Clipped in or out on descents?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Clipped in or out on descents?

    I am very new to clipless pedals and am still trying to get comfortable with them. What is the general consensus on clipping in during technical descents? It seems to me that not being clipped in would be the preferred method (its mine at this point), but I feel that some control is lost when I am not clipped in.

    Thanks for you input.

  2. #2
    Double-metric mtb man
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    If you're not comfortable with them yet, then out is the way to be. Push yourself with them a bit here and a bit there and eventually you'll get more and more comfortable with them.

    In time, you'll be like me: clipped in for almost everything, including snow and ice
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  3. #3
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    I stay clipped in 99% of the time. The only time I ever clip out is if I'm riding a particularly hairy section (like with a cliff to one side or something) and feel like I might need that foot out of the pedals faster than I could unclip.
    :wq

  4. #4
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    First of all what type of clipless pedals do you have? If they are SPD did you set the adjustment screw on both of them to the lightest release point? If you're going on a descent where you're not comfortable being clipped in maybe you shouldn't be on that section of track yet, you might really hurt yourself.
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  5. #5
    MTB'er in Training
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    I was new to clipless when I got my new bike in December...and I ALWAYS stay clipped in...figure it is the fastest way to learn...and I have gotten very comfortable with them. I started with the loosest setting and find myself getting them tighter and tighter each time I ride...

  6. #6
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    FWIW, I also stay clipped in for everything, but I also don't have any cliff edges where I ride - if I did, I'd surely clip out for that, just like 'sonicsuby'.

    It's taken a good bit of riding to get completely comfortable w/clipless pedals, but now I wouldn't trade them for anything, definitely worth sticking with it. Now I hate the feel when unclipped from my (Shimano SPD) pedals - like my foot is going to slip off the pedal over even very small bumps - a complete lack of control.

  7. #7
    El Pollo Diablo
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    Yeah, once you get the hang of it, you can stay in most of the time...
    one of my favorite stories involving clipless was the time the rider ahead of me ate it, and I almost went over the bars, but managed to unclip and jump over (the bars) instead of going headfirst into the wreck ahead of me...
    landed it too, felt like a pimp, realized that I was 'officially' accustomed to clipless that day.

  8. #8
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    When I first got my bike, which had clipless on it so I learned quickly, I only ever clipped in with one foot while descending. It's funny because now I'm frantic if on technical descents I'm not clipped in with both feet.

    Do what feels comfortable now, and eventually you'll get the hang of it and feel more comfortable clipped in always.

  9. #9
    exacerbated member
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    Clipped in always. You either commit to a section of trail or you don't. If you chose a bad line or something unexpected happens, unclipping one foot is no problem once you are comfortable with your pedals. But you will never get comfortable with them until you commit to being in them all the time.

    When I take on a grommet I pick a nice rock garden and make them dab left or right on command and re clip until they can do it without thinking or taking their eyes off the trail. Start with a gradual down hill and progress to a technical climb. This is the way Sean taught me this is the way I teach.

  10. #10
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    I stayed clipped in always. I feel that I am much more comfortable and confident knowing that I don't have to worry about correct foot placement as well as the fear of slipping off the pedals. If there comes to a point in which I feel being clipped in is "dangerous" (like a narrow, slippery singletrack that you may fall to your death) then I simply walk the bike through. However, in a few more months, it'll come so naturally that you won't give it a second thought. Good luck!

  11. #11
    bi-winning
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    IN .
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  12. #12
    Cheezy Rider
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    I'm in with the in crowd.

    I feel like I have way more control clipped in. I can clip out in less time than it takes my rear wheel to wash out on a switchback--years of practice. You'll get more comfortable with it, just takes time.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by quisk
    It's taken a good bit of riding to get completely comfortable w/clipless pedals, but now I wouldn't trade them for anything, definitely worth sticking with it. Now I hate the feel when unclipped from my (Shimano SPD) pedals - like my foot is going to slip off the pedal over even very small bumps - a complete lack of control.
    It's odd how that happens. I can't ride anymore if my feet aren't clipped in - I'm so used to taking advantage of being clipped in while pedaling that if I unclip I can't even keep my foot on the damn pedal
    :wq

  14. #14
    govt kontrakt projkt mgr
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    usually clipped in--but there are two sections at BLORA that right after a descent has a somewhat eroded sharp left turn--I usually unclip for that and stick the leg out.

  15. #15
    BrassBalled DropbarNinja
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    clipped in... i cant ride platforms to save my life...

  16. #16
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    Always in. I have no control if I have unclipped clipless pedals.

    I'd think you would raise the likely hood of a spill on a downhill if
    your unclipped.

    Perhaps you should switch to platforms and get more comfortable with
    the downhill in question. Just a thought and YMMV............

  17. #17
    ..of the masses..
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    hi. i too am new to clipless pedals. i use a pair of crankbrother's candy cs. i use my bike for both trail riding and commuting and when on the road i found that i could unclip in sudden situations, like having a car suddenly come around the corner, very easily. i was pretty surprised how easily i could clip out in such situations. i have been riding clipless only for about 10 days now. so, yknow, it is pretty much automatic.

    on the trails though i find i have a problem. if i need to hop over something, i just cant do it. even jumping onto a curb, i dont do it with the clipless pedals. just today i went to a place which requires a lot of root hopping and i switched to platforms for the ride. i think this is bad form. but i am okay with it for now. like the guy said above, you gotta commit. i have not found the courage to do so yet with the clipless pedals, but am confident given some more time i will be able to ride comfortably on them.

    what i am trying to say is it is a psychological thing. having a car coming toward you out of the blue is no less dangerous than approaching a large root at speed. in fact it is much more dangerous. but i find myself able to clip out safely and in time, and dab and stop and shake a fist and give the finger to the dude in the car. but that root on the trail, boy o boy..so i guess it is just a matter of time, of riding more and practicing with the clipless pedals. dont worry man, just keep riding the clipless, if you feel uncomfortable in a section on the trail, i suggest dont try it. sooner or later you will feel more confidence and clear that downhill and feel like a fool for wussing it out earlier. its okay. just dont do something you are not comfortable doing, give it time. its alright. it aint a competition.

    rant over.
    Last edited by hagar; 03-05-2007 at 06:53 AM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by hagar
    on the trails though i find i have a problem. if i need to hop over something, i just cant do it. even jumping onto a curb, i dont do it with the clipless pedals. just today i went to a place which requires a lot of root hopping and i switched to platforms for the ride.
    I'm no self-proclaimed expert, but I mostly ride rooty trails and learned to use clipless pedals on those same trails over the past 8 months. What I found works best for dealing w/ roots is -

    1. If the root(s) are small enough, just ride over them. You can easily absorb some pretty good sized roots by just standing up and pedaling over them.
    2. For larger roots, try to avoid them as much as reasonable by riding around the left or right of the root(s). (Of course, this may not be a good option due to line choice.)
    3. If you can't easily avoid a root and it is too large to just ride over normally, stand up, keep pedaling and barely wheelie the front over the root(s), then absorb the impact of the rear tire with your legs as you pedal through. (Of course, having rear suspension helps, but even the heaviest root sections where I ride are very do'able on a hardtail.)

    For bigger stuff, like log hopping, you need to first get proficient at bunny hopping, which basically adds a rear wheel hop to #3 above. The way I learned to bunny hop was to put a plastic Coke bottle (start w/small bottle, work up to 2-liter) on a flat section of my yard and just keep riding back and forth, trying to clear it with both front and rear wheels. Best to have plenty of small empty plastic bottles (or buy a pack of paper or plastic cups) to start out, 'cause you'll probably crush a few in the beginning.

    Good luck!

    Keith Q.
    Last edited by quisk; 03-05-2007 at 08:07 AM.

  19. #19
    ~I Ride In Circles ~
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    Sometimes it's fun to try to ride an entire trail without clipping out once. I do it all the time. Then again I'm not racing or riding at lightning speed.. If I were it's practical to unclip one foot once in a while to negotiate stuff quickly. Basically just do whats comfortable for you. You'll get better as you go and eventually you'll realize you're not thinking about it any more!
    ~ it's all good ~

  20. #20
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    IN all the time... I have SPD's and just set the tension screw to the lightest setting. Have had them like this since the very beginning. If you need to bail, you get out quick without even thinking about it. I hate the feeling of not being clicked in especially during the downhill sections, feels like the bumps are gonna throw me off my bike. Best of luck, but as most everyone says here, you gotta practice with them.

  21. #21
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    I go clipped on most descents.

    There is one local rock garden that I unclip for though. It's just too hairy and I'm barely moving though it anyway so no worries about getting bucked.

    I'd say do what feels comfortable to you. When I was first getting started on clipless pedals I had some shimanos that where clipless but they had huge platforms around them so I could unclip and still have a good solid base to stand on. That really helped to build confidence because I could always get out early and still not feel at too much of a disadvantage.

  22. #22
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    Turn the settings to easy if you can, practice getting in and out of them while riding, stay in all the time! I can't imagine going down some of the trails that I've bombed down without being clipped in. I won't say I didn't have my fair share of mis-haps while learning how to use them. There are countless posts on here about it. But it goes with the territory.
    </robert> ::: B1KER.com - Be One

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