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What’s wrong with flat pedals on a road bike?

24

Comments

  • #2


    My wife bought a Liv Langma bike recently. The Shimano cranks had a warning sticker on it which said " this crankset must be fitted with pedals equipped with a Clipless system" or words to that effect. Not an issue for her, as she uses clipless pedals, but a strange one all the same.


  • #2


    07Lapierre wrote: »
    My wife bought a Liv Langma bike recently. The Shimano cranks had a warning sticker on it which said " this crankset must be fitted with pedals equipped with a Clipless system" or words to that effect. Not an issue for her, as she uses clipless pedals, but a strange one all the same.

    Wonder is it something to do with small frame sizes and a clipless pedal not allowing your toes to be too far forward in the event they catch the front wheel when turning?

    I've seen similar warnings relating to max tire sizes on some cx/gravel bikes as a clipping hazard.

    🚴‍♂️



  • #2


    I had Shimano Saint pedals on my road bike for a few years, savage pedals. Serious grip with the adjustable pins. Downside is they cut through my favourite pair of casual shoes...

    As long as the pedal has grip and isn't just plastic or a flat metal nub then I don't see an issue.

    I have double sided mountain bike pedals but the flat side has next to no grip and they're as heavy as the Saint pedals were. Apparently the newer model has pins though.

    That said I'm more comfortable with clipped pedals as I never slip off in the wet or on a bumpy road. I'm more confident pushing power through especially when out of the saddle.


  • #2


    No reason at all, do whatever you prefer. My preference is for clipless pedals for certain, having tried both extensively, but if you prefer flats then go for it.


  • #2


    Enfilade wrote: »
    Wonder is it something to do with small frame sizes and a clipless pedal not allowing your toes to be too far forward in the event they catch the front wheel when turning?

    I've seen similar warnings relating to max tire sizes on some cx/gravel bikes as a clipping hazard.

    That sounds plausible alright.


  • #2


    i wish clipless weren't called clipless cause its causes confusion doesn't it - i mean you clip into them don't ya?


  • #2


    listermint wrote: »
    It takes more effort to cycle the same speed and or distance . I found especially on inclines.

    Therefore it's a handicap . I'd rather expend less effort personally . But that's just me

    For long stretches of open road, I'd prefer to be clipped in. Anything that's stop / start, not so much particularly for the likes of corners on hills, e.g. turning right here. Main one for me is mixed on and off road, where I'd be a lot more confident attempting more awkward bits of off road on flat pedals. The couple of percent efficiency I wouldn't notice personally, but I don't cycle competitively and place a lot of value on comfort.

    I've tried combo flat/SPD pedals and they really are the worst of both worlds in my experience. Decent double sided platform SPDs like the M424 work fine as a flat pedal in anything but the thinnest sole shoes and don't leave you playing pedal roulette when you are clipping in.


  • #2


    I use spd pedals on my road bike. Handy to walk in when I get off the bike and easy to clip in and out.

    I am not interested in racing either, but I noticed a real benefit once I swapped from flat pedals on long spins. It is not about pulling up on the pedal and maximising power output, it is just that you don't have to think about keeping your foot on the pedal. You may not consciously notice it but you are keeping your "up" foot on the flat pedal so it is ready to push down on the down stroke. This takes only a tiny bit less effort when clipped in. But a "tiny bit" (to use the scientific term) less effort on every pedal revolution adds up over a 3/4 hour ride to being less tired at the end of it.

    Maybe that is all in my head and maybe it is just a placebo effect, but even if so - why not? It took me a few hours to get used to clipping in and more importantly to clipping out, but once that was done the benefits last forever.

    But as others have suggested - you do you. I will never shave my legs, but clipless pedals are well worth it imo.


  • #2


    It's your bike. Use whatever pedals you want. Wear whatever shoes you want. Go out and enjoy your cycle, and unless you're actually falling off the bike, don't mind anyone telling you "you're doing it wrong"


  • #2


    Im the same, Shimano XT 8000, by far my fav cycling accessory or after market addition or whatever you'd call it, they're the perfect way to give yourself the option of shooting down to the shops without having to change shoes, I tried every other well known pair before settling on them and they were all torture, like literally a flawed design that hurt your feet even the other Shimanos. Prices are flying up on them though, literally 100% increase on when I last bought a pair:

    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/ie/en/shimano-xt-t8000-spd-trekking-pedals/rp-prod156186?gs=1&sku=sku570233&utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=PLA+All+Products&utm_medium=base&gclid=Cj0KCQjwgtWDBhDZARIsADEKwgPUVTRI2KZxppCyeWaeDNTfFFes0JrnZHuSCxR4sHojkRRUxMHuPbEaAntMEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

    Ill be trying those Decathalon rip-offs next time I think.

    Cant believe that GCN video though, Ive never disagreed with them more. I wouldn't go near the Wicklow mountains without being clipped in, Id have to get off and walk just to get out of Enniskerry if I tried to do it on flats.


  • #2


    ARX wrote: »
    On my touring bike I have these Rose flat pedals with Salomon trail running shoes. The shoes have stiff soles compared to runners so they are comfortable for cycling all day. The pedals have cartridge bearings rather than cup & cone - there is probably about 20,000 km on them now and they are still running smoothly with hardly any play.

    Excellent, I’m sure I had similar on a Raleigh Chopper in the 70’s, I’m getting a set for my road bike!

    Thanks all for the varying opinions. I’ll keep an open mind on the potential benefits of clipless pedals but I’m going to give flats a try for a while. I’m struggling to get comfortable with clipless, happy enough that I won’t fall off (did that enough times many years ago), but also happy that I’m not going to slip off some good flats with decent soled shoes.

    Now where did I put those GAA shorts????


  • #2
    There's nothing wrong with it OP. I've got shimano MTB pedals on the gravel bike. It's just more versatile for me because ill often abandon the bike and walk for a bit.

    I also wear ould shítty new balance runners while cycling and just a plain black jogging tshirt. I know I'm a good cyclist and can tackle some insane hills no problem and cycle for hours.

    There's so many different styles and disciplines when it comes to cycling, so do whatever works for you and feels best.
    For me pedals are probably way down the list of whats important.

    But I know what you're saying regarding other cyclists. This is definitely one of the more snobby sports I participate in. Lots of sneering and fanatics galore.


  • #2


    Nothing wrong with flats. The only time clipless are really of benefit is climbing (with effort) or sprinting, at any other time, the difference is negligible if it even exists at all.

    Flats just look sh1t unless its a BMX or MTB but once you get over that hurdle, they are grand.


  • #2


    cletus wrote: »
    It's your bike. Use whatever pedals you want. Wear whatever shoes you want. Go out and enjoy your cycle, and unless you're actually falling off the bike, don't mind anyone telling you "you're doing it wrong"
    this man speaks the truth.



  • #2


    CramCycle wrote: »
    Nothing wrong with flats. The only time clipless are really of benefit is climbing (with effort) or sprinting, at any other time, the difference is negligible if it even exists at all.

    Flats just look sh1t unless its a BMX or MTB but once you get over that hurdle, they are grand.

    I have clipless on all my bikes, and on the rare occasion I use flats I find that cycling in the rain kind of sucks with them. Not having to put in any effort to make sure your feet don't slip off a flat pedal is a big plus in my opinion.


  • #2


    There’s certainly nothing wrong with flats and if you’ve been commuting on road bikes for 25 years as mentioned, then you certainly should have a good idea what works well for you. Clearly whatever works for you can’t be wrong. As a few have alluded to, flats are better for commuting in many people’s opinion. I find I’m a safer cyclist commuting with flats as I don’t try to avoid clipping out/putting foot down.

    I think though your question is more akin to “why do ‘road biking enthusiasts’ (leaving racing out completely) almost all use clipless pedals and why do some of them think it’s wrong to use flats”. If that’s the question then I think for the first part it’s likely that most will tell you it’s more comfortable and/or easier to apply consistent power over long distances with clipless pedals. My own view is that the fixed position is supportive and with the right set-up over time it facilitates you to build muscles needed for long distance endurance in your legs. The rigidity helps with the specialisation.

    For the second part of the question, why do some think flats are wrong, I think it’s a mixture of just going along with the accepted wisdom that clipless are better over long distances and also (but more rarely in my limited experience) the snobbery about “the rules” etc. For the last group it’s best to just ignore them. Almost nobody takes this seriously and if they do it’s not your issue.

    Still though, don’t be surprised if your choice would raise some eyebrows on a group ride (much like it would if you choose to wear those gaa shorts!) but almost nobody really cares so long as you are keeping pace safely.


  • #2


    Open toe clips with no straps are a good compromise, giving you ability to push forward and no issues clipping in and out.

    What I do


  • #2


    Recently bought a decent road bike as I enjoy short high intensity climbs of the hills in my locality(Up around viewpoint in South Dublin). I'd previously been doing this with a steel frame Surly cyclocross bike and I find it tough to get up to the top without stopping a couple of times. Anyway I've never used clipless pedals/shoes so I toyed with the idea of finally getting them. The bike shop fitted flat pedals for free when giving me the bike so while I was still thinking over clipless pedals/shoes I have done a few big spins with the flats. It's been several weeks now and I think I'm just going to stick with the flats. I'm not looking to get a KOM or cover long distances in as short amount of time as possible, I just enjoy cycling for fitness/weight loss so if flat pedals mean more effort then I guess that's a good thing for me. Who knows, I may still get them in future and realise what I've been missing out on all this time


  • #2


    I started using spd last year as I bought a decent bike, defy advanced 2 2020.
    I'd never go back to runners. It's better for your legs, hips etc, more power and you feel part of the bike.

    I have double sided spds. I fixed the bike the other day and took it around the estate in runners. When I was coming around the corner, I put power into the bike and my foot slipped on the pedal with my runners and I nearly snapped my ankle, never again.

    Anyone in runners still should give the spds a go. I can get off the bike and walk anywhere too which is good as my cycling shoes are as comfy as runners either way.


  • #2


    byrnem31 wrote: »
    I started using spd last year as I bought a decent bike, defy advanced 2 2020.
    I'd never go back to runners. It's better for your legs, hips etc, more power and you feel part of the bike.

    I have double sided spds. I fixed the bike the other day and took it around the estate in runners. When I was coming around the corner, I put power into the bike and my foot slipped on the pedal with my runners and I nearly snapped my ankle, never again.

    Anyone in runners still should give the spds a go. I can get off the bike and walk anywhere too which is good as my cycling shoes are as comfy as runners either way.

    Agree with feeling more like part of the bike, not so sure about clipped in being better for your legs, hips, etc... Being able to change foot position on a long ride has its advantages much like being able change hand position on the bars. If you're using pinned pedals slipping, or even small unwanted foot movement, doesn't appear to be an issue. Longest I've done after changing from years of SPDs to flats last summer was a hilly 120k and I didn't notice much difference. Hopefully doing longer this summer.

    If I was cycling exclusively on the road without much stop start for lights, I'd probably prefer clipless. Same if I was in a group trying to maximise efficiency or struggling in any way to keep pace. That doesn't really describe the larger part of my cycling so I'll stay with flats for now. Until the n+1 dedicated road only bike arrives of course :)


  • #2


    byrnem31 wrote: »
    I have double sided spds. I fixed the bike the other day and took it around the estate in runners. When I was coming around the corner, I put power into the bike and my foot slipped on the pedal with my runners and I nearly snapped my ankle, never again.
    But you were wearing runners with spd pedals? Of course that's not going to end well.


  • #2


    But you were wearing runners with spd pedals? Of course that's not going to end well.

    They are double sided. Spd on one side and standard foot pedals on the the other.


  • #2


    fwiw I doubt any one in a leisure group spin would even be looking. Use what you're most comfortable.

    The longer I cycle, the "rules" like Velominati push really does damage to the perceived accessibility of the sport. And actually damages the professional sport in some ways (we must be the only sport that buying and wearing a replica jersey is a bad thing!).

    My n=1, I much prefer being clipped in - it "feels" more efficient for me. On my road bike I generally use SPD-SL, but in winter the last two years I've swapped to spd, as I have spd boots for gravelling. The last few weeks, I've swapped between them on the same bike, on the same within 5km roads. I though spring had sprung, so swapped, and then we were back to winter. I really notice the bigger platform and stiffer sole on my road shoes.

    It is so much less hassle to walk in recessed SPD's though! And you can buy those velosambas!
    smacl wrote: »
    I've tried combo flat/SPD pedals and they really are the worst of both worlds in my experience. Decent double sided platform SPDs like the M424 work fine as a flat pedal in anything but the thinnest sole shoes and don't leave you playing pedal roulette when you are clipping in.
    That's my experience having gone on a spin on my brothers commuter with combo pedals. Trying to clip in to the flat side.

    Certainly in the context of "nipping to shop", I'm fine on the top of SPD-SL's, and SPD (both platform and non-platform). You can get covers for spd-sl that clip in to the pedal to effectively make them flat too.


  • #2


    smacl wrote: »
    Agree with feeling more like part of the bike, not so sure about clipped in being better for your legs, hips, etc... Being able to change foot position on a long ride has its advantages much like being able change hand position on the bars. If you're using pinned pedals slipping, or even small unwanted foot movement, doesn't appear to be an issue. Longest I've done after changing from years of SPDs to flats last summer was a hilly 120k and I didn't notice much difference. Hopefully doing longer this summer.

    If I was cycling exclusively on the road without much stop start for lights, I'd probably prefer clipless. Same if I was in a group trying to maximise efficiency or struggling in any way to keep pace. That doesn't really describe the larger part of my cycling so I'll stay with flats for now. Until the n+1 dedicated road only bike arrives of course :)
    On long rides I find the flats more comfortable for the reason you describe cause you can move around. With clipless I would think I had them set up perfectly but after 60k or so I would get uncomfortable and tight, and sometimes a "hotspot" on my foot.

    Although after 6 months off the bike and the "lockdown stone" I won't be doing 60k+ for a while :(

    Only downside I have found to the pins is that on one occasion I caught my calf somehow on them and got a bad scratch. Although I won't be winning any cyclist purest points, I wear baggy mountain biking 3/4 shorts on my road and touring bikes.

    Friend of mine crashed into a ditch before and reckons if he were not clipped in he could have bailed, but I dunno how realistic leaping off a bike is tbf.


  • #2


    Enfilade wrote: »
    I ride studded mtb flats on my road bike these days. A few others here do too.

    How do you find them on a longer spin like say 70-100km?

    I have dual sided pedals from shimano, flat one side and clipless the other.

    The flats have pins alright but I wouldn’t say they’re the grippiest. They’re good but I they’re not a patch on clipless.

    Great for going to the shop etc without having to change the pedals though as the odd bit off roading where I don’t trust being clipless.


  • #2


    Macy0161 wrote: »
    The longer I cycle, the "rules" like Velominati push really does damage to the perceived accessibility of the sport.
    anyone who takes 'the rules' as anything other than a bit of fun is probably going to be insufferable anyway, regardless of 'the rules'


  • #2


    Macy0161 wrote: »
    The longer I cycle, the "rules" like Velominati push really does damage to the perceived accessibility of the sport. And actually damages the professional sport in some ways (we must be the only sport that buying and wearing a replica jersey is a bad thing!).
    anyone who takes 'the rules' as anything other than a bit of fun is probably going to be insufferable anyway, regardless of 'the rules'

    Funny thing is some people take them very seriously. I read an interview with the guy who maintains the website (someone linked from this forum). He actually came across quite well, it is all a bit of fun seemed to be his view on it.


  • #2


    I always* got the impression that the rules were more serious than not, or at the very least, they were a joke created off the back of something much more serious.

    Like, even though they overstate the fact, they're based around the idea that people out cycling bikes genuinely think like that.


    *Always being the last two or so years since I was made aware of the bloody things


  • #2


    cletus wrote: »
    I always got the impression that the rules were more serious than not, or at the very least, they were a joke created off the back of something much more serious.

    Like, even though they overstate the fact, they're based around the idea that people out cycling bikes genuinely think like that.
    I think that's the joke or satire anyway, the guy in the interview from memory followed the rules but seemed to be very much of the impression that it was a personal choice and once you were out enjoying your bike ride, it really didn't matter. It is making fun of those who do comment on others, and there is at least one in every club. I remember one guy calling for us all to have matching socks to go on club spins, and to this day I still think he meant it.


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