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  1. #1
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    Difficulty with clipless pedals-I need help!

    About 8 years ago I tried switching from straps to clipless pedals. I tried loosening the tension, but still had difficulty getting out in a hurry, like a short, steep technical climb through rock when your tire hits something and stops!

    After falling about 20 times in 3 days, almost breaking my wrist and dislocating my left shoulder (I seem to prefer to fall to my left) I gave up and went back to straps.

    I haven't ridden much in the past 6 years and I'm getting a new bike (probably a Tallboy, Jet9, Rip9 or Pivot429-I need to demo a couple more before deciding) and I want to give clipless pedals a try again.

    I'm 6'4" 250 lbs and do a lot of core and balance workouts at the gym so for my size, I'm pretty coordinated. I'm a surgeon and need my hands or I'm screwed, so breaking an arm or dislocating a shoulder is not worth it to me, but I prefer not to be the only one with toe straps on the trail (I seem to be able to pull straight back out of these VERY quickly).

    Any advice on pedal options or what to try are greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Ride Responsibly
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    Try a pedal like the Time Atak or the Crank Bros Egg Beater Candy. No tension screw to worry about. Practice on a lawn. Think "Heel". Always go heel first to the ground.
    Do not put out your hand to catch you, just land on your side.

  3. #3
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    I'm 6'4", 260 pounds. I like Eggbeaters. Super simple and I step in and out like flats. After the initial toe clip to clipless hardship period, they've become effortless.
    I like turtles

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by LWright
    Do not put out your hand to catch you, just land on your side.
    QFT!!!! One of my riding buddies sprained his wrist and tore his ACL after losing his balance on a seesaw and trying to catch himself, and he's not even a clyde. If you're going down, just take the hit on the side.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496
    I'm 6'4", 260 pounds. I like Eggbeaters. Super simple and I step in and out like flats. After the initial toe clip to clipless hardship period, they've become effortless.
    Same size plus a little and I love my CB Candy 2's
    MxV=Clydesdale

  6. #6
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    Regardless of which type you get, take the bike out into a grassy area and practice getting in and out. I would do this repeatedly for a week before hitting any trail, and then only hit easy trails until muscle memory starts to take over. If there is a tension screw, set it as loose as it will go. I've been using clipless long enough now that if I ride a bike with platforms, getting off nears a bloody disaster... think of a cyclocross exit except after twisting the foot off the pedal, you slip off and the pedal tears up your calves...

    One other thing. I could be very wrong on this, so a 2nd opinion is warranted, but I would think that a pedal with low float would be preferred over one with a lot of float for a beginner... less twist to exit the pedal...

  7. #7
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    Even though I only use Crank Bros on my bikes, I would still recommend something with tension adjust that pops loose at 8-10 degrees rather than a CB. My wife learned on some $25 Ritcheys (still has them on her bike now), and being able to adjust the tension out to "barely clipped in" set her mind at ease.

    The good news is that it eventual does become second nature.

  8. #8
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    Since you haven't ridden much lately, get a decent pair of platform pedals with some grippy shoes like 5-10's and that will help you gain the confidence.

  9. #9
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    You need to repeat it and rehearse it and repeat it again. It has to become muscle memory (motor learning), an action that you can repeat with no conscious thought, like tying your shoes, or riding your bike, or touch typing on your keyboard. Building muscle memory can take hundreds and hundreds of repetitions.

  10. #10
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    I think the old pedals I had were shimano XTs and shimano shoes. I thought that I had the tension set as light as I could but it was a bear to twist out.

    It sounds like the Time and Crank Brothers take a different movement to disengage than the shimanos.

  11. #11
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    I think the old pedals I had were shimano XTs and shimano shoes. I thought that I had the tension set as light as I could but it was a bear to twist out.

    It sounds like the Time and Crank Brothers take a different movement to disengage than the shimanos.
    It's not a "different" movement so much as it's MORE movement needed to disengage. CB disengages at about 15 degrees. The other problem that you might experience is the feeling of disconnectedness you get with so much float. I can bounce around on my CBs and still be engaged. It's just difficult to know when you are disengaged.

    Look, go back to your Shimano pedals and check that you have the screws as far out as they will go without actually falling out of the pedal. Maybe oil the springs a little. Also check to make sure they're clean, no debris floating around that could limit their action. Check your cleats for the same. A little caked on mud could be disastrous.

    There is one other option, and that is a platform pedal with clips. You could unclip as you slow down while retaining some grip on the pedals.

  12. #12
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    Practice, but get away from toe clips! I see more toe clip accidents than clipless. It takes a little practice in learning to 'lead with your heel' when you want to unclip, but that becomes second nature very quickly. Height, weight etc have nothing to do with any of it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevermiss
    About 8 years ago I tried switching from straps to clipless pedals. I tried loosening the tension, but still had difficulty getting out in a hurry, like a short, steep technical climb through rock when your tire hits something and stops!

    After falling about 20 times in 3 days, almost breaking my wrist and dislocating my left shoulder (I seem to prefer to fall to my left) I gave up and went back to straps.

    I haven't ridden much in the past 6 years and I'm getting a new bike (probably a Tallboy, Jet9, Rip9 or Pivot429-I need to demo a couple more before deciding) and I want to give clipless pedals a try again.

    I'm 6'4" 250 lbs and do a lot of core and balance workouts at the gym so for my size, I'm pretty coordinated. I'm a surgeon and need my hands or I'm screwed, so breaking an arm or dislocating a shoulder is not worth it to me, but I prefer not to be the only one with toe straps on the trail (I seem to be able to pull straight back out of these VERY quickly).

    Any advice on pedal options or what to try are greatly appreciated.
    Three
    suggestions:
    1) Practice a lot. As has been said, muscle memory must be automatic. When you no longer have to think about unclipping when you stop you've got the muscle memory nailed.
    2) Don't go on anything super steep until you've got muscle memory and technique nailed! OR Unclip and walk the really tough sections. It's really hard to build confidence if you crash ad hurt yourself.
    3) Add more cardio to your workouts! More speed climbing will make it easier to roll rocks and keep them from stopping you (maybe lower tire pressure also...)!

  14. #14
    WI. Big Boy MTBer
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    Practice.. or get these! I have used SPDs for years.. but I went back to these.
    Swear by them!

    http://powergrips.mrpbike.com/index.php?section=index
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  15. #15
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    I started with straps many, *mumble* years ago... then went to Shimanos for a bit but my knees did not like them. I've been riding various forms of Times ATAC for over 10 years for all my bikes.
    As many prior posts said, practice. Putz around with the bike at home popping on and off the pedal, adjust the tension until you're comfortable. Make the process instinctive. I can come off either pedal almost as fast as a platform. The only time its screwed up is due to mechanical problems.... which usually point back to me for not swapping the cleats when they wore out or just simple pedal maintenance... which does need to happen.
    You mention pulling straight out quickly from straps... that won't work with clipless so your muscles have to relearn the new and "unlearn" old motions when you bail.
    That... will take some time.
    Don't harsh my mello

  16. #16
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    Speedplay Frogs

    Had a pair for years. They are full float. Meaning you are never clipped in. For me, disengaging the pedal is easier than Shimano style cleat systems. Never tried the CBs. They look interesting. With the Speedplays, you are always going to disengage w an outward heelflick and lift.

  17. #17
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    I ride SPDs on my commuter, so very comfortable with them and have gotten habitual at dealing with getting out in a hurry (e.g. car pulling out in front of me: emergency stop!).

    However, I have never been able to get on with them offroad, in specifically the situations the OP mentions: going uphill over tough terrain, slowly. Just too many times when a sudden stop pitched me over to one side and just not able to get foot out fast enough. The last time resulted in a good tumble off the trail down the side of a hill, at that was the last straw!

    Now use Superstar Nano flats with 5.10 Impacts or Shimano AM40s (3 years now), and I slightly miss the connection over really rough stuff downhill, and pedaling efficiency is a little reduced, but overall I love them. Also much easier to get pedaling again in heavy mud or tech uphills when you need to restart.

    Your shins may look like hamburgers during the summer though!

    HTH,
    Kev

  18. #18
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    Get flats, the high quality flats with good shoes make pedaling almost identical to clipless pedals and you don't have to worry about not getting out of your pedals. I made the switch full time last year and don't see me ever riding flats on anything but my singlespeed (Some hills I actually do need to pull up on my pedals, but that's not proper pedaling as far as I'm concerned).
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  19. #19
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    Go with XTR or XT pedals and the multi release cleats. I too tried clipless years ago and just never got comfortable with them. I too have been riding with toe clips. I'm 57 years old and decided to give clipless another try - I need all the advantage and efficiency I can get.
    I got the XTR trail pedals and the multi release cleats - have them set loose. They are as simple as my toe clips - no problem getting out. My previous pedals were obviously junk, the new ones work great! After about 10 rides I have finally gotten into the new rythm of up and down stroke. I'm climbing hills with amazing power now! The added advantage is awesome.
    .

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by lherndon
    Go with XTR or XT pedals and the multi release cleats. I too tried clipless years ago and just never got comfortable with them. I too have been riding with toe clips. I'm 57 years old and decided to give clipless another try - I need all the advantage and efficiency I can get.
    I got the XTR trail pedals and the multi release cleats - have them set loose. They are as simple as my toe clips - no problem getting out. My previous pedals were obviously junk, the new ones work great! After about 10 rides I have finally gotten into the new rythm of up and down stroke. I'm climbing hills with amazing power now! The added advantage is awesome.
    .
    After speaking with a few other people, I have decided to get the XTR pedals and Shimano shoes with the SH-56 cleats.

    I'm still trying to decide which bike to get, but the one that I have liked the most so far is the Tall Boy.

  21. #21
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    I started with the CB Candy pedals and hated them. Fell constantly. The release angle felt closer to 50 than 15 degrees. Switched to the Forte Carve from Performance Bike. In the 4 months since, I haven't been able to clip out just once.

  22. #22
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    I love my XTR's, for me they are the perfect balance of being able to use your feet to toss the bike around as well as when things go awry you can pop out without delay. My last pedals did not perform so well and I know your pain. Sucks to just fall straight over at 0 mph cause yer clips are stuck.

    Did you go trail or race model?

  23. #23
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    I haven't purchased them yet, but I'll likely get the trail model.

  24. #24
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    I recently made the switch from old school toe clips to spd clipless and it hasn’t been near as bad as I thought it would be. I have the PD-M520 pedals and the cleats that came with (SH51 I think). With the tension all the way loose I find a panic yank in almost any direction gets me free. No “cant get out” falls yet, but the toe clips have takin me down a few times so I sure it will happen at some point. The mountains here are still packed with snow so I haven’t done a lot of tech stuff on them , hoping to be well practiced before the melt.

    Gary
    Kool-Aid, Kool-Aid, Taste Great... Oh Yeaahh!

  25. #25
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    Once you get the hang of it you will never think of it again. Quit trying to lift your foot out. Just a simple foot twist, Toe In, Heel Out. Heel in or stomp through would not work for obvious reasons. Practice it at speed so you will not tip over on an easy straight away, until it becomes second nature. Then start releasing the left foot then braking to stop.

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