Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

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Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Tour De Tas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 10:22 am

i currently have a cheap road bike, it does the job. aluminium, just have pedals (no cages)
I can keep up with a couple of mates (with cages) and with some groups already, but the stronger riders burn me off with their consistent speed i can avg 35kms (on flat) but not for many kms.
Normally average between 25km and 27 on rides and always have to tackle a couple of hills in tas no matter what direction i go (live on a hill).
Now im doing longer rides, I've done a few 60km ones and an 84 km one boxing day think it may be worth the investment going clipless.
I am a bit worried about crashing, and stopping at lights, i have a few sets of lights to go past on my current long rides (usually go early to avoid cars though)

Just wondering what the best pedals shoe set would be, have been looking at shimano spd light action (supposed to be easier to clip in/out), and some shimano shoes. Any advice appreciated. will these be fine for a novice?

also what sort of improvement (if any) would you expect in rides just from changing to clipless, say from 25-27kms to 26to28kms on a 60km trip?
Thanks.
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by BNA » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:13 am

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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby m@ » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:13 am

Welcome to BNA :)

First answer; yes :mrgreen: You won't look back after going clipless. Just spend some time practising clipping in and out somewhere soft and grassy ;)

I think you're on the right track looking at MTB pedals/shoes; I've used SPDs and Crank Brothers pedals and prefer the latter as they have non-centering float and IME are more secure than SPDs despite being easier to clip into and out of (I've pulled out of an SPD in a sprint). I also have a set of Speedplay Zeros but currently run Crank Brothers pedals on both of my bikes that run clipless (Candys on the MTB and Eggbeaters on the roadie).

I'd also suggest buying the pedals online and the shoes in a bricks-and-mortar store; it's a false economy buying shoes online then having to sell them at a loss to find the right brand/size/fit (ask me how I know :oops: ).
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby MattyK » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:17 am

Change in speed would probably be zero. Occasionally you will be able to use different muscles, eg to pull on the upstroke to crank up a short hill, but the muscles for this aren't very strong so you typically can't keep it up for more than a few seconds. You're still expending the same amount of energy too, it's not a sustainable gain, just good for short bursts of power.

They're handy in wet conditions if you find yourself slipping on the pedal. But different (studded) flat pedals can also achieve this.

It takes very little time to attune your brain to unclipping (twisting) your foot when stopping (just do it well before you come to a halt).

My novice level gear is Shimano M540 pedals (though the 520s are very similar and cheaper) and RT32 shoes - which have a smooth sole with a recessed cleat so you can still walk in them. Shimano shoes are snug, go up a size if you get them online, or buy from a LBS and try them on first.

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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby BarryTas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 11:19 am

just do it.

also it will help to increase your cadence
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Xplora » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:12 pm

I did a test run with flats on my beater, usually use nice SPD pedals, yesterday...

If you have to ask about clipless, you need them. NO QUESTIONS. BUY THEM. The performance improvement is absolutely remarkable.

Defence of this argument is as follows.
1. You wouldn't ask about clipless if you were not looking for performance gains.
2. Clipless is certainly better than flats if you are seeking performance gains.
3. They do make your pedalling faster because you don't have to be as careful on the upstroke. That care is wasted energy and attention.
4. He's not a trials rider. He wouldn't ask if he was.

Every time I go flat, I hate it. I WILL say though - you absolutely have to spend the money to make sure your cleats and shoes are dialled in properly, because flats are incredibly forgiving for poor bike fit.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby sb944 » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:42 pm

I bought these online, bought a size up, perfect fit for me. Also, they are completely recessed SPD cleats, so you can walk in them like any normal shoe:
http://www.jensonusa.com/Pearl-Izumi-X-Road-Shoes
Got these pedals to go with them, good entry level, as you can clip in on either side of the pedal, and very easy to clip/unclip:
http://www.jensonusa.com/Shimano-PD-M520-Pedals

With learning, I sat on the bike and rested against a pole while I clipped/unclipped 20 times or so. Then I rode a path with grass on the side, and practised starting and clipping in, then stopping and unclipping. The unclip is 2nd nature after a few minutes. The only dramas I've had/almost had were when I unclipped my left leg, but the bike leant to the right side. All but once I get my right foot out in time, and the once I didn't hurt my ego more than my body.

I can't speak for power increases, but I'm certain the extra efficiency of always having your feet in the right place without thinking will add up to increased average speed. And lifting the pedal up comes in handy when your legs are struggling a little up a hill.

As for catching up with the strong guys, best to get stronger yourself. This morning I set a PB on a strava segment I hadn't done for 2 months, and was 15% quicker, with no equipment changes. In between I've been doing a lot of hill interval sprints, a lot of hilly kms, and a few longer rides recently too. It all helps.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby boss » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:46 pm

Do it. Since going SPD-SL clipless I now hate riding with flat shoes unless the pedals have toe clips. I just find it really frustrating.

So much easier to spin. And spinning means you'll go faster for longer.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby im_no_pro » Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:56 pm

+1 to just do it. As for what pedal system, thats more a personal preference but any will deliver an improvement in your cycling IMO.

Caveat: as already alluded to, fit is critical (and I dont just mean how well the shoe fits your foot, but the cleat positioning, amount of float etc as well). Personally I run speedplay's after converting from SPD-SL which I have found to be a lot better for my dicky knee, downside is having to take more care with the cleats than with the Shimano's. YMMV.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby RonK » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:02 pm

Tour De Tas wrote:also what sort of improvement (if any) would you expect in rides just from changing to clipless, say from 25-27kms to 26to28kms on a 60km trip?

Clipless pedals are unlikely to produce much of an immediate immprovement. What they will do is enable you to improve your pedalling action and ride at higher average cadences, but this will take time and practice to develop.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby boss » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:06 pm

im_no_pro wrote:+1 to just do it. As for what pedal system, thats more a personal preference but any will deliver an improvement in your cycling IMO.

Caveat: as already alluded to, fit is critical (and I dont just mean how well the shoe fits your foot, but the cleat positioning, amount of float etc as well). Personally I run speedplay's after converting from SPD-SL which I have found to be a lot better for my dicky knee, downside is having to take more care with the cleats than with the Shimano's. YMMV.


Agree with the fit issue. I got my shoes and cleats and set them up myself (read: I bolted them on with little regard for literature) and was having some major issues with knee pain. Took my bike into a shop for a bike fit, my bike setup was pretty much spot on (I fitted myself) but my shoes were way wrong.

Since having the cleats set up properly I find them (SPD-SL) to be great. I have heard that Speedplay's are awesome for people chasing lots of float.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Tour De Tas » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:11 pm

The pedals i was looking at actually were Shimano PD-R540-LA SPD SL Road Pedals - Light Action

i was planning on installing the pedals and cleats myself. If it feels uncomfortable, i may have to get a bike fit from LBS.

I think i am happy with shoe size as tried on workmates shoes and think will get next size up.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Philipthelam » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:16 pm

Make sure you get the right size shoe as well. Cycling shoes have a stiff sole. Since the sole does not bend you don't need/shouldn't have the extra room at the front of your big toe that you have on your normal shoes. It is very important to get the right size. I'd suggest buying the shoe in a store to get the right size.

if you have time, listen too this podcast http://www.cycling360media.com/cycling-shoes/
the guy there says that there are heaps of people with too big cycling shoes because they choose the size based on the feel of their normal running shoes.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:27 pm

sb944 wrote:With learning, I sat on the bike and rested against a pole while I clipped/unclipped 20 times or so.

I did that too... with my new Time pedals on my MTB. They all seemed right and working, then I leaned just a bit the wrong way....... :shock:

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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Xplora » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:19 pm

Tour De Tas wrote:i was planning on installing the pedals and cleats myself. If it feels uncomfortable, i may have to get a bike fit from LBS.

Installing pedals, sure. Do NOT install the cleats yourself if you are getting road cleats. The potential for it to go badly is quite high. I realised after using SPD MTB cleats for 18 months that I was at the limit of the float (twisting action in the pedal) after big efforts on previous days. You can get away with a lot about 70% of the time, but the last 30% could be destroying your knees without realising it. I had been using these cleats for over a year, and 6 months I wasn't totally happy anymore, and couldn't work out why. I'm riding 1000kms a month these days. I don't think you can be honest with yourself and say "she'll be right" and fitting your own cleats.

I do it myself for just about everything, but anatomy isn't a strong suit of mine and you'll really struggle to isolate a cleat issue by yourself.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby g-boaf » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:25 pm

These pedals you mention are quite good - but get it sorted by someone in the know, you'll need to get the cleats on the shoes installed at the right location, or you'll end up with all sorts of knee or calf problems.

It took a bike fit from a certain Sydney CBD virtual reality cycling lab to get it properly sorted for me. The LBS didn't manage to do that at all. :roll:

The guy who did the bike fit also managed to use a bit of nasty encouragement to get me to work harder and become a bit faster too! :wink:
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:31 pm

Xplora wrote: I don't think you can be honest with yourself and say "she'll be right" and fitting your own cleats.

Fitting cleats is really not rocket science. I've always done it, and done it for my wife and son with no concerns. The trick is to observe how you have been riding previously.

Take the shoes you will be fitting cleats to. It's a bit easier with SPD touring shoes that have rubber sole tread. Ride the bike for a while with regular pedals - preferably the rat-trap type, to give an indentation on the sole. You can then use the alignment of this indentation to set the position and axis of the cleat. The only other thing you may need to watch for is the width of the tread from the crank (Q-factor) but this is less critical and can be often adjusted later. Don't tighten the cleats too much for the first ride* and once you are sure it feels right you can tighten the cleats up fully.

A rider to this - if you have known podiatry problems then certainly get a proper fit done.

I use Time pedals and cleats as they have a readily adjustable sideways position and float, a really positive action to engage and disengage, and generally no worries about cleat tension. Only my most recent Time ATACs have any tension adjustment and I still have not needed to alter it.


* Cleats have a quite heavily serrated base so they will not move easily even when not fully tight
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:54 pm

Hold the press...I will be publishing a review of the new Shimano Click R pedals/shoes shortly on BNA. I've been riding with them for a month now and they're wonderful. According to Shimano, they require 60% less force to clip out of! They also have a unique cleat design which allows you to clip out with just about any movement of your foot outside of the plane of the pedal +- about 6 degrees. They have a wide platform so when you're sitting on a hill at a set of lights with a ute up your butt, you can pedal without clipping in and get those few first strokes in without hassle.

The shoes I have are pretty spiffy as well., They're sports casual and I wear them for work and riding! They're much more than beginner's pedals, they're almost the perfect touring/commuting pedal.

More to come soon on BNA...
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby high_tea » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:07 pm

il padrone wrote:
Xplora wrote: I don't think you can be honest with yourself and say "she'll be right" and fitting your own cleats.

Fitting cleats is really not rocket science. I've always done it, and done it for my wife and son with no concerns. The trick is to observe how you have been riding previously


This. And pick pedals with plenty of float. Heck, it's been DIY for me even though I do have podiatric issues. My knees, which are exquisitely sensitove to such matters, tell me that she is in fact right as long as I wear my orthotics.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby bychosis » Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:25 pm

Do it. It is great keeping your feet exactly where you want them. You WILL have clip stacks, everyone does but they aren't normal once you get used to unclipping, it's only when something' goes wrong.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby greyhoundtom » Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:33 pm

I bought a set of Shimano M424 Clipless SPD MTB Pedals, they are double sided SPD pedals with a good sized platform that certainly makes it easier to take off at the lights without worrying about having to clip in first time every time.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Cruiserman » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:05 pm

Just got back from a few days in Townsville, took the bike up to get around on but put a set of flats on as I couldnt be arsed taking the road shoes with the speedplay cleats. To cut a long story short it sucks large black dogs bollocks riding on flats. So many threads on how to get moving with clip less I want to know how you get moving on an incline without them, I dont think I have hopped so much since I was a kid. Bite the bullet and get the pedals - hell I have a set of ultegra pedals in the shed that made way for the speed plays and brand new cleats you can buy if you want.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Tour De Tas » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:17 am

Update:
pedals installed and went for a test ride at the park last night to clip in and out. Didnt seem to difficult while practicing, when i figured i had mastered clipping in/out and had finished practicing I fell over but shoe unclips anyway and was fine. Feels good to be locked into bike, easy to clip in and out, just need to remember to do it before you stop, i need to look down to clip in if i dont get it straight away or pedal turns over. And i clipped out ok when i got home. Will ride to work tomorrow (3kms) and go for a 40-60km ride on the weekend and see how that goes.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby Tour De Tas » Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:07 am

I rode 70km yesterday averaged 27.3kms/hr (with no assistance from other riders) that is my best individual performance (speed wise) without riding in a group (think when in a group (for part of fun event) averaged 27.3 before. But previous best on old pedals was 26 km/hr. (and this also included a hill session where only averaged 16km/hr for a 2km section that i would not normally do on that ride) was averaging 28.9km/hr before then after approx 30kms.

To sum up i think clipless pedals have helped improve efficiency and speed, but not by a huge amount, more riding will improve this further.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby il padrone » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:23 am

You will only improve on this as you get used to them, especially on the hill climbs.
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Re: Worth Upgrading to clipless pedals

Postby RonK » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:28 am

Tour De Tas wrote:I rode 70km yesterday averaged 27.3kms/hr (with no assistance from other riders) that is my best individual performance (speed wise) without riding in a group (think when in a group (for part of fun event) averaged 27.3 before. But previous best on old pedals was 26 km/hr. (and this also included a hill session where only averaged 16km/hr for a 2km section that i would not normally do on that ride) was averaging 28.9km/hr before then after approx 30kms.

To sum up i think clipless pedals have helped improve efficiency and speed, but not by a huge amount, more riding will improve this further.

Sounds like you are adapting well. The perfomance improvement you've noticed is likely due to the stiffness of the shoes, and no doubt a little placebo effect.

You will realise the greater benefits by smoothing out your pedal stroke and increasing your cadence. Seems like you are on the way...
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