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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok members, at what age do you think it's appropriate to have a child start riding clipless? My daughter is turning 13, been riding for a few years and racing (X-C) for 1 +. Also, what style would be more appropriate (SPD, Crank Brothers...)?

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I would find a pedal with a lot of float. CB have float but I was always bending the cages, so back to SPDs.

I went from toe clips to clipless and can't ride a bike with flats.
 

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Sounds like she's old enough. Some people will say SPDs because you can adjust the tension, but Crank Brothers will also work fine. On the Crank Brothers, make sure you put the cleats on so that they release at less of an angle.
 

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i waited until i was 30.

i wouldn't want much float when learning though, as your foot will move a lot without actually unclipping. if it were me, id have low spring tension, and as little float as possible.

or, just wait until she wants to try it...
 

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When they are proficient riders and can keep their cool and stay on the bike under stress is when they are ready, it's not about age.

As far as pedals and shoes, good SPD's are what I would go with. Get some Shimano XT or better unless you know another pedal works well, xpedo's for example usually work great. IMO this isn't an area to try and go budget, get good pedals that consistently release cleanly. I've had terrible experiences with some Welgo and Ritchey pedals. Higher end shimano's really aren't that expensive and they work very consistently once adjusted to the rider.
 

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I would think it would be entirely skill dependant and has nothing do do with age. Of your kid wants to go clipless, then she's ready. It might help with racing of she's the competitive type.

i rode clipless for several years and went to flats last year. I don't race, but I am having more fun with flats, which is entirely subjective.
 

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I love using both Shimano SPD pedals and Crankbrothers. The SPD pedals are great due to the amount of adjustment you can make to the tension. Shimano SPD pedals are a great way to start on clipless pedals. You can probably get the SPD M520s for cheap if you look around. They tend to be on sale in shops and online. I use these pedals on my road bike.

I love my Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals because they feel like flats. For some reason, I just love these pedals and I keep using them even when I want to go back to flats.
 

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I don't think you can get more float than with the Speedplay Frog, plus easy entry and exit too.

Some people love them, some hate them. I've heard people say it feels like you're on ball bearings when you're clipped in. I really like them for the float and ease of use and maintenance.
 

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Agreed I love my frogs. I even have them on my road bike. They have a ton of float. I had to run spacers but for her I think that's not an issue
 

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I like the SPDs also. I wanted to like the Crank Brothers but after two years went back to XTRs. I came out of the egg beaters fine, but hated clicking into them.
 

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When they are proficient riders and can keep their cool and stay on the bike under stress is when they are ready, it's not about age.

As far as pedals and shoes, good SPD's are what I would go with. Get some Shimano XT or better unless you know another pedal works well, xpedo's for example usually work great. IMO this isn't an area to try and go budget, get good pedals that consistently release cleanly. I've had terrible experiences with some Welgo and Ritchey pedals. Higher end shimano's really aren't that expensive and they work very consistently once adjusted to the rider.
i've had very good luck with every shimano pedal i've used, even the cheap ones. today's M530 works very well although they're a little heavier than others. the mini platform makes them easier to clip in and out of, as well.

remember the old shimano M737 "spuds"? i acquired a pair in the mid-nineties and those things were still on my 'cross bike when i sold it in 2017.

however, as jestep says, go good SPDs but i gotta say shimano's been good to me over the years.
 

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We started this spring on the road bike, kid just turned 12.

It was his idea, so I didn't feel so bad when he fell over clipped in (rite of passage).

For the record, his sister thought this was the dumbest idea she'd ever seen. He considers it a great success, but we'll probably stay platform on the mountain bike for a few more years.
 

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First of all, there is no age requirement, if anything it is a skill requirement. The mindset of needing to evolve into clipless pedals has to stop. I think at that age all you are going to do is discourage her and give her more opportunity to lose confidence.

The last thing a 13 yr old needs to worry about is the supposed efficiency of clipless pedaling. She needs to continue to develop fundamental skills about how to position her body and manipulate her bike without the crutch of clipless pedals.

Give her 5 more years until pressuring her into it and then at that point she may have developed those skills and then can capitalize on the potential benefits of clipless at that time.
 

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Ok members, at what age do you think it's appropriate to have a child start riding clipless? My daughter is turning 13, been riding for a few years and racing (X-C) for 1 +. Also, what style would be more appropriate (SPD, Crank Brothers...)?
As a personal preference, I use SPD's. I've tried CB's, but like the flexibility I find I have with SPD's. If you go that route, I suggest she start with using Shimano's SH56 cleats, which allow multi release (ranges, more or less, from straight up to 90 degrees off to one side). SH56's allow panic exits rather easily, but still don't release when under pedaling load. By contrast, the original SH51 cleats release in the traditional off to one side only fashion.

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you all for your various responses and opinions. Interesting that with all the technology and advances, Shimano SPD is still the crowd favorite ( as is mine, and I am a dinosaur). Completely forgot about the Speedplay option. Will most likely go with SPD, as I have a few older sets laying around that mimic the current Saint design, a nice platform that you can stand on, if you either miss a clip or don't want to be clipped in. Yes there is a slight weight penalty, but we aren't battling for WC or weight weenie wins.
As for if I'm "pressuring" her into this...hardly, it was her idea, her decision and choice. She knows she will fall (most likely at a ridiculously slow speed or stop). If she doesn't like them, no big deal, she can go back to flats, and I glue the rubber plug back under the shoes we bought her.
 

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Thank you all for your various responses and opinions. Interesting that with all the technology and advances, Shimano SPD is still the crowd favorite ( as is mine, and I am a dinosaur). Completely forgot about the Speedplay option. Will most likely go with SPD, as I have a few older sets laying around that mimic the current Saint design, a nice platform that you can stand on, if you either miss a clip or don't want to be clipped in. Yes there is a slight weight penalty, but we aren't battling for WC or weight weenie wins.
As for if I'm "pressuring" her into this...hardly, it was her idea, her decision and choice. She knows she will fall (most likely at a ridiculously slow speed or stop). If she doesn't like them, no big deal, she can go back to flats, and I glue the rubber plug back under the shoes we bought her.
A trick I used that I often recommend to people is to sit in a doorway on the bike (so you can hold both sides of the door jam for balance) and just clip in and out repeatedly for 20 minutes or so while you watch TV. It burns in that muscle memory before you actually try it while riding and saves you a couple falls. (Though I'd still start her on grass the first time, she will likely still take a spill or two getting used to it.)
 
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