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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    first time clipped pedal buyer

    I am considering getting my first set of clipped pedals/cycling shoes and am totally new.
    Ive done some mild google searching on them but still dont feel like i quite get it. Ive never used them and dont know anyone personally that does, but i want to try them out.

    This will be for a specialized pitch, so XC/AM riding.

    Ive come across great reviews for Shimano M520 pedals. They seem priced reasonably enough, about 40$ Any thoughts on these or alternatives is appreciated.
    Also how the heck do i ensure i get the right shoes for the pedals. Different pedals clearly have different clip methods. Any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Elitest thrill junkie
    Reputation: Jayem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Those are good pedals, but good beginner pedals are usually the Shimano 647s, Shimano 545s/434s, Time Atacs or Crank Brother's Mallets. These are all "Downhill" pedals, but the large platform makes clipping in much easier in situations, which sometimes tends to be the hardest part about clipless. Clipping out is something that becomes natural and you practice this on a nice soft field prior to riding hard trails. The large platform gives stability and overall they are good beginner clipless pedals. The 520s and 540s have a good design that clears mud much better than older shimano pedals, but not necessarily the "best" for learning IMO. Still, there's no huge detriment either. I'd stay away from the shimano "trail" type clipless, that fixed small platform (as opposed to the 647/545/434 that is allowed to "float") makes clipping in more difficult in my experience.

    The crank brothers and time pedals sometimes have "smoother" action that requires less force, but the force is not adjustable on the crank brothers as it is on shimano pedals. Like a ski-binding, as you improve it's often good to gradually increase the tension. Shimano also makes "multi-release" cleats that are good for beginners, they release in more directions than just "sideways-ish". The crank brothers and time pedals always release sideways-ish and you have to turn your heel a certain amount before they'll release. This means you can't quite "yank" your foot out in as many directions as the shimano pedals, yet these have more "float" and allow your foot to move a little in the pedal and can be better on the knees while riding.

    Any of these would be a good choice, but realize there ARE differences in how they work which could influence how well they work for you.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mizzaboom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    The pedals you buy will come with the correct cleats which you then attach to your shoes. I prefer the Time style cleats. As the poster above said -- they have a bit smoother release action and have always seemed easier to get out of than the Shimano SBD system for me personally anyway. I use the Time Alium's. Been riding on them for 3 seasons and they are still running great.

    As far as shoes find something with good support that is comfortable. After you buy them practice for a few days off trail getting in and out of the pedals in various situations. It takes some time to get used to but eventually it will become second nature. Good luck.
    All good things in all good time

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Shimano M520's are incredible pedals for the money. Same mechnicals as XT and XTR pedals just different (read heavier) materials and a fraction of the cost...


    Danny B

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    I bought the Shimano M520s as my first clip in pedals and I generally like them. I got two sets, one for my road bike and one for my 29er. They are great for riding, easy to get into. I just haven't quite got used to getting out of them super quickly in an emergency, Fortunately that doesn't happen very often

    The pedals come with side only release cleats, you can get multi-release cleats which I have now (Shimano SH56) and would recommend as they do seem easier to get out of. They are $15.51 on Amazon.

    I have also released the tension in the pedals down quite a bit and that seems to help a lot.

    For shoes, I noticed most say which bolt pattern they work with. SPD seems to be the most common for MTB shoes. I bought Shimano M077 as they were on sale at Jenson and I'm happy with them so far.


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