pedals so that they release easily (for commuting) or stay more firm (for fast riding).

I started out with:

Giro Carbide MTB shoes

http://www.amazon.com/Giro-Carbide-Mountain-Shoes-Charcoal/dp/B006O2JMCU/

Shimano PD-m324 dual platform pedals. They work well with or without your SPD shoes. This was great for my commuting / touring / city bike.

http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-PD-M324-Clipless-Clip-Pedals/dp/B001AT33CW/

However, most bikes I have now rock the cheap shimano M520 pedals, which are SPD only / not dual platform.

http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-PD-M520L-Sport-Pedals-Cleats/dp/B000WYAENC/

I upgraded to some waterproof shimano shoes for spring/fall/winter

Shimano MW-81 winter boots. They get a bit chilly under 28 degrees or so, but you can use booties with them to stay warmer at low temps. Good waterproofing.

http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-2014-Mens-Mountain-Bike/dp/B005VF3NGW/

I also love my chrome krusk pro shoes for something casual looking as well.

That’s my 2 cents on gear…


cowchip

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Dec 2 2013 at 5:33pm #

Ok thanks for all of your replies.
Where in the pittsburgh area can i go to get shoes.
I know rei has them that was why i said $200
need to try shoes on i have wide foot ?


ericf

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Dec 2 2013 at 6:19pm #

@cowchip
Any LBS will have some shoes in stock.


Drewbacca

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Dec 2 2013 at 7:29pm #

Cheapest gear will be at Performance…
House brand isn’t the greatest, but it’s good enough for a starting point (both pedals and shoes). Go during a sale, and you might be able to walk out without spending more than $75.

I only have a single pair at the moment, Pearl Izumis that I bought at REI when they were 30% off.


TeamDecaf

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Dec 2 2013 at 8:21pm #

I use Power Grips – reinforced heavy canvas straps that cross on an angle, from the front to the back of your pedal. You put your foot in on an angle and they tighten when you turn your foot forward. You can make them looser or tighter on the fly by turning your foot just slightly further in or out – that’s a bonus.

They hold my shoe to the pedal without lifting at all. I pull up plenty when I’m riding.

I’ve tried clipless, but I just don’t like them. The Power Grips are easy to put on your existing pedals and it’s easy to get your foot out in times when you need quick reactions.

REI sold them for something like $8 -$10. 4 or 5 years ago. Cheap.


Benzo

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Dec 3 2013 at 8:58am #

ericf wrote:@cowchip
Any LBS will have some shoes in stock.

FWIW, Thick really doesn’t have shoes (still where I go for just about everything else). Most others do. I don’t think iron city in oakland does either (but do check their new spot in lawrenceville, but I’m not sure if they deal shoes yet).

I got those giro carbine’s at REI. I don’t know anywhere that stocks winter SPD shoes in town. Performance has a decent selection of entry level shoes as well. I’d check local shops first though.


WillB

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Dec 3 2013 at 9:29am #

Benzo wrote:I don’t know anywhere that stocks winter SPD shoes in town.

I actually got my Shimano winter boots at the Trek Store in Shadyside/East Liberty, although they only had a couple pairs in stock.


cowchip

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Dec 5 2013 at 6:35am #

Got a pair of giro carbine’s at REI on sale !
asked santa for a pair of shimano A530 ‘s


edmonds59

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Dec 5 2013 at 7:41am #

Oh those crazy Clevelanders:


Drewbacca

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Dec 5 2013 at 11:31am #

@cowchip, welcome to the club. Make sure Santa knows they are usually only $50 at Amazon.

@edmonds, that looks like an accident waiting to happen.

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