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Old 08-03-05, 04:27 PM   #1
eroded
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Clipless pedals -- can't get proper tension

It goes without saying that I'm new at this. I just got a pair of Shimano SPD M520 pedals and SPD shoes. The LBS stuck my pedals on my bike. I used the cleats that came with the pedals and attached them to my shoes. Everything's on correctly; I double- and triple-checked the diagram to be sure.

I started to practice by snapping in and out. Well, the tension was low, so I slowly adjusted it higher. I made sure to keep the tension equal on both sides of both pedals. After each adjustment, I tried rotating the pedals a bit with my cleats engaged, but they kept slipping out. They would just lift straight up out of the pedal after the first or second turn.

Eventually I got the pedals as tight as they would go, and this is still happening! I can't seem to get the cleats properly engaged so that they stay locked in. They will seem firm, and I'll pull up and move front to back to test the tension, and they will stick... then I'll rotate the crank forward half a turn, and they just pull right out! Help, please.
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Old 08-03-05, 05:07 PM   #2
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Sounds like you have the wrong cleats or defective pedals. Even at the lowest tension setting, it should be very difficult, if not impossible, to pull straight out of an SPD pedal.
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Old 08-03-05, 05:25 PM   #3
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Are you sure you are adjusting the right side. On mine I had plastic pedal on one side and I cliped into outer side. I was adjusting wrong side. JPW
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Old 08-03-05, 08:58 PM   #4
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It just occurred to me that maybe the pedals aren't actually engaging completely, even though it feels like they are. It can't be the cleats (I don't think) because they are the same ones in the directions that came with the pedals. The only other thing I can think of is if my shoes are incompatible, but they are SH-T092 and claim to be SPD-compatible.

JPW--they're double-sided, so I'm adjusting everything.
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Old 08-03-05, 10:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by eroded
It just occurred to me that maybe the pedals aren't actually engaging completely, even though it feels like they are. It can't be the cleats (I don't think) because they are the same ones in the directions that came with the pedals. The only other thing I can think of is if my shoes are incompatible, but they are SH-T092 and claim to be SPD-compatible.

JPW--they're double-sided, so I'm adjusting everything.

I've had a couple sets of the 520's and I think they a great deal and a great pedal. The engage easily and shed mud very well. The "open" design allows mud to escape.

It does sound like you are not clipping in correctly. The leading point needs to fit under the little arch in the pedal, and you need to step down hard to engage the spring loaded lever on the back back of the pedal. As you step down, your foot will pivot on the leading point. Don't be afraid to step down too hard. . You should hear and feel a very positive "click".
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Old 08-04-05, 06:06 AM   #6
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Don't be afraid to step down too hard. You should hear and feel a very positive "click".
Thank you, that's exactly the advice I needed to hear. I backed the tension down to minimum and tried again; this time I clicked right in. I guess I just wasn't pressing down hard enough when I started out. And I was about to pack up the whole thing and drive it down to my LBS for their help. Instead I got to practice falling down in my living room this morning! Thanks again.
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Old 08-04-05, 10:33 PM   #7
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Thank you, that's exactly the advice I needed to hear. ... Thanks again.
Anytime - that's what this board is all about. I'm just giving back to the board for the many times it's helped me.

The 520s are (IMHO) the best bang for the buck. In addition to good mud clearing, the pedals are easy to "find" once you've gotten used to them. I've owned pedals that would load with mud (can't clip in or out), or I had a hard time clicking in. The only drawback to the 520s is their relatively heavy weight. It's not a concern with me since I could do more for my performance if I drop 10 lbs from my waist.

Once you get the hang of clipless, you'll find them more efficient. Don't worry about the occasional fall-over, I've been riding clipless mountain and road for 15+ years and still occasionally fall over. If anything , it's more embarrasing than anything else.
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