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Thread: Bike Fit and Clipless Pedals

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    I just switched out my clipless speedplay frogs for flats. The difference is tremendous.

    First - if you concerned about falling - you can generally adjust the clipless pedals to make them easy to unclip. SPDs you can adjust the tension., Speedplay frogs (which I love) have no tension and are so easy to get out of (they also have the most float, which is good for knees).

    Will clippless make you faster. I will disagree with some here and say YES clipless will make you faster. It is hard to quantify and I remember when I made my decision to switch - I struggled to find anything that resembled sound empirical evidence. That said, I think you can assume you will gain a gear. A big reason is efficiency. Your pedal is always clipped to your shoe on the downstroke and upstroke. But to me, more importantly, your foot is always in the right position. Hit a bump? Doesnt matter, your foot is always in the correct position. No fumbling. Also, while you could wear a stiff - I dont know - boot - with flats - clipless pedals go with stiff (at your preference) shoes which will transfer all your power into the crank. You gain a lot of efficiency by having that foot fixed to the pedal.

    Using flats my foot is bouncing all of the place. I am spending a lot of time repositioning. And in the wrong moment, my foot is now in the wrong position, flexing and not transferring full power into the crank.

    Another big difference is control of the bike. With clipless, you have four points of firm control of the bike - two hands, two feet. Clipped to the pedals, you can control the movement and balance of the bike. Hit a bump, and your bike will move with your feet - when you land - your bike will still be under you. With flats, its up to your hands. And your feet can do is pedal. But they dont contribute to control.

    Flats with pins are pretty cool. I prefer my speedplay frogs more than anything for the additional control of the bike they give me.
    Sounds like you need better pedals and better shoes.

    As someone who rides both clipped in and on flats, I feel ZERO difference in efficiency 90% of the time I am riding. The only difference I notice is on a REALLY steep hill. I have tested my speed clipped in versus flats, and it is exactly the same on pavement and gravel (I did this because I got tired of people telling me that I would be faster clipped in). I am faster on flats when mountain biking (this is for different reasons than pedal efficiency, though). My feet never leave the pedals unless I want them to and I can "pull" up similarly to what I would do with clipless (granted, it is more of a scooping motion than pulling up). Shoes made specifically for riding with flat pedals (think 5.10 style shoes) are just as stiff as most mountain bike clipless shoes. The exception, of course, being the ridiculously stiff XC race shoes that cost more than some folk's bikes.

    For the record, I ride Wellgo MG1's or MG5's (pedals) and FiveTen Freerider Pro's (shoes) on flats. I ride Time Allium or XC-8's (pedals) and Pearl Izumi Launch II's (shoes) clipped in.

    That being said... Everyone should ride what they feel most comfortable in. If clipless works best for you, then YAY! Ride clipless. If riding flats works best for you, then YAY! Ride flats. If you want to learn to use both efficiently and swap between them, then YAY! Ride both.

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  3. #42
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    I spent a little time riding flats (with pins) recently. I was riding with Five10 shoes. These really grip tight on flats. I probably would have needed to relearn how to bunnyhop logs, but my feet didn't move anywhere on those pedals without very explicit instruction. Like Sunyata, I didn't notice any difference in efficiency, but on a couple of hills forgot that I wasn't clipped in and pulled up on my foot. Generally riders, even the pros, do not generate any force pulling up, which is why I suggest they won't make you faster. Probably the exception is when springing -- or the steep, out-of-saddle climbing. But having your foot in the right place all the time is valuable. And I would be far more confident mountain biking clipped in.

    Also, dedicated road shoes can be very comfortable and light. My Five10 shoes are not comfortable for more than an hour ride, I decided.

    So there is a big spectrum here between the cheapo plastic flat pedals and sneakers to full-carbon road shoes with the 3-bolt cleats.

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    Where did you buy your Five Tens?

    Hozn which Five Tens do you have? Wood you buy again or diff model?

    Are there other shoes to look at?
    Last edited by rcannon100; 07-07-2017 at 02:56 PM.

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    Either pedals with pins or clipless, we're talking pedals with a pretty good amount of connection of rider to bike, which standard platform pedals lack. I had to start doing lots of core exercises because of a back condition a few years back, and I really came to appreciate how a strong core combined with a good connection of bike to rider really allows the rider to make the bike an extension of the rider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    Where did you buy your Five Tens?

    Hozn which Five Tens do you have? Wood you buy again or diff model?

    Are there other shoes to look at?
    I have the Five Ten Freerider model. The size 13 fits nicely (wide enough; I wear a Specialized 48 [in regular width, which is wider than many shoes]). But I probably would not buy then again since I don't ride with flats much (bought for unicycle) and the soles are really uncomfortable after awhile. I need to check if insoles can be replaced; that might fix them for me.

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    Do you recall where you bought them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rcannon100 View Post
    Do you recall where you bought them?
    Yeah, I got them on Jensonusa with one of their 20% off full-time item coupons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    I have the Five Ten Freerider model. The size 13 fits nicely (wide enough; I wear a Specialized 48 [in regular width, which is wider than many shoes]). But I probably would not buy then again since I don't ride with flats much (bought for unicycle) and the soles are really uncomfortable after awhile. I need to check if insoles can be replaced; that might fix them for me.
    Tossing another option out there for flat pedal oriented shoes - I used the Five Ten Freeriders off and on earlier this year. They were better and lasted longer than the various Chrome shoes I'd worn and worn out, but also became bothersome after a while (both in terms of length of ownership and. as others have said, on longer rides). For me, at least, I've had better luck/greater comfort with the Giro Jacket "skate-inspired mountain bike" shoes. Got them from Backcountry via Amazon.

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    You don't want your feet coming out in a sprint...


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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Yeah, I got them on Jensonusa with one of their 20% off full-time item coupons.
    Five Ten also has closeouts, a lot of them 50% off. I have the Impact Lows from a few years ago. The front of the shoe delaminated and came apart on today's ride. I heard the newer models have been improved.

    http://www.fiveten.com/us/closeouts/bike?___SID=U

    Your choice of platform pedals with pins can make a difference how well your feet stick to them. I have several Wellgo MG-1s, and a couple of Spank Spikes, the latter much grippier than the former. A friend let me try his RaceFace Atlas pedals for a ride, and hoo-boy, those are even crazier. You might want to wear shin guards with those.

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