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Why Are They Called Clipless Pedals?

Let's get this question out of the way. So, if the cleat on the shoe clips into the pedal, why are they called clipless pedals? Simply put, the action of locking the shoe to the pedal is not where clipless pedals get their name.

It comes from history.

Flat Pedals

A flat pedalAt first, pedals were flat. They are effective and still used today.

Pedals with Toe Clips

A pedal with a toe clip and strapThen, to get better power transfer, riders used toe clips and straps to secure their shoes on the pedals. The problem was that, to get your foot out when coming to a stop, you had to first loosen the strap.

Clipless Pedals

A clipless pedalFinally, new pedals were invented which both improved power transfer and made it easier to get your feet off the pedals. Because these pedals don't use clips, they were named clipless.


We hope this helps! If you have any more questions, let us know.

Photo Credits:
"Fahrradkram" by Ralf Roletschek is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 (cropped from original).
"Bicycle pedal, quill type, early 1980s, Campagnolo SL road" by LDHan is public domain.

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Katherine is our Content Champion. She has done triathlons in the past, and now focuses on mountain biking and long-distance gravel riding. She still has a soft spot in her heart for weird multi-sport events like indoor triathlon and aquabike. She also teaches indoor cycling.

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