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I am getting ready to buy my first serious road bike, and I have been doing some research on pedals/shoes. I am not at all interested in racing, but am interested in touring, commuting, and recreational riding so I am going to want shoes that can be walked in comfortably. Given this, the consensus seems to be that I need MTB-style SPD shoes and pedals.

OTOH, I would like to occassionally do longer rides, and if I do start doing some serious touring I will probably be doing some long pedaling sessions. Based on what I read, SPD shoes may cause hot-spots or other forms of pedaling discomfort during long rides.

Finally, in the interest of both fitness and reducing driving, I try to run most of my errands now on my bicycle. Currently I have a hybridized MTB with platform pedals that I use for errands, but I would like to be able to run errands on any road bike I buy too. It seems to me that the key to actually integrating a bicycle into my normal daily life is to make it as convenient as possible. Clipping on a helmet and slipping on gloves is easy enough, but if I have to change into special shoes just to get on the bicycle the end result is that I will probably ride less. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that sometimes my errands require unique shoes of their own; for example, I referee soccer games and I need to wear soccer cleats for that. I don't want to have to carry an extra pair of shoes to the soccer pitch and then change when I get there.

Given all of this, the more I think about it the more I think that good old fashioned clip-style pedals are the way to go. I can wear almost any kind of shoe and still get greater pedaling efficiency than with platforms.

Is there some significant disadvantage to clips that I'm not considering? Sure, they may not be cool but so what? I am not a cool person. Clipless pedals aren't going to change that. But people seem to be so anti-clip these days that it makes me wonder if there's actually a legitimate reason.
 

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NeoRetroGrouch
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undies said:
I am getting ready to buy my first serious road bike, and I have been doing some research on pedals/shoes. I am not at all interested in racing, but am interested in touring, commuting, and recreational riding so I am going to want shoes that can be walked in comfortably. Given this, the consensus seems to be that I need MTB-style SPD shoes and pedals.

OTOH, I would like to occassionally do longer rides, and if I do start doing some serious touring I will probably be doing some long pedaling sessions. Based on what I read, SPD shoes may cause hot-spots or other forms of pedaling discomfort during long rides.

Finally, in the interest of both fitness and reducing driving, I try to run most of my errands now on my bicycle. Currently I have a hybridized MTB with platform pedals that I use for errands, but I would like to be able to run errands on any road bike I buy too. It seems to me that the key to actually integrating a bicycle into my normal daily life is to make it as convenient as possible. Clipping on a helmet and slipping on gloves is easy enough, but if I have to change into special shoes just to get on the bicycle the end result is that I will probably ride less. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that sometimes my errands require unique shoes of their own; for example, I referee soccer games and I need to wear soccer cleats for that. I don't want to have to carry an extra pair of shoes to the soccer pitch and then change when I get there.

Given all of this, the more I think about it the more I think that good old fashioned clip-style pedals are the way to go. I can wear almost any kind of shoe and still get greater pedaling efficiency than with platforms.

Is there some significant disadvantage to clips that I'm not considering? Sure, they may not be cool but so what? I am not a cool person. Clipless pedals aren't going to change that. But people seem to be so anti-clip these days that it makes me wonder if there's actually a legitimate reason.
Your never going to get you soccer cleats in clips-n-straps.

The biggest reason to use clipless is pedalling efficiency. You can also get nearly the same effect with clips and straps, but you have to pull the strap tight. This means that you have to have time to reach down and loosen the strap before you stop and can put your foot down.

TF
 

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Dual purpose?

Standard pedals with toeclips and straps will work fine for your casual riding. They may be a bit of a disadvantage on those "long pedaling sessions", since you'll probably want cycling-specific rigid-soled shoes, and it's no longer easy to find shoes that take the old-fashioned cleats used with traditional pedals.

On the road bike that I use for longer rides I have clipless pedals (Look), but on my commuter bike, which I use for running errands as well as commuting, I use a dual-sided dual-purpose pedal, of which several brands are made (mine are cheapies from Nashbar). One side has a SPD-type mechanism, surrounded by a cage like a traditional pedal (which seems to avoid the hot-spot problem), and on the other side it's just a conventional pedal.

For my commute or longer rides I use MTB shoes with the recessed cleat (and I think they work well enough that I could use them for touring or whatever). On "around town" rides I can wear any kind of shoes and use the other side of the pedals -- sneakers, dress shoes, etc. (I don't have soccer cleats, but I'm sure they'd work, too). I think it's the perfect compromise. If I didn't already have the Look pedals and racing-type shoes I think I could happily live with this setup on all my bikes.

Here are some examples:

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?...and=&sku=16874&storetype=&estoreid=&pagename=

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/profile.cfm?SKU=13207&subcategory_ID=5240#

http://www.touringcyclist.com/gear/model_8283.html

I applaud you for making the effort to integrate cycling into daily life. Any bike ride, no matter how ordinary the scenery or mundane the destination, is better than a drive in traffic. Happy spinning.
 

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Keep your errands bike for errands, and keep your good bike for the nice stuff. You want pedal efficiency when doing serious touring and ease of change when running errands, don't try to mix them because you will end up with some half arsed solution. Clipless and Lycra for fun, platforms and shorts for the rest. Trust me on this one.
 

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you might consider powergrips. nashbar has them(with pedals). I currently ride clips&straps, look clipless, and powergrips. I like them all. the powergrips are kind of in bw clips&straps and clipless.
 

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Have a nice day
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Discussion Starter #6
rogger said:
Keep your errands bike for errands, and keep your good bike for the nice stuff.
The problem is that I want to be able to convert my mountain bike back into a mountain bike, and use my road bike as my new errand runner.

Perhaps the multi-purpose pedals like JCavilia mentioned are the way I should go. I can't see myself going fully to road shoes/pedals in the near future because if I'm touring I am surely going to want to walk around once in a while. I'm surprised there aren't more middle-ground products available that cater to usage like this.

I don't know why I didn't think about the clearance problems with clips and soccer cleats, but that's a great point.

Thanks for the great feedback folks!
 

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JeeZUZZ, leave the guy alone. Toe clips are fine

After several years' experimentation with three different pedal systems, I'm back to toe clips and straps for probably 90 percent of my riding, including three centuries and I don't know how many hours-long training rides last year, plus all my mountain biking. I've given the details here too many times to bore everybody again, but I've swapped pedals, attachments and shoes many times among three road bikes (Atlantis, Rambouillet and an old Trek) plus my MB. At least at my (recreational) level, there's no measurable difference in speed, perceived exertion, fatigue or anything else I can think of.
I switched back four or five years ago because I wear size 15 shoes (really hard to find if you don't want to spend $225 for Sidis) and I got a great deal on four pairs of old-school (pre-clipless) touring and MB shoes. I planned to use them for commuting and Starbuck's runs, but when I rode in them, I realized that they worked fine and I've been using them ever since.
I'm not saying DON'T use clipless; a lot of people think they're great. But I like to be able to walk around, the shoes are really comfortable and they don't seem to hurt anything, so why not ?
 

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Cory said:
After several years' experimentation with three different pedal systems, I'm back to toe clips and straps for probably 90 percent of my riding, including three centuries and I don't know how many hours-long training rides last year, plus all my mountain biking. I've given the details here too many times to bore everybody again, but I've swapped pedals, attachments and shoes many times among three road bikes (Atlantis, Rambouillet and an old Trek) plus my MB. At least at my (recreational) level, there's no measurable difference in speed, perceived exertion, fatigue or anything else I can think of.
I switched back four or five years ago because I wear size 15 shoes (really hard to find if you don't want to spend $225 for Sidis) and I got a great deal on four pairs of old-school (pre-clipless) touring and MB shoes. I planned to use them for commuting and Starbuck's runs, but when I rode in them, I realized that they worked fine and I've been using them ever since.
I'm not saying DON'T use clipless; a lot of people think they're great. But I like to be able to walk around, the shoes are really comfortable and they don't seem to hurt anything, so why not ?
I agree. For me, clipless pedals are just more comfortable.
 

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"Sure, they may not be cool but so what?"

Who says they're not cool?

The only big advantage I see to clipless pedals is that some of them, like my X-series Speedplays are quicker on and off than clipped pedals which is not only more convenient but is also a big safety factor. But these are certainly not made for walking.

I think clips and straps are way cool!

Al
 

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Why not clips and straps?

I use clips and straps on performance MTB comp pedals on my fixie. I can use the clips side or the other side depending traffic. And I can ride in any shoes I want. If I scrape up a $5 set of clips, so what.

TT
 

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make the dive into clipless pedals and some shoes.
get SPDs

ask the bike shop for the insert to use street shoes in SPD pedals. Its a cheep throw away item they shouldn't charge you for. Its so someone can easily try a bike without the right shoe/pedal combo. This will be great for your commuting. You'll also love that with the SPDs you can leave that in (unless you take corners really hard) while you use your clipless shoes. It also comes out really easy, just like the shoe, with a twist.

I think you'll love the ease, and the price is right!
 

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I have dura ace pedals and specialized carbon comp road shoes. I had blisters when I broke the shoes in on a century - but have no had a problem since.

I use good SmartWool socks from REI. Lowcut. They even have a cycling version.. Your feet won't get overheated or cold (Okay - below 50 you still need shoe covers).
Don't get the super thin ones that you can buy at performancebike. Thats what I
had used when I had those blisters.



undies said:
OTOH, I would like to occassionally do longer rides, and if I do start doing some serious touring I will probably be doing some long pedaling sessions. Based on what I read, SPD shoes may cause hot-spots or other forms of pedaling discomfort during long rides.
 

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To actually get anything out of clips + straps, you need a stiff-soled, old-style cycling shoe and tightly cinched straps. Those cycling shoes, BTW, actually had a little plastic cleat...

Either get an MTB pedal like eggbeaters or Frogs, which don't have to cause hotspots, or just use platforms.

What WILL hurt your feet pedalling hard for a 2-hour training ride in flexy sneakers.
 

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"To actually get anything out of clips + straps, you need a stiff-soled, old-style cycling shoe..."

This like many other replies this is but one opinion, and not undisputed fact.

I have clip & strap system on one bike and clip-ins on my other bike.
I did replace the starp with thick zip ties, tightened as snug as possible.
I wear sneakers with velcro not laces, so getting in and out is much easier
even though it is a tight fit. When the ties stretch a bit I just tighten them down.
This has worked very well for me over the last year.

I prefer the toe clip & strap system for long rides, because they are more
comfortable. After a year of going back and forth, there is no difference
for me in the efficiency of my own riding. I also had to remove the insoles,
put in a gel pad and a foam pad in each shoe to tolerate the stiff and uncomfortable
feeling of the cycling shoes. Not everyone has a perfect foot shape and can fit
into a shoe designed for the masses.

It is going to be vastly different for every person, what is good for one
may not be as good or good at all for another. Unfortunately, many
people fail to realize that aspect of the issue on any question posted.

I say figure out what will work or works best for you, and that will be the way to
go. If your not comfortable, your rides whether commutes or recreational,
will be laborious and not fun and/or enjoyable. Then what would be the point.

Never, ever, let anyone make you feel like less of a bike rider because you
don't have or utilize the latest, fanciest, so-called most efficient, best, etc...
equipment. What you should do, is use the equipment that you like, can afford,
and suits you best as a cyclist, period. When someone suggests
you buy the "unobtanium widget" or product X, Y, or whatever because "it's the best!"
Say to them...great, so when are you going to buy it for me? :)
 

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I rode in clips and cages for 35 years and can't imagine why it took me so long to make the switch. I have fallen more times trying unsuccessfully to get my feet out of cages, I hate to even think. Mtb shoees and spd pedals are perfection compared to the old stuff -- I'll never go back! I ride 30-60 miles regularly with the occaisional 60-75 miles or century thrown in and have not experienced hot spots of other problems.until my shoes start to wear out after about 5,000 miles the soles tend to soften up and any foot pain tells me time for new shoes or a new stiffer sole insert to distribute any pressure.
 

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There's no true right answer here, but I think you'll find very few folks who have experienced both who would recommend toe clips.

With toe clips, if you have them tight enough to be meaningful, you WILL fall more than in clipless pedals. You just will. The risk will increase if you just want to wear a sneaker or other soft-soled comfort shoe, which--with straps adequately tightened--will compress and stick to the pedal. And if you are going to need to wear a slick-soled road shoe to maximize the benefit of your setup, then why not go clipless.

An SPD-style setup does not mean hotspots for longer rides. There are plenty of carbon-soled SPD-compatible shoes. Stiff yet walkable on any surface.

I would neither wear toe clips nor recommend them to anyone. In terms of pedaling efficiency and comfort, they do neither well.
 

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Religious and historical arguments aside, dfleck's suggestion is the direction you want to be looking.

For a bit more cost (~$15), you can find the sort of insert thing dfleck is talking about that does include a decent platform and straps, and that will take whatever sort of cleat your pedal likes. It's a toss-up to say whether these are converting street shoes to clipless, or clipless pedals to straps, but either way you are well connected to your pedals in street shoes, and you can still wear the 'real' bike shoes for the big dedicated rides. Here are a couple of examples:

Look style: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=details&sku=PD1121
spd-style: http://aebike.com/page.cfm?PageID=30&action=details&sku=PD1126

Really, avoid normal pedals and straps for soccer cleats. If you can get in, you won't be able to get out - at least not with straps tight enough to be doing much good. And this highlights the main drawback to clips and straps. For maximum efficiency, you want the ball of your foot fairly glued to the axle. Even when used with matching cycling shoes and cleats, straps still allow your foot to move up and down more than the pedal does, wasting energy. The only way around it is to cinch them down really tight, which is uncomfortable and makes getting back out next to impossible. Both entry/exit and efficiency are hindered by street shoes. Clipless pedals and shoes allow a firm connection and reasonable comfort, as well as the ability to easily escape. But for casual riding, it doesn't make enough difference to matter.
 
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