My first task in finding a working solution for the “Clipless Glove” is to determine which clipless pedal system I want to use. To get an idea of the large number of designs developed over the years, check out this cool museum. Obviously, whatever system I choose, I want replacement parts/clips to be readily available. Thus, most of the systems in that gallery are out.
First, I’ve considered the basic mounting requirements. As the clip (most likely pulled from a pedal) has to be mounted to a handlebar, I need some sort of clamp. Last night I whipped up this basic concept:
As I haven’t chosen a specific clipping system, I don’t have any specific dimensions. This is just a rough mock-up to help visualize what I’m trying to do. The exact size and placement of the holes (presumably for screws) would be completely dependent on factors that have not yet been determined. In any event, screwing two of these together around the handlebar would provide for a mounting surface. Alternatively, with a few modifications to the above block, something could mount directly to the block, pinching the handlebar between them.
I also considered a strap of some kind, but I need a sturdy mounting surface. Remember, I don’t want the arm length extended any more than necessary. The above block sturdies the device from the back-side of the bar, allowing the front side to remain thin. A strap would accomplish the opposite.
Keeping things low profile rules out most rode bike systems. A quick look though the above mentioned museum should be plenty evidence of that. In fact, even Speedplay‘s very slick road system has massive clips compared to off-road systems. Which is to bad. I really like the pedal design. Imagine one half of that pedal mounted to a modified variation of the above block. Very slick! However, I just can’t get past that shoe clip being mounted to the palm of any glove, even if it is lower profile than any other road system on the market.
Which brings me to the Frog, Speedplay’s off-road pedal system. While the pedal is not quite at low-profile, it’s not that bad. Additionally, like their road pedals, the pedal splits in half very easily. Check this image from their instruction manual (pdf):
Half of that could easily mount to a modified variation of my block.
One thing I’m not sure about is the non-centering free float that all Speedplay systems have. While I can see the benefits in a pedal, I’m not sure if the 20 degrees if free movement would constitute sloppiness in a handlebar situation. On the other hand, it is possible that that it is exactly what is needed, considering the need for rotation when steering. But then there’s the concern that it may release if the rider was to turn a little to sharp to the left. While the fact that it will only release when turned one direction lessens that concern, what if the bar turns sharp to the right during a mishap and the rider is not able to twist their wrist far enough the other direction to release before they land on their head? The only way to know the answers to these questions is to test with real products. But at an MSRP of $105 for something that may or may not work… well, you get the idea. Now, if Speedplay would like to sponsor my endeavors (hint, hint), that would be a different story.
Perhaps a cheaper alternative would be to go with something like these $20 pedals:
Just pull the shinny part off and use the same screws to attach it to my block. Its low profile, should release either direction and is affordable. But, is it usable? At that price one has to wonder. And then there’s what I believe is an adjustment screw in the end. How would that work. That’s what’s so appealing about Speedplay. All the adjustments are in the clip, not the pedal.
Perhaps there are other solutions I’m not aware of. Obviously, something like Crank Brother’s Eggbeaters would not work. I’m open to suggestions. Speedplay has this handy comparison chart, but it doesn’t tell me everything I need to know, and it is biased.
Just now it occurs to me that I could perhaps use Speedplays road system but mount the clip on the handlebar and the pedal-half on the glove. It would be interesting to try, but there’s that obstacle of price again. Therefore, I’m open to anyone sending me old/broken/worn pedals. Especially, if, perhaps, the bearings are bad, but the clip still works. The more styles I have to test, the better. Let me know in the comments or email me at waylan at gmail dot com.