Home

I did a Duathlon yesterday - 5k run, 25k bike, 5k run. My bike has flat pedals with strapless toe clips, so I just wore my running shoes for the whole event. Almost everyone else was using clipless pedals.

If I switch over to clipless pedals, I'd need to change shoes twice during the event. I think that would cost me about a minute in total. Would I make up that lost time on the bike by using clipless pedals? I was just over 50 minutes for the bike leg, so I'd need to be 2% quicker for it to be worth it.

 

28 comments

Avatar
rjfrussell [536 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I have a feeling there may be a GCN video where they experimented and found, counter-intuitively perhaps, that on an indoor trainer they were faster on flats.

 

But I may be misremembering. 

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2773 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Try it, I find I can switch muscles groups from quads to Hamstrings/glutes allowing mini rests. How that would affect running-dont know

Use a high end turbo to measure power with both setups. You can use Zwift with a TT bike (removes drafting benefit) on London's flat courses for an hour. See how much faster you're NB learn to push amd pull on the pedal rotation-see internet for guidance.

Avatar
ktache [2357 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

My mountainbike flats enable me to make a quicker start away from the lights than some of those who have to clip in.  And who might have just shoaled me.

Avatar
Mb747 [32 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode [296 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Switching shoes twice over is probably closer to 30 seconds total than 60 but do a trial run at home and time it to have a closer figure to work from rather than a guess. There is the loss starting the cycle section when clipping in and getting your feet in the cycling shoes properly which means you aren't able to pedal as efficiently/effectively straight away but again this might only be a handful of seconds overall.

All the pros and many of not most top amateurs have their bike shoes already fitted to the bike, I don't know how that works for you but it's supposed to save time on the clipping into the pedals aspect that in a top end race could mean a break getting away from you and staying in the pack but also the transition part of running with the bike in hand to your changing point.

For amateur racing I don't think this is necesary to have the shoes already fitted to the bike and for many it's too much of a faff getting the feet in whilst on the bike itself and tightening up the shoes on the go, which also requires very good and often fairly costly cycling shoes to do it (readily) with.

All that said, as a compromise and to help you guage without a large investment, I would give double sided SPD pedals a go with a shoe that has a recessed clip within the sole. It will help with stability of the foot when pedalling hard and with a reasonably stiff soled cycling shoe it does help put more effort into the pedal as opposed to the flexing of the running shoe. It should also help distribute the load across the foot as opposed to focusing it in the small area which is what happens when you wear trainers or other soft/non stiff shoes on a pair of flat pedals, this may actually help your second run post the cycle effort.

I've got shoes similar to this for my every day commute bike (mine has one strap and laces but I just slip my feet in without undoing https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Cycling-shoes-SPD-size-43/323962984703?hash=i... three straps would aid you having them loose to get on and fairly easy/quick to pull snug. These types are not recessed and the clip sits proud of the sole so is harder to walk never mind run in transition but with the three straps you would be able to get your feet out the shoes fairly easily before the transition area and run bare foot (if that's doable) https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Northwave-Spd-Shoes-New-Cycle-Spin-Road-EU45-... Northwave are also a very good make and good VfM in my experience and the one in the link doesn't have a Carbon fibre sole which IMO would be too stiff a cycle shoe for your needs and with no experience of riding with cycle shoes.

A second hand pair of lightly used shoes/pedals might be the way to go to see what you think, there's usually loads on the likes of ebay were people have tried them and not go on with them.

HTH shave a few more seconds offcheeky

Avatar
Drinfinity [280 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Running mount and dismount in a cyclocross style will make a significant difference. I watched the transition of a similar event recently and was amazed at the number of riders who would come to a complete stop before laboriously getting off.

 

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [1078 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I was pretty decent at Duathlon a couple of years back, not even a decent distance runner and not really doing any structured training.

Cycled 39km in an hour in trainers and flat pedals on a cheap used triathlon bike, friend of mine who represents GB at triathlon was only 30 seconds quicker than me in all of his expensive "proper" gear with all his training.

Transition benefits, less to think about, less faff and getting on/off the bike at speed are worth some time... and I've not been convinced that clipping in is any faster once moving anyway. I'd guess cycling shoes are a little more aero, but negligible time saving for duathlon of that distance.

I say flats and trainers. I'm often told I'm wrong by people who can't keep up.

When I get around to swimming and triathlon next year I may try clipping in, I don't expect it will change my mind but I'm open to any way I can gain time advantage.

Avatar
CyclingInBeastMode [296 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:

I was pretty decent at Duathlon a couple of years back, not even a decent distance runner and not really doing any structured training.

Cycled 39km in an hour in trainers and flat pedals on a cheap used triathlon bike, friend of mine who represents GB at triathlon was only 30 seconds quicker than me in all of his expensive "proper" gear with all his training.

Transition benefits, less to think about, less faff and getting on/off the bike at speed are worth some time... and I've not been convinced that clipping in is any faster once moving anyway. I'd guess cycling shoes are a little more aero, but negligible time saving for duathlon of that distance.

I say flats and trainers. I'm often told I'm wrong by people who can't keep up.

When I get around to swimming and triathlon next year I may try clipping in, I don't expect it will change my mind but I'm open to any way I can gain time advantage.

So you're in great shape, but how litle slower you were than a GB athete has zero bearing on riding in flats or not, it's not about comparing to someone else, it's about comparing with yourself.

I've nothing against riding in flat shoes, I still do it with toe clips and straps a few times a year and occasionally with plain flats, but the aded stability when riding hard and even going over bumps along with stiffer soled shoes can make a positive difference and the time 'lost' in transition is not that great whence you get used to doing it and have things set up well. For the low cost , it's well worth trying clip ins IMO.

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2773 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Mb747 wrote:

Pulling up should generall be avoided

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/how-to-pedal-efficiently-...

 

I don't agree with that analysis. Just pressing down from 3pm to around 6pm wastes alot of potential to apply more to the power stroke. Pushing over the top of the pedal stroke and pulling back and up a little increase force over a wider arc. I personally found it reduces particular muscle stress whilst increasing cadence.

I spent a whole winter on the turbo learning to improve my pedal action and cadence.

I may not be more powerful in higher threshold, but I can sustain my power for longer

Avatar
Simon E [3889 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

Lots of people who don't really know what they're on about will regurgitate advice they've been told without questioning it.

If you're used to flats & trainers then stick with them.

I would focus on getting more aero and training in that position (if you haven't already) - you'll likely save far more time/energy by reducing drag than you will by swapping shoes twice during the event.

Avatar
Judge dreadful [448 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Clipless pedals are designed primarily to enable your pedal dynamics to be optimised, whilst reducing the bulk, and relative inefficiency of toe straps. Being able to actively pull through certain 'dead spots' in the pedal stroke, will improve efficiency, and flatten out any power spikes. The top dead centre position of the crank rotation is a good case in point. Without bindings, approaching, going through, and leaving this position is a markedly lower power phase of the rotation than with bindings. There were a few ( poor from a useful data perspective) videos, on line, where people tried to show that bindings made little or no difference. They pretty much just did a simulated ride, on rollers / a tread mill, and measured a few metrics, which wouldn't be effected by having bindings / no bindings. None of them actually measured power vectoring though, which would have shown them what the system was designed for. The conclusions reached were done so with massive confirmation bias. 

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [1078 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Simon E wrote:

Lots of people who don't really know what they're on about will regurgitate advice they've been told without questioning it.

If you're used to flats & trainers then stick with them.

I would focus on getting more aero and training in that position (if you haven't already) - you'll likely save far more time/energy by reducing drag than you will by swapping shoes twice during the event.

Yeah, this ^

Avatar
Michael Scott [11 posts] 1 month ago
6 likes

Why is this even a discussion
Stop swimming and running just cycle

Avatar
Rod Marton [136 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

Many years ago I turned up to a time trial only to discover that I had forgotton my cycling shoes. So I rode it in trainers. On clipless pedals. After the event I was surprised to find that I was no slower than usual, though my feet hurt like hell. So I suspect you won't see much improvement in speed if you go clipless. Don't get me wrong, clipless pedals have many advantages, just speed is not one of them.

Avatar
Tom_77 [43 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

I'm going to give clipless pedals a go, see how I get on with them. I can always go back to my old pedals if it doesn't work out.

 

I need to look at aero too (there does seem to be a fair amount of data around for that at least). Saw quite a few people with tri bars, little bit nervous about using those though.

 

Avatar
rjfrussell [536 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
rjfrussell wrote:

I have a feeling there may be a GCN video where they experimented and found, counter-intuitively perhaps, that on an indoor trainer they were faster on flats.

 

But I may be misremembering. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CNedIJBZpgM

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkMCYYNTWUY

 

Avatar
CXR94Di2 [2773 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Using a set of tri bars will be by far the biggest bang for your buck. I assumed you were using a TT bike already.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6548 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Tom_77 wrote:

I'm going to give clipless pedals a go, see how I get on with them. I can always go back to my old pedals if it doesn't work out.

 

I need to look at aero too (there does seem to be a fair amount of data around for that at least). Saw quite a few people with tri bars, little bit nervous about using those though.

 

tri bars will save you at least a minute over 25km, it's the single biggest thing you can do to make yourself more aero.

Avatar
cougie [98 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
Michael Scott wrote:

Why is this even a discussion Stop swimming and running just cycle

 

DUATHLON.

 

There's a clue in the word there. 

Avatar
EddyBerckx [744 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
dave atkinson wrote:
Tom_77 wrote:

I'm going to give clipless pedals a go, see how I get on with them. I can always go back to my old pedals if it doesn't work out.

 

I need to look at aero too (there does seem to be a fair amount of data around for that at least). Saw quite a few people with tri bars, little bit nervous about using those though.

 

tri bars will save you at least a minute over 25km, it's the single biggest thing you can do to make yourself more aero.

 

At least at first, save your money on pedals/shoes and buy some tri bars and if you have the money, an aero helmet/skinsuit etc

Avatar
Michael Scott [11 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
cougie wrote:
Michael Scott wrote:

Why is this even a discussion Stop swimming and running just cycle

 

DUATHLON.

 

There's a clue in the word there. 

Sorry I didn’t make it clear, but it was a general comment about anyone engaging in pointless activities other than cycling

Avatar
Griff500 [449 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
CXR94Di2 wrote:
Mb747 wrote:

Pulling up should generall be avoided

https://www.cyclingweekly.com/fitness/training/how-to-pedal-efficiently-...

 

I don't agree with that analysis. Just pressing down from 3pm to around 6pm wastes alot of potential to apply more to the power stroke. Pushing over the top of the pedal stroke and pulling back and up a little increase force over a wider arc. I personally found it reduces particular muscle stress whilst increasing cadence.

I spent a whole winter on the turbo learning to improve my pedal action and cadence.

I may not be more powerful in higher threshold, but I can sustain my power for longer

It's an odd article if it is intended as a scientific analysis. The terms "maximum power" and "maximum efficiency" are used interchangeably. They aren't the same thing. Not even close! For me, pulling up is more about using different muscle groups to aid endurance. I live in France, and my cycling is all about big climbs. If I'm grinding away for half an hour or so, I suffer less fatigue if I use more of the pedal stroke.

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [1078 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Tom_77 wrote:

I'm going to give clipless pedals a go, see how I get on with them. I can always go back to my old pedals if it doesn't work out.

 

I need to look at aero too (there does seem to be a fair amount of data around for that at least). Saw quite a few people with tri bars, little bit nervous about using those though.

 

Aero is everything!

Avatar
Kendalred [424 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Tom_77 wrote:

I'm going to give clipless pedals a go, see how I get on with them. I can always go back to my old pedals if it doesn't work out.

 

I need to look at aero too (there does seem to be a fair amount of data around for that at least). Saw quite a few people with tri bars, little bit nervous about using those though.

 

Yes, that's probably the way to go first. You can pick up a decent set quite cheaply from Planet X or ebay.

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBSELKP58/selcof-kp58-clip-on-aero-bar---a...

https://www.planetx.co.uk/i/q/HBSELKP56/selcof-kp56-clip-on-aero-bar---a...

One thing that can be slightly confusing with this is the style of extensions that you get (the actual protruding aero bars). As per the links, they can either be pretty much straight, therefore pushing your hands out front, or curved to bring your hands higher. The current thinking seems to be that the 'Preying Mantis' position is actually more efficient. Of course at amateur level the gains will be tiny, and overall comfort is more important.

Regarding footwear - I suppose for shorter events (duathlon, sprint triathlon), then trainers would be fine, but if you wanted to do longer events then I think stiffer soled shoes would be more efficient and comfortable. A good compromise, pedal wise, would be hybrids with flat on one side and an SPD fitting on the other. Decathlon do a version for about £25.

Avatar
HLaB [295 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Rod Marton wrote:

Many years ago I turned up to a time trial only to discover that I had forgotton my cycling shoes. So I rode it in trainers. On clipless pedals. After the event I was surprised to find that I was no slower than usual, though my feet hurt like hell. So I suspect you won't see much improvement in speed if you go clipless. Don't get me wrong, clipless pedals have many advantages, just speed is not one of them.

My mate done the same and set a PB  1

I think if your pedaling style is good flats are just as efficient if not better, without locking your feet (knees) to a more fixed position  1

Avatar
JohnnyRemo [317 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Yeah - trainers are just as good - that's why all the pros use them for testing...

Clipless, tri-bars and some advice on your aero position and you'll take minutes off your time.

Avatar
Argus Tuft [131 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Michael Scott wrote:
cougie wrote:
Michael Scott wrote:

Why is this even a discussion Stop swimming and running just cycle

 

DUATHLON.

 

There's a clue in the word there. 

Sorry I didn’t make it clear, but it was a general comment about anyone engaging in pointless activities other than cycling

As sporting activities,aren't all three equally pointless,(or valid ).I hope you're joking,but fear you're not.                                            

Avatar
Tom_77 [43 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

Did my first ride with clipless pedals yesterday, my initial impression is pretty positive.

Got some Shimano Click'R pedals (the clipless pedals for noobs). Surprised by how much "float" they had, didn't feel as locked in as a thought. Unclipping was easy enough, clipping in was a little hit and miss - usually it was taking me 2 or 3 goes to connect properly. Should get better with practise. The pedals have a reasonable amount of platform on them so I can still get started without being clipped in.

Looking at my Strava for the ride I was a little quicker than previous rides, although that may just have been the weather. Too early to draw any firm conclusions.