clipless pedals?

  • Home
  • clipless pedals?
5 replies [Last post]
Anonymous's picture

After riding in toe-clips-and-straps for 30 years, I've been encouraged to switch to clipless pedals. I currently ride in shoes that can be retrofitted with cleats. (C-Sig ride leader Paul has the same shoes).

The handout that accompanied the Bike Fit Demo said that some shops have a machine that assists with foot rotation to get cleat alignment correct, otherwise knee trouble could result. Other sources claim that 'if you are locked onto the pedal at an incorrect angle etc, you can loose power or put added stress on your ankles, knees, hips and back.'

Question 1: what shop would you recommend has the expertise, equipment, and the patience to fit and adjust pedals and cleats - to my existing shoes? Or would I be just as well off to save money and time and buy pedals from

Question 2: which cleat/pedal system would you recommend, SPD, Look, Time?

Anonymous's picture
AliceBToeclips (not verified)

"If you choose pedals that have float, it's not critical to get the cleat ""perfectly"" aligned. Just set them up so your foot is in the same position as it is with your clips and straps, and if necessary, make minor adjustments from there.

I wouldn't bother getting a RAD fitting unless you're having problems. Even then, it's not a hard science, three different fitters might set you up three different ways.

Try them out and let your body tell you what works and what doesn't."

Anonymous's picture
Art (not verified)
Clipless Adjustment

"Marc, clipless pedals are the most significant improvement in cycling in the last 15 years. Once you get used to them, you'll never go back. (I rode toe clips/straps for almost 20 years.)

I don't think you'll need a shop to set you up. Best bet is to put the bike up in a trainer so you can experiment. The most critical thing is to get the ball of your foot directly over the pedal axle (otherwise you can strain your Achilles tendon). Make sure your feet are far enough ""outboard"" that your heal doesn't hit the crank. Definitely get pedals/cleats with float.

When you get the cleats adjusted just right, tighten them well. Then re-check tightness after the first couple of rides. I've seen the bolts loosen up on people when the shoes/cleats were new.

I like Look pedals, but SPD are easier to walk in.

Good luck,

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Question 2

There's no right or wrong answer, it's a matter of personal preference like so many other pieces of cycling gear.

LOOKs are very easy to use - the cleat is enormous, making it very easy to clip in and out but walking with them is an acquired, um, skill, for lack of a better word. TIMEs *seem* (never tried 'em) similar.

SPDs - smaller cleat, so the properties are reversed - more difficult to engage, occasionally difficult to release, but much more comfy for walking.

Then too, there are style and weight issues but you're on your own there ;^/

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
look pedals

"My last set of Look prdals came with two little gagets. They were a pair of rods with handles that have an rectangular cross section. You put the cleats on semi-tight and slip the rods into a small groove between the cleat and shoe. With the handles in one position you can move the cleat. With the handle in the other position, the cleat locks in place enough so that you can click out without loosing your cleat position.

You get on the bike and pedal with the handle in the loose position. This lets the cleat move around and find it's ""natural"" position. Then you flip the handles, click out, mark your cleat position, remove the gagets and tighten the cleats in place.

It helps to mark the cleat position using a white marker. When the cleats wear down and need replacing it makes it easy to position new ones."

Anonymous's picture
pedals (not verified)
a few suggestions

a few suggestions:

1. visit your favorite lbs and tell them you want to go clipless but want to try out look & spd's (or whatever's) on your bike on one of their trainers. promise to buy the pedals from them in exchange for their help. i did this and the shop (gotham) was happy to set me up on a trainer so that i could get the feel for how clipless works.

2. if you decide to go with look's, get the red cleats, the ones that float. float lets your knee position itself however it is comfortable during the pedaling circle. i understand that you can get black cleats that do not have float but i've never used these.

3. also if you decide to go with look's, get a pair of kool kovers (~$15). these cover the cleats so that you can walk a little better and also they cut down on wear & tear on the cleats from just walking around.

4. also if you decide to go with look's, if you have any pain in the knees, loosen the cleat retention bolts on the pedals until the pain stops. if the cleat retention is too stiff, you'll put twisting pressure on your knee when you clip out. i have mine loosened all the way, this is what it took for my knee to stop hurting.

5. on your first clipless ride, walk or take the subway to the nearest park or someplace out of traffic and practice clipping one foot in, starting, clipping the other foot in, slowing, balancing while clipped in, stopping, clipping out -- and very important -- panic stops. (don't forget to clip out!)

6. check that the cleats are tight on the shoe before every ride. it only takes a sec.

7. when it starts getting hard to unclip, you probably need a new pair of cleats. how long does this take? depends. i have 713 miles on one pair of red look's, 933 miles on another, your mileage may vary ...

as you migh have guessed i have only used look. i like 'em. as evan said, the cleat is big so it's a big target and so easy to clip in & out, i also like the huge amount of float.

cycling trips