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  1. #1
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    Contemplating going clipless

    I noticed yesterday that my foot position on my pedals is making a HUGE difference in my riding. When I ride normally and my foot position feels right to me I will sometimes tap my heels against the rear triangle. So I'm riding a little "Pigeon Toed" or with my toes angled out. So I noticed when I forced my toes to feel like they were pointing in but I looked at my feet on the pedals they were straight. I also noticed that when I did this that I had significantly more power and stamina especially when climbing.

    So I've thought about going clipless to force my feet into the right position for riding. Does this sound like a good idea or do I just practice and ride more and slap myself when I find myself not riding with my toes pointed in?

    And if you think I should go clipless, for a 260 LB Clyde what clipless pedals do you suggest? Which is why I'm posting in the Clyde section.
    Some days I want to kick my own A$$ twice.

  2. #2
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    I went clipless about 6 months ago and it made a big difference in my XC riding (that's pretty much all I do). With clipless you get the push-pull effect giving you more power and a more consistent cadence, especially when climbing a hill. My legs tire less and I feel more confidence on the bike. All that said, you will fall at some point while clipped into the bike and it's a pretty helpless feeling. Overall, I think the pros of going clipless outweigh the cons and I would say give it a try. Shimano makes some good entry level clipless pedals (M-520 model) that are tension adjustable and dual-sided. I ride these and they've been really good pedals and should accommodate your weight.

  3. #3
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    I've had good luck with eggbeaters. They're light, simple, and offer a lot of clearance for trail rides. And I was up to 240 for awhile. Anyway, I just bought the cheapest model they make. No platforms. No problems.

  4. #4
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    Shimano M520's or M530's (if you want some more platform on the pedal).

    Falling while clipped in is more likely while learning but not a certainty, IMO.

    When learning to ride them, concentrate on the actions required to the point of exaggerated movements. Before you know it muscle memory will kick in and you won't have to think about it even in sketchy situations.

    Be careful of setting your tension too loose. A careless movement whilst learning will trigger a release when you don't want one.

  5. #5
    Making fat cool since '71
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    They are worth a try. I ride clipped in for 92% of the stuff I do. Only for DJ or the "BIG" freeride days do I go with flats...I just feel more secure. The first month or so can be pretty humiliating once in a while, like skiing or 'boarding, but once it "clicks", you're golden.

    As for brands, I ride Shimano. Several different models and they all work fine. I rode Crank Bros for a couple years two years ago and broke: four spindles, two springs, three "wings" and had the famous outboard bearings break three times. All that in two years. I was about 270 then. All models were tried.
    I went back to Shimano two years ago and have broken ZERO parts on any Shimano pedal in that time. I did break one spindle five or six years ago before switching to Crank Bros.

    Two good buds ride the Time ATAC pedals and rave about them, both clydes.

    Brock...
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  6. #6
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    Consider your choice of shoes too. So many people focus on just the pedals and almost "cheap out" on the shoes. Your clipless shoe choice will make just as much difference. I was riding with a pair of Specialized Mountain Comp shoes (OLD pair) and I thought they were "nice." I picked up a pair of slightly used Shimano SH-M161 shoes and these make my Comps look like crap.

    Getting a shoe with a stiffer sole (and better fit for you) will allow you to be more "careless" with pedal selection. By this I mean, getting a cheap shoe with a no platform pedal like egg beaters could make you hate clipless because your feet will hurt and you won't want to ride with them. If you don't want to spend $$$ on the shoes, buy pedals that have more contact area so your pedal pressure is more evenly distributed thus causing less pressure points.

    FWIW, I ride with Time ATACs that are at least 12 years old. The pedals are not adjustable. They have good contact area without being a true platform. If I were shopping for a clipless system now (knowing what I know after riding with the Shimano shoes), I would point you towards spending more on shoes and less on pedals. If you have $150 for this upgrade, spend the $100 on shoes and $50 on pedals. That will get a better pair of shoes and still have a good set of pedals. I know you can find the Time ATAC Aliums online for just over $50 and Shimano M540 can also be had for just over $50. You will never regret getting a better pair of shoes to start with though!
    Fat guys need bikes too.

  7. #7
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    I really like the idea of going clipless, but I cant see to find any larger shoes. I wear about a 14 ~ 15 M street shoe depending on brand. Anybody know good brands or styles in these sizes for basic XC riding?

    Can someone point this Clyde towards larger horse shoes?

    Eric671

  8. #8
    Making fat cool since '71
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    Sidi goes up to 52 in their Dominator shoes, wide in a lot of sizes as well. They are ridiculously pricey, but I have a pair and they are ridiculously comfortable and durable. Lake makes up to 50 in the MX160. I have a pair and while they are super comfortable, decently stiff sole and have great traction for walking...they have not been very durable (spent $30 bucks at a cobbler fixing them) they are pretty inexpensive (under $100 I think). They make wides also.

    Brock...
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  9. #9
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    The heaviest I've gotten was between 230-240lbs, and I'm 6'2".

    I started out with shimano when I went clipless, then made the move to CB's Candy which I like a lot.

    Finding shoes in your size is going to be a task and expensive... but you already know that if you've been wearing shoes anyway

    I suggest firm street shoes and duct tape.. have your riding buddy tape your feet to the pedals, and also carry a box cutter so he/she can just ride up and slice the tape loose should you need to take your feet off a pedal.
    WAY cheaper solution for both pedals and shoes, IMHO!

    And.. the added bonus that you will HAVE TO get used to riding 'clipped' in with the tape! No cheating!

    I have been wearing Specialized Tahoes with success and my feet run 13-14 EE.
    I tried some Bontragers and Pearl Izumis also, but the Tahoes seemed to fit better for me.

    I've been looking at Lake ($$$$$$$), and Sidi.
    Until I can come up with the expendable dough... I'll ride my Tahoes into the ground.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apexpredator65 View Post
    So I've thought about going clipless to force my feet into the right position for riding.

    Going Clipless will not help you keep your feet straight. It only keeps your foot attached to the pedal and allows you to use more of your leg muscles.

    Yes, you should go Clipless...it'll make you a better rider. I'm partial to Candy's...
    Last edited by zenkem; 11-29-2011 at 02:20 AM.

  11. #11
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    as mentioned clipless won't force you to keep your feet stright... but you also might natrually be a bit "toed out"...

    i've been riding clipless sence '96 or 97... when I got back into riding after a few years I spent a little time with flats only because I needed new shoes... my how I missed clipless...

    as mentioned shoes are very important... good shoes make a huge difference... I had been in some old diadoras that where to narrow for me but because of price thats what I ended up ($60-80 back in the 90's) my last par of shoes could have been a smidge wider but I love em high end specilized carbon soul with BOA tension system (a twisty knob lacing system)... can tighten or losen the shoes while on the bike and super stiff = good

    i've been out of riding for the last year or so (had to sell my bikes) but looking to get one soon and looking at pedals i'm debating on what way to go this time around myself... in the past I rode LX level shimano SPD and nashbar SPD (same as ritcheys from the late 90's made by wellgo if I had to guess)... I loved the nashbars... but could hop onto my road bike with shimmy SPDS

    i'm considering a set of TIME ATAC... always read good things (especially if you've got knee problems)

    the only pedal I won't even try is the eggbeaters and their brothers... i've seen more then one snap under a much smaller clyd (190-200ish lb riders)... one I was right behind him and SNAP... they also have a smaller surface area then the other pedals

    whatever you do... make sure to go with steel or chromo spindle less is made for weight wennie skinny boys and will bend or snap...
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  12. #12
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    I say give it a shot! I'm 330 and ride Shimano 520's with Sidi Dominators, which are both working well for me so far!

    And you will fall; it usually happens to me when I'm going slow and lose my balance, so hopefully you'll have similar or more favorable results and it won't hurt too much! Good luck!

  13. #13
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    I have been clipless for years and I prefer Time atac peddles.

  14. #14
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    +1 for Crank Brothers. Two mountain bikes with Candy 3's and my road bike has eggbeater 1's.
    The platform part of the Candy's vs. none with the eggbeaters really doesn't matter if your shoe is stiff enough.

    Like was said above shoe choice is important. The stiffer the better.
    I have both Sidi Dominators and Shimano M161's. They are both plenty stiff, but I prefer the Shimanos.
    They have a rubber sole and come with cleats both of which make them better when you have to get off of your bike. I also feel the construction of the Shimanos is better for off road. I use my Sidis on my road bike and they are great.

    Also, the only time I've fallen due to clipless pedals was when I didn't check to make sure my cleats were tight in my shoe. I've never had a problem getting in and out of my pedals so, in my experience it is not a given that you will fall due to learning to ride clipless.

  15. #15
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    Clipless is no brainer. I ahve been riding so long with them that I feel really weird without them.

    Agree that good shoes are critical - my current ones are Sidi Eagle 5, best shoes I ever had.

  16. #16
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    Yup, they will make you a better rider. I have a hard time riding with flats anymore. As far as pedals go I love the Crank brothers egg beaters. Easy to get in and out of and don't pack with mud. I am heavy 220-240 and have broken a few new xtr chains but never an egg beater pedal. Rebuilt a few bearings in them though.

  17. #17
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    This all good news for me as well... I ordered a set of Time ATAC ROC's earlier this week. I don't have shoes yet though. As soon as the pedals get in I'll run out and grab some shoes. I went riding today and on the climbs all I could think was "I sure wish those pedals were in already...." The climbs really kicked my arse today, especially with the cold I decided to ride with

  18. #18
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    Shimano M520's for the peddles and SH-MT42 for the shoes. For a grand total of just under $100. A great way to get started with a low investment. I've been riding clipped in for a little over a year, and I still fall from time to time, but mainly because of laziness. Otherwise, like someone else said, it becomes second nature to unclip just before you fall. You will fall a few times in the beginning...it just goes with the territory, if you know what I mean.

  19. #19
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    it's funny that I rode for over 10 years before I fell because of my clipless... and that was more because I was riding with friends and slowly coming up to a stop and waited to long to get my foot out... want to say it was within 10 min of my buddy falling for the same reason (slow roll up to a stop to regroup with the group)... even after 5 or so years of not riding it took a single ride around the block to get used to it (took a little longer for no effort clip ins but uncliping is not even something to think about)

    on a side note... I did fall back in the day using toe clips (hey it was the 90's) just because I couldn't get out (one way out... straight out back)
    - Surly Disc trucker
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  20. #20
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    Do it.

    After I installed my latest set of pedals I had a similar problem with foot position. My heel was rubbing my crank arm. I tried riding pigeon toed like you mentioned but it felt very unnatural. after a few rides I just move the cleat as far toward the instep of the shoe as it would go (pushing my foot away from the crank). It works just fine now and my feet feel quite comfortable where they are.
    I've used Ritchey, Shimano 520's, Shimano XTR, and am riding sinz right now. I've never had any of them fail me and I've weighed as much as 320.
    Get a nice pair of shoes that you can actually try on (vs buying off the 'net) even if it means you have to downgrade your pedals a little.
    When you start out, adjust the tension in the pedal to as soft as it will get so that you can get out of them easily. I don't know anyone personally who made the change without falling over while standing still at least once. I'm not saying everyone does, just be ready.

  21. #21
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    Lots of great information here...

    I have the Shimano M520 pedals and Sidi (Dominator?) shoes. You want a shoe with an exceptionally stiff sole. They make walking your bike a bit more of a pain.

    You'll be more efficient clipless. It is much easier to spin instead of mash. That said, spinning takes concerted effort and practice for it to be second nature...

  22. #22
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    I've spent years on Flats, Toe Clips & Clipless...

    I gotta say, even with all the combinations I've tried, I feel MOST comfortable on wide, grippy flats with 5.10 shoes. Probably from all the BMX riding in my youth.

    You should give clipless a whirl though. I prefer clipless pedals with cages myself. I've got Time ATAC Zs on the Klein and I can't say a bad thing about em!
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SasquatchSC View Post
    I prefer clipless pedals with cages myself. I've got Time ATAC Zs on the Klein and I can't say a bad thing about em!
    by cage you meant the half/half type?
    They have a larger profile though, you'll be kicking into things more often, and your foot will pop out if the hit was at the right angle.
    I've been using normal ATAC for 13 years, still hitting the bottom and popping out, all the time. Small price to pay, too old for those platform murderers.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by brassnautilus View Post
    by cage you meant the half/half type?
    They have a larger profile though, you'll be kicking into things more often, and your foot will pop out if the hit was at the right angle.
    I've been using normal ATAC for 13 years, still hitting the bottom and popping out, all the time. Small price to pay, too old for those platform murderers.
    I don't take it as a given that the platform-style clipless pedals will lead to more pedal strikes, at all. I've got (all Shimano) regular spd's on two and the DX spd's on two and have noticed NO increase/decrease in pedal strikes. Big squish bike/DH/FR stuff and XC SS bikes...moderate BB, low BB...crank length and BB height will dictate pedal strikes almost as much as riding style/habits.

    Brock...
    Are the wheels roundish? Ride it.

    Disciples Of Dirt, come ride with us.

  25. #25
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    I've decided to stick with platforms for the time being only due to my noobness and crashing sucks. I'll consider going clipless after I get my technique down a little better later. Thanks for all the suggestions though.
    Some days I want to kick my own A$$ twice.

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