I have spent a lot of time and money with my friends at Cyclefit in London in setting up pedals and shoes to find a pain-free riding position on my racing bike. Time and money that I believe was well spent.
I can ride my Serotta Classique Titanium dream machine for hours on end without a problem. My position on that bike is perfect for me and me only and I’m a great believer in the concept of bike-fitting.
Sometimes it can be the micro-adjustments that make all the difference. I once found that two small washers between the crank-arm and the pedal cured a very slight knee twinge.
So why have I chosen flat pedals for a long cycle tour? Am I plunging my knees into a whole world of pain by not having a fixed position on the bike? Why would I allow my foot to move around the pedal and not be bolted into place?
Well there was one factor that over-rode everything else in my decision: I didn’t want to carry multiple pairs of shoes on my cycle tour.
I couldn’t find any decent looking hybrid walking/cycling shoes for clip-in pedals that seem like they would be as comfortable for riding as they would be for long walks off the bike.
I also have giant size 13 feet making carrying an extra pair of shoes on tour totally impractical.
DMR pedals were an elegant solution.
Firstly they’re pretty cheap. We bought ours from Rutland Cycles in the U.K. for £45. I didn’t go with the super cheap version as you need to keep packing them with grease. Nor did I go for the top of the range magnesium version as they were too bling for my needs.
These pedals will probably offend the weight-weenies. They tip the scales at 525 grams but the newer versions are 20% lighter. The weight also means that when you accidentally whack your legs against them, it hurts like buggery.
A strong feature though are the spikes. They do a great job of holding your foot in place so you are not constantly changing position.
There have been times when I have felt my knee start to twinge and normally I can change my foot position and eventually it goes away.
When it comes to pedalling efficiency and power transfer I don’t notice any difference when I’m climbing, but sometimes on the flat and pedalling more rapidly I bounce around on the pedal a bit.
The DMRs are probably the next best thing to having clip-in pedals on a tourer. I was a little worried about how they would perform on a long tour but my knees are holding up just fine even now that I’m currently riding more regularly than I ever have.
Choosing cycle touring kit involved a lot of weighing up of options. Sure there are some big disadvantages with pedals like these but the benefits of carrying one pair of truly multi-purpose shoes probably cancels them out..