Switching to Clipless MTB, Question regarding Shoes and Pedals- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Switching to Clipless MTB, Question regarding Shoes and Pedals

    Never ride on clipless

    Wanna try MTB SPD clipless pedals.

    But, looks there is few options, so I would like to understand Pedals and Shoes compatibility.

    Why MTB, just need also to be able to walk.

    Shoes, as I understood there are 2 options here.

    Not yet sure which one I would choose.
    As the right one looks to be more comfortable to walk, and also can be used with flat pedals.
    But the left one looks to have a more hard sole, which should be better for long (200km) rides.

    Switching to Clipless MTB, Question regarding Shoes and Pedals-clipless.jpg

    Pedals

    Switching to Clipless MTB, Question regarding Shoes and Pedals-screenshot_1221.jpg

    If I'm right, left one is for left type of shoes,
    right one for right shoes

    Am I right?
    Can't mix them?

    QUESTIONS:
    1. Can I mix those two types of Shoes with Pedals?
    2. What Shoes type is better for what?
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  2. #2
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    Yes, any clipless mtb shoe with any clipless pedal. You just need the cleats for your pedals but you already mentioned SPD.

    For the shoe, sure there are differences between walking comfort so ask yourself how much walking do you plan on doing while riding your bike? Generally, the more comfortable walking the less beneficial the shoe will be for riding. Really stiff soles are great for power transfer but they are no hiking shoe.

    On the pedal front, I’ll just use Shimano as a reference but they have “race” and “trail” pedals. The race is like you pictured where the trail pedal has a more extended body so you have a wider platform to stomp on until you get clipped in. Until you get used to it, it can be tricky to stop and start again pointed uphill. The bigger pedal body helps out with that.

    While there are a couple different cleat/pedal systems, the biggest one is Shimano SPD and that’s what most would recommend if you wanna try clipless. They’re dependable, cheap, easy to get in and out of.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by farfromovin View Post
    Yes, any clipless mtb shoe with any clipless pedal.
    Thanks for this!
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  4. #4
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    Some combos work better or less well, but you can certainly use them. Sometimes the stuff sole XC racing shoes won't engage the platform of the flat pedals and sometimes the soft sole shoes will flex too much on the XC pedals to provide a stable base. It's not as bad as it sounds though and most people go somewhere in between. I'm not a huge fan of the shimano "trail" pedals because the mechanism doesn't "float" like the older 545 and 647 pedals, so it's harder to get back in and sometimes your cleat bounces off the platform. This is usually the biggest learning curve, as unclipping becomes very instinctual quickly. I am big fan of shimano pedals in general though, they are crazy reliable and you don't have to so end a lot to get to that level. They also release more consistent and more as a function of spring tension than some other designs that seem to rely more on angular deflection (and won't release before that no matter how hard you pull).
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Some combos work better or less well, but you can certainly use them. Sometimes the stuff sole XC racing shoes won't engage the platform of the flat pedals and sometimes the soft sole shoes will flex too much on the XC pedals to provide a stable base. It's not as bad as it sounds though and most people go somewhere in between. I'm not a huge fan of the shimano "trail" pedals because the mechanism doesn't "float" like the older 545 and 647 pedals, so it's harder to get back in and sometimes your cleat bounces off the platform. This is usually the biggest learning curve, as unclipping becomes very instinctual quickly. I am big fan of shimano pedals in general though, they are crazy reliable and you don't have to so end a lot to get to that level. They also release more consistent and more as a function of spring tension than some other designs that seem to rely more on angular deflection (and won't release before that no matter how hard you pull).
    This...

    One thing to be careful of is referencing SPD clipless. SPD are specific Shimano style clipless mechanism so when looking at shoes and pedals you will want to make sure they are "compatible". One of the benefits of going with the left image pedals (Shimano XTR trail SPDs) is that they have the ability to adjust the retention mechanisms "strength." This means you have the ability to change the amount of effort that is required to release the cleat (bottom of the shoe) from the pedal mechanism. This is exceptionally good for new riders as you can more easily bail vs. other types (at least in my experience).

    While the unclipping motion becomes instinctual after a time it is something that you will learn you must ALWAYS do to get out. What this means is that you will have to ensure that you "unclip" to put the foot down, so motoing or dabbing around a corner becomes slightly more difficult. Unfortunately for me, 3yrs ago this was the result of a major fracture and months off the bike. Long story short, back tire slide out (to the left) while attempting to unclip and dab around a fast, loose corner (was unaware of corner, just came up on me). By the time I was just about unclipped (heel moved outward to release mechanism) my bike was close to parallel with the ground and my heel and external foot edge caught a rut. This resulted in the 20+mph of speed loading all mass/velocity/energy directly into my leg which resulted in a dual fracture of the Fibula and subsequent syndismotic disruption of my right leg/ankle.

    Because of that, and the other "close calls" I had while attempting to unclip from my pedals (random falls on slow trail sections, switchback, rock gardens, etc.) I will not be going back to clips. Flats have been great for me and while clipless has its place, it just isn't for me. So take what I say with a grain of salt, if you are doing this because you believe that clipless will be more "efficient" then that is half dozen of one, six of another.

  6. #6
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    Based on your pictures, I prefer shoes on right and pedal on left. No right or wrong...lots of opinions. Give it a try and decide what is best for you.

    My preference has always been clips but I occasionally use flats in cold winter months so I can use regular shoes (warmer) and still get a ride in. I've always used Shimano SPD's (just like your picture on left) because they are reasonably priced, reliable, bullet proof, work in mud/ice, easy to find...I get on the bike and they just work. Lot's of rocks and pedal strikes around here so composites won't last and the small size of the SPD's result in fewer strikes than a bigger platform type pedal.

    Downside is the learning curve...especially if you ride technical terrain. There WILL be times when you need to 'eject' and your foot motion comes up short resulting in a tumble. Usually happens in a technical rock garden or clearing a challenging climb or obstacle at slow speeds. You end up in a pile of rocks and a few scars (or worse). Over time you get better at it. Best to practice on a lawn where you can get used to the motion so it becomes natural in a panic situation. You can also back off on the spring tension to make dismount easier.

    As for shoes, by far I prefer more of a traditional shoe vs a Tour de France look alike. When you buy the pedals, they should come with the specific cleats for that pedal design. They get mounted to the bottom of the shoe which is pretty much universal with a couple of allen-head screws. Shoes usually have slots in sole allowing you to move cleat fore/aft and also adjust foot angle when clipped in. It takes some experimentation to get cleats positioned best for you.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for sharing, lot of good info

    Actually the main reason why I wanna try clips is the randoneure/brevet 400km ride.
    I did 220km this year on flats, pretty large ones, on good road, but after a wile I started to feel them.
    SO for sure on 400km ride it will be a problem.

    Another reason, I'm doing some XC races 2-3 per year. Wanna add just a little bit of efficiency.

    Anyway, brevets/long rides are the main reason.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oleg View Post
    Anyway, brevets/long rides are the main reason.
    I think you'll want to lean towards stiffer soled shoes in that case. And use a lighter pedal that doesn't have a bunch of excess platform you'd have to spin up.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold View Post
    I think you'll want to lean towards stiffer soled shoes in that case. And use a lighter pedal that doesn't have a bunch of excess platform you'd have to spin up.

    Thanks Harold,

    And I think they will work also just fine for those few XC races.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Some combos work better or less well, but you can certainly use them. Sometimes the stuff sole XC racing shoes won't engage the platform of the flat pedals and sometimes the soft sole shoes will flex too much on the XC pedals to provide a stable base. It's not as bad as it sounds though and most people go somewhere in between. I'm not a huge fan of the shimano "trail" pedals because the mechanism doesn't "float" like the older 545 and 647 pedals, so it's harder to get back in and sometimes your cleat bounces off the platform. This is usually the biggest learning curve, as unclipping becomes very instinctual quickly. I am big fan of shimano pedals in general though, they are crazy reliable and you don't have to so end a lot to get to that level. They also release more consistent and more as a function of spring tension than some other designs that seem to rely more on angular deflection (and won't release before that no matter how hard you pull).
    I think it really depends on the shoes and pedal combo as from my experience I completely disagree with this as I find my trail pedals easier to get into and they have plenty of float. I never seem to miss the clip in. I'm using Shimano ME7 shoes which are amazing - although too much ventilation for cooler days, so I also have a pair of AM5 shoes. Both work great with my XT trail (PD-M8020) SPD pedals.

    In general, shoes that look and bit more "trail" rather than "XC" are more suited to pedals that look more "trail", than a "XC" pedal. The same goes the other way around, a "XC" looking shoe is probably best suited to a smaller "XC" style pedal.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks a lot for your help.

    I bought Shimano 520 SPD pedals and Shimano M65 shoes, just because I need a more stiff sole for brevets/ endurance rides.

    I'm still playing width clips adjustments, and do test rides.
    Not very straightforward as I thought.
    Actually I don't like it

    Hope will make it works as they should, as I have a 400km ride in two weeks.

  12. #12
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    Absolutely takes a little getting used to and a bit of time and practice. Luckily during my learning curve I would mostly unclip one foot and fall the other way when coming to a stop.

  13. #13
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    Can be tricky. Went back to clipless but couldn’t clip out of my Mallet Es when the crank arm was aligned with the chain stay in slow techy sections. Let my ego get the best of me and broke a carbon bar, Guide brake assembly and partially tore my rotator cuff. Original Time cleats resulted with me suffering a thigh laceration. Same ego thing. Listen to your gut and if you’re nervous after 2-3 weeks on non techy tails I would change to a different system.


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  14. #14
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    Make sure that the cleat isn't inset too deep on the shoes. That can make getting in and out more difficult. Also start with the tension on the loosest setting. Make sure you have equal tension on both sides of the pedals. Once dialed in...they are really easy to get in and out of.

  15. #15
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    Definitely not gonna use them on tech trails

    Crashes happens on any types of pedals and I crash also.

    But I sow guys who crashed on clips, last race I ride.
    It's not about when you just couldn't unclip on a red light stop, it's when you just have no time to even think about uncliping, high speed crashes, crashes on technical or rocky segments, group crashes.
    I just fly through my handlebars, do some "cat style" rotation and I usually was ok to ride, even after a 25mph crash. But clipped guys in this situations usually was out.

    Crashed on forest downhill at 25mph, and once at 35mph. Put back together all my bike parts and I was able to ride.
    I can't imagine what could happen if I was clipped than.
    ________________________________

    What I like with clips:
    - Can pull only
    - Can ride with one leg
    - Can jump easier
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  16. #16
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    Hey Oleg,
    Try the shimano multi release cleats SH56, definitely better for trail riding.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by viteaux View Post
    Hey Oleg,
    Try the shimano multi release cleats SH56, definitely better for trail riding.
    Do they work with any Shimano pedals? I mean same pedals like for SH51?
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oleg View Post
    Do they work with any Shimano pedals? I mean same pedals like for SH51?
    Yes, the cleat is just a slightly different shape which changes how it releases.
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