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Look pedals are going to be the death of me...

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Look pedals are going to be the death of me...

Old 01-04-13, 01:13 AM
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ben8jam
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Look pedals are going to be the death of me...

I rode SPDs for years around town. Then got into road cycling. Been on Look pedals for over 600 miles and love how I feel on the bike and limited float.

However, when riding in traffic I constantly slip off the pedal or can't get into it whilst at red lights. I know it's mostly in my head, but tired of cars buzzing me as I fiddle with the pedal not hanging right or slipping off it. Don't want to end up flat.

Any solution?? Anyone put some kind of grip tape on the pedal or mid-shoe so I can at least get a start?

Frustrated...
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Old 01-04-13, 01:28 AM
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In your head. You're thinking too much. It's one of the easier traditional road systems to get in and out of.

If you find it's really never going to work then it's worth trying different systems. Something totally different meaning not the same basic setup (ie - avoid Shimano SPD-SL)

Your foot should just come forward, hit the pedal and push in as you accelerate.

I have used a LOT of systems over the last few decades. I have found that I can usually easily get the hang of any system within a short period of time if not instantly, but there was Crank Bros Candy. Just couldn't get into them quickly and easily. They weren't too different from any other system out there, but for some reason my body mechanics couldn't nail it. So I switched and am super happy.

So....sometimes it just isn't going to work.

But like I said - Look are simple and I can't tell you how many "rec" style riders I see who can totally flip out nervous concerning getting their foot into a pedal. Those riders are causing their own problems at that point.
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Old 01-04-13, 01:57 AM
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ya you will learn how to get it to clip in with one continuous motion... the weight of the pedal will naturally flip the pedal upside down when you are stopped. Get into the habit of flipping it around with the tip of your toe, sliding the cleat from the back to the front until it locks in place.
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Old 01-04-13, 07:21 AM
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You will get used to it. Until you do...

When you are coming to a stop, shift down a couple gears before you stop, so when you start up again your pedalling action will be light and easy to do with one leg.

When you start, take a few pedal strokes with the already-clipped-in foot until you get enough momentum to stop pedalling for a sec, then look down and flip the pedal gently up and get your foot in it. Don't just kick at it, it'll start spinning and be harder to get into. Eventually you will be able to do it without looking.

if you have to, you can ride not-clipped-in with one foot, but you have to be gentle or it will (as you know) slip off.
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Old 01-04-13, 08:54 AM
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Two things:
1. Practice. It's amazing how much 5 minutes of practice will help. Sit on the bike while leaning on a wall or something. Clip in. Note where your shoe is on the pedal - it's usually more forward or backward than you might think. Get a landmark on your shoe, a seam or something, and note where it is relative to the crank/pedal-axle/etc.

When unclipping push down (pedal at bottom of stroke helps) and twist. Many riders fall over because they panic and pull up and away, the normal way to pull a regular sneaker off of a pedal. Problem is that pulling up and away doesn't really let the pedal release the cleat. Push down and twist.

Clip in again. You'll probably clip in at about the same pedal position each time, like when it's positioned at 2 o'clock or something. This is fine - there's muscle memory, habit, etc kicking in.

When you can clip in 20 times in a row without messing up you're good to go. Not 19. Not 18. 20.

When on the road you'll find that if you make your free foot "pedal" it'll find the pedal almost automatically. It's like the foot just starts to pedal and engages the pedal while pedaling.

2. Most people who are starting on clipless pedals will start moving forward by pushing off on their free foot. This works if you're wearing sneakers. It doesn't really work if you're wearing shoes that have hard cleats on the bottom. Instead of pushing off with your foot you should use your clipped in foot to get going. Just one downstroke will get you enough inertia to get your other foot clipped in. Because you can clip in real quickly because you clipped in 20 times in a row without messing up.

Extra Credit: many people stop practicing clipping in by cheating. I do a lot of trackstands at lights and stop signs so I don't need to clip out. I found the hard way that after doing this for a while that I got a bit rusty with the clipping in bit. Therefore I make it a point to put a foot down regularly so that I can practice clipping in.

It also helps to put a foot down even though you know it'll be a high stress "clip in" time, like at a traffic light intersection with a lot of cars, on a steep uphill stop sign, etc. When you're stressed your body reacts differently. It almost immediately loses fine motor control. You need to learn how to make fine motor control movements, like clipping into a pedal, even when under duress.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:11 AM
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I agree with the above, but what the OP is describing is the exact reason I gave speedplay a try (and kept them). Double sided entry. Way easier, for me, than trying to get my look keo to flip and click in at busy intersections.

After I'm clipped in, they are equal to me.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:27 AM
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For most, it does get easier over time Keep at it. Good luck.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
You will get used to it. Until you do...

When you are coming to a stop, shift down a couple gears before you stop, so when you start up again your pedalling action will be light and easy to do with one leg.

When you start, take a few pedal strokes with the already-clipped-in foot until you get enough momentum to stop pedalling for a sec, then look down and flip the pedal gently up and get your foot in it. Don't just kick at it, it'll start spinning and be harder to get into. Eventually you will be able to do it without looking.

if you have to, you can ride not-clipped-in with one foot, but you have to be gentle or it will (as you know) slip off.
I find that looking is actually worse than letting muscle memory take over. With enough practice the foot knows where to go. Looking takes your eyes off the road and puts the issue back into your head. I still have some issues with getting in to my spd-sl but things usually go right if I don't think about it.
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Old 01-04-13, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
You will get used to it. Until you do...

When you are coming to a stop, shift down a couple gears before you stop, so when you start up again your pedalling action will be light and easy to do with one leg.
You should automatically be shifting down when approaching a red traffic light anyway.

I have been using Shimano SPD-SL for a long time. The key, for me at least, is two interconnected/smooth motion masquerading as one. You use the tip of your shoe to access/flip the pedal, while sliding your shoe forward to click in. It is quite easy to get used to, but I can't actually describe the motion succinctly. Practicing the motion is gonna help tremendously.

I can't comment about Look pedals, as I have never used them. I do understand they are not that different from Shimano SPD-SL system however.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:20 PM
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I used Look pedals (forte copies anyway, same cleat/design) for one season, my first season, switched over to 105 spd-sl's, been on those for two seasons now, the 105's are more difficult to get into from a stop imho. the looks were VERY easy and still easier than the spd-sl's for me.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:40 PM
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I have used both SPD-SL and Look Keo. I think Look Keo with the "grip" cleats are harder to get into than the SPD-SL. However, the Look pedals actually have free float where the SPD-SL doesn't.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:42 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Two things:
1. Practice. It's amazing how much 5 minutes of practice will help. Sit on the bike while leaning on a wall or something. Clip in. Note where your shoe is on the pedal - it's usually more forward or backward than you might think. Get a landmark on your shoe, a seam or something, and note where it is relative to the crank/pedal-axle/etc.

When unclipping push down (pedal at bottom of stroke helps) and twist. Many riders fall over because they panic and pull up and away, the normal way to pull a regular sneaker off of a pedal. Problem is that pulling up and away doesn't really let the pedal release the cleat. Push down and twist.

Clip in again. You'll probably clip in at about the same pedal position each time, like when it's positioned at 2 o'clock or something. This is fine - there's muscle memory, habit, etc kicking in.

When you can clip in 20 times in a row without messing up you're good to go. Not 19. Not 18. 20.

When on the road you'll find that if you make your free foot "pedal" it'll find the pedal almost automatically. It's like the foot just starts to pedal and engages the pedal while pedaling.

2. Most people who are starting on clipless pedals will start moving forward by pushing off on their free foot. This works if you're wearing sneakers. It doesn't really work if you're wearing shoes that have hard cleats on the bottom. Instead of pushing off with your foot you should use your clipped in foot to get going. Just one downstroke will get you enough inertia to get your other foot clipped in. Because you can clip in real quickly because you clipped in 20 times in a row without messing up.

Extra Credit: many people stop practicing clipping in by cheating. I do a lot of trackstands at lights and stop signs so I don't need to clip out. I found the hard way that after doing this for a while that I got a bit rusty with the clipping in bit. Therefore I make it a point to put a foot down regularly so that I can practice clipping in.

It also helps to put a foot down even though you know it'll be a high stress "clip in" time, like at a traffic light intersection with a lot of cars, on a steep uphill stop sign, etc. When you're stressed your body reacts differently. It almost immediately loses fine motor control. You need to learn how to make fine motor control movements, like clipping into a pedal, even when under duress.

Hope this helps.
Once again, CDR nails it. (I'm also a lazy trackstander and have found this to be true.)
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Old 01-04-13, 12:57 PM
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SPDs is such a system that the cleat has almost one position and the thing floats a lot, easy to work with that the users get used to them and from spd to look there's a lot of difference specially when the look cleats are in the wrong position.

Dunno if anybody said this already but there is a detail... with look pedals you need to get the angle of the cleats right or you will have problems engaging the pedals IN or you step out of them by accident or the other symptom is that you cant take the feet out of the pedals because the rotation angle is not enough.

Check out the position of the shoe (feet) when you are clippin' in. If you are doing an angle and the cleat is straight in the bottom of the shoe the entry angle is wrong and then you will have problems. Easy to find out tho... stand up and look at your feet, if your feet are in the position 1:50 PM and not in the position 12 o'clock then you have to correct the cleat angles to mimmic that in the pedals, with spd you dont have to do such adjustments because the pedal kind;a float more than the looks. Just small changes like 1 degree or 2 and then test untill you get it right and comfortable, sure unclip will get easier aswell.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-04-13, 01:22 PM
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Yes. You will get used to it. I used to ride MTB SPDs and transitioned to Look (and other similar types) road pedals. Aftera couple of years I went back to MTB SPDs on my road bikes. IMO, there are no advantages to road specific pedals over MTB pedals. My MTB pedals are lightweight, low stack height, secure yet easy in and out. The stiff sole of good shoes provides the platform. And, of course, plenty of riders use MTB pedals racing CX and MTBs...
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Old 01-04-13, 01:27 PM
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I wouldn't say they were nearly the death of me, but breaking a pedal during a sprint doesn't tickle.

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Old 01-04-13, 01:27 PM
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Just practice. Don't overthink it. Do it enough and it will become second nature.
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Old 01-04-13, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by AMFJ View Post
what the OP is describing is the exact reason I gave speedplay a try (and kept them). Double sided entry. Way easier, for me, .
All my riding buddies use speedplay, and they're always fumbling with clicking in at lights. After 25,000 miles of "practice" with Look Keos, I've gotten pretty good. The OP will, too.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rooftest View Post
All my riding buddies use speedplay, and they're always fumbling with clicking in at lights. After 25,000 miles of "practice" with Look Keos, I've gotten pretty good. The OP will, too.
That's weird, for me it was me clicking into my speedplay's faster and more consistent than my buddies on spd, spd-sl and look's. I switched off of the speedplay's for other reasons, but I really liked the ease-of-entry on them for me.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:35 PM
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Another trick that works for me is that I try to be consistent every time I clip in. For example: I am always standing, Always use my right foot as my balance foot or free foot, I always clip that foot in at the top of the pedal stroke - never the bottom. If you find out what works for you and then always repeat "your" method it will become easier.

A side note is that since I always clip in standing, with the pedal at the top of the stroke, I can stop a swinging/spinning pedal with my shin. I will sometimes stabilize it with my shin as I am coasting and then clip right in.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
Yes. You will get used to it. I used to ride MTB SPDs and transitioned to Look (and other similar types) road pedals. Aftera couple of years I went back to MTB SPDs on my road bikes. IMO, there are no advantages to road specific pedals over MTB pedals. My MTB pedals are lightweight, low stack height, secure yet easy in and out. The stiff sole of good shoes provides the platform. And, of course, plenty of riders use MTB pedals racing CX and MTBs...
What he said Seriously, I know lots of things biking come down to personal preference, but I think there are times when we focus a lot on getting something new we don't really need. When it's a new CF bike that rides like a dream, if you've got the money, fine. But I'm not quite sure why someone would transition to a new, more difficult pedal system if they're happy with what they have now. The fact that one pedal system may technically be a mountain system and another a road shouldn't really come into play for the vast majority of people. And the weight difference is so small you gain and lose many multiples of it in a given day.
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Old 01-04-13, 07:42 PM
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Thanks all for the replies. I just was having a moment of frustration. I was considering switching to speedplays since you can clip on either side and somewhat stand on the pedal at least for a second to clip-in, but just love how I feel in the Looks. Maybe a little spray adhesive will do the trick.

I kid.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by bikerjp View Post
I find that looking is actually worse than letting muscle memory take over. With enough practice the foot knows where to go. Looking takes your eyes off the road and puts the issue back into your head. I still have some issues with getting in to my spd-sl but things usually go right if I don't think about it.
This. For some reason, when I look, I fail to clip in on the first pedal rotation about 50% of the time. When I don't look, I nail it consistently, and am clipped in as soon as the free pedal reaches the top of the stroke.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:25 PM
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I switched from spd-sl to sp zero and have never looked back. The only thing to make sure on sp is to have your foot angled within whatever float you set. You cant clip in if you are rotated past that point. I wouldnt trade my stainless zeros for any pedal that I am aware of.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ivan_yulaev View Post
This. For some reason, when I look, I fail to clip in on the first pedal rotation about 50% of the time. When I don't look, I nail it consistently, and am clipped in as soon as the free pedal reaches the top of the stroke.
Are you using the cleats with the grip material (gray color) or the ones without.
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Old 01-04-13, 10:27 PM
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I used to be just like you. Always had issues getting into my looks and then falling hard on my groin and banging up my shin at lights. I switched to speedplays after about 3 months of use. So much more idiot proof at stop lights. Also I had issues with the look pedal cleats not being able to be placed far enough towards my toe which the speedplays solved. Very happy with my speedplays, just get the coffee shop covers if you do so and use them religiously!
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