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Clipless pedals

jebfour

Turbo Monkey
Jun 19, 2003
2,086
1,440
CLT, NC
I have to ask....how many of you out there use clipless pedals? I know that not everyone uses them for downhill and such, but I generally ride trails (with the occational downhill trip) and I just can't get used to the damn things (after 200 miles). I love them on my road bike, but man.....I'm getting tired of using my face/shoulder/leg/etc. for a brake.

Does anyone out there use them for trails and stuff or just for freeride & downhill stuff? From the people I see around here it looks like I'll be the only one.......
 

Heidi

Der hund ist laut und braun
Aug 22, 2001
10,184
797
Bend, Oregon
Clipless is the way to go. Honestly, I don't know anyone who DOESN'T ride clipless. It is a gazillion times more efficient and I just feel safer. Of course, they take a long time to get used to.

Keep practicing.
 
Jul 28, 2003
657
0
Eat, ME
Clipless is the way to go for XC, absolutely! You might want to loosen them waaaaaaaaaaaay up until you get used to getting out of them quickly on the trails.

The Cheese
 
Aug 28, 2003
71
0
Ashland, OR
I have a much harder time getting into clipless then out personally, but that was on a road bike. I ride plastic cages on my mtb, but thats only cause i'm poor.
 

Ryano

Chimp
Oct 7, 2003
5
0
NOR CAL BABY!!!!! Roseville
Clipless is the way to go. I love it. If you super worreid about getting in and out just back the adjusters out a ton if you have spd. For me it made it easire to get in and out of when i started. i gotta adjust the ones on my hard tail they got more float then a speedplay. :p
 

fldunit

Chimp
Feb 20, 2003
15
0
I have tried a few different styles of clipless pedals and have found that some are much easier to use than others. If you are having trouble getting clipped-in, look at how your shoes match-up to your pedals. The rubber soles may interfere with the pedal, effectively pushing the cleat away from the pedal. Also, some platform style pedals can be a little tougher to get clipped into because of the larger contact ares. Some of the cheaper pedals have stiff mechanisms and fewer moving parts, making it difficult to get into. Start with good pedals, back the tension off a bit at first but retighten when you are more comfortable for more security and power, lightly lube contact points and clearance your shoes should do the trick. For cross country-you cannot beat the effeciency of clipins...period.
 

jebfour

Turbo Monkey
Jun 19, 2003
2,086
1,440
CLT, NC
Continuation of my stupid newbie question......

I DO have SPD style pedals on both my road and MTB (I think they are different models though). I've never really needed to adjust the settings on my road bike 'cause I like 'em tight, but as far as my MTB is concerned, if I losen the tension, does that also increase the float?

Thanks for the help

jeb4
 

gorgechris

Monkey
Mar 25, 2003
242
0
Traveling the eastern U.S.
Originally posted by jeb4
Continuation of my stupid newbie question......

I DO have SPD style pedals on both my road and MTB (I think they are different models though). I've never really needed to adjust the settings on my road bike 'cause I like 'em tight, but as far as my MTB is concerned, if I losen the tension, does that also increase the float?

Thanks for the help

jeb4
Hmm, I have Times, which have a set release angle, but let me see if I can recollect about the SPuDs: I believe the release angle (amount of float) does not change with the tension adjuster, but the force needed to release your foot from the pedal decreases. I'm sure a more knowledgeable SPuD user will correct me if I'm wrong.

Technique may be an issue, too. Kick out hard and slightly down with your heel to release. If you have loose-fitting shoes, or loose cleats, you are only going to make matters more difficult.

Conditions can also affect pedal release performance. Not a lot of people use SPuDs up here in the NW, because once they get mud/grit/sand/moist dirt in them, they clog and become very difficult to release. Clean your pedals after each ride with soapy water, rinse well, and then apply a light dab of chain lube to the engagement point before you hit the trail.

Finally, high-quality pedals, such as Shimano, perform much better than others. If you have Wellgos (or any "house brand", which is probably made by Wellgo), then that may be contributing to your pain.
 

jebfour

Turbo Monkey
Jun 19, 2003
2,086
1,440
CLT, NC
I just looked up the spec (guess I should have done that first)

The pedals are Shimano 505 clipless but I don't see a "505" on Shimano's site. They look like the 515's
 

BikeGeek

BrewMonkey
Jul 2, 2001
4,574
274
Hershey, PA
I've never had luck with Shimano pedals offroad. A lot of people will tell you that they can't get clipped in when it's muddy, but I had the opposite problem. Mud would pack in around the cleat and, once I was clipped in, it would keep me from turning the shoe far enough to disengage. It didn't matter where I had the tension set, I couldn't turn my foot due to the mud.

The obvious solution would be to not put my feet down, or to scrape around the cleat before clipping in, but I opted for Times and haven't had a problem since.
 

gorgechris

Monkey
Mar 25, 2003
242
0
Traveling the eastern U.S.
Originally posted by BikeGeek
I've never had luck with Shimano pedals offroad. A lot of people will tell you that they can't get clipped in when it's muddy, but I had the opposite problem. Mud would pack in around the cleat and, once I was clipped in, it would keep me from turning the shoe far enough to disengage. It didn't matter where I had the tension set, I couldn't turn my foot due to the mud.

The obvious solution would be to not put my feet down, or to scrape around the cleat before clipping in, but I opted for Times and haven't had a problem since.
My girlfriend suffered through several seasons of not being able to get out of her pedals, until she got a pair of Times last Christmas. She is much more confident in her riding now that she knows she can get her foot out and down onto the ground.

Yeah, considering how bad SPuDs work in wet conditions, it is amazing that they are considered mountain bike pedals. I guess if you're a racer, and never put your foot down the entire course, they make sense. For the majority of the riders I know, they are useless up here.

jeb4, I would not recommend you chuck your pedals, just go through all the other options. You may also want to take them to the store where you purchased the bike, to see if their mechanic thinks they might be defective (not likely). I usually don't recommend Times to new riders, because they require significant force to release the cleat, especially compared to clean, well-running Shimanos.

I've not ridden Frogs, but several people swear by them.
 

Spunger

Git yer dumb questions here
Feb 19, 2003
2,257
0
805
i used clipless for like 10 days after I got my bike. All depends on what you ride and your skill level.

I find them easier to bunny hop, jump with, anything where you need precise control of the rear end. Climbing with clipless is also easier.

The only problem I had was riding rockey trails that I couldn't unclip fast enough to get out of a hairy situation. DH guys you do see some with clipless and a lot with no clips. I just am not that good doing downhill runs to wear clipless.

It is all a prefrence. I bet some of the fastest guys use clipless and/or platform pedals.

Just give both a shot and see what works for YOU
 

Serial Midget

Al Bundy
Jun 25, 2002
13,053
1,896
Fort of Rio Grande
I have Shimano 959's and 656? (caged) plus at set of Times. I have never had an issue becoming disengaged from SPDs in a crash but in my two crashes with the Times I was still clipped in. I have since filed the cleats...

The style or brand of pedal is moot, most people will have their preferences but what works for them will not always work for others. I personally prefer SPDs over Times but that should not effect anyones choice.

Eventually you will become comfortable with clipless and realizethat being clipped in helps more than it hurts.

That said I sometimes run flats on trails where I think I might dab a lot, that's all good but technical climbing with flats is not fun.
 

Spunger

Git yer dumb questions here
Feb 19, 2003
2,257
0
805
I agree with serial, they help tons on climbs and even XC stuff a boat load, it is just the DH for me that gets the best of it.

I have some cagged clipless pedals and some expensive DX pedals for my free-riding. Our trails are so narrow and rockey it pays to not be clipped in. I have gotten hurt either way so it doesn't matter, but just stick to yoru skill level.

You live and learn with bike parts, some help out a ton, some are just riding style that takes experience to learn. I know probably the top DH riders have trained and have many hours on trails with clipless, but how many DH runs do you have at home that look like world cup courses? I have None. Those fast courses you could probably get away with clipless no problem.

I bet every XC racer uses clipless period. That is just how it is done. I agree completly for that XC racing uses clipless.

Hell I started off with platforms. I then went to toe-clips and practiced on clipless, and now back to flats but once I get a good pedal wrench I might go with the clipless again to give it a second try.
 
Oct 3, 2003
93
0
Denver, CO
for xc and road clipless is a no brainer...GET THEM!!!! they improve pedaling efficiantcy so much it dosent make sense not to ride them...for DH if your just racing try em out the help keep you more stable at high speeds going over small bumps....but it alls comes down to personal preference and experiance...if your into jumping persoanlly(that being the key word) i wouldent....but anyways i guess most of this was just a repeat of what others said...just try them if they work and you like em great keep em...if not...then dont
 

gorgechris

Monkey
Mar 25, 2003
242
0
Traveling the eastern U.S.
Originally posted by Serial Midget
but in my two crashes with the Times I was still clipped in. I have since filed the cleats...
Yeah, I frequently spill while still clipped into my Times. I was having the inverse problem with my ol' Shimanos, though: I was popping out when moving around on the pedals or landing jumps. Not fun.

The moral of this discussion: don't ignore your cleats, they may be part of the problem. If they are old and worn (and the Time cleats wear fast), replace them. Also, Shimano-brand SPuD cleats are much better than the cheap generics.
 

gorgechris

Monkey
Mar 25, 2003
242
0
Traveling the eastern U.S.
Originally posted by Lizz
How about Eggbeaters? I'm thinking of getting them.
You can probably search some of the existing threads to find more opinions than mine, but from the people I've spoken with who run them, here are the issues:

PROS
- lightweight
- super simple design
- durable
- sheds mud

CONS
- small surface area makes it difficult to clip in when restarting on technical sections
- cages can be bent (I know of one person who did this)
- w/o a platform, your shoe/cleat may slide off when trying to engage, especially if it's wet (this is the most common complaint I hear)

Based upon others' experiences, I'd recommend the Candys or the Mallets if you're going to get Crank Bros pedals. I'd consider both, except I've got several pairs of my current pedals on three different bikes, so it would be expensive to change out all of them.
 

Skookum

bikey's is cool
Jul 26, 2002
10,184
0
in a bear cave
I ride with both.
The popular argument i've seen on here are almost everyone wants clipless on XC and flats on DH. Here's my take.
Clipless for XC-The benefits i think are grossly over-rated. If you have a good grippy shoe with a decent flat pedal with all the pins it can be equally effective. A lot of people race though so if seconds count then it's important to stay clipped in, but we're talking seconds here......
Flats for Downhill-The benefits are again overatted somewhat. Its all about comfort but the best downhill racer i know of wears clipless and i understand why. I personally like the comfort of my feet being secured to the pedals so i can better control the bike.

I have clipless on my Giant VT and i run flats on my Bullit. I've climbed with both and honestly as far as climbing goes it's a non factor to me.

On downhill jaunts i've enjoyed the security of clipless but i've also enjoyed the flats for ability to quickly dab and not stay connected to the bike on crashes on some sections that are over my head.

As far as technical skills i've found that years of riding clipless have left me picking up lazy habits as far as when i control the bike. Riding with flats helped me realize i need to use my body and handlebars more. That in turn has made me a better technical rider.

What clipless pedal to get then? I've used Shimano 646's here and i've been happy, right now i'm running the original old skool red ones which have a better bearing in em but i can't remember the name of it. I've been happy riding within the murky muddy depths of the Pacific Northwest trails here, but look what people are riding within your area. I really think that goes along way in your decision in what to buy. good luck.
 

Repack

Turbo Monkey
Nov 29, 2001
1,889
0
Boston Area
Try just sitting on your bike while watching TV. Just clip in and out over and over. Watching TV will help you get distracted, meaning that you'll think about it less, letting it become more of a reflex action. You don't even need to pedal. Its all about conditioning you feet/legs to react in a certain way. Clipping in and out of road pedals is usually a very deliberate action, whereas on a mtb, it tends to be more of a reaction.
 

jebfour

Turbo Monkey
Jun 19, 2003
2,086
1,440
CLT, NC
Here's another question......how much float do you guys like? The cleats that I'm using right now make it feel like I'm floating on a cloud. It seems like if I was using some cleats that made things "fixed" it would make the clip-in's feel a lot more secure.........

So how much float do you like?
 

YetiGirl

Chimp
Nov 4, 2003
2
0
Armpit of the US
Well, I am one of the very few that rides XC with out clipless pedals. Sometimes I can see the advantage to them, but like you I have never got comfortable with them.
 

laura

DH_Laura
Jul 16, 2002
6,259
15
Glitter Gulch
Originally posted by YetiGirl
Well, I am one of the very few that rides XC with out clipless pedals. Sometimes I can see the advantage to them, but like you I have never got comfortable with them.

i dont ride clipless yet either. i know i should but i am to lazy to try to learn and to chicken to just put them on and go. i have clipless pedals and i know i really need to learn. its on my list of things to do.:p
 

YetiGirl

Chimp
Nov 4, 2003
2
0
Armpit of the US
I fell so much when I had those on my bike, I have debating on trying those egg beater ones, but still like my regular ole pedals. My friends ride times and they love them. But I feel like I have no control with clipless.:monkey:
 

kissthepink

Chimp
Feb 26, 2003
64
0
I teach Mountain Biking, and thought I'd share some clipless thoughts, as I deal with this topic all the time at clinics.

A really useful piece of info for spd (Shimano) style clipless pedal newbies: Shimano makes TWO different types of cleats.

A "single direction release" model #SM-SH 51

and a "multi direction release" model #SM-SH 55.

When you buy the pedals usually the single direction cleat is included. This allows ONLY for the heal out/down release. This is a very specific movement to master, and one that is not natural. The result is that as you need to get out of the pedals; during a stall going up steep hill or over technical terrain, bailing during a crash, or even coasting to a stop while you are chatting in the parking lot, your reflexive action of "stepping off" your pedals does nothing to release your foot, so you hit the ground firmly attached to the bike. Ouch.

Go out and buy the Multi Direction cleat.
It's the best $15 you'll ever spend (unless you spend that same $ on pads/bandaids for your elbows and knees....)

The multi direction lets you get out in almost any direction EXCEPT straight up, which is exactly what you want. Pure contolled pull power during the pedal stroke, but easy bail outs when things get ugly. You can rotate your foot out, you can twist out, you can roll out etc.: diagonal, sideways, upwards/sideways, inside or outside. Much 'mo betta.
You can still have "spud crashes" (spd non-release caused crashes) but they will occur FAR less frequently.

For Time pedals, put the Cleat with the stars stamped on it on your left shoe. This allows for less float, which translates to faster release. In other words: less foot motion side to side before the pedal spits you out. Thats a good thing for newbies. The intricacies of "body english" on the bike and it's affect on foot float and pedal release is something a more advanced rider will appreciate, so for them, more float is good.

So, if you are starting out with Clipless:

1 If you can, loosen up the pedal's release tension, it does not affect float, only release tension.

2 Wear elbow and knee pads. You WILL hit the ground.

3 Get multi release cleats if they are available for your pedals.

4 Make sure the sole of your shoe allows for easy engagement and release. Feel free to cut away anything that interferes.

5 Be careful when mounting the cleats on the shoe. Make sure that the center of the cleat is directly under the ball of your foot. That is not always where it would appear outwardly on your shoe.
Feel around by applying pressure to the sole of your shoe to get the right spot. Mark your shoe with a marker on the inboard edge of the sole of your shoe (the side closest to the bike frame.) get on your bike and place that mark on the center of the pedal axle, ride around so you feel you're pedalling smoothly, coast to a stop and have some one mark the outside of your shoe edge at the center of the pedal axle. Then take off the shoe, and use a ruler to draw a line across the bottom of your shoe connecting the two marks. This will be the center of the cleat. Then line the cleat up in the center of the pocket in the sole (left and right, not fore and aft. The fore and aft placement is determined by the line you drew....). Crank down the cleat, make sure you use a nice clean allen wrench, not a crappy old rounded over one. You need to really torque these bolts down. Then ride around clipped in and make sure your foot feels comfortable all the way around the pedal stroke, and that your knee doesn't feel stressed at any point in the pedal stroke. Make any adjustments, then tighten up those cleats. You do not want them to come loose on a ride.

Do this first ride in a nice level area and make your first few stops by rolling up to a pole or something you can grab while sitting upright on your bike. This is important!! after you stop, click out of the pedal.

6 Practice, Practice, Practice. Anytime you are on the bike: step in, step out. Repeat ad nauseum.

7 Practice some more.

Enjoy the added power, especially on climbs.
"Spud hops" instead of a real bunny hop, will also be a revelation if you have been unable to master a true bunny hop...
 

kissthepink

Chimp
Feb 26, 2003
64
0
Why?
Better power transfer.
I ride both flats and clipless. Freeride, xcountry racing, "all mountain"/very technical riding, etc. and I can absolutely put more power to the ground, and get up steeper hills and accelerate faster on any terrain with my clipless than when I'm on my flats.

That being said, for pure bike handling skills, flats are the way to go.

I just like the power I can get out of the full pedal stroke, spinning full circles using both legs, as compared to pedalling squares and mashing the pedals when I'm on my flats.
 

jebfour

Turbo Monkey
Jun 19, 2003
2,086
1,440
CLT, NC
kissthepink......

Thanks for that post. I've considered picking up a set of those cleats. Guess you made my decision to pick up a set a little bit easier....

Thanks!
 

Joker

Chimp
Jun 9, 2003
17
0
Since you already use them on the road you know how to get out of them. It sounds like you might have them set up with too much release pressure. Back them right off, this will also help you with being a smoother all round rider, why, because with the low release pressure your foot will come out alot easier, you'll have to concentrate on not releasing by mistake. You could also try only using one pedal at a time, what I mean is use one flat pedal and one clipless.
 

TreeSaw

Mama Monkey
Oct 30, 2003
17,722
1,961
Dancin' over rocks n' roots!
I use clipless for my xc bike (currently I have a REALLY used & abused pair Ritchie Logics) and platforms on the freeride bike. I am thinking of checking out Time pedals because my hubby absolutely loves his and won't go back to anything else (he rides them on everything xc, dh, freeride)
 

kissthepink

Chimp
Feb 26, 2003
64
0
Get the Time Z's. They work very well. I ride Time atacs carbons for general riding, but have the Z's on my Freeride rig, have had great luck with them.