Pedals, cleats, toe-clips and more
Systems for keeping your foot on the pedal :)
Pictures to be added.
- Pedals with a rubberized grip, symmetric (bottom/top): This works well for city bikes, easy to get onto, and off of.
- Cage pedals: Using nothing but the cage the annoyance is that usually only one side feels nice to ride on, and has enough grip. The pedals usually don't sit in a preferred position (as with toe-clips, see further on) which means you must look and turn the pedal the right way up.
- Cage pedals with toe-clip: The weight of the toe-clip makes the pedal go almost upside down. The way to get into the pedal is then to stick your foot in one pedal, start riding with your foot on the bottom of the other pedal, then turn that with a flick of your foot such that you can slide your foot into the toe-clip. I used this method for many years, it's quite useful, secure, for almost any situation.
- Cage pedals with power grips:
Supposedly better/easier than toe clips. After using it for a while I could feel there was pressure on my knee joints. This is logical, as you must turn your foot to tighten the strap, but that means a force is being generated the other way. It's hard to get your foot in the right way and I didn't like the feeling I got in my knees so this is a poor alternative to toe-clips.
- Click system for shoes that you can walk fairly normally with: SPD pedals: These are available in 2 variants, dual side SPD or one side SPD, the other side a cage pedal. The disadvantage of the cage/SPD pedals is that you must rotate the pedal in a direction dependent on which type of shoes you are wearing. Dual SPD pedals are for mountainbiking or road biking (though other systems with bigger cleats are better for use on a roadbike) and mean you can't ride easily on that bike with normal shoes, but you can walk if needed with those special shoes, which is useful for when you encounter a section where you must step off the bike, and thus this system was intended for mountainbikes. I like to use my bikes with bicycle shoes and normal shoes, so I would choose cage/SPD. As to being able to walk normally on shoes with SPD cleats: Not quite, there's always some grinding on tiles as they are almost flush or stick out slightly from the rubber. A problem I had lots of times is that the bolts can get loose or they get stuck from rust and it's almost impossible to remove them without destroying something. I'd like to see bigger diameter bolts.
- Click systems with large cleats: For road bikes there's no real alternative for most people, though I found cage pedals + toe clips work just as well for me.
Do click systems or toe-clips help you go faster by pulling on the pedals?
My experiences say no, unless you put a lot of effort into training your pulling muscles. Try this for a while: Ride on your bike only by pulling up. You will almost certainly not be able to go fast nor do it for a long time, without getting an uncomfortable feeling in your legs. I've seen some results of measurements that show it's not much of an advantage even for professional cyclists. Another consideration is that you will not even have any advantage at all if your leg muscles are more developed than your lungs...
In my view click systems are mainly useful in transferring power effectively, and in feeling secure, but not in providing more power and thus going faster because of pulling. Note that pulling is also possible with toe-clips...
Last modified: Tue Apr 2 07:23:10 CEST 2013