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.
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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
    Over the Hill
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    Do Clip-ins Make You Nervous?

    I mountain biked a lot in the 80's and early 90's and have been road riding mostly since with a little jaunt in the dirt now and then. Of course, I use clip-in pedals on the road just fine. I am returning to more mtb riding (and a new mt bike) and am trying clip-in pedals/shoes. I am not at all comfortable with them. In fact, I am nervous even in slightly technical terrain, that I won't be able to clip out fast enough to put my foot down when my forward motion is quickly halted by sand, rocks or roots, especially on a climb. With toe clips I could get out fast enough, often just for a quick kick to keep me straight and upright and then back in to keep moving. Not at all sure about my safety with clip-ins. Anyone else having this issue, or am I just being a weenie?

  2. #2
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Do a search here.... you'll find dozens of similar posts.

  3. #3
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    Not being a weenie as everyone goes through this stage. However once you get familiar with them getting out becomes second nature. I am not at all nervous about using them, but I have been using them for years.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  4. #4
    Over the Hill
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    Yes, I'm very familiar with them. I'm talking about the lack of reaction time as you're falling over.

  5. #5
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    There is no reason you should feel compelled to run clipless pedals. Unless you are getting paid to ride professionally then there is no benefit to riding clipless vs. flats. Dozens of threads arguing this per week, but it's all anecdotal. What you need to do is to ride whatever makes you comfortable. You'll never have fun on the trail if you're constantly worried about what will happen with your feet. All you'll focus on is "oh no, that root might wreck me" and "oh no, a log!" which means you'll either get wrapped into target fixation and hit it or you'll stop before and walk it. Neither of those go very far to helping you become a more comfortable rider.

    Very important: no matter what you choose, buy good pedals and use the proper footwear. If you run your crap stock pedals that come with most bikes then even the best 5.10 stealth rubber isn't going to keep your feet on the pedals. Likewise, even if you buy the most expensive twenty6 pedals you'll have a terrible time riding in your stilettos or flip flops. Buy a good quality pedal first. Ones with replaceable pins for traction. Then pair them with a flat-soled shoe; sure the 5.10 bike stuff is truly amazing, but a stiff soled skate shoe works well enough to get you going.

    Once you get comfortable with your trails (able to ride without dabbing on most days) then you can revisit your clipless issue, but until then just get out there and ride. Once you get used to clipless, getting out happens without thinking; but when all you do during a ride is think about clipping out then you'll never make any progress on the bike. There is nothing you can do on clipless that you can't do with flats and vice-versa.

    Toe clips are death traps; if they're tight enough to provide any benefit then you can't get out of them reliably. Avoid at all costs.

    edit: Perhaps I should mention that after riding clipless for around 10 years I switched to flats around 4 years ago. In my book, there wasn't anything inherently wrong with clipless but flats provide a feeling of "fun" which was missing with the rigid attachment of clipless pedals. I still have clipless pedals but there is never a situation where I go "man, I sure would like to have clipless pedals for this", with the exception of when I'm riding my over-geared SS. On that thing, I need all the help I can get; and if that means needing to pull on the pedals to get over the top of a steep climb, then I'm going to use it no matter how inefficient it is.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  6. #6
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    Mostly it's a non issue,once in a while you will fall from not getting unclipped. I started with toe clips ,I can get unclipped a lot faster than out of toe straps.

  7. #7
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    You're gonna fall the first few times out on clipless. It is pretty much inevitable. Most likely it will be one of those slow-mo-man-I-look-like-an-idiot falls that don't hurt very much. You probably experienced that when learning on your road bike. Being nervous on technical terrain, no matter what pedals you are running, is not the best situation.

    If you're going fast and take a digger your feet will most likely come unclipped...but that fall was probably gonna happen either way just like any other fall.

    I will revert back to my high school football days and use the old "if you go half speed you'll get hurt" mantra. Basically, put it out of your mind and ride. Focus on the terrain, your cadence, etc. Forget about the pedals and take your lumps as they come.
    2011 Trance x1

    All good things in all good time

  8. #8
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    I personally like my clipless pedals but I also did just buy a nice pair of flats. As far as forgetting to unclip in the event of a crash, dont worry about it. Unless you have your pedals set to some insane tightness level, your feet come out automatically. I can attest to this for many a time. I wont lie, in technical stuff Im a little iffy when Im in clipless but I make it through(most of the time) and Im not the best of riders.

    Try em. If you dont like them then get a nice pair of platforms and a good shoe combo. Nothing wrong with trying something and not liking it. Ive tried onions. I dont care for them so I dont eat them. Its kind of the same thing as this I guess.
    Slightly faster than a speeding snail.

  9. #9
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    Why does everyone who goes clipless fear falling over, does no one have any ballance? Learn how to track stand and you an stall anyplace and not fall over. It's funny how many people can not keep the bike ballanced if not moving forward. Watch some trials vids and ****, learn how to ride in a variaty of terrain. Its not hard to learn how to track stand, I thought it was impossible when I tried the first 100 times but once you get it other stuff comes easy. Practicing it is boring as hell but this is what I suggest and was passed on to me, put your bike in the hallway and hop on, use your elbows to hold you up if you are going to fall over. You can also use a doorway if your walls are far apart. You can watch a TV show while doing it to kill bordum, trust me this skill is one of those skills you will gain the most from. You can hop on the spot as well does the same thing but takes way more energy, both are awesome skills to have, I have stalled behind riders on hill climbs, ballanced on the spot, waited for them to clear the path and then ride on. It maybe a personal thing for me but I hate getting off my bike, ride over everything, cuts heal Besides clearing an obsticle when everyone else is walking over it is an awesome feeling, plus you get to hear that guy say "holy **** did you just see that guy clear that"
    This is why I took up trials, ohh I totaly suck at it but it makes my MTBing way better, they make it look easy but ballancing just on your rear tire is not easy.

    I am not syaing buy a trials bike LOL but the base skills can be done on any bike, you will thank me later. The winter time is a great time to hone ballancing skills.
    Remember chicks dig guys with skills, computer hacking skiilz, bow hunting skillz and bike ballancing skillz
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  10. #10
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    23 years of riding clipless and only one very minor accident, my friend stopped in front of me and I pulled up with my heel so close to his back tyre that I couldn't twist my foot to unclip...I just fell over, no damage done...I don't know why people make a fuss about it, it's not like you're bolted to the thing.

  11. #11
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    I was nervous at first (I "broke" all the "golden rules" and started doing the clipless thing 3 weeks into mountain biking for the first time ever), but now I am so use to them that I feel nervous/unsafe NOT being clipped in. I dab a lot on technical stuff, and have learned that my body will unclip the foot that needs to be put down without me giving it a thought. The only time I have ever fallen/wrecked being clipped in was when my cleat and pedal were really gummed up with mud and snow and I was at a stop and couldn't get out in time before toppling over. Otherwise I have never wrecked because of being clipped in.

    Try it, give it some time. Might be your thing, might not be your thing. Everyone has their personal preferences.

  12. #12
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    Always wondered what it's like to wheelie with clipless pedals. If you wheelie often you will know occasionally you might go off the back requiring lightening speed feet removal...

    This is what I imagined happening -


  13. #13
    Just Ride
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    On the MTB I'm perfectly comfortable with clipless. I'd be more worried about it on pavement. I've fallen on pavement twice last year and more than several times in the dirt. Not being able to get my feet down in time is a much bigger concern of mine on pavement as it rips skin off. Dirt is much softer! So not unclipping in time, isn't that big of a deal...for the most part.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  14. #14
    turtles make me hot
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    I put my feet on and off my CB Eggbeaters no differently than if I were riding platform pedals. I don't even give them a thought until the cleats get worn and slip out.
    I like turtles

  15. #15
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    Re: Do Clip-ins Make You Nervous?

    Mine made me nervous the other day. I was pulling a box of wrenches off a shelf in the garage and they almost hit me in the face when they fell.

    Sent from my SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2

  16. #16
    Over the Hill
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    Zebra, thanks, man. You're right, it's all about fun, or else I'd stay home and veg. I just ordered some Straightline Amps and I'll try them with my old old specialized rubbery soled hiking style mtn bike shoes. I'm actually a pretty experienced rider for many years (over thirty five), but getting back to the mtn bike after becoming so used to clipless on the road, I kinda wanted that same connection, but not at the price of jittery nerves robbing me of the fun. If the flats work out, I'll move on the 5-10 Impacts.

    BTW, I used to ride MTB with toe clips and no straps for quick dismount and the clips always prevented frontal slide-off, and positioned my foot properly over the axle, an issue I'll have to learn to do manually now.

  17. #17
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    I ride flats (HTs) usually with a decent light weight skate shoe... I am as fast or faster than most of my friends downhill or up.

    Good pedals are the key... note that if you ride in the rock you will probably have to replace every one to two years as they will get beat to hell.

  18. #18
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    Re: Do Clip-ins Make You Nervous?

    Never crashed due to clips and never stayed clipped during a crash. My experience I like them.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 2

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Club Mud View Post
    Zebra, thanks, man. You're right, it's all about fun, or else I'd stay home and veg. I just ordered some Straightline Amps and I'll try them with my old old specialized rubbery soled hiking style mtn bike shoes. I'm actually a pretty experienced rider for many years (over thirty five), but getting back to the mtn bike after becoming so used to clipless on the road, I kinda wanted that same connection, but not at the price of jittery nerves robbing me of the fun. If the flats work out, I'll move on the 5-10 Impacts.

    BTW, I used to ride MTB with toe clips and no straps for quick dismount and the clips always prevented frontal slide-off, and positioned my foot properly over the axle, an issue I'll have to learn to do manually now.
    I rode with toe clips for around 4 years before I moved on to clipless. Had them for the same reasons you did, plus being able to bunny hop (oh, young me...). I think you'll find that the new pedals make toe clips obsolete for trail riding. The traction is so good, especially when paired with a shoe like those 5.10 Impacts (my shoe of choice as well) that you'll probably find very little benefit to clipless if you decide to go that route.

    Just like clipless, flats have a learning curve. Where on clipless you need to learn to get your feet out, you need to learn to keep your feet on a flat pedal. Do a search on flat pedal technique and do as much reading as you can. One technique involves keeping your heels down to help keep you on the pedals and help keep you able to absorb bumps better. You might want to consider riding with a shin pad for a while until you get past the learning curve.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  20. #20
    Inspector Gadget
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    Do Clip-ins Make You Nervous?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reign2Rider View Post
    Always wondered what it's like to wheelie with clipless pedals. If you wheelie often you will know occasionally you might go off the back requiring lightening speed feet removal...

    This is what I imagined happening -

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/4Yqw4c0Iu6M" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    Lol

    Wheelie 101:
    Finger on back brake lever
    Lean back
    Peel out

    OP Get the spd multi-release cleats... Have fun.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reign2Rider View Post
    Always wondered what it's like to wheelie with clipless pedals. If you wheelie often you will know occasionally you might go off the back requiring lightening speed feet removal...

    This is what I imagined happening -
    Yeah, I've done that for sure. Was borrowing a friend's bike that had disc brakes in the front and Vs in the rear and got to the end of my ride, having a blast on one of my favorite sections of trail, chucked a little manual over a couple rollers and things got away from me. Ended up with a fairly high speed turtle slide.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  22. #22
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Club Mud View Post
    I mountain biked a lot in the 80's and early 90's and have been road riding mostly since with a little jaunt in the dirt now and then. Of course, I use clip-in pedals on the road just fine. I am returning to more mtb riding (and a new mt bike) and am trying clip-in pedals/shoes. I am not at all comfortable with them. In fact, I am nervous even in slightly technical terrain, that I won't be able to clip out fast enough to put my foot down when my forward motion is quickly halted by sand, rocks or roots, especially on a climb. With toe clips I could get out fast enough, often just for a quick kick to keep me straight and upright and then back in to keep moving. Not at all sure about my safety with clip-ins. Anyone else having this issue, or am I just being a weenie?
    FYI: the term is "clipless", not "clip-in". I know it does not make much sense, but it is what it is, and using the term "clip-less" will avoid confusion.

    I find there is no significant impact on how long it takes me to get out of my clipless pedals compared to flats. I'm sure that technically, if I timed with a slow-motion camera, it does take a fraction of a second longer, but it is so fast that the difference is a non-issue in my experience. I use Speedplay Frogs which are very easy and fast to get in and out of. I do ride flats occasionally on my MTB and they are all I use on my daily commuter. I find that the only place where clipless hold me back due to issues of release is high skinnies. It is a bit harder with Frogs to get completely out and clear in mid air. To be honest though, I am a wimp when it comes to skinnies, even with flats.

    Otherwise, I feel more confident with clipless.

    If you could get out in time with toe straps, then you should be fine with clip-less, they are faster to get out of, at least any of the ones I've tried. A HUGE improvement over the toe straps.
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  23. #23
    Bicyclochondriac.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fahza29er View Post
    Why does everyone who goes clipless fear falling over, does no one have any ballance?
    Are you seriously suggesting that you can ride MTB without ever falling?
    15mm is a second-best solution to a problem that was already solved.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by kapusta View Post
    Are you seriously suggesting that you can ride MTB without ever falling?

    Nope I have my fair share of wipeouts but not from stoppng and falling over.
    If you read the whole thing it was towards stalling and falling over not wipeing out , hell if you don't crash once and a while your not tryring hard enough. I have plenty of scars from wipeouts.
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