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 or strap pedals?

    I've been riding for over a year and finally decided to go clipless. My first ride (very slow) was full of spills. I'm wondering if I would be better off with strap pedals or just hang in there? Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Freshly Fujified
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    Hang in there

    Your experience as a first time clipless user is not unusual. Give it time, you'll get the hang of it.

    Bob
    'If Wal-Mart sold parachutes, who would jump?' Frank Havnoonian (quoting his father) Drexel Hill Cyclery

  3. #3
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    question on the topic, what does it mean when it says '5 degrees of float.'

  4. #4
    Former Bike Wrench
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    it means the cleat can rotate 5 degrees from center in either direction before beginning to release. Pedals usually range from no float (almost unheard of anymore in MTB...still seen in road) to 20 degrees of float (Speedplay and Crank Bros). More float tends to be easier on the knees, but requires you to twist your foot further to release out of the pedal.

  5. #5
    Team Hammer
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    Hang in there, you will get better on them. A month from now you will never understand how you lived without them.
    Get 15% off your first Hammer Nutrition order by clicking here.
    Check out my blog at SquidBuzz's Garage

  6. #6
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    I am 30 years old have not riden since i was 18, got back in to it like 4 months ago and use clipless for the first time like a month ago i have riden a course by me with them on 4 times it is a six and a half mile course. i fell once everytime but the last time i went it is normal and i had no problem on the streets hopped on and road way never fell on the road, i feel it is the fear at first that makes people fall, but they make you more stable just don't think about them and it might help. the last time i went i said hell with it and went for it and almost crashed somehow pulled out my foot and saved my self it will become normal and you will start to like them. the owner of the bike shop by me has been riding for 20 years steady and never learned to use them he wish he did, he is to fast and has been riding to long he think to get use to them now.

  7. #7
    College Boy
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    It is completely normal. When I first went clipless I had many low speed falls. After a few days of riding it will be 2nd nature. Think of it like learning how to drive a manual car. After a while it is complete 2nd nature. It just takes some time for you to get to that point and once you do you will never want to go back to straps again.

  8. #8
    Double-metric mtb man
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    My retro roadie has toe clips (strapped pedals) where as I ride clipless on my mtb. If it weren't for he fact it would ruin the retro look, I'd have thrown a set of clipless on the roadie a long time ago.

    It is not unusual to flop/fall while you're learning....we all go through it as we learn. Stick with it and it'll become second nature in very little time.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  9. #9
    I play hard to want
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    It's just like driving a car--the first few months you're crashing into people and buildings and other vehicles on a daily basis, then eventually you can keep the car in your own lane and use the gas a brakes without getting confused. It's happened to us all.
    It's like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Offrampmotel
    It's just like driving a car--the first few months you're crashing into people and buildings and other vehicles on a daily basis, then eventually you can keep the car in your own lane and use the gas a brakes without getting confused. It's happened to us all.


    i'm thinking of making the jump to a clipless set-up as well. I hope I catch on fast, though I do expect a few low speed falls here and there as well. Since I just started riding, it's better to get aquantied with them from the start I suppose.

  11. #11
    There's no app for this.
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    both you and traylseeker

    get some arm protection; borrow some Hockey pads...whatever, it doesn't matter, but at first you're going to fall so instead of bleeding and messing up the countryside, get some XC arm protectors until you get the hang of it. Just my 02, Jim


  12. #12
    local trails rider
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    I think a lot of the time the issue is lack of confidence: you worry about releasing -> ride too slow -> get stuck or stall -> "timbeeer".

    There is definitely a learning curve to make releasing near automatic but you also need to develop, or redevelop, the confidence that you can ride your trails.

  13. #13
    bi-winning
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    hang in there

  14. #14
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    I find the strappy things to be far more dangerous than the clipless pedals.

    I personally like riding clipped in but you'll find a huge variety of opinion about it on here.

  15. #15
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    I just switched as well all I can say is hang in there! I posted a thread on how to get better at this and received some great advice to hang on to a goal post in the park and practice clipping in and out 50 times each foot and it really helped a lot! I've had numerous spills too but noticed they are becoming less frequent....also made sure the clips were set loose thanks to the trusty allen wrench!


    I did my first ride going up a hill and what a difference it made - felt like I using my legs more and I got more momentum! This is based on someone who road with strap pedals for +10 years....can't believe I did not change sooner!

    Hang in there and have fun!

  16. #16
    Double-metric mtb man
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    As Cdn_Chick has said, there is a lot of power to be had by adding the "pull" of the leg going up.

    It can take a bit of time, but hang in there...it is well worth it.
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

    Moran? Let your opinion be free -> F88me

  17. #17
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    Getting better with egg beaters

    Ahhh...I held off for the longest time. With a broken collar bone giving me plenty of time to consider it. I took the plunge...went out and picked up the egg beaters. Here's my thoughts on them...

    1. On the fire roads, OMG they are incredible...I was sore in places that I didn't even know that I had muscles.
    2. I broke my wrist falling into a ditch because I didn't unclip in time...however, I do have to say that even on platforms I probably would have had a similar result. BTW the break was minor and I was riding again in only a couple weeks.
    3. I fell in a gravel parking lot just turning around, of course it was with a witness...not bad, just a slow speed spill. The wheels slipped (that's my story and I'm sticking to it).
    4. Virginia Creeper Trail...18 miles of climb, I think it's 1000 ft maybe more...I loved it...Of course I love long climbs, it's what my brother calls the unatural relationship with sheep that causes it. Oh, 18 miles back down...LOVED IT!!! No falls, but a lot of time to get comfortable with the beaters.
    5. I am still a little skittish on bombing down the hills, and still bail on root climbs...this might be from the falls. Time will tell.
    6. I also figured out that I can not bunny hop clipped in like I can with platforms...I also can not wheelie as well...But I am working on it...

    Stick it out, it'll get better...I choose to ride XC style, if your a DH'er practice what makes you feel off...even the XC's have to practice the "Holy Crap, where did that come froms!"

    Above all have fun, play safe, and push over more sleeping cows than your friends...
    Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Fireroads are fun, but Singletrack rules!

  18. #18
    mojo mofo
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    I just went out for my second ride on clips and I have to say I felt totally useless. The first ride was good because it was mostly road, but this ride was on singletrack and I spent more time on the ground than in the saddle, well actually on the ground in the saddle.

    I'm sure it will get easier, but can anyone tell me why I should bother? Besides the fact that everyone is doing it. Mostly I hear people say they become second nature, but not much about why. Maybe my riding style is a little too 'loose' for being attached to the bike?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
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    don't hit the trails right away...

    Quote Originally Posted by talkshow-host
    I just went out for my second ride on clips and I have to say I felt totally useless. The first ride was good because it was mostly road, but this ride was on singletrack and I spent more time on the ground than in the saddle, well actually on the ground in the saddle.

    I'm sure it will get easier, but can anyone tell me why I should bother? Besides the fact that everyone is doing it. Mostly I hear people say they become second nature, but not much about why. Maybe my riding style is a little too 'loose' for being attached to the bike?
    keep riding on the road. practice popping out while moving and coming to a stop. the clip in/out gets real easy. while pedalling on the road, lift up with your shoe and feel the muscles you can't use effectively with straps. this will increase your spinning technique. practice pedaling without mashing. then go to the trail. your increased power on flats/climbs is awesome as you refine technique and muscle groups. when on the trail pop out one or both feet when you come to a technical spot and pedal lightly across without the worry of falling with your feet clipped in. after doing this you will then begin to keep the clips attached and won't look back and finally say, "how did i ever ride without these?" It's true, you will say that.

  20. #20
    local trails rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkshow-host
    I'm sure it will get easier, but can anyone tell me why I should bother?
    Clipless is not compulsory... Lots of people do fine with spiky pedals and grippy shoes.

    The advantages that I have noticed:
    - more power (yawn)
    - the bike will not bounce me off of the pedals when going fast over roots and rocks (more noticable on a HT, I suspect)
    - easier to do a short track stand and then power out of the tricky spot after I miss the good line.
    - clipless pedals (without platform) are smaller than flatties and therefore give a little more ground clearance. I get noticably fewer rock strikes on clipless and I have yet to bury a clipless pedal in mossy earth just after picking up speed for a slightly bumpy uphill ...

  21. #21
    mtbr member
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    A good platform/shoe combination is hard to beat. It's all a matter of opinion. At least attempt correctly to do the no-clip before ditching...

    I like being able to move my foot around the pedal for balance and position. Plus doing taekwondo kicks to trailside wildlife is easier.

  22. #22
    College Boy
    Reputation: Timeless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by talkshow-host
    I just went out for my second ride on clips and I have to say I felt totally useless. The first ride was good because it was mostly road, but this ride was on singletrack and I spent more time on the ground than in the saddle, well actually on the ground in the saddle.

    I'm sure it will get easier, but can anyone tell me why I should bother? Besides the fact that everyone is doing it. Mostly I hear people say they become second nature, but not much about why. Maybe my riding style is a little too 'loose' for being attached to the bike?
    well you are physically attach to your bike so like the poster above you can not be thown off as easily by bumps.
    You now can use the upstroke on the pedal so more power.
    My biggest reason for liking clipless is control. While clip in you just have more control over the bike. Climbing a big rock i the way you can just pop you back tire over it while with out clipless you would of had to of pulled your fount wheel over then loose all your speed while you bike while claws it way over. In the area one can control how the bike will land and control it in the area a hell of a lot easier.

    Now that control also applies on the ground just it is not a noticeable but it is just easier to handle the bike in turns and having more than just your handle bars to control the bike. Now you can use the pedals to help turn the bike.

    I do not like going down bump hills any more unless I am clip in because like I said about I do not get thrown off the bike I stay with it and because I physically attach I have more control because my feet are not bouncing off the pedals.

  23. #23
    i am, therefore, i ride
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    It takes a while getting used to but well worth it. Why? Imagine your downstroke push on platform pedal produces 50 HP (just and example). With the upstroke power of clipless pedals, now you're producing twice as much, 100 HP.

    Practice getting on and off first on a flat surface like road or parking lot. You will fall a couple of times because you're not used to getting in and out yet. Once you master the process, then ride the trail and test the upstroke power I mentioned. Then tell me if it is not worth it.

  24. #24
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    Most people love clipless and thats cool. I'm sure it will probably work out for you but if it doesn't work out, don't let it ruin the fun of MTB. I bought clipless and fell a couple of times
    "Ha Ha this is just part of the learning curve, "

    Then I fell a couple more times one just tipping over and rolling down a hill with my bike attached to me for the first part. One rolling through a little rock section that I've cleared many times with flats and where a slight dab would have been enough.

    "uh ..Ha ha falling is part of riding right?

    the last fall on clipless I was carrying way too much speed into a rocky ditch. couldn't brake enough on the dry loose fire road tried to bail and couldn't get both feet out slammed into the rocks went OTB seperated shoulder no riding for 2 months. Out of work for 2 weeks

    "F these shoes, F these pedals and F this mountainbike I have a wife and kid to feed"


    Went back to flats now I get off whenever the F I feel like getting off, dab whenever the F I feel like dabbing haven't tipped the F over and am much more comfortable and happy on my bike.

    That bad accident would have happened regardless but would haven't been an OTB. Of course I'm not a very skilled rider like most folks here so YMMV but my main point is that if it starts interfering with your love for the bike then put the flats on and don't sweat it.

    Brandon.
    (also edited to add) I ride a SS and am a pedal mashing gorilla so the big gain that most riders get on the upstoke was mostly wasted by me anyway. It was nice on the flats though. When I get a road bike I will clip in again.
    There's always money in the banana stand.

  25. #25
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    It took me a few rides to get used to clipless pedals. I still have the occasional low speed fall (three times in one day last week...stream crossings). It's more amusing than anything else, IMO. To me, the pros (feet secured to pedals) out weigh the cons (occasional low speed fall).
    Last edited by johnli6; 04-26-2007 at 03:45 AM.

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