Bicycle Mechanics - Big problem with clip pedals
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I would like some help with diagnosing why I can't unclip my feet from the pedals without great force.
I've had them for a couple of weeks and have fallen 4 times. I've adjusted the cleats every which way. I have the tension of the pedals adjusted all the way to the minimum (turning the screw to the left). I think there may be an incompatibility between the shoes and the pedals. My last resort is to grease the clips, which seems plausible that it could resolve the issue, but having slippery pedals dosen't sound like such a smart idea. I bought them at REI under the advice of a salesman. Unfortunately, the closest REI is 2 hours away, but I will go to a LBS if I have to. Anyway, please look at what I have a tell me what you think. By the way, I have the cleats centered as best I could in the opening on the bottom of the sole and they are pointed to the front.
Pedals: Shimano A520 SPD Sport Pedals
Shoes: Keen Austin
08-17-12, 12:05 PM
Inspect the "pocket" in the shoe soles to see if there is any interference with the cleats. If something is obstructing the cleat, cut the rubber away to get a bit of clearance and see if that fixes the problems. Shimano SPD pedals with the proper matching cleats should not be very difficult to release from. A spritz with WD-40 or a silicone lube can also help with both entry and release.
Most clip-on systems have a certain amount of float where they won't unclip. There's also a tension adjustment which adjusts the release force needed.
The key to releasing is to use a quick snapping motion rotating in or outward to release. It might be you're having problems beacuse you wait too long to release then lack confidence so you panic and try to pull up as you release which stiffens the action.
Start by checking your pedals, clip in your shoes (off the bike), then give them a sharp push sideways to check that they release nicely. You might also back off some of the tension. Then sit on the bike next a wall, and practice the release motion a few times until you're comfortable, before riding. Then prevent the release crisis by releasing well in advance of stopping and leaving your foot on but not in the pedal. Release with the foot near the bottom of the pedal stroke where you have the most freedom of rotation. Get used to doing this with one foot all the time, so you have the control of having the other engaged if need be. (this can lead to a comical slow fall if you're standing with your weight shifted to the wrong side). Once you have your release technique down do it the same way every time, so it's a reflex and you'll do it automatically in an emergency.
Within a day or so, the comedy show will be over permanently.
BTW- some people, including myself have much more success releasing turning the heel in to the wheel rather than out. My right road shoe has a good size scuff area by the heel from contact with the tire so, I glue a piece of leather there and replace it from time to time, but I find inside release to be easier on my ankles and knees, so continue to release this way.
08-17-12, 02:51 PM
Are you sure that you reduced the release tension? You may have maxed it instead of turning it down.
OK, so I sprayed with WD-40 as suggested which seems to have mitigated the situation. Thanks for all the ideas, guys.
08-17-12, 07:32 PM
I think you have the cleat retention maxed out, as left is clockwise
08-17-12, 08:05 PM
Are you using the cleats that came with the pedals, or a different pair? I've found several combinations of cleat & pedal that don't work well together even though they all appear to be standard SPD style items. The ones that came with the pedals will be the right ones even if others are iffy.
08-17-12, 09:18 PM
Also, make sure the cleats, themselves, are tight. If they are loose it's a bear to get even SPDs to release.
08-17-12, 10:45 PM
Havent read the thread ok? But one of the reasons IMO the OP is having the problem is because he might need to have the cleats (or the feet, depending how you look at the problem) in another (wrong) angle. The feet to unclip needs like 5 to 8 degrees. If the feet is clipped in a position where the feet is like in 4 degrees you can't twist the feet enough to release the pedal. As direct consequence, it feels like is too hard too unclip or you cant unclip at all.
The feet twisting movement is too short, the only way to fix that is to angle the cleat a tiny bit so the heel is closer to the frame, hope you got the idea, is just a tiny bit like 1 or 2 degrees, you have to test.
But since I havent used spds ever, I can't tell you if you can change the angle of the cleats a tiny bit or not. My understanding is that the SPDs cleats have a fixed position in the shoe.
Hope this helps.
08-18-12, 05:02 AM
Good advice as above, but also check the sole clearance with the pedal. A lot of these type of shoes have the cleats mounted too deep from being inset into the sole, especially as you are running a low profile platform SPD pedal; the rubber outsole may act as an unwanted gasket preventing easy release rotation. Think of it as closing a door with too thick weatherstripping; you can close the door, but it takes extra effort to turn the doorknob and open it. You can try the shoes on a friend's non-platform SPDs and see if the problem persists. Worth a look and may possibly be solved with a sharp blade and a keen eye.
Have same prob. but with another brand and 9 degree cleat that came with pedal. Mine so bad I often had to put rear wheel against something to keep rear end of bike from moving. Accidently found I could clip out VERY easy by rotating ankle in to frame vs out. Have done just about everything: lubrication, moved cleat to other shoe, tension adjust to both extreams and inbetween, cleat position - just one more thing to try. In order to eleminate any possibility that shoe is problem I am going to screw cleat to board and test.
08-18-12, 06:40 AM
CTpress that what happened to you was because the cleats were in the wrong position.
From what I can see you can do angular adjustments to spd pedals.
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