Cycling Petal Buying Guide
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Cycling Petal Buying Guide

Why cycling pedals?

There’s no shying away from it, pedals are an essential part of your bicycle as either a method of transport or the key to exciting new adventures in performance and fun. They are the connection between you and your beloved machine. The following guideline help you find the suitable cycling petal.

Types

Basic Platform Pedals

Basic platform pedals are the most common type of pedals and are designed for any type of footwear, basic platform pedals are commonly found on kids' bikes as well as adult cruiser and comfort bikes. Rubber or hard plastic are the most frequently used materials for this type of pedal. The advantages are simple to use, no specialized footwear needed and there are nothing holding you to the bicycle. But there are no power transfer to the pedal on the upstroke and it is easy for feet to slip off pedals.

More advanced platform pedals

More advanced platform pedals are used on many mountain bikes, BMX bikes people use to get around town without the specialized features of road or touring bikes. These pedals feature an edge that often has "teeth" for better gripping power into the soles of your shoes, helping you keep your foot on the pedal.

Pedals with Toe Clips

Toe clips offered significant advantages over platform pedals because they allow the cyclist to drive the pedal during the full rotation, that is pulling up on the pedal as well as pushing down. Toe clips are an ideal choice for commuters who have frequent stops in traffic. However, there are still some minor loss of power. Toe clips cannot capture all of the energy the leg provides when moving through the pedal cycle even the cyclist can utilize their leg power to pull up on the pedal as well as push down when pedaling the bike

Hybrid Pedals

Hybrid pedals are flat on one side, meaning they are functional for just about any style of regular shoe. The other side of the pedal has the mechanism that allows a cyclist wanting to riding clipless to lock in their cleated bike shoe, giving them that much more power and efficiency in their pedal stroke.

Clipless Pedals

Clipless pedals are a system of specially made cleats and pedals. The cleats affix to the soles of the clipless riding shoes, which then clip into the pedals, creating a seamless system of power and comfort. This is why it is very important to choose shoes and pedals that work together. The system works by bolting the cleats to your cycling shoes and adding clipless pedals to your bicycle. Once you straddle the bicycle, step onto the pedals to click your feet into place. Your feet will be attached until you want to unclick them from the system. After you feet are locked into the pedal, you'll have more power throughout the pedal stroke and while accelerating and climbing. Clipless pedals also give you more control by letting you use your feet for maneuvers such as hopping pavement cracks, railroad tracks and more exciting obstacles if you're riding off road. Plus, because you can get in and out so quickly, you’re more apt to get your feet down and land safely should you need to dismount quickly.

There are two types of clipless pedal systems to choose from: the walkable clipless system and the road clipless system.

Walkable clipless systems

This is where the cleats are recessed back into the soles of the shoes. If you need to get off your bike to walk, then the cleats do not come in contact with the ground. Walkable clipless systems are great for tour riding, off-road riding, and commuting. Many of them utilize a double-sided pedal which means you can click into the pedal on either side so you don't have to look down to get your feet in. This also means that if you ride your bike with regular street shoes, you'll have a decent pedaling surface even though you're not using your special cleated cycling shoes.

Road clipness system

It is designed for maximum efficiency while road biking. Road shoes are lighter and stiffer than walkable models because the soles aren't lugged. The other difference in road clipless systems is that the cleats protrude from the soles of the shoes because the soles are so thin and light. This makes it difficult to walk in the shoes. Also, road systems usually are single-sided so you must find the correct side of the pedal to click in when you start out. Most road pedals hang a certain way to make this relatively easy.

Clip-in pedals

Clip-in pedals are made up of two main components. The pedal, attaches to your bike like a regular flat pedal and the cleat, which attaches to your shoe. A sprung mechanism allows you to clip your feet in and out of the pedals. Using clip-in pedals for the first time can be daunting but with a little practice you will soon become confident and start to concentrate on all the benefits of your new clip-in pedal system.

Flat pedals (Platform Bike Pedals)

Flat pedals are the most common style of pedal mainly due to their ease of use and practicality. They are however often overlooked for their performance qualities. Many downhill mountain bike riders often favour a flat pedal for the freedom and adaptability it provides. Flat pedals can be used with your normal shoes.

Touring pedals

A touring pedal offers the rider looking for the added power delivery of a clipless/clip-in pedal but the flexibility of a flat pedal the best of both worlds. If you’re looking to put the miles in but also have the ability to enjoy a stroll with the family or pop to the shops at the other end these are the option for you. These can be used both with and without a cycling specific shoe.

Pedal Toe Clips and Straps

Toe clips are small frames that attach to the front of platform pedals and surround your toes. They allow you to pull up with your foot in the pedal stroke as well as push down. With the addition of an adjustable strap that threads through the top and bottom of the clip, you have a basic retention system that is lightweight, affordable and durable.

Bike Pedal Features

Pedal float

When you step on a cleated bike pedal, the cleat locks into the pedal’s mechanism and is held firmly in place, allow your feet to pivot slightly as you pedal. Float is measured in degrees and is the amount by which the foot can move before releasing from the pedal. A few systems hold the foot at a fixed angle; others allow fixed amounts of float and a few allow customizable ranges of float such as zero-float. This largely becomes a personal preference as you become a more experienced rider.

Multiple-release cleats

Multiple-release cleats means that you can unclip from the pedal by turning your heel in any direction and popping out. The thinking goes that this is a better option for those new to SPD (Shimano Pedaling Dynamics), since they can get unclipped more easily in a pinch. The differences are subtle. The bottom line is that they do seem to be somewhat more forgiving than lateral-release cleats. Multiple-release cleats are typically sold separately from pedals.


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