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Both my riding buddy and I recently got some Shimano 520's on our bikes. I'm nearly new to the sport; he's been riding a while longer. I like the clip-ins, and while I had some troubles at first with detaching, I've been getting better and better at it, especially with the tension set low on the clips.

However, a couple of weeks back, he was riding on a leaf covered trail, hit a root while going down a hill, skidded and fell, and did not manage to get his foot out. In the process, his leg torqued along with his bike, resulting in spiral fracture to his ankle. See pic. Fortunately, he was riding with a friend and was only about a mile into the trail, so he did have some help getting out and to a hospital.

I know he's off the clip-ins when he gets back on and starts riding (March), and I have to admit I'm a little wary of them myself. Any tips or advice on avoiding the following?

 

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Ouch! That's definitely not normal.

Any time I've crashed my feet have clipped right out. That must have hurt bad. Did he have the tension screw rammed down as hard as he could? It doesn't seem right that the pedal in a normal condition would have torqued the leg, as twisting the cleat is the mechanism to clip out...
 

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1. set the release tension of the pedals to minimum. You can tighten this as you get confident and capable.
2. Practice before you hit the technical stuff. Eventually, you'll pop out of the pedals w/o a thought, but not at first.
3. Repeat #2, repeat #2, repeat #2... :thumbsup:

jeff
 

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I have seen the same basic type of injury with a person riding clipless. He was a very experienced rider, went down right near the trailhead when he hit some loose powdery dirt in a turn, bike just went out from under him, ended up with a total tib/fib fx that was displaced. I saw it firsthand, (I was the paramedic that took him off the trail) and it was not pretty, I haven't seen him since and don't know if he's back on the bike or not, but that was 6 or so months ago. I don't know if the outcome would've been diff. had he been riding platforms.
 

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Good clipless pedals SHOULD unclip in the event of a crash just like ski bindings... but not always. As mentioned, eventually you will be able to unclip without even thinking about it, but first you have to ride alot to gain the muscle memory required for this. As also mentioned, set the tension to the minimum amount and make sure that you keep them clean, free of mud/ debris, and lightly lubed with Tri-Flow or similar lube. Keep in mind that even the best riders inevitably fall and end up on their backs with the bike in the air from time to time, it's just the nature of the sport. But IMO the power and control of clipless for XC type riding is a great benefit, not so much for pure downhill or freeride though. As with anything, YMMV.
 
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