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Hi everyone. Obviously, I'm relatively new to road biking to be asking this question. I currently ride with my local bike club...approx. 50-70 miles/week (30-50miles on Sundays and usually 20 miles on a weekday). Anyways, I have sinned and have only ridden with my addidas barricade tennis shoes :eek: :D !!! They are very comfortable and I don't have to worry about clipping in and out. Being able to walk around during our mid-point break is also nice. But, as I am getting a bit more serious about biking, I was looking into getting some true road biking pedals and shoes. It has been brought up to my attention by more than a few members that I would ride much faster and stronger with biking shoes and pedals.

So, my question is, would they make a "big" difference in my overall performance? And, what are good pedals. By good, I mean good quality and ease of clipping in and out. I was looking at the Ultegra Pd-6700 SPD SL pedals. Suggestions? Thanks.
 

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I don't think that cycling shoes make a huge difference in power output, at least initially, but over the course of a long ride, they can be much more comfortable. The pedal system will also stabilize your foot, so you don't slide forward on the pedal during a climb.

Unless you feel a strong need to fit in, a performance-oriented mountain bike shoe is fine. They have the same foot position as a road shoe, but with a little flexibility in the forefoot and a more walkable sole. True road shoes really suck to walk in.

I've been riding Speedplays on my road bike for years. They're not very walkable, but very nice to my knees. My mountain and 'cross bikes have Time ATACs, which are a mountain system. SPDs might be better for road use, though - it's a smaller pedal, with a narrower Q factor, and I think they're lighter.
 

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AndrwSwitch said:
I don't think that cycling shoes make a huge difference in power output, at least initially, but over the course of a long ride, they can be much more comfortable. The pedal system will also stabilize your foot, so you don't slide forward on the pedal during a climb.

Unless you feel a strong need to fit in, a performance-oriented mountain bike shoe is fine. They have the same foot position as a road shoe, but with a little flexibility in the forefoot and a more walkable sole. True road shoes really suck to walk in.

I've been riding Speedplays on my road bike for years. They're not very walkable, but very nice to my knees. My mountain and 'cross bikes have Time ATACs, which are a mountain system. SPDs might be better for road use, though - it's a smaller pedal, with a narrower Q factor, and I think they're lighter.
Thanks for the feedback. I honestly DO NOT have the urge to "fit in". Heck, I don't even sport a bike jersey at the moment either. I do wear comfortable road biking shorts and do use a comfortable pair of gloves.

Anyways, the mtn bike shoes you are referring to, do they require special pedals too?
 

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mountain bike pedals will require a special pedal that takes a mountain bike cleat.

Personally, i think that it is night and day between riding with regular shoes and cycling shoes. With clipless you become attached to the bike, no slipping off the pedal and hurting yourself, once you get the cleat position adjusted your foot automatically goes to the correct position and your whole shoe becomes the pedal so you get more support over your whole foot.

Ultegra pedals would work just fine, shoes aren't the best to walk in, mountain bike shoes are a bit easier. I like the feel of road shoes and pedals more than mountain personally.

If you do go clipless practice clipping out before you stop rolling, many people fall down by stopping with their foot still attached, spaz out and fall over.
 

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I also suggest the SPD's for starters. Look at something like the Shimano MO76 for a starter shoe, it looks like a road shoe but has the mountain sole which is easy to walk around in. As far as pedals, consider the Shimano A520, it is an SPD that looks like a road pedal.

After a while you can decide if you want to move to a road pedal, like the Speedplay, as mentioned and which I use or the Ultegra as you mentioned.

Get a jersey, not to fit in, but the pockets in the back are very useful.
 

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Having clipless pedals is a must. When I first started getting into biking, I was just like you, using my Nike Tour VI as the shoe for training. Though it was safe from not worrying clipping in/out, it was however uncomfortable. I would get hot spots near the ball of the footbed, sore knees from "mashing down" the pedals, inefficient pedaling which resulted depleting stamina. When I was climbing up a hill with my tennis shoes it took a lot of energy (100% effort on each stroke) to get up the grade. With Clipless pedals, using an antagonist motion (pulling up), it seems I can conserve my energy (by using 50-75% effort on each stroke) which I can go longer and faster.

Clipless pedals does save from that though. $80-$100 for the pedals and another $80-120 for the shoes themselves. But in the long run they are worth it. And since this is a beginners corner, I wouldnt bother getting sidi's or S-works performance shoes unless you really are going to keep them for years to come. IMO, they are expensive and cant justify the reason to own them unless you race. Just pick decent ones though with the locking mechanism since it will give you a good fit.

Also, when you get your clipless system, you will inevitably fall. Its downright embarrassing and also scary. You dont want to be seen crashing in 30mph on the road. So word of advice, keep practicing clipping in and out in a grassy area away from rough tarmac, and it will become a habit to unclip before making a complete stop or emergency brake.
 

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Cni2i said:
It has been brought up to my attention by more than a few members that I would ride much faster and stronger with biking shoes and pedals.
That's a common perception, but also a vast exaggeration. While the gains in speed exist, they're very small when measured with a stop watch. But as said by others, being attached to your pedals is safer, especially when riding out of the saddle or spinning your cranks at very high rpms. And on long rides, cycling shoes are simply more comfortable than shoes not designed for cycling. Go for the clipless.

For what it's worth: don't "pull up." It's not effective. Elite cyclist just push down, with the winning ones just pushing down harder. :)

/w
 

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I'm going to put a word in for Crank Bros eggbeaters. Easier IMO to clipped in than SPD which I used to have.

I'm using them with lightweight Mavic MTB shoes. And being curious I weighed them with cleats against my DMT road shoes with Campy cleats. They are 1g lighter.

Very comfortable and easy to walk in.
 

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Save the MTB pedals/shoes for the touring/mountain bike.

If you are road riding and will only have one pair then by the appropriate tool for the job the first time. Stick with the SPD-SLs and don't worry that the cleats will impede your walking, 99.9% of the time you wear these you will be clipped in and riding the other .1% is irrelevant.
 

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ewitz said:
Save the MTB pedals/shoes for the touring/mountain bike.

If you are road riding and will only have one pair then by the appropriate tool for the job the first time. Stick with the SPD-SLs and don't worry that the cleats will impede your walking, 99.9% of the time you wear these you will be clipped in and riding the other .1% is irrelevant.
+1 on this -- there's a reason why road pedals are different for mtn pedals. for most newbies, I'd agree that an MTB/SPD pedal is the way to go, but you seem to be riding a good bit more than a typical newbie. With longer rides, more platform helps distribute your weight across the pedal vs. a system that helps maintain pedal position.

While the effect on actual speed may be minimal, you'll certainly find yourself less fatigued and better connected to the bike. Whether you end up in mtn shoes/pedals or road shoes/pedals, you'll be happy you made the move. I've never met anyone who's gone clipless and decided to go back.
 

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IMHO clipless pedals are greatly overrated for the average recreational rider. Here’s an opinion you might be interested in reading:

http://www.rivbike.com/article/clothing/the_shoes_ruse

I have clipless on my road bike and platforms on my hybrid. I don’t feel comfortable standing on platforms, but otherwise there’s not a lot of difference. I generally don’t stand when I climb, so it doesn’t really matter to me. The drawback to clipless is that you can’t change the position on the pedal, which I sometimes like to do to reduce fatigue (just like changing hand position on the bars).

I find that a stiffer soled shoe will reduce foot fatigue on a longer ride. I have a pair of Specialized MTB shoes, which have a section on the sole that can be cut out to mount cleats. You can leave the sole intact if you just want a stiff sole to use on platforms. You can walk in them, but they’re stiff enough so that you wouldn’t want to walk far in them.

+1 on the Shimano A520 road touring SPD pedals. They have a good size platform to distribute the pressure, so you don’t need to go with the ultra stiff soles that you need with some of the road pedals.

Some people do go back from clipless. My sister in law does ironmans (full century and marathon), and got rid of the clipless pedals. She didn’t find any advantage, only risks to wrists and knees from not being able to unclip.

If you’re happy with sneakers, keep riding in them. You won’t go any faster with clipless.
 

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I can't speak to the performance advantage of clipless because I have platform pedals on both of my road bikes. I can say that comments about losing grip on platform pedals are a misnomer IME. I ride in tennis shoes in colder weather and Tevas in warmer weather. My feet have never slipped off a pedal unless I've wanted them to... even going uphill in the rain.
 

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Opus51569 said:
I can't speak to the performance advantage of clipless because I have platform pedals on both of my road bikes. I can say that comments about losing grip on platform pedals are a misnomer IME. I ride in tennis shoes in colder weather and Tevas in warmer weather. My feet have never slipped off a pedal unless I've wanted them to... even going uphill in the rain.
Do you have toe clips? those will serve the same function. If you don't, and it's true you've never slipped, then you're riding with more caution and spinning slower (especially standing) than you could with some kind of a pedal connection.

IME, there are two advantages to using some kind of cycling shoe with some kind of pedal connection. First, the stiff sole allows better power transmittal and less fatigue. I think that's undeniable. Second, the connection allows you to spin faster, push with more power at high rpm, and jump out of the saddle and otherwise change position more quickly without the worry of a foot slipping. Those all add up to a faster and more powerfull ride, and just as important, more fluidity and more fun.

Clipless pedals were a great advance over toeclips and straps only because they can be more convenient and more comfortable to use. You could get a very solid connection with straps, but you have to tighten them, which means reaching down to pull the strap when you start, and reaching down to loosen them to get out. And a really tight strap can be uncomfortable and interfere with circulation, resulting in numbness or pain. The no-hands operation of clipless eliminate those drawbacks.

The OP wants to be able to walk around, but would like to get the benefits of stiff soles and positive pedal connection. I think MTB shoes and spd-type pedals are a great way to go.
 

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I rode with toe clips for years and never touched the straps. They were loose enough to easily get in and out of, but would prevent me from slipping off the pedal. Remember, this is recreational riding, and not racing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tighten a strap while on the bike.

I agree that MTB / SPD is a great way to go if you’re doing mostly riding and a little walking. If you’re spending a lot of time off the bike then you’ll want good walking shoes with platforms (and maybe with clips).
 

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seacoaster said:
I rode with toe clips for years and never touched the straps. They were loose enough to easily get in and out of, but would prevent me from slipping off the pedal. Remember, this is recreational riding, and not racing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tighten a strap while on the bike.

I agree that MTB / SPD is a great way to go if you’re doing mostly riding and a little walking. If you’re spending a lot of time off the bike then you’ll want good walking shoes with platforms (and maybe with clips).
I've seen it lots, and done it myself many times. And not racing. When I wanted to go hard, spin fast, climb out of the saddle, I'd reach down and give those suckers a tug. It helped. It wasn't that hard, nor was reaching down to loosen it when stopping, though I did have the experience new clipless users dread, toppling over at a stoplight next to a line of cars with laughing drivers.

When I first started riding fixed-gear about 12 years ago, I went with clips and straps for a while. Getting in and out, and tightening and loosening the straps, without being able to coast, was a bit too much. Clipless is much better.

Another way he could go is Powergrip straps, which I've not used but have heard good things about.
 

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Most recreational riders don't need clipless pedals. But for those who use them never want to go back to pedals/clips or platforms and many wish they should have done this earlier.
 

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seacoaster said:
Maybe I missed it 'cuz I was always in the back of the group with the slow riders?:D
I was never up with the fast ones, believe me.

Did you ever ride with traditional road shoes with the cleat that slips over the back of the pedal cage? With those, you got a nice positive lock if you tightened the strap, but it was almost impossible to get out without loosening it. Made panic stops very exciting sometimes, as you needed both hands to brake and control the bike, but had to get a hand down to flip the buckle and yank that foot out before you fell over. Look made things so much easier.
 

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seacoaster said:
Some people do go back from clipless. My sister in law does ironmans (full century and marathon), and got rid of the clipless pedals. She didn’t find any advantage, only risks to wrists and knees from not being able to unclip.


is she hot? do you have a pic???
 

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I rode MTBs for several years before getting a road bike this year. Going clipless makes a huge difference IME and I would advise you to go for it. Choose the right tool for the job first time, ie road shoes and pedals for a road bike, otherwise you risk buying twice.

I have CandyBrothers Eggbeaters on my MTB and they are really easy to get in and out of but for my road bike I wanted a more solid connection and feel to avoid hotspots and ensure I can put as much power down as possible. I went with Shimano 105 pedals as they are excellent quality and only a fraction heavier than Ultegras for a fraction of the price.
 
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