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Selecting the Right Bike Pedals: Clipless, Toe Clips, and Platform

These days, bike pedals come in various styles, shapes, and sizes. But despite their differences, they are all designed for the same function – to keep you efficiently riding forward. In this article, we’ll discuss 3 popular types of pedals, clipless, toe clips, and platform. Each has its own pros and cons. So whether you plan on riding a Banff cycling tour, going rocky mountain cycling on your own, or anything in between, this article will help you choose the best pedals to meet your cycling goals!

Toe Clips Over Clipless Bike Pedals?

Toe clips or clipless? There’s often a lot of confusion associated with these pedals and how their names came to be. Here’s a sidenote on toe clips versus clipless pedals. When a network of straps and toe cages was created for bike pedals, it was called “toe clips.” This method was the best system for fastening feet to bike pedals for a long time. Then, in the 80s, another pedal appeared where cleats clipped into the pedals. However, they weren’t just “toe clips.” So, the term “clipless” started. If you opt for toe clips or clipless pedals, you can get plenty of pedalling energy because you’re using the power produced from pulling up and pushing down the legs. This process doubles your pedalling power (relative to flat pedals), increasing your travel efficiency—particularly if you’re climbing hills.

Toe Clips

Toe clips refer to the system of plastic straps and cages designed to fasten to a specific type of flat platform pedal. These small frames attach to the front end of the platform pedals, surrounding your toes. Most of these pedals come with an adaptable strap that threads through the bottom and top of the clip (this engulfs the ball of your foot), providing you with a lightweight and durable retention setup.

Clipless Pedals

When first beginning to ride with clipless pedals, the restrictive feeling may be a little awkward. However, you’ll soon see that this form of security provides better efficiency and stability that you’ll learn to depend on and appreciate. There are various options with clipless pedals, but the functionality is always the same: to make you more efficient by delivering a more satisfying foot-to-pedal relationship and safer by providing almost immediate foot entry/release.

Platform Pedals

Great for beginners or casual riders, platform pedals are your basic bicycle pedal. Also referred to as flat pedals, these cycling devices provide a broad, solid surface and are typically found on mountain bikes, kids’ bikes, cruiser bikes, and more. Its flat design allows you to move without the concern of needing to unclip a bike shoe. Platform pedals are a staple for reliability. Are you traversing a mountain pathway or doing a long-distance Jasper to Banff bike ride? Platform pedals are an undemanding and trouble-free option you can consistently depend on for many types of biking excursions.

What’s the Best Bike Pedal for You?

Each bike pedal has its merit. But, of course, the ideal one for you will be based on your goals and aims as a cyclist. So let’s take a closer look at each to see which bike pedal is best for you.

When to Use Toe Clips

Toe Clips are ideal for preventing your feet from slipping while riding. Also known as toe cages, these pedals secure your feet in position to create a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience. Toe cages are ideal for utilizing your pedal energy better.

When to Use Clipless

Clipless pedals help your bike hop over obstacles (logs, rocks, curbs, etc.). They won’t tear on debris such as sticks or roots the way straps and toe clips can. For this reason, clipless pedals are ideal for gaining maximum pedaling efficiency and gripping steep climbs.

When to Use Platform Pedals

Using platform pedals eases the stopping process and makes putting a foot down easier as well. These pedals also offer a solid, broader surface area to bolster your feet on either side of the bike. Use platform pedals for short rides in regular shoes for a more comfortable experience.

In Summary

The best pedal for you will be based on your cycling goals. Once you determine your goal, choosing the right pedal will become easy. For example, are you interested in adventurous riding experiences, or are you more of a cycling hobbyist? Get clear on your objectives and values, and everything else will fall into place. We have been providing cycling tours to people worldwide at Rocky Mountain Cycle Tours for 50 years. So if you’re ready to create a rocky mountain cycling experience you’ll never forget, contact us today to learn more.
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