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Recumbents Don’t Want Clip-in Pedals- Who Knew? – BionicOldGuy

First let me clear up a terminology concern. What I name clip-in pedals are often referred to as “clipless”. This odd time period is do distinguish them from old-school pedals with toe clips and straps. “Clipless” have a cleat on the underside of the shoe that hooks right into a mechanism on the pedal. I’ll maintain calling them “clip-in” pedals as a result of I believe it describes their operate higher.

Driving with clip-in pedals. Doesn’t it appear to be the foot would slip proper off if it wasn’t hooked up to the pedal one way or the other?

I at all times assumed recumbents want clip-in pedals as a result of your ft are protruding entrance, so the load of your legs would trigger you to slide off the pedals. There are professionals and cons to utilizing clip-ins, on any bike.

The largest professional of clip-ins is that they’ll make your pedaling extra environment friendly. The largest con is it’s good to clip out to place your foot down. Many people, when first making an attempt them out, have had an embarrassing gradual pace crash attributable to not getting a foot out in time. The scenario is worse on recumbents, that are wobbly at gradual speeds, plus your foot has an extended method to journey to get it to the bottom when stopping. On a current experience I had one of many gradual pace crashes as a result of I misplaced my momentum doing a hairpin activate a pedestrian overpass, and didn’t get my foot out in time.

I’ve been using ‘bents on and off for nearly 20 years and it by no means occurred to me to see if I actually need clip-ins. Then I observed on final Sunday’s experience with my recumbent group that a lot of the different riders weren’t utilizing them. So, earlier than yesterday’s experience, I swapped out my pedals for flat mountain pedals.

Some mountain bikers additionally don’t like clip-ins as a result of they’re extra prone to have to put a foot down when encountering sudden obstacles. However additionally they nonetheless need a very grippy pedal so their ft don’t slide round. Flat (additionally referred to as “platform”) mountain pedals are a compromise that addresses this drawback.

Shimano SPD clip-in pedals (left), and mountain pedals put in on my ‘bent (proper)

I received within the behavior of utilizing flat mountain pedals on my uprights as a result of I usually go on mixture bike/hikes the place I’m dismounting extra usually, and likewise wish to put on strolling footwear that are extra comfy mountaineering with than biking footwear with cleats. So I attempted this mixture on my recumbent. And it really works nice! I spent a morning fortunately cruising round, stopping and restarting, and doing hairpin turns. So far as pedaling effectivity, there was no noticeable distinction. And there’s no signal of an inclination in your foot to slide off the pedal. This will likely be my arrange of alternative sooner or later.

Clip-ins and Pedal Effectivity

I believe this concern is a bit overblown, at the least for leisure riders. For racing, after all you need any marginal acquire you will get. However on my upright bike I’ve a pair of pedals which might be flat on one facet (with a grippy floor like a flat mountain pedal) and clip-in on the others. I ought to time myself on the identical route with this bike, with common footwear vs. clip-in bike footwear. I’ve in contrast them qualitatively and observed little distinction. I’ve completed group rides each methods and don’t have any extra hassle maintaining with the common footwear vs. biking footwear. If I ever do one thing aggressive like a time trial I’ll positively use my clip-in bike footwear, however for leisure using, the flat pedals are nice for me.

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