- I have never used cleats
better pedalling, keep your feet on the pedals easier
downside, maybe make you more apprehensive for a bit if your not a skilled rider and if your clumsy you'll have a few awkward crashes, guess thats the biggest factor in deciding
I've always rode flat pedals because I come from a jump bike and downhill background
just got clips 2 weeks ago on my new road bike and i love it, wont try anything else on there, went from mtb clips to road ones in a day as they felt soo good
id do it on the xc bike if i had one but with fivetens and jumps and downhill i like being able to reposition my foot.
depends how loose you get i guess!Posted 7 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
"the right pedals"
There's no such thing. Lots of wrong pedals but no right ones, just go with what feels right. It's worth trying clipless though, it can have real benefits but then so can good flats. I reckon time spent on both will probably make you a better rider, and then you can make an educated call on what suits you best
(most people like what they use, and recommend what they like- and sometimes do one or two rides on the other type of pedals then declare them rubbish despite having thousands of miles of experience on what they're more used to)Posted 7 years agomboySubscriber
i have never used pedals
Do you mean "clipless" pedals?
If you want to use them (but by no means feel you have to), then the best tip is to spend a few hours practicing clipping and unclipping somewhere safe, like your back garden, or the park. Don't let the first time you use them be out on the trails, as when you need to unclip quickly for the first time, you'll want to have had some practice doing so!
Benefits are that they encourage you to pedal in smoother "circles", which ultimately is more efficient meaning you should potentially be able to get the power down a little more effectively, and/or use slightly less effort over the same ride. Some people like the feeling of being attached to the bike too, though in my mind this is a false security as usually these people feel they can't lift or jump a bike without clipless pedals.
IMO learning to ride a bike properly with flat pedals makes you a better rider, though using clipless pedals makes you feel less knackered come the end of a long ride.Posted 7 years agonickcSubscriber
Bear in mind of you're commuting on this bike it means a second pair of shoes to take. Certainly it feels more effcient with clipless don't actually know whether it is or not. They're not hard to learn to use thouh. M520 are less than £20 and shoes can be pretty cheap tooPosted 7 years agosecret squirrelMember
I've moved over to SPDs in the last couple of weeks for MTBing and am really enjoying using them, although there is still some fear and trepidation. That said, I've been practising on and off road, without any tumbles to date … you just need to remember you are clipped in! You can unclip very quickly if needs be. I really like the feeling that my feet are not going to move around on the pedal and it feels efficient, although I know that you can get a similar effect from the right flat shoe / pedal combo. I think it's just a question of personal taste, with no absolute rights and wrongs.
I'm using Shimano 520s that I got for £20 and some cheap starter shoes that are fine. You don't need to spend much on getting set up – there is a good second-hand market for this stuff if you decide it's not for you.Posted 7 years agomidlifecrashesSubscriber
If you want to try them, there will always be 520 spds in the classifieds at a tenner or less. I used them for years on the MTBs but have gone back to flats. Never aspiring to big air or racing I don't feel the need to be so connected to the bike. On the road bike I prefer them, much longer in the saddle in a settled position without stopping or having to dab, get off for a gate, whatever. I currently have some A530 pedals on the road bike which is set up for commuting too, and they are great, essentially a 520 spd on one side, and a flat on the other which is grippy enough for regular shoes, and not too heavy either.Posted 7 years ago
Some people like flat pedals some people do not, its just a matter of what suits you.Posted 7 years ago
Is a totally personal thing. I tried them, didn't find them any more efficient (because I just carried on pedalling the way I always had done), thought "sod this if I need to relearn to pedal, I'm here to enjoy myself!", changed back to flats, and have carried on my happy way in blissful ignorance since.Posted 7 years agoLegomanMember
I switched to SPDs about 8 months ago and my biggest issue with them is clogging up with mud/snow and then not being able to get clipped in.
Unlikely to be a problem this week! But a big pain in the a*** in the winter
On reflection, don't think I've heard anyone else moan about this so maybe I'm doing something wrong!!Posted 7 years agocynic-alMember
From Macavity's article:
The biggest myth in bicycle riding is the need for special cycling shoes and the benefits of stiff ones. The argument in favor of Special Shoes is this: With a firm connection to the pedal, you will be able to apply power for the full 360-degrees of a pedal revolution.
Utter BS!Posted 7 years ago
Edric 64 – Member
'Never used cleats either, and never needed them.
Just another expensive piece of technology to wear out + special shoes'
You must use toeclips and straps then ?
the efficiency benefit of being attached is huge
No. I use old fashioned track type pedals (without toestraps) and shoes with soles that engage with them.
Efficiency gains from being attached to your pedals are not great, and I doubt it is numerically significant for most recreational cyclists. Yes, for the professionals who need every tenth of a percent improvement.Posted 7 years agoanotherdeadheroMember
I don't agree how do you pull on the up stroke without clips or cleats? .I can't ride efficiently without
Well you can, as a battery of torque patterns will testify. As the Rivendell article says, the best pedallers just unweight the up stroke more than less efficient pedallers. You've just learnt to pedal with spd's and have not learnt/forgotton to pedal without. Muscle memory or something.
I don't agree that you hardly ever use the option to pull on the upstroke though. I get out of the saddle and soley 'pull' on the upstroke (only downward component is my weight) on a hill on my commuter very single day of the week. Every MTB ride I can think of at some point, I'll do it.
I completely get the 'no need to use special shoes' thing, I agree shoes do not need to be stiff as boards, I agree sloppy spd-style lazy bunnyhopping isn't a requirement on every ride to the shops. When I ride flats 99% of the problems I get are down to me not having learned to ride flats properly, having ill-educated muscles. I completely conceed that I don't use the upstroke when I'm just spinning along, but if I'm climbing properly in the saddle, or I'm standing and yanking a SS up a hill, I'll be using the upstroke a significant amount.
I also don't have to use pedals that look like medieval torture devices and another kind of special shoes with super stickey soles just to be able to ride rocky downhills without loosing the pedals all the damn time. That's the reason I got spds. Lazy yes, sure I could learn to ride flats properly, just like Sam Hill, blah blah. Its just easier and arguably, better.
So I guess I'm saying I disagree with 'Rivendell Teva Sandle Bloke'.Posted 7 years ago
Edric 64 – Member
How do you pull up then without being attached try pedalling properly with only one leg to see what I mean, you would just lift your foot off the pedal
The tread on your shoes engages with the pedals and you can get quite a significant upstroke if you so desire. Not as complete as you would get if you were mechanically attached to the bike for sure, but it's there.
Lifting the resting leg requires energy whichever way you do it.
In any case the ability to move fore and aft on the seat allows you to have a longer power stroke than if your hips were stationary on the saddle.Posted 7 years agoBlacklugMember
Riding either spd or flat pedals will not make you a better rider as some may claim. Simply riding your bike more frequently will do that.
Saying that though. I think there are more benefits to spd pedals than flat pedals … except if your game is dirt jumping of course lolPosted 7 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
TandemJeremy – Member
"I think a large part of it comes from the more rigid shoe"
You can have pretty rigid flat shoes, AM40s with the stiff insert fitted don't feel so different from the clipless shoes I remember. Though that was a few years ago now so maybe SPD shoes are stiffer still (not sure I'd like that, the AM40s feel weird to walk in as it is)
Edric 64 – Member
"I don't agree how do you pull on the up stroke without clips or cleats?"
The usual suggestion is that you don't really add power by pulling up, you just remove a loss by unweighting the pedal. I don't actually think that's true to be honest but it's rational enough. I think when I ran SPDs I did put a bit of extra power in for short bursts but then I also know that I used to burn myself out pretty fast doing that, for not a huge amount of benefit. As a converted flats user I do still lift the back leg when really cranking up a short steep section, I just don't "pull" because, er, I can't. But you can apply some of that SPD technique to flats and still go for the big circles and the lifted upstroke.
That's not efficiency though, it's peak power- I'm pretty sure that I was less efficient doing that, not more, since I got more power to the ground but at the expense of much more exertion.Posted 7 years ago
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