Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

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Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby wa_desert_rat » Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:34 pm

Clipless pedals are somewhat of a misnomer and can be confusing because they actually "clip" special cleats on the bottom of your bike shoes to the pedals with a twisting motion of your foot. This essentially fastens your foot to the pedal and can, for the newbies, create some interesting problems involving falling to the ground and having the crap beat out of you by your bike - which is still attached to your feet. They were named "clipless" because riders used "toe clips" on pedals to keep their feet in position before the "clipless" (without toe clips) versions were designed.

Toe clips have a piece of metal extending from the front of the pedal around the rider's toe and back above the shoelaces. A leather thong is threaded through the loop at the end of the metal from one side of the pedal to the other. The rider inserts his toe through the leather loop until it touches the metal and then tightens the leather loop as much as he (or she) dares. If the leather is too tight the rider won't be able to pull his/her foot out when he/she stops and will inevitably fall over. If it's too lose then it doesn't index the foot properly and pedaling effort is wasted.

Platform pedals have neither clips or thongs and simply provide a platform for the rider's foot to push against when propelling the bicycle forward. MTB platform pedals often have small pins which help grip the rider's shoe to allow him/her to put more effort into the up-stroke and to aid in performing maneuvers like the bunny-hop.

For a long time you did not see anything but platform pedals on mountain bikes but over the past ten years the clipless form have become much more popular; especially by racers and wanna-be racers. Toe clips, which are still somewhat popular on road bikes, are almost unheard of on mtbs. There is a product called a "power strap" which is a diagonal strap placed on the pedals so that your foot goes through it that does away with the metal toe piece and relies on the rider keeping his/her foot locked against the tension of the strap.

The major reason for clipping a rider's foot to the pedal is to keep the foot in the ideal position for maximum pedaling effort using the rotation of the ankle and bringing the calf muscles into play during the top and bottom of the stroke as well as allowing the rider to "pull" the pedal up on the up-stroke which can help pedaling effort a great deal.

The downsides to anything that secures a rider's foot to the pedal is obvious; unless you've learned how to balance your bike when it's stopped you are going to have to put a foot down to keep yourself up and to do that you have to be able to remove your foot from the pedal.

With toe clips you simply slide your foot backwards out of the loop and set the foot down. When you start out again you will discover that the weight of the toe clip has turned the pedal upside down so you must use your toe to move the loop to the point where you can simply slide your foot forwards and into position. This little maneuver, whiel so simple, has confounded many a new bicycle rider. It's an easy maneuver to learn and before long it becomes second-nature but many people just cannot seem to get the hang of it.

One downside of toe clips is that they do not index your foot on the pedal perfectly. This is because to allow your foot the freedom to slide in and out of the loop the leather thong cannot be tightened enough to keep your foot immobile on the pedal. Clipless pedals, on the other hand, can... and do.

With clipless pedals you install a male piece on the bottom of your shoe that fits into a female piece on the pedal. You secure the connection by twisting your foot so the male piece engages the female piece and when your foot is pointed forwards you and your pedal are one as long as your shoelaces hold out. The advantage of the clipless system are many and virtually every racing bicyclist in the world uses some form of clipless pedal. The disadvantage is that, to an even greater extent than toe clips, the rider's foot is inextricably held in place until the foot is rotated in the proper direction to release. Riders in the midst of a crash often forget how to perform the release maneuver and ride their bikes right down to disaster... or their bikes ride them. Clipless pedals are also mated to their opposites on the riders' shoes and there are as many designs as there are manufacturers. So make sure, if you go to clipless pedals, that you have a mated pair.

Plain old platform pedals are not so plain any more. Some riders like them for the freedom they get by letting their feet move on the pedal (and allowing them to put a foot down - or dab - when they need to). Platform pedals come in larger sizes and, at least for mtbs, with pins that stick up from both sides of the pedal to engage the rider's shoes and provide a more "sticky" feel.

Almost all big box bikes come with crappy platform pedals but for a measly $30 or $40 youi can upgrade them to the best. Clipless pedals often cost $100 and are often made of light weight alloys and mated to very light but strong crank arms. The entire setup can easily cost more than the cost of an entire big box bike. But they are very cool.

One of the first things I did with my big box 29er was to change to platform pedals that were lighter and bigger than the stock pedals. I recommend going this direction and then, at some point in the future, as you gain skills you can opt to go to clipless or move to a power strap. I think I'd leave the toe clips to the road bikes though.

WDR
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby steady eddie » Fri Feb 25, 2011 5:43 pm

The last thing I want from cycling is to be strapped to the thing.

Put my vote securely into the Platform Pedal column.

They make them now days with little safety lights in them, ones that require no batteries.

And no sharp metal pins on them, either. One slip and your shin or calf gets shredded.

I am a definite bike dumper. If I get into a jamb, I want to be able to bail off. I once failed
to negotiate the straight away,,,my bike still has the dings to prove it.

I didn't get a scratch... :mrgreen:

S.E.
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby Whacked » Fri Feb 25, 2011 6:26 pm

I'm a clipless rider

Too many torn up shins and calves from platforms, OK those were the bear trapish platforms but still, foot slides off and OUCH!
Ive crashed many times, never had a issue with clipless.

when starting out with clipless, it is best to loosen the pedal clamps. this makes getting in and out of them real easy. As you get more comfortable clipping in/out, start tightening them up to get the full benefits. That works with the SPD types, never owned the eggbeater types so cant comment on them.

There is also something called a campus pedal. one side of the pedal is platform, the other is a SPD clamp. Never owned those but seems like a good idea to me. can still ride to the corner store in your flip flops without changing into your cycling shoes.

maybe a new topic but a good pair of cycling shoes is a godsend for long rides. cycling shoes have a stiffer sole thus less foot/ankle fatigue than regular shoes. watch for sales and you can get a good pair cheap.
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby squire366 » Mon Feb 28, 2011 7:50 am

I have to ride platform pedals and I guess that comes from riding BMX bikes back when I was a teenager. We were flying down singletrack so fast on those bikes and taking corners at VERY high speeds. Many times I had to take my inside foot off the pedal when taking a corner and let it skim the ground much like a road motorcycle racer leans into a turn and skims his inside knee just above the ground.

Since I've been riding my Deception I've taken a couple of nasty spills. My most recent one was a couple of weeks ago when I fell trying to negotiate a creek crossing. I was able to put my foot down just in time to avoid a REALLY bad situation but I still ended up in the water and mud anyway.......................LOL

BTW............when I ride singletrack I wear a pair of mid-top hiking boots. I know hiking boots are a little on the heavy side but for me they are great for riding singletrack. First, they have a stiff, thick sole which is good for consistent pedaling. The second thing is that there are times when you simply must walk or carry your bike up a steep climb and the soles on hiking boots make it much easier to push or carry a bike uphill. Believe me I've tried to walk my bike up a hill in jogging shoes and it didn't work out very well.

I've seen mountain bike shoes that look very similar to hiking boots but they're much lighter and don't have the clipless connector on the bottom. I think I'll check out a pair of those as well.
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby wa_desert_rat » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:51 am

squire366 wrote:BTW............when I ride singletrack I wear a pair of mid-top hiking boots. I know hiking boots are a little on the heavy side but for me they are great for riding singletrack. First, they have a stiff, thick sole which is good for consistent pedaling. The second thing is that there are times when you simply must walk or carry your bike up a steep climb and the soles on hiking boots make it much easier to push or carry a bike uphill. Believe me I've tried to walk my bike up a hill in jogging shoes and it didn't work out very well.

I've seen mountain bike shoes that look very similar to hiking boots but they're much lighter and don't have the clipless connector on the bottom. I think I'll check out a pair of those as well.


I tried tennis shoes (real tennis shoes... for playing tennis) because the soles are tighter and allow platform pedals more of the shoe's sole to grip into. However I discovered that, while they were great for riding, they sucked for pushing up dirt trails. No grip. So I went down to my local Big 5 sporting goods store. These are chain stores (big box if you like) that are all over the West (not sure about the East coast) and carry an extensive line of discontinued shoes at sometimes amazing prices. This is almost the only place you can buy reasonably priced shoes made from leather.

The shoes I selected look like running shoes and are light but have a more waffled sole... but not seriously waffled like a hiking boot. They have been perfect for mtb on platforms.

As with many stores that specialize in closed out or discontinued merchandise, the shoe selection at Big 5 varies so your mileage may vary. But I will try to find something similar when these wear out.

WDR
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Shimano "clipless" pedals on sale at Campmor

Postby wa_desert_rat » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:06 am

Only good today. For $32.96 (including shoe cleats) this is a killer deal for mtb clipless pedals. Even if you only think that someday you might like to try clipless these would be worth getting. Here is the link:

http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___59331

I buy from Campmor a LOT and have found their service to be top notch. I have a Kelty down mummy bag I bought for $69.00!!! Lots of great deals on merino socks (if you ride in wet or cool weather merino cannot be beat - even by polypro - plus it doesn't smell bad when it's wet). I'm buying them plus a sleeping pad for this summer's adventures both in a kayak and on a bike.


WDR
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby furiouskittens » Tue Jul 26, 2011 6:05 pm

I ride clipless most of the time. I use Shimano SPD and a heavily treaded shoe. The shoe has ample tread on the outside perimeter to get good traction if I'm pushing my bike uphill, and the SPD cleats are in the center. These are also good in case I have to stop by Walmart on a rainy day, the cleats being centered between soft tread allows me to walk on Walmart's floor without slipping, something that happens when wearing strictly cleated shoes with no tread on the outside.

Another person posted that they are expensive. Yes, they kind of are expensive, but you can get cheaper ones. Mine are campus cleats, with one side of the pedal being for regular shoes, then you flip it over and the spd is on the flip side. I paid $40 for my spd pedals, but they were on sale, regularly $54. The shoes vary in prices as well, anywhere from $30 to hundreds. Mine were kind of cheap and they work just fine for me.

I find they are easy to unclip from. I adjusted the pedals with an allen tool to allow for a lot of "play." I haven't yet had any problems unclipping in a hurry. Just kick my heels out and voila, the foot ejects from the pedal.

They are great for super-slick rides, I ride all winter long and use studded snow tires in snowy/icy conditions. I also like them for bunny-hopping. I can clear a log so easily with spd's!

Platforms are good too, though. There's nothing quite like the joy of cruising down to the local watering hole on my bike, wearing flip flops on my feet. That's not so easy on clipless pedals (smile).
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby Modded_Mongoose » Tue Jul 26, 2011 7:29 pm

I'm the oddball that likes toe clips. I got used to toe clips riding road bikes way back before clipless pedals became mainstream. I've actually never tried clipless and I definitely can't get used to platform pedals. Usually I ride with smooth sole shoes like Vans so it's pretty easy to slip out in case of an emergency. ;)
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Re: Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby SgtBaxter » Sun Jul 31, 2011 7:37 am

Amazon sells some XLC dual clipless/cage pedals pretty cheap ($31) --> http://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Trekking-Sided-Clipless/dp/B001EOUOL6/ref=sr_1_4?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1312122568&sr=1-4

They're great pedals, I had them installed on my Dick's brand DBX bike, and I'll move them over to my Kona Blast when it arrives later this week. I'll probably get another pair, or maybe all clipless becuase I'm relegating the DBX to simple rail trails/road type duty if I don't just sell it.

Anyway they clip in and out super easy, just twist your foot slightly and you're out of them. Plus they include the cleats. Mine were fine, however I see some reviews mentioning they had to back off the bearings a little bit because they were too tight.

Anyway the dual pedals are great in that you can just ride platform for gnarly stuff if you wish, and clip in for road journeys.
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Platform Pedals versue Clipless Pedals versus Toe Clips

Postby BoomerBrian » Sun Jul 31, 2011 9:46 am

SgtBaxter wrote:Amazon sells some XLC dual clipless/cage pedals pretty cheap ($31) --> http://www.amazon.com/XLC-Alloy-Trekking-Sided-Clipless/dp/B001EOUOL6/ref=sr_1_4?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1312122568&sr=1-4

They're great pedals, I had them installed on my Dick's brand DBX bike, and I'll move them over to my Kona Blast when it arrives later this week. I'll probably get another pair, or maybe all clipless becuase I'm relegating the DBX to simple rail trails/road type duty if I don't just sell it.

Anyway they clip in and out super easy, just twist your foot slightly and you're out of them. Plus they include the cleats. Mine were fine, however I see some reviews mentioning they had to back off the bearings a little bit because they were too tight.

Anyway the dual pedals are great in that you can just ride platform for gnarly stuff if you wish, and clip in for road journeys.


Do you have a problem with the pedals flipping over to the platform side when trying to clip in?
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