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

First let me clear up a terminology difficulty. What I name clip-in pedals are normally 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 feel it describes their operate higher.

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

I all the time 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 execs and cons to utilizing clip-ins, on any bike.

The largest professional of clip-ins is that they will make your pedaling extra environment friendly. The largest con is you should clip out to place your foot down. Many people, when first attempting them out, have had an embarrassing sluggish velocity crash attributable to not getting a foot out in time. The state of affairs is worse on recumbents, that are wobbly at sluggish speeds, plus your foot has an extended solution to journey to get it to the bottom when stopping. On a latest journey I had one of many sluggish velocity 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 really want clip-ins. Then I observed on final Sunday’s journey with my recumbent group that many of the different riders weren’t utilizing them. So, earlier than yesterday’s journey, 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 typically go on mixture bike/hikes the place I’m dismounting extra typically, and in addition prefer to put on strolling footwear that are extra snug climbing with than biking footwear with cleats. So I attempted this mix 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 a bent in your foot to slide off the pedal. This shall be my arrange of selection sooner or later.

Clip-ins and Pedal Effectivity

I feel this difficulty is a bit overblown, no less than for leisure riders. For racing, in fact you need any marginal acquire you may get. However on my upright bike I’ve a pair of pedals which are 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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