Clip in Bike Pedals
Clip in bike pedals, also called clipless pedals, are used to provide a better foot-to-pedal connection. At BikeExchange, you'll find all types of clipless pedals suited for mountain bikes (MTB), road bikes, racing bikes, and commuting bikes. These lightweight bike pedals will help you improve your cycling technique and provide a lift in power.
Clipless and clip in pedals are slightly confusing terms, but the meanings will become clear if you know the origin. Clipless refers to the toe clips that were common for keeping your foot on the pedals. Clip-in pedals are named more for the sound they make when you are locked into position. Both clip in and clipless pedals are used, and when you ask for either one, people in the cycling world will know what you mean.
There are two main types of clipless pedals: a three-bolt system usually used for road cycling and a two-bolt system often used in mountain biking or areas of loose terrain (mud, sand, etc.). Clip in bike pedals are used with cycling shoes, and you'll need to attach the cleats to your shoe sole.
What are clip in bike pedals?
When you're talking about a set of clip in bike pedals, there are two common types: road pedals and mountain bike (MTB) pedals. The main difference between these two types of pedals is that road bike pedals use a three-bolt system, and the MTB pedals are a two-bolt system.
Three-bolt system clip in pedals
The three-bolt pedals are mainly used during road riding. These pedals use a large plastic cleat, and it is attached to your shoes with three bolts. As the cleat will only fit into the pedal from one direction, you need to make sure the pedal is positioned correctly before you clip in. Because these pedals use a larger cleat, it provides more stability, power, and performance.
Two-bolt system clip in pedals
The two-bolt system is often referred to as the MTB clip in pedals, and these are commonly used in mountain biking when using commuter bikes and touring events. The system works similarly to the three-bolt system, but it uses a much smaller cleat and attaches to your shoe using two bolts.
One of the benefits of the two bolt system is that they can be attached on either side of the pedal, making it much easier to clip in. As the cleats are considerably smaller than the three-bolt system, it is possible to recess them into your shoe, and that makes it easier to walk around when you're not riding.
What are the benefits of clip in bike pedals?
There are several benefits to using a pair of clip in bike pedals. Most riders start out using flat pedals, and then they may use toe clips. Clip in pedals are the next stage of pedals for serious riders, and you'll find these will improve your efficiency, speed, and comfort.
Because clip in pedals optimise your foot-to-pedal connection, more of your energy makes its way to your pedal stroke, thereby delivering good cadence and minimising your chances of your foot slipping. Clip in pedals also allow you to push on the downstroke, but they allow for pulling on the upstroke, which aids in providing consistent power during each rotation. This type of pedalling is not achievable with standard toe clips unless you're strapped in very tightly, which can be uncomfortable and unsafe.
With MTB clip in pedals, you'll find they offer better control when you need to pull your bike off the ground or when executing bunnyhops. The clips are easily detached when you dab to take a tight corner or avoid crashing.
How to clip in bike pedals?
Although cleats and pedals are not interchangeable between brands, the way you clip into your pedals is essentially the same. To clip into the pedals, slide the front of the cleat under the catch and then press down hard. You'll know when the cleat is attached as you'll hear (and feel) it clip in. To release your foot, twist your ankle sideways.
When you start using cleats and clip in bike pedals, it may feel uncomfortable, but as you get used to it, you'll notice the positive changes it makes to your ride. Keep practising clicking in and out of the pedals until you can do it consistently. Many riders find that leaning against a wall will give adequate support if they need some assistance.
When riding in urban areas where you may need to stop at lights, it is best to unclip from your pedals as you approach.
Clip in bike pedals will take a short amount of time to get used to, and many riders find they fall over at least a few times, so don't worry if it happens to you, it's somewhat of a rite of passage!