Clipless on a racer

I put clipless pedals on my coker recently and I notice that you can start much faster. I was thinking that for the track races like at NAUCC or UNICON, clipless could make your starts much faster. I just wanted to put this idea out there for all you who have used clipless, could it be helpful on a racer?

When I briefly tried it a few years ago…it definitely helped with control and speed. But I found clipping out an issue during certain dismounts, particularly when you’re tired. This was on a MUni though. I don’t think it’s as much of an issue on road or track as there are fewer UPDs. On the track if you’re racing limited class, you’re not going fast enough to do that much damage. On the road on a Coker, you end up going so fast that it’s going to hurt whether or not you are clipped in to the unicycle if you crash.

Practice using it on a bike first. I had trouble unclipping during unexpected UPD’s even having used it for years on my MTB and roadbikes.

Ken, what systems have you used and what worked best for you?

I haven’t gone back to the clipless since I tried it briefly a few years back, simply because I slammed myself into the ground a few times (on a MUni) when I was tired. When I was fresh though…it worked really well. I had way more control, and the hands free hopping was kinda cool.

I think it might be ok for road and track, but I haven’t tried it yet. I don’t think it makes as much difference as on a bike, where you are using much longer cranks and pushing bigger gears. But it might become more significant as people start using 36" Schlumpfs and longer cranks.

I tend to just use a wide stable platform pedal for road unicycling. Grippy but not too grippy otherwise it’s hard to adjust your foot position when you are doing high revs. Snafus are my favourite, but they are heavy. I recently went over to Gusset Slim Jims which I really like. Their magnesium version is pretty light I think.

I meant which clipless pedals, not what pedals you are currently using.

Oh ok, that was with my old Ritchey WCS mountainbike clipless pedals.

I’m thinking of putting my trusty Keos from the roadbike on my unicycle. They’re a bit harder to clip in fast, but much more stable than the mountainbike pedals.

I have some old Look’s (carbo pro, which aren’t so pro) on my road bike that I don’t ride anymore so I put them on my coker. They are nice but because of the way you have to clip in on Look and related clips, you can’t just stand on the pedals and have clip in. For us being short, you can’t just freemount onto a coker. What I’ve been doing is that I’ll get my right foot in and then jump on and ride on revolution 1-foot and then clip in, not the smoothest or most efficient method, but it works.

I’ve been looking at other clips systems with big platforms and these look promising: or

I think clipless pedals are great with shorter cranks (like 110’s or less) and they make spinning much smoother. Ask Chuck for a second opinion, as he rode 100mm with speedplay clips on his fixed. ( for a picture)

Yeah, I agree the Look Keos probably aren’t the best for clipping in and out of quickly. But then, how often do you clip in and out when you’re riding on the road anyway?

I do like the new crank bros though…I really want some for my MTB.

Never been a fan of speedplays. I like pedals to have a bit more platform instead of standing on lollipops. You need quite a stiff sole I think if you were to use the speedplays.

yeah, I tried some of my dad’s speedplays, and couldn’t freemount. Plus, the springs were old and loose so I couldn’t unclip and fell directly backwards on my butt (only going 5k though).

EDIT: Because I broke my T7 during UNICON and my new one was in the mail I didn’t have a handlebar on, this was accidental but nice. I would suggest learning to ride clipless without a handlebar for the first few rides.

I’m thinking of getting these Keywins:

I think that would work well on a Uni

Those look like nice pedals, but as the are a NZ company I bet shipping orices would suck to the US. How much do they usually sell for (the CrMo ones)?

EDIT: I found them online for $80 for the pedals and $15 for the shoe hardware

Looks like the Ti version is US$165 from the US distributer:

They have a reputation around these parts for being lightweight and reliable. At least the road version. If I wasn’t using Keos for my RB I’d definitely be on the Keywins.

They look quite plastic though, and that scares me.

Quite a few of our top road/track cyclists and triathletes use it…haven’t heard any bad reviews yet. I’m tossing up between the keywins and the crank bros for my MTB.

I say you go for CB and let me know what you think.:wink:

Allow me to be your test comparison person. I submit that quick starts are more about technique than having your feet locked to the pedals. Unless your name is Chuck Edwall or a few other select people, I bet I can outstart with conventional pedals regardless of what you use.

That said, there have always been a few intrepid users of clipped pedals here and there. Some try it until they get hurt but others haven’t gotten hurt yet so they’re still using them. I don’t really have a problem with keeping my feet on the pedals, except maybe when it’s snowy, so I don’t consider it worth the risk, especially on a road unicycle where you’re reaching speeds faster than you can run. Having had a crash last year where I broke my collarbone (due to an “uncontrolled” shoelace), I’m definitely not a proponent of being stuck to the pedals. :slight_smile:

Maybe, maybe not.

But if you are going at 30km/hr, will you be hurt more if you were stuck to the unicycle than if you were not stuck to the unicycle? You can’t run out of this one! My worst ever injury probably would have been nothing more than road rash if I had been locked onto the pedal. Likewise my second worst injury would not have happened if I was still locked into my unicycle.

It is not about grip. You use clipless because they make it possible to put force into a larger part of the pedalling circle.

Yes, yes and most likely. It’s a lot easier to tuck and roll if you don’t have a unicycle stuck to your foot. I did plenty of dismounts at speed back in my racing days, but that shoelace crash (at about 15 mph) was a guaranteed injury of some sort. In my case, the clavicle healed crooked and will never be the same.

It’s all about grip. You’re obviously thinking about the riding part. I’m thinking about the much more rare but very important crashing-clipped-in part. I’ll still take anyone on for race starts, especially on 24" racing unicycles.

It is also about the saving-energy part.