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There's an abundance of "I just went clipless" and "thinking of going clipless" threads here, so my goal is to share my thoughts about clipless riding in a slightly different way to hopefully help those who are thinking about it but haven't committed yet. For the record, I have been riding about 9 months on flats. I rode for the first time last weekend with a clipless set up consisting of Specialized BG Comp MTB shoes with Shimano 520's.

Here's what I learned in my first trip out:

* It's not nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
* It set my confidence back about 6 months (walking the stuff I walked as noob because I was pretty tentative). However, I think I can get my confidence back in only a few more rides.
* Clipless is VERY beneficial on a hard tail bike. Getting on and off the saddle is much easier when you know your feet aren't going anywhere.
* The additional pedaling efficiency and power is simply amazing.
* On flats, I was keeping my feet too close to the crack arms which was scrubbing off some pedaling efficiency. The clipless system fixes that and several other bad habits.
* I truly feel like I'm "spinning" the cranks and not "mashing" on the down stroke.
* It virtually impossible to get "stuck" in the pedals in an "oh poop" moment if the pedals are set up right. On a couple of hairy moments, I popped right out of the pedals with little effort (they are set a half round up from the easiest setting). One slight twist of the ankle and bam, I'm out.
* Cycling specific shoes are worth the money

OK, that's enough for now. I can certainly see where clipless isn't for everyone, but I really enjoyed them. Hopefully this thread will help those who are on the fence about it more than anyone else. Feel free to chime in with any other thoughts. I'm also curious how long it took you to get back the confidence you lost going to clipless from flats. I'm fully committed to clipless, but I sort of feel like I'm starting over in some ways. It will be worth it, though, I'm sure.
 

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Zero Miles from Myself
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REALLY?
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Confidence? I never lost any confidence. I tried clips for about a week...I ended up throwing those pieces crap in the trash - no, I like being able to move my foot around anywhere on the pedal and able to ditch especially in emergency situations, kinda hard to do over a 6 foot set of doubles, 5-10 foot drop or techy DH. Good luck! :)
 

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jeffgothro said:
Confidence? I never lost any confidence. I tried clips for about a week...I ended up throwing those pieces crap in the trash - no, I like being able to move my foot around anywhere on the pedal and able to ditch especially in emergency situations, kinda hard to do over a 6 foot set of doubles, 5-10 foot drop or techy DH. Good luck! :)
For stuff like that, yeah, I still use platforms too. But for XC clipless is definitely the way to go.
 

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jeffgothro said:
Confidence? I never lost any confidence. I tried clips for about a week...I ended up throwing those pieces crap in the trash - no, I like being able to move my foot around anywhere on the pedal and able to ditch especially in emergency situations, kinda hard to do over a 6 foot set of doubles, 5-10 foot drop or techy DH. Good luck! :)
I hate hammers. Everytime I use my hammer to try to drive a screw or loosen a nut it doesnt work very well. Hammers suck!

For freeride stuff I agree clipless are not the best choice, but for XC they are great. The right tool for the job thing applies here too. :)
 

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Yeah condoms suck too, they dont work very well when your tryin to get you freak on...lol

But seriously, I wont use clipless for XC either - to each there own though eh.
 

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watch some dh race crash videos and pay attention to how many people get bucked off the pedals, then lose control and crash. clipless pedals stop that from happening. good pedals and sticky shoes keep your feet from slipping off the pedals, but they have nearly no resistance to your foot lifting straight up and off the pedal, theres just nothing holding your foot downward.

if you're doing stunts, sure platforms.. but for everything else, dh included, clipless just works better. if you cant unclip instantly in an emergency, somethings setup wrong!
 

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tomsmoto said:
watch some dh race crash videos and pay attention to how many people get bucked off the pedals, then lose control and crash. clipless pedals stop that from happening. good pedals and sticky shoes keep your feet from slipping off the pedals, but they have nearly no resistance to your foot lifting straight up and off the pedal, theres just nothing holding your foot downward.

if you're doing stunts, sure platforms.. but for everything else, dh included, clipless just works better. if you cant unclip instantly in an emergency, somethings setup wrong!
Unless the riders upward/forward momentum carries the rear of the bike with you ;)

Then instead of just you tumbling downhill, its you attached to 30lbs+ of steel, aluminum, and carbon.

Note: The above is my opinion, yours may differ. Setup your bike in a way that suits you.

I digress, back on topic:

Things I noticed when I first started riding clipless:

1. If you're a somewhat experienced rider, theres very little learning curve.

2. During said learning curve, you WILL forget to clip out and WILL fall at least once.

3. It's forgetting to clip out, not being unable to that will cause you to fall.

4. You will do this in front of a large group of people.

5. Being able to pull up through the back half of the pedal stroke rocks.
 

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I fell over once, was two days after I had been riding clips, and it wasnt beause I forgot, the damn shoe stuck and wouldnt dis-engage - I rode around for a few more days (mind you the balls of my feet hurt like hell to) and thats when I threw my pedals in the trash.

There just not for some people myself included.

Good luck! :thumbsup:
 

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^ you dont like clipless because yours wasnt setup properly.. not too fair to pass judgement on them based on a faulty setup it is?

Then instead of just you tumbling downhill, its you attached to 30lbs+ of steel, aluminum, and carbon.
the only time i fall with clipless now is doing stupid stuff pre or post ride in the parking lot.. usually <2mph tumbles which hurt my ego more than anything. any time ive fallen on the trail ive popped out of the pedals without even thinking about it. you'd only stay clipped in if your body and the bike fell at the same angle (+/- 15 degrees) and stayed that way through the whole fall.. not very likely.

biking is dangerous either way. clipless or not, you're gonna eat it every now and then.
 

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tomsmoto said:
^ you dont like clipless because yours wasnt setup properly.. not too fair to pass judgement on them based on a faulty setup it is?

the only time i fall with clipless now is doing stupid stuff pre or post ride in the parking lot.. usually <2mph tumbles which hurt my ego more than anything. any time ive fallen on the trail ive popped out of the pedals without even thinking about it. you'd only stay clipped in if your body and the bike fell at the same angle (+/- 15 degrees) and stayed that way through the whole fall.. not very likely.

biking is dangerous either way. clipless or not, you're gonna eat it every now and then.
Thats beauty of platforms, theres no such thing as a faulty set-up, or having to pay for special shoes, buy special cleats, or make special ajustments. :thumbsup:

The Disco Biscuits anyone?

http://cryptical.nugs.net/vault/free/db030418d1_05_Confrontation.mp3
 

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Eh, same old debates. I think I'll move over to clipless sometime in the future. I do XC riding, but I still enjoy the comfort and ease of using skate shoes and a good platform pedal with big cleats. Works well enough for me.
 

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FWIW I just went clipless 2 rides ago. I had one fall where I forgot to unclip on the side of the trail to let a faster rider go by. I fell into the trail right in front of him and we both had a good laugh and he promised not to tell anybody. I had a big crash doing a pump hop (don't really know the terminology) off a little jump I've been off many times but got about double the air I normally got with flats - so maybe be a little careful jumping. However, my feet were out of the pedals before my body hit the ground. I agree that the multi-release clips are the way to go - very simple to get out of. I'm really liking the shimano 647 pedals even though I also have a pair of xtr pedals. The extra platform of the 647s make standing on the pedals much more comfortable with the shoes I use. Good luck.
 

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I like the Shimano pedals that are half clipless and half platform.
Good if you want clipless most of the time and flats when things look a little dodgy. Good way to work up to using them all the time.
I've been using clipless for about 10 years, but I did a bike tour and was glad I had them. With a near 100lb load the cleats would dig into my feet sometimes.
 

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Something that's not been mentioned yet is the bunny hop. With platform pedals (how I started out) the bunny hop was a trick to be done on pavement but very difficult to control on technical singletrack - ie you couldn't bunny hop over foot high obstacles with platform pedals easily and safely.

However with clipless pedals the bunny hop / J hop becomes a viable technique to jump over most low lying obstacles on technical singletrack. Also the power increase is mind blowing.
 

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I am interested but there are many times in some slow technical areas that I saved my ass by being able to kick off a tree or rock to keep from getting killed. I can see going clipless may get me messed up in those spots.
 

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ZombieFood said:
I am interested but there are many times in some slow technical areas that I saved my ass by being able to kick off a tree or rock to keep from getting killed. I can see going clipless may get me messed up in those spots.
I was concerned of the same thing. However I often unclip to kick off a tree or rock. It taks about two rides to get used to them.

You can set-up your pedals to be tight or really loose. The more you grow accustomed to the pedals the more you can tighten them as I have done throughout the year.
 
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