Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a Gary Fisher Marlin which has been a great starter bike. . I live in GA, and luckily have a pretty good range of trails. I was hoping I could get advice from some veterans on recommended upgrades. The first and most essential upgrade I bought was a pair of biking shorts. Currently I'm looking to buy clip pedals and shoes. I would also like any suggestions on a comfortable hydration pack when riding hard through trails. I appreciate all the help...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Welcome to the club! :D

First -- let me say that I am not anywhere near an expert - but - I have a few suggestions.

Backpack: Not sure how much riding you do or how much water you need but I seriously love my Camelbak Mule. It can hold 100 oz. of water and it has expandable storage on it. You can find other backpacks that can hold that much water but some do not have much storage on them. I think its nice to have the extra room if you need it. Sometimes my bag is full (tools, spare tube, food, gadgets and whatnot) and sometimes its not (just the water). I like the versatility. The other reason why I like it is because it has sternum straps and (for lack of a better name) belly straps. If you ride hard -- you will really like having them both. It keeps the pack really secure on your back. I have tried some with just the sternum straps and bag moved ... alot.

Pedals I just started about a year ago and finally got brave enough to try the clipless pedals in Jan/Feb of this year. Have only tried shimano m540s. I LOVE them. They are very easy to get in and out. What I think makes them a great beginner pedal is that the tension is adjustable. Most pedals are not (I think). Other pedals to consider are Crankbrothers' Eggbeaters. I dont think they are adjustable - but lots of people like them because of the simplestic design. I would check out both and see which one has the features/cost that you are looking for.

Shoes: I went with Specialized SPDs. Their entry level ones I believe. I went to my local LBS and tried them on and they felt fantastic. If anything I would go visit your LBS and ask around and try on a few. Then buy whichever ones you like best. I however am very happy with these.

Just be careful with the clipless pedals. I fell the wrong way and now I am going back to platforms until my confidence gets back again. Still -- there is no question about the benefits of clipless.

-Tree
 

·
E30 Rollin'
Joined
·
235 Posts
For pedals get some sort of shimano's. The tension is adjustable so when you are learning how to use them you can get out easily and as your skills progress you can tighten them. Seems like people always make a big deal about clipless pedals but they really aren't that hard to get used to. The first time I used them was competing in a time trial and I was fine.
As for a Backpack I would recommend some sort of Camelbak. The guys I ride with have large ones that can hold a lot of tools and whatnot but I decided to get a smaller one and its been great so far. Enough room for the stuff I need and isn't bulky either. Here's a link to it...
http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/HY286A00-Camelbak+Chaos+08.aspx?sc=FRGL

As for shoes I can't really say. My friend was at the LBS and I just told him to pick up a pair for me, some sort of specialized shoes. Didn't even try them on but they fit perfect and have been great so far. Having clipless really does make a big difference. You feel as if you have a lot more power and control at the same time. The technical sections can be tricky but as said you get used to clipping out and it becomes second nature...
 

·
^ That's what I do
Joined
·
747 Posts
I had no trouble learning with Crankbrothers Eggbeaters. I have the cleats set for 15 degrees of rotation before release. The more you use them, the easier it gets (because you learn the motion, and the cleats get broken in).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,995 Posts
I like my Time pedals and Sette shoes. Got them as a combo deal on price point. I also recommend a hydration pack. I bought a cheaper Coleman brand pack at WalMart for half the price as a Camel pack and it works great. I am a big guy and it has plenty of room to fit me. The pack can hold some extra stuff but not tons but I bought it for the hydration bladder anyways.
 

·
responsible zombie owner
Joined
·
654 Posts
If you're on a budget, go to pricepoint.com and get a Sette hydration pack ($20), and a Sette Element shoes ($45) and clipless pedals combo. Note that the shoes run quite large so you might want to tget a size down from usual.

Re pedals, I use Crank Bros Smartys, Mallets Cs and Eggbeater SLs. The Smartys are lower quality than the others but I like them all (and love the SLs). Once the cleats break in they were buttery and easy to use even for a rank beginner to clipless like me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
First off, thank you to everyone that has responded. All of these suggestions have been great. As you all know its quite overwhelming in the beggining with so many options.

It seems like everyone either shops at Jenson or Price Point, so I will be checking these places out.

I really want to look into clipless pedals, it sounds like everyone is pretty divided on brands. Are they pretty easy to install and adjust for a beginner?

thanks again
 

·
Extra Crispy
Joined
·
526 Posts
I've got Crank Brothers Candy pedals on my bike with some cheap Pearl Izumi shoes. I've taken a couple falls (both pedal and trail related) and now the right pedal's "wings" seem to be stretched out. I'm not saying this because it's Crank Brother's fault, I'm just saying be careful with them and ride around on flat ground practicing clipping in and getting out. The wings getting stretched is my fault. I guess it's an excuse to move up to Eggbeaters. :)
 

·
Extra Crispy
Joined
·
526 Posts
Woops on the double post, but I guess I'll just use this one to add to my other one.

Crank Brother's pedals aren't adjustable because their design doesn't require them to be, I think. Just install them and go. They're easy to get in and out too. Depending on how you install the cleats on your shoes, you either have 15° or 20° of rotation before release... they advise newbs to use the 15° installation method.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Installing pedals is very easy.

Yes - people usually have their favorites (bikes, pedals, shoes, ... all components really) but if you go with any of the tried and true favorites - you should be fine. I run Shimano M520 pedals and I think they are pretty much the same design as the M540s ... but just weigh a little more but about $30-40 cheaper if I remember correctly. I have Shimano M075 mountain shoes and they work fine as well.

I have a tactical hydration pack but I totally love it... serously doubt anyone else has one of these things on MTBR... but it was a free gift from someone I know in law enforcement so I couldnt turn it down! Not that cheap though... my hydration pack:

https://www.redcheetah.com/lci/item_details.php?sess_id=a88d438178d12b977c6fc704f1720f1c&sku=802642

I would get a larger one to hold all your trail gear - spare tires, pumps, med kit, etc. Good luck! You will pick up on things before you know it...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,995 Posts
dpastore22 said:
I really want to look into clipless pedals, it sounds like everyone is pretty divided on brands. Are they pretty easy to install and adjust for a beginner?
Yeah, easy to install. Mine are not adjustable so I cannot comment on that. The only thing adjustable on my setup is the release angle and that is simply swapping the right cleat with the left one and vice versa.

As far as brands, just like everything everyone has their favorite. Crank Brothers seems to be good stuff however they seem to not be made for heavier riders so keep that in mind if you have some weight on you. Shimano is another popular brand and lots of folks use them around here. My buddy uses them and loves them. Time gets a good rep for the heavy weights which is why I use them. Being my first and only clipless pedals I cannot compare but I am pretty happy with them. They are tough as nails and no frills. I would not hesitate to buy Time again. But I would also not discount using another brand either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
372 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've also heard a lot about these Power Grips Toe Straps. I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with these. I'm not sure if they may be a good initial route to take.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top