Using cleats can be very beneficial for cycling performance, especially for longer rides and races. One of the main advantages of using cleats is that they allow for more efficient power transfer from your legs to the pedals. This is because cleats allow you to pull up on the pedals as well as push down, which can help to increase your speed and power.
There are also a number of other benefits to using cleats, including increased stability which can be especially important in high-speed or technical race situations, as well as the ability to easily adjust your position on the bike. They also allow you to use different muscle groups when cycling, which can help to reduce fatigue and improve your endurance.
There are many different brands and models of bicycle cleats available on the market, each with their own unique features and benefits. Here are a few examples:
- Look Keo Cleats: These cleats are compatible with Look pedals and offer a moderate amount of float (the amount of movement allowed before the cleat releases from the pedal). They are easy to clip in and out of and are suitable for both road and off-road cycling. One potential disadvantage is that they may not offer as much stability as some other cleats.
- Shimano SPD Cleats: These cleats are compatible with Shimano SPD pedals and offer a small amount of float. They are widely used in mountain biking and are known for their durability and reliability. However, they may not be as easy to clip in and out of as some other cleats.
- Time Xpresso Cleats: These cleats are compatible with Time pedals and offer a very small amount of float. They are designed for maximum power transfer and are popular among road cyclists. However, they may not be as comfortable as some other cleats for longer rides.
- Speedplay Zero Cleats: These cleats are compatible with Speedplay pedals and offer a large amount of float, making them some of the most comfortable cleats available. They are also known for their easy entry and release, but they may not offer as much stability as some other cleats.
To learn how to ride with cleats, it is best to start by practicing on a stationary bike or in a low-traffic area. This will allow you to get used to the feeling of being attached to the pedals and help you to develop good technique. It is also a good idea to use a pedal with a small amount of float, which will allow your feet to move slightly while still being attached to the pedals.
However, there are also some disadvantages to using cleats. One of the main drawbacks is that they can be difficult to get used to, especially if you are new to cycling. Cleats also require special cycling shoes that are compatible with the pedals, which can be an added expense.
In contrast, regular platform pedals are much easier to use and do not require special shoes. However, they do not offer the same level of power transfer and stability as cleats, and it can be difficult to adjust your position on the bike when using platform pedals.
Overall, it is worth learning to use cleats if you are serious about cycling and want to improve your performance. However, if you are just starting out or do not plan on doing a lot of cycling, regular platform pedals may be a more suitable option.