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What Are Cycling Cleats?

If you’ve come to cycling later in life, and your last recollection of riding a bike is zipping about the neighbourhood on your BMX the prospect of attaching yourself to your bike might seem a bit alien. These are a special attachment for your cycling shoe that allows you to clip into your bike’s pedals. Confusingly, this is referred to as “clipless” pedal system, thanks to the more traditional looking leather or plastic cage taking the name toe clip pedals.

Do You Need Specific Biking Cleats?

Yes and no. There’s a reason professional and amateur cyclists all over the world use clipless pedal systems, in all manner of disciplines. Only the most extreme off-road riders and BMX cyclists, due to the nature of their sports, don’t attach themselves to their pedals. However, as every cyclist knows, clipping yourself into your pedals can be daunting; you’d be hard pressed to find a cyclist that didn’t have an embarrassing story to tell of being unable to attach themselves from their bike when approaching a stop. That all being considered, as we’ve said, the majority of cyclists use these systems and it’s much more efficient and comfortable. Once you get used to clipping in and clipping out it’ll become second nature, and you’ll wonder how you managed without it before.

What Are the Different Types of Cleats?

There are a number of different systems and options available. Two of the most widespread are from Look and Shimano. Look’s main offering is the KEO or KEO grip, which are both for use on the road. Shimano produces the SPD for off-road riding and the SPD SL for road riding. Look produce the Keo Grip for road riding. It’s also worth noting that a number of power meter pedals use a cleat interchangeable with Look Keo