MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

 

 

SITE INDEX   FINDING   BICYCLES   WORK SHOP   TRADING   WHAT'S NEW?

MY "TEN SPEEDS"

 

 

QUALITY - INTRODUCTION

WHAT IS BETTER?

OLD vs NEW

WHO MADE IT - ???

CAMPAGNOLO

SHIMANO

SUNTOUR

SIMPLEX

OTHER MANUFACTURERS

SEAT POSTS

PEDALS

SADDLES

RIMS & TIRES

HUBS, SPOKES , SKEWERS

HANDLEBARS & STEMS

BRAKE CALLIPERS

BRAKE LEVERS

DERAILLEURS

 

WHAT IS BETTER - PEDALS?

Clips and Clip-Less pedals…  Boy, if there ever was a confusing set of definitions, these two take the cake.  Clip pedals have no clips and clip-less do.

Clips are not really clips at all but they are part of an Old School pedal system.  Their purpose it to secure the rider's foot to the bicycle pedal so that power can be applied through most of the 360 degrees of pedal rotation.  By securing the foot to the pedal, the power of push and pull can be combined.  The result is a vastly improved level of power transmission efficiency.

Pedaling involves pushing only.  Pushing down on the forward stroke of each pedal.  Once the foot is secured to the pedal it becomes possible to push the pedal down at the front of each revolution and then pull it up at the back.  The value of this opportunity is pretty much self evident.  More available power.  Less wasted energy.  Accelerate faster and go faster with no fear of the foot slipping off of the pedal, with what might be disastrous results.

To access this kind of power transmission efficiency, a set of steel cages are bolted to the pedal.  Leather (or fabric) straps, with buckles, are then threaded through the pedal and cage.  The straps, once buckled, form a loop for the rider to put his foot in.  Once the foot is engaged, the strap can be tightened-up, effectively securing the rider’s foot to the pedal.   This system is commonly referred to as "Rat Traps".  Perhaps we should change the nick name to "Stupid Person Traps" because I doubt that any sane rat would stick his foot into this set-up.  However, when describing the make-up of the system, there was no mention of clips.

In all fairness, the "Rat Trap" system was cutting edge in its day.  I scoff at the Old School system now only because there is a much more efficient and safe system available to all bicycle riders in today's world.  The "clip-less" pedal system.

Modern "Clip Less" pedals clip onto cleats that are solidly secured to special shoes.  The cleats snap into a special pedal that uses a clip which is compatible with the cleat. Spring pressure, which is very adjustable, locks the pedal clip and the shoe cleat together.  No hands required to engage or disengage the clips.  The rider simply steps into the pedal.  When he or she wants out of the pedal, a few degrees of foot rotation is all that is required.  Though it takes a ride or two to get used to the system, you will want to clip-in for every ride once you have learned to do so.  This is the "Clip-Less" system – go figure.  Today I install these modern pedals on every one of my bicycles even though they might not suit the overall theme of the bicycle in question.

I steadfastly refused to mount a clip-less pedal set on my 1958 Carlton Flyer.  They were just too out of place for me.  However, I never really enjoyed riding the Carlton and perhaps this is one of the reasons why.  My other Carlton, a 1971 Professional was fitted with the clip-less pedals and even though I hated the appearance, the pedals stayed.  The Professional was a wonderful ride made better thanks to the modern technology of the clip-less pedal.

I have toyed, time and again, with the idea of setting my vintage rides up with Rat Traps, and always resisted the urge.  The old system is anything but "user friendly".  The old system requires that the rider reach all the way down to each pedal, (one at a time of course) and strap her/him self in securely.  This is dangerous!  To make matters worse, if the rider has to disengage quickly, he or she can’t!  It is just that simple.

I choose to go with safety and function first.  The Rat Traps and my vintage cycle shoes will remain hanging on the wall.  In addition to the hugely increased safety factor, the modern pedal system works really well.  Additionally, I really like the "click" when I engage each pedal at the beginning of a ride.  And when a whole bunch of people "clip-in" at the same time, it is a symphony for the bicyclist's ear.  Though I would rarely recommend anyone do anything, when it comes to riding a vintage road bicycle, I urge those interested in trying a set of clip-less pedals, to do so.  You will not be disappointed!  I might add that I do not own a pair of clip less road bike shoes.  I prefer to use mountain bike shoes since the cleats are recessed, allowing me the opportunity to walk comfortably when the need to do so arises.  And that need will arise, sooner or later.

There are, of course, other pedal styles available in the vintage road bike world but all are more or less inefficient power transmitters and unsafe to use in the busy traffic that surrounds the bicycle today.  The very common quill pedal is found on most vintage road bicycles.  These pedals, made either completely of steel or a combination of steel and aluminum are a bit awkward to use with or without clips.  There is a top and bottom to the pedal.  Each time the rider engages the pedal he or she must flip the pedal to the top.  Not a really big issue for an experienced rider but a hazard for the person just learning to use them.

With that in mind, the platform pedal is far safer to use for pedaling.  There is no need to flip the pedal up since top and bottom are identical.  Platform pedals come in a variety of styles, from the rubber block models common on older roadster style bicycles to the all steel units with a serrated edge to help prevent the foot from sliding off of the pedal.  The platform pedal is pretty much entry level stuff.  Even though they are heavy, somewhat unattractive and certainly unsafe, they are probably the most common bicycle pedal in the world, now and certainly in days gone bye.

There are, of course, two other rider to bicycle attachment points to consider.  The handlebars and the saddle.  Both will present themselves differently to each rider and there is little that I can offer pertaining to which is best, but I will offer my opinion on each.

NEXT - WHAT IS BETTER - SADDLES?

 

 

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