What Are Clipless Pedals?

In the beginning, bikes were simple machines with fixed gears, wooden-wheels, and platform pedals. With time and innovation, clipless pedals were introduced to the market for more efficiency. So, what are clipless pedals?

Clipless pedals are the most significant creations in the history of bike transformation. It provides a better foot-to-pedal connection. Clipless pedals focus on maximizing the output and increasing your bike’s performance.

Learn more about why they are called clipless pedals and its benefits. We have also added tips on how to use and wear clipless pedals.

What are clipless pedals?

Clipless pedals are built with pedals with a locking mechanism and cleat attached to your bike shoe. To upgrade to a clipless system, you need to invest in new pedals and shoes that fit them. The shoe clips in the pedals, connecting you with your bike.

Types of Clipless System

There are mainly two types of clipless systems: walkable clipless system and road clipless system.

Walkable Clipless System

This type of clipless system does not come in contact with the ground while you walk. So, it is recommended for people who go on a hike or walk regularly. However, they are highly efficient for maximum pedal power as well and go well for off-road riding, commuting, century riding, and touring as well.

Road Clipless System

This type of road clipless system has cleats protrude from the thin and light soles of the shoes. So, it is difficult to walk in such shoes. Generally, they are single-sided but have a certain way to start out which makes it easier.

Benefits of Clipless Pedals

The advantages of using clipless pedals over flat pedals include higher level comfort and efficiency. As you can utilize more of your key muscles with each pedal stroke, you gain greater forward propulsion. Here are some other benefits of these pedals.

Better Power Transfer

Clipless pedals provide you with a better connection to your bike. When you’re on upstroke with flat pedals, the only thing keeping your foot intact with the pedal is pressure.

When you switch to clipless pedals, you can fully unweight on recovery strokes as well. It shifts all of your energy to propel you and your bike forward. You can fully focus on the task at hand without wasting any energy to compensate for lateral squirrel lines.

Vastly Increased Efficiency

With traditional platform pedals, you can only apply pressure on the downstroke. But a clipless pedal allows you to anchor the pedals solidly as you sweep back and pull up. The sweep is an extension of the downstroke as you are allowed to engage your hamstrings. You get more power and don’t wear out very quickly.


It provides you with better control as you are locked into your bike. You will not launch upward from your seat in case you hit hard on a bump. It also allows you to bunny hop over small obstacles easily.

Clipless pedals give you an improved chance of landing safely.

How to Wear Clipless Pedals

One important factor of these pedals is that they are threaded differently depending on the side. The right pedal has a normal thread whereas the left one is reversed. If you mix up the left and right pedals, it may unscrew while you are riding.

In order to wear it right, you must tighten the right pedal by turning it clockwise in the crank arm. And the left pedal needs to be tightened anticlockwise.

Riding with Clipless Pedals

  • Engage one foot at the top of the pedal stroke to get clipped in.
  • Sit on the saddle while pushing down with the clipped-in foot.
  • Once the uninhabited pedal meets your foot, rest the cleat over the top of the pedal as you apply pressure.
  • Even though pedaling is the same as flat pedals, you will produce a more even and rounded pedal stroke.
  • Twist your ankle outwards to release yourself.

Tips to Use Clipless Pedals

At first, the clipless pedals may seem like an obstacle while you’re riding. But with proper practice, it will build in your system and you will not even notice it’s there. Here are a few ways that can help you get used to clipless pedals.

1. Remember to Unclip

Clipless crashes mostly occur as riders forget to unclip when they arrive at a stop. You must train yourself to unclip as soon as you stop. Even if you forget to unclip, don’t panic, understand that unclipping is only a matter of a second. Stay calm and don’t act too quickly.

2. Practice Inside

Before you take your clipless pedals outside, learn it indoors. Lean against a doorframe or anything you can take support on, and practice clipping in and unclipping when you stop.

3. Practice on Grass

Trying it out on the grass or some cycle track would eliminate the need to stop suddenly for traffic lights.

4. Adjust Tension Levels

Opt for cleats with more float or pedals that have adjustable tension levels. Lower tension makes it easier to disengage.

5. You can Pedal Before the Snap

If you need to move away quickly, you can pedal normally.

Final Words,

This new innovation was called clipless to differentiate from the metal dangling toe-clips that fit in the front of the pedal. Besides, you do not necessarily clip into these pedals. You may lock in or click into them, but it doesn’t work like a toe-clip.

The increase of new demands encouraged the engineers for improvement which made clipless pedals safer than toe-clips. They help you to power on the upstroke and you do not slide around while riding.

However, they are an investment as you require both the pedals and the shoes. They are inconvenient for short rides and take away your chances at shoe flexibility.