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  1. #1
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    Really novice question about clipless pedals/MTB shoes

    Hi.

    I bought the shimano PD-M520 SPD Pedal & Specialized '08 BG TAHO Shoes.
    I've never ever used clipless pedals and MTB shoes, but I'm confused.
    Do i need to buy separately the cleats?

    A tiny piece of paper comes attached in one of the shimano pedals:
    WARNING: Use only Shimano cleats (SM-SH51 or SM-SH56)

    I bought both things online at Crazy Cat Cyclery and send over to my home in México. Where can i find those cleats?

    I intended to use the pedals/shoes in the Chupacabras (to be raced this weekend) en Ciudad Juarez MEX, but I've no had time to practive nor to install it on my bike because I dont have the cleats. Why they (the guy at the store) didn't tell me I need the cleats

  2. #2
    "C'mon think about it!"
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    Caution;  Merge;  Workers Ahead!

    Without going in to the first part of your question (because I'm not sure of the compatability issues here) for goodness sake don't try to race your bike on SPD's if you've never ever used them, this is almost suicidal!!!

    SPD's can be quite tricky to get used to (sometimes but not always) practicing in a non pressure (not racing!) scenario would be a better idea, to allow you to become familliar with sometihing new.

    Essentially you're locking yourself to a 20-25 lb lump of metal, imagine the mess when you suddenly realise at 30 mph that you really should of taken some time to practice!!!!

    either don't race this time or race on the flats or whatever is on the bike already, that's my advice.

    Good luck

  3. #3
    Bruh
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    You should have gotten the cleats with your bike or pedals... I did.

    I swapped out my SPDs for a set of Wellgo platforms when I picked up my bike so I could get used to the bike first. Riding without practice on clipless is suicidal.

    http://www.amazon.com/Shimano-SM-SH5.../dp/B000F5HXOQ

  4. #4
    AKA Dr.Nob
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    As Zillion said EVERY pair of pedals I've seen comes with cleats.
    Most shoes come with nasty looking cheap SPD cleats that I've never used.
    I would ring up the place you brought them from and complain.
    Go to any real bike store and they will sell you a pair of cleats. They aren't cheap.

    One major reason I don't like to buy stuff over the interweb.
    Not that all teenagers are evil mind, just most of them.

  5. #5
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    As stated earlier....

    the pedals shoould have come with a set of cleats and the screws to mount them to the shoes. If not you got hosed! Pedal manufacturers ALWAYS send cleats with the clipless pedals that they manufacture as not all cleat designs are compatable with all pedals.

    With that said, any LBS or online retailer tha sells the 520's should have spares available. They are a "wear item" and do wear out. So the cleats do need to be replaced from time to time, because as they wear they affect the proper performance of the pedal release. So you should be able to find them quite easily. Just make sure you get one of the models stated in that warning tag and you should be fine.

    Good Dirt
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  6. #6
    Rockflopper
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    I have the exact same combination of pedals/shoes. The cleats came with the pedals.

    Make sure you remove the rubber square on the bottom of the shoe where the cleat goes.

  7. #7
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    Duh I feel so dumb. Yes, the pedals DID come with the cleats, is just that my equipment for the race just arrived yesterday and I didn't care to open the little box where the pedals are inserted in the package (that metal sound was of the cleats when I moved the box).

    Anyways, yes, I woudn't use the SPD pedals on the race, very little time to practice. I guess is OK to only use the shoes with the rubber on (when the cleats install) because of the body geometry technology those incorporate.

    I will install the cleats later when finished the race and the peace of my neighborhood.

    Thanks for the replies.
    Would I see big improvement using SPD pedals compared to the flats stock on my bike?

  8. #8
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    I switched to speedplay froggies, they are much easier to get into and out. you just step out. no clips to clamp you into the pedals.

    Are they better, they are more efficient especially on climbs. you can really pull up to get extra power.

  9. #9
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    Can I use my BG Taho Shoes with the stock pedals my bike came with? or are the SPD shoes only intended to use on SPD pedals ONLY?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Would I see big improvement using SPD pedals compared to the flats stock on my bike?
    Yes, but it might take some time & practice to feel the benefit (as well as being able to unclip safely). With flat platforms, you only have power for about 50% of your pedal stroke. If you have pins & grippy shoes, you might be able to inrease that to 60% by getting a little power at the top & bottom of the stroke. But at the same time, your foot in the rear on the pedal doing the up-stroke must maintain some downward force just to stay connected to the pedal. The front foot in the downward stroke must counteract that force in addition to providing the force to make the bike move. Very inefficient.

    But with clipless pedals, the rear foot can actually help rotate the pedals, instead of hindering. You can also get significantly more power at the top & bottom of the stroke as well, which helps to maintain momentum & avoids the feeling of a power surge & then a lull. It may take some time to get your muscles used to providing power around all points of the stroke, but when they do you will be climbing & accelerating at a higher level.

    I used toe-clips on a road bike more than 20 years ago, so I knew the benefits but had never tried them on a mountain bike. I put clipless pedals on my mountain bike last March & my muscle memory came back immediately. I was amazed at how much more power I had. I tried doing a wheel-stand 3 gears higher than I typically did on platforms. I flipped the bike over, almost on my back, & couldn't release my feet. I was able to twist sideways & came down on my left hip & arm. I think it would have been worse to land on my back & head. If I had just touched the rear brake, it would have saved me, but panic took over & my brain shut down.

    A few weeks later (after some practice) I thought I was ready to do all the same technical trails that I used to do with platforms. It started out OK & I kept trying bigger & bigger obstacles, but soon I tried a log pile that was too big & I stalled out near the top. Again I couldn't get my feet loose & I fell onto a log near the bottom of the pile & cracked a rib. Take my advice: practice for a long long time before trying to race or even ride technical trails with clipless pedals.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  11. #11
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    Your pedals, shoes, and SPD cleats are all compatible. You just need to put the cleats on the shoes and then go out and practice on the grass--because you're going to fall down a lot at first.

    Make sure to screw on the cleats well, and for the first few weeks of using them you should make sure those bolts--on the shoes--are tight before every ride because they can work their way out slowly and cause the cleat to get stuck on the pedal--which is hard to get off without a set of pliers with the added problem that you can't get the cleat off the pedal because the bolt heads are on the bottom of the cleat.

    You wont fall down while riding, just when you stop. When you would normally just lift your foot off the pedal and put it down on the ground, now you have to get used to twisting your foot out of the pedal first. Until you get used to it--takes a couple of days--you will pretty much fall down every time you stop--so don't practice on the road or street, go to a park instead. This will eventually be such an instinct that you will have trouble with normal pedals.

    You will feel stupid, but everyone has this trouble the first time they use clipless pedals.

    You chose a good set of equipment for your first clipless pedal and shoe system. Years later you will upgrade the pedals and really enjoy the difference, but the 500 series Shimano SPD pedals are excellent for starters.

  12. #12
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    Would I see big improvement using SPD pedals compared to the flats stock on my bike?[/QUOTE]

    Mr. Giant Yukon, I was in a similar situation for last year Chupacabras, bought a set of clipless pedals 3 months before the race, practice as much as I could and it helped me a lot on the bordo section, but I didn't feel confident in the technical trails, so I ended up walkind down all of the Bajada del Diablo.
    You will see improvement, but for this saturday race use what you have used on your training.

  13. #13
    Rockflopper
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Can I use my BG Taho Shoes with the stock pedals my bike came with?
    Yes you can.

  14. #14
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    Thanks again. So I learned that getting used to the clipless pedals take time. I would race with my SPD shoes and with my normal platform pedals. If on my training I did well with simply mere Nike sneakers with very soft sole, then I would do better with the shoes.

    eorozco23, are you going to compete also this year? What kind of equipment you will be using?
    Would be interesting to see how I measure against the world champions, maybe I could do a run for their money

  15. #15
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    Yes, I will run this year, I dont' have anything fancy, Giant Rincon with tubeless tires, clipless shoes, 2 bottles, some energy bars and gels, you don't need to take much with you, there are plenty of volunteer stations with food and water. And don't worry about your equipment, enjoy the race, the event and have fun. If it's the first time you participate, it's a great experience as the slogan states "El reto que sí te cambia". There will be racers from Italy, and Thinker Juarez, world MTB champion. Last year winner did it in 4:04 hrs, it took me 7:36 hrs # 682. See you this saturday !

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Thanks again. So I learned that getting used to the clipless pedals take time. I would race with my SPD shoes and with my normal platform pedals. If on my training I did well with simply mere Nike sneakers with very soft sole, then I would do better with the shoes.

    eorozco23, are you going to compete also this year? What kind of equipment you will be using?
    Would be interesting to see how I measure against the world champions, maybe I could do a run for their money
    Generally, the stiffer the sole, the faster the cyclist. You waste energy every time your foot flexes. There would be risk of racing with something you didn't train with, though- not as risky as trying to actually use the clipless system, though.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nagatahawk
    I switched to speedplay froggies, they are much easier to get into and out. you just step out. no clips to clamp you into the pedals.

    Are they better, they are more efficient especially on climbs. you can really pull up to get extra power.
    Frogs are just about the perfect pedal, but you can't step out of them- they're designed so you can't step out. You have to twist out. A panic pull is usually followed by that humiliating slow 'timber' fall- often in front of cute girls or hard core cyclists.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  18. #18
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    I tested my SPD shoes with standard platforms on a Turbo bike with no problems, but you need to keep the shoe in the correct position (where the cleats are attached). I can feel the difference in power transfer.

    eorozco, maybe you would like to trade phone numbers (or anyone else who would like to meet up before or in the race. I will be traveling tomorrow to Monterrey and then boarding thru Aerobus to Cd juarez.
    In friday I will be getting a Camelbak at crazycat and some other stuff.
    I would glady like to meet more people if they are attending the Chupacabras, here is my phone: (844) 174-6859

    Good luck to everyone.

    P.S. Ohh, and yes, I know it's my first time, but I'm traveling outside Chihuahua state and I'd like to get into the top 650 to get a Chupacabras jersey! Who knows, I think I'm in pretty good condition, let's see if Subida de la Asfixia really asfixiates me

  19. #19
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    Today after the chupacabras race, and after washing my bike, I fitted the M520 pedals and installed the cleats on my shoes, but damn, I'm so dumb I can't figure out how to snap the cleat into the shoe. Any ideas?

    A strange sound now comes out when I lift the bike from the stem and then let it drop. It sounds like something inside the headset is loose. hellp me identify what it is.

  20. #20
    Rod
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    the cleat goes between the two pieces of metal on the pedal if they're like mine. ........ it took me forever to get clipped in......i recommend leaning against a tall fence or building and looking down to see where it needs to go and just playing around to see what happens..........you have to turn your foot sideways to get out of the pedals.

  21. #21
    Rod
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    I would probably take it to the lbs unless the headset is just loose...... oh yea the headset on the yukon doesn't even really seal the bearings so if you have to replace it no big deal....i ride a yukon as well and i've had problems with my seals breaking exposing the bearings

  22. #22
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    Hi Rod. I don't have a Yukon (I intended to get one) but went for a Boulder SE. I think the headset is loose, I can see just where the suspension is attached to the big gray thing is kinda loose.

    See the video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jov_D7cLUYg

    I've no idea how headsets work. I might make the mechanic check this problem, but I need to be sure they'll be doing their work right. I don't live in US, and here in Mexico most bikes are low-end and at least in my city I've not found a professional LBS.

    I don't think really there's much difference between the 'Sports' bikes category Giant make. Correct me if I'm wrong but the Rainier, the Yukon, the Rincon and the Boulder SE all use the same frame ALUXX 6000 Series Tubing right. I'm considering racing MTB and either I had a Rainier or a Yukon it wouldn't make much difference because the difference in weight against let's say an Anthem 2 frame.

    Video from Chupacabras, 'Subida de la Asfixia':
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xFBCv3-vh0

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Today after the chupacabras race, and after washing my bike, I fitted the M520 pedals and installed the cleats on my shoes, but damn, I'm so dumb I can't figure out how to snap the cleat into the shoe. Any ideas?

    A strange sound now comes out when I lift the bike from the stem and then let it drop. It sounds like something inside the headset is loose. hellp me identify what it is.
    This will sound silly, but you have your feet in the shoes, right? If you're trying to 'test' them by hand your arms will have a heck of a time clipping in- not enough leverage. Take Rod's advice- get in the saddle, lean against a pole and just test them by feel until you hear the snap. Then, before clipping the other one in, make sure you can twist out. I don't use SPDs, but I've seen some that have an adjustment for how tight they are- I don't know if that's standard or not.

    And, it's been said before- practice, practice, practice- clipping out. It has to be become second nature or you're going to fall. My advice, whenever you're slowing or any time anything unexpected happens- clip out. Eventually it will become- dare I say it- as natural as riding a bike.
    To the troll mobile, away...

  24. #24
    College Boy
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    I am going to add to what California said. If you are trying to do it with you hands it going to be very hard to do.

    I would like other have said go up to a pole or something that you hold your self up with and clip in and out of and get used to it. Then I recomend riding around in a soft grassy area getting use to them. I recomend the soft grassy area because you WILL have several low speed falls. The injuries caused by clipless are almost always caused at low speeds. At higher speed it is easier to get out of them in an emergency.

    I ride on a pair of m520's and they are a great set of pedals for first time clipless users. They do have adjustable tensesion settings. I would recommend you loosen them up all the way then add 2-3 clicks of tightness because all the way lose is way way to lose for you get used to them. After a while you will want to tighten them up and figure out where you like them at. I run mine at 10 clicks and that is fairly tight but I started riding clipless 10 years ago when I was like 13-14 years old so I know the setting I like on them.

    On top of everything else the m520s are pretty much bomb proof and you will not be able to break them. My brother is riding on a pair of m505 that are about 10 years now and still going strong. I lost mine so that is the reason I am on m520s and I have smashed those things into multiple rocks at high speeds and they are scratch to hell and back again but still working great.

  25. #25
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    Tomorrow I'll try the clipping in/out process. In a month's time I will be doing another 100km race and I'd like to have more pedaling performance to lower my riding times.

  26. #26
    Bike to the Bone...
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Tomorrow I'll try the clipping in/out process. In a month's time I will be doing another 100km race and I'd like to have more pedaling performance to lower my riding times.
    Hey Gigante del Yukon... where do you live? I live in Mexico City, and there is also a Mexico forum in which you will be wellcome to post.

    Congrats on your races.

  27. #27
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    I live in Saltillo Coahuila. Which forums are you talking about. Im trying to participate in MTB races even though my bike is not a gigante of a racing league

  28. #28
    College Boy
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    Tomorrow I'll try the clipping in/out process. In a month's time I will be doing another 100km race and I'd like to have more pedaling performance to lower my riding times.
    be careful. Do not race with clipless unless you feel safe on them. I think clipless pedals add about 10% more pedaling power and may be able to boost it to 20% at times but remember you knees are not design work with you foot pulling up. It puts a lot of stress on the tendons.

    Mind you that little bit extra does help. Plus you do not move around as much on you bike when going over rough terrain and there is the extra control gained by it.

    Once you get used to clipless you are never going to want to go back to flats

  29. #29
    Bike to the Bone...
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    Quote Originally Posted by giantyukon
    I live in Saltillo Coahuila. Which forums are you talking about. Im trying to participate in MTB races even though my bike is not a gigante of a racing league
    Here's the link to the Mexico forum in MTBR.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/mexico/

    You don't need a super duper bike to have fun and do well.

    I also agree that you should probably try clipless for a while before racing

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