Flat Pedals on a road bike

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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby Robdog » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:43 pm

Okie doke, back on topic, eh?
It's not uncommon for someone to start their road riding experience with flats until they get used to the characteristics of the bike. I rode flats on-road for 200k's coming right off flats on my MTB and the tiny narrow handlebars, super twitchy frame and suicide levers were hard enough to handle without worrying about clipless
I probably could have done with more time on flats, but with my first roadie came clipless pedals (the sales guy implied they were necessary) and so I put them on right away, had a couple clipstacks and have never looked back. Even riding my MTB up and down the street feels alien and unsafe with flats on
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by BNA » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:35 pm

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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby honker » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:35 pm

flats for roadbikes are for either;

- the extremely nervous first time road bike user
- those who want to get bogged down in the 'theory' of pedal stroke and be blind to the reality

there is no question that clip in pedals are more efficient on a road bike, if you're unsure on them wind back the tension and the slightest twist will pop the foot out.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby Nobody » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:58 pm

honker wrote:flats for roadbikes are for...those who want to get bogged down in the 'theory' of pedal stroke and be blind to the reality
Not really. I have M540 and 770 SPDs as well. I raced MTB on SPDs many years ago. These days my knees prefer flats, I don't have to change my shoes to ride my bike and I'll have an advantage in getting my foot down if something goes wrong.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby human909 » Fri Jan 28, 2011 5:52 am

honker wrote:flats for roadbikes are for either;

- the extremely nervous first time road bike user
- those who want to get bogged down in the 'theory' of pedal stroke and be blind to the reality

there is no question that clip in pedals are more efficient on a road bike, if you're unsure on them wind back the tension and the slightest twist will pop the foot out.


How much more efficient 1%, 2%? Does that difference matter outside a race? Furthermore is there any efficiency difference at all? If there is where does the wasted energy go?

I have my tension wound back fully and I don't have any issues. On regular riding you shouldn't be pulling up or applying force a the bottom (scraping gum off your shoe). Though though on loose ground and up hills clips can give you significantly better traction control.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby balap » Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:58 am

I also just bought my first road bike.
It has a keo look pedals but not quite comfortable with it as yet.
Maybe I'll try DMR V8s flat pedals first.
I don't race bike but like to have a combination of speed, flexibilty and safety.
If I ride my bike to work, I might have to stop and start when I get in the city (traffic lights etc).
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby chill » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:59 pm

Just set the tension low so you can clip out easier. Practice somewhere safe and quiet.
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Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby RonK » Thu Jun 30, 2011 5:50 pm

I think you would simply be wasting your money on flat pedals, unless you intend to stick with them.
When you do make the switch, you will almost certainly have a few tumbles, so what will you gave gained?
Best bite the bullet and start off clipless. Set the tension low and practice disengaging until it becomes second nature. Make dismounting a distinct and positive action. Plan-slow-disengage-dismount. It's the unplanned, unexpected stops that will catch you out. Practice on the grass in your local park so falls don't damage your bike.
Finally, and EPS is probably a bad choice for a first road bike. You will inevitably have a few falls, and it it very distressing to find your lovely new Colnago is scratched, chipped or cracked.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby missinglink » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:33 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that the two reasons for clipping/strapping yourself to the pedals of a road bike were:

1. When you fell off your bike you could roll on your back scrape along the road while holding your bike up in the air protecting it from damage.

2. Being clipped into your pedals allows you to not only push down on the pedal but also pull up with the opposite leg. When done correctly it smooths out the power cycle and applies more power to the drive train.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby balap » Thu Jun 30, 2011 7:55 pm

Missinglink,
I don't like the sound of number 1 reason. :shock:
It could happen.

What is the best choice of cleat system for first timer?
Is Keo Look Classic system a good choice? By the way what system Keo Look uses? SPD, SPD-SL etc
I have set the tension to lowest.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby Mulger bill » Fri Jul 01, 2011 12:28 am

The shop didn't give you cleats with the bike? (and offer a good deal on shoes) :o

I've got SPDs on all my bike, I suspect it's because I'm a mountain biker who owns a roadie. I like the idea of putting a foot down and not having it try to slide somewhere without notice.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby chill » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:59 am

balap wrote:Missinglink,
I don't like the sound of number 1 reason. :shock:
It could happen.

What is the best choice of cleat system for first timer?
Is Keo Look Classic system a good choice? By the way what system Keo Look uses? SPD, SPD-SL etc
I have set the tension to lowest.


What exact model of pedals do you have?

I use the Look red cleats because they have more float.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby balap » Fri Jul 01, 2011 11:45 pm

It is Keo Look Classic.

I've installed Wellgo Road aluminium pedals.
I am sure I'll use the clipless pedals on day but not now.
Once I get used to the bike I'll give it a go.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby nsr0772 » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:13 am

I think your underestimating your abilitys a bit. Don't let the fear get the better of you. It'll be second nature in a few days. Get on a trainer and practice clipping in and out. It really is super easy. Just for a laugh, post a pic of the EPS with flats please. Could be Nobody's new avatar :lol:
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby rkelsen » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:08 am

My commuter has flats on it.

I'm not particularly fussed about efficiency (I have to lose weight, so the less efficient, the better it is for me), but I find that I have to be a lot more careful in the rain, because my feet tend to slip all over the pedals. As a result of not being able to pedal as hard, it always takes me longer to get home when it's raining.

I bought a pair of SPD pedals, but haven't gotten around to buying shoes yet. Any recommendations for a good shoe with recessed cleats?
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby Mulger bill » Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:03 pm

Definitely a try before you buy RK. Very dependent on foot shape.

I find Shamino to be a little confining across the top of the instep and Northwave too narrow in the toebox. Lake do the job nicely if I can find a pair I like.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby rkelsen » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:16 pm

Cheers Shaun.

I'm hesitant to buy online because it means that you can't try them.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby Robdog » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:22 am

missinglink wrote:Correct me if I’m wrong but I was under the impression that the two reasons for clipping/strapping yourself to the pedals of a road bike were:

1. When you fell off your bike you could roll on your back scrape along the road while holding your bike up in the air protecting it from damage.

2. Being clipped into your pedals allows you to not only push down on the pedal but also pull up with the opposite leg. When done correctly it smooths out the power cycle and applies more power to the drive train.

Ok, I will - In the case of a crash, whether due to instinct or just physics you will almost certainly find yourself unclipped almost before hitting the deck. Watch a couple stages of the TdF and you'll very rarely see anyone still clipped a moment after a crash. I value the skin on my back far more than my bike, and if you have the presence of mind and strength to hold your bike up in the air during a crash then congratulations but I don't think that's looking out for #1
Your second point is correct - I don't know about smoothing out the power stroke, it's certainly not an instant thing when you put clipless pedals on but rather something you have to work on for a long time
Thirdly and most important, I ride clipless because it gives me the knowledge that my feet are not going to slip off the pedal. I've tried studded flats and plastic platforms on SPD pedals since going SPD-SL and they feel horrible. Glad I don't use them for more than about 4k's at a time and only at a moderate pace.

@Balap - Look uses Look Keo cleats. They look similar to SPD-SL and use the same 3 bolt fixing system. Don't confuse them with Look Delta cleats. Any shoe with a 3 bolt pattern will take Keo or SPD-SL cleats
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby kyap » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:01 pm

I was also deciding on the pedals (mtb, road or flats) on my bike. Since I will be using my bike for commuting to work; intend to ride on my work shoe since its only 2-3kms away, i decided to go on flats.

Its was my first time using flats on road bikes and I slipped and almost fell off during a hard pedal during a weekend ride. That was dangerous. I guess I keep swapping both of them; weekday commute and weekend riding.

Only problem i had with clipless pedal was stopping half way on a hill at the traffic, i just no good at getting the clipping in nicely.
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Re: Flat Pedals on a road bike

Postby apsilon » Fri Jul 15, 2011 5:14 pm

I learnt to ride over 30 years ago and have long ago lost count of the number of bikes I've had over the years. I've never had anything but flats. They work for me, especially as most of my riding used to be MTB where anything but flats doesn't seem like a good idea IMO. The last few years I've done exclusively road riding (well bike path anyway) and I've stayed with flats. I'm sure I could get more efficiency with something else but I don't care. That said I've had some Powergrips laying around for a couple of months and intend to try them soon.
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