I'm considering buying clipless pedals for riding my bike on the weekend, but they might not be the best choice for a 15 minute ride to work during the week—I'd need to drag along my regular shoes in a backpack anyways, I need to stop at a bunch of intersections (Manhattan), etc.

From a quick Google I saw an article about changing pedals "quickly" in 5 minutes. I assume this is for people that are particularly good at it and have practiced a lot, and it will still involve tools. Are there systems that allow me to quickly remove and swap out pedals, in 10 seconds or so? Like swapping a seat or a wheel.

I know that there are combination pedals, but these seem like they might be the worst of both worlds? Mediocre at being a flat pedal, mediocre at being a clipless pedal?

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    Quick release posts have also been on mountain bikes to allow quickly switching between climbing and downhill positions. Like low tech dropper post. – ojs May 15 at 16:30
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    (anecdotal) I use shimano PD-A530 and it is a joy to use; I do not feel it is the worst of both world. – Max May 15 at 17:59
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    You can also get Street shoes and even Business Shoes that take an SPD cleat which may be a solution for you. bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/15377/… – mattnz May 15 at 20:00
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    Swapping pedals the normal way does require a tool but 5 minutes seems like an awfully long time - I'd expect it to take more like 1 minute once you have the tool in hand. It doesn't take any practice - you just unscrew them then screw the new ones in. – Jambo May 16 at 1:09
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    I leave a pair of shoes at work. Pretty simple solution. – Criggie May 16 at 20:34

13 Answers 13

up vote 21 down vote accepted

Quick release pedals as you describe do exist. They are often marketed in Japan as "Rinko" pedals as they were developed to as part of the Japanese tradition taking apart full size bikes for transport on trains:

Rinko Bike

Currently, MKS makes these pedals (if you do an internet search for "MKS Rinko" you can find a distributor), they branded them with the "EZY" moniker.

Example Rinko peda

They also make an assortment of flat and clipless pedals to interface with the quick release mount

enter image description here

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Only downsides are the price - they're not cheap, and ease of stealing should you lock up the bike and forget to take them. On the upside, it'd be rare for thieves to look at your pedals. – Criggie May 16 at 20:37
  • Any ideas about the longterm durability of the junction? – Criggie May 16 at 20:37
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    @Criggie - I was simply answering the OP on whether or not these types of pedals exist. Jan Heine for Bicycle Quarterly uses these and he puts in some crazy mileage, never saw a complain from him on longevity (although his company - Compass - imports these so take that with a grain of salt). – Rider_X May 16 at 20:40

I'm trying to solve the same problem, and after some searching I've ordered something like this:

enter image description here

It's a plastic pad that you clip on clipless pedals to ride them with normal shoes. I'm not sure about their efficacy with wet weather and sure they don't allow pulling upwards, but for riding to work I think they would do.

As Criggie suggests in the comments, another way would be to just take a pair of cleats (the part that goes under the shoe), and clip them on the pedals without attaching them to the shoes. That solution can be cheaper if you have a spare or old pair around.

  • I thought about making something like this using a spare set of cleats (but they're stuck to a spare pair of shoes and I don't want to drill the bolts out). You'd probably need to adjust the saddle height. – Chris H May 15 at 19:29
  • I just shove an old pair of worn cleats into a cleated pedal if I have to ride that bike in normal shoes. But I also run with minimal pedal tension so the cleats are okay to remove by hand. – Criggie May 15 at 20:32

On my commute bike, I use 2 sided combo pedals with SPD+platforms on both sides like these PD-M424 SPD Dual Platform Pedals

PD-M424

I've tried using clip-on SPD platforms with regular SPD's, and found that those platforms are not very stable, can be difficult to snap in/out, and tend to fall off - they might be ok for a quick trip down the block, but won't stand up to a long commute. Platforms for other clipless styles (like Look) might be more stable, but I like SPD's for commuting since it's easy to walk in (some) SPD shoes.

I also tried some combo pedals with a platform on one side and SPD clipless on the other (I think it was the Shimano M324), and found it too annoying to have to make sure the pedal was flipped around the right way.

So finally I settled on these dual sided M424's, and have been pretty happy, the platform is comfortable for riding with regular shoes and while clipping in to the SPD's took a little practice because of the platform, it now feels as easy as clipping into bare SPD pedals. The SPD part is spring loaded and sticks up a little to make it easy to clip in, but it's not a very strong spring, so it folds down easily with regular shoes. It's not fully recessed under the platform when pushed down so it's possible that would cause some foot irritation on a long ride, but I've never had a problem with it.

When I had a 4 mile commute, I used the platforms with regular street shoes almost exclusively (except for longer rides), now I have a 15 mile commute and use SPD biking shoes almost exclusively (except for shorter rides) and I'm pretty happy with the pedals either way.

Addressing your last paragraph, basically you're right:

There are pedals that are SPD on one side and flat on the other. I've only ridden them in normal shoes but found them the worst of both worlds.

On two of my bikes I have shimano M424s which are SPD on both sides with a plastic cage around them so you can wear normal shoes. In dry weather, for short distances, they're OK with trainers or hiking boots, but they'd be bad with office shoes.

I keep work shoes under my desk which makes things much easier.


One option is half clips - basically toe clips without straps.


Unlike with quick release wheels, the fastener for pedals bears all the load, so a quick release would have to be very strong. There's also very little room to play with and the forces are large. Combined with no incentive to sell something, this means manufacturers would have a hard time making money from a QR pedal product.

Pedals are quicker to change than (back) wheels; that 5 minutes is achievable with a cheap spanner and very little practice. If you go down that route you should mark the left and right very clearly, and keep a pot of grease handy. I swap flat pedals on for family holidays and it really is a quick job.

  • The combo pedals with two different sides may actually be good as they provide a bigger surface on the flat side than the two sided combo pedals and are therefore more comfortable with some shoes. They only come with the drawback that you may land on the wrong side at first so they are less suitable in situations where perfect contact is required in fractions of a second so that there is no time to flip the pedal. – Gimli May 16 at 10:40
  • Most pedals would probably be bad with office shoes. Office shoes just aren't designed with pedaling in mind. I just leave a pair of shoes at the office and wear runners or cycling shoes into the office. This works well in the winter when I'm often wearing snow boots. – Kibbee May 16 at 13:03
  • @Kibbee that depends on your office shoes; I've always been able to get away with decent rubber soles. Even so I prefer to keep them under my desk -- wet shoes all day are no fun – Chris H May 16 at 14:21
  • @Gimli the only time I've ridden them was moutnain biking, but I didn't even like them in the car park. On the trail I was on the edge of my ability and really didn't need my feet sliding around on the SPD. This may mean I dislike them more than is reasonable, but I have no desire to try them again – Chris H May 16 at 14:22
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    Well my "office shoes" vary day-to-day depending on what I'm wearing that day, some days something like Adidas Boosts, some days boots with hard rubber sole, LL Bean Boots if it's pouring, etc. Generally they all work, the squishy/textured rubber sole ones are all fine at gripping platform pedals, and the boots have a raised heel that hooks around the pedal. The only ones that I have issues with are some sneakers with a flat leather sole. I imagine women would have similar issues with flats, that sort of sole is kind of atypical for men's shoes. – jdoe May 16 at 15:10

I had Shimano M324 SPD pedals for years on my commuter, they're a platform on one side and a SPD clip on the other.

I found them to be an acceptable tradeoff for what I was looking for, which was primarily clipped in riding with occasional regular shoes. They are easy enough to clip into (as the flat part of the pedal tends to end up face down), and work fine for regular shoes.

Downsides are that they're a bit heavier than regular SPD pedals, and the previously mentioned fact that the flat ends up face down, so regular shoe riding isn't perfect... But a lot more convenient than swapping pedals every day.

There are a number of SPD with platform options out there. What you go with depends on what you're trying to min/max.

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    In the early days of two-sided SPD-MTB pedals they came with a plastic clip-in cage that transformed them into one-sided platform pedals for occasional use. A small flat screwdriver was the only tool required. Those cages are still available and cheap. – Carel May 15 at 19:58
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    Shimano link for M324 pedals: bike.shimano.com/en-US/product/component/deore-t6000/… – Andrew Henle May 15 at 21:44
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    I also have these on my commuter and like them a lot (I ride ~90% clipped in). The SPD shoes I use are normal looking and perfectly fine to walk in around the office, I often just keep them on. One gets used to find the right side without looking and to get rolling both sides work well enough with either shoes. – linac May 16 at 11:12
  • Similar case here: I prefer my good bike also for errands/commuting and consider both clipless + platform essential. I use such a plastic cage @Carel mentions (SM-PD22, ca. 10 €) since before the M324 was introduced. I'd go for M324 now (I'm on a touring bike, weight basically isn't a concern). The cage isn't great in terms of grip in wet conditions, but lasts much longer than expected. Riding the good bike with cage is still more pleasurable than riding an old bike with platform pedals. The cage may be a backup possibility if you go for "change daily" and find that is too much hassle. – cbeleites May 16 at 16:51

Yes, they are a thing. They are normally seem on folding bikes, but quick release pedals do exists.

MKS make a range of pedals with "EZY" in the name. These pedals come with a collar that your screw into the crank, and then you pull back the outside of the collar and insert the pedal. I assume that all the EZY pedals are interchangable (although be careful about "EZY" and "EZY Superior", I don't know if they are compatible).

They make both SPD and flat pedals, although I had trouble finding SPD pedals actually for sale in a quick search (there were some on ebay).

Higher quality pedals often have a key for a hex wrench on the inside of the pedal spindle, ether 6mm or 8mm. It is faster to change them out using a hex wrench than rotating the pedal wrench all the way around that many times. You will have to use the short end of the wrench to break the tension in the threads, then use the long end for a quick extraction. When reinstalling the pedals, use the long end to put it in (low torque), being careful not to cross thread, then tighten it down with the short end (high torque). no hex key vs hex key

  • Pedals with hex key in the spindle and appropriately sized hex bit in a cordless electric drill would make changing pedals pretty quick. – Argenti Apparatus May 16 at 12:13
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    @ArgentiApparatus: a drill with enough torque to properly install and remove pedals will destroy the threads. Pedals are easy to cross thread, and while its easy to detect during initial hand tightening, such a drill will blast through it and wreck it. – whatsisname May 16 at 18:04
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    @whatsisname Start the threads by hand then. – Argenti Apparatus May 16 at 18:15

Wellgo make unpluggable pedals, and you can get plain and clipon style pedals, so you can swap at whim.

I am happy with mine. They have several different types of pedal, just look on Aliexpress.

Other advantages:

  • pedals can't hit back of your car when on bike rack
  • bike can't be ridden away when you have to pop into a shop and don't have your lock.
  • if you have to walk your bike a long way you can pop the pedal out, and not rip your shins on it.
  • easier to pack bike/2bikes into boot of car with pedals off

Only thing is they have two types of release Style B is the original (and seems more common). The button hits your shoe sole as the crank rotates, and chews it up. (well if you have wide feet) Get Style C with the round release.

You need to grease the insert point, it will wear if dry.

A simple answer is this product- Fly Pedals II.

enter image description here

They work with any clipless pedal and pack together into something small enough to put in your pocket.

You can see the product here-

https://www.flypedals.com/

  • I have a pair of those, but they are a pain to use when stopping and putting back the feet on the pedals when starting again on my SPD Shimano A600s. I much prefer my combo Deore XT pedals – GrecKo May 16 at 8:45
  • I can't use the combo pedals.You always have to flip them. I use dual sided SPD pedals- never have to flip them over. For those times I want to ride in my sandals the fly pedal II works just fine. – Gary E May 17 at 1:29
  • And the Fly Pedals lock together so you can put them in your pocket when you aren't using them. – Gary E May 17 at 1:30
  • @Gary FWIW the Shimano M324s go vertical when unclipped, so you naturally use the clip side, unless you drag your foot back to use the flat. You don't need to manually flip. – Sparhawk May 18 at 5:40

Wellgo used to have the exact system called QRD this question is about. For reasons that can only be speculated about, neither Wellgo website or the local chain that used to have then lists them any more. If you want to try them yourself, there are plenty available on eBay.

Edit: MKS has their own quick release system, EZY, that includes clipless pedals.

  • Edited. Looks like the answer was already edited to include clipless MKS and then reverted... – ojs May 16 at 17:40

I know that there are combination pedals, but these seem like they might be the worst of both worlds? Mediocre at being a flat pedal, mediocre at being a clipless pedal?

I have that for SPDs and like them.

Once you have attached, I don't see how they could be any worse than a two-sided pedal: i.e. your shoes click into the pedals and, on you go!

Left to themselves, the pedals hang vertically (one side facing forward and the other backward): so if you approach them one way, with your foot, you get the mechanism, and if you approach them the other way then you get the flat. So it's very rarely difficult to instantly find the side of the pedal that you want.

The "flat" side, for street shoes, isn't especially comfortable: I don't know why that's so, maybe it's just comparative, i.e. I prefer the bike shoes and being attached, for biking. But if I am (even rarely) wearing street shoes, having a flat side is more comfortable than a both-sided pedal would be.

So first of all as said before there are no quick change pedals at all.

But if using Shimano SPD system I think the Shimano PD-T8000 are one of the best options currently.

https://bike.shimano.com/en-EU/product/component/deorext-t8000/PD-T8000.html

I build my commuter bike with these as my commute takes around 10km and I will shower at work so I will use my clipless shoes and have another pair at the company but when going shopping with the bike or just to get something real quick in town I will use normal shoes. I just got them recently and I am pretty impressed by them as they are good to ride with normal shoes as the slugs on the flat pedal offer nice support when using normal shoes and the clipless mechanism is working fine as well. Also (at least currently) when I wait at an intersection they don't turn around. I currently don't know exactly if it is the fresh lube inside or if they got some kind of rubber to prevent that from happening.

Why not just use baskets? You're not trying to win a time trial, just commuting. And it gives you most of the mechanical advantage without having to have two pairs of shoes.

Alternately, just use regular pedals/shoes and wear a backpack (with some clean underwear and dress shoes (or keep clothes at work).

protected by RoboKaren May 17 at 1:57

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