I am somewhat new to road bikes and I just accepted the pedals that the dealer sold with the bicycle. But I am wondering about the different types of pedals that are available. Why are there so many types- for different riding styles, different performance, different manufacturers make there own type to sell pedals? Or some other reason? What type do you use, have you had others, which do you like?
Bicycles just arent what they used to be. No more 60 psi Giant Chain tubes cemented on 27 inch metal clad wood rims and standard or racing ‘trap’ pedals. It was just after Christmas when a SA with a Very NEW Balloon tire bike met me head on, on purpose thinking he could do to my old second hand rebuit bike, like maybe it would give up the ghost. Unfortunately for him the thin metal rim for the tube type balloon tire folded up like a pretzel. He walked and I rode home none the worse for the encounter.
Very roughly speaking, there are 3 types of pedals:
[li]Platform pedals. Just plain old pedals, with no mechanism for holding your feet in place. (According to Sheldon Brown, this is an incorrect use of the term, but I think it’s standard now.)[/li][li]Platform pedals with toe clips. These hold your feet in place, so you pedal fast without having to worry about your feet slippint off the pedals. You can also pull on it to some extent.[/li][li]Clipless pedals. “Clipless” as in, they hold your feet in place without the use of toe clips. Metal cleats are bolted to the shoes, and these lock onto the pedals. They are easier to get in/out of than toe clips. Most serious cyclists today use clipless pedals.[/li][/ol]
Clipless pedals are further divided into two groups:
[li]MTB pedals. Used with MTB cycling shoes. The cleat is usually small and recessed in the sole, and the sole is not as rigid as road bike shoes, so it’s possible to walk around in them. [/li][li]Road pedals. These use enormous cleats that are almost impossible to walk on, but are more rigid and more efficient.[/li][/ul]
IMO, MTB shoes are much more practical even for riding road bikes. Road pedals are for actual racing (or actual racers, at least).
There are many brands and designs for each type of clipless pedals, with a wide range of prices and features. One feature I personally consider important is “free float”; that means the shoe angle isn’t locked, but is free to move. This insures that the leg isn’t twisted at an unnatural angle.
Also, there are hybrid platform / clipless pedals - that is what I have on my bike.
(Trek 520 touring bike)
I use the clipless for “serious riding”, and the platform when I just need to run to the library or something. The clips I have are SPD
My shoes have a recess for the clips, so they are somewhat walking friendly
This statement is so very true.
All of the posers out there don’t want to be seen with anything other than road pedals and consequently, the very impractical racing shoes. If you are going to get on a road bike and stay there until you are ready to take off your shoes for the day, then fine. Otherwise, if you are going to stop for any reason (traffic lights?), or do any walking, then get an MTB shoe with recessed cleats and a heel that is walkable.
Hint: Nobody was going to mistake you for Lance Armstong anyway.
Moved to IMHO where you can get informed opinions.