Efficiency of Flat vs Clipless Pedals

Discussion in 'Mountain Bikes' started by Ron, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    Food for thought

     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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  3. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    Interesting! When I was a track racer, we did a similar test with power meters using clipless pedals vs old-fashioned toe clips. Slight advantage with clipless (toe clips straps were fastened down TIGHT). Riding a fixed gear at high RPMs requires being locked in, IMO.

    (Unrelated....does @Ron or anyone recall a crankset that “made” each leg pedal separately? In other words, turning one side didn’t turn the other, so pedaling required full effort from both legs....after using one in training, I was amazed at how much weaker my left leg was).

    I don’t see why recreational riders need clipless pedals, unless they just like the feel of them better. I use them out of habit, I guess. My complaint with my pedals is that the platform side without the cleat isn’t grippy enough.
     
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  4. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Tell me more! Ever since my ACL surgery, my "dominant" side's quad has been significantly smaller than my supposedly non-dominant side. I just can't get the dominant quad to recruit fully.
     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    tell me about it! since my hip was shut down for so long, my left quad is so much smaller. I still do pt stuff to get the muscles to recruit properly. Not much you can do but keep working at it and be mindful when peddling. Do extra strengthening on the weaker leg.
     
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  6. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    And @Monique ....it was so long ago, I can’t recall the name....but it is on the tip of my tongue!

    I’ll ask my bike shop guy. He will know. It was a big thing with track cyclists around here.

    @Ron, I too have difficulty with getting some of the muscles in my left leg to fire completely and have a bit of atrophy in my left quad.
     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    @Wendy I have a few Pt prescribed tricks that get my glutes to fire. At times skiing or riding, I have to stop and do them to get things to fire.
     
  8. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    Elaborate??
     
  9. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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  10. scott43

    scott43 Making fresh tracks Skier

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    It's really all personal preference I think. I personally can't stand riding without clipless. I get it though if you don't like it. I don't really think that any of us (or most of us anyway..) are really worried about 315w vs 310w. If you feel comfortable on flats, go for it. Will that extra 0.2% of power get you over that rock garden?? Maybe..but maybe platforms will give you the confidence to try. It's really like the bar-end debate..use what works for you.
     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    I switched over to flats after getting stuck in CB Mallet E's and I do enjoy the ability to dab and the added confidence they provide but I do miss the ability to have the foot setup on the pedal for efficiency and the occasional need to pull up (which is rare) I am tempted to throw a set of HS-56's on some 8020's and see how easy it is on the trail. I am on 9020's on my gravel bike and they are so easy to get into/out of even with hs-51's. I do agree there is very little lost power for 99% of my riding (that doesn't mean for all riders). I am just tired of getting injured, :)
     
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  12. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    Interesting. These guys are fun presenters.

    I was not convinced by their earlier lab experiment, but still interesting stuff to play with.

    I'd like to see one of these that incorporates a challenging three to five hour ride over real terrain somehow. In other words, I suspect that relatively small gains in efficiency are important over long hard efforts, but probably not over ten minutes.
     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    Agreed, this wasn't a mtn bike test but to your point, there could be some differences in the results. I can attest that when riding on XC terrain with a concave pedal with FIveTens, there really is very little loss in efficiency but there are gains due to the ability to charge a little harder with the ability to dab a foot or not worry about getting stuck. Now for me, most of that is due to not having good enough skills. I am sure riders with good skills don't have these same issues.
     
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    Ron

    Ron Making fresh tracks Pugski Ski Tester

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    for glute engagement the gold standard:

    Stand with the leg you need to work on in front (like you were doing a lunge). place the opposite foot behind you. lift that foot about 6" or even less and start to rapidly tap your toe. focus on supporting your weight on the glute (that isnt firing) but dont try to squeeze your butt or force the engagement . By only shifting the pressure and weight slowly and with light weighting, the glute should start to engage within a few seconds, once you can feel the glutes firing, slowly begin to increase the weight load to that side working from very short taps to a full weight once the glutes are fully engaged. Note: Your quad should not be engaging to support your weight. If this is happening, try moving your center of mass fore/aft.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2018
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  15. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    Have any of you tried one-legged averages?

    Roughly they go like this:

    Ride an hour at a relaxed pace, enough to get an average speed on your comp. Finish the hour near a flattish 1-2 mile section.

    Now, with only one leg clipped in, ride that mile while sustaining your average speed. Do NOT let the speed drop below your average. Turn around, ride back with the other leg.

    Most reasonably fit riders should be able to do that in the middle cogs. In the larger cogs, up-down posting will get severely punished. In the smaller cogs it will hammer the hamstrings - expect cramps.

    I have a set of Powercranks but herself never put the time in on the indoor trainer to get used to them enough to take them on the road.

    OLAs are much cheaper, require zero drivetrain work and no indoor build-up to outdoor riding.
     
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  16. Wendy

    Wendy Trying not to face plant Skier

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    I did that one-legged stuff back when I was competitive. It would do me good to build up to being able to do it again. These days, I ride my hard tail mountain bike most of the time.

    What are OLA’s?
     
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  17. cantunamunch

    cantunamunch Meh Skier

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    One Legged Average.

    You should still be able to hold an average easy pace riding one-legged in a middle cog, it's working up to smoothness in the large ones and strength in the small ones that is going to be tricky.
     
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  18. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    And now I realize why these won't work for me. You have to be in clipless pedals. (Also, I don't own a road bike - they irritate my knee for some reason, always have.)
     
  19. Tony S

    Tony S aka qcanoe Skier

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    QED
     
  20. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    Naw.

    Because my issue is quads - posterior chain is just fine - and pulling up is a posterior chain thing. (Right?)

    Anyway, if I'm trying to work my hamstrings on a ride, maybe that matters. As has been shown repeatedly, performance differences in clipless are pretty minimal compared to flats - and that's assuming someone has a good pedal stroke to begin with. My personal performance difference when approaching an obstacle is considerable, and flats win by a landslide. Then there's me watching a guy in cleated shoes trying to walk his bike up a rock section the other day. Pretty funny.
     

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