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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 09-03-09, 10:12 AM   #1
Bklyn
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Can't ... Unclip..! *clatter, clatter*

It's always safe to assume user error in the no-speed clipless fall. But I've been riding clipless for years now, and I think what I'm dealing with is equipment failure. I'm just not sure where the problem is. Looking for your diagnosis advice.

Salient facts:
Pedals are three years old. They seem to be in decent condition, spinning freely but not wildly. (They are Shimano 520 mtb pedals, standard-issue commuter type.)
Cleats are maybe a year old. They look worn, but they always do.

Mitigating factors:
Pedals were recently moved to a new bike. Previous bike was fixed gear with relaxed touring geometry. New bike is decidedly more "racy."
• Never had a problem until recently with unclipping; now it is almost impossible to swing my heel out to unclip. Drawing heel in, however, works fine. (But it feels completely unnatural.)


I wonder whether the new position I'm in (combined with the age of the pedals) has made it impossible to unclip as I always had. Or maybe now that the pedals are not on a fixed gear the tension doesn't need to be so high?

I'd love any opinions.


PS: I didn't think it was important, but upon reflection it occurs to me that a neighbor in my building could be routinely urinating on my right pedal in the middle of the night. That could factor in.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:27 AM   #2
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Check that your cleat hasn't worked itself loose and ended up repositioned. I was having trouble unclipping (SPD setup for me, too) and that was the culprit. A couple years of unclipping the same foot over and over repositioned the cleat enough that my heel was permanently pointed slightly outward and I'd have to torque it almost perpendicular to the bike to clip out.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:29 AM   #3
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Grease.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:32 AM   #4
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Worn and/or slipped/loose cleat.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:34 AM   #5
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Grease.
+1. And only enough tension to hold you in the clips. I run mine almost full loose.
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Old 09-03-09, 10:49 AM   #6
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PS: I didn't think it was important, but upon reflection it occurs to me that a neighbor in my building could be routinely urinating on my right pedal in the middle of the night. That could factor in.
i have no help to offer on the pedals. but...did no one else pick up on this? i would call that a problem!
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Old 09-03-09, 11:23 AM   #7
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Like other posters said, check for a loose cleat. Also check / lube whatever on your pedal system moves. More than one person I know who has or had Speedplay cleats fixed a problem by lubing the spring mechanism (on the cleat for Speedplays).
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Old 09-03-09, 11:36 AM   #8
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Loose screw in the cleat, as others have said. There have been many threads here where people have had a screw work its way loose, leading to the complete inability to clip out.
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Old 09-03-09, 11:47 AM   #9
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Like other posters said, check for a loose cleat. Also check / lube whatever on your pedal system moves. More than one person I know who has or had Speedplay cleats fixed a problem by lubing the spring mechanism (on the cleat for Speedplays).
SOP for Speedplay cleats is spraying with dry lube. But the spring mechanism is in the cleat, not on the pedal. Not that you shouldn't keep other pedal systems cleaned and lubed...
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Old 09-03-09, 11:57 AM   #10
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Loose screw in the cleat, as others have said. There have been many threads here where people have had a screw work its way loose, leading to the complete inability to clip out.

It's happened to me and taught me to always check my cleats before I put them on. I had to untie the shoe and pull my foot out, because that cleat wasn't coming off easily. One screw completely fell out and the cleat was turning around the axis of the other screw.

I also learned to carry a couple of spare screws, in case I encounter someone in my travels who has this problem.

Last edited by DX Rider; 09-03-09 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 09-03-09, 12:07 PM   #11
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Grease.
Is the Word??
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