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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just bought an Emonda and the seller included clipless shimano pedals and bontrager race road shoes.

I gave them a fair shake on my commute yesterday. I commuted on platforms for the last two years with my last road bike.

I didn't really feel like there were any benefits, only drawbacks.

I enjoyed that my foot was always in the same spot once it was clipped into the pedal, that was the only upside for me.

I disliked that only one side of the pedal is useful and its the side that points down when the pedal is free. It took me a long time to clip back in after stopping for a red light. The shoes aren't as comfy as my running shoes I used to wear. The shoes are atrocious for walking anywhere, wouldn't want to get groceries on the way home wearing them. The shoes are also pretty heavy.

I tried a few light sprints in and out of the saddle, did a few short moderate climbs, and tried going at a variety of speeds. Just didn't see what the big deal is. Tempted to go back to my zero drop lightweight running shoes and wide platform pedals.

Can't help but feel like I'm missing something considering clipless is standard for any road biker I see. Even outside of the commute, I don't see the draw for a leisure ride.
 

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Forever a Student
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It's not the side that points down, it's the side that points towards you when free. If the pedals are brand new you have to give them a bit to break in.

Correct, road bike shoes are not to be walked in. If you have to, there's covers you put over the cleats to do it. But even then it's more than awkward. If the shoes are heavy they are probably cheap and lower quality.

They make a huge difference, but I guess not to you. You obviously don't use any part of your pedal stroke except for the down part. Probably a habit you developed by cycling in normal shoes. Clipless shoes allow you to pull as well as push as well as cycling in full circular motion, always applying pressure. I use this feature all the time, non stop. You obviously don't.


Nobody cares what system or shoes you use. If you don't like clipless, don't use them. If they offer you no benefits than get rid of them.
 

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You aren't missing anything. Road clipless pedals and shoes are design for long periods of being clipped in, not frequent clipping in and out.

If you need to clip in and out often or need to walk even short distances try mountain bike shoes and pedals. They'll cover almost all the shortcomings of the road pedals you noticed. The one downside will be that it is easier to develop "hot spots" on your feet due to the smaller cleat size, but this can be mitigated with stiffer shoes. And roadies may look down their nose at you for using mountain bike pedals on a road bike. Personally I consider that a good thing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
They make a huge difference, but I guess not to you. You obviously don't use any part of your pedal stroke except for the down part. Probably a habit you developed by cycling in normal shoes. Clipless shoes allow you to pull as well as push as well as cycling in full circular motion, always applying pressure. I use this feature all the time, non stop. You obviously don't.
I've heard different opinions on this. Some people have told me you should do it like this, others say you shouldn't be pulling up all the time.

I was trying to do that some yesterday and didn't notice a big difference. I'll try it some more today and put more effort into it, see what happens. I want to try them a few more times and see if they feel better after getting used to them.

You're right that my habits have trained me to only push down in my pedal stroke.
 

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You aren't missing anything. Road clipless pedals and shoes are design for long periods of being clipped in, not frequent clipping in and out.

If you need to clip in and out often or need to walk even short distances try mountain bike shoes and pedals. They'll cover almost all the shortcomings of the road pedals you noticed. The one downside will be that it is easier to develop "hot spots" on your feet due to the smaller cleat size, but this can be mitigated with stiffer shoes. And roadies may look down their nose at you for using mountain bike pedals on a road bike. Personally I consider that a good thing...
They're probably looking down their noses if he's using platform pedals anyway.
 

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Yeah, it means you'll be spending some more money, but if you truly want to both commute on the new bicycle and go for macho, lengthy rides, two-sided pedals -- one side just a platform and the other side a mountain bike style clip-in -- are probably the ticket.
 

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I disliked that only one side of the pedal is useful and its the side that points down when the pedal is free.
Not exactly sure what this means. What pedals do you have?
I think you're implying that the clip side faces down when you need to clip in so you have to flip it over to get into it. Road pedals are typically weighted so they hang the same way all the time. (Some brands are better for this than others) It could be because they're used and the grease inside is worn/gunked up not allowing them so spin freely.
When free, they should be something like this. So your toe can go right into them.




It took me a long time to clip back in after stopping for a red light.
That's a matter of practice. After a while you'll just get use to it and clip in without much thought or looking at them.

The shoes aren't as comfy as my running shoes I used to wear.
That's a matter of the quality and fit of the shoe. You can get running shoes that aren't comfortable too.


The shoes are atrocious for walking anywhere, wouldn't want to get groceries on the way home wearing them. The shoes are also pretty heavy.
If this is something you frequently do, I'd recommend sticking with regular pedals and sneakers. Or going to MTB shoes/pedals.
 

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I gave them a fair shake on my commute yesterday. I commuted on platforms for the last two years with my last road bike.

I enjoyed that my foot was always in the same spot once it was clipped into the pedal, that was the only upside for me.
I don't know if you're doing it wrong, but you haven't done it enough to say you've given it a fair shake. Try some more. For me, the advantages are two. One is the stiff shoe sole, which is far better than a running shoe, regardless of the pedal.

The other is what you've mentioned: always having your foot in the right place on the pedal. This is especially an advantage when standing. I can jump up for a quick sprint or a kick up a hill with complete confidence that I'll stay on the pedals, even at high cadence. It makes a big difference, to me. It may be that since you've been riding with no pedal attachment, you have riding habits that don't take advantage of being clipped in. I'd say give it a few more shots, and mix it up, with some hard quick sprints, and some very high-cadence spinning (another place where being attached gives you confidence).

And I'll second the suggestion others have made if walking is a major issue: get some mountain-bike shoes, and dual-function pedals, with the spd on one side and a regular flat pedal on the other. You get all the advantages, plus versatility.
 

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Long story short: to each his own. Use what works best for you.
You beat me to it!!!

I have been mountain biking with both flats and clipless for 7 years. I compared clipless to flats a few times on Strava segments and couldn't find any noticable difference in performance with a mountain bike. I've only been road biking for about 8 months now with Shimano clipless. I did do the same comparison on a hilly 10 mile TT course and again didn't find any significant difference in performance between flats and clipless. Both tests were done on wide nukeproof platform pedals and cycling specific 5.10 shoes with a stiff sole.

I personally have found that the advantages of clipless pedals have nothing to do with outright power but its how you can use them on long rides. I feel like the clipless pedals let me use different muscle groups on long rides to keep certain muscles fresh for later or give me options if I start cramping.

It took me a while to get the hang if clipping into Shimano 105 pedals. If the shoes are uncomfortable you simply need to get a different pair that fits right but they still suck to walk in.
 

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i run high quality platform flat pedals with some specialized 2Fo shoes on all my bikes.

best thing/change I ever made.

to each their own.

I can pull up/scrape mud just fine.
 

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I had one of my road pedals break at one time, and I only had an old set of flats and running shoes to ride in for a bit. HUGE difference in how confident I was on the bike. Standing seemed so much more awkward. I definitely had to concentrate on the pedal stroke, as I my foot would fly off the pedal if I didn't think about what I was doing, especially if I settled into my normal 90-100 cadence. It was darn near impossible for me. Not that flat pedals can't be made to work, because they can if that's what you are used to.

It really sounds like you would greatly appreciate a double-sided MTB setup.
 

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While these are technically 'trail' pedals, I like these for commuting. Somewhat flat, and two sided. Very easy to get into and out of. Uses two bolt cleats for comfortable walking. Adjustable spring tension. And in a pinch, I can jump on the bike with my sneakers on and grab a quick lunch somewhere without having to worry about putting on my bike shoes. Not ideal, but for a short ride down the block, it works fine.
 

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Agree with other comments suggesting a double sided mountain bike pedal with mountain shoes. That's what I've been using for about 4 years, 5-6k miles a year. Year round commuting, fast group rides, double centuries, you name it. Haven't looked back. You couldn't pay me to ride more than 5 or 6 miles in platforms and sneakers again.
 

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I use Speedplay Frogs mountain pedals on my Trek 1.1. They are great and very easy to clip in and out of, IMO. Hardcore non-Fred road cyclists give me flak for using them, but it's great to be able to walk around comfortably in my comfortable Pearl Izumi mountain shoes... when I'm not on my bike. I don't care how much they weigh.
 

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I had one of my road pedals break at one time, and I only had an old set of flats and running shoes to ride in for a bit. HUGE difference in how confident I was on the bike. Standing seemed so much more awkward. I definitely had to concentrate on the pedal stroke, as I my foot would fly off the pedal if I didn't think about what I was doing, especially if I settled into my normal 90-100 cadence. It was darn near impossible for me. Not that flat pedals can't be made to work, because they can if that's what you are used to.

It really sounds like you would greatly appreciate a double-sided MTB setup.
Yep, once rider gets used to being clipped in, hard to go back!

Here's another tried and true option. Use tennis shoes for commuting or errands, hard soled cycling shoes with old fashioned slotted cleats for get-down hard riding. Set the straps loose or tighten them at will. Technically, this is second to none in transferring energy from shoe to pedal. The contact area between shoe and pedal is spread out and more solid than SPD mountain bike scheme. Keirin racers in Japan still use toe clips and straps, as do some trackies simply because it works best for intense efforts.
 

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Has your foot ever slipped off the pedals? Usually happens when you're pushing pretty hard and I've almost crashed because of it.
With clipless pedals you can learn to bunny-hop over hazards like potholes. I've avoided crashing many times by hopping things that would have put me down if I hit them.

Once you get used to them you don't feel as safe when you're not clipped in. There is a feeling of security when you're locked onto the bike; you definitely have more control and the bike becomes more of an extension of your body.

When I first got clipless I practiced pulling up on the pedals and discovered a whole new set of leg muscles that you don't use at all when you only push down. When you perfect using all your muscles you can go faster and farther.

I use Crank Bros Candy pedals on all my bikes because they're easier to clip into than many others. They're double-sided so you don't even have to look at them to clip in. Metal Steel Silver Tool accessory Musical instrument accessory
Some mountain bike shoes have relatively small knobs and are easy to walk in.
 

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They make a huge difference, but I guess not to you. You obviously don't use any part of your pedal stroke except for the down part. Probably a habit you developed by cycling in normal shoes. Clipless shoes allow you to pull as well as push as well as cycling in full circular motion, always applying pressure. I use this feature all the time, non stop. You obviously don't.
Pulling Up On The Pedals. Right - Or Wrong? Part 1

Pulling Up On The Pedals. Right - Or Wrong?

It's Not About Pulling Up: Why Flat Pedals Work | Nourish Balance Thrive

Effect of pedaling technique on mechanical effectiveness and efficiency in cyclists. - PubMed - NCBI

Effects of pedal type and pull-up action during cycling. - PubMed - NCBI
 

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You obviously don't use any part of your pedal stroke except for the down part. Probably a habit you developed by cycling in normal shoes. Clipless shoes allow you to pull as well as push as well as cycling in full circular motion, always applying pressure. I use this feature all the time, non stop. You obviously don't.
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No you don't. No one does. Not even pro guys. At most, they unweight their pedals slightly more than the average rider on the upstroke during steady riding. Power is provided on the downstroke and that has been shown to be the most effective way of producing power anyway.

Accelerations and handling are places where being clipped in is a bonus, but no one is actually going around "pedaling circles" in the least.
 
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