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.
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 33
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90

    How do you know when to switch to clipless?

    Hey All,

    I've been riding for 2 months now, and I've put >200 miles on my bike. I am still very much a beginner, and still pretty out of shape, but that's what the bike is for! I have gotten much better at climbing, but I do end up busting climbs, sometimes because of poor line choice, others because my feet will come off the pedals, or my foot will be too far forward, and scrape against the front tire.

    I can totally see the advantages, but I wonder if my skill level is right. Can anyone offer any sage advice? Should I be able to do x, y, or z before I switch?

    Thanks,

    Mr_Whiskerz

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    47

    Hey

    I am in the exact same stage as you and made the switch.. don't regret it at all.. it's really not hard to ride clipless

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: InvictaS1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,851
    what kind of platform padals are you using right now? maybe you should just need a set of pedals with a more grippy surface so that your feet dont slide around so much.

    its really not difficult to ride with clipless pedals. it takes a few days to get used to clipping in and out without having to think about it but after that riding clipless is a breeze.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90
    Thanks Guys!

    I am using the Wellgo pedals that came with my bike, an 06 Trek 4500.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation: InvictaS1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,851
    the pedals that come stock on bikes like yours are junk. i'd either go clipless or buy a good set of platform pedals.

    here are some good platform pedals. http://www.blueskycycling.com/produc...orm-Pedals.htm these would make a world of difference compared to the stock cheap platforms.

  6. #6
    Vaginatarian
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    5,685
    why not get combo pedals, Time z control, crank bros mallets etc. then you can do both

  7. #7
    Bike to the Bone...
    Reputation: rzozaya1969's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,290
    Sometimes it's better to start riding with clipless early on. This way, you learn it fast, and you don't learn only on flats. Don't worry too much on it, you can start soon.

    I learned the hard way (after 5 falls, well, more that that number, actually). I taught my GF by going to a park that's flat, with lots of grass (not so hard when you fall, and no distractions) to practice riding round and round in a small track, just clipping and unclipping. Don't stop for it, just pedal, get some speed going (not 30 mph) just enough to have some momentum to concentrate on clipping and unclipping.

    If you take a pedal wrench, it might help if you first put the clipless pedal on one foot, ride a little bit like that, and then switch to the other foot. After you feel confortable, try riding with both feet.

    If possible, take some knee pads.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90
    Is there something special about a pedal wrench? My current ones come off with a 15mm wrench...

  9. #9
    Work Hard, Play Harder
    Reputation: Ice25gt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    524
    I dove into clipless head first as a noob and I have never once regretted it. The transition to clipless was an easy one for me. Sure, I fell a few times when I forgot that I was clipped in, but I think everyone does that at some point. Even people who have been riding clipless for years. I say go for it.
    06 Rocky Mountain ETSX - Full XTR, Fox Shox, Crossmax XL Wheels

  10. #10
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,811
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Whiskerz
    Is there something special about a pedal wrench? My current ones come off with a 15mm wrench...
    The pedal wrenches that I have seen were pretty long for better leverage. I needed a small hammer to get my old pedals off with a common 15mm open ended wrench. My clipless pedals need a hex wrench.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    344
    I had all the same problems early on with flats that you did, but never went clipless. I just learned how to position my feet better on the pedals and how to distribute my weight better.

    At this point, after about a year of riding, I'm still not at all interested in clipless. I don't mind being the last up the hill. I've set a personal goal that when I can bunnyhop, manual and hit dirt jumps I'll switch over to flats for my XC bike.

  12. #12
    Girt by sea.
    Reputation: Kalgrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    459
    "How do you know when to switch to clipless?"

    If you have a bike, it's time to go clipless .... (in other words, I agree 100% with Ice25gt).
    What if the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about?
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    My photography web site: www.scenebyhird.com

  13. #13
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,811
    Just one more:
    clipless is NOT compulsory.

    For a lot of riders (most?), it is the best way. Others might have practical, psychological or philosophical reasons not to use clipless. If you do not WANT clipless, relax and keep riding. If you WANT clipless, put them on, relax and keep riding.

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: drunkle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,899
    if you're at all apprehensive about losing your pedals, go clipless. bmx style pinned platforms are much better than cages, but you can still lose them on jumps and bumps. and if you do miss with platforms, they'll put the hurt on your shins.

    not that it cant happen with clipless, i popped out on a climb and banged up my shin. but if i were using pinned platforms, i'd have some nasty(er) gouges to go with the bruises.

    did anyone mention that this sport can hurt?

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    280
    I'd considered clipless, but kept procrastinating til one of the guys I ride with that works at the LBS told me I really should get them.. he gave me a great deal, fixed me up and I've been using them the last couple of weeks. I'm still not terribly comfortable with them, and just last night I screwed up and tipped right on over (DOH! ), but all in all I do like them. Give it a try, if you find you don't like them over time, then don't use them. It's definitely not a required thing, but a lot of folks really stand by them. I'm becoming one of them.. I think. LOL

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90
    What happens when one goes OTB, if you don't have time to unclip? I worry most about those kinds of situations, and situations where the front wheel goes out from under you, and your leg gets pinched between the bars and the frame. I just don't want to tear up my knees knees, the mere thought of knee injuries makes my skin crawl.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Whiskerz
    What happens when one goes OTB, if you don't have time to unclip? I worry most about those kinds of situations, and situations where the front wheel goes out from under you, and your leg gets pinched between the bars and the frame. I just don't want to tear up my knees knees, the mere thought of knee injuries makes my skin crawl.
    Unclipping will become 2nd nature in any circumstance, well most. I've been riding clipless for close to 10 years and have never had an issue when descending. It's when I'm climbing going slow that I have issues. Not often, but once in awhile I can't unclip in time and over I go. It's when you stop to think about it is when you won't be able to do it.
    Chris G
    Riding a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro 120
    Somewhere behind the Orange Curtain

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    52
    The clipless pedals and shoes I ordered came in so I'm going to be giving it a shot as well. I noticed there are front and rear holes to mount the cleats in. I paid close attention to what I do with my feet while riding this morning. I seem to have the pedals towards the front of my feet under normal circumstances but tend to move so that the pedals are closer to the arches when I really need to apply power. I'm thinking I should go with the rear holes and just do everything from there since that seems to be where I want the pedals when I really need them. Does that sound about right or am I over-thinking this?

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    26
    i've thought about it, but then i think about when im riding a single track w/ a nice steep cliff edge on one side, and if i happen to not be unable to unclip in time, and off i go, but in the wrong direction (off the side of the mountain) im screwed!

  20. #20
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    11,811
    Quote Originally Posted by steep_h2o
    I seem to have the pedals towards the front of my feet under normal circumstances but tend to move so that the pedals are closer to the arches when I really need to apply power.
    This might be because the shoes that you have been using are too flexy to deliver significant amounts of power. (and it might not)

    Usually people are adviced to put the cleat on or near the ball of the foot. Mine are close to the middle of the adjustment range on my shoes (cannot check more precisely right now).

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    63
    Quote Originally Posted by ryanerb
    i've thought about it, but then i think about when im riding a single track w/ a nice steep cliff edge on one side, and if i happen to not be unable to unclip in time, and off i go, but in the wrong direction (off the side of the mountain) im screwed!
    I actually had that happen to me a couple months ago. I was starting the climb on the San Juan Trail (So Cal). The first couple of miles are a series of switch backs. You have a choice of two lines. You can either ride in a 1-2 foot deep rut or take the high line outside of the rut which also happens to be on the exposed side of the trail. As is my style, I was going slow and steady. I had a brain fart and started losing my balance to the outside. I could not unclip my outside foot in time and over I started to go. I managed to unclip my inside foot and hook the side of the trail as I went over keeping me from rolling a fair distance down the side. Although I didn't realize it until later, my knee was sprained. Even with this mishap, I would never ever switch from clipless to anything else. The benefits far outweigh the negatives... for me. Bottom line, ride with what you want to ride but I would bet if you switched to clipless as an expirement you would never go back. Which raises an interesting question: Is there anyone out there that rode clipless for a fair amount of time and then went back to platforms or even cages?
    Chris G
    Riding a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Pro 120
    Somewhere behind the Orange Curtain

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: danolator's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    2

    Practice first

    The key to clipless is to stay on the road or parking lot practicing getting in and out of your clips in every possible position. Enen then, you will probably fall a few times, but it's usually somewhere where you would dab (corner, lost momentum climbing, etc.) so don't worry about it. I like Crankbrothers Candies by the way, but cleats and pedals are a very personal thing. Kind of like your underwear.

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    13
    I put a set of Mallet Cs on my mtb today. I figured with the Quattro SLs on my new road bike, I'd save some money on a single pair of shoes. I've never ridden clipless before today, so I was both excited and apprehensive to try them out. My thought was to put the Mallets on, then ride the mtb around the neighborhood clipping and unclipping until I got a feel for it (that way I don't dump the road bike on day one).

    My youngest son decided to ride with me, which I thought was great. He could lead and I'd follow, which would put me at about 3mph. Plenty slow to not have to worry too much. So, off we go, down the sidewalk. We went three driveways and were at the last house before the corner when a car started coming from behind. Even though we were on the sidewalk, I said, 'Car coming!' just so he wouldn't forget to check before getting to the crosswalk (we've taught him to start looking both ways before getting to the cross walk and stopping and looking some more).

    Guess what the little 3.5 year old goofball did. Yeah, he slammed on the brakes right there. My immediate response was to hit my brakes, which brought me to a quick stop. Momentarily forgetting I was clipped in, I was surprised to be doing a trackstand. Then I was more surprised when I started the slow motion fall to my right. Believe it or not, the first thing to go through my mind was, 'Well, everyone said this was going to happen.' Then I hit the ground. Just as the car went by. Youngest son looks back and says, 'You're not supposed to be laying down when we're riding bikes, dad.'

    Amazingly, I held on to the grips and didn't put an arm out. I would've thought that'd be a natural reaction, but I guess it's not. Huh. I clipped out, stood up, hopped on, clipped my right foot in, told him to go, and off we went for the rest of the ride. I kept practicing the clip in/out thing in different crank positions. The weird thing is it's easier for me to clip out by turning my heel in as opposed to turning it out. I would've thought out would be the way to go.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    90
    I pulled the trigger, and couldn't be happier! I picked up some SPDs and some shoes at the LBS, and was amazed at the difference. I won't be going back to the platforms!!

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    141
    I have been on SPDs for a long time. When i tryed to ride a bike with platforms i ended up with a large gash on my shin when my foot slipped off. Also when you start out with clips, set them as loose as you can and slowly work your way up. this will train you to get in and out with no problems. now when i fall, or need to jump off the bike, I just pop off without thinking about it. I did fall recently due to my SPDs. I was at a stop after a long ride next to my car. i unclippped one foot and had it on the ground, the other was still cliped in. I was talking to my friend for a min or 2 in this position then i forgot the other foot was clipped in and tryed to get off the bike. but its kinda hard when the bike comes up with your foot. we all had a good laugh at my expence.


    O ya, never try to ride a wheely when cliped in. thats just bad news, I know from personal experiance
    Three out of the four voices in my head say, "Go for it!"

    2010 Ventana El Comandante

    08 Kona Unit 2-9

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •