Guided and Self-Guided
Mountain Biking and Walking Holidays
How to Choose Clipless bike pedals
Riding a bike with clip-in pedals offers the cyclist greater efficiency as power is maintained on the upward stroke and stability on the bike is maximised. A natural progression from a toeclip/strap system, clipless pedals are lighter, safer and easier to use, once well practised in the art of clipping in and out of the pedals.
There is a huge choice of bike pedals available but it is important to first understand the basic difference between road and mountain bike clip-in pedals.
Clipless Pedals for Road Cycling
Most keen road cyclists use single-sided clip-in pedals. Invented by Look in 1984 from ski binding technology, this type of pedal has a large shoe contact area and requires wide cleats for quick engagement and most efficient pedalling.
Weight saving is key for a road racer so a one sided design is lighter, but as the cleat protrudes from the shoe, this type of pedal is not suitable for mountain biking where riders sometimes have to walk over rough terrain.
Mountain Bike Clipless Pedals
A large proportion of regular mountain bikers use Shimano's SPD (Shimano Pedalling Dynamics) system. With a simple axle and retention mechanism and a dual-sided action, SPD pedals operate with a small cleat recessed into the bike shoe allowing the rider to walk around with ease when not on the bike. They have a smaller contact area than a road pedal and some people find them uncomfortable especially if wearing flexible, trail-friendly hiking-type shoes.
Key Points to Consider when Buying Clipless Bike Pedals
Main Clipless Pedal Bike Brands
Shimano, Crank Brothers, Look, Time ATAC and Speedplay are the key brands to consider in the market. Shimano and Look are the leaders in MTB and road cycling respectively. Crank Brothers are a niche brand offering the innovative egg beater, loved by off road riders due to an open mud resistant design. Time ATAC is the brand to consider for knee problems with its lateral, angular float capability versus the more rigid grip of the Shimano system.
Cost of Clipless Bike Pedals
Entry level pedals start from around €30 ($40)and prices rise above €300 ($400) for top of the range titanium or carbon racing pedals. The average cyclist can happily learn with an entry-level pedal then upgrade to a sturdier model once confidence grows. Whichever model is chosen, clipless pedals are a worthwhile investment for any keen cyclist looking for greater pedalling efficiency. Just be sure to check shoe and pedal compatibility before purchase.
Clipless mountain bike pedals for beginners. Discusses the available options for mountain bikers.
How to ride with clipless pedals. Gives a few pointers on safe practice ideas before commiting to the trail in clipless pedals.
Site created by: Alistair J Smeaton.