How much to gained by going clipless

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by doyler78, 16 Nov 2007.

  1. doyler78

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    I have a pair spesh bg sport mtb shoes and shimano pd m-324 pedals. I have had hip, knee and ankle probs and some physio and few exercises they have given has given me more flexibility in my foot (basically I couldn't clip out normally ie by moving my foot outwards - can now on right - still probs on left side however have multi-release cleats so can clip out by moving foot inwards).

    I ride a spesh sirrus comp, which is a flat bar road bike for those that haven't a clue. Basically how much more speed will I get out moving to clipless. Currently do 17-18mph average on my commute and get thumped by pensioners on bikes ;)

    Next question then is how much can I expect to gain from then adding in a proper road bike with drops (one in the £800-£1000 range).

    Assume no other conditions change other than being clipped in and then clipped and on a road bike.
  2. Membrane

    Membrane New Member

    None by itself. To get a speed advantage out of clipless pedals you need to radically change your pedalling technique, this is not easy and it takes time. I'm not aware of a reliable study of the efficiency advantage they can provide. I've seen claims of ~30%, I'd say that this is over estimated. My guess based on my own experience would be ~10%.

    Note that there are other advantages to using clipless pedals which could be considered more important such as no risk of loosing your footing on a bumpy descent.

    If that is really your average (as in you've progressed 18 miles after 1 hour) then it is a very respectable speed for a commute (I'm assuming that your commute involves having to negotiate busy traffic).

    Compared to your current Sirrus, very little if any difference. To get any advantage you'd have to achieve a more aerodynamic position than you are currently using on the Sirrus. This means that you should get down into the drops, I'd say that this is not a good position for a city commute.
  3. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    I was a reluctant convert to clipless. Basically I was given a pair of road shoes & Look pedals. Now I use clipless I will not willingly go back to using 'ordinary' pedals. Clipless is just soooooo much smoother and sooooo much easier. Because the foot is attached, as well as pushing down on the pedal, your foot pulls the pedal on the upstroke, so for me, the amount of extra speed I got for the same 'ooomph' was *noticeable* This makes a real difference going up hills. Hills made easier! Also better acceleration on the flat. Then my shin pain disappeared overnight. Using 'ordinary' pedals I had semi-permanent pains in my shins (from all that pushing the pedals). Switched to clipless and 'voila!' pain gone from shins.

    Similarly, I was a reluctant convert to drops - now I much prefer them - especially on longer journeys where drops give a much greater range of hand positions than flat bars - so less fatigue. I have a flat-barred bike (hybrid) and two with drops (tourer & racer). I haven't used my flat-barred bike at all since I got the bikes with drop bars.
  4. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    I loved clipless from the off, it takes the pedal.foot join out of the equation and person can concentrate on their legs

    bike shop told me 30%, of what I'm not sure, perhaps efficiency between foot and pedal in that you're not shifting your feet all the time

    18mph average is very good for commuting, I like to think that I cruise at 20mph give or take, but my 12.5 miles takes me up tp an hour, courtesy of endless red lights and gridlocked traffic

    I'm dithering between full on roadie or something like the sirrus or even another hybrid, are you happy with drops in rush hour traffic waffly?
  5. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    middle of Norfolk
    Yes. Drops are fine - you don't have to be right down on the drops if you don't want to be and there's just a greater range of hand positions for comfort. Drops/traffic - not an issue Clipless/traffic - not an issue. I simply haven't used my flat-barred bike since I got bikes with drop handlebars.
  6. domtyler

    domtyler Über Member

    I commute with clipless pedals and drop handlebars without any problems. Like most things in life, you just get used to doing things in a particular way. Having said that there are undeniable advantages to both these, clipless, safer - I have had my foot come off the pedal while pulling away from lights in the wet using clips and straps, that was terrifying and don't really want to repeat that. Drops obviously give a big advantage when riding into strong wind and/or downhill.
  7. Fab Foodie

    Fab Foodie hanging-on in quiet desperation ...

    Clipless pedals and drop-bars are great as described in the posts above. Just make going, further, faster and more comfortably a lot easier!
    Noprobs with either in traffic, just practice with the clipless somewhere quiet first!
  8. OP

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    Thanks all. Seems that there is definitely a good advantage in terms of speed just from riding clipless once you get the new pedalling dynamic sorted and then more to be saved if I go drop barred especially given my commute (below). Even 10% for clipped alone would take give me nearly 2mph more - that's huge for me as when I started cycling my average was about 15.5mph so that is about equivalent to my increase in 3 years of cycling.

    Just to clarify with regards to my speed. Most of my journey (about 80%) of my journey is on non urban roads and even in the urban sections if it is direct commute from work to home, thus avoiding the run into Belfast City Centre as it is most of the time at the minute, the traffic is pretty free anyway just traffic lights to worry about. The speed is calculated on time spent riding - ie the hrm stops calculating when I stop at lights (auto start/stop) but very little time actually spent stopped anyway.

    I know my speed isn't awful but I do notice when I get a grey haired guy on a bike just sail past me as I am panting along ;) Naturally he's all clipped in and down on the drops so had me wondering hence the question (and he's probably been cycling for about 50 or more years whereas I am only in my third year and the first too were on good days only and when there was daylight xx( or that's what I am telling myself)

    My problem now that I am convinced is to get the cleats setup properly as my problems on the left side will not permit anything other than a perfect setup however nowhere in Northern Ireland offers the Bike Fitting with cleat fitting so have to do this through experimentation however with my problems on the left side this carries risks that I may see a flare up of the old injuries. Also my seat height is perfect for riding flat pedals however with raised platform of a cleated shoe presumably I will need to raise my saddle a little?

    How easy will it be tell on the bike that these aren't setup right or will it be that this will only be apparent afterwards when the damage is done ie is like doing weights when you will feel it a couple days after the session rather than anything immediately.

    Any tips for getting these almost perfect to start with?
  9. John the Monkey

    John the Monkey Frivolous Cyclist

    FWIW, I ride a drop bar bike on my commute too. My saddle/bar height differential isn't as extreme as I've seen some people favour, but I do ride on the drops 90% of the time - certainly do-able for commuting, and you can always ride on the hoods if you feel you need a higher viewpoint.
  10. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    thanks for that

    one last concern, can the wheels take the endless bumps and pot holes?, I'm riding at a tad over 15 stone at the moment and I'd be carrying a heftyish pannier a couple of times a week

    what width tyres do you go with too?
  11. buddha

    buddha Veteran

    Strangely enough, I went back to using clipless this morning, after a year of using flatties (shimano DX30's - which have pins sticking out of them). And TBH I didn't notice any difference. Except from the near comedy topple when I forgot to unclip at a traffic light, but somehow managed to stay upright!
    I did try the pulling on the upward stroke thing but finished my usual 'hilly' loop in the same time:wacko:. Though I will persevere.
  12. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    Drops and clipless are excellent, they have big advantages for commuting over flat bars and pedals. OK, perhaps not over a short distance, but anything over perhaps 3-5 miles and I wouldn't want to be riding without drops and clipless.
  13. OP

    doyler78 Well-Known Member

    Co Down, Ireland
    That was my thinking. As I do a minimum of 14 1/2 miles each way on my commute I was thinking that drops would give me some better protection from the wind. At present I am just a sitting target for it. Combined with the clipless which offers me efficiency's without even having to do any extra work (once you get the technique done) then its win, win.

    Anybody any reasons not to go drops and clipless (that might be useful to know).
  14. Slim

    Slim Über Member

    Plough Lane
    The 28's that come with the bike seem fine for me.

    FWIW - I also have a Spesh Sirrus Comp and a dodgy left ankle which means I kick my heel inwards. I also weigh the same as a 15 stone rider plus at least one full pannier.;)

    I've also just got a pair of road shoes with stiff soles and they seem to make a difference too.

  15. To add my two penny.

    I have a Sirrus also (Sports 06) and I converted it to clipless a while ago it was great, whether phycological or not ? it helped my average and as people have said Ive never looked back. At the start of the summer I got a road bike with drops (we had a summer !). IMO my Sirrus is faster on the flat (with no wind) due to the higher gearing than the compact on my dropped bar but over a longer distance the dropped bar well out performs it. Its easier to sustain a higher average for longer.
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