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stick with clipless or return to flats

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stick with clipless or return to flats

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Old 01-17-06, 12:58 AM
  #1  
cisted
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stick with clipless or return to flats

I've recently bought a pair of spd pedals and shoes. The are great for riding around town and commuting, but since fitting them I have been unable to get out on the trails (aaaarrrgggghhh). I can't help feeling that lifes going to be a bit more dangerous riding XC on these as I have a had 2 falls in the past 2 weeks just on the roads.

Is it worth sticking with the clipless system or am I better to go straight back to flats before riding the trails this weekend?????
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Old 01-17-06, 01:39 AM
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Yeah. Did you SEE that? He said FALL into place. Uh huh...


PLAT FORMS, PLAT FORMS, PLAT FORMS!!!!
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Old 01-17-06, 01:49 AM
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Nothing wrong with platforms. Ride what you feel you can handle
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Old 01-17-06, 11:09 AM
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Going off the original question, I too am new to clipless and I was wondering if they are inherently faster (because I am having trouble getting used to it) or is it more of a weight and control of the bike issue? Do i need to break the habit from my motorcycle days of occasionally leading with the inside foot in tight bermed corners? Thanks in advance, I didnt mean to take away from the original question...
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Old 01-17-06, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cisted
I've recently bought a pair of spd pedals and shoes. The are great for riding around town and commuting, but since fitting them I have been unable to get out on the trails (aaaarrrgggghhh). I can't help feeling that lifes going to be a bit more dangerous riding XC on these as I have a had 2 falls in the past 2 weeks just on the roads.

Is it worth sticking with the clipless system or am I better to go straight back to flats before riding the trails this weekend?????
I would say give them a try on the trails. If you don't feel comfortable after a couple rides, switch back to your platforms. There is definitely a learning curve involved, though. Once you do become used to them, you will be able to get a foot out as easily as you can with your platforms.
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Old 01-17-06, 11:59 AM
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it takes a while. you'll get used to them. stick with it. try it for a ride or two, and if you still don't like them, then go back to flats. don't give up just yet!

i've been on clipless since 1990 on the road, and offroad since 1992. i'm so used to them, i ride them on everything, hard techy stuff, stunt stuff; everything. can't imagine going to flats now.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:44 PM
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I agree - I could never go back to platforms now! Dont get discouraged, I wiped out many times for about a month when I first got them. Still remember the first day, falling right over sideways and still clipped in on the ground at a red light.

Eventually, the release just comes as natural as stepping off of a platform.

Trust us, you will learn to love them and won't regret it!

-Andrew
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Old 01-17-06, 12:47 PM
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stick with clipless for xc riding, after a few falls you get used to them
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Old 01-17-06, 12:51 PM
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Make sure you adjust the release tension to an acceptable level. When I first got my bike and hit the trails, I loved the extra power and the fact that my feet weren't slipping off the pedals, particularly important on rough, bouncy downhills. But then I fell over trying to get over some nasty roots on an uphill. The tension on the clips was so tight I couldn't get my feet off the pedals! I was stuck there until some other riders came along.

They laughed and laughed, then got me righted and admitted it had happened to them, too.
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Old 01-17-06, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by scrublover
it takes a while. you'll get used to them. stick with it. try it for a ride or two, and if you still don't like them, then go back to flats. don't give up just yet!

i've been on clipless since 1990 on the road, and offroad since 1992. i'm so used to them, i ride them on everything, hard techy stuff, stunt stuff; everything. can't imagine going to flats now.
I've been seriously considering going to clipless, but there are times when I have to bail (usually over the handlebars) on the hard/techy stuff, and that's mainly what's holding me back.

I ride clipless on the road, so I'm used to engaging/disengaging, but it seems to me you just wouldn't be able to get out fast enough in the "Oh crap!" bailout situations. How do you handle that?
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Old 01-17-06, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by WD_40
I've been seriously considering going to clipless, but there are times when I have to bail (usually over the handlebars) on the hard/techy stuff, and that's mainly what's holding me back.

I ride clipless on the road, so I'm used to engaging/disengaging, but it seems to me you just wouldn't be able to get out fast enough in the "Oh crap!" bailout situations. How do you handle that?
Sure. No one is saying that you will never crash again once you get used to them, but the benefits out weigh the risks.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:55 PM
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Hey guys, Thanks for the encouragment. I'm definately gonna stick with them... When I posted this I was starting to think that perhaps clipless were only for light XC and that I had made a dangerous mistake. Now at least I know I'm not alone.
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Old 01-17-06, 01:57 PM
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A few pointers....

1. Loosen the tension as much as you can.
2. Find a soft grassy field and practice unclipping (Practice your track stands and do not unclip until you are on your way down)
3. Stay off of the really technical trails at first. Stick to the easyone until you get use to unclipping.

I had skinned elbows and knees for an entire season from countless clipless related crashes. I was going from clips/cages to clipless and I had the tenacy to pull back not heel out. Folks going from flats tend to try to lift up and out. As everyone knows, that does not work. Always remember HEEL OUT!

Several years after the conversion, I couldn't imagine riding without clipless pedals, the added power and consistant placement of my feet are worth it. I use CB Mallets on my Mountain bike as they have a platform on them so you can still pedal without being clipped in. I still unclip one or both feet on the really technical sections especially on the "You fall, you die" section of the trails.

Good luck.

T.J.
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Old 01-17-06, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cisted
I've recently bought a pair of spd pedals and shoes. The are great for riding around town and commuting, but since fitting them I have been unable to get out on the trails (aaaarrrgggghhh). I can't help feeling that lifes going to be a bit more dangerous riding XC on these as I have a had 2 falls in the past 2 weeks just on the roads.

Is it worth sticking with the clipless system or am I better to go straight back to flats before riding the trails this weekend?????
Just stick with it. If they are spring-tensioned, loosen the spring and it will be easier to get out.

If they are based on angle release, point your cleat on each shoe towards the big toe. This will reduce the angle at which the cleat will release.

If you are naturally duck footed (toes tend to point outwards), you may need to do some exercises to get your knees pointing inward. Just practice pointing your feet and knees inward and hold that position until it's a little uncomfortable. This is a great exercise while surfing channels on the recliner.

EVERYONE goes through this. You will have to practice that "heel whip" motion in order to make it second nature. Just feel glad you are falling on the trail where there are things to break your fall. On the road, there is nothing but hard, unforgiving pavement to rip your flesh.

You spent the money, you might as well stick with it.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:02 PM
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I like my clipless for the trail, I can go longer and faster. But, it isn't for everyone, so try both, once you become comfortable with stopping and releasing, and decide. I ride with someone who uses platforms and has for years, and won't use anything else.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by francismacomber
Going off the original question, I too am new to clipless and I was wondering if they are inherently faster (because I am having trouble getting used to it) or is it more of a weight and control of the bike issue? Do i need to break the habit from my motorcycle days of occasionally leading with the inside foot in tight bermed corners? Thanks in advance, I didnt mean to take away from the original question...
I'll try and answer your questions specifically:

Clipless are generally faster for a couple of reasons: 1) you can more efficiently deliver power to the pedals because you can pedal in circles instead of mash. Not only does this delivery more overall watts, but also helps you keep traction in loose terrain 2) you stay attached to the bike in gnarly sections, giving you more control and allowing you to go faster.

Yes, you should probably lose that habit - I grew up on a dirt bike too, but on an mtb if you're not pedaling you're not applying any power... On a dirt bike you drag your foot because the bike is canted over in a power slide, and you're staying on the gas so you blast out of the corner. On an mtb if you're in that position a) you're probably not handling the bike well (no insult intended), and b) you slide then...stop...

Good luck!
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Old 01-17-06, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WD_40
I've been seriously considering going to clipless, but there are times when I have to bail (usually over the handlebars) on the hard/techy stuff, and that's mainly what's holding me back.

I ride clipless on the road, so I'm used to engaging/disengaging, but it seems to me you just wouldn't be able to get out fast enough in the "Oh crap!" bailout situations. How do you handle that?

once used to them, it's actually pretty easy. becomes second nature. half the time, i don't really even think about it. something gets ugly, and i'm out of the pedals.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:56 PM
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twist with the ball of the foot instead of at the ankle. much quicker release and also helps them become second nature faster. every time you think about it unclip, then clip back in on a road or flat. if you are on the road or flat imagine you are coming to a point of needing to unclip and do so, keep doing this until you feel more comfortable with the clip/unclip cycle. I also used to lean against a wall or tree and practice. mostly, hang in there. you will be a much more confident rider in less time than you think.
to answer the question of putting your foot down in turns, I do it all the time. its just unclip, dab the foot as needed, then reclip
I was the worlds biggest advocate for HATING clipless for a while but now I feel nekkid if I ride flats
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Old 01-18-06, 03:24 AM
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Originally Posted by francismacomber
Going off the original question, I too am new to clipless and I was wondering if they are inherently faster
Not really, You might save a second or two, but unless you're racing it's not a big deal
Originally Posted by francismacomber
(because I am having trouble getting used to it) or is it more of a weight and control of the bike issue?
If you're relying on being clipped in to control your bike you have larger issues. I'll admit they help when conditions are less than favorable such as when its wet and your thrashing because they help you stay connected but again if you're not racing it's not critical to have clipless pedals
Originally Posted by francismacomber
Do i need to break the habit from my motorcycle days of occasionally leading with the inside foot in tight bermed corners?
Yeah that's one to break.
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