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An introduction to Clipless Pedals

Cleated shoes and pedals engage by clicking together and forming an attachment, so it’s no surprise that new and emerging cyclists are often confused by the terminology of “clipless;” in truth, it is a hangover from mechanisms of days gone by.

Clipless pedal systems, the cleated shoes and pedals that we use today, replaced toe clips in the 1980s. This consisted of both clips and adjustable straps, to keep the cyclist’s feet in place for competitive cycling. The replacement of this technology bore the term “clipless,” which has remained in the lexicon of cycling ever since.
While it is clipless by name, traditional clipless pedal cycling does essentially clip you into the bike and attach you to it.

What are the best clipless pedals for Beginners?

Many of us have heard of, or experienced, the notorious “rite of passage” clipless moment. Due to your road shoe being connected to your pedal, both beginner and experienced cyclists can struggle to disconnect their foot in time, resulting in a side topple onto the road. The twist action required to remove your foot in a clipless pedal system can often result in a delay, and if you haven’t practised and perfected this movement then you and your bike are at risk of a fall.

Many beginners introduce themselves to cycling wearing trainers and flat pedals. For entry-level cyclists this is a sensible starting point, allowing them to familiarise themselves with their bike positioning, foot positioning and starting and stopping.

Bythlon cleats and pedals are a fantastic alternative to riding in trainers. A pedal and cleat system that does not lock you to your bike, allowing cyclists to simply step in and step out of their pedals. There’s no twist action required, so stopping is stress-free and easy, without risk of falling. Bythlon’s form-fitting technology means the pedal and cleat system acts as a mould, so you still feel connection to your bike without the worry of a “clipless moment”. 

What Pedals do Pros Use?

Clipless pedals are great for cycling, making the most of the smoothness of the road for maximum momentum. The bond between you and your bike not only engages you with the mechanism for better transfer of power, propelling you forward, but it keeps you engaged with the surface of the road itself. Most serious cyclists will ride in clipless pedals and unlocking themselves is second nature.

Bythlon pedals and cleats are an alternative to clipless pedals, however aren’t going to be attractive to cyclists who confidently cycle clipped in.

Pro UK Clipless Cyclists
Can I use Look cleats with Shimano Pedals?

Look cleats are not compatible with Shimano pedals. 

Look pedals are common with the road biking community, but not so much in mountain biking and you will rarely find them on spin class bikes.  Look pedals are a classic 3-bolt pedal, with the cleat connecting to the shoe using three points of contact for a more.  This gives them a broad power base, and they have a wider contact platform.  The cleats are compatible with most of the top road biking shoes on the market today.

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, or “SPD’s” pedal technology was developed to meet the demands of diverse mountain bike riding styles. It was the first widely adopted mountain bike clipless pedal and cleat system and remains the reference point in pedal technology over 25 years later. Shimano’s SPD system increases power transfer and improves rider stability by integrating the pedal and shoe outsole into a single, unified system.

Finding which cleats are suited to which pedals can be a bit of a minefield and is often over-confused.

There are two different types of cleats – a two bolt cleat, mainly used for trail and mtb cyclists and a three bolt cleat, used for road cyclists. 

Two bolt cleats are most suited to people who want a highly universal cleat that will fit on many pedal designs, road and mountain bikes, spin class bikes, and other cycles.

Three bolt cleats are most suited to road cyclists, many  top-market road cycling shoes are not compatible with SPD’s.

Bythlon pedals and cleats simplify this common hurdle as you purchase as a complete set. Bythlon cleats can be fitted to any three bolt road cycling shoe.

What cycling shoes can I wear on my Peloton bike?

With Peloton becoming ever more popular as an indoor cycling experience, no wonder people are asking which shoes are compatible. Peloton bikes come with their own pedal, so you don’t need to concern about purchasing pedals when placing your order. Peloton is compatible with any 3-bolt road shoe or Delta cleat.

Peloton also sell their own shoes that are compatible with their pedals, so if you’d rather keep your road cycling shoes for the road, then they’re easily purchasable online.

Looking for an alternative to clipless pedals?

We believe in the clipless experience, its physical and mental benefits and the way it encourages more confident, efficient and enjoyable cycling.

We want to eliminate the fear from clipless! Anyone developing a passion for cycling should be encouraged to develop their passion further, without hesitation.

That’s why the Bythlon pedal system offers the same physical benefits as traditional clipless, with the same engagement with roads, trails and mountains that drive cyclists forward. The only difference is that you are not clipped into the bike, so it’s safe and quick to step in and step out.

Shop here to join the Bythlon Cycling Community.