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Pedals are an important component often overlooked by cyclists. Finding the correct pedal may result in you winning or losing your race. Jenson has a large selection of pedals from many leading brands including: Shimano, Crank Brothers, and more.
With so many options, choosing the right bike pedals can be downright confusing. Maybe you just want something for a quick cruise to the market, or perhaps you won't settle for anything less than pro-caliber performance. Pedals comes in all sorts of configurations, but when it comes right down to it, there are two major pedal categories: Clipless (Fig. 1, 1b) and Platform (Fig. 2).
Clipless pedals are the top choice of discerning cyclists looking to maximize performance. Despite their confusing name, clipless pedals allow for cycling shoes with cleats to "clip-in" to the pedal. The name "clipless" came into existence when platform pedals and toe clips and straps were common in the cycling world, so the word "clipless" was meant to differentiate a new type of pedal from those using toe clips and straps.
By using a set of spring-loaded clips on the top of the pedal, clipless pedals interface securely with cleats that are bolted to the bottom of cycling-specific shoes. Styles of cleat vary by manufacturer, intended use, and 2-bolt (Fig. 1a) or 3-bolt (Fig. 1c) attachment. Shimano MTB and Crank Brothers pedals use the 2-bolt SPD cleat system, and Look, Shimano Road SPD-SL, and most Time pedals use the 3-bolt "Look-style" cleat system. Cleats are generally included with pedals when purchased to minimize confusion. Most mountain bike and some road cleats use a 2-bolt cleat attachment and the 3-bolt attachment style is most commonly found on road cleats. The solid shoe-to-pedal connection offered by a clipless pedal system maximizes energy efficiency by transferring power on both the up and down stroke of the crank rotation and gives the rider excellent control over varied terrain, especially in those situations when you need to get your back wheel off the ground to clear an obstacle. To some riders, the idea of being locked into the pedals is frightening, but in many situations clipless pedals offer increased safey because they eliminate the potential of shoes slipping on the pedals when traveling over bumpy sections or in rainy or snowy conditions. Clipless pedals keep you firmly connected to the pedals, but so much that you're stuck once you've locked your foot in. A simple twist of the foot releases the cleat from the pedal.
If you've ridden a bicycle, chances are you've used a platform pedal at some point. Platform pedals function exactly how their name implies; as a platform for the foot. Platform pedals offer a wide surface that is meant to support the width of your foot. The pedal surface of platform pedals varies from styles with very minimal grip to those with extra grippy metal pins. Platform pedals are favorites of casual bicycle users, commuters who prefer not to have to bring a cycling-specific shoe along, and for downhill and BMX riders who need the freedom to bail if a gravity defying stunt gets a little too ambitious.
Toe clips are what some consider the old school way of "clipping in." Toe clips are essentially small cages that attach to the front of a compatible platform pedal and hold your foot in place. For further security, adjustable straps that thread through the clip and the bottom of the pedal can be paired with toe clips. Toe clips and straps provide added pedaling efficiency in a format that requires less commitment than clipless pedals.
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