Whether you’re starting to cycle or interested in getting started, there’s one question that’ll come up early in your journey: For a better workout, how does a cage pedal vs. clip pedal stack up? Should you invest in clip-in shoes, or can you just wear your regular athletic shoes and still work up a sweat?
Is it a matter of preference, or is there a major difference? In short, yes, and not really (for most people).
Read on for the basics you need to know about different pedals on your BODi bike and why you might like one over the other.
What’s the Main Difference Between Cage Pedals and Clip-In Pedals?
Different indoor cycling bikes come with different pedals. At first glance, this can make indoor cycling feel more complicated than it is, but it just comes down to how you prefer to secure your foot to the pedal.
After all, as you probably remember from riding bikes as a kid, you can cycle just fine when nothing is attaching your foot to the pedals.
Cage pedals are flat pedals that have a cage structure made of pliable nylon built up and over them. These “cages” envelope the toe of your shoe, with some even sporting an adjustable strap around the midfoot for more security.
Your foot isn’t firmly locked into place with these pedals, but the cage does keep your soles close to the pedal while you’re cycling.
Unlike clip-in pedals, you don’t need special equipment to use an indoor bike with cage pedals — your regular sneakers will fit just fine, and cage pedals fit most shoe sizes.
Clip-in pedals have grooves into which you anchor the cleats of specialized cycling shoes. There are different kinds of clips, so you have to make sure your pedals and shoes are compatible.
“Clip-in pedals require a specific type of cycling shoe and a specific cleat,” explains BODi Trainer Justin Flexen, CPT. Different bikes have different cleat requirements.
By attaching your foot to the pedal, clip-ins “allow your feet to stay locked in,” Flexen says. This means you don’t need to worry about your feet coming undone during a workout, but you can easily unclip when you want.
BODi bikes have pedals that work in multiple ways. They have toe clips and straps (aka a “cage”), but you’ll need to use SPD 2-hole clips if you opt for the former.
Strap-in pedals are a variation on cage pedals and adjust to sit snugly around your foot. Some of these pedals feature a single strap for securing over your midfoot.
Why Would You Choose Cage Pedals Over Clip-In Pedals?
“The choice to use cycling shoes to clip in or sneakers is completely up to the individual and based on comfort and preference,” says Flexen. So there’s no wrong side to the cages vs. clips debate.
That being said, Flexen clarifies that cages have a big advantage over clips. “Cages allow for a quicker transition” if you cross-train, like with the mat work offered on the BODi Bike, he explains.
Bikes that offer both options are great because they let you use cages when doing cross-training mixed with cycling and clips when you’re just riding. This dual functionality is also great for people who haven’t found their perfect cycling shoes yet.
Why Would You Choose Clip-In Pedals?
Clip-in pedals are slightly better for pedaling efficiency — but you can still get a good workout without them, says Flexen. Clips may also help you push yourself when it comes to resistance.
Flexen prefers clips because he can “ride with more resistance,” which lets him “utilize more of the leg muscles, especially quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.” And because you have to pull up on the pedal with clip-ins, you activate your hip flexors too.
If you’re cycling three times a week or more, clips are a good decision, says Flexen. Your frequent cycling workouts also mean you’ll get your money’s worth out of the cycling shoes required for these pedals.
Which One Offers You the Best Workout?
“You can get a great workout with either option,” Flexen says. Ultimately, your best workout probably comes down to what makes you feel most comfortable and powerful.
However, your tastes may change as you become more accustomed to riding. That’s where a bike with multiple pedal options, like the BODi Bike, offers an advantage.
Why Does the BODi Bike Have Both Cage and Clip-In Pedals?
Flexen says that the goal is to make the BODi bike accessible to everyone so they can reap the benefits of cycling. Having clips and cages means you can put the bike to use immediately, even if you don’t own cycling shoes.
BODi also allows you to choose which pedal type you’ll use based on your workout.
“It is important for our users to have options, especially since we offer modalities like cross-training, which require you to go from the bike to the mat,” Flexen explains.
If you know you’re doing mat work, you can choose strap-ins. If not, you can clip in for your ride.
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