Which pedals? Toe clips or clipless?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which pedals? Toe clips or clipless?

    Just got my Jamis Exile 3 and need new pedals. I had a bad wreck and broke my leg when I was using some SPD pedals and have been hesitant about going back to clipless, so I've rode toe clips for the past 7 years but my riding hasn't been the same, no bunny hops and some obstacles I have to dismount for. So my question is, toe clips or clipless?which ones and why?

  2. #2
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    I wouldn't....

    Quote Originally Posted by TexasPig View Post
    Just got my Jamis Exile 3 and need new pedals. I had a bad wreck and broke my leg when I was using some SPD pedals and have been hesitant about going back to clipless, so I've rode toe clips for the past 7 years but my riding hasn't been the same, no bunny hops and some obstacles I have to dismount for. So my question is, toe clips or clipless?which ones and why?
    ... blame the SPDs. SPDs are way safer than toe clips. Easier to pop out when things go kablooey, and more secure when you're in.

    Toe clips only really work when you cinch down on the straps, then they don't release.

  3. #3
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    Clipless, no question.

    For me, it's Frogs. Very easy to get out of! It does take a bit of getting used to how they feel, though.

  4. #4
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    I like Eggbeaters for the float and ease of removal. You just fall out of them in a crash. I'm always able to get a foot out. Some don't like them because they claim they pop out too easily and that they break. The design was just changed. I had never broke a pair of mine. You only accidentially pop out if you're not used to the float. They don't really resist and clunk in and out like most pedals.

  5. #5
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    Some where in Texas an Idiot is riding a bike!
    THOSE WHO ARE AWAKE LIVE IN A STATE OF CONSTANT AMAZEMENT

  6. #6
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    If you decide to try SPDs again, consider getting the "multi-release" SH56 cleats. They release very easily. With used with the tension screw at the loosest setting, you simply pull your foot out any which way. You can gradually increase the tension as you regain your confidence.
    Use it, use it, use it while you still have it.

  7. #7
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    SPDs for all bikes, road and mountain. Tried the others, always come back.

  8. #8
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    2 sets of candy eggbeaters (older versions) replace bearings evert 6 mnths and 1 set of the new eggbeaters, worn out after 9 months.
    Sorry Crank brothers , I love the float and mud shedding but your reliability is pants.

  9. #9
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    .................

  10. #10
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    You ride with toe clips? Geez that's scary. I have never been injured due to SPD's, in a wreck my foot has always come out of the pedal. If you are using toe clips your foot can get stuck and not come out during a wreck. To me it's waaayyy more dangerous. When I worked at a bike shop we refused to sell toe clips because of this. Go back to SPD's and you will wonder why you ever left.

    As far as which pedal to use I have never had any problem with any of my SPD pedals. I have had a pair of the M520's (the cheapest model and $35 on JensonUSA) on my road bike for the past 5 years with no problems whatsoever. On my mtb I run the one step up, the M540 ($58 on JensonUSA), and have never had any problem with those either. They both get used and abused and work flawlessly every time.
    Last edited by erikrc10; 08-27-2011 at 07:23 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcanride View Post
    Some where in Texas an Idiot is riding a bike!
    Really? That's your response?

    I guess by analogy, then, we can say that "some where" on the interwebz, an idiot of flapping his keyboard.

  12. #12
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    Definitely a YMMV question. I used toe clips and straps way back for a while. Then 17 years of SPD-style clipless. Now I'm using flat pedals with no retention (Wellgo MG-1). My main beef with clipless was that the tread would wear away around the cleat faster than the cleat would, so if I had to walk, I'd end up walking on the cleat rather than rubber. OK if you don't walk, and I try to avoid walking the bike if at all I can, but still very annoying if you have to hoof it on bare rock. With the flat pedals, I just wear my everyday shoes, some New Balance cross trainers. No need to change shoes at the trailhead. No worries about traction for hike-a-bike. I don't think I would've considered this years ago- the pedals were more of the bear-claw type. Heavy, and good but not great grip. With newer pedals that use pins for traction, you get great traction. And they're no heavier- my Wellgo MG-1 pedals weight approximately the same as my Nashbar/Wellgo clipless pedals with cleat did. I also like the low-tech factor. Although I generally found clipless to be amazingly reliable given the mechanism and the rough environment, it was a clipless failure that prodded me to switch to flat pedals. I was riding in on a trail with some high grass right by it, on a steep climb. When I ran out of steam on the climb and tried to get my right foot out, it was firmly stuck in the pedal. I toppled over, unhurt. Turns out some of the tall grass had gotten fouled in the clipless mechanism as I rode and locked it up!

    Bunny hops are not the sole property of clipless riders, as you may well know. I myself have not yet perfected it, but it is entirely possible to do a bunny hop with no retention. BMXers do it all day long. You have to rotate your center of gravity, rather than just pulling up on the pedals. Although I think I may have to get shin guards before I try to practice that one too much!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by John_Biker View Post
    Definitely a YMMV question. I used toe clips and straps way back for a while. Then 17 years of SPD-style clipless. Now I'm using flat pedals with no retention (Wellgo MG-1). My main beef with clipless was that the tread would wear away around the cleat faster than the cleat would, so if I had to walk, I'd end up walking on the cleat rather than rubber. OK if you don't walk, and I try to avoid walking the bike if at all I can, but still very annoying if you have to hoof it on bare rock. With the flat pedals, I just wear my everyday shoes, some New Balance cross trainers. No need to change shoes at the trailhead. No worries about traction for hike-a-bike. I don't think I would've considered this years ago- the pedals were more of the bear-claw type. Heavy, and good but not great grip. With newer pedals that use pins for traction, you get great traction. And they're no heavier- my Wellgo MG-1 pedals weight approximately the same as my Nashbar/Wellgo clipless pedals with cleat did. I also like the low-tech factor. Although I generally found clipless to be amazingly reliable given the mechanism and the rough environment, it was a clipless failure that prodded me to switch to flat pedals. I was riding in on a trail with some high grass right by it, on a steep climb. When I ran out of steam on the climb and tried to get my right foot out, it was firmly stuck in the pedal. I toppled over, unhurt. Turns out some of the tall grass had gotten fouled in the clipless mechanism as I rode and locked it up!

    Bunny hops are not the sole property of clipless riders, as you may well know. I myself have not yet perfected it, but it is entirely possible to do a bunny hop with no retention. BMXers do it all day long. You have to rotate your center of gravity, rather than just pulling up on the pedals. Although I think I may have to get shin guards before I try to practice that one too much!
    My story is very similar. Started with plain ol' stock pedals, then went to clip pedals cuz it was the cool thing, and then moved to clipless for 15 years. I'm now riding flats with comfy skate shoes. In my case, I gave the flats a try because no matter what I did, my feet hurt in those darn clipless shoes - even caused me to give up mountain biking for a couple of years. First ride with cheap flats and tennis shoes and wow! No pain! And, even with cheap flats and tennis shoes I didn't have an issue slipping. As an added bonus I just felt "more free" and confident/comfortable when riding.

    Now I have good pedals and skate shoes and riding is fun again -- I rode in discomfort for so long that I just thought it was part and parcel of biking. Its amazing how much more fun riding can be when your feet don't hurt the entire ride!

    But that is just my experience and like so many other other things with biking - you should ride what makes you feel best. Unless its with clips. Just ditch those!

  14. #14
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    All of my biking friends ride clipless, they all love them and say they would never go back to toe straps or flats.

    I ride flats because they seem good enough, I have never really had a reason to use anything else.

  15. #15
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    Toe clips? Thats just kinda crazy with todays modern clipless. Ive used Times and CB. Definitely Egg Beaters FTW!

  16. #16
    Master of Beat
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    Make Sure you get the 29" specific SPD's

  17. #17
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    I've gone from toe clips, to spd, to time atacs, to crank brothers.

    By far, I like the times the best, but they are so heavy I decided to go with crank brothers (eggs and candys). They have a similar feel to times but don't have the weight penalty.

    I would never go back to toe clips and not a fan of the spd's. I don't want to have another thing to fiddle with on my bike (tension adjustments on spd's), so the cranks bros are just install and forget. Also, I've had some accidental unclips with SPD's where I haven't had any with the Crank Bros.

    And to make sure, Crank Bros are VERY easy to get out of. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had an oh **** moment and didn't find myself unclipped before I even knew it.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by will-lee wonka View Post

    And to make sure, Crank Bros are VERY easy to get out of. In fact, I can't remember the last time I had an oh **** moment and didn't find myself unclipped before I even knew it.

    This is the #1 reason for me why the EB's are top of my list, I dont feel like im in danger riding them on the scary trails

  19. #19
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    You might consider Power Straps - I use them and love them.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker View Post
    I like Eggbeaters for the float and ease of removal. You just fall out of them in a crash. I'm always able to get a foot out. Some don't like them because they claim they pop out too easily and that they break. The design was just changed. I had never broke a pair of mine. You only accidentially pop out if you're not used to the float. They don't really resist and clunk in and out like most pedals.
    Crank Brothers....Acid or Candy.
    Get off the couch and ride! :)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natedogz View Post
    Crank Brothers....Acid or Candy.
    X 10.

    I can't imagine NOT riding clipless.

    If you're still nervous after the crash....and I totally understand that...I would suggest riding some real easy trails for the first week or two just to get used to them.

  22. #22
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    For me, clipless is the way to go. For the riding I do, it provides better power transfer etc etc

    Remembering back to the days pre-clipless....they were great then, but I did not know any different. I tried riding them again a while ago and hated it. Sure, I was connected to the pedals, but I felt trapped. There was next to no float and it felt more dangerous than anything. Exiting the pedals by having to pull my foot backwards (as opposed to outwards) felt unnatural.

    Sure, there is no real difference in what you can do with either of them. You can even do most everything with flats. But clipless (of whichever variety you choose) is far better IMO than straps.

  23. #23
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    eggbeaters on all 7 of my bikes. love them. started using them the first month of riding. 9 years later and i refuse to try any other pedal system. i have a couple of 4ti's which are pricey but the rest of my bike have smartys. you can pick those up on ebay for $20.

  24. #24
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    Definately a preference thing. Downhill and all mountain it seems flats are best. Xcountry I think clipless are best. I ride in Houston area and they come in handy when pedal striking roots all the time. I have ridden EB's and loved them, just hated that I was having to replace my cleats about every 6 mths. Im riding spd's xt now and like them as well. The xt's can be adjusted for release tension and float so you can get a similar feel like the eggbeaters.
    Mountain biking never gets easier... You just get faster

  25. #25
    SSolo, on your left!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pangster View Post
    .... but the rest of my bike have smartys. you can pick those up on ebay for $20.
    They don't last more than a dozen rides in my experience...stay far away from the Smarty=POS. There's very good reason they were discontinued.

    Crap, just looked and they discontinued the Acid too!!!! That was a great pedal!
    Get off the couch and ride! :)

  26. #26
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    Spd xtr

  27. #27
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    I'd have to agree with all the others who say just a spot of bad luck is all, not the pedals fault unless they were old and seized. Biggest thing with clipless pedals is to spend some time next to a wal or in a hallway plracticing clipping in and out and wearing off the sharp edges of the cleats from being cast. Once you do this and if you have SPDs and set them to the lowest possible tension everything should go fine, sure you'll maybe have a moment or two when you go to stop and forget you have to clip-out, but that'll only happen once or twice before you're contantly saying it in your head to remember. I cannot imagine not being clipped in, especially on very rough/tech terrain, feel much more secure knowing that if/wwhen I go for a move I don't have to worry about my foot/feet coming off the pedals at the wrong time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  28. #28
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    Pedals are completely a personal choice and I won't begrudge anyone for riding in whatever shoes they want, but I would say that SPD (or a similar clipless pedal) is inherently safer than clips or flat pedals. I couldn't imagine what my shins would look like if I rode flat pedals and can imagine the knee injuries I would have sustained had my pedal not released...which could not have happened with toe clips.

    I would advise trying SPD's again and setting the release tension low at first.

  29. #29
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    I replied above on using flats then reread the OP and decided to edit with the ........

    Now since a few folks have brought up flats I'll re-reply.....

    I started out riding flats with Columbia hikers. After foot pain and pedal slips decided to try clipless because that was the "only" way to ride from what I've read......after a few good crashes and then hesitancy to attack obstacles I was back to researching flats / shoes combinations. I see many people on rides that unclip when it gets rough and I found myself doing that which was ruining my rides..... I like the challenge of the attack I had when running the flats......

    Tried a few sets of 5:10's but either to bulky (Impact) or not supportive enough (Freeriders) so I went the Shimano AM40 route (Discontinued now - replaced with the AM41). These shoes are great with my Forte Convert pedals. Feet stay planted over all the roots and rocks. Just a few pedal slips in the 500+ offroad miles I've have the combination. I can attack all obstacles with the confidence that it takes to "make it" and if I don't the feet can get down for the save (most of the time )

    Coming from a motorcycle background, I did not feel right with my feet attached to the bike. You really have to decide what makes YOU relaxed and comfortable when riding. That is all that matters.....

  30. #30
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    wrong thread, disregard this post.
    Gary Fisher HiFi Deluxe 29er

  31. #31
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    I tried clipless and just hated it. I got some flats and some super sticky 5.10 shoes and I am lovin' it!

  32. #32
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    Ive had great experience with CB acids, i put a set on my jabber when i built it, i have never maintained them and have bashed them on rocks and tree trunks every now and then and they still work like butter. I have them set for 15-deg release and find them a breeze to unclip from. I had early hesitation and initially would not traverse terrain technical enought to risk falling because of the concern about falling while locked to the bike, but its been over a year and no issues. I have since taken the on rides hardly appropriate for a rigid quite frequently with no ill affects.

    I have newly bought eggbeaters and candys for my other bikes but honestly have not put them thru the paces to justify a report of them yet (the new egg and candy 3's).

    I do still say that u cant go wrong with a good set of flats, i still use them on some other bikes (AM bikes) and still offer the best balance and safety margin both physical and mental. Flats and the ability to get a foot down in the speed of a heartbeat has saved my bacon in the past, thats for sure. Flats will never go out of style.

  33. #33
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    I have CB eggbeaters on 3 bikes. I haven't had any problems with them mechanically. I have had a few times where I couldn't release mid crash but that was probably more my fault than anything. My issue is if I'm falling to one side and the weight is on that foot, I freeze up and can't get my foot out.. I think that is a technique problem, rather than a pedal problem.

    I feel the OP's pain though..... I just start to build up my confidence end then I crash (usually the result of not being able to release) and I have to start all over again lol. When I get home from riding all bloodied, my girlfriend always says "why do you use to stupid pedals?"...... I have too much money invested in them and shoes to not use them!

  34. #34
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    This is the best advice yet in this thread, go with what works for you and what you are comfortable with, for me that's clipless, for you that might be flats with sticky soled shoes, who knows.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThumperGary View Post
    ........good reply...............

    Coming from a motorcycle background, I did not feel right with my feet attached to the bike. You really have to decide what makes YOU relaxed and comfortable when riding. That is all that matters.....
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  35. #35
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    I go strapless



    Keeps my foot on the pedal and I'm not attached to the bike. All that matters is it works for me.

  36. #36
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    Thx for the responses, looks like I will be giving the CB Acids a try, heard good reviews from people at the local trail. And until I'm confident in them I will be riding easier trails. My last experience with SPD's when I broke my leg I fell on easy terrain, helmet hit rock and knocked me out, tumbled down hill with bike still attached to left foot then broke my knee around a tree. That's why I have a little hesitation going back to SPD and all clipless pedals alike. It took me 2 years to get back on a bike, one of which was recovery the other was dealing with issues between me and my bike, lol.

  37. #37
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    Sounds like a bad accident, no wonder you're leary of going back to clipless. Good luck and hope things go better this time around.
    BTW I've used those toe clips without straps and they give you a bit of assistance in pulling, but in reality they're not very strong, so can't really yank on them.
    Quote Originally Posted by TexasPig View Post
    Thx for the responses, looks like I will be giving the CB Acids a try, heard good reviews from people at the local trail. And until I'm confident in them I will be riding easier trails. My last experience with SPD's when I broke my leg I fell on easy terrain, helmet hit rock and knocked me out, tumbled down hill with bike still attached to left foot then broke my knee around a tree. That's why I have a little hesitation going back to SPD and all clipless pedals alike. It took me 2 years to get back on a bike, one of which was recovery the other was dealing with issues between me and my bike, lol.
    Quote Originally Posted by Harold
    You're doing mtbr wrong, you're supposed to get increasingly offended by the implications that you're doing ANYTHING wrong.

  38. #38
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    Time ATACs = WIN!

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiahh View Post
    Really? That's your response?

    I guess by analogy, then, we can say that "some where" on the interwebz, an idiot of flapping his keyboard.
    I believe this is NOT aimed at you but instead the former President, unless Perry has taken up biking.
    agmtb

  40. #40
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    Nothing scary about riding clips, gee its only been done for how many decades?!!!! Funny how some people learn through new technology and seem to forget that the old stuff works quite well.

    I use both Suntour Superbe Pro pedals with Specialized toe clips, and MKS Custom Nuevo track pedals with the same clips. The problem I have is with the lack of good toe clips(Specialized) available now. The biggest reason to convert to SPD or Times is for parts and shoe availability. Last month I had to make my own cleats for my Sidi Hawaii shoes.
    Good friction shifting is getting hard to find nowadays....

  41. #41
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    I went clipless a month ago and had problems with unclipping(falling, bashed knees, scratched elbows, etc.). The other day, I found out that my Shimano pedals has an adjustable tension spring. I didnt realize then, but now that I adjusted so I can come loose(even if I crash). Last night I was biking and almost crashed and thought I was done for. But was able to "easily"... And I mean easily get out of the pedals and catch myself from falling. YEAH BABY!

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