To clip or Not to Clip?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    To clip or Not to Clip?

    I've been ripping around with clip pedals but no clip shoes for a year now. I'm thinking of finally getting some shoes but then again, why would I?
    Will I be a better rider if I'm clipped in?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Also, someone please explain the difference between clip and clipless in terms of performance.


  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Yes, you will be better clipped in for general trail riding. Strange at first but you will soon learn it's merits as it's more efficient. If your into gravity perhaps not.

  4. #4
    local trails rider
    Reputation: perttime's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    What pedals do you have now?

    The best thing about clipless for me has been that my stiff hardtail bike does not bounce me off the pedals when going over rough sections at speed. The possibilities for additional power are nice too.

  5. #5
    Reputation: NoahColorado's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    To clip or not to clip....

    My personal preference is with clipless pedals. SPDs to be exact. I have been using them since I first started mountian biking. I went through a phase when I got my first big bike of using flat pedals. I swore by them and swore off clipless pedals for ever. One day I was riding in Crested Butte and I had to cross a waist-high stream. I took my shoes off to cross and about halfway through I lost one of my shoes. I was bummed and had to ride 3 miles back to the car with one bare foot. Luckily I had a pair of clipless pedals and shoes in my trunk. I swapped em out and fell back in love with SPD. My opinion, SPDs make it easier to develop and use a consistent pedal stroke. Much more fluid, efficient, and less choppy. I am happy I went back. I even use them when I am doing DH now, I don't have to constantly reposition my feet on the pedals and I can focus on whats ahead.

    My advice to beginners is to try SPD. Find a nice grassy park and practice getting in and out of the pedals. Once you get the motion down you can get out quickly without incident. Most pedals have adjustable retention settings, start with the loose settings and work your way tigher as you feel more comfortable. Don't be intimidated, it gets to be second nature.

    BTW, the terms clip and clipless can be confusing to beginners. "Clipless" pedals are those of the SPD, Time, and Eggbeater variety. The term clipless refers to pedals without the toeclips of yesteryear (cages). When you are riding in them however, your are said to be "clipped" in. Its a little strange, but I hope that helps.
    MRP - VP of Business Development
    Pivot Cycles - Team Rider

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    As an experiment, I bought a pair of Nashbars' cheapest NS-EP2 clipless pedals:

    How wrong can you go for $20, right?

    After reading the reviews here on MTBR, I also bought a pair of the inexpensive Diadora Gecko shoes, which I see are even cheaper than when I bought them:
    These shoes are great!

    My observations:
    1) Clipless is definitely the way to go, but there is a big (and painful) learning curve. I crashed a ton with the new pedals and could never get my feet out in time. Doesn't seem to be a problem any more, but it took me half a season of riding to get there.

    2) The Nashbar pedals are a bargain and have held up well to lots of rock bashing, and they still work in the mud. One pedal developed an annoying click that was cured by resetting the bearings, but it was not easy to get right. One would hope a better brand would be better.

    3) Part of learning with clipless pedals is to get your feet out in advance for areas where you are really concerned that you may need to pull one or both feet off, say a really rocky section or sharp switchbacks uphill. Real biking shoes with a hard, reinforced sole let me put my feet in the middle of the pedal without clipping in and still pedal hard. It's not as efficient, but still very workable.

    4) Related to 3 above, Even though the Nashbar pedals are a bargain and I see no big reason to change now, I would not recommend them to a beginner. Instead, I would go for a "combo" pedal that is both a platform pedal and a clipless. I am still considering the Crank Brothers Mallet right now, although Shimano makes some decent looking combos. Would not consider the cheaper Shimano combos with the plastic platform overlay - seen too many of those broken on the trail!

    5) The shoes make a huge difference. So much better than sneakers or my old sneaker-like biking shoes. Those Diadora Geckos have been comfortable since day 1 and have held up very, very well. Enthusiastically recommended if you're looking to keep your price down. The deep lugs on the soles (like cleated soccer shoes) work well in the dirt and will grab into platform pedals as well.

    Hope some of this helps.

    - Cheers, AJ

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