Why I don’t use Clipless Pedals
Updated: 2/29/08 – No Clipless Pedals for me this year
About 5 years ago I switched from clipless pedals to PowerGrips. There were several reasons I changed but the primary one was comfort. Yes, I had more power with clipless pedals but my feet were never really comfortable and my knees felt stressed.
I believe that clipless pedals don’t release as well on recumbents. There always seemed to be a little more resistance and a slower release that I got on a diamond frame. Even after riding with clipless pedals for years I still had a few tumbles in Portsmouth each year when oblivious walkers stepped out in front of me. The thought of taking a tumble on a mountain while touring fully loaded convinced me that it was time to change.
Plus I don’t’ feel on a recumbent that the advantage of the clipless pedal is as great. On a recumbent, you don’t pull the pedal back horizontally as you do on a diamond frame. The bottom of the stroke occurs when you foot is out in front of you not under you and the motion still has a downward component. Thus you don’t need that firmer attachment quite as much.
I had used PowerGrips before I went clipless so going back seemed obvious. I knew that getting my feet out of PowerGrips is easy and I could forget about getting my foot stuck in the pedal.
eBent is optimized around comfort and reliability, not speed so the change was a back to PowerGrips was a natural. Now I can wear my sandals allowing my toes to self actualize in the sun as nature intended. My feet are comfortable and securely attached to the pedals with PowerGrips, I am happy and my feet are happy.
There is very little to go wrong with PowerGrips and they work with any shoe, so that is a plus for reliability and flexibility. It is also nice that when you get off the bike you have comfortable shoes to walk in. On a tour that means you have 2 pairs of walking and riding shoes instead of one pair for riding and one pair for walking.
I do not recommend riding without some kind of attachement to the pedal. I know many recumbent riders do this but if your foot slips off of the pedal you can take a nasty spill.
The PowerGrips web site is awful and they don’t give you a price break. Just Froogle PowerGrips if you decide to buy. Usually someone has them on sale.
If you also ride in sandals and have industrial sized feet (11 or bigger) you will probably need the extra long straps. I usually mount my PowerGrips on a pair of Welgo 888 pedals with stainless bodies. You can find these pedals almost everywhere for about $20. I usually buy mine at the local bike shop.
I used to use MKS Touring Pedals. They are very wide and very nicely made but MKS stopped greasing the Left Pedals. After two sets in a row failed in a month I stopped using them. The fix is easy, just open and grease, but I don’t stock BBs anymore so why take the chance.
For recommendations on sandal see “Sandal Hot Buys“. These are sandals I have tested and found comfortable for long rides and touring. The sandals I recommend are waterproof and work well with PowerGrips.
See Shoes and Pedals for more posts on this topic