I understand that there are many benefits when it comes to different methods of securing your foot to the pedal, and how they allow for more power through an entire revolution of the pedal.

However I am struggling to find a source talking about the disadvantages of these systems. If you know of any different disadvantages for different types, please explain.

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    The first few times you use them you will fall off your bike. Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 12:41
  • @Daniel If you tell them that, then that is what will happen.
    – andy256
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 13:03
  • 2
    If the attachment / cleat is misaligned with the position your foot wants to be in they can cause pain in your joints / muscles. Particularly the knees.
    – KeithWM
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 15:35
  • 1
    @andy256: i think it's pretty much a rite of passage for clipless pedals. It's pretty much always coming to a stop so it's more embarrassment than injury. Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 22:32
  • 1
    I think the "rite of passage" idea is stupid and discouraging people from using proper equipment. The solution is pretty obvious: practice clipping and unclipping while leaning against a wall and start riding only after you know the motions. 100 repeats should be enough and takes only a couple of minutes.
    – ojs
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:14

4 Answers 4


The only disadvantages I could think of are: - The higher price for clip-less pedals and the need to have cycling specific shoes (which are usually not comfortable in walking) - Not being able to comfortably ride your bike with normal shoes again. However, you can overcome this by going for dual sided pedals.

On the bright side, you get to use different muscles while pedaling which make cycling more comfortable. You eliminate the chances of your foot slipping off the pedal and getting your leg hit.

When I first started using clip-less pedals, I only fell once. It was because I forgot to un-clip at the end of my ride. Now, if I was going to fall off my bike for any reason, I can smoothly and quickly un-clip my self to prevent the fall.

  • 1
    The pedals aren't much more than decent flats (i.e. ones with good grip). The cost is in the shoes.
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 17:15
  • @ChrisH yes indeed pedals don't cost much more than decent flats I just assumed that the OP already has a pair of flat pedals.
    – Mido
    Commented Sep 25, 2016 at 6:14
  • You need to buy a dedicated pair of shoes.
  • You need to carry an extra pair of shoes when commuting.
  • Riding is weird if you don't have you specific shoes (I assume that. I don't really know how it feels to ride clip-less pedals with regular shoes)
  • 2
    You can get all sorts of shoes that take SPD cleats. Many are recessed and/or flexible so comfortable to walk in - so no need for extra pair of shoes. These even come in styles that can be worn with a suit. You also can get clip pedals that are platform one side, clip the other, or with a platform around the clip for riding with normal shoes.
    – mattnz
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 22:14
  • I have ridden Look pedals with sneakers over short distances (<5 miles). Not very comfortable, but doable in a pinch.
    – Batman
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 23:59
  • @mattnz no matter what type of shoes are available with cleats, that's still probably not the shoes I want to be wearing all day. also, do they do those shoes in winter style? does that mean I need as many bike-shoes as I have regular shoes? (I don't have that many shoes, but at least 3 pairs)
    – njzk2
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 2:20
  • You can buy shoes that are a bit warm for summer and use shoe covers in the winter, getting away with one pair of shoes in temperate climates. In most workplaces there's somewhere you can stash a pair of shoes (e.g. under a desk); otherwise the right shoes can be worn all day (I've walked >4 miles in my walkable SPD shoes).
    – Chris H
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 9:15
  • @ChrisH I am talking about -20 and snow in winter. A bit warm with cover is not going to cut it. And wearing too warm shoes for summer is not great either
    – njzk2
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 14:21

One significant disadvantage is dabbing when MTB riding. I have Keo road pedals only, and riding twisty singletrack is not fun when clipped in.

It takes extra time to unclip in order to put a foot down for any reason.

  • 1
    Did you mean 'disadvantage'?
    – BSO rider
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 23:46
  • @BSOrider Yes I did. Completely changes the meaning, sorry.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 24, 2016 at 0:21

I don't use clips. But I like skidding around because it adds another dimension of fun to riding and is useful in tight spots and preventing collisions. You can't put your foot down if it's secured to the pedal, not instantly anyway.

I find myself quite often either putting a foot down as I spin the rear around, or taking it off the pedal for quick balance adjustments. While people may say this is silly, it gives me a much tighter turning circle than if I could only lean and turn the handlebars as well as eating up speed in a smaller space if I need to stop in a hurry.

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