1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    Clipless, OK, let's just run through it one more time

    Have finally taken the plunge and "gone clipless", having seen the benefits for power transfer etc., and am trying to figure things out. Road riding is fine, I can understand how being bolted into your pedals helps, but I just need to clear things up in my head regarding off-road/downhill (not extreme, just fun)/forest riding. So answer me this - how much do you guys stay cleated in?! All the time? Even when things get hairy/technical/wobbly? Choose from the following answers:

    1) Of course, you wuss, that's the whole point of cleating yourself in!


    2) Of course not - are you crazy? - you need to be ready to bail when you're trying something risky!


    3) Well, it varies, you need to judge when to stay clipped in and when not.

    Thanks
    SPD shoes, pedals, cleats and the experience of going clipless. (a work in progress - let me know if I missed something!)

  2. #2
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    1.

    I don't have a platform around my pedal, and the bottom of my shoes are plastic except for the treads on the toe and heel. So pedaling without being clipped in is difficult. When I started with clipless it was a psychological battle with myself. I was always a little freaked out on step descents about being "attached" to my bike. Eventually you get used to it and now I think I'm more comfortable being "attached".

  3. #3
    bi-winning
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    always clipped in
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuel_81
    1.

    I don't have a platform around my pedal, and the bottom of my shoes are plastic except for the treads on the toe and heel. So pedaling without being clipped in is difficult. When I started with clipless it was a psychological battle with myself. I was always a little freaked out on step descents about being "attached" to my bike. Eventually you get used to it and now I think I'm more comfortable being "attached".
    Right, I went for another cop-out and got combined pedals, which not only have platform around the clip mechanism on one side, but are purely platform on the other side. This may turn out to be a false economy, because it is very tricky to quickly choose the correct side, and you can also end up accidentally clipping yourself in, and sometimes not even realising it until too late!

    I made this choice because I do some cycling around town too (you know, to the shops etc. though I haven't put a basket on yet!) and I don't plan to wear cycling shoes everywhere!
    SPD shoes, pedals, cleats and the experience of going clipless. (a work in progress - let me know if I missed something!)

  5. #5
    Rockflopper
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    Always clipped in for me as well. I've been riding clipless since July, and I find now that clipping out is second nature. Stick with it and you will get used to it.

    I crashed hard the first time I went out on the trails with clippless peds but I kept practicing, and now I couldn't imagine riding without them.

  6. #6
    Flying Goat
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    always clipped in... i actually find it easier to ride the gnarlier dh and fr stuff clipped in... And i always bail in time and can put my foot down for drifts... After a while, clipping out just becomes second nature to the point where when you're on flats, you're still kicking heels out... XD










  7. #7
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Moranis
    Always clipped in for me as well. I've been riding clipless since July, and I find now that clipping out is second nature. Stick with it and you will get used to it.

    I crashed hard the first time I went out on the trails with clippless peds but I kept practicing, and now I couldn't imagine riding without them.


    im the exact same way, got em in july and now I have to always stay clipped in. Of course t takes a lotta practice, but its worth it IMO.

  8. #8
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    Careful while learning...you just might not get out fast enough!



    Tell me if it's "worth it"

  9. #9
    Rockflopper
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    I would say its definitely worth it if you're serious about riding. If you ride just to get some exercise and to enjoy the outdoors then stick with platforms.

    Like anything worth doing well, there is a learning curve and riding clipless is no exception. Don't worry about falling (and you WILL fall), cuts and bruises will heal.

  10. #10
    thats not to steep is it?
    Reputation: thatdownhillkid's Avatar
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    i even dirt jump now sometimes. but only if im not gonna do any tricks or anything. but do clipsless. you'll love it once you ge used to it
    07' fsr xc pro
    06' bighit2
    05 hardrock comp set up as a dj bike
    02 fat boy hemi

  11. #11
    Trying a little
    Reputation: dusthuffer's Avatar
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    I used to stay always clipped in and suuuuhcked at cornering, but in the last few months I learned to unclip on the corners and clip back in, as a result I go faster now.

    read this in the context of dh.

    I never apologize. I'm sorry, but that's just the way I am.

  12. #12
    Out there
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    I sometimes unclip to ride a bermed corner really fast but that's all.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  13. #13
    College Boy
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    Always clipped in. Hell I feel a lot more comfortable clipped in on the nasty downhill stuff because I do not bounce off my pedals. I have had that happen and I missed the pedal when I came back down and it hurt. Plus I like the added control.

    I want to say I started riding clipless around 10-11 years ago when I was 13-14 years old (I am 24 now). I road them for 6 years then I just quite biking for 4 years and I pick it back up last march. I bough a new bike and first thing I did was put clipless on it. I could unclip like I could 4 years before that. It was complete 2nd nature to me. What took me a little time was getting used to getting the cleat lined up and lock into the pedal.

    Now the fear part on the technical stuff is in your head. When I first went clipless it took me a while to get over it. I got fully over that fear I hit something and went superman over my bars and landed a fair distance in front of my bike and my bike was still back at the tree that my bar it. Reason I got over that fear was that was the day I realized that I could and would unclip without thinking and instantly when needed. I happen to of been clipped in when I hit the tree.

    Now for every person what makes them realize that unclipping is 2nd nature is different. Mine took me crashing. Others just come to think of it. Or have something else happen.
    I personally have not had a crash relating to my pedals since about 2-3 months after I went clippless.

    It just takes getting over your fear.

  14. #14
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    Clipped in 95% of the time. There's still a few sections that I can't ride clipped in. I can ride them, I just don't have the confidence to do it clipped in. All the pictures that mrpercussive posted are of the sections I don't clip in for, but then again I ride XC, not DH. It's too bad they removed the log in the 4th pic though...
    "My scraper bike go hard, I don't need no car."

  15. #15
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    I think it's going to be a loooong learning curve for me. Well, not so much learning as losing that constant thought of "Shouldn't I unclip now, I might wipe out/stall here?" which totally slows you down.

    I like the idea of loosening the mechanism, must give it a try. I didn't bother because I got the hang of clipping in/out straight away, but maybe that would do something for my confidence, being able to get out easier...
    SPD shoes, pedals, cleats and the experience of going clipless. (a work in progress - let me know if I missed something!)

  16. #16
    local trails rider
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    There's the learning curve and then there is the confidence curve.

    It takes a while to get so far that you do not have to think your way through releasing.
    It may take longer to make yourself believe again that your trails are ridable...

    Riding the forest trails, some of them pretty rocky but not particularly fast, I am always clipped in. I think that when I buy another pair of pedals it will have some platform. Time Z should be good. It is not so that I could ride unclipped but to make it easier and more foolproof to restart uphill or on bumpy ground.

  17. #17
    College Boy
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    Quote Originally Posted by perttime
    There's the learning curve and then there is the confidence curve.

    It takes a while to get so far that you do not have to think your way through releasing.
    It may take longer to make yourself believe again that your trails are ridable...

    Riding the forest trails, some of them pretty rocky but not particularly fast, I am always clipped in. I think that when I buy another pair of pedals it will have some platform. Time Z should be good. It is not so that I could ride unclipped but to make it easier and more foolproof to restart uphill or on bumpy ground.

    He right. the learning curve to 2nd nature is pretty quick. The confidence curve will just take time getting over the fear. I would suggest at a time you would normally want to unclip. Over ride it and just stay clipped in. Also do your best not to think about it. At some point something will happen that will force a very quick and fast unclip and it will just happen for lack of a better term. That will be you releize that you can do it and staying clipped in is going to be just fine.

  18. #18
    In dog years, I'm dead.
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    Practice, Practice, Practice

    I had 43 years of riding with platforms, & now 6 months with clipless. When I get in a panic situation, my reflexes still sometimes try to pull straight up out of the pedals. I initially had 2 bad crashes (with a cracked rib) and a larger number of minor falls. My hydration pack has saved my back a few times. I'm finally starting to get the hang of it, but I'm not going to push my luck yet. I still clip out for some of the gnarlier obstacles - and I'm running Egg Beaters, so there's no faux platform. Eventually I'll stay clipped in for everything, same as my riding buddies.
    Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.... (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

  19. #19
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    Markowe, I watched the you tube video attached to your site, way way too too tight. Loosen them up, and as brutonix said practice, practice, practice

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by traylseeker
    Markowe, I watched the you tube video attached to your site, way way too too tight. Loosen them up, and as brutonix said practice, practice, practice
    Oh, well done for finding it! I was just going to say have a look at my first feeble clipless attempts. Actually, to be quite candid with you that was filmed a couple of weeks ago and I have since loosened them quite a bit and it is a whole lot easier to pop out now Still, made for a bit of a comedy moment!
    SPD shoes, pedals, cleats and the experience of going clipless. (a work in progress - let me know if I missed something!)

  21. #21
    Basha Felika
    Reputation: Calvissimo's Avatar
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    Pretty much a one. It's not being clipped in during dicey bits of trail that ever made me fall off (though I do fall off on dicey bits of trail because I'm not real skilled that way), it's being clipped in at street crossings and stoplights. But once you can get out of the pedals quickly, there's very little--especially on not-too-technical trails--for which you need to unclip in advance.
    "Will you have nuts or a cigar, sir?" --an English soldier after Rourke's Drift

  22. #22
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    The whole clipless debate rages on..! And ever will...

    I did a little resume of my personal conclusions after going clipless, on my blog, so I won't waffle here.

    But that is one of my nightmare scenarios, doing the "clipless topple" when stopped at a traffic light, right into the path of a car that's pulling up alongside me..! Not an entirely impossible scenario and not one I want to think about too much..!
    SPD shoes, pedals, cleats and the experience of going clipless. (a work in progress - let me know if I missed something!)

  23. #23
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    100% clipped in.
    I started off about 15 years ago with a bike that had toe straps. After my first ride I was scared shitless and took off the straps (who the hell can ride with their feet ATTACHED to the bike? What if you fall?). After a few times of banging my feet on rocks from bouncing off the pedals, luckily not breaking my foot, I put the toe straps back on. I could and did crash many times and was able to learn to extricate my feet even from the toe straps no problem. Then went to clipless years ago and that is the best of all worlds, for me. I feel totally exposed to injury if I'm not clipped in, especially on the knarly parts of the trail. Sometimes you start off on a downhill tech section and can't get that second foot clipped in right away - I start to feel a little panic until I get it clipped!
    Still use my original Shimano 747 clipless pedals 3 bikes, 5 pairs of shoes and 12 years later - the 747's are indestructible.

  24. #24
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    I'm a newbie who went the clipless route a couple of months ago. I've got a love/hate thing going. 95% of the time for XC riding it's clear that clipless is the way to go. I can't imagine riding without them. But on tougher obstacles I have really hurt my body as a result of these damn things. Also I've found that unclipping is sometimes more hazardous than staying clipped in--I've biffed it because I've been bounced off of the pedals! I can see that the goal should be to stay clipped in all the time. If I know I'm not going to make it I'll unclip. If I'm trying to make it I'll stay clipped in and risk tipping over even if it hurts. The more I work at it the less I tip over.

  25. #25
    jalopy jockey
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    Always clipped in if I can help it. I used to have issues loosing the pedals and now that is still the only time i have issues. I need to crank up the tension, everyonce in a while i pop out in a rockgarden, that is a problem.

    And from a power perspective I even had to go clipless on my family tugger which only sees railtrail and road. Before I did at teh end of my half century child tows I kept loosing the pedals cause I was lifting off. Downstroke was fatigued, upstroke wasn't.

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