Clip ins or not?

As a new rider, I cycle in trainers but notice that my power fluctuates very quickly even though I seem to be pushing at the same power. Just wondering if cleats might be useful in this respect? Any ideas or advice gratefully welcomed!

Could be unrelated (some variation is normal, riding fully even without ERG mode is almost impossible) but I’d recommend cleats all the same. Very hard to fall off a trainer and definitely the way to go. You can practice clipping in for the road too so that you won’t fall off there either because you’ll be a pro by your first IRL ride with them

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Hi. I also ride in my trainers, but use the toe clips which allows me the pull up as well which give you more easy watts,
l purchased some clip ins, (trainer type) a month ago and they do make a big difference so I use them when I enter a race. Can really feel the legs working.

Lisa, there are drills which teach how to pedal efficiently. These includes pedaling with one foot, pedaling by pulling up, pedaling in a circle. Cycling shoes with cleats are a must for this. The traditional pedaling technique which kids learn on their first bikes is to push on pedal hard between perhaps 1:30 o;clock position and 4:30 o’clock position, almost like if walking up the stairs. This of course results in almost no torque applied to the pedals between 10:30 o’clock and 1:30 o’clock, so power varies hugely within one revolution of a pedal. And this is where efficiency is lost. So, yes, you absolutely need to get cycling shoes and read about correct pedaling technique, it will be very beneficial for you when riding in Zwift or oudoors!

You can’t go wrong getting some cycling shoes and clipless/clip-in pedals. Two benefits. First, more of your power goes into the drivetrain. Second, as Ian said, it gives you a safe way to get used to the pedals, clipping in without the risks you’d have if doing it on the road. Practicing clipping in, getting the muscle memory of where you need to have your foot, practice unclipping all in the safety of home.

You don’t need fancy pedals for training. I use cheap Look and Shimano pedals normally marketed to beginners for my trainer since weight doesn’t matter. Shoes for training can be low cost too, breathability and moderate sole stiffness are key. Road shoes/pedals will get you more stiffness. Mountain shoes/pedals may not be as stiff, but are usually more breathable and maybe cheaper (the shoes are still stiff enough to be a benefit for training)

Best wishes in your new cycling journey.

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Would anybody be willing to recommend some pedals and shoes?

I’m 6 weeks into Zwift on a Kickr Bike and using it 4x / week or more and loving it. It feels like time to move off the toe clips. I have never owned any clipless pedals or cycling shoes.
(raced MTB, cyclocross and road in toe clips for years as a kid many many years ago)

The shoes and pedals will probably only ever be used for indoor cycling.

However… IRL I have flat pedals on a MTB that I use with the family. Up and down some pretty steep trails, but nothing above average technically. Unless someone has an amazing suggestion of combination of shoes and pedals that will go across both bikes, I think this is irrelevant. Especially as I probably want to keep the indoor shoes clean and not use them outdoors so will have to get two pairs of shoes anyway.

Complexity… my daughter and wife use the Kickr Bike occasionally too. (Making it accessible and easy to use for them was part of the equation and justification for the enormous cost of the bike!) So how do I turn the clipless pedals into something they can use, without having to buy them shoes too???

If you really only intend to use them indoors I´d recommend the Shimano PD-M324 spd pedal and these specific indoor shoes: Shimano SH-IC100.

If you want you can try/use the pedals outdoor too on your MTB - and you have the flexibility to use them with normal shoes or cycling shoes without having to change anything.

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SPD cleats and cycling shoes for mountain biking with recessed cleats are they way to go for you. With recessed cleats, you can walk around your house without damaging floors with steel cleats, and you will feel very stable in these shoes because, well, they feel more or less as stiff regular shoes.

This is an example to show how the sole of such shoes looks like:

If you want your daughter to bike as well… you could buy pedals with SPD on one side and flat platform on the other. This is an example which came on top of the list on Amazon, it is not a recommendation of a specific brand or model, just an illustration of what I mean.

I promise you, once you start pedaling with cleats, you will not want to bike with flat pedals. 100%.