Benefits of clipping into pedals while cycling indoors
Indoor cycling is such a fantastic exercise and has a considerable amount of benefits from improving your health and fitness, your confidence, and even your circle of friends. I have been an indoor cycling instructor for about five years, and I absolutely love challenging people and running them through the process of teaching them how to cycle indoors.
One question I am asked all the time is about clip-in pedals and if people should use them for spinning bikes. Well, they are an amazing tool and come with tremendous advantages when it comes to indoor cycling.
In this article, I’m going to tell you what spin bike clipless pedals are, and then I will tell you all about the advantages of using clip-in cycling shoes compared to clipless pedals.
What Are Bike Clip-in Pedals?
Clip-in Pedals are a form of cycling pedal that connect your feet to the bike pedals. It means your feet are fixed to a specific position while you ride your spin bike.
Clip-in pedals make indoor cycling much easier and people, after spinning for a while, tend to go down this route. You need special pedals and special shoes for your indoor bike to be able to do this.
You might already have the correct pedals for this, or you might need to swap out your standard pedals for clipless dual-sided spin bike pedals, which is a very easy job. You will also need to be wearing cycling shoes with spd clip-in shoe attachments.
Advantages of clip-in pedals for indoor cycling:
Clip-in shoes, in my opinion, are much better when it comes to indoor cycling. Compared to flat pedals, they just offer a much better workout. Here’s why you should be riding your spin bike clipped in from now on.
Typically you will find in shorter efforts on the bike and maximal power sprints, you are at least 10% stronger while using clip-in pedals.
That’s a considerable amount when it comes down to being in a 200-watt sprint that’s an extra 20 watts. For the sake of $50 pair of shoes, that’s terrific value for money.
More Efficient Pedal Stroke
Being clipped in compared to clipless pedal systems give you a much more efficient pedal stroke. Providing you have set them upright, the power transfer is much better, and you are able to focus more energy on pushing the pedal directly down instead of focusing on pushing it in the right direction so your feet don’t slip.
When you use clip in indoor cycling shoes and pedals, your leg muscles work much better because they are in the proper position.
Less Chance of Injuries
When you’re fixed in and using clip-in spin bike pedals, you have much less risk of being injured. Providing they are set upright, you have less chance of your feet slipping off, and also it forces you to be pedaling in the proper and correct fashion.
When you start to ride longer distances indoors, people tend to go for clip-in shoes because when you get tired, your form doesn’t slip, and you don’t start moving your feet around too much and pedaling in the incorrect manner.
The shoes offer much more support
For example, Clip-in shoes like spinning bike shoes have a considerable amount of support when riding, unlike regular training shoes that are designed to be flexible.
So you have a comfy inside but a very supportive and stiffer sole. On high-end shoes, they will even be a carbon fiber sole. They make your feet feel much better when riding your spin bike, and it’s just a better experience.
It makes standing climbs much easier
If you’re not a fan of a standing climb, then I feel clip-in shoes will change that easily. I think the best thing about indoor cycling clip-in shoes is the way it makes standing climbing just so much easier.
It absolutely plants your feet to the pedals and will give you so much more confidence. Out of the saddle rides are much better when wearing indoor cycling shoes and pedals.
It’s More Hygienic
Indoor cycling shoes compared to regular trainers are much more hygienic, they are better ventilated, and they also have a much better ability to remove the sweat and moisture from your feet.
When you are on a stationary bike, you don’t get the ventilation compared to riding outdoors and structure. So, the ventilation system that are built into the sole of indoor cycling shoes, comes really helpful.
They look much better
It may not seem like much, but turning up to an indoor cycling class with proper shoes just looks so much better and makes you feel so much more confident. For me, this goes a long way to the way I feel when I start riding.
Wearing the right exercise clothes is a must for every type of workout. Just like how you dress up for a Yoga class, you want to wear the right apparel for your indoor cycling workouts. That means, not only shoes and spinning clipless pedals but also using comfortable padded indoor cycling shorts.
You can use them outdoors
With the correct pedals on your outdoor bike, you can even use the cycling shoes to go outdoors as well as use them on indoor bikes.
Typically most cycling shoes are made to be not just for indoors but outdoor riding as well. You will get the same excellent benefits on your outdoor bikes. Just make sure you unclip before stopping at traffic lights.
They don’t break like toe clips
If you’re not using indoor cycling clip-in pedals or cycling shoes, more than likely, you’re using toe straps. Not only are these not ideal and do come loose sometimes they can break, and unfortunately, when they do, they can cause some real issues.
They can fling your feet out, and accidents can happen, leading to serious injury. If you don’t trust me, check out the web and you will see how painful it can get.
Disadvantages clipping-into pedals when cycling indoors:
We can’t talk about the advantages of clipping into indoor cycling shoes and pedals without talking about the disadvantages they come with too. Although I believe the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, here’s what you might find difficult about using clipless indoor cycling shoes.
Not all of them you can walk in
With many clip-in indoor cycling shoes you cannot walk in. This is due to the clips in the bottom, so it can often be difficult as you have to take regular shoes to a class too. Especially if you want to do upper body workout after your spinning workout.
There are many different types of clips and pedals
It’s essential to do your research when it comes to buying shoes, pedals, and cleats. You have a few different types indoor bike cleats and pedals like road bike pedals SPD-SL, mountain bike pedals SPD, and even bikes like the Peloton bike that uses Look Delta Cleats.
Typically most people use SPD pedals, and these have small metal cleats. Ensure you get the right shoes for the right pedals and the correct cleats.
Clipping-in indoor bike pedals can get expensive
When you decide to clip-into indoor cycling bike pedals, you would normally need to buy a pair of bike pedals with elements to allow clipping into. It costs anywhere from $50 to $100. Then you need a pair of special indoor cycling shoes to allow clipping-into pedals which can cost anywhere from $50 to $200.
So, as you can see, using clip-in pedals for exercise bikes can cost up to $300 depending on the quality of the product that you decide go with. That said, many of magnetic stationary bikes that I reviewed come equipped with clip-in pedals so if you get one those bike, you would only need a pair of spinning workout slipping shoes.
Bike pedals need to be set up correctly
When you get clip-in shoes, you are going to need to get the cleats to be set up correctly, and this means just getting the angle correct. It’s not too hard to do but will take about 20 minutes and a watch of a Youtube video or two.
There are mainly two types of clip-in pedals for indoor cycling. These include SPD clip-in pedals (aka two-bolt pedals) and Look Delta clip-in pedals (aka three-bolt pedals).
Three-bolt clip-in pedals like Look Delta are the best type of pedals to use for indoor cycling. They offer a wider platform for the shoes which is more comfortable and allow better power transfer.
No you don’t necessarily need to use clip-in pedals for indoor cycling workouts. You could use standard caged pedals for indoor cycling. However, it’s highly recommended to use clip-in pedals while cycling indoor for safety, comfort, and efficiency.
Not all pedals fit every spin bike. Most spin bikes fit 9/16″ pedal thread size but there are some that fit 1/2″ pedal thread size. So, you need to check which pedal thread fits your bike, then you can buy a pair pedals accordingly. To measure the pedal size, you can use a ruler, a measuring tape, or a millimetre gauge.
You need a standard bike pedal 15mm spanner to change the pedals on your spin bike. First, take a look at the pedals and see which one is marked “Right” and which one is marked “Left”. The rule of thumb when it comes to spin bike pedal installation is to tighten the pedals towards the front of the bike. Start with the right pedal, which will tighten in a clockwise manner. Once that’s in place, move on to the left pedal, which will tighten in a counterclockwise manner.
If you purchased a pair of pedals that doesn’t fit your spin bike, you have two solutions. You can either buy two pedal adapters that allow binger or smaller pedals to fit crank-arms. Or, you can return pedals and buy a pair of pedals that are compatible with your spin bike.
Yes, in order to clip-into pedals, you need to use special indoor cycling shoes. You can not use regular trainers or sneakers to clip-into bike pedals. Special indoor cycling shoes have metal cleats on the sole that allow clipping into the bike pedals.
Having an indoor bike with clip-in pedals like Keiser M3i makes the experience so much better when it comes to your training, and we highly recommend it to anyone once they have had a little bit of time on a spinning bike. We highly recommend looking through the different indoor bike cycling pedals and cleats to ensure you get the correct ones for your shoes. They will take a bike of time to get used to but are a tremendous amount of fun.