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  1. #1
    mtx
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    Best clipless pedals for beginners?

    For MTBing, 90% road and only 10% off road....

    What are the best clipless pedals for a first time user?

    Are they even necessary?


  2. #2
    AKA Dr.Nob
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    Pedals necessary? Yes
    Clipless pedals? No

    There is no best pedal for a beginner and there are no pedals designed for beginners. The best pedals are the ones that can have the release tension adjusted.

    My advice would be to get some cheapish shimanos.

    FWIW I wont ride without clipless pedals.
    Not that all teenagers are evil mind, just most of them.

  3. #3
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    As Gumby says. I'd personally advise you to get the best you can afford though. Beginners (in my opinion) should get adjustable tension pedals (there are a couple of makes that aren't) and the more you pay, the better they will work. The best are Shimano's XTR at about $150.

    Here is a clip-in pedal primer I wrote recently in response to my frustrations with the "Oh you're gonna fall for sure" crowd around here. Come back with any questions.
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  4. #4
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    My 2 cents

    I'll throw in my opinion...remember, it's an opinion. I was a commited flat pedal rider, really commited. Then last winter, I decided to give egg beaters a try. At first, on easy rides, I thought, "hey these aren't so bad." Then one day on another easy ride, I made a horrible mistake, I stayed clipped in and rested against a pole...when my ride buddy caught up to me and continued, I pushed off the pole and was in a big gear. Needless to say, the hard start, bad positioning of my front wheel and the ditch I fell into cost me a broken wrist. I began to hate the clipless idea. When the weather warmed, I borrowed a road bike, started riding a LOT on the road. I bought the bike, put eggs on it and found out that I always remembered to clip out at stops. It became such a habit that I no longer thought about it. On the MTB I was still uncomfortable...so much so that when I gave a try at my very first race, the night before, I put the flats back on...I finished dead last, couldn't stay on my pedals, kept losing my confidence on the trail, and realized that I hated flats...I put on the beaters and have never looked back. That same trail I lost the race on, now is just a sweet ride, and I have even learned that going over the bars one can unclip without a single thought about it.
    I learned the hard way that I didn't figure it all out before trying it, no practice, no understanding of what I had to do...all the stuff I shouldn't have done I did at first...now, I would never consider flats again.
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  5. #5
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    Hi,

    I have been riding a mtb for almost a year and was against clipless pedals. I just didn't see the need. Well I finally thought I should give them a try. Today was my first ride with clipless. I bought Shimano 520s for about $50. Read the reviews on the 520s they're great beginner pedals and then some. They also have the tension adjustment, so today being my first time I had them set almost to the lowest tension. I had no problem unclipping while riding. And what a difference climbing with the clipless. 100 times better then with platforms, I love them!

  6. #6
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    Shimano SPD M-520.

    The End.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    The best are Shimano's XTR at about $150.
    Don't waste your cash.

    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    Shimano SPD M-520.
    Yes.

  8. #8
    Newbie in japan
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    crank brother mallet Cs

    not tensino adjsutable

    but GOD they feel fantastic

  9. #9
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    Time Attack, are very good peddles. you can find them used on Ebay or MTBReview for around 40 bucks. Easy to clip in and out of, excellent mud clearing and bullet proof. Happy Trails.

  10. #10
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    As always, ask 3 MTBR users for opinions on pedals, and you will get at least 3 different suggestions.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.

  11. #11
    Double-metric mtb man
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    Personally, the Shimano 520's are what I would steer most beginners to. Not the greatest pedal for clearing mud or snow, but they have enough of a pedal to be used not clipped in and can be adjusted to a really light tension (really easy to get in an out of).
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  12. #12
    local trails rider
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    +1 Time ATAC, except they are not very good for pedaling without clipless shoes.

    Shimano 520 should be OK, if you want to keep the budget down.

  13. #13
    mtx
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    Do I need special shoes with them too then? Or can I use my normal sneakers...

    edit: Did some more research and it looks like you need cleated shoes as well? Do soccer cleats work? LOL.

  14. #14
    local trails rider
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    For clipless pedals you need shoes that have attachments for bolting on the cleats.

    Chainreaction cycles has some info:
    http://www.chainreactionbicycles.com/pedalfaq.htm

    edit:
    Instructions for Shimano shoes:
    http://cycle.shimano-eu.com/media/te...9830600367.pdf
    Last edited by perttime; 03-10-2008 at 01:34 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtx
    Do I need special shoes with them too then? Or can I use my normal sneakers...

    edit: Did some more research and it looks like you need cleated shoes as well? Do soccer cleats work? LOL.
    they're just stiff soled shoes with slotted holes on them, but they're bike specific.. the "cleats" come with your pedals. they're not really cleats like soccer or track cleats, its just a bracket that sits on the shoe.

    biking shoes rock. the stiff sole feels great to ride in, even with normal pedals.

  16. #16
    Better Late Than Never
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    I am pretty new to clipless and can offer comments on 3 types:

    The Rodeo "Dual" platform ones - They have a platform on one side and clips on the other. This is handy if you do a lot of mixed riding, but honestly, it's like having a half assed attempt at both things. Not real impressed.

    Crank Bros. Mallet C's. - I found these on sale in bright blue and they are pretty neat. Hard to clip in and out of (for me) but I was still getting used to the feel. The big plus is that the huge platform gives you something to move on if you can't connect right away. A decent beginner pedal in my opinion, though most folks graduate to more traditional offerings.

    Finally, the Rithcey V3 Mountain pedals - Your basic shimano style clipless pedal. Nothing fanc. However, they adjust easily and I found them to be BY FAR the easiest to use. Not sure if they are still around in the same sense as they once were (new model maybe) but affordable, under $50, easy to use, clean, and practice on. When I get back into riding more, these are the first ones on the new bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by balling
    crank brother mallet Cs

    not tensino adjsutable

    but GOD they feel fantastic
    I have the 2008 Mallet 1's and they are great. The Mallet C's can be had for $50. No tension adjustment but I haven't had an issue on getting in and out. And if you do have a problem clipping in, the platform allows you to pedal without clipping in.

  18. #18
    mtx
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomsmoto
    they're just stiff soled shoes with slotted holes on them, but they're bike specific.. the "cleats" come with your pedals. they're not really cleats like soccer or track cleats, its just a bracket that sits on the shoe.

    biking shoes rock. the stiff sole feels great to ride in, even with normal pedals.
    So I just buy the M520 and I'm all set?

    $45 sounds like a good deal for pedal and shoes...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtx
    So I just buy the M520 and I'm all set?

    $45 sounds like a good deal for pedal and shoes...
    For shoes, I hope you have a narrow foot or normal. Wide is a headache to find a shoe without busting the bank. Good luck.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtx
    So I just buy the M520 and I'm all set?

    $45 sounds like a good deal for pedal and shoes...
    cheap mtb shoes are about 50 bucks.. the good ones run into the hundreds! i got some clearanced shimanos for about 50, they're alright.. needed a new insole right off the bat though, the stock one was paper thin! i think the m520's by themselves are 45 bucks, add a pair of shoes ontop of that.

  21. #21
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    I've been biking for about 6 months, and picked up some of the crank bros acid pedals (they were cheap ~$50). I liked the fact that it had a platform, so if I wanted to just ride around with my girlfriend in sneakers, I could. They have the eggbeater on the inside and after a little adjusting to get the cleat in the right spot, they work like a champ. I've been really pleased by ease of use. They aren't hard to clip out of and clipping in is just finding the right spot and practice (like any other pedal I suppose). I don't have any expierence with any others. This is just my new rider expierience.

  22. #22
    Rod
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    Like the others said you need a pedal and bike specific shoes. I doubt 45 dollars will cover it, but if you can more power to ya. I learned with Crank Bros smarty and they work great, but I have only used one other Time pedal. Both pedals work fine and I personally believe almost any pedal will work as long as you're smart and don't ride a trail that's too hard for you your first few times out. Ride some fire roads or something
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  23. #23
    Bike to the Bone...
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__
    Shimano SPD M-520.

    The End.
    Very good value. Work well in mud and dry, not that expensive, not that heavy, pretty good!

  24. #24
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    Ok, on a related subject, I have decided to go with clip in pedals and am wondering about the shoes. I dont know anything about the shoes...do they come with cleats or are the cleats a separate purchase....Any suggestions on shoes you can clip in but wear around for short periods without walking on the cleats?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    As Gumby says. I'd personally advise you to get the best you can afford though. Beginners (in my opinion) should get adjustable tension pedals (there are a couple of makes that aren't) and the more you pay, the better they will work. The best are Shimano's XTR at about $150.

    Here is a clip-in pedal primer I wrote recently in response to my frustrations with the "Oh you're gonna fall for sure" crowd around here. Come back with any questions.
    I've been using SPD for almost 15 years, but your primer was a great read. THANKS!

  26. #26
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    Personally I would recommend the Shimano M540 pedals. Google for reviews, the adjustable cleat tension is a great feature for beginners.

  27. #27
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    Wow , This post is three years old mmacken.
    I doubt he is still looking for pedals.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero260
    Wow , This post is three years old mmacken.
    I doubt he is still looking for pedals.
    Maybe he's counting on the OP being very indecisive?
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  29. #29
    Click Click Click
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    The post is old, but I had the same questions, and this helped me greatly!

  30. #30
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    I would say Shimano SPD pedals, and multi-release cleats, and you can change the cleats out at a later time once you are adjusted to the pedals.

  31. #31
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    My first pair of clipless pedals are the Time X-Roc S. I have not had any trouble unclipping and have only fallen once in about 250km so I am pretty happy with them so far. They are on the expensive side however.

  32. #32
    Just Ride
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    This:
    Sette Element Shoes w/ Time Atac Alium Pedals at Price Point

    well that's what I want for christmas anyway. Both the shoe and pedals have great reviews. I've never ridden clipless, but based solely on the reviews, this deal doesn't seem bad at all! Only $100 at that!!!
    SS ==> Nut up or Shut up!

  33. #33
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    i got a pair of 520s for $33 @ amazon in july. my shoes are a pair of $40 exustar shoes from bike nashbar. cheapest clipless setup i could find.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkj__ View Post
    Shimano SPD M-520.

    The End.
    This. Inexpensive, adjustable, tough as nails.
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  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by balling View Post
    crank brother mallet Cs

    not tensino adjsutable

    but GOD they feel fantastic
    Mallets are so much harder to get in and out of than egg beaters.......

  36. #36
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    While you won't necessarily go wrong with any of the cleats mentioned, I agree that the Shimano M540 are the way to go. Besides good quality at a good price, they offer a big advantage especially valuable to a beginner - adjustability. The tension screw allows you to change how easy the release is - that is, how much force and technique is required to pull your foot out of the pedal. To make release really easy and with zero learning curve, get the SH-56 "multi-release" clips. The are basically rounded off versions of the standard SH-51 clips that come with the pedals.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gasp4Air View Post
    To make release really easy and with zero learning curve, get the SH-56 "multi-release" clips.
    I couldn't disagree more strongly. While "multi-release" cleats allow beginners the ability to pull out of the pedals in any direction in an "oh $hit" moment they have two large drawbacks -

    1. So that the shoe stays in the pedal when the foot is subjected to normal pedaling forces and trail forces, the tension adjustment has to be set high to prevent unwanted (and potentially dangerous) releases. This hinders the correct release direction.
    2. The ability to pull out at any angle does nothing to teach the Newb what they really need to do to commit the correct action to memory.

    The best tool for pedal newbs is a decent quality adjustable tension pedal with the tension set really low.
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  38. #38
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    The 520s are dual-sided as well so you don't have to worry which way the pedal is positioned. Make sure you tension equally on both sides of the pedal.

  39. #39
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gasp4Air
    To make release really easy and with zero learning curve, get the SH-56 "multi-release" clips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T. View Post
    I couldn't disagree more strongly. While "multi-release" cleats allow beginners the ability to pull out of the pedals in any direction in an "oh $hit" moment they have two large drawbacks -

    1. So that the shoe stays in the pedal when the foot is subjected to normal pedaling forces and trail forces, the tension adjustment has to be set high to prevent unwanted (and potentially dangerous) releases. This hinders the correct release direction.
    2. The ability to pull out at any angle does nothing to teach the Newb what they really need to do to commit the correct action to memory.

    The best tool for pedal newbs is a decent quality adjustable tension pedal with the tension set really low.
    I offer that suggestion for a beginner who may be concerned with being able to unclip and might not otherwise try clipless. I should have added, as I usually do when suggesting the SH-56 cleats, that the new user can gradually increase the tension as their confidence grows, and ultimately move onto the SH-51 cleats, again starting at low tension. This will not be necessary for every rider, but is a good option for some, especially those for whom even the minimum SH-51 tension feels too daunting.

    Also, this rider states they ride 90% road with 10% off road; strong clip tension isn't likely to be an issue.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  40. #40
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    I started using clipless recently and i love them i noticed imediatly the diference in pedaling so much easier in my opinion i have had mishaps but never while on the trail riding only when i decide to stop and forget to unclip wich usually results in a big laugh from all my buddies who have been using clipless pedals for a while but it wasnt hard to learn at all and i have time atacks aliums and use some axo shoes.

  41. #41
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    for beginners? I suggest the Speedplay Frogs. Why? Because you can unclip by twisting out like normal or by backing out your foot from the pedal. Not something you can do with any other pedals. It's a good transition from cages to clipless or from flats to clipless. We use these as an alternative to anyone who has tried SPDs or Crank Brothers and can't get use to them.
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  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardwarz View Post
    for beginners? I suggest the Speedplay Frogs. Why? Because you can unclip by twisting out like normal or by backing out your foot from the pedal. Not something you can do with any other pedals. It's a good transition from cages to clipless or from flats to clipless. We use these as an alternative to anyone who has tried SPDs or Crank Brothers and can't get use to them.
    Frogs are awesome, but they are ridiculously expensive. Unless you are a wealthy beginner, it's probably not a good idea to drop $100+ on some pedals. On top of that, they're on the rare side, so if you wanted to try out a buddy's bike, chances are your shoes wouldn't work.

    entry-level SPDs or Crank Brothers Candy pedals are a beginner's best bet, IMO.

  43. #43
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    Frogs have great float if your have knee trouble though.

  44. #44
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    I just bought my first clipless pedals the other day. I got the Shimano M540s for $50 with shipping on Ebay. There are a couple left. For the price of the 520s I could resist the upgrade. I'd post the link but I'm the new guy and I don't know is it's allowed.

  45. #45
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    you can post links. ive posted a good number of ebay, amazon and other links.

  46. #46
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    I grabbed a pair of Shimano M530's for $40 shipped on fleabay and they seem like a solid pedal, although I am a noob and have no clue what I am talking about. The are adjustable and also have a large platform on them
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  47. #47
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    Thanks for the info!

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