Clipless pedal efficiency
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  1. #1

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    Clipless pedal efficiency

    I just took my first ride on clipless pedals and I immediatley noticed that I could pedal more efficiently. Does Anyone know about what % more efficient are clipless as opposed to regular pedals?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by UCLA_MCDbio
    I just took my first ride on clipless pedals and I immediatley noticed that I could pedal more efficiently. Does Anyone know about what % more efficient are clipless as opposed to regular pedals?

    I doubt that you could get a blanket definitive answer... and would probably require scientific test data to determine per individual...

    http://www.analyticcycling.com/Pedal...cept_Page.html

    ... regardless, for most folks, there is an overall tangible benefit to clipless over flats... and in many instances... toeclips.

  3. #3

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    Not very scientific but...

    Quote Originally Posted by UCLA_MCDbio
    I just took my first ride on clipless pedals and I immediatley noticed that I could pedal more efficiently. Does Anyone know about what % more efficient are clipless as opposed to regular pedals?
    the most important and wonderful thing I notice and love about clipless (compared to plain old flat) pedals is that my foot position is always exactly how I want it without thinking or working to maintain it...no sliding around & being in the wrong place.

    I wouldn't even attempt to quantify the differences between clipless & flat unless I were to swap them back and forth on the same bike but I bet the difference wouldn't be all that significant measuring, say, relative times over a measured course.

    You say you just started using clipless; have you taken your first zero-speed "oops I forgot to unclip" nosedive yet? I'm a bit thick so it took me TWO of those to get the message, fortunately onto the lawn both times. Embarrassing though, tough on the image.

  4. #4
    hi, I'm Larry
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    Not so much efficiency as more and different muscles are involved

    which spreads the work out and reduces the fatique level.

    You should continue to see more improvements as you strengthen new muscles and they adapt. Focus on turning smooth circles and putting power into the pedal all the way around the circle. You will put more power in on the down stroke but you should also be putting power in on the back, up and forward parts of the circle. Some think in power squares at first and then smooth it into circles once it becomes second nature.

    I grew up with rat trap pedals, clips w/straps and slotted cleats. Even these were not nearly as good as getting power into the pedals as the clipless pedals.

    I believe that clipless pedals and good shoes are the most important investment on the bike to improve speed and endurance. I know my shoes and clips are the biggest investments on mine. Top end shoes and cleats on a so so bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by UCLA_MCDbio
    I just took my first ride on clipless pedals and I immediatley noticed that I could pedal more efficiently. Does Anyone know about what % more efficient are clipless as opposed to regular pedals?

  5. #5
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    I don't know about this one.

    [QUOTE=
    I grew up with rat trap pedals, clips w/straps and slotted cleats. Even these were not nearly as good as getting power into the pedals as the clipless pedals.

    I also came up riding clips and straps. I feel every bit as fast, if fast is a word that I can use to describe my riding, when I ride with clips and straps on my fixie. My feet are attached just as well and I can push or pull against the pedal 360 degrees around so I don't know where any increase in mechanical or ergonomic advantage would come from.

    Clipless pedals are more comfortable and my toes stay warmer in cold weather, but I can't beieve they do more for my speed than lighter wheels or aero bars.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

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  7. #7
    Travels by Map
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    The single biggest difference between my 1980s Nishiki and 2004 Cannondale is the clipless pedals on the Cannondale as opposed to toe clips on the Nishiki. The STI shifters and lighter weight make a difference, too, but I feel like putting my clipless pedals on my old bike would garner the biggest improvement in my performance and comfort on that bike.

    Between the two bikes, I only notice the difference in the shifters when I need to shift, and only notice the weight difference when I'm accelerating or climbing. I notice the difference in the pedals constantly. Clipless are more comfortable, make me feel like I'm in better control of the bike, and definitely more efficient. If I made my toe clips tight enough to pull up on the pedals as hard as I do with the clipless pedals, then my feet would probably have no blood circulation.

  8. #8
    hi, I'm Larry
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    Wink No float with slotted cleats

    And I am a rider who needs a little float, even within a single rotation of the cranks, so the slotted cleats always caused some pain. The other thing is that unless you had the straps fully buckled they would slip loose under a lot of power and even if fully buckled there was always flex on the up stroke when I was putting a lot of power into the rotation. The third thing was the pedaling style. I always used the old school method of pedaling with the straps (toeing and mashing). I think pointing the toe up allowed you to get more power into the upstroke without pulling the strap loose and then it is tough to get a good smooth spin when you are toeing.

    The biggest real problem is the straps. If I kept them half buckled so I could get in and out of them at the lights, they would slip loose under a lot of power. So I learned to keep the power moderate on the upstroke. If I fully buckled them, then maybe they came close to the efficiency of modern cleats but you had to get creative and learn ways to prevent yourself from coming to a complete stop for too long. A lot of right turns, then a u turn while dodging a few cars and then another right turn so you did not have to stop at the light.

    If you think Arties on clipless pedals are embarassing, think about doing one with your feet fully strapped in and then having to struggle like a flipped over turtle or breached whale to reach over and unbuckle your foot so you can get out of the center of the Gosh Darn road. It's bad enough when drivers are yelling at you for no good reason but when they are yelling, laughing and honking at you while your on your side or even back in the middle of the road holding up traffic while you struggle to get your foot unbuckled, well I tell you, you just want to crawl in a hole and die.

    You may have a point on the aerobars (assuming your talking solo riding) but the light wheels making you noticably faster argument is worthy of another thread.

    [QUOTE=rusa1586][QUOTE=
    I grew up with rat trap pedals, clips w/straps and slotted cleats. Even these were not nearly as good as getting power into the pedals as the clipless pedals.

    I also came up riding clips and straps. I feel every bit as fast, if fast is a word that I can use to describe my riding, when I ride with clips and straps on my fixie. My feet are attached just as well and I can push or pull against the pedal 360 degrees around so I don't know where any increase in mechanical or ergonomic advantage would come from.

    Clipless pedals are more comfortable and my toes stay warmer in cold weather, but I can't beieve they do more for my speed than lighter wheels or aero bars.[/QUOTE]

  9. #9
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    Different strokes for different folks.

    [QUOTE=bimini]And I am a rider who needs a little float, even within a single rotation of the cranks, so the slotted cleats always caused some pain.

    I think pointing the toe up allowed you to get more power into the upstroke without pulling the strap loose and then it is tough to get a good smooth spin when you are toeing.

    I, on the other hand, use black Look cleats because pedals with float irritate my achilles tendons. I also get my heel below my toes at the bottom of my pedal stroke and it stays there most of the way up. Seems to work as well for me with clips and straps as it does with Look pedals.

    I don't take aero bars on group rides and will also pass on the lighter wheel discussion.
    We have nothing to lube but our chains.

  10. #10
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    clip vs. clipless...

    When clipless pedals came about, trackies still used toe straps to keep the shoe uppers from stretching when pulling up on the pedals. That's why today road shoes have straps going across the uppers instead of shoe laces, so you can pull up without breaking the shoe apart.

    A top of the line rat trap pedal used with a shoe firmly strapped to the pedal with a slotted cleat, can be just as efficient as a clipless system, more so if the clipless shoe flexes any. Without that pedal cage, you need a very stiff soled shoe to spread out the load and avoid a hot spot on the ball of the foot, not so much with the large area Look type platform, but definitely with the small SPD platform.

    The increase in efficiency felt going from only being able to push down on a platform pedal, to being able to lift weight off the pedals on the upstroke, is about the same with toe clips and straps as with clipless.

    The main thing is once the feet are attached to the pedals, you can pedal alot faster and develope a circular stroke, working the heart and lungs more and saving the leg muscles, which don't need to use the explosive force of the fast twitch muscle fibers, but work the slow twitch fibers, which use oxygen as fuel instead of glycogen. High cadence, "staying on top of the gear," is much more efficient than just pushing down on an unattached plaform. That requires some resistance (i.e. a big gear with low cadence) to keep the feet from slipping off the pedals.

  11. #11
    O2bfasterstrongerbetter
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    Track

    [QUOTE=Fredrico]When clipless pedals came about, trackies still used toe straps to keep the shoe uppers from stretching when pulling up on the pedals. That's why today road shoes have straps going across the uppers instead of shoe laces, so you can pull up without breaking the shoe apart.

    A top of the line rat trap pedal used with a shoe firmly strapped to the pedal with a slotted cleat, can be just as efficient as a clipless system, more so if the clipless shoe flexes any. Without that pedal cage, you need a very stiff soled shoe to spread out the load and avoid a hot spot on the ball of the foot, not so much with the large area Look type platform, but definitely with the small SPD platform.

    QUOTE]


    I must confess prior to posting this that I don't know jack about track.

    I noticed during the Olympic track coverage that for some events the riders are using these high end "clipped" platform style pedals and then for others they use clipless. I think maybe the shorter distance pursuits they used the "clipped" pedals? I could be wrong though.

    What's the deal with this?
    "Words are a heavy thing...they weigh you down. If birds talked, they couldn't fly." Sy Rosen and Christian Williams, Northern Exposure, On Your Own, 1992

  12. #12
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    Strength.

    Wasn't aware that trackies still use toe clips and straps on platform pedals for shorter events, where the emphasis is on explosive power. That seems to provide evidence that clipless systems still aren't manufactured strong enough for this exercise, also that wide area rat trap pedals are a more solid and efficient interface between feet and crank than clipless pedals.

    In manufacturers' headlong rush to shave off weight, strength is the first compromise.

  13. #13

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    I just got clipless a week and a half ago to replace my toe strap pedals.(Speedplay x-3. I got them because of the million deghrees of float for my bad knees.) I can see a big difference over toe strap pedals, probably 3 or 4 more mph average speed. I can see the diference from the bottom to the top. (I think what you call 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11,12 o'clock). Otherwise it makes hardly any difference. I can find that pedaling perfect circles is hard on the muscles even for just 1 mile because the muscles are different. It is also easier in the long run because you can use half the effort but keep the same speed. I have never tried the "rat cage" pedals but form the sound of them, they sound just as effecient as clipless.

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