More recently clipless pedal systems have become popular with a cycle shoe having an attached cleat upon the sole or rather underneath the sole! The cleat engages into the pedal and locks the rider into position. There are a number of different variations and manufacturers of pedal systems but effectively they all work in the same way.
Clipless pedals have varying degrees of movement ( called float) to allow the rider some lateral adjustment in position taking account that we are not all built the same and each of our bodies bio mechanical is not exactly similar.
What are the benefits of clipless pedals ?
The benefit of the clipless pedal system is in economy. The movement of the foot is controlled and therefor there is no energy wasted trying to hold the foot in position on or around the pedal as the feet are secure. Less energy wasted on foot movement translates to more energy available to create rotational force which ultimately means forward momentum through the drive train.
Making the move to a clipless pedal system in my view is a good move, however, during events and also during bike fittings at Doctor Sprocket’s I am encountering shorter distance Tri-athletes opting for flat pedals and trainers. There is possibly some minor advantage to this in a sprint distance triathlon but opinion is divided.
One thing that is agreed by everyone who has gone clipless is to take your time and learn to use them in a controlled environment. Somewhere quiet and away from traffic! Cleats can be initially difficult to engage on the first half dozen times. This is generally due to the cleat not being visible when looking at your feet and it is pretty much guess work to find the cleat and the hole it fits in first time! I promise you it does come soon enough and muscle memory will do the rest.
If you are struggling to clip in or out we recommend Look Keo easy pedals and cleats which we have found to be as they say ‘Easy’ to get in and out of. If you have a full bike fitting at Doctor Sprocke’s we are always happy to show you some good techniques to help clipping in and releasing your cleats.. There are easy ways to do it !
Universally it is agreed that if you are riding with a pedal and cleat system it needs to be set up correctly. The most important factor is injury prevention. If you imagine a 90 rpm Ironman triathlete doing a 6 hour bike leg rotates each leg 32,500 times it’s not hard to see how injuries can occur by repetative movment if your cleats are adjusted wrongly.
There is an optimum position underfoot that gives the most efficient power transfer and an optimum position of the shoe in realiton to your rotational movement to prevent injury to the joints, tendons and ligaments involved in pedalling. We spend a good protion of your bike fitting on shoes and cleats and it’s not surprising…If you get this bit wrong it effects everything else on the bike and with your body movement.
A full cleat fitting is included in your bike fitting price.