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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    First time clipless..... feeling like a tool.

    I received my Sette MTB shoes and Time Atac pedals (from pricepoint.com) today and decided to give them a try on the pavement in front of my house for the first time. Next time I'll try them in the grass. I decided I have to learn how to get out of these in a hurry, so I would roll to a stop and see wich way I fell. I found out the hard way just how slow my right foot is in cliping out. I started leaning knowing full well wich way I was going but still could not get the movement down. But I did fall with grace and did not even break skin.

    Any way even with practice I'm woried about using these on the trails. I went to the local single track over the weekend (still on flats) and was amazed at how technical it is. I was expecting some rocks maybe a steep climb or two not 2 - 3ft high log obstacles with chain ring marks all over the top of them, and really steep decents into switchbacks with a 7ft drop to rocks on the other side. I was intimidated but simply walked my bike over anything I was not confident in. I definatley need to pratice more. And find some group to ride with that knows the trail system. The trails were the Woodlawn Land Trust trails which are kind of part of Brandywine Creek state Park here in N. Delaware.

  2. #2
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    It is a transition every mountain biker must go through someday. You'll learn to get out of those things in time. (Just get used to skinned up knees and forearms/elbows in the interim.)

    If you keep on riding, in time you will be comfortably riding terrain and over obstacles you never thought was even possible. When I started riding I hit a couple of steep downhills on one of our tougher intermediate trails and it scared the heck out of me. I told myself I'd never get on one of the advanced trails. And I didn't for about 3 years. Now those "advanced" trails are just normal riding for me and all a part of a fun ride.

  3. #3
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    I am just now ready to take mine to the trails, after a month. I finally have gotten pretty fast with the unclip.

  4. #4
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    I dunno how the Time pedals work but with SPDs the hot tip for beginners is

    1. loosen the clip right off

    2. lube them when you lube your chain. I know this sounds weird but everyone I ride with lubes their SPDs at the beginning of a ride. It makes a massive difference as to how fast you can get out of them.

    The reason that people fall off when they first ride clipless is that they have to think about how to get their feet out of the pedal. One this motion transfers to your muscle memory you'll never think about it again. Most clipless riders will tell you that they are out of the clips before they hit the ground.

    The one exception is when you manage to get the wrong foot out of the clips and end up falling towards the other side with your weight on the pedal. That's the classic, painful, clipless fall, and almost always happens when you are stalled out. However, I've also seen it happen to people using platforms (my wife, for example) so go figure.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  5. #5
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    Been there, done that, and have returned to flats. Anytime I am riding on trails with tech skinnies/elevated obstacles I use flats. Just easier to throw the bike out when things go wrong.

    if it is a full day xc death march then the clipless go on. And they are always on the road bike.

  6. #6
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    Also those time Atac pedals have got to be the hardest padal to get out of. When you clip in do hear that "SNAP"? I had a set of those and fell over so many times and of course that was the pedal I started out with. They were set at the lowest setting (for the spring). I felt like going back to flats after those pedals. Then a friend of mine said to try crank brothers, candy's and egg beaters, what a difference. I can now get out when I want to and have never unclipped when I didn't want to.

    IMO time atac's are the worst pedal to start with. They clip in nicely but do not let go when you need them to.
    www.MtbTi.com "Titanium bolt kits for your bike"

  7. #7
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    Excellent point - the Time pedals have no tension adjustment, but the cleats are designed to have more/less release angle depending on which foot they are mounted (same as the crankbros stuff).

    Quote Originally Posted by pinkheadedbug
    I dunno how the Time pedals work but with SPDs the hot tip for beginners is

    1. loosen the clip right off

    2. lube them when you lube your chain. I know this sounds weird but everyone I ride with lubes their SPDs at the beginning of a ride. It makes a massive difference as to how fast you can get out of them.

    The reason that people fall off when they first ride clipless is that they have to think about how to get their feet out of the pedal. One this motion transfers to your muscle memory you'll never think about it again. Most clipless riders will tell you that they are out of the clips before they hit the ground.

    The one exception is when you manage to get the wrong foot out of the clips and end up falling towards the other side with your weight on the pedal. That's the classic, painful, clipless fall, and almost always happens when you are stalled out. However, I've also seen it happen to people using platforms (my wife, for example) so go figure.

  8. #8
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    The Atac Aliums aren't adjustable. The mechanism loosens up after a few days. Also, if you have Prolink or something else that won't gunk up, drip 1 drop on each spring coil. The Atacs aren't hard to get out of once they break in a little, but you have to use them to break them in and teach your legs.

  9. #9
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    IMO practicing getting out of the pedals on the street/sidewalk is good.... for about 10 minutes, just to get the motion down. you're just gonna have to take them on the trail and fall a few times until you get it.

    seems to me, when your clipped on the street, you always know when you're going to stop and you're ready for it. it's the exact opposite on the trail....... YMMV

  10. #10
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    I rode clipless for the first time this week. I didn't have any major incidents but there were a few close calls. I don't think I'll ever go back to platforms. It made riding so much more enjoyable.

    I have shimano pd-m540s I got from Jenson for $57. They are very east to get in and out of. I have them set at the easiest point and will have to tighten them up a little but have no complaints.

  11. #11
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    He said he had time atac's and they are adjustable. Takes a flat blade screwdriver.
    www.MtbTi.com "Titanium bolt kits for your bike"

  12. #12
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    Aren't there some less technical trails there in the same area? My wife is from Newark, I was looking in to riding up there next time we're in the area...

  13. #13
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    It just takes pracice, but the efficiency that you gain is worth falling over a few timews, now after a couple years, I am used to them, and can get out of the pedal as fast as I would on a platform pedal,

    Practicing standing there is fine to start with, but you should go ride an easy trail for a while, though I can practically gaurantee that you will fall over trying to get out at first, everyone does. Once you get through this stage, you start becoming a much better rider.

    As far as the pedals, think about getting some crank brothers eggbeaters, I know you just got new pedals, but get cheap eggbeaters to learn on, as they are the easiest to get out of, assuming the cleats are set up on the right foot. The one with the dot on it should be on the right shoe for an easier release. I learned on spd's and I now ride the eggbeaters, as they are harder to pull up out of sprinting, but easier to get out of when you need to.
    Buy cheap eggbeaters, and then when you get better, put the times on.

  14. #14
    Ride,Smile, Pedal Damn it
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    I'm in same boat. just bought clipless from Pricepoint. Eggbeaters and Sette shoe combo.I really like the eggbeaters. very light and they don't clog. I've spilled a few times. Each time i go out i get better. Its kind of funny to be laying on ground still attached to bike.

  15. #15
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    Yes there are easier trails at White Clay Creek state park in Newark, DE so I've heard and they also have a skills trail with all those wooden walkways and balance beams.
    They are the cheap time pedals and do not have the adjustment ( that is what you get with a package deal). They are actually not that bad to get out of it is just I was trying to get my foot out when I was at the top of a pedal stroke. Wich makes it much harder with your knee bent, but I figured the trail is going to have me trying to get out of them in probably even worse situations so I better learn.

  16. #16
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    I got a pair of Time ATAC Z's when I was learning and had a hard time getting out as well. It wasn't so much that the pedal wouldn't release, just more of an exaggerated movement to get out. Your cleats will wear in and it will get easier. I took a file to mine and made just a few passes and that helped. The Dremel helped even more. Now they clip out great, but I've shortened the lifespan of the cleat (better that then my lifespan!). But as everyone else says, its just something you get used to. You have to kind of step off the pedal with your heel first, instead of your toe, so its a bit counter-intuitive, but it becomes second nature. I'm sure a lot of riders have some really nice scars from their learning process too.

  17. #17
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    The higher end Atacs are adjustable (as well as older models), but the current generation, basic Atac Alium is not.

  18. #18
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    I'm in the exact same boat. I just received my time z's yesterday and was bumping around in front of my house learning how to unclip. I must have fallen 3 or 4 times right there in the street. One time my neighbor actually came out to see what I was doing. He thought I was drunk and just couldn't stay on the bike. Oh well good times. I'm gonna try an easy trail tonight and see how much fun it is to fall down a hill. So far I think falling over is better than a pedal to the shins. That just plain hurts.
    I wreck alot.

  19. #19
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    I was in Downieville on the weekend and there are so many exposed spots. I'm not an amazing rider so I dapped rocks quite a few times to make sure I didn't end up hitting them. How can you possibly be just as safe in that type of situation with rocks on one side and nothing but air on the other? How do you dap? What if you start washing out right next to a cliff? Do you try to ride the washout and make the run work or do you just immediately clip out? I know with my platforms I ride it until the last second because I know that it takes me zero time to get out as a worst case scenario. If the bike goes down that's fine with me. I've never used clipless but I have a pair of CB Acids now so I'm going to have to try lol.

  20. #20
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    D Machine give it time. It is going to take a few weeks for it to become second nature. Each time you ride you will get a little better at clipping in and out. Clipless is the only way to go for mountain bikers if you ask me. You will eventually love going clipless. I also happen to use Time ATAC on both my mountain bikes and they are great pedals. They will loosen up a little bit with each ride which will make it easier to clip in and out of for you. Stay with them.

  21. #21
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    One thing I had to do when first putting on clipless was to realize I need to have the pedal down. I kept wanting to try to clip out with it up and for some reason my legs/feet didn't let me unclip with the pedal up and I would lumber on over. When the pedals down it is much easier for me.

    May be different for others, but this helped me a lot.

  22. #22
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    Keep with them. I went over the bars last night and before I even knew I was off the bike, I realized I was unclipped and supermanning through the air. Even landed on my feet.

    In short, it becomes second nature, and the benefits are immense. But you will fall, alot, before you get the hang of it. Keep the end in sight.

  23. #23
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    Take your new pedals out for a ride around the neighborhood and just cruise along clipping out and clipping in as you coast. Keep your ass on the seat and just pull your feet out. You'll get the feel for the motion, and you'll have time to clip back in as you coast. When you stop, and try to put your foot down, it can make things a bit scarier....like you have to react super-fast!

    Soon enough, like folks are saying, you'll get the hang of it. I know lots of people say they prefer platforms for technical stuff, but I even bring my own clipless pedals when I rent a downhill bike for a day on the lifts.

  24. #24
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    the easy way

    It helps tremendously if you find a place to sit on your bike, and, without moving, just practice clipping in and out. That is what I did when I first got clipless. It took me about 2 days to get used to them. Just find a tree or something similar, and lean on it with your arm outstretched, and just clip in and out, in and out and continue until you can comfortably get in and out and find the pedals.

  25. #25
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    Last night I rounded a corner and caught a full spider web square in the face so I stopped to remove the thing. I unclipped my left foot as I almost always leave my right in and put my left foot down. With the distraction of the web and landscape I tilted right and couldn't unclip so I fell in the middle of the trail, pissed off, covered in a web wondering where the hell the spider was and still clipped to the bike.
    All part of the fun! Stick with it, this is my first turtle over in a good while.

    Edit: Managed to kick my brake cable loose from its mounts while on the ground too.

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