Mountain Biking - Clipless...Ugh
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I've been MTBing for quite some time, and just this weekend tried out clipless pedals for the first time on a rather technical piece of single track.
How do you guys do it? My SPD pedals were a total pain in the a$$. I was tentative about climbing hills, going over tough rocks/roots, and crossing streams. I don't mind falling sideways. But climbing a steep hill and having to bail out...you don't fall sideways, you fall straight back down the hill...no fun.
So, will I get more used to it? I'm seriously ready to go back to my toe clips.
06-01-04, 06:36 AM
You'll be surprised how quickly you get used to them. On my first day with clipless I fell, tipped over, and slid downhill all day. However, the learning curve is pretty quick because your mind realizes that you better learn fast if you want to avoid a bruised ego and a scraped up bike (and body). Soon getting unclipped will become more like a reflex action. With platforms, you get used to slowly putting your foot down when you sense trouble. With clipless you have to learn how to unclip in a split second. Stick with it, you'll be glad you did.
I find clipless hard on the knees and ankles, even floaters. I rode clipless for a few months, then damaged a pedal and went to my toe clips again. I won't go back. I really preferred being able to adjust tightness on-the-fly on long rides. It's a matter of preference and I guess what you grow up on.
06-17-04, 02:42 PM
I don't find clipless easy. So I ride flats. Ironically I always mention injuries by clipless riders being pretty common imo. Everyone always says "Once you get used to it" well I was riding yesterday saw a very experienced rider on a skinny, couldn't unclip fast enough and fell. Uninjured but still, in flats would have popped out instantly.
But then again I am more than willing to sacrifice uphill ability in order to have the most fun jumping and on stunts. :)
06-17-04, 06:22 PM
For me, getting used to clipless was riding in the driveway for 2 hours straight. Then I hit the trails and everything was great, I fell a couple times there at low speeds.
About clipping out fast enough, it has just become a reflex. Sometimes on tight turns I won't even notice that I clipped out "just in case" and clipped back in immediately.
Guess it's just what you get used to.
06-17-04, 06:35 PM
When I first got clipless, it was a natural reflex to unclip. I took a few nasty falls in the beginning but now its second nature to unclip when you sense danger.
I would never ride clipless on the trails. I only ride on the road with it. I did a 50km ride today. Wouldn't have been possible without clipless.
On the trails i perfer platforms. Ive fallen hard with it and I don't want to imagine what would happen if I was riding clipless.
I'm seriously ready to go back to my toe clips.
I don't think toe clips are any easiers to exit. I presume you don't cinch down the strap and you don't use the "old fashioned" road type cleats.
I've never ridden with toe clips on a moutain bike, but to exit, you must pull back. With clips, one must twist the foot. It seems to be the same effort but perhaps it's all about how the mind/body is trained to react.
Unless you cinch the straps snugly, it seems hard to apply power throughout the entire stroke, since at the bottom of the stroke, the foot needs to pull the pedals. Clipless allows you to utilize the full motion of a pedal stroke.
One thing I noticed with clipless, I tend to work through problems instead of bailing. Every now and then I surprise myself by clearing a section.
However, even after 4+ years of riding, I took a slow speed spill climbing on a hairpin on a singletrack last Sunday. I thought I could work it out, but wound up on my side...laughing at myself and hoping no one saw.
I found clips and straps to be the most dangerous pedal type offroad. To get into them, you need to flip the pedal over which takes time and the consequences of not flipping them over and just using the platform can be rather nasty if you happen to hook a rock or stump or branch. Getting out of them also requires you to wiggle your feet out if they're anywhere near tight and if they aren't it's to easy to slip out accidently. Bailing out of them was nowhere near as automagic as with clipless pedals. I also found that the hotspots on the top of my feet became unbearable after more than an hour's worth of riding. When asked, I always suggest either clipless or platforms.
"Once you get used to it" well I was riding yesterday saw a very experienced rider on a skinny, couldn't unclip fast enough and fell. Uninjured but still, in flats would have popped out instantly.
Clipless isn't meant for all situations... for any bighit or northshore stuff flats are the obvious choice
06-18-04, 06:40 AM
You may also want to check the tension on the pedals. Since you are new to clipless loosen it up all the way for the first few times and just ride some easy terrain. Clip in and out while riding until it feels some what natural.
I use clipless on everything. We do not have skinnies around here so that is not a problem. The reason most people can not unclip is because their first reaction is to lift your foot up off the pedal rather then twisting the heal out. It takes time and you will get used to it.
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