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Just went clipless SPD.. wow!

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Just went clipless SPD.. wow!

Old 07-08-17, 07:07 PM
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calyco
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Just went clipless SPD.. wow!

Holy crap, just installed SPD SH56 cleat and the efficiency is out of this world. Now I understand why clipless is always recommended by so many cyclist. What a difference a stiffer sole and being clipped in makes, I feel like I have double the power and can go twice the distance I normally do (about 30 miles). And yes, 15 minutes in I almost busted my ass in slow motion, forgetting to unclip as I was approaching bench in park. Luckily it was multi release cleat so I tumbled a bit on my bum and the shoes automatically released. Lesson learned, now everytime I approach a red light its like a replay loop in my head "unclip, unclip, uncliiip"

So any tips for a newbie? Only thing I did was put blue loctite on the cleat screws, just in case. Any maintenance for the spring and pedals? Generally, how long do the cleats last and when to replace? TIA

Last edited by calyco; 07-08-17 at 07:19 PM.
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Old 07-08-17, 07:26 PM
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On those pedals/cleats literally no maintenance required whatsoever.

I mean cleaning them and putting a little chain lube on the internals might be ok every now and then but my spd pedals and cleats are going on 4 years old and I've never done a thing to them. They are on my winter bike too.
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Old 07-08-17, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by calyco View Post
Holy crap, just installed SPD SH56 cleat and the efficiency is out of this world. Now I understand why clipless is always recommended by so many cyclist. What a difference a stiffer sole and being clipped in makes, I feel like I have double the power and can go twice the distance I normally do (about 30 miles). And yes, 15 minutes in I almost busted my ass in slow motion, forgetting to unclip as I was approaching bench in park. Luckily it was multi release cleat so I tumbled a bit on my bum and the shoes automatically released. Lesson learned, now everytime I approach a red light its like a replay loop in my head "unclip, unclip, uncliiip"

So any tips for a newbie? Only thing I did was put blue loctite on the cleat screws, just in case. Any maintenance for the spring and pedals? Generally, how long do the cleats last and when to replace? TIA
I find that while being clipped in does help a little, the biggest benefit comes from simply having the stiffer soled shoes.
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Old 07-08-17, 08:28 PM
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After initial installation of the cleats maybe a few days later re-check that the cleats are tight. Don't go crazy but make sure the cleat bolts are tight.
The teeth on the bottom of the cleats tend to penetrate/bed onto the shoe sole initially.
Good luck.
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Old 07-08-17, 09:29 PM
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Reduce the retention setting on the pedals to the minimum required for you to prevent accidental clip outs. This makes clipping out more intuitive. The factory setting is usually way more retention than is needed, even by aggressive riders.
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Old 07-09-17, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by calyco View Post
What a difference a stiffer sole and being clipped in makes, I feel like I have double the power and can go twice the distance I normally do (about 30 miles).
This comes up every month or so. Fyi, they've done studies on pro bikers. They concluded that pro bikers didn't really pull up, and on the flat clipless provided no additional power. However, it feels like it's faster for some reason.

Most of the benefit of clipless is for fast riders spinning fast, or tired at the end of the race - clipless keeps their foot solidly attached to the pedal. You really don't want your foot flying off the pedal when racing, and that's the primary benefit clipless brings.

Other than feeling faster for many people.
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Old 07-09-17, 05:57 PM
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Yeah, it definitely feels faster from a standing start.
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Old 07-10-17, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by calyco View Post
Holy crap, just installed SPD SH56 cleat and the efficiency is out of this world. Now I understand why clipless is always recommended by so many cyclist. What a difference a stiffer sole and being clipped in makes, I feel like I have double the power and can go twice the distance I normally do (about 30 miles). And yes, 15 minutes in I almost busted my ass in slow motion, forgetting to unclip as I was approaching bench in park. Luckily it was multi release cleat so I tumbled a bit on my bum and the shoes automatically released. Lesson learned, now everytime I approach a red light its like a replay loop in my head "unclip, unclip, uncliiip"

So any tips for a newbie? Only thing I did was put blue loctite on the cleat screws, just in case. Any maintenance for the spring and pedals? Generally, how long do the cleats last and when to replace? TIA
Same here! Got new Shimano PD-M520 pedals (SH51 cleats) yesterday and Pearl Izumi X-Road Fuel IV cycling shoes. Beside adjusting them and practicing uncliping (which had me falling down once on grass), today was my first day using them. I need to adjust the angle and left-right distance a bit but the effect of pulling on the shoes when starting or climbing is really nice. I try not to pull on flat to leave these muscles rest so when climbing, I don't fatigue as fast. This afternoon, I'll be climbing a 300 m, 6% grade hill (part of a 4% 700 meters climb) and see get to test the effect.

Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
Reduce the retention setting on the pedals to the minimum required for you to prevent accidental clip outs. This makes clipping out more intuitive. The factory setting is usually way more retention than is needed, even by aggressive riders.
Once I installed the pedals, I counted the turns until full minimum and in my case, the factory setting was not consistent. I had 2, 2.25, 2.5 and 3 turns. I've set them to 1.5 turns each. I can unclip easily and it hasn't unclipped by itself yet. Mind you, I have not mashed the pedals (didn't fill the need to since I can pull up to increase wattage when starting) yet.
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Old 07-10-17, 11:06 AM
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Ive been on SPDs for almost 20 years, and would never go back to toe clips, cleats and straps. I've tried Shimano road SPDs, Speedplay, and settled on Shimano Mountain SPDs. The mountain shoes are so much easier to walk on, and the cleats last forever. I use mtn SPD cleats on road shoes too, but aren't quite as sure to engage, and walking is less secure, but they work fine for riding, as long as your road shoes have the two hole mounting. Just keep the pedal mechanisms clean and spray a little spray lube now and then. For last year's Eroica California, I had to dig out the old Campy pedals, toe clips and straps, since they are required. It was a rainy day, muddy on the dirt portions, and with mud in the cleats, I took two low (zero) speed falls on the same knee. Great ride, but the old set-up went back in the box, SPDs back on, and its all good now ... except for the sore knee.

I do "pull up" on the pedal stroke on some hills, when my legs are hurting. It seems to relieve some sore muscles, and put others to work. One day I was riding with a slightly weaker rider, and kept leaving them in the dust. I decided to only use the up stroke as an experiment and soft pedal the downward stroke. It turned out to be just as fast upward stroke only.

Last edited by Slightspeed; 07-10-17 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 07-10-17, 12:22 PM
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Yup, clipless pedals are the way to go. The positive retention, you don't have to use any energy or concentration to keep your feet on the pedals (it's not much, but it's there) so your perceived effort is lower.

Being able to 'pull up' when you're starting is nice, but that means you needed to shift up before you stopped.

Also, on long rides, you can 'pull' to take some of the load off of your quads, but that means using your hamstrings, which are usually weaker. (Actually, Triathlon bikes are set up to take advantage of that, so you can save your legs for the run)

If you ride trails or urban a lot, SPDs let you use your legs to 'english' the back end of the bike around. Bunny hops become a no-brainer. I hopped a nasty bridge expansion joint at ~30mph on my road bike. I had both wheels in the air before I realized what I was doing.

Just practice clipping and unclipping a lot, since if you only pop out one foot, the bike will decide to lean the other way.
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Old 07-10-17, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
This comes up every month or so. Fyi, they've done studies on pro bikers. They concluded that pro bikers didn't really pull up, and on the flat clipless provided no additional power. However, it feels like it's faster for some reason.

Most of the benefit of clipless is for fast riders spinning fast, or tired at the end of the race - clipless keeps their foot solidly attached to the pedal. You really don't want your foot flying off the pedal when racing, and that's the primary benefit clipless brings.

Other than feeling faster for many people.
Yeah, maybe its the proper spinning action which results in wasting less energy?

Thanks for the info guys.

Any preference on double sided vs single sided SPD pedals? I have the A530 which I find slightly annoying, always seem to be on the wrong side and annoying in traffic. Thinking about getting the M540
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Old 07-10-17, 12:50 PM
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A lot depends on individual usage; how much you ride in the rain, salted roads, etc.
I use light oil on the springs/mechanism when I see light rust forming. I change the
cleat when engagement is not secure anymore. Just the side that's loose; not both.
M540 is a good set. I started out with double sided right away(SPD); and it worked
out ok for me:
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Old 07-10-17, 01:49 PM
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An easy way to help you to unclip before it's too late is to think of your stopping on the bike as if you were stopping your car. If you drive a manual transmission, unclip whenever you would disengage your clutch. If you drive an auto transmission, unclip whenever you would apply your brake. It sounds ridiculously simple, but it works.
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Old 07-10-17, 04:35 PM
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So I took that hill. Usually I'm in 34/24 or 34/21 and climbing at 12-15 kph but today, I was in 34/19 and climbing at 19 kph. I was also able to recover faster once near the top of the hill.

One thing though, a bit earlier, as I was coming to a stop, I unclipped my right foot and left my left foot clipped. As I stopped, the bike leaned left and I... well... fell down. Bruised elbow and knee So after that I tried to unclip early but if I left my foot on the pedals (it was weird to ride with both feet off the pedals), I would sometime clip back in without realizing it. Luckily, I was able to unclip before falling (again). So, is there a trick or something? I love the efficiency of the clips but falling over isn't part of my fun list...
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Old 07-10-17, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
This comes up every month or so. Fyi, they've done studies on pro bikers. They concluded that pro bikers didn't really pull up, and on the flat clipless provided no additional power. However, it feels like it's faster for some reason.
This keeps coming up! That and the argument that the primary (downstroke) muscles are the strongest and most efficient and that we should not waste or time and resources on the others (the muscles for pulling up, over the top and back along the bottom).

I used to race. I've been riding a long time. Being told and taught to "spin circles", ie power continuessly around the circle was one of the biggest gifts I got from those days. Still, 40 years later. I spend a lot of time riding the old setup of toeclips, toestraps pulled tight and slotted cleats. When I forget to pull my straps tight, I regularly pull my feet out. Not just standing for hills. If I don't pull the straps all the way tight, I often here the click of my cleat coming down on the pedal every stroke because I lifted it off coming up.

There are two places where this really pays off. When I need all the power I can get and late in hard rides when I am near fried. I have more power I can dip into and for those marathon days, being able to ease off a little on the big muscles for the early hours pays really big dividends when I need them many hours later. Plus I have a better ability to keep my feet moving in circles that the guy who has been just pushing for those long hours doesn't. I'm the guy who drops them or drags their butt home.

Ben
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Old 07-10-17, 05:08 PM
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Calyco, you have just seen the light! If you take advantage of what I wrote in the post above you will get to watch yourself getting stronger and faster. For me the breakthrough came in two steps, clipless pedals being still a decade away. Pulling my toestraps tight with any old shoes, than cycling shoes with cleats. After I got that second piece it was only a year or so before I was racing.

Of course, you will be burdened by those "enlightened" folk who "know" that the gains we claim are all in our heads. Keep a straight face and nod with understanding. Like clipping in, sometimes the best way to save energy is to hold our tongues.

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Old 07-10-17, 05:12 PM
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I fell 3 times on my first day with clipless(I too use SPD), all happened after already stopped, one foot unclipped, then somehow forgetting the other foot is still clipped in and bike leaned that way, and boom! to the ground I go.

now I think those falls were good/beneficial - because they completely removed the fear of falling for me. You sorta come down on your side, on the knee and shoulder, so nothing serious/bonebreaking, it's more of a embarrassment/ego damage than physical damage.
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Old 07-10-17, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by calyco View Post
Any preference on double sided vs single sided SPD pedals? I have the A530 which I find slightly annoying, always seem to be on the wrong side and annoying in traffic. Thinking about getting the M540
I'm using the A530's on my hybrid. You'll get use to flipping the pedal over to the clip slide with a little flick of your toe... it soon becomes "second nature" and you don't really even think about it anymore.
The other nice thing about the A530's (as you know) is that you can hop on your bike with "any type of shoe" for a quick ride down to the grocery store, etc without having to change into your cleats.
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Old 07-10-17, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
Yup, clipless pedals are the way to go. The positive retention, you don't have to use any energy or concentration to keep your feet on the pedals (it's not much, but it's there) so your perceived effort is lower.

Being able to 'pull up' when you're starting is nice, but that means you needed to shift up before you stopped.

Also, on long rides, you can 'pull' to take some of the load off of your quads, but that means using your hamstrings, which are usually weaker. (Actually, Triathlon bikes are set up to take advantage of that, so you can save your legs for the run)

If you ride trails or urban a lot, SPDs let you use your legs to 'english' the back end of the bike around. Bunny hops become a no-brainer. I hopped a nasty bridge expansion joint at ~30mph on my road bike. I had both wheels in the air before I realized what I was doing.

Just practice clipping and unclipping a lot, since if you only pop out one foot, the bike will decide to lean the other way.
This site has a great pictures depicting which muscles are used during a pedal stroke.

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Old 07-10-17, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by CasualInSoCal View Post
I fell 3 times on my first day with clipless(I too use SPD), all happened after already stopped, one foot unclipped, then somehow forgetting the other foot is still clipped in and bike leaned that way, and boom! to the ground I go.

now I think those falls were good/beneficial - because they completely removed the fear of falling for me. You sorta come down on your side, on the knee and shoulder, so nothing serious/bonebreaking, it's more of a embarrassment/ego damage than physical damage.
I just went for a stop and go ride around the block, after a few stops, second fall. Bleeding from another spot on the same knee Now I try to be more careful not to lean the bike on the foot that is still clipped but when that foot is on the bottom of the pedal stroke when you're stopping, the weight leans the bike that way. May be I should wear knee and elbow pads for the next few rides lol.
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Old 07-10-17, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by calyco View Post
Yeah, maybe its the proper spinning action which results in wasting less energy?

Thanks for the info guys.
For some reason they actually seem to "feel" faster even though measurements say they aren't. It kinda funny. People ride for fun though, so if it feels faster and it provides other benefits (foot retention, the feel of being connected to the bike) why not? :-)

Originally Posted by calyco View Post
Any preference on double sided vs single sided SPD pedals? I have the A530 which I find slightly annoying, always seem to be on the wrong side and annoying in traffic. Thinking about getting the M540
2 sided clipless lets you clip in and out without looking down (with some practice). When I was riding clipless I found this especially useful since you're always clipping in at intersections right when you want to have your head up and looking the most.

Shimano makes plenty of good 2 sided pedals. But if you wanted to be able to switch back and forth, but wanted to do clipless, the most interesting thing I've seen is Ezy Superior pedals. You can switch them by hand in 15 seconds:

They make both flats and spd-compatible pedals. I only ride flats right now, but thought it looked interesting - passing it along.
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Old 07-10-17, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
This keeps coming up! That and the argument that the primary (downstroke) muscles are the strongest and most efficient and that we should not waste or time and resources on the others (the muscles for pulling up, over the top and back along the bottom).

I used to race. I've been riding a long time. Being told and taught to "spin circles", ie power continuessly around the circle was one of the biggest gifts I got from those days. Still, 40 years later. I spend a lot of time riding the old setup of toeclips, toestraps pulled tight and slotted cleats. When I forget to pull my straps tight, I regularly pull my feet out. Not just standing for hills. If I don't pull the straps all the way tight, I often here the click of my cleat coming down on the pedal every stroke because I lifted it off coming up.
Well, if you just moved away from your innefficient pedalling technique involving pulling up, and went for the same technique the pro's use where they only unweight the foot, maybe you'd be able to improve enough to get into the Tour De France after all. ;-)
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Old 07-10-17, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
I just went for a stop and go ride around the block, after a few stops, second fall. Bleeding from another spot on the same knee Now I try to be more careful not to lean the bike on the foot that is still clipped but when that foot is on the bottom of the pedal stroke when you're stopping, the weight leans the bike that way. May be I should wear knee and elbow pads for the next few rides lol.
Lol, this is one of the reasons I point out that the efficiency advantage is not there. If you're having other common issues with clipless - falling over, not liking being unable to jump off the bike and walk around in regular shoes, etc, I don't think it's worth it.

If you like clipless that's cool. I'm just saying that it's often not worth going through a mountain of work to try to make them work if you're running into issues (like I really like being able to lock the bike and walk around in flat regular shoes).

If you want to get them to work, my suggestion is to take your pedals and shoes to a gym with a stationary exercise bike. Put the clipless pedals on the bike. Ride it, clip out clip in, spin a bit more, clip out clip in, etc. Maybe do it it a few times. The goal is to build up the muscle memory of how to get in and out of the pedals - without any risk of doing a fall.
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Old 07-10-17, 09:52 PM
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Try unclipping the foot while you're still moving fast, and then gradually unclip later in the stop as it's comfortable to do so.
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Old 07-10-17, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
Lol, this is one of the reasons I point out that the efficiency advantage is not there. If you're having other common issues with clipless - falling over, not liking being unable to jump off the bike and walk around in regular shoes, etc, I don't think it's worth it.

If you like clipless that's cool. I'm just saying that it's often not worth going through a mountain of work to try to make them work if you're running into issues (like I really like being able to lock the bike and walk around in flat regular shoes).

If you want to get them to work, my suggestion is to take your pedals and shoes to a gym with a stationary exercise bike. Put the clipless pedals on the bike. Ride it, clip out clip in, spin a bit more, clip out clip in, etc. Maybe do it it a few times. The goal is to build up the muscle memory of how to get in and out of the pedals - without any risk of doing a fall.
Like I said earlier, I like the efficiency of clipless pedals. As I pointed out, I was able to climb at a faster speed, bigger cog/chainring ratio, less fatigued and recover faster than with my flats. Looking at Strava, for that hill segment, I did a personal record today with the clipless pedals. I also got two personal third best time as well during that ride. My 'Suffer Score' remained the same as my previous commute back home but my average wattage went up by 25W.

I have an exercise bike but I don't think it will help because my issue isn't with the unclipping per say but the leaning of the bike as I stop. An exercise bike doesn't lean, well, not mine at least... I just need to remember to lean the right side so I don't fall over or maybe unclip the other side as I'm about to stop so if I do lean the wrong side, my foot will stop the fall and not my side of the body

Thanks for your suggestion though. Now it's time to add another layer of New Skin to that scrape (blood was flowing too much from one scrape for just one layer of New Skin to stop it). It stings like hell when applied to a fresh wound but contains antiseptic and beats plasters, specially on hairy legs lol.
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