Newbie needs advice on pedal type

I’ve been riding bikes for years but never a fixie. I’m building up a conversion now and was wondering about pedals.

1. Attached or Not?

My instincts say not to use any kind of foot retention system (i.e. toe clips or clipless) until I’ve learned how to ride a fixie (or unlearned how to ride a freewheel, if you like). It seems safer not to be firmly attached to something unless you can control it.

On the other hand, Sheldon Brown’s advice is that “riding fixed with plain pedals is an advanced fixed gear skill, only recommended for experienced fixed-gear riders.” I know that riding a snowboard without your feet strapped in is pretty hard, is it the same principle?

2. Pedal Type

Assuming I run with some kind of attachment system, what’s the best choice? I would have thought Look, SPD, or SpeedPlay would give the most ground clearance through corners, but most/all fixies seem to have old-skool toe clips and straps. Is this just for cosmetic/historical reasons, or are there practical reasons too?

Thanks for any help you guys can give me.


  1. Attached (if you dont have brakes). Else you can’t stop unless you have skills, as Sheldon says.
  2. Clips and straps if you want to ride in street shoes. I’ve had good experience with Look and SPD, not good with eggbeaters. Probably what you already have cleats for :slight_smile:

You’re thinking too much. Fixed is just another bike. It’s not THAT Different.

Anyway, you should have clipless - I’ve never known anybody to go from flats to clipless and regret it in any way. But loads of people ride with straps too, and they’re cheap and easy to try.

As for which kind of clipless pedal, do a search. It’s been done to death.

I’ll summarize with:

  • eggbeater SLs are the best (because I use them)
  • plenty of people swear by Time ATACs
  • SPDs are the usually cheaper and probably the most plentiful

They all work well. You’ll just have to choose one that appeals to you for whatever reason.