Looking to go clipless-help please

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by b!keg!rl, Jun 6, 2007.

  1. b!keg!rl

    b!keg!rl New Member

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    I've been cycling for a year now but actually don't know a whole lot about cycling and equipment. I would like to become more knowledgeable so that I can become a better cyclist (I currently ride 2-3 times a week in the summer).

    I've been using platform pedals (they had a cage and a strap, but I took the strap off so I could get in and out easier--now they just have the cage.) My feet go numb and I have been told that going clipless will help with this in addition to helping me become more efficient. I'm a bit leery as I have been known to be a clutz and am worried about falls, but I'm willing to try clipless.

    I usually ride 25-50 miles but occasionally take my daugter in the bike trailer around town shopping and to the park and I also mountain bike several times each season. I've been advised to go with a mtb shoe and pedal so that I can use it on both bikes.

    Here are my questions: What's the real difference between a road shoe/pedal and a mtb shoe/pedal? What is a cleat? Do all shoes fit all pedals? Would it be better to buy road shoes/pedals for my road bike and keep my mtb with regular pedals for the trips around town and in the mtns?

    Sorry for the long post but I appreciate any advice.
     
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  2. HowardSteele

    HowardSteele New Member

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    VERY BRIFLY A cleat is the clip on the shoe that hooks into the pedal.
    MTNbike pedals are mosltly double sided so you can clip your foot into the pedal
    on both sides.
    Mtn bike shoes have the benefit that you can walk reasnably comfortably in them,being that the cleat is recessed into the sole.(You'LL hear the roadies click,clicking and walking on their heals)
    cleats are pretty specific to the matching pedals,
    they are sold as a set.
    So youl have to get two sets of pedals of the same type if you want to use one pair of shoes .
    or simply use the pedals on both bikes.
     
  3. WoodLark

    WoodLark New Member

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    I'm going to go against the common cycling attitude and advise you to think very carefully before you go clipless. I tried it (with different types of clipless pedals). Everyone says you will fall, but you won't get hurt. I agree with the first half; I fell 3 times for failing to clip out fast enough before I gave up on clipless. Two of those times I landed on the back of my head; once bad enough to crack my helmet and send me to the Emergency Room with a concussion. I now use bmx type platform pedals with grippy soled shoes. What you do is up to you, but PLEASE be careful!
     
  4. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    If you 'rehearse' on a grass first, you will get used to them very quickly. slow the bike as much as you can, then practice clicking out. this is good for those times when you need to get out fast. Personally, I've never fallen because of my pedals.

    It sounds like you might do better with mountain pedals, for a few reasons: you ride road and mountain, and you go shopping. Road shoes are just a pain to walk in, since they're made for riding only. PLUS, if you go with mtn, you can use the same shoes for both bikes.
    Shimano makes good and inexpensive mtn pedals called SPD. You can get a set for less than $50. YOu can get them at nashbar or Performance. Anywhere, really.
    Good luck!
     
  5. fredf

    fredf New Member

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    I agree entirely with benkoostra. Shimano SPD are inexpensive, shoes are available everywhere in a range of prices ( I really like Specialised--even their 'cheaper' ones) and they are easy to get in and out of. Plus you can walk in them.
    Set the screw at first so they are easier to get in and out of and I think you will find that you occasionally accidentally clip out, they are that easy.
     
  6. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Good advice, get used to them before riding in traffic.

    Most clipless pedals including the SPD versions suggested above have tension adjustments and most come from the factory set fairly tight. Take an allen wrench and loosen the adjustments when you first get them. Ride with them loose for a while, you'll still stay in unless you're doing a lot of sprinting but it makes it effortless to get out with a gentle outward twist of the ankle. In no time that becomes second nature. Then you can snug up the tension a bit if you like.

    A third benefit of mountain bike clipless pedals is that they're double sided. You can clip into whatever side is facing up without having to flip the pedal over with your toe before getting in. Just remember to loosen the tension on both sides of each pedal if you go with a double sided design.

    Good luck,
    Dave
     
  7. John M

    John M New Member

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    I have recently switched to using crank brothers pedals on all of my bikes: road, MTB, commuter, and triathlon/TT. I did this because the same cleats will work with both their road and MTB versions of their pedals. I sometimes ride my road bike to work, but use my MTB shoes becuase of their ease of walking in.
     
  8. slyjackson

    slyjackson New Member

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    I too use Crank Brothers ("Quattro's). I was a little Leary on using them since it was my first time using clip-less. After 3-4 days of "clipping in" and “clipping out". I now have the technique down. I have never fell (so far) and I feel comfortable clipping in and out at traffic lights. I do no more than glance where my foot goes, step down on the “Sweet Spot”, I hear a “Click” and I’m off. I really like them a lot.



    I can’t speak for the “Speedo’s” or the “Look’s” , but the “Crank Brothers” pedals are recommended. No adjustment required.
     
  9. bballgms

    bballgms New Member

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    i would recomend the speedplay light action pedals very good for beginners
     
  10. rwinthenorth

    rwinthenorth New Member

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    All of the previous suggestions are great. All the info coming up, is full of unfamiliar language. A little research at your LBS will clear up all of this!

    Personally I went the hybrid way. My shoes are made by Lake. They will take a Look, SPD or whatever cleat you wind up getting. I use a Look type cleat and find them the easiest to use. I also have SPD cleats/pedals, my son swears by. Here is a link to a WSD shoe by Lake you can walk on. Slip cafe covers on the cleats to protect the little bit of delta cleat that shows for Look cleats, SPD are a nonissue: http://www.teamestrogen.com/products.asp?pID=26245.
    This is pretty much what I use in the male version and find them very comfortable.

    Shimano does make a "Campus" pedal also. SPD clipless on one side and a standard platform on the other. I have these on my mountain (beater)bike. Clipless, when tackling trails, sandals when hanging out with my daughter on local trails: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/Profile.cfm?SKU=13207&item=50-1192&slitrk=search&slisearch=true
    What ever you do, go to a good LBS and look at everything and ask questions. Once you go clipless, you'll never go back.:)
     
  11. Rustyhole

    Rustyhole New Member

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    Yes... you will fall. But practice makes perfect and try practicing unclipping (and a lot while in slow corners) on a whim when you don't need to as the problems occur when you need to unclip quickly and your first instinct is to put your foot down and you don't think of unclipping first. we all have our 0mph fall stories and if you decide to go clipless you will too! welcome to cycling! if you ride in traffic, until you're used to your pedals UNCLIP BOTH FEET at stop signs/lights. A quick gust of wind (and a failure to unclip the other foot) could result in you falling into traffic!! One of my 'lessons' learned.:eek:

    I use Shimano SPD pedals (M545/M424) and like them as the shoe cleat is recessed into the shoe allowing relatively normal walking. My pedals both have a cage around the clip offering more support for your foot, and while the LBS said I could also ride with these in normal shoes ... you can't really as the clip is angled above the cage allowing you to 'clip' in. This prevents a normal shoe from really sitting flat on the pedal and it would be really easy to slip off. That said, I'm glad I went clipless and aside from a few emarrassing falls in front of family I'm staying with them. Once you get used to "spinning" your pedals as opposed to pushing "left, right, left, right" it's all good!:)

    any questions, just ask

    Cheers,
     
  12. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    The trick with clipping out of pedals is getting enough leverage in the ankle twist.
    I find that if I position the crank (on the side I'm clipping out of) at 3 o'clock (right side), the clip out foot is in front of the other foot, that the ankle twist has a greater range of motion, allowing for a perfect clip out each time.

    Also after you clip out on one side, don't continue to sit on the saddle and try to balance on the toes, actually get out of the seat and put the foot flat down, that way you'll never over balance to the other side.
     
  13. JohnO

    JohnO New Member

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    You get used to them fairly quickly. At least, I did.

    For around town, I might suggest some of the Shimano MTB pedals. They are double sided - have cleats on both sides. To get into them, about all you have to do is stamp the ball of your foot on them. And they're probably easier to get out of than the old clips, especially if you have the pedals set loose.

    On the road, I use Campy Pro-Fit - very steady platform, nice wide area of contact. But I did put my MTB shimano pedals on the tandem, because getting in quick is essential to a smooth and abrasion free tandem start, especially if my wife is on the back. Wouldn't do to put her into the pavement along with myself.
     
  14. sogood

    sogood New Member

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    To go b/n MTB and road bikes, Crank Bros' system is probably the best. I've been through two Shimano SPD MTB pedals and found them to be unsatisfactory due to poor bearing in one and noisy pedal action in the other. Can't be happier with my present CB Quattro. These clipless are easier to unclip in an emergency and no fuss to clip in. You can also choose their Candy model as an alternative or even the egg beater model.

    With the SPDs, the more you are in a hurry to unclip the more you'll stay stuck.
     
  15. 1id10t

    1id10t New Member

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    +1 on Crank Bros. I went from Shimanos and Looks to Crank Bros.
    I now have Quattros, Mallets, Candy and Eggbeater pedals on different bikes. I now ride different bike and shoe combinations because I can; eg MT on the road bike if I want to be able to walk (as another poster noted).
     
  16. OrangePatriot

    OrangePatriot New Member

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    If at first you don't succeed, try try again.

    I first tried SPD clipless on my mountain bike and absolutely hated them. I had numerous low speed topples, one of which sticks in the mind... I was pedalling along through an unfamiliar town. I slowed down to ask a ped for directions and got totally distracted (she was CUTE!). Of course, when I stopped to hear her answer I forgot to unclip. I felt myself falling towards her and instictively stuck out an arm. As I toppled to the ground my hand got caught up in her blouse... God how embarrasing! She lost a couple of buttons, other peds got an eyeful, and I ended up in a heap at her feet. And the worst thing is that non-cyclists know nothing about 'forgot to unclip' falls. The poor woman must have thought I was some kind of uncoordinated lunatic pervert. And to be honest, that's exactly how I felt...

    Anyway, even that didn't stop me. I reverted to platform pedals on the MTB and next tried clipless a few months after I bought a road bike. Again, there were a few falls and near-falls at traffic lights and such - I had to consciously think "brake-shift-unclip" for the first few weeks - but now unclipping is totally second nature. I still might fall if I ever have to make an emergency stop, but that's fine - I'd rather stop and topple than not stop and crash!

    I use SPDs on the road bike. I haven't tried any other type of clipless yet, but I might in the future. I had surgery on both ankles as a teen and as a result I find I can only unclip with my left leg, and only then by twisting inwards. I've tried and tried unclipping the right but can only manage it once my left foot is on the floor. If anyone thinks I may be better off with a different pedal, please let me know!

    Anyway, persevere. Clipless are scary at first, but once you've got used to them, you'll wonder how you ever managed without them...
     
  17. EffSizzle

    EffSizzle New Member

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    Two months ago I purchased a Trek 7.3FX. I'm 34 years old and this is the first bike I've owned since I was 14 years old. I use the bike to commute in town and for weekend rides between 25-50 miles. After a few weeks of research I decided to purchase a set of Shimano SPD M520 clipless pedals and LAKE mountain bike shoes w/ cleats (as previously stated, it works for me because I can walk relatively normal when I dismount). I paid $50.00 for the pedals and $60.00 for the shoes. In my mind, without a doubt...money WELL SPENT!!!

    The guy who sold them to me told me that I would fall. He said that it isn't a matter of "if" but instead a matter of "when". Needless to say, I haven't fallen down, yet.

    When I first installed the pedals I practiced riding around the parking lot across the street for around 20 minutes, just slowly riding around while practicing clipping in and out. Coming to a stop pretending that I was at a light, then suddenly go and by the end of my 20 minute practice session I was a pro.

    I highly recommend SPD, and only because they work so beautifully for me.
     
  18. rparedes

    rparedes New Member

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    One thing i've done is to stick to platform pedals, (get the lightest MTB metal pedal...) Buy apair of MTB shoes but get the multipurpose shoe, (shimano makes several, HT120 is one i think) they are light and have recessed clip "pocket" but have VERY stiff soles so that pedaling long hours in platform pedals doesn't hurt your feet, they are also great to walk on they feel almost like casual shoes. Then if you want to go clipless later you can start with pedals that have a platform on one side and a clip on the other.

    I've read that the actual efficiency increase with clipless (about 5% i think) is only noticeable to competition athletes or very serious riders. They also work other muscle groups which typically are not used if you have platform pedals. So if your are casual rider it may not worth the trouble to get into clipless. Most surely you will have one or two falls before you get used to them...
     
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