5 Real Benefits of Going Clipless

We totally get it: there’s something really nice and spontaneous about hopping on your bike in whatever shoes you’re wearing and busting out a few miles, or picking up some groceries down the street. But we’d like to talk about what happens after those first few miles, as riding becomes a lifelong activity or even a mode of transportation. Here are five reasons to consider the leap to clipping-in full time.


Better acceleration

Using a platform pedal, even the most powerful pedal stroke is only moving the bike forward from about the 1 o’clock position to the 6 o’clock position on the crank. While the jury is out on exactly how much more acceleration becomes available once your foot is confidently attached to the pedal, tests tend to hover between 20 to 30 percent. This is largely because, whether consciously or not, as one leg is pushing down, the other is pulling up. That extra power might not sound like much in writing, but it’s certainly enough to bring a smile to even the most experienced trail riders.

Photo by: bradleypjohnson | CC BY 2.0


More control

Ever wonder why mountain bikers navigating single-track trails, racers descending switchbacks and bike messengers winding through tight traffic all use clipless pedals? Simply put, there’s just not a better way to have a sense of balance and control of your bike. Once you’re clipped-in, you’re literally attached to the bicycle. Every bit of input from the road, crosswinds, or trail grade is felt and reacted to in real time. It’s a feeling of security that allows you to push your bike—and yourself—that extra mile.

Photo by: Richard Masoner | CC BY-SA 2.0


Ride longer

Speaking of that extra mile, a huge argument for riding clipless is that you’re just plain using your legs more efficiently. When you’re pulling up on one pedal while pushing down on the other, there’s never really a moment in which energy is wasted. While there are seemingly endless articles concerned with weaning the most possible efficiency out of your pedal stroke, rest assured that even without thinking too hard about it, you’re distributing the work of pedaling to different muscle groups to ride longer distances more comfortably.

Rio Hondo River Trail, CA | Photo by: vikemaze


Your street shoes last longer

It’s true! A surprise benefit of riding clipless is that your other shoes, whether they’re sneakers, work boots, or shiny office oxfords, will last much longer. Now that they’re not subjected to rain, dust, snow, gravel and the occasional tire burn, you might find your footwear going out of fashion before it needs replacement.

Photo by: Dru Kelly | CC BY-ND 2.0


Inspired to ride

Whether your reasons are safety, efficiency, or even style motivated, making the switch to clipless pedals might most importantly just serve as that next step in your cycling journey. It’s a new way of relating to the bike, a new world of control and efficiency and a whole lot of good old fashioned going faster than you thought you could.

Photo by: S. Van Deman | CC BY 2.0

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