Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

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no_gears_no_tears
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Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Wed Apr 25, 2018 9:18 pm

I know heaps of people hate the old-fashioned toe clips and straps but does anyone here actually like them?
After having a long battle to get my cleats fitted correctly, and then after making countless adjustments until I thought they were perfect, I got chondromalacia patella in my knees and had to do a heap of rehab. While cleats do offer better foot retention, toe clips and straps still do a good job once you get used to them. I ride fixed, and so getting your foot it takes some getting used to, but it quickly becomes second nature.
Toe clips are also (in my experience) much better on the knees since they offer much more float, and you are less likely to tear a ligament in your knee if you came off your bike as long as you don't have them to tight.
Is there something wonderful and magical about cleats that I am missing?
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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby Duck! » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:51 pm

The main problems with clips & straps are that if they're loose enough to get in & out of easily without constantly adjusting, then they're less secure than cleats, and you can slip off the pedals when really going for it (resulting in painful shin bites, particularly on a fixie). Or if they're tight enough to not slip out of, they're harder to pull out of when you do want to get out in a hurry, and harder to get back into.

In an ideal world where you've always got good time to muck around, They're OK, 'cos you'd have one foot in & strapped down firmly, and the other pedal loose so you can get your foot in when you take off, then strap it down once you're rolling. hen when approaching a stop, reach down, loosen the strap you're going to pull out from.......

The other thing is that the weight of the clip & strap will hang the pedals upside down, so to get in you need to deftly kick & flp the pedal up the right way & get your foot in before the pedal falls over again. Cleated pedals will hang at such an angle that you just drag your foot across the toe of the pedal to flick it up & engage the cleat.

Where clips & strapa re really good is the ability to just jump on the open side of the pedal to get up to speed, then flip it over to get your foot in once yo've got some speed up.
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby P!N20 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:07 am

no_gears_no_tears wrote:I know heaps of people hate the old-fashioned toe clips and straps but does anyone here actually like them?


Yep, me.

Two out of my three bikes have clips and straps, the other has cleats. I prefer clips and straps for commuting and general riding around as I can just wear regular shoes. I still find getting in and out of clips easier than cleats, but that's probably because I've been using them for longer.

I've got my shoe stuck in the clips on a couple of occasions and fallen sideways, but I've done that in cleats too, so no big deal.

I'd even like to put some clips and straps on my road bike and save my cleats for long rides, but have you seen the price of vintage Campy pedals these days?

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby RonK » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:53 am

no_gears_no_tears wrote:Toe clips are also (in my experience) much better on the knees since they offer much more float, and you are less likely to tear a ligament in your knee if you came off your bike as long as you don't have them to tight.

No they are not - that was probably the main reason for the move to clipless in the first place.

If toeclips are fastened tightly enough to provide proper retention (and particularity if the proper cleats are used with them) then there is zero float and the risk of injury in a fall are very high. And you are also likely to suffer from numbness of your toes.

If you don't use the cleats and they are loose enough for float and easy release then there is no point in having them.

As a fixie rider you would be better off to consider one of the many variations of fixed pedal straps.
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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby twowheels » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:32 am

I have toeclips & straps on my bike. I like them. They are good for my riding.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby uart » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:13 pm

Quick question for those still riding them. What type of shoes do you normally wear with them?

Back in the day I had proper cycling shoes with slotted plastic cleats that were nailed on! I'd sometimes also ride them (toes clips and straps) with just joggers, but that was definitely uncomfortable for long rides and would flog out the shoes pretty quickly too. So just wondering of the people still riding them these days,what type of shoes are normally using?

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby P!N20 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 12:27 pm

uart wrote:Quick question for those still riding them. What type of shoes do you normally wear with them?


At the moment black leather Vans commuting - I usually find shoes that I can wear riding and at work. They've held up pretty well so far. I've previously worn black leather Le Coq Sportif 'Deauville' which were always good.

On the weekends, casual/short rides are just some New Balance sneakers.

Friday nights are usually stilettos.

I'm keen to get some of those SSBD shoes when my Vans die.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:45 pm

RonK wrote:
no_gears_no_tears wrote:Toe clips are also (in my experience) much better on the knees since they offer much more float, and you are less likely to tear a ligament in your knee if you came off your bike as long as you don't have them to tight.

No they are not - that was probably the main reason for the move to clipless in the first place.

If toeclips are fastened tightly enough to provide proper retention (and particularity if the proper cleats are used with them) then there is zero float and the risk of injury in a fall are very high. And you are also likely to suffer from numbness of your toes.

If you don't use the cleats and they are loose enough for float and easy release then there is no point in having them.

As a fixie rider you would be better off to consider one of the many variations of fixed pedal straps.

Why would they be worse for your knees? They may not be any better than cleats but they wouldn't be worse.
I read somewhere that when clipless pedals were introduced people were hesitant to switch from toe clips because they thought that clipless put more stress on the knee.
I need to use orthotics because I have flat feet, and my orthotics don't work in my cleats because my feet still over pronate whereas I can use any shoe in toe clips.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby RonK » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:37 pm

no_gears_no_tears wrote:
RonK wrote:
no_gears_no_tears wrote:Toe clips are also (in my experience) much better on the knees since they offer much more float, and you are less likely to tear a ligament in your knee if you came off your bike as long as you don't have them to tight.

No they are not - that was probably the main reason for the move to clipless in the first place.

If toeclips are fastened tightly enough to provide proper retention (and particularly if the proper cleats are used with them) then there is zero float and the risk of injury in a fall are very high. And you are also likely to suffer from numbness of your toes.

If you don't use the cleats and they are loose enough for float and easy release then there is no point in having them.

As a fixie rider you would be better off to consider one of the many variations of fixed pedal straps.

Why would they be worse for your knees? They may not be any better than cleats but they wouldn't be worse.
I read somewhere that when clipless pedals were introduced people were hesitant to switch from toe clips because they thought that clipless put more stress on the knee.
I need to use orthotics because I have flat feet, and my orthotics don't work in my cleats because my feet still over pronate whereas I can use any shoe in toe clips.

I have already explained that there is no float, and in a fall they do not release.

Toe clips may work best for your particular condition, but that is not the question you asked, or the assertion you made.
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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby uart » Thu Apr 26, 2018 4:44 pm

P!N20 wrote:
uart wrote:Quick question for those still riding them. What type of shoes do you normally wear with them?


At the moment black leather Vans commuting - I usually find shoes that I can wear riding and at work. They've held up pretty well so far. I've previously worn black leather Le Coq Sportif 'Deauville' which were always good.


Thank for the reply P!N. I'm not really much of a footwear aficionado, so off hand I can't say that I know much about those shoes or brands. However I'm just wondering what their construction is - like what do you need to make a good cycling shoe for regular toe clips. The ones you're talking about are just a good quality sturdy sneakers, is that correct?
https://www.archfashion.com.au/le-coq-s ... ther-black

I seem to just destroy any regular shoes that I cycle in for any serious distance using toe clips.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:11 pm

I used both. I found both to be worthwhile.

While I preferred and finished up my riding with cleats, the real downside of cleats was when having to hoof it with a damaged bike for any distance. While in the same circumstance, toe clips were no issue at all.

I found that it was easier to click in than to slide in, partly because toe clips always fall down below the pedal axle and so require some extra attention after taking off from lights etc to roll them up for the shoe to be slipped in. And I always felt more secure in traffic at maximum speeds with cleats.

If anyone asked I'd seek info to see which is likely to be the greater issue for the rider - ease of walking or getting safely in as soon as possible when taking off.

Basically horses for courses.
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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby eeksll » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:19 pm

Flats and float who actually experiences better float?

the last few years I have gone back to flat for the reason of not having to take separate shoes.
After a bit of playing around with flat pedals I have settled on large pedals with studs i.e these kind

when I put my foot back on after taking off, and my foot is on an angle, I find it very hard to straighten while pedaling, the studs just won't let me slide it back straight. Is this just me?

To the OP is it possible the knee issues are caused by trying to apply force at an angle which you wouldn't normally apply as hard?

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby P!N20 » Thu Apr 26, 2018 9:49 pm

uart wrote:Thank for the reply P!N. I'm not really much of a footwear aficionado, so off hand I can't say that I know much about those shoes or brands. However I'm just wondering what their construction is - like what do you need to make a good cycling shoe for regular toe clips. The ones you're talking about are just a good quality sturdy sneakers, is that correct?


Yeah pretty much, I guess they're just leather versions of basic canvas shoes. I like the soles not to have any additional padding as it tends to mute the 'feel' of your feet in the pedal (but no so thin that the pedals dig in to your foot!) I try to avoid too many 'projections' - things stitched on or sticking out - just more chance of getting your feet stuck. Although having said that, the rubber toe protector on those Le Coq Sportif shoes certainly takes a beating.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby ironhanglider » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:50 pm

uart wrote:Quick question for those still riding them. What type of shoes do you normally wear with them?

Back in the day I had proper cycling shoes with slotted plastic cleats that were nailed on! I'd sometimes also ride them (toes clips and straps) with just joggers, but that was definitely uncomfortable for long rides and would flog out the shoes pretty quickly too. So just wondering of the people still riding them these days,what type of shoes are normally using?


What's with them modern plastic cleats? Back in the day I had proper cycling shoes with aluminium cleats that were nailed on. I think my Dad still has the cast iron last. Before my time there were leather cleats too.

no_gears_no_tears wrote:Why would they be worse for your knees? They may not be any better than cleats but they wouldn't be worse.
I read somewhere that when clipless pedals were introduced people were hesitant to switch from toe clips because they thought that clipless put more stress on the knee.


The first mass produced clipless pedals came with fixed cleats.

Did anyone notice for the Team Triathlon at least at the Com Games that several of the competitors used running shoes and straps. The theory being that in the short course format that there was more time to be gained in transition than would be lost on the bike.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby uart » Thu Apr 26, 2018 10:54 pm

ironhanglider wrote:Did anyone notice for the Team Triathlon at least at the Com Games that several of the competitors used running shoes and straps. The theory being that in the short course format that there was more time to be gained in transition than would be lost on the bike.

Which is pretty believable. Time lost in transitions can be very hard to make up in a short course!

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby Philistine » Fri Apr 27, 2018 5:40 am

I developed Chondromalacia Patellae in my right knee years ago - running not riding! The specialist who treated me said the underlying cause was overdevelopment of the hamstring compared to the quadricep, which in turn caused the kneecap to be pulled slightly out of line. If I had known, I might have prevented it by doing exercises to strengthen the quadricep and / or exercises to stretch the hamstring.

It is easy for a cyclist to fall into the habit of performing work only on the downstroke of the crank, whereas work on the upstroke is what develops the quadricep. If you don't have either cleats or toe clips you will struggle to perform any useful work on the upstroke. Is it possible that the OP's setup makes it easier to pull up on the pedals when using toe clips instead of cleats?

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby edsa » Fri Apr 27, 2018 10:47 am

The New Zealand team at the Comm Games probably used something like this
https://www.triathlon-accessories.com/t ... triathlon/
its a combination of straps and clipless so you get the benefit of clipless on a bike including quick release in a pinch and the added benefit of not having to change shoes at the interchange.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby mikesbytes » Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:26 am

edsa wrote:The New Zealand team at the Comm Games probably used something like this
https://www.triathlon-accessories.com/t ... triathlon/
its a combination of straps and clipless so you get the benefit of clipless on a bike including quick release in a pinch and the added benefit of not having to change shoes at the interchange.

Interesting

I'm wondering what running shoes they used? Possibly could make a difference in power transmission
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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby eeksll » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:19 pm

mikesbytes wrote:
edsa wrote:The New Zealand team at the Comm Games probably used something like this
https://www.triathlon-accessories.com/t ... triathlon/
its a combination of straps and clipless so you get the benefit of clipless on a bike including quick release in a pinch and the added benefit of not having to change shoes at the interchange.

Interesting

I'm wondering what running shoes they used? Possibly could make a difference in power transmission


Was that for the Mixed Team Relay?
Each of the 4 members do a 250m swim, 7km bike and 1.5km run
The platform thingy would make sense for this.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby mikesbytes » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:25 am

eeksll wrote:
mikesbytes wrote:
edsa wrote:The New Zealand team at the Comm Games probably used something like this
https://www.triathlon-accessories.com/t ... triathlon/
its a combination of straps and clipless so you get the benefit of clipless on a bike including quick release in a pinch and the added benefit of not having to change shoes at the interchange.

Interesting

I'm wondering what running shoes they used? Possibly could make a difference in power transmission


Was that for the Mixed Team Relay?
Each of the 4 members do a 250m swim, 7km bike and 1.5km run
The platform thingy would make sense for this.


I don't know, but it makes sense for a such a short cycle. I'm assuming that the saving in transition would be greater than any power loss over 7k. Does anyone know?
If the R-1 rule is broken, what happens to N+1?

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:15 am

eeksll wrote:Flats and float who actually experiences better float?

Speedplay users.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby uart » Sat Apr 28, 2018 12:16 pm

mikesbytes wrote:I don't know, but it makes sense for a such a short cycle. I'm assuming that the saving in transition would be greater than any power loss over 7k. Does anyone know?


Yeah, I'm pretty sure it would. Some of the things that we obsess about as cyclists often only translate to a couple of seconds every 10km in reality. Particularly in triathlon where it's more about pacing yourself rather than all out sprints, I think running shoes in those platforms would lose you very little time.

My guess is that the shoes they'd have used would have been chosen about 100% for their characteristics as runners and about 0% for their characteristics on the bikes (except of course for ease of getting in and out of those platforms). Having the right shoe is absolutely critical to the athletes performance and comfort (including remaining injury free) during the run. I'm pretty sure they would value that over 2 or 3 seconds on the entire bike leg.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby eeksll » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:40 pm

trailgumby wrote:
eeksll wrote:Flats and float who actually experiences better float?

Speedplay users.


I actually meant who experiences better float on flats. It has been my experience with flats that my foot cannot float as much as when using cleats. Maybe it floats more in the shoe? but not on the pedal/shoe interface.

its something I hear quote commonly on forums "better float with flats" so knees feel better, but I am wandering if there is another reason for knees feeling better in flats. One thing I thought might make a difference is most running shoes around now have a fairly high arch support compared to most cycling shoes which tend to be flatter

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby trailgumby » Sat Apr 28, 2018 3:51 pm

eeksll wrote:
trailgumby wrote:
eeksll wrote:Flats and float who actually experiences better float?

Speedplay users.


I actually meant who experiences better float on flats. It has been my experience with flats that my foot cannot float as much as when using cleats. Maybe it floats more in the shoe? but not on the pedal/shoe interface.

its something I hear quote commonly on forums "better float with flats" so knees feel better, but I am wandering if there is another reason for knees feeling better in flats. One thing I thought might make a difference is most running shoes around now have a fairly high arch support compared to most cycling shoes which tend to be flatter

Sorry, got it now. I agree on arch support, it's generally poor in cycling shoes. I had my insoles custom modified by Fusion Peak bike fitting, and need to get my MTB shoes done the same.

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Re: Are toe clips and straps really that bad?

Postby ValleyForge » Sat Apr 28, 2018 6:44 pm

P!N20 wrote:I'd even like to put some clips and straps on my road bike and save my cleats for long rides, but have you seen the price of vintage Campy pedals these days?

Yup. Glad I bought two pair about 10yrs ago and a whole lot of cleats from Yellow Jersey in the US.
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