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
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    Regret going clipless?

    Hey, I'm a fairly new rider (go my bike almost a year ago) and went clipless a couple of months ago. I must say when the trails are easy they are great compared to what I had before, but on some of the more technical parts I get a little nervous. Once or twice every other ride I fall because my tire spins in loose stuff or roots going up steeper hills which is annoying. One of these falls even resulted in a knee injury that is still bothering me a bit weeks later. Im just wondering if anyone else regrets their decision to go clipless.

    I just feel like maybe I jumped aboard too early and didnt give myself enough time to develop the skills and confidence. Anyone else feel this way or is this just one of the cons that everyone has to deal with?

  2. #2
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    Just a few thoughts...if your tires are spinning on the uphills try a bigger gear. If I'm in too easy a gear I can spin the tire on just about any uphill...but if I anticipate the slope I can be in the right gear to get up anything I have around here (your trails might be different though).

    If you're riding a really slick tire it might also be hampering your uphill traction. Could your current tread pattern be part of the problem?

    Roots can be a pain...especially when they are wet...I've got nothing to offer on that...although they are easier on my FS than my old hard tail.

    I don't have any regrets thus far going clip less. The few close calls I had were actually at the truck after my ride...a few times I rolled up to a stop and forgot I was clipped in.

  3. #3
    Vincit qui patitur
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    I too thought I jumped on board early with clipless.
    I went out camping and biking with my platforms and immediatly swithed back to clipless.
    I also had a bad knee injury during one of my falls. It will take time to heal as the Dr said but I doubt I will ever go back to platform.
    As far as knee injury, mine was a sprain and swollen miniscus (sp).
    Dr said to make sure to stretch before and fater the ride and ice it after.
    Take Aleve twice a day (2 morning and 2 as needed at night)
    He also said to continue to ride since it is the best therapy for knees.
    Vincit qui patitur
    2012 GT Karakoram 3.0
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  4. #4
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    I regret not going clipless from the beginning. You will adjust to it, and learn how to handle the climbs, rocks and roots. A tire spinning has nothing to do with you being clipped in. It has to do with your body position on the bike. Fix that and you will stop the spinning. Your weight is too far forward on the bike, and your rear tire will spin out on a climb.

  5. #5
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    For me I've had clipless on my road bike forever, than put them on my xc. After a few years i still didn't want them on all my mtbs, especially dher, so I decided it was habit or fear and went cliples on all my bikes to see. After about a year i went back to platform on all but the same road bike, and xc.
    Sure you'll hear that you gotta try these pedals because they are the best, and of coarse those who claim to have Superman like reflexes that can unclip just as fast as not, but in the end I think it's a matter of what you like and only you can decide that.
    Round and round we go

  6. #6
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    It is a 5 minute job to change pedals guys!
    I ride clipless for XC racing and training and platforms on some of our more technical trails, why limit yourself?
    I wouldn't advise those worst of both worlds clipess 1 side, platform / bearclaw the other - they are ok on commuters but not for trail riding

  7. #7
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    If you have a problem with nerve then take some time to practice. What worked for me was trackstand. I start with flats first then when I'm comfortable enough I switch to clipless. When you know you don't need to unclip when it gets super slow or brief standstill then you don't panic.

  8. #8
    Just Ride
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    I find that beyond the advantages in climbing and pedaling efficiency with clipless I seem to have better bike control overall now. Due, in no small part I'm sure, to the fact that when your clipped in your committed to an extent to whatever line you chose. Through a rock garden for example. Or a twisty. Especially drops...

    I have no regrets about going clipless and I really can't see myself going back to platforms again. Clipless is awesome, and the pros far out weigh the cons.
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  9. #9
    Afric Pepperbird
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    Yawn.

    This again?

    Clipless

  10. #10
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    yeah... this again. but I did order some new tires which I've been waiting for for a week and a half. free shipping from jenson is sloowww. hopefully they will help some since my slipping uphill is mostly due to roots or rocks the tires have trouble grabbing onto. should also help in the light mud also.

    I must say it is much nicer not having my feet bounce all over or getting pedals in the shins. the stupid falls because I cant get out fast enough are annoying though.

  11. #11
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    Sean, I think I know exactly what you are going through. I went to clipless a few months after getting back into riding. I was super excited with how much stronger I felt and how much more control I had over the bike... until I had a pretty serious fall. I found myself feeling timid after that, and I never carried any momentum into climbs or over obstacles. I went back to platforms but not the stock pedals, I upgraded to a quality platform and I couldn't be happier!!

    I put the clipless on my single speed rigid which never seems any really technical stuff.

    However, the biggest difference for me was riding with a much more experienced group of guys that showed me some technique tricks. Body position, scooping my feet, pulling my arms, picking my line...etc etc. Even with a well worn Spec Fast Track LX, I can climb almost anything now!!

    As with the other posters, pick whatever works and feels comfortable. I for one would rather have more fun and confidence on the trails and accept that clipless is not the best for me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean831 View Post
    Hey, I'm a fairly new rider (go my bike almost a year ago) and went clipless a couple of months ago. I must say when the trails are easy they are great compared to what I had before, but on some of the more technical parts I get a little nervous. Once or twice every other ride I fall because my tire spins in loose stuff or roots going up steeper hills which is annoying. One of these falls even resulted in a knee injury that is still bothering me a bit weeks later. Im just wondering if anyone else regrets their decision to go clipless.

    I just feel like maybe I jumped aboard too early and didnt give myself enough time to develop the skills and confidence. Anyone else feel this way or is this just one of the cons that everyone has to deal with?
    No regrets here, but it did take me 2-3 years before I went clipless. It did also take me 4-5 rides this to get back used to them after I took a 8 year break from biking. However now I can use them with ease. In fact I probably need to tighten them up a bit.

    As for falling over every one does when starting out. It happens.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  13. #13
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    I had a period of thinking I went clipless too early.

    I stuck some inexpensive but serviceable flats on my bike for a few weeks and worked on some handling skills that I was doing with brute force and the ability to lift my pedals, rather than finesse.

    I'm glad I did that, I think it's made me a lot smoother. I still went back to clipless.

    As someone above has said, it's a five minute job.
    As someone else (actually a few people) has said, there's no right or wrong answer here. Try 'em both, go with your favorite or the one that helps you develop a skill you're working on.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  14. #14
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    i regret not doing it sooner than I did.

  15. #15
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    I switched to clipless a number of years ago. As noted above learning how to track stand helps alot because it gives you a few moments of pause to release your foot.

    Clipless has some advantages as it helps you control your bike, your feet do not come off the pedals over rough stuff, and they are more efficient for pedaling.

    You could try practicing on some soft grass to get comfortable. Practice clipping in and out, if you fall on the grass big deal. Then move to turning in tight circles and practicing a track stand on the grass. Do this until to you can unclip without thinking about it.

    Good luck.

  16. #16
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    I wavered back and forth at the beginning but ultimately stuck with it. After you get used to it you'll fall less and less and gain more and more confidence.

    BONUS: If you're anything like me, you'll also get a lot less cuts and scrapes from pedals hitting your legs all the time.

  17. #17
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    Maybe you have them set too tight? Set the release a little looser so it's easier to get out of until you feel more confidence.

    I'm new to biking ... about 3 months now. 3-4 times a week. Been riding clipless for about 2 of those months. I must have them set pretty good for me as I have not fallen over from not being able to unclip.

    I've talked to many people that have never set their release strength of their clipless pedals. They just installed them on the bike and rode.

    For me, I backed the screws out and then counted how many turns so I could get them all the same. I also adjusted the angle of the clips on my shoes as I got knee pain with the shoes parellel with the bike.

    I kind of do miss being able to wear "regular" shoes. But for me the advantages of being clipped in outweigh it.

  18. #18
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    yeah, try loosening your clips so you can get out faster. Go to a grassy field and practice clipping in an out over and over. This is a safer way to learn it.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean831 View Post
    Hey, I'm a fairly new rider (go my bike almost a year ago) and went clipless a couple of months ago. I must say when the trails are easy they are great compared to what I had before, but on some of the more technical parts I get a little nervous. Once or twice every other ride I fall because my tire spins in loose stuff or roots going up steeper hills which is annoying. One of these falls even resulted in a knee injury that is still bothering me a bit weeks later. Im just wondering if anyone else regrets their decision to go clipless.

    I just feel like maybe I jumped aboard too early and didnt give myself enough time to develop the skills and confidence. Anyone else feel this way or is this just one of the cons that everyone has to deal with?
    Nope...with my clips I learned how to manage a slipping rear wheel.....ie I can know ride through it.

    Nope gotta learn sometime....loosen the tension to minimum.....check for interference with the shoe sole when releasing....

    Then practise the out and down motion to build muscle memory......you can do it every time you stop just use one leg while you are standing there and click in and out a few times.

  20. #20
    burnedthetoast
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    I'm gonna differ with most of the posters here and say go with flats until you build some skills - hopping onto/over obstacles, getting through rock gardens, climbing steep hills, etc. If you are using clipless and can't do those things, you're shorting yourself on the best trail experience and building those skills up. People often won't try sketchy stuff clipped in because of the fractional difference in bailout time - whereas they would try it and build their skills up w/ flats.

    For perspective: I've been riding almost exclusively clipless for ~11 years, and I'm now thinking of going back to flats because I'm not satisfied with my technical skills - I either don't try stuff or I rely too heavily on being clipped in rather than proper technique.

    Dirt Rag had a nice article about this in Issue #163, recommend checking it out if you can get your hands on a copy.
    Ride to Work, Work to Live, Live to Ride
    Blog: Daddy Rides Bikes

  21. #21
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    While I've had my share of "can't unclip in time and time over" falls. Which are hurt your pride more than anything. The worst injuries I've had were due to the pikes on the flats. The worst, in terms of pride and injury, was I was standing at a stop light, in flats, with one foot on the ground, I let out a huge sneeze and my right leg jerked back and into the spikes. You would have thought that I tried to back kick a porcupine.

  22. #22
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    I regret not having gone back to flats sooner. I've learned so much on flats that has really changed the way I can ride.

    I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with going back to flats for a while if you are feeling uncomfortable with your current clipless pedal setup. I probably wouldn't throw them out, just keep the clipless setup in a closet at home for when you might be ready to try again.

    Despite what everyone will tell you, there isn't any viable reason you need to ride clipless pedals. They're both valid choices so go with what makes you comfortable.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  23. #23
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    did flats to clipless and now back to flats on anything not pavement or gravel.

    id throw the flats back on for a while and build up some more skill and confidence and maybe try the clipless again in the spring.

    those of you hitting your shins need to try a good pedal/shoe combo. i honestly cant remember the last time my foot slipped. (well, while both tires were on the ground at least.)

  24. #24
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    What's with this "efficiency" thing with clipless pedals I always read thrown around? Is there some scientific study or proof that it's more "efficient" vs. flats? I'm just curious...and at what "efficiency" rate? 5mph+ over a decent flat?

  25. #25
    T.W.O.
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    Quote Originally Posted by adonis_abril View Post
    What's with this "efficiency" thing with clipless pedals I always read thrown around? Is there some scientific study or proof that it's more "efficient" vs. flats? I'm just curious...and at what "efficiency" rate? 5mph+ over a decent flat?
    There are some studies but it's done on a control enviornment. Many who refers to "efficiency" mostly refers to the push and pull motion on the crank but that's not accurate. Pulling up on the pedal is less efficient than a downward stroke.

    Serious racers and single speeders will benefit from clipless over flats but not avg riders, similar claim was said about xc is more efficient than xc full suspension bike, it may feel that way but it's not. If it makes you ride better or faster then go for it.

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