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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this is the correct forum since there are only 5,000,000 to choose from but here goes.

I'm on a GF Fat Possum XO that I am using as a cross country bike with some pretty technical trails. So I am wondering if I need to stop thinking I'm cool and give up on the clipless pedals. I've been riding clipless since I converted to them in '00 or '01 but have honestly never really felt completely comfortable in them. I have thought forever that I am just a pansy, but have started to read in the mtb mags that some people have never converted.

Here are the other stipulations; I have WAY messed up knees from basketball (I'm 6'7" and right at 220), and just recently went off a cliff and sprained one based on not getting out of the clip fast enough on a climb on a tight single track. I know I'm old and slow now, but back in the day, this would never have happened b/c I could get out of the toe clips instantly. I'm big enough that weight doesn't really matter and I'm also not racing so I really don't care.

So should I switch back?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
tomk96 said:
maybe you need to find different pedals. unclipping is second nature to me with my pedals.
Yeah, this is what many people have said over the years. The last set of pedals were Bontragers that came with the Sugar. I opted to get a set of Crank Brothers Smarty (yes I found out afterwards that the reviews were abysmal) but seem to be struggling quite a bit with them.

Any suggestions on pedals?
 

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longtallsally said:
Yeah, this is what many people have said over the years. The last set of pedals were Bontragers that came with the Sugar. I opted to get a set of Crank Brothers Smarty (yes I found out afterwards that the reviews were abysmal) but seem to be struggling quite a bit with them.

Any suggestions on pedals?
sounds more like a technique issue than equipment.

With toe clips the release motion is up and back. Try that with clipless pedals and the cleats hang up.

Try pushing your heel down and out to release, like having your foot slip off a step sideways. Your foot will be on the ground in an instant.
 

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Maybe you have fonder memory of toe clips than I do. I used toe clips back in the early 90s before switching to clipless and I can't imagine going back to them. My experience was that they take longer to get into and weren't any easier to exit than clipless. Getting back into them really sucked on the trail because if you weren't really good at flipping both pedals right side up quick, the cages would catch on rocks and roots as you start pedaling.
I currently have bmx style platforms on some of my bikes and ride clipless on others. I think my knees like the variety. I like the security of clipless on fast bumpy downhills and obviously the more efficient pedalling plus I can bunny hop better with them, but I prefer platforms for slower really steep technical downhills or more casual riding (nice to ride around in comfy shoes that you can actually walk around with if you choose). You may want to give platforms a try for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
shiggy said:
sounds more like a technique issue than equipment.

With toe clips the release motion is up and back. Try that with clipless pedals and the cleats hang up.

Try pushing your heel down and out to release, like having your foot slip off a step sideways. Your foot will be on the ground in an instant.
Thanks for the input. I don't deny that my technique is probably the issue here- and it doesn't seem to be getting better no matter how hard I try. However, I am able to get out in 90% of the situations just fine and 100% of the time when I commute to work and such.

It is that 10% on technical trails that just kills my ride and motivation and then even when I do get out in time the fear that I have of falling and further damaging my already FUBAR'd knees (I am about to get a nice set of Asterisk knee braces to compensate this fear).

The analogy that generally comes to mind is that of Kieth Code and motorcycle racing; the $10 analogy. You have $10 to spend in the activity you are engaging in; be that an obstacle, a jump, a rock garden, whatever. I am spending $5 on fear of not being able to get out of the pedals if I need to in a hurry leaving me only $5 to concentrate on the rest of the things I need to be focusing on. This just kils my rythm and when I push through this fear I either end up in a heap or just not enjoying myself which is really stupid.

Should I go back to a type of pedal where I can adjust the tension? It seems that it is worse with the egg beater style than the "traditional" 2 sided style that I used to have.

If I just need more practice, I know this sounds silly, but are there any drills I can force myself to do in order to work through this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
trailville said:
Maybe you have fonder memory of toe clips than I do. I used toe clips back in the early 90s before switching to clipless and I can't imagine going back to them. My experience was that they take longer to get into and weren't any easier to exit than clipless. Getting back into them really sucked on the trail because if you weren't really good at flipping both pedals right side up quick, the cages would catch on rocks and roots as you start pedaling.
I currently have bmx style platforms on some of my bikes and ride clipless on others. I think my knees like the variety. I like the security of clipless on fast bumpy downhills and obviously the more efficient pedalling plus I can bunny hop better with them, but I prefer platforms for slower really steep technical downhills or more casual riding (nice to ride around in comfy shoes that you can actually walk around with if you choose). You may want to give platforms a try for a while.
Good call. I do have a set of BMX platforms that I used after my last knee surgery as a safe means of rehab (I had torn my patella tendon is half). So I rode those a while. I am starting to think that perhaps the egg beater style is what is messing me up. I love the platforms, but the problem is that all of the trails I do have some form of technical climb and I need the clip in one form or another to keep forward momentum.

Does anyone have any suggestions on a pedal I can adjust the tension on quite a bit?
 

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I think I'd shoot myself if I had to go back to toe clips on my mtb. I have them on my tandem and they drive me nuts.

You might want to try Speedplays, they're supposed to be knee friendly:
http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.chooselong

As far as drills, spend half an hour riding on grass just clipping in and out with both feet. Boring as hell, but it builds muscle memory so you can unclip instantly without thinking about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK, so it seems like the concensus is that I'm lame. So then, I think my next step is going to be to go back to the Bontragger RE-1 pedals and see what I see. Next I'm going to try different shoes. I'm wearing a set of Specialized shoes that are as old as the Bontrager pedals, so I might try for a more "shoe" like shoe as my next step. After that, it will be either going for the Speedplays like Rufus mentioned or just realize I suck and start riding a tricycle.
 

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longtallsally said:
Does anyone have any suggestions on a pedal I can adjust the tension on quite a bit?
I've always used shimano SPDs so I can't compare them to other systems. I'd suggest the M770s or M540s. I run the tension pretty low and never had a problem exiting them, though even at the lowest setting you still need to twist your foot to get out of them (that's the point) . Though I still do prefer platforms for the really slow technical stuff where I expect to do a lot of dabbing.
 

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I think you should find an experienced rider to ride behind you and watch your technique. They should be able to pick up little things that you may not have noticed.
 

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Clipless or back to Toe Clips?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Not sure if this is the correct forum since there are only 5,000,000 to choose from but here goes.
Which brings us to this thread.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=407911 1212
 

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longtallsally said:
Here are the other stipulations; I have WAY messed up knees from basketball (I'm 6'7" and right at 220), and just recently went off a cliff and sprained one based on not getting out of the clip fast enough on a climb on a tight single track. I know I'm old and slow now, but back in the day, this would never have happened b/c I could get out of the toe clips instantly. I'm big enough that weight doesn't really matter and I'm also not racing so I really don't care.

So should I switch back?
If you can't release fast enough because of clipless pedals, and are getting seriously injured, I'd suggest getting rid of them and riding flats. Not clips. Clips do not belong on MTB bikes.

I have nerve damage in my lower right foot that makes getting out of my right clip problematic, even with eggbeaters. I rode clipless for 3 years (and even longer on the road), but recently gave them up and switched to flats. Best move ever. Now if I need to put my foot down in technical terrrain, I just slide it off the pedal.

Yeah, you lose a little efficiency on the uphill, but unless you are racing XC, who cares.

I'd get some Wellgo mg-1s, a set of skate shoes (off eBay) and give it a try.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So here is an update for anyone who cares. I put the Bontrager RE-1s back on last night and rode around on them and then to the office today. I feel- for the most part- much more confident and like I can get out of them quicker.

So for the time being I'm going to nix this idea and stick with the RE-1s.

One thing that may be impacting my thoughts of the egg beaters is that I may have put the cleats on the shoes in the way that the float is greater before you clip out. I didn't try to swap them to test and as I have time I might just to see.

The bottom line is that as was stated above, my technique blew and I need to just focus on it and run some drills to get in and out for a while to get really comfy with it. I'm starting to fix this by going back to some familiar pedals and then move on from there.

Thanks again for all the input!
 

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I have been using clipless for years, but am ready to go to plain ol' platforms. When I am clipped out, my cleats provide a slippery surface so my shoes slide around on the pedals. Also, when I want to clip in, it takes attention away from my riding. It is just easier to take my foot off the pedals when I want and put them back on the pedals when I want with platforms. And I don't feel any less secure on platforms. I will still stay with clipless on my road bike, but strictly platforms on my MB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
denmikseb said:
I have been using clipless for years, but am ready to go to plain ol' platforms. When I am clipped out, my cleats provide a slippery surface so my shoes slide around on the pedals. Also, when I want to clip in, it takes attention away from my riding. It is just easier to take my foot off the pedals when I want and put them back on the pedals when I want with platforms. And I don't feel any less secure on platforms. I will still stay with clipless on my road bike, but strictly platforms on my MB.
There are a number of folks saying the same thing. Here is my only beef as I could go to just platforms as well: When just getting started on a technical climb (after a break, or an obstacle that forced me to take my foot off the pedal) I actually end up using the "up" stroke to get myself going. This is due to perhaps I didn't get my other foot put in, or I didn't get enough momentum from the first stroke to warrant both feet firmly back on the pedals. In other words, it helps out (thus why thinking of going back to toe clips as some way of continuing doing this).

I dunno. We have some mild trail riding to do this weekend and will decide from there how I feel.
 

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Try some Shimano SPD pedals with adjustable tension - and set it to the lowest tension.
And consider using the SH-56 cleats. They have multiple release angles, more than the standard SH-51.
 
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