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So, on Friday I hit up the LBS for a new jersey and short set, and got to looking at some of the clipless gear. One of the guys from the store was giving me advice and telling me what works best for our local trails and everything, but looking at all the price tags made me weary. So, he offered to help me out. He went in the storage room, and came back with a couple of boxes of shoes, and a set of pedals.

Ended up taking home a pair of Specialized Tahoe's, and a set of Eggbeater C's for a grand total of 90 bucks, minus the jersey and shorts. One hell of a deal, I think. But my next problem: what bike should I put them on? I waited until today to decide, and my decision was made for me.

"Hey man, we are heading down to Rotary, grab your gear and meet up with us." was the text I got. I started pulling out my Sunday, which has been my do everything bike for the past couple of months, but as I was pulling it out, I saw my Banshee strung up by the bars, with a certain gleam of light off of it. I pulled it out.

Now, I have had the Banshee sitting off to the side since June or so, waiting to get the funds to actually "Finish" the build, although it is perfectly ride-able now. Now, as I was pulling it out, for whatever reason, I looked to the side, and saw the pedal box laying on my bed. I thought "What the hell" and slapped them on in place of the flats, got the cleats onto the shoes, and took it out.

Took maybe 10 minutes to acquaint myself to the clipless feel once I got to the trail head, then we all went in. And I had a blast.

The chain slipped off twice, the deraileur cable lost tension when the screw shook loose, the handlebars twisted around on me, the brakes were weak and squeaky, and the seat post slipped, but still, it was the best rides I have ever had.

"Wait, so what about your first experience with clipless?"

Alright, fine. I decided that I wanted to fight with a tree while coming around a switchback. Hit the bar on it (Thankfully wearing my plastic knuckled gloves), and when the bar swung sideways, tried to correct. Nope. I flopped over and slid down the hill a small ways, laughing my ass off. :D

It was one of those falls where time seems to slow down. In the middle of falling, I was thinking "This wouldn't have happened if I kept the flats!" but oh well. I may have fallen on that anyways.

Also almost had a staring contest with the pavement when we were tooling around the parking lot. Going a little too slow and turned a little too sharp. Was able to get loose in time to save myself, but it had to have looked amusing.

All in all, though, today was one of, if not the best riding day I've ever had. I'm totally sold on this whole clipless thing, and even more sold on the Banshee in general. Have the Sunday up for sale now so I can get the parts I need to finish it. :thumbsup:
 

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Good read. Soon you will be able to unclip just as fast as you could take your foot off of a flat pedal. Once the clipless pedals wear in, they will become easier to get out of too. I started out on Time's, but after about 3 weeks I switched to Shimano SPD's. The Time's were tough to get out of and I had to twist quite a bit to get unclipped. That got old real fast as some of my trails have narrow ridges which leave little room for error and it's a long way to the bottom when you're stuck in the pedals. The SPD's are adjustable and you can loosen them up until they wear in making it easier to unclip. Plus the Shimano SPD's take much less of a twist to disengage. I've stuck with the 540's since they aren't too expensive and last forever.
 

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I tried clipless and have never crashed so much in my life. I determined that it just wasn't going to work for me. I ride really tight, technical trails with lots of steep climbs and tree roots and rocks. I just couldn't disengage and get out of them as fast as I wanted. I now have the Suntour V one platform pedals and they're awesome.
 

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Short-Change-Hero
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Clipless for me has resulted in a few crashes but mostly slow speed ones. The best ones are when you fall over and somehow pin yourself between the ground and the bike while still clipped in on that side. You sit there and wriggle like a worm trying to get out to no avail. Has caused quite a few laughs for me.
I have found that I can actually put down a lot more power with my clipless than anything else and absolutely love them (Shimano M530 with Pearl Izumi X-Alps shoes). If you have never setup clipless pedals before be very careful of your cleat position. I have been riding mine for about 3 months now and was plagued with calf cramps on my left leg. Tried multiple things thinking it was water deficiency or stretching problem. After doing some research I moved the cleat on that side forward by about a 1/4" and wa-la the cramps are gone and I am putting down WAY more power than I was before.
 

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I ride clipless on my road bike but as a newbie to mountain biking, I just can't make that jump.

When I first brought my road bike home from the LBS years ago all shiny and new, it was my first time with clipless. I crashed before I even got out of my driveway and scratched up the Ultegra brake lever. I got over it but was really pissed at myself for awhile!
 

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Clipless mountain biking not for me

I believe that there are only two types of people that use clipless pedals: those that have crashed because of them and those that are going to crash because of them.

I use clipless on my road bikes and have tipped over because I couldn't unclip fast enough. I tried them on the mountain bike but it really saps my confidence, I am too paranoid of falling over so I wind up unclipping too often "just in case".

Now I run with some sweet Sun/Ringle Zu-Zu pedals and Five-Ten Freerider shoes. I find the connection to my bike almost as good as clipless without the anxiety. My foot has only slipped off of the pedal once in five months of riding. Plus there is a definite advantage during hike-a-bikes.

Funny story: I was riding with a friend from work who I had never ridden with before. This was back in the day and he was the first person I had ever seen with clipless pedals on a mountain bike. We were jamming along an old two-path fire road when we saw a Jeep coming the other way. I pulled off to let the Jeep pass but my friend refused to yield. I was watching him playing chicken with the Jeep thinking he was some kind of trail right-of-way activist or something. The Jeep stopped and my friend rolled right up to the Jeep's bumper and did a slow motion tip over onto his side. Turns out he could not get unclipped and didn't think to just ride off the trail and crash. He didn't get hurt other than his pride. It was funnier than hell. I always wondered what the guys in the Jeep thought of it!
 

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see me rollin, they hatin
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i like great traction, but clipless is a little TOO much connection for me. i just dont like it. i ride like pansy clipped in. so now i also have good flats and 5tens and ride much more ballsy on tech stuff. people razzle me...i dont know why. we all have our preferences!
 

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Afric Pepperbird
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I tried clipless and have never crashed so much in my life. I determined that it just wasn't going to work for me. I ride really tight, technical trails with lots of steep climbs and tree roots and rocks. I just couldn't disengage and get out of them as fast as I wanted. I now have the Suntour V one platform pedals and they're awesome.
Sounds like the type of trails I ride, yet I couldn't imagine it without my clipless Time ATAC's!
 

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I may have to give clipless a try one day, I'm halfway in between myself, I use powergrips straps to keep strapped in, but can still bail when I have to.
I am sure you have a good technique for getting out of them but i truly believe straps would be much harder to get out of then clipless. I have always rode with clipless pedals and I could never see going back. I use eggbeaters and love em.
 

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I've been riding with SPDs since the spring. I have not fallen once because I could not get un clipped.

Right out of the box the torsion setting was just right. As I was riding around while they were new, it happened a few times that I needed to unclip and I just did without thinking about it. So I stopped making a conscious decision to unclip. And I rarely ever do that.

It always comes off when I need it, even when there's no time to think and it's just reflexive.

And it always comes off in a crash. I've never crashed because of them but all of my crashes, they came off without me even noticing it. Like a good ski binding.

I feel really lucky that my biomechanics work perfectly with SPDs. And they make me feel secure about hopping, going over roots and rocks, and all that. And the extra smoothness for climbing is really nice. Oh. And pedaling with one foot looks really strange and cool. Yeah, I like them, don't ever see myself going to flats or another clipless system.
 

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I just went to clipless about 2 months ago. I must be a slow learner because I had about 4 tip-overs my first day out and slowly decreased that number with each ride. I even have a permanent knot on my left knee from a rock garden tip-over where I couldn't get unclipped. Despite all this, the pros outweighed the cons and I can't imagine going back to platforms. I'm currently using eggbeater 3's and getting in and out of them is almost as intuitive as putting my foot on a platform. To anyone considering trying clipless, I can highly recommend them. My only regret is that I didn't try them sooner.
 

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As mentioned before Shimano are easy to get out of, hell you can just yank your foot out if you have the tension set low enough, My Crap brothers are another story, but are easier on my feet. When I use them I merely unclip if I am in a section that is spooky, the Shimano, I dont even worry about, never had a problem getting out of them when the need arose. I also would prefer riding clipless (shimano) in technical sections, being able to pull up has saved my ass more than once.
 

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I've been riding clipless for about 10yrs now. There was an adjustment period, where I had a lot of slow speed crashes where I'd stall on a steep climb and be unable to unclip in time. Let me just say I can unclip in a heartbeat nowadays.

I don't have any trouble on technical sections. In fact, I can't recall any instance where clipless pedals have caused me to crash on an occasion where I might just need to dab in a technical spot. I've always been able to just get out of them and dab when needed. I think I did one "intersection tip over" where a few car drivers saw me.

I ride Crank Bros Candy SL's I bought in 05. Haven't had a single problem with them.

I have a set of BMX platforms on another mtb of mine and I just don't feel as connected to the bike. I like the platforms for some things - winter riding for one. But for mtb use, I prefer clipless.
 

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Regardless of the brand of clipless - you'll still get stuck in them eventually and have a slow speed, stupid fall. I've got SPD's on my road, cross, and mtn bikes and have tipped over on all of them. The funniest was on my road bike.

I coasted up to a stop light and opted to not clip out. I rolled up next to a car and went to just put my finger tip on the passenger side window to hold myself up. It was rolled down... I ended up making it most of the way to third base with the woman in the passenger seat...
 

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Regardless of the brand of clipless - you'll still get stuck in them eventually and have a slow speed, stupid fall. I've got SPD's on my road, cross, and mtn bikes and have tipped over on all of them. The funniest was on my road bike.

I coasted up to a stop light and opted to not clip out. I rolled up next to a car and went to just put my finger tip on the passenger side window to hold myself up. It was rolled down... I ended up making it most of the way to third base with the woman in the passenger seat...
Ah, good thing you "stopped short" :thumbsup:

I think what I'm trying to get better at is riding through a chunky section without being clipped, like if I have to dabble at the top and not be able to get back in until it's smooth again. I'll always try to have one foot in though. I can still one foot pedal.
 

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l just took my clipless off my fs rig and will now only ride them on my ss or on non technical trails. the last time i used them i fell at least 10 times on a 2 mile climb because i couldn't unclip when i spun out. i lost so much confidence that i turned around and went home... i couldn't imagine trying to descend the technical trail i was taking down. probably my lowest day of riding in the last year. actually, i tried one last ride with them that had a steep, rocky descent [but nothing you couldn't roll over] and i couldn't bring myself to even begin the descent. i wasn't enjoying riding, spent too much time planning my next unclip/fall and was wondering if i'd lost my mojo! a couple of days ago i put the platforms back on and had the best ride i've had for a long time. i ride infrequently enough that i can't waste time worrying about stupid ****...
 

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I think clip-less makes me a better rider because when I'm clipped in I know I pretty much have to make it up every hill or I might fall do to not being able to clip out. I feel more secure going done technical declines then in flats because I know my feet wont slip off the pedals. Big jumps are better for me due to my feet being connected to the bike. I think it is a 100% mind state thing.

I'm also a resent clip-less convert. 2 months and counting.
 
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