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  1. #1
    Senior Member KDC1956's Avatar
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    Clipless Pedals First Time

    Today I went and got a set of Shimano XTR pedals put them on and had no problem getting in or out of them.It was like I had use them all of my life witch this was my first time to ever use this kind of pedals.I guess the videos I have watch and talking to my LBS help me more than anything.I tried to put my self in just about anything I could think of to see how fast I could get out of them.My LBS wanted me to bring my LHT to them so they could show me how to get in and out of them but I told them I would do it my self lol and I did.I have been looking at these pedals for about a year.Now I wish I had got them a lot sooner.I am very happy with my setup now.My Surly LHT is now all setup and ready to go touring.Anyone else ever do it this way or am I a little crazy for doing it this way.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jeveretts's Avatar
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    No, you are dead on. I don't even know where this learning curve thing came from. In my experience, people can do it fine on their first ride. My wife started cycling just this last year, and I didn't even mention clipless pedals, after a couple of months on some mks touring pedals, she proclaims "I think I am ready to try clipless". I took the M520's off my bike and put them on hers since they were pretty broken in, and replaced mine with a new tight set. She hopped on and never looked back.

    wait... come to think of it...I now see that was a shoe buying opportunity for her DOH!

  3. #3
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Just be prepared, there will come a time when you try to unclip, and for some reason, it just doesn't work. Most all of the time, this happens in the most embarrassing of possible locations. No sense trying to avoid it, it will happen sooner or later.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JeanM's Avatar
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    This is your fear, fuzz2050, but it doesn't have to be so. Fisrt the man clearly prepared and trained himself so he won't forget to unclip whenever need arises. Secondly the XTR pedals are of extremely good quality and a mechanical fault is very unlikely. Thirdly, there are two kinds of SPD cleats and one allows for unclipping by twisting up, right and left making everything that much easier.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    It is less of a big deal than a lot of folks make it out to be. It is way easier to clip out than to deal with clips and straps IMO. I went to clipless for mountain bike racing when SPD was first released. It was instantly easier than dealing with clips and straps.

  6. #6
    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    It is less of a big deal than a lot of folks make it out to be. It is way easier to clip out than to deal with clips and straps IMO. I went to clipless for mountain bike racing when SPD was first released. It was instantly easier than dealing with clips and straps.
    My first time was on a 1980s Motobecane Mirage that i had upgraded in the 1990s for spd. As I recall, first ride, I came down a gradual hill, stopping at the light at the bottom. Slowing on the lane line separating the right turning lane from the straight lane... (you all know where this is going). Settings too tight, can't unclip... Fell over at a standstill between two cars. Must've made their day(s) to see that. I can't even remember to which side I fell. {shame**

  7. #7
    mosquito rancher adamrice's Avatar
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    I'll offer this cautionary tale for SPDs in particular. I had been riding clipless for many years when I put SPDs on a bike and got a new pair of shoes to go with them.

    The thing about SPD cleats is that they mount with only 2 screws, unlike Looks (for example), which mount with 3. This means the SPD cleat can twist on the shoe.

    I discovered I hadn't tightened my cleats well enough. I tried to clip out, but the shoe just rotated while the cleat stayed put. That was a fun moment.

    Make sure you grease the threads of the cleat-mounting screws and tighten them down hard..

  8. #8
    Godfather of Soul SBRDude's Avatar
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    The real test is when you aren't thinking about unclipping and need to suddenly. Usually, that happens at a stop light and people panic as they start to tip over. One way to prepare for that sensation is to practice it by sitting on your bike in a narrow hallway so you can let yourself tip over and then try to unclip and get your foot down before fully tipping over and using the walls to catch your fall if necessary. This also happens frequently to mountain bikers who suddenly find themselves unable to pedal over a hill. Most of my bike "crashes" have been at 2 mph in this manner!

  9. #9
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    It is less of a big deal than a lot of folks make it out to be. It is way easier to clip out than to deal with clips and straps IMO. I went to clipless for mountain bike racing when SPD was first released. It was instantly easier than dealing with clips and straps.
    +1

    Much easier than clips and straps, to get the same effect with the clips and straps you need to tighten down the straps, then to disengage you need to reach down with your hand and loosen the strap. This is much easier to just twist the foot to release.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  10. #10
    Glutton for Punishment RANTWICK's Avatar
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    I agree that they are way easier than people think, but I also agree with others saying that you will get caught off guard and fall over sooner or later. The benefits, however, totally outweigh the rare time you might go down. As others said, 99% of the time you are at a near stop or trackstanding.
    Last edited by RANTWICK; 07-30-10 at 09:15 AM.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I guess maybe I just don't get it, but after you are used to clip-less, forgetting to clip out is kind of like forgetting to breathe.

    I think that getting used to clip-less is helped greatly if the following procedure is followed when setting up new clip-less riders:
    1. Unless you know they need something special position-wise, set cleats up with all adjustments in the middle of the range.
    2. Have the rider straddle the bike and clip in and out a few times while not moving.
    3. Verify the the initial cleat position is close enough that they feel OK to try it.
    4. Have them ride a few hundred yards and come back.
    5. Remind them to unclip as they are stopping.
    6. Ask them how the cleat adjustment needs to be changed. Discuss as needed and repeat riding if they are unsure.
    7. Make changes to one foot at a time.
    8. Repeat steps 4 -7 as needed increasing the distance ridden in step 4 as they feel they need to. This may take 30 minutes or so before you are done. Repeat again later if needed.


    None of the folks I have done this with have had problems either with adjustments or with forgetting to clip out.

  12. #12
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    I put clipless on a BikeFriday and immediately fell over three times in a month because the bb. is too high to touch the ground securely while sitting and I got momentary indecision whether I was going to step through or over the seat. Pretty embarassing. But still not as embarassing as coming to a stop with toe straps on too tight and not being able to unclip in time. Did that with a light pannier load a few years ago, fell over onto the grass between the curb and sidewalk on my back with the bike in the air. Getting stupid as I get older.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I guess maybe I just don't get it, but after you are used to clip-less, forgetting to clip out is kind of like forgetting to breathe.
    The problem is that people become complacent about clipless before unclipping becomes second nature. For the first week or so, you're paranoid about falling over so you unclip early and never have a problem. But then you get complacent, suddenly need to do a panic stop, don't think about unclipping, panic more as the bike starts to lean, and eventually fall over. Seems like the 2nd or 3rd week with clipless is often the trouble spot.

    One way to minimize low-speed falls is to trade the stock SH-51 cleats for the SH-56 multi-release cleat, and reduce the release tension on the pedal a bit. Not to the point where you're pulling the shoes off the pedals with every rotation, but just to the point where a paniced yank will allow the cleat to release.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    The only clipless I've used are Looks on a road bike. I hated them. I could get out of them fine, but there were so many times when I would try and set off, usually with a long line of cars behind me, miss the clip in and loose my footing. Not saying that they are wrong, just not for me. I must be the only person who had flats put on a high end road bike. But then again, after a while, I realised road bikes weren't for me - all that bent double, bunny hopping potholes. I'm much happier perambulating on my touring bike.

  15. #15
    Senior Member KDC1956's Avatar
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    Update on my clipless XTR Pedals it has be almost a year now and still I have not fell down or off my bicycle.Now that I have said this I know it will happen.But I hope not.Am also thinking about getting a new set for my other bicycle.

  16. #16
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    KDC1956, I've ridden SPDs for maybe 15 years and thy're on all of my bikes, except for an old Raleigh that still has a pair of 600 toe clips. (I DO have to keep that in mind when on that bike.) It does pay to keep the pedals clean (that chore generally exclusive to the mountain bike) and lubed with a couple of drops of chain lube irregularily. I haven't had any trouble with the cleats loosening, but was advised in the beginning to check the mounting screws from time to time, which I do.

    I installed Richey V4 pedals on my T700 because Richeys have worked well on my mountain bike for years.

    Brad

  17. #17
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    Tighten the cleat bolts after a couple weeks and monthly thereafter. After a year or two you can probably change to annual tightening. I carry a spare cleat bolt in my spares bag on tour.

  18. #18
    Macro Geek
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    I switched to clipless several years ago, and fell twice during the first month or two, both times while trying to extend a foot to the ground. Anyway, eventually the extraction move became second nature.

    It is not unusual to take a tumble (or two) while learning. I really like them now.

  19. #19
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    8000 miles in my first year of road-biking on Ultegra SPD-SLs. Probably well over a thousand stops and have never fallen. You're right about complacency - after a 70 mile ride I was exhausted and unclipped my left foot as usual at a stoplight but turned to look at something to the right. I started falling right and STILL managed on the way down to pull my right foot out and not fall. I did have a lovely groin strike on the tob tube in front of 100 people at the beach but at least my no-fall record is still intact!

  20. #20
    Senior Member ZCow's Avatar
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    I just recently started clipless myself (about three days ago). I got M520 and a Specialized MTB shoe. I was told to lower the tension all the way and put the cleat in the most middle position from a friend of mine. I didn't care if I fell or not, so I just got on my driveway, clipped in, and told myself to unclip before I got to the sidewalk. It was pretty simple and I also don't understand why many assume it is a long process. I am currently having problems with fit though. I did a longer ride (about 25 miles) and noticed a slight pain around the sides of my kneecap. I raised my seat about a centimeter or two and am now playing with the cleat position. It has been super frustrating for me.

  21. #21
    Macro Geek
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZCow View Post
    I am currently having problems with fit though. I did a longer ride (about 25 miles) and noticed a slight pain around the sides of my kneecap. I raised my seat about a centimeter or two and am now playing with the cleat position. It has been super frustrating for me.
    I had precisely the same problem when I went clipless. I was not able to resolve it myself, nor was my (normally) extremely capable bicycle fitter.

    I found a specialist: a kinesiologist with a background in bicycle racing, whose eagle eyes spotted subtle problems both with the fit and my pedaling technique.

    That was seven years ago. I modified my pedaling technique until it became second nature. The pain disappeared, and has yet to return. The adjustments to the fit that the kinesiologist made were minor a centimetre here, a few degrees there. But they made a big difference.

  22. #22
    Senior Member KDC1956's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
    Just be prepared, there will come a time when you try to unclip, and for some reason, it just doesn't work. Most all of the time, this happens in the most embarrassing of possible locations. No sense trying to avoid it, it will happen sooner or later.
    Well its been over a year now and still I have had no problem with them close a few times but still its great to have these.And I now want two more sets of clipless pedals for my other two bicycles. :-) Nice little update I think.
    Last edited by KDC1956; 08-19-11 at 04:15 PM.

  23. #23
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    I've been using dual-purpose touring pedals -- SPD on one side, platform on the other -- for five months now, and have yet to take the much-feared 0-mph fall. One helpful tip: leave one foot unclipped in parking lots, in heavy traffic or on narrow, winding trails where you may have to stop suddenly. Braking hard at low speed doesn't leave much time for unclipping.

  24. #24
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    Riding clipless on the road bike is WAY more second nature than riding clipless on a mountain bike. I'll start off by saying (knock on wood). I have only fell once while riding my road bike and that was a case of hitting some loose sand and going too slow. Started falling before I could even think about unclipping. But on the mountain bike..... well quite a few low speed falls. I even fell 2 times in the same place on an out and back ride. Thought I could make it through the sugar sand (Florida special) nope... got in the middle of it fell. Of course covered with sweat it just stuck to me. An hour later on the way back... I JUST KNEW I could make it through it this time.... NOPE.... Almost the same exact spot.. Another time was riding a trail with a friend and at the last second saw this BIG A$$ spider hanging down in front of me (never ride in front in Florida). I tried bailing before I hit the spider.... Didn't unclip fast enough.... down i went...... But didn't hit the spider so it was a success... LOL The friend I was riding with thought I was having some kind of fit....
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmot View Post
    One helpful tip: leave one foot unclipped in parking lots, in heavy traffic or on narrow, winding trails where you may have to stop suddenly. Braking hard at low speed doesn't leave much time for unclipping.

    +1

    I use Egg Beaters, and although I've done the low speed fall twice, I like them. My wife has the platform/SPD pedals, and she likes them. Neither of us are going back to toe clips.

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