What the heck is that?
You may be wondering if you're new to bicycling or a beginner. But you've heard this word many times from pro paddlers or bicyclists around you. And then you searched and landed on this article.
Worry not! All your wonders will be quenched and all your queries regarding clipless pedals shall be answered in this article.
Clipless pedals are among the most revolutionizing modern marvels when it comes to bicycle innovations and improvements.
Inspired from and engineered using skiing technology, clipless pedals offer unmatched secured connection to the foot and pedal, and at the same time provide almost instant freedom when you choose to engage and disengage your foot off of the pedal at your will.
Regardless whether you're a beginner cyclist or a pro-cyclist, whether you are a casual and recreational rider or a mountain bike rider and off-road daredevil, this innovative clipless pedal-shoe system would certainly give you the ultimate control, power, comfort, and safety.
What are Clipless Pedals?
Clipless pedals are a combined innovative system consisting of special pedals and cleats that are designed to "clip-in" with the specially designed clipless cycling shoes and the pedal. This means that you are going to need both the pedal as well as the special shoes to experience the clipless system.
Yes, it is a bit confusing and weird when you hear the term “Clipless Pedals” when you clip-in to them but that name comes from the fact that they superseded "toe-Clips and Strap" back in the 80s. Therefore clipless pedals are used just to differentiate the new clip-in system from the old strap base pedals.
How Does the Clipless Pedal System Work?
The way the clipless pedals and special shoes system work together is fairly simple.
Due to the firm and secure locking mechanism, you get more power on pedal stroke and better control. The almost instant get in and out at will, allows freedom of control and safety.
Who Are Clipless Pedals Meant for?
It may seem daunting at first to try out clipless pedals and get used to it. But that is with almost anything new. But once you learn the fairly easy lesson and get accustomed to clipless pedals, I assure you that you wouldn't want to go back with the old platform pedals or flat pedal bicycle anymore.
Regardless of whether you are just starting out learning to ride a bicycle or you're a professional cyclist, you would certainly enjoy and appreciate the smooth yet powerful and safe riding experience this clipless pedals-shoes system gives you.
This is certainly not cheap but if you’re a regular cyclist and would want to do this for a long time, then you wouldn’t regret the investment for sure.
Toe Clips and Straps vs Clipless
At the beginning of bicycles, there were only platform pedals which is a flat big area for the foot to rest on. As a result, cyclists have had trouble keeping the foot on the pedal as they cycle faster and faster over a long distance. It used to be troublesome back then when your foot slides off of the pedal. It was irritating and risky at the same time.
There comes an idea to fasten the foot with the pedal with clips and straps referred to as “Toe clips and straps”. That solved the problem for the time being, but it used to be uncomfortable for people with a fat foot if it was tightened too much but tightening was needed for securing the foot in place.
Also, it wasn't possible to release your foot off of the pedal instantly and at will. You needed to stop and unstrap the straps and clips which was not a viable solution as mountain bikers or any cyclist need to get in and out of the pedal at their will.
This lets innovators come up with the go-to clipless pedals for serious cyclists. It solves all the problems. The only thing required for you is to get accustomed to the new system and a bit of practice doodling is enough to get you on your way again.
Kinds of Clipless Pedals
There are mainly two main types of clipless pedals – road and off-road.
Isn't that something?
The off-road version is probably the most popular between the two as it is suitable for walking and hiking as well. They are often referred to as "Walkable clipless systems". They are designed in such a way the cleats don't get in the way of comfortable walking. They are tugged inside the sole. This, therefore, makes it ideal for off-road terrains as well as for normal cycling and touring.
Another good thing is that many models come with double-sided pedal meaning you would be able to clip-in from either side without even you having to look at the pedal.
The road version, as the name implies is designed for use on road bicycles facilitating smooth, efficient, and aerodynamic bike riding experience. The road version is also lighter and stiffer than the off-road counterpart. The cleats are out of the sole and thus rendering these shoes not so suitable for walking. Unlike the off-road version, most pedals for road versions are single-sided.
Float Mechanism Built-in Feature:
Most clipless pedal systems these days, are featured with float systems – float being how much you have to twist your heel to bail out of the clip.
Floats allow a few degrees of freedom for you to twist your heel slightly and find an optimum pedaling position. For road versions, the float is not too liberal, in other words very restricted so that your foot doesn’t slip off of the pedal too easily. However, for mountain or off-road version, there are a few degrees of float required as you need frequent foot engagement and disengagement with the pedal. It is for this reason, also very beginner-friendly.
Features and Benefits:
It is of no wonder that bikers and cyclists ranging from novice to pro all around the world are crazy about using clipless pedals. It has become the standard and to-go feature for most modern bicycles and mountain bikes.
Read More: How Many Lumens for Night Riding?