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How to switch to automatic pedals?

You are a road cyclist, triathlete, crossmen or mountain biker and you want to take the plunge and switch to automatic pedals or on the contrary you hesitate. We explain step by step how to make the transition!

Advantages of automatic pedals

Used by a large number of amateur cyclists and by all professionals, automatic pedals have many advantages :

  • Efficiency during pedaling : you will be able to observe a gain in power and efficiency. With automatic pedals and shoes, you will have an optimal transfer of your effort to the pedal.

  • Comfort and simplicity : your foot is fixed and your shoe is correctly placed on the pedal. Your pedaling will be more fluid. There is no risk of taking the wrong position (and risking injury). Optimal foot support.

  • Weight : the materials used are lightweight, both in the pedals and in the shoes. Cyclists looking for weight savings can rely on carbon components.

How it works

The automatic pedals allow you to securely connect your foot to the bike pedal via a wedge. A spring inside the pedal allows you to engage and disengage the shim and thus release the foot when you want to get off the bike.

Your bike shoe is equipped with a shim (supplied with the pair of pedals) that you attach to the sole. To "put on", you will put the shim at the level of the pedal and engage it. Your bike shoe will then fit into the dedicated space. If you hear a "clap" it means that the pedal is engaged properly.

To "unhook", make an outward heel movement (or the inside it will depend on the model of shims and the angular freedom they allow) so that your shoe comes off the pedal. The tension is adjustable at the pedal and will allow you to adjust the spring sensitivity.

If you are a beginner in automatic pedals, we recommend that you make several clipping/unclipping attempts at home before taking the road and/or paths.

2 types of pedals according to your practice

The choice of your pedals will depend on your practice: road or mtb .
If you practice the road bike, you will orient yourself on pedals with a 3-point attachment system (these are the Keo pedals at Look, SPD-SL at Shimano etc.). The wedge is fixed on the sole, and allows to have a consequent support surface.

If you are a mountain biker or cyclist, your choice will be smaller shims (often with 2 fixing points such as Shimano's SPD system, Attac at Time or Crankbrothers) that are embedded in the sole of the shoe, provided for this purpose. The advantage of this system is that it allows you to walk easily during porting, for example.

In summary

Automatic pedals are part of the cyclist's essential. The benefits, whether in terms of comfort or performance, are undeniable and will change your outings. To equip you properly, he will choose the type of pedals that will suit your practice and make sure that your shoes are compatible.


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