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  1. #1
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    Are clipless pedals supposed to be this hard to get used to??

    Nob
    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    I was in the same boat as you. I had shimano pd520 pedals and the cleats that came with the bike. It was very difficult to detach to the point where I had plenty of low speed crashes. I switched my cleats to multi-release (sh-56 I believe) and it's a world of difference. I love them.

    I don't know about the crank bros as much, but I heard that if you swap the cleats from shoe to shoe, it changes the release angle...

  3. #3
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    Practice

    I have been riding clipless for many years, I have never ridden Crank Bros pedals. From what I can see there's no way to adjust the tension on those pedals, so that could pose a bit of a problem. The SPD (Shimano) style pedals have the ability to adjust the tension on them. So when you first put them on your bike you can set them very loose so its easy to get your feet out.

    With any clipless pedals you need to practice until the point where twisting your feet becomes second nature. I would suggest finding someplace (maybe your basement?) where you can hold yourself up overhead, then practice getting in and out of your pedals. When you get out in the woods, I would definitely think ahead and pull one foot out before something serious comes up.

    You may want to consider buying some cheap SPDs, just to practice with until you get used to it.

    John

  4. #4
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    Bikeforums cross-post! Practice! Go ride around in a grassy field at low speed and try and wait until the last possible second to clip out. Don't do what I did, which is try to learn how to use them in a race. In the rain. I still have scars...
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  5. #5
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    I ran Crank Bros mallets for while and then switched to Shimano. There is definitely a difference between the manufacturers. With CBs you have to rotate your foot to get out of them. This did not agree with me on technical sections, bailing out of log rides, etc. The Shimano’s can be adjusted to be much more forgiving to release. Not sure if this will help your situation but all clipless pedals are certainly not equal.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimS_99
    Lately I’ve started unclipping myself in advance when I think I may need a foot plant in the near future. This starts a whole new set of problems, like going down a technical section and trying to reclip or keep going without loosing momentum.
    Try a pedal like the Time Z or similar which gives you a platform for riding unclipped when the going gets dicey.

  7. #7
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    The Crank bros pedals take some time to break in. The spring will loosen up over time. Did you check the cleat mounts? there are 2 ways to mount them on the shoe. One way allows easy exit and the other is for race ( harder exit ).

  8. #8
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    SPD's are easier to learn on due to the adjustability. set them up loose at first and then tighten as you get comfortable. Too loose and when you hits rocks you'll get thrown out so it's important to eventually tighten them once you get the hang of it. You can buy them with platform so you have a full size pedal when you need it.

    Also toe-in the cleat slightly on the bottom of your shoe and it will give you a quicker exit angle. You'll find that getting out is easier getting used to than getting back in.

    I hope some of that will help.
    I'm UNIQUE... just like everybody else.

  9. #9
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    Don't give up too fast , just practice, in and out for few time every begining of ride, get of and on the bike for a few times and i think you get use to it and find it a good way to ride.

  10. #10
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    When I first started with SPD's I did a couple of solo rides to get used to them, no incidents, I was just very aware that I was clipped in. Then came my first group ride... having not fallen I was pretty confident, that didn't last!

    Fall one was in the car park as we were about to set off, well it can't get much more embarrassing than that. I think over the next two hours I fell over seven or eight more times! Most of the time was when the rider in front of me stopped abruptly not giving me enough time to think about getting my feet out.

    Now it's all second nature and I don't have to think about it at all. Being clipped in is certainly better for climbing and also gives me confidence that my feet aren't going to slip off the pedals when the going gets rough.

    I use a trail boot which doesn't have a really stiff sole, you can only really tell it's a cycling shoe off the bike when the cleat clinks.

    Definitely persevere with them, un-clipping will soon become instinctive.
    DirtyWahoo

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppy
    Don't give up too fast , just practice, in and out for few time every begining of ride, get off and on the bike for a few times and i think you get use to it and find it a good way to ride.
    Great advice that can be applied to more than one area in life. Practicing in the grass and trying other models is also good advice, for clipless pedals or whatever.

  12. #12
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    Years ago I decidied to try SPD's for my first clipless pedals. Expecting only a learning curve, I instead found them and other SPD models to be a pain in the freakin a$$. For those who are learning I find that the SPD's have too narrow of a window of operation. I gave up and later purchased a pair of Time ATAC's and in three days I was good to go. Click in and click out in a single action, no fussy aligning, rotating, etc.

  13. #13
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    Honestly, I really can't relate to all the problems people have with clipless pedals.
    I first started using Shimano SPD's a few years ago. I bought a used bike from a friend and it had some Well-go SPD platform pedals. They were set not too tight. It took me all of 5 minutes to figure them out. I practiced the motion for a few minutes and went out riding. I think I fell over only once since then due to the pedals because I was grinding up a steep hill off camber. So I cannot relate. Do you guys fall over when you brush your teeth?

    I now ride Shimano 645 platform clipless. I unclip if the downhill gets rough.


    But you know what they say about "Old Dogs"...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wormvine
    Honestly, I really can't relate to all the problems people have with clipless pedals.
    I first started using Shimano SPD's a few years ago. I bought a used bike from a friend and it had some Well-go SPD platform pedals. They were set not too tight. It took me all of 5 minutes to figure them out. I practiced the motion for a few minutes and went out riding. I think I fell over only once since then due to the pedals because I was grinding up a steep hill off camber. So I cannot relate. Do you guys fall over when you brush your teeth?

    I now ride Shimano 645 platform clipless. I unclip if the downhill gets rough.


    But you know what they say about "Old Dogs"...
    Try to rotate your foot outward on the top of a pedal stroke loosing your balance going over a rock wall...I'm sorry but my leg just doesn't go in that position comfortably.

    Unless you're riding mellow stuff, the single release cleats can be very scary. Out of every single person (except myself) that I know, they switched back to regular pedals after trying clipless. I only use them because of the multi-release cleats.

    You must be the most coordinated person on the planet :P

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba74
    Try to rotate your foot outward on the top of a pedal stroke loosing your balance going over a rock wall...I'm sorry but my leg just doesn't go in that position comfortably.

    Unless you're riding mellow stuff, the single release cleats can be very scary. Out of every single person (except myself) that I know, they switched back to regular pedals after trying clipless. I only use them because of the multi-release cleats.

    You must be the most coordinated person on the planet :P
    I ride some pretty technical trails here in Avon, CO. Stuff most people don't even consider a trail. I ride lunch loops in Grand Juction. Lots of hard technical climbing going over rocks and logs. On the hardest downhill stuff, I unclip and use the platforms. But most people seem to fall when they are going slow.
    I don't know what to say. It's not that I am super coordinated. I have about 1/8th the balance of Hans Rey. But I have never had any major issues with unclipping. I feel better connected to the bike clipped in. Maybe since I come from a skateboarder/vert ramp/surfer and motocross background I am just used to thinking fast and mentally preparing in advance for the next step. Unclipping is always in the back of my mind.

    I also agree that there are certain situations where you won't be able to release. But that should be a rarity. If your falling over a lot on rides then it might not be the pedals.

  16. #16
    s62
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    Sorry, but to offer a little different advice than posted here:
    Toss 'em. Platform is better for me. You can get great platforms w/ super grippy surfaces to insure great connection w/ the bike, but that don't require you clipping in. Just be careful, as some of the spikes on the pedals can eat your legs up if you wreck.

  17. #17
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    Try a set of pedals like these - Crank Brothers Mallet



    and a set of shoes like these - 661 Launch SPD



    Clip in when you want, unclip when you want. I'm leaning towards getting a setup like this as I start to do more downhilling.

  18. #18
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    Nob
    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:27 AM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimS_99
    ClutchMan: You know, I'm agreeing with you!! Those Mallett pedals seem to be the best of both worlds.

    I just went out for a quick spin to practice clipping in and out and took a pretty good tumble, smashed a bar end and ripped the seat, all because of those *^$#% clipless things. I'm about ready to throw those things over the bank. I'm totally disgusted right now. Sucks destroying a $5K bike, not to mention my knees and elbows, all to get used to clipless. I guess it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks!
    Practice near a long wall or something. Hold yourself up by the wall and clip in and out over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over till you get the knack of it.

    Also not all mtb shoes feel like ski boots. Some are just like sneakers.

  20. #20
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    Nob
    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:27 AM.

  21. #21
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    Hi Jim,

    I'm 51, so I don't think its an age thing. I once read in regard to practicing something so that it is reflexive, that it may take 5,000 to 10,000 repetitions. Think golf swing, skeet shooting, etc. Do you have to think about the gas, brake, or clutch pedals when you drive? My guess is probably not unless you want to.

    I went clipless on a road bike 20 years ago and had some of the low speed falls you described. I went clipless on a mountain bike 10 years ago with Time ATACS and thought Ha, no sweat!...then went through a different series of low speed falls .

    I'll echo the comments of those above who mentioned Time pedals. I like having a little platform to step on if I unclip for some reason. And with a pair of mtn bike shoes with spikes on the bottom, the pedal clip pretty much disappears into the tread pattern of the shoe bottom. Off the bike, my shoes are like walking in soccer cleats. And the stiffer sole not only is more efficent; it lowers foot fatigue because I'm not stiffening my foot against the pedals.

    I'd ask at the shop where you got your bike about trying some different pedals.

    HC

  22. #22
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    I tried clipless, rode them for about 6 months, now im back to platforms and 5.10 shoes.

    I had similar problems you described, but once I figured it out I still did not really like it. Just not enough freedom to ditch the bike IMO. Others will disagree, but who cares. It came down to personal preference for me, and I like platforms.

    Try different pedals see what you like and stick with it.

  23. #23
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    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:27 AM.

  24. #24
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    I mostly use clipless pedals [Frogs] on the roadbike, or I used to.

    Now days I ride platforms exclusively. I'm older than you and have been riding for a loooooong time now. Platform pedals with sneakers or the very good sticky 5-10 Impact shoes are the way I ride everything.

    I use Azonic A Frame pedals with meaty traction pins. Never slip off them, but can dab or get off in any situation, unlike clipins.

    This 'thing' with clipins is highly over-rated, imo. I prefer the ease of platforms.


    R.
    It is inevitable ...

  25. #25
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    I have been on clipless for a month and a half now and I'll admit I'm not all that impressed. You get a little more pedal power, but like MikeyMT said, I like to be able to ditch the bike. Try as you might with clipless, you cant just hop off of the bike and let it take the beating instead of you. High speed crashes will result in you going down with the ship more often than with flats. I don't crash at low speed anymore, but the real crashes frighten me alot more.

    Riding Eggbeaters btw

  26. #26
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    Hey Jim, I gotta say don't give up on it yet! I started riding clipless right off the bat when I started mountain biking seriously and when I go ride flats I always miss my clips. I suggest the hybrid platform/clipless setup because when the going does get nasty it's nice to be able to put a foot down and still be able to transition to pedaling quickly. If you were to give me a choice between clips and flats, I'd still take my clipless every single time. There is nothing wrong with liking your flats but if you stick with it I'm sure you'll find that the clipless pedals are worth the effort to get used to! In terms of crashing, once you develop the muscle memory it makes getting out fast almost an unconscious thing. I've had a couple really gnarly wrecks over the last two years and never had a problem with getting hung up in my pedals with high speed crashes. I couldn't tell you how I got out of them but I usually end up about twenty feet away from where my bike lands with both feet still intact!

    On another note, I'm shocked the LBS sent you home with a Specialized Epic! Thats ridiculous, those bikes are incredibly high end, I'm assuming the guy wasn't a Specialized dealer and had to order it? Immediately cease all contact with them, thats inexcusable, commute to another bike shop if you have to. Well, the Epic is a great XC/Race bike but it has a lower bottom bracket than most trailbikes today which may be complicating your technical handling issues. You have to be really really careful with your crank position with those guys because it is soo easy to hang a pedal. Also the head angle is fairly steep which complicates the descending, makes it steer super twitchy. If you keep these things in mind next time you might be able to avoid some bad crashes.

  27. #27
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    I saw the article in MBA sometime around 1990 where some pro riders were using Look clipless pedals on flatter courses.
    I bought some 'trail' Look pedals and some cheap shoes and had a go. I fell off a couple of times but I soon developed the 'heel out - click' exit and it hasn't troubled me since.
    Muscle memory is the thing. Just like learning to drive, after a while your attention is 90% outside the car, everything else becomes automatic.
    I have used some Crank Bros eggbeaters and I wouldn't recommend that system to a beginner. Caged SPDs are ideal as a starter, they're easier to use when unclipped.
    Keep persevering!

  28. #28
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    Alot of good advise here. I run spds and have alway run spds. In fact I used to own the second generation spds (Circa early 90s) that are now in a landfill somewhere as they wore out. My advise is to keep on practicing. It gets better and its worth it. You get alot more power and control. I find it much easier getting up and over stuff with SPDs. I like them on down hills as I know my feet are locked in. Only time I don't like them is for playing around on jumps and skinnies.

    For what its worth when I was learning to get used to them I busted my butt all the time. It seems more often then not that my butt would find the nearest thorn bush when ever I would fall over still clipped in. Once you get used them you will never go back. My 2 cents worth.

  29. #29
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    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:27 AM.

  30. #30
    s62
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    jesus... that sounds like a wretched LBS, jim. I definitely wouldn't go back. Epics are sweet, but you probably don't need that much of a bike. Still, it's an awesome bike, enjoy. However, get fit for it! I hope they can pan out your problems at this other LBS.

  31. #31
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    Last edited by JimS_99; 07-01-2007 at 11:28 AM.

  32. #32
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    gosh jim sounds like youre just getting old, if youre having that much trouble with your memory that you cant remember to twist your foot to release maybe you should pick up a simpler hobby. Gardening or cooking perhaps? if youre going to whine that much about clipless then just stay set in your old ways and go platform, hey who cares about pedaling power and bike control that you dont get with platforms!

    It really took me about a half an hour, tops, to figure out how to twist my foot. I took one fall due to clipless(in the parking lot) but other than that ive been able to unclip in highspeed falls while going over the handlebars, techincal sections, basically whenever I wanted. Like they say you cant teach an old dog new tricks.

  33. #33
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    I just made the switch to clipless and I can say that I have found a few things you may want to look into. First off what shoes are you using?

    First, make sure your cleats are really secure on your shoes, I had so use some blue Loctite on mine to keep them in and from loosening up during rides. I had this issue and could not figure out why I could not get in or out on the right foot all ride......Also make certain that your cleats are setup so you are in the 15* release mode (double dot cleat on right shoe I think..)

    Second examine your pedal choice, I have the Crank Bros. Candy pedals and love them. I think you may have an issue with your pedal choice. The very small platform on the Candy combined with a pair of Specialized BG Sport shoes makes this a pretty easy switch from regular pedals. The benefit is that the raiI on the shoes (either side of the cleat) make it easy to ride on the Candy pedals even when not clipped in. This allows you to clip out on one side if you think you will have to put a foot down, so then you are ready. I can put full pressure in to a pedal stroke clipped out.

    I have a friend who switched to clipless using SPD pedals and those more downhill style shoes posted above. The shoes are terrible for XC because you cannot walk very well in them, so if you end up having to hike up a tough spot you are in for a hurting. To compound the issue they do not like being ridden clipped out.

    I have used the 50/50 and can say that they are beefy and heavy and with a flat shoe they probably grip like hell......when dry. I dont think they clear moisture or mud well the aluminum is very smooth on the platform and I can imagine them being a bit slippery in the wet.

    I reccomend you sell the Egg Beaters and buy a set of Candy C pedals, you can get them all day long online for around $60 (that way you are not out much if you do not like them, they have Ti versions as well though) and I think you will enjoy you experience much more on those, I know I sure do.

    This is my setup and I love it now, will never go back to regular pedals.


  34. #34
    komojo dragon
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    Hey Jim how's it going?

    I'm in a similar boat. I'm within about 10 yrs of you, and just getting back into biking since my wife took an interest in riding. I also want to train with the bike using heart rate (got the garmin edge 305 HR - pretty cool ). So prior to the new up to date fs rig, i put some crank brother candy's on my bidgestone rigid bike. Using Pearl Izumi x-alps - nice breathable shoes with good tread and a fairly recessed cleat - great for walking, so so for clipping out. I do use the shim for the cleat.

    I have had several crashy episodes due to the lack of "auto clip out mode" working. I used the toe clips for years so my brain was taught to pull straight back and out... of course that doesn't work

    I'm pretty determined that i can 'get this', but i was also thinking maybe I should go platform with the new bike so I won't rough it up...

    I've had several strategies to minimize awkward moments... several of which have been mentioned.

    But I had a revelation one day when talking with a guy who seemed older than me, and asked him if had any issues with clipping out. He just showed me, and it was as if he wasn't using clipless at all! His feet just like flew away from the pedals! This was way faster than I imagined one could unclip! Since then I will at the beginning of a ride just get my feet to "fly away" from the pedals - which sometimes works and sometimes one will hang up for a second, but I think like others have said it starts a new "program" and reinforces that it works.

    I still unclip when going up something I think I might stall on, or down something I may want to dab a foot on - fortunately the x-alps will ride pretty consistantly mid shoe over the candy's without issue. I have gotten myself to pre-unclip for stops or iffy situations - this has helped reduce premature grounding...

    The reason I stick with it, is because I know I have more power when I want it- more efficient pedaling... and i like challenges...

    On the other hand obviously using clipless is not a neccessity, and there is no one right way.

    Set up- my shop, Cal Coast, is a great service oriented shop and spent the time really going through my whole riding postition, seat pedal, bar distance,bar tilt width, control postion fine tune - all this on a "trainer" with my new bike - it all just started to feel really right! Glad you found a shop which appreciates you and the quality of the experience of riding! Hopefully they can help minimize or eliminate the back pain / numbness induceing ergonomics!
    O-Jo-Mo-Jo!

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