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New to the board here guys...North Irvine mountain rider....somewhat new, but training in the proper ways to consider myself intermediate.

Need some guidance here. As I have progressed and my technical skills have increased, I am now looking to switch out of the standard flat pedals and into more "real" equipment. The idea however of my shoes being locked onto the bike as I go careening into something has me a little stressed to be honest.

Obviously I want to continue to advance, but in the right manner. What are the best resources for moving into this stage...i.e...training the movements needed to get out of clips quickly...the benefits of being locked in as opposed to flats, etc.

I am assuming this is a necessary move considering what I am looking to do on the trails, but for someone never riding with their shoes clipped to a bike moving 25mph down a drop...gotta tell you its a tad un-nerving.

And by the way...if you're going to be a jackass and write about how newbies should grow a pair and deal with it, skip it. Next time I pass you on the trail, I'll kick you over with my un-clipped foot.

I really would like some genuine guidance if you don't mind.

Thanks all.

Paul in OC
 

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It really is "just clip in and ride". Set your pedals to release easy at first. I was a "toe clip" user for mu first 6 years, then when I got a new bike, I decided to try clipped in. No easy task at first training your legs/feet to stay in one position. But, after a while, it really improved the power to the ground. I'm a XC rider, so take it form that perspective. I don't "huck" and jump for air opportunities that many riders do. It appears the "air lovers" are by far the majority of the flat pedal users, an understandably so!

Oh, here is one tip you may think sounds so obvious, but you'll know what I mean when you start.

1) When coming to a stop, unclip your feet BEFORE your bike stops. I'm not kidding!

Just keep it simple and go buy the pedals of choice and get going!!!
 

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Glad to Be Alive
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here is what I would do.....I would run a combo flat and clip pedal....I run these that way you can unclip for the more technical stuff.

secondly, when you get your clips loosen them up all the way so you get out faster. These pedals grip hard..

third sit on your bike leaning up against something and practice get clipped in and out over and over.....due it for 10 to 15 minutes for a few days to get your mind ingrained

hope that helps
 

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Plastic homer
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It took me awhile to dial clipless in, but I'm fine now. I use Shimano M647 and M545 - both have a nice sized cage around the clips to give you time to pedal up to speed, then clip. They also ride somewhat like platforms when you don't have your bike shoes on, like when you work on the bike and test it.

Other poster is right - unclip well before stopping. I only really got hurt when I forgot I was clipped until I was basically standing still.:madman:

Best of luck.
 

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Team Hardcore Cornbread
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It may sound obvious but practice at a park or baseball field before hitting the trails. It is much better to fall in grass than a rocky trail the first 20 times. That is how I learned. After 5 rides you will not even think about being clipped in any longer.
 

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Yup!

Phishin Paul said:
It may sound obvious but practice at a park or baseball field before hitting the trails. It is much better to fall in grass than a rocky trail the first 20 times. That is how I learned. After 5 rides you will not even think about being clipped in any longer.
You know how you are supposed to downshift before it gets too hard to pedal? Same thing here. And like Phishin Paul said, practice!
 

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= dirt torpedo =
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quick question.. why do you feel that moving to clipless pedals is equivalent to "advancing" to the next level?

plenty of very advanced riders never touched a clipless pedal in their lives.
in fact, riding flats (without the "pull-up" assistance of clipless) teaches you better bike handling habits. Doing a correct bunnyhop is just one of the examples.

In the end, don't switch for the sake of switching, ride what feels comfortable to you.
For what it's worth.. i started riding on clipless pedals, and switched to flats. I only ride flats, and haven't looked back.
 

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Benefits

Using clipless pedals, you will almost immediately notice an improvement in pedaling efficiancy. Easier to climb, easiler to make subtle technical manuevers with your bike. You can pedal faster, you can pedal harder.

It is scary for a while though when learning how to use these. Ride slowly on flat, familiar ground. Definately loosen the adjusting screw to allow for the easiest, fastest possible release or to re-engage. You may want to tighten the adjuster screws later after you feel comfortable, it really depends on whether or not you find yourself popping out of the pedals while riding.

You'll quickly learn the turning motion of your foot to dis-engage and re-engage but it will take a little time to remember to do that in a flash of a second.

Ride downhill unclipped or with one shoe engaged for a while until you feel brave and comfortable. Many people, including myself unclip one side going down very steep terrain and then quickly re-engage at the bottom.

Here's something you should know. If you find that you are going to fall over at a slow or stop speed, and you cannot unclip fast enough, just hold onto your handlebars and let your bike take the fall (not with carbon fiber handlebars!). You'll discover that your shoes will usually stay engaged through the fall and you will be "at one with the bike" as it falls over.

Practice, practice, practice! In a few months, you'll never look back!
 

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The counter-argument article is pretty cool - sort of lost me when the author says: "Ninety-nine percent of the riding I've done over the past 5 years has been in Teva sandals..." wha? sandals? ... yeah-no. I don't expect any mountain biker to be riding sandals or Crocs.

However, I've been riding since '96 and rode with old-school cages on the pedals until probably 2000. Until about a year ago I rode with clips (usually Crank Bros.). Tore my ACL and while it didn't hurt/affect my knee at all to twist/disengage the pedals ... I found that I was more likely to tweak my knee when my last-second dismounts caused me to land funny on my feet (as infrequently as that happens). So, I went with flats. Been riding flats for a year now. If you care, this is my take:

I like clips. I can rattle down and through rocky, rutty, rooty terrain without fear of my feet coming off my pedals. I can 'cheat' and lift my bike up and over any obstacles while flying downhill (within reason). When I catch air - I land with my feet on the pedals (even if I don't land with my wheels on the ground). I can maneuver, flick, reposition, control my bike via the connection with my pedals. When it's wet and/or muddy - my feet don't slip (though if you have lame clips/shoes mud can cause serious problems). BIGGEST PLUS: If I'm climbing an even slightly technical section - and I HIT something at the top/bottom of a pedal stroke which would otherwise totally stop my momentum (slow-speed climb) - being attached to my pedals allows me the laterally pull into the next stroke and keep going. Only slightly less important - when i need to just freakin' spin my way through some technical section - I can just buzz and not worry about my feet flying off the pedals no matter how bumpy or how fast I have to spin.

That being said, on Saturday morning I rode up and back down San Juan Trail in the rain with cheap flats and a $20 pair of Nike tennis shoes without any problems. That should speak for itself...

As has been said - the control issues can be overcome with skill. Momentum shifting, balance and anticipation help to overcome the slow-climb stops much of the time - something I didn't have to pay as much attention to when I was clipped in. Sure, the pedals got a little slippery - but it was easily manageable. Keeping my feet on the pedals while catching air, while descending and hopping over stuff ... all easily remedied with practice and determination.

Two of my bikes have clips - my third (the one I ride the most) has flats. Half the time it's a toss-up - terrain makes a difference. But I'm finding that after a year of riding almost exclusively on flats (and I only ride once per week) I'm finding that I'm enjoying them more and more. There are certain rides where flats give me much more confidence (these usually with fast downhill) and there are others where I wished I had clips (usually long, technical climbs).

that's my two cents - hope it helps. All that to say - Clips don't necessarily equal 'more advanced' or 'next step'

cheers (sorry for the long post).
 

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Stray Bullet
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I switch between Crank Brother's Mallets and flat pedals. Trail bike can have either depending on my mood, DH bike is always flats, and BMX/Dual Races I'll switch depending on the course and mood.

While I don't feel 100% comfortable riding clips I've never crashed or fallen because I couldn't get out fast enough. Only time I've fallen is while getting hung up on rocks while climbing and even then it is rare. Practice track standing and getting out of them and you'll be fine. If can't get out and are going fall hang on to the bars and let the outside part of the bar take the brunt of the impact.
 

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That article I posted had some good points. But I wouldn't ride off road in any sandals!!

I ride clipless SPDs that have a platform and plain old cheapy platforms on a folding bike. I too like to click out, when I want to be able to dab. It would probably be a little safer to stay clipped in, because the pedal gets a bit slippery. Even with the loose sensation, I have never fallen off the pedal platform...for now anyways.

I guess to answer the original post. I would get the pedals that have a platform on one side and a clip on the other. They are usually on the cheaper end of clipless pedals too. Lower the tension a lot and do some easy rides being clipped in. And I am pretty sure most pedals still want you to clip out heel first, which seems a little unnatural at first.
 

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allroy71 said:
I would get the pedals that have a platform on one side and a clip on the other.
i could go on a long rant about this suggestion, but i'll just throw in my .02c and say that I would strongly advise against wasting your money on a pedal like that. While it sounds like a good idea, it's actually quite useless in practice.

the clips vs. flats topic has been beaten to death.. just do a search in the DH forum.
in the end it comes to about a 50/50 split.. both have pros and cons, and one doesn't necessarily hold any significant advantage over the other
riders always stick with whatever makes them more comfortable on the terrain they like to ride.
 

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blender said:
i could go on a long rant about this suggestion, but i'll just throw in my .02c and say that I would strongly advise against wasting your money on a pedal like that. While it sounds like a good idea, it's actually quite useless in practice.

the clips vs. flats topic has been beaten to death.. just do a search in the DH forum.
in the end it comes to about a 50/50 split.. both have pros and cons, and one doesn't necessarily hold any significant advantage over the other
riders always stick with whatever makes them more comfortable on the terrain they like to ride.
I think he is saying go clipless :D
 

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I was just at Performance last night and saw a pedal that intrigued me. It was probably the same one mentioned about but it was nice that it was a hybrid clip in and flat pedal. So when you are climbing or riding flat you can clip in but while you do downhill you can use the flat part until you become comfortable with clipping in on the downhill as well if you decide to go there.

I may try those after a while. But as of now, crappy OEM pedals with slicks shoes make it fun.
 

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A D NOH said:
I was just at Performance last night and saw a pedal that intrigued me. It was probably the same one mentioned about but it was nice that it was a hybrid clip in and flat pedal. So when you are climbing or riding flat you can clip in but while you do downhill you can use the flat part until you become comfortable with clipping in on the downhill as well if you decide to go there.
Those don't sound like a go idea. No way any cycling shoe with a cleat on the bottom is going to grip the flat portion. Sounds like you're better sticking to flat pedals.
 

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For me, I put my hard tail on the trainer, switched the pedals and practiced on the trainer. I also practiced in spin classes. After doing both of these for about a month, I switched to clipless and never had a problem. I do keep them extremly loose, so I don't even think about it, my foot just comes out naturally when they need to be because they are loose. Now this isn't always good, but it has helped me make the transition smooth and painless. Good luck!
 

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Practice clipping & unclipping

while stopped & leaning against a wall or bench, then work your way to circles and figure 8s in your garage before going out on the trail.

I'd highly recommend getting XT pedals, setting them at medium tension and spray them with Pam cooking spray once in a while for smooth entry & exits, I'd forgo the big clipless platforms, the little pedals are easier to clip in & out of.
Also with clipless you don't bounce off or roll off them in the rough stuff and every time I've crashed I have magical popped out of them upon or before impact.
 

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Dwad said:
while stopped & leaning against a wall or bench, then work your way to circles and figure 8s in your garage before going out on the trail.

I'd highly recommend getting XT pedals, setting them at medium tension and spray them with Pam cooking spray once in a while for smooth entry & exits, I'd forgo the big clipless platforms, the little pedals are easier to clip in & out of.
Also with clipless you don't bounce off or roll off them in the rough stuff and every time I've crashed I have magical popped out of them upon or before impact.
PAM cooking spray.......... that's a new one on me. I'd hit mine with WD-40 once in a while, but PAM?!?!??!

Hmmmmm.........
 
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