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  1. #1
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    2 questions...clipless

    On a steep nasty decent no matter how long or short...should you stay clipped in? I unclip if the trail is less then 2 ft wide or my speeds are over 25mph...I feel much more confident that way since my concentration is on rocks and ruts rather then unclipping if I need to. The problem is that the Shimano DX pedals I have are the biggest clipless paltforms I could find and they still arent very grippy without being clipped in and I jammed my calve into my large sprocket yesterday from a slip off.


    2nd question...where can I learn the technique to get the most out of clipless pedals? push pull in unison method is what im referring to but at my low cadence hill climbs where it is going to help me most I cant seem to do it...its only the hi cadences I can do the push pull method.

  2. #2
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    I only unclip when i am about to fall, that is it, otherwise i am always clipped in..Check to see if you can loosen up the clips, I know on most you can make it easier to clip out by adjusting a allen screw..I can only say practice, that is the only way to get good with them..Good luck
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  3. #3
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    Ok so how about question 2...the technique of pedaling with clipless pedals...where can I read up on that?

    I can only do the push pull method at high cadences and feel good about it...up hills at 2-3mph...the push pull seems like more harm then good so I must be doing something wrong since I only do a push until I get tired, then pull till tired then push and on and on...

  4. #4
    Senior Member iamthetas's Avatar
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    2) I practiced the method by using one foot at a time until it got tired then switched ,then tried them in unison. it took a bit of time but it was worth it. I started on flat sections then worked up to hills.1) I only unclip after I crash and they usually come unclipped somewhere between oh and $#!T. I usually will unclip if it looks like Im not gonna make the obstacle if I think about it. I dont think they will ever be second nature to me but a year ago I said Id never use them either. By The Way if you twist at the ball of your foot you will come out faster and easier than if you twist at the ankle
    Last edited by iamthetas; 06-20-05 at 06:03 PM.
    for the creation was subjected to futility,not willingly , but because of Him who subjected it in hope...that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:20-29
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  5. #5
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    I was wondering the same thing (first question).
    I usually unclip when i do downed tree crossings, sometimes i dont' make it over, and would rather be unclipped when i start to fall. Should i just work on balance a little more and start staying clipped and just hope for the best? I'd say on my normal trails there is only one crossing that there is NO way i would do it clipped, since i have never made it over without atleast a tiny foot dab.
    The other time i unclip is the super steep climbs that are hard to even walk up.

  6. #6
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    I find trees and steep climbs much easier while clipped in. But I never unclip unless I'm falling or stopping.

  7. #7
    there ARE no bad rides
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    As far as technique, probably the best advice/instruction on how to pedal most efficiently is in the book "How To Mountain Bike Like A Champion" by former world mtn bike champ Ned Overend. He describes pedaling with clipless as using the full stroke of the pedal, not trying to push down with one foot and pull up with the other. Kind of hard to give the details here, but once you understand it and try, you won't believe how easy and efficient your pedaling will be. Although I'm not into these kinds of books, I recommend this one highly.

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    thanks for the advice...I will try the method of one foot and also check out that book.

    I rode today and pushed hard and cut over 3 minutes off my last ride and beat my goal by 2 minutes...I started out and felt better then ever doing the hole stroke power thing but my shoes began to get a bit loose and I didnt want to stop so I went to push pull then I got tired but kept chuggin along...I think my shoes may be part of the problem they are shimano SH-MO36 from 4 or 5 years ago. I notice they come loose farily easy and when I try to clip out sometimes the shoe just "gives" so the cleat doesnt turn and im still clipped. I think that is why I lack confidence in the downhills clipped in.

  9. #9
    Too Much Crazy C Law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kritter
    when I try to clip out sometimes the shoe just "gives" so the cleat doesnt turn and im still clipped.
    Sounds like you need to loosen the retention spring screws if your pedals are adjustable. It really should not be that difficult to twist out of them. It should just be difficult enough so that is does not happen during the course of regular riding. Everyone is different though. Not being able to release when you want is a scary situation. I wouldn't want to go screaming down hills like that either.

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    As others have said, I only unclip when I am not riding (stopping, or wrecking ). Of all the times I've gone over the bars (probably 20-30 times), only twice did I not unclip quick enough. All the other times, I've landed on my feet! (still not sure how I do that)
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    I say 'ditto' to the others...I stay clipped in unless I'm walking, resting or trying to save a front wheel washout. The bike will usually separate from the rider if the ground gets involved.
    As for the pedaling motion...I would just say make sure you're in an easier gear. Don't worry about how fast you're going. Just pick a gear that is easy to maintain your motion and concentrate on form.
    And practice a LOT...you'll never get stronger by just thinking about it.

  12. #12
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Stay clipped in. Clipping out tells your head that defeat is impending. It's amazing what you can ride through is you just go for it.

    damn the torpedos ...full speed ahead.

  13. #13
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    Visualize pedalling in circles. That's the most efficient. Avoid up/down.
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  14. #14
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    I agree with these guys about staying clipped in. For me the most dangerous thing to do is clip out because there is no way to keep secure on the pedals (Ritchey Comps) and it's true, once out, your confidence is shot. Stay clipped and you control the bike, once you're out, you lose that control.
    I unclip when stopping or wrecking too............with me, however, both are usually unplanned !

  15. #15
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    "As for the pedaling motion...I would just say make sure you're in an easier gear. Don't worry about how fast you're going. Just pick a gear that is easy to maintain your motion and concentrate on form.
    And practice a LOT...you'll never get stronger by just thinking about it."

    No gear is easy for me to maintain my 330lb ass up the hills I climb! Im practicing 5 days a week.

  16. #16
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    as for staying clipped in regardless...its hard since im used to my dirtbike where you remove your foot and sling it forward and scoot forward to gain front traction...my mtb definitly is lacking on front traction in comparison to a dirtbike regardless if I have my foot out or not.

  17. #17
    chopsockey jo5iah's Avatar
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    Like many other here, I stay clipped in until I know I've screwed up. I generally come unclipped on the way, but sometimes I like to give my bike a soft landing (me).

  18. #18
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    I dont understand the trouble people have with clipless pedals the reaction/motion to unclip is extremely natural. I have mine tightened all the way and still have had no problems unclipping.

  19. #19
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    When your shoe just "gives" as you try to unclip and the cleat doesnt rotate freeing itself...you can see the problem.

    I just ordered new shoes...should solve the problem.

  20. #20
    Senior Member iamthetas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kritter
    as for staying clipped in regardless...its hard since im used to my dirtbike where you remove your foot and sling it forward and scoot forward to gain front traction...my mtb definitly is lacking on front traction in comparison to a dirtbike regardless if I have my foot out or not.
    with time what we say about staying clipped will make better sense. I was like you when i first started but with practice I got more confident. there were also a couple times I tried to unclip and couldnt due to my own errors and made the corner/root /sand and it gave me confidence to stay in longer. dont worry about a timetable either. some folks are used to it in a couple weeks and some take MUCH longer(like me) but it will get easier. and the "no easy gears will also. you will be amazed at your progress if you just concentrate on enjoying what you are doing. a couple of years ago a 6 mile super technical trail would kick my butt terribly. now I ride a MINIMUM of 10 miles and feel good when done and not dead tired. it just took off this spring and I am much faster,go farther and end up less tired. I just flipped the bird to trying to get anywhere and now I get farther than I thought I ever could by just enjoying the ride and the environment
    for the creation was subjected to futility,not willingly , but because of Him who subjected it in hope...that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:20-29
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  21. #21
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    had a great 11 mile ride today other then my girl taking a dirt sample 3 times on the second half...stayed clipped in much more today on the decent.

    I got passed on the uphill by a single speed...the guy was an F-in animal and blew by me in the steepest part of the trail at I would guess 15-20mph then his lady friend came by on a ss...pissed me off how fast they were going when I was going 2.7mph.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kritter
    When your shoe just "gives" as you try to unclip and the cleat doesnt rotate freeing itself...you can see the problem.

    I just ordered new shoes...should solve the problem.
    Replace your cleats as well. A bit of wear, and they may have some trouble releasing.

  23. #23
    Senior Member iamthetas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kritter
    had a great 11 mile ride today

    I got passed on the uphill by a single speed...the guy was an F-in animal and blew by me in the steepest part of the trail at I would guess 15-20mph then his lady friend came by on a ss...pissed me off how fast they were going when I was going 2.7mph.

    the first time I rode pocahontas trails I was on the intermediate thinking I was on ther easy trail. I got passed by some of those 1% body fat/1/2 my age guys and I was ok with that. on a hill called "heart attack hill" a guy that looked like he was in his 70s passed me like I was sitting still. I knew I sucked then but as it turned out he was a profesional racer and that was his WARMUP. I knew I really sucked then. keep on riding. I can now almost keep up with that guy. key word: almost. it gives me confidence to know Im enjoying myself, even though my lungs,legs,chest,arms,head etc. are SCREAMING for me to stop. after riding Pocahontas I researched the trail and made some friends in the process and found that all though I still sucked, I was not as bad as I thought. it is now one of my favorite places to ride as well as riding with that guy I mentioned and some other speed demons that will wait up every mile or so
    for the creation was subjected to futility,not willingly , but because of Him who subjected it in hope...that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Romans 8:20-29
    the truth may not always be popular but its always true
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  24. #24
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    Just a random thought on the clipping in and out thing. There was a spot I used to ride at with a whole network of singletrack, and a small jump spot. Anyway, there was a local lad who rode both XC and DH and generally all types of riding on a Santa Cruz Chameleon. He used clipless pedals and believe it or not he could take a set of doubles, clip out, pull a no-footer and clip back in before landing. It amazed me everytime.

  25. #25
    Too Much Crazy C Law's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kritter

    I got passed on the uphill by a single speed...the guy was an F-in animal and blew by me in the steepest part of the trail at I would guess 15-20mph then his lady friend came by on a ss...pissed me off how fast they were going when I was going 2.7mph.
    Yes, singlespeeds tend to be faster uphills because you are forced to push a bigger gear than you would usually use. Animals indeed!

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