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Discussion Starter #1
My 48 year old beginner wife, wants clipless pedals and shoes for her MTB.

She rides mostly on the road and when she ventures offroad, she struggles to get through simple terrain and I have to wait for her to catch up all the time.

I have only been doing mountain biking for about a year, and I am not yet comforable with the idea of going clipless. Perhaps, by the end of this summer, I will feel confident enough.

So, to me it seems a bit premature putting clipless pedals on her MTB.

What do you ladies have to say on the subject?

BTW, she is fit. She plays soccer and paddles regularly.

I am worried about her getting hurt. I would feel better if she first developed her technique a bit more and if she had more confidence offroad.

Her experienced friend has clipless pedals and I wonder if she is just reacting to what her friend is using, more than she understands her own needs.

old_dude
 

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Well, everyone learns at their own pace and if she's still struggling on simple terrain, it might be wise to try out a new pair of flats with pins and grippy soled shoes. You can still learn to pedal full circles with flats and still maintain confidence on trickier terrain.

On the other hand, if she really feels she's ready for clipless, give her a chance and let her see if that's what she really wants. Maybe some SPDs set as loosely as possible will work for her. As the saying goes, you'll never know until you try. :)

My experience, contrary to everyone's else's, is that flats work better for me. I started out with 959s and decided that i wanted more platform so I switched to Time Zs.Those are great pedals but I just got tired of not being able to get out at the last second when I needed to so I bought some Wellgo Magnesium pedals and sticky soled shoes. My confidence level has increased tenfold so I may go back to clipless this summer but at this point, I'm happy with flats.

THere's something to be said for gaining more skills with the flats and then going clipless when you're ready but if she really wants to try them out now, let her see if they might work for her. :)
Good Luck!
 

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clipless=good

Clipless pedals/shoes are probably the single best improvement one can make, imo, and that is irregardless of skill level.

It will take a few rides to get everything dialed in and comfortable with them, but once that happens, riding will improve exponentially., and so will her confidence.

I myself feel much more confident descending rockky technical downhills on my mountain bike, when my feet are clipped in. I feel more 'un-confident' if I have to descend a rocky terrain if one or both of my feet has comed unclipped for some reason, and I haven't gotten clipped back in yet.


Once she gets past the learning curve, things will be so very nice., Having feet clipped in will eventually be like second-nature to her, and her mountain biking world will change forever, for the better.
I predict that she will no longer struggle to get through simple terrain.

I am a big fan of being clipped in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let her do IT !!!,,, And get yerrself some too!!!!!!
 

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I feel the way we learn and grow is by taking risks, facing challenges, making our own decisions. It's too bad it's not old_dude's wife asking our opinion.

I'm currently a big fan of clipless. I figure if she wants to try it, cool. I don't know about flats and grippy soles. I know before I went clipless, I rode quite a while using mtn bike shoes without the cleats installed. I was amazed at how much better they were than my sneakers! Much better power transfer. I was using cages too. (Maybe this is only good for x-country type of riding?)

Would she really be out much financially if she tried clipless? Do you think a couple falls are going to make her quit mtn biking forever? Especially if she's been doing it a year now and sounds like she has caught the bug? I hate to see you hold her back, old_dude.
 

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old_dude said:
My 48 year old beginner wife, wants clipless pedals and shoes for her MTB.

She rides mostly on the road and when she ventures offroad, she struggles to get through simple terrain and I have to wait for her to catch up all the time.

I have only been doing mountain biking for about a year, and I am not yet comforable with the idea of going clipless. Perhaps, by the end of this summer, I will feel confident enough.

So, to me it seems a bit premature putting clipless pedals on her MTB.

What do you ladies have to say on the subject?

BTW, she is fit. She plays soccer and paddles regularly.

I am worried about her getting hurt. I would feel better if she first developed her technique a bit more and if she had more confidence offroad.

Her experienced friend has clipless pedals and I wonder if she is just reacting to what her friend is using, more than she understands her own needs.

old_dude
I apologize for the really long winded response… but there’s no simple way to put this.

If your wife wants to give them a try, by all means she should!! And so should you. Clipless pedals bring mountain (and road) biking to a whole new level. When I first started out, I was also motivated to try them based on the fact that the people I rode with were all using them. That’s how one progresses in this sport… by trying new things and forcing oneself to take it to a new level.

Here’s what you’ll notice once you try them: All of a sudden you are no longer limited to mashing all the time on the downstroke of your pedaling motion. You can pull up with the opposite leg and apply more pressure to the pedals during the entire pedal stroke. This translates directly to having more control of the bike. If you're doing any kind of road or XC type riding, you're both really missing out by not using them. I also agree with whomever it was who posted that being clipped in on more technical sections can actually give you a feeling of more security since you are not going to get bounced off the pedals (that, to me, would be unnerving).

There are some very good pedal choices out there. Here’s a synopsis of my experience with various designs:

Shimano SPD Style (rode these very briefly when I started riding)
2 sided entry. I haven’t ridden these in a few years and I admit that the pair I had were not the highest quality. Regardless, I found them cumbersome to clip into and sporatic to clip out of and mud performance was always dismal. One real benefit is that you can dial in the engagement setting to be either really easy or really hard. These might be a good choice for a beginner to start with for that very reason. However, I would recommend switching to a different style once the concept of being clipped in becomes comfortable

Speedplay Frogs (I rode these for 3+ years)
2 sided entry. Zero effort release to get out of, but they can sometimes be difficult to clip in (sometimes I thought I was clipped in and actually wasn’t). Mud performance is OK, but not great. They only release one way (by turning your ankle away from the bike)
With some shoes you have to grind away some sole material to get the cleat to fit properly. The cleats also wear fairly quickly and are somewhat expensive to replace. Eventually I got tired of that “I think I’m clipped in” scenario added to the fact that about twice a year I would fall in such a way that a) the pedals didn’t disengage and b) my body was contorted in such a way that I could not get unclipped without someone on the ride doubling back to help me out. I know that sounds kind of silly but it is caused solely by the fact that the pedals only disengage in one direction and sometimes one does fall in such a way that it’s not possible to turn your ankle away from the frame. I have another friend who still rides this style pedal and I can say that the exact same thing happens to her a couple times a year too… but she loves them anyway.

Crank Brothers Egg Beaters (switched to these about 4 months ago)
4 sided entry. Very easy to engage and disengage (not as easy to disengage as the Frogs but still very easy). Exceptional performance in mud. Very light. The come in several styles, some offering more of a platform than others. Depending on which direction you mount the cleats the disengagement can be tailored to be easier or harder. It took me a couple rides to get used to the minimial resistance when unclipping (since I was used to the zero resistance of the Frogs), but the adjustment was very easy. The improvement in engagement and mud performance along with being able to unclip in either direction makes these my favorite pedals so far.

Time ATAC. (haven’t ridden these personally but some friends do)
2 sided entry. Similar benefits of the Egg Beaters, but I think they might be slightly harder to clip in/out of than the Egg Beaters. If you’re a big strong person, this probably isn’t a big deal. But I’m small lighter rider so I’ve stayed away from these. One of my riding buddies raves about them though, so they are another option to consider.

If and when you do go the clipless route, practice engaging and disengaging while someone is holding the bike up for you while stopped. Then go practice riding around on something soft like grass to cushion your fall (because you probably will fall a couple times at first). The key is to make the unclipping motion second nature and a completely subconscious action so that when you need to do it on the road or on the trail, you don’t even think about it. After a little practice that is exactly what will happen.
 

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if she wants them, go for it. i suggest using shimano. from what i understand shimano makes a special cleat for beginners(easier to disengage).

good luck, and have fun!

Rita(50 y.o.)
 

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Share the joy of falling over at a stand still with your loved one today!

If you both try them at the same time you'll have alot of fun encouraging each other, teasing each other etc. I switched to clipless almost immediately and never looked back. Yeah there were a few falls, but the benefits so outweigh the detriments I wouldn't give it a second thought--unless you don't have alot of money or something.
 

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I vote yes too for letting her do what she wants. I went clipless after only a month on the bike, mostly because I was falling a lot anyway. I figured why not go ahead and get all the falling out of the way at once. I went with SPDs and kept them dialed pretty loose. This way I could get out pretty easy but had the benefits of the clip on climbs and technical sections that would normally bounce my feet right off the flats. I think I actually fell more from having my foot slide off a flat and not being able to recover than I have from not being able to get unclipped in time.
 

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I rode on both flat pedals and clipless.

When on XC Rides and semi technical I prefer clipless since you are more powerful and committed to the trail. You can use the full rotation of the pedal stroke when clipped in ( pulling and pushing). On flats you are only really pushing and can only pull up on the back 3/4 of the pedal stroke.

It is easier to bail when not clipped in.

On the really technical trails when I'm riding skinnys or steep rocky terrain I prefer to be on flats. I like the ability to move my foot around and to bail faster - especially on skinnys.

There is a learning curve when first using clipless. Keeping them loose or even using the flat/clipless pedal will help with confidence.

If you are going to use flat pedals, it is highly advisable to wear shin pads. The little screws hurt when they ram into your shin. You will become a better technical rider (IMO) on flats since you must use skill to keep your foot on the pedal, not the clip.

If she wants to become a stonger faster rider, get clipless. If that is not important then stay on the flats.

In the extreme cases notice that trials riders are on flats, racers are on clipless.
 

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FWIW - my .02...

I was a new mtb'r at age 39. I only rode offroad when I started. I knew I wanted to go clipless but I decided to set a goal for myself first. My goal was to be able to ride most of my regular ride without dabbing (putting a foot down) before going clipless. The first month it seemed my feet were on the ground as much as off. It took about 3 months of riding 3 times a week on the same 5 miles of trails before I reached my goal.

Knowing that I could do most of my ride without dabbing gave me the confidence to be clipped in. Also, I knew it was time to clip in when I started hitting trail sections so fast that a couple of times my feet (yes, both of them) came off the pedals in the rough stuff. No fun!

Although everyone is different, I would suggest she (and you) consider this method.

As for the type of clipless pedals. I have and have loved my Eggbeaters for 2 years now. They are the easier to get out of than any other pedal I've tried. However, if I were new to clipless I would definitely suggest the Eggbeaters that have a platform (Candy's I think). As a new clipless rider, there will be sections that you will definitely feel more comfortable with one foot unclipped. (In reality it's kind of a fallacy but one most people new to clipless share.) A plain Eggbeater isn't conducive to pedaling unclipped like many other clipless pedals can be.

Oh and on a side note.....we all react to what we see better riders doing/using. They are our role models on the trail. That's how I learned most of my technical skills - by seeing a better rider do it and imitating them. A question - is SHE worried about getting hurt? Is she falling over already and handling it ok? From a female perspective......try not to be "overprotective" of her on the trail. She will best know her limits and abilities and how much risk she is willing to take just as you do those things for yourself. Just as you would not push her into doing something she's not comfortable with doing.....don't hold her back from trying what she thinks she can do......you just never know!!! Encourage each other to take acceptable risks and you will both be better riders for it. My husband has accompanied me to the E.R. for stitches but never once said "maybe you shouldn't .....(whatever he thinks I shouldn't do)".

Happy trails.....

Lori
 

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if she wants to go clipless let her.

old_dude said:
My 48 year old beginner wife, wants clipless pedals and shoes for her MTB.

She rides mostly on the road and when she ventures offroad, she struggles to get through simple terrain and I have to wait for her to catch up all the time.

I have only been doing mountain biking for about a year, and I am not yet comforable with the idea of going clipless. Perhaps, by the end of this summer, I will feel confident enough.

So, to me it seems a bit premature putting clipless pedals on her MTB.

What do you ladies have to say on the subject?

BTW, she is fit. She plays soccer and paddles regularly.

I am worried about her getting hurt. I would feel better if she first developed her technique a bit more and if she had more confidence offroad.

Her experienced friend has clipless pedals and I wonder if she is just reacting to what her friend is using, more than she understands her own needs.

old_dude
just because you don't feel confident going clipless doesn't mean that she feels the same way that you do! (not trying to be harsh here.)

when you're first learning to ride you're going to fall down......a lot! going clipless means you'll fall down at slow speeds sometimes.

i switched to clipless 3 months after buying my 1st mtb and 2 weeks after starting to ride with more experienced riders. seeing them clipping in gave me the confidence to try it as well.

if you're wife thinks she's ready let her have at it!

rt
 

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I say she should try it. Start off using them while riding around on grass, or the most forgiving terrain you can find. There's nothing wrong with learning to ride more technical terrain with clipless pedals - just learn to get in and out of them first, and get a clipless system that's consistent and easy to use. If you have a clipless pedal with a larger platform (like my Crank Bros Mallet C's) if need be, you can ride them unclipped through technical sections and they're the best of both worlds.

If she feels ready to try them, that's all that I'd be concerned about.
 

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connie said:
If you have a clipless pedal with a larger platform (like my Crank Bros Mallet C's) if need be, you can ride them unclipped through technical sections and they're the best of both worlds.
That was my reasoning when I bought my first pair of clipless pedals -- the red platform Shimano 636's. But, I found that whenever my shoe was anywhere NEAR that platform, the cleat got sucked in so that I was always clipped in!?
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I learned about shin pedal wacks the hard way...

Brodiegrrl said:
If you are going to use flat pedals, it is highly advisable to wear shin pads. The little screws hurt when they ram into your shin. You will become a better technical rider (IMO) on flats since you must use skill to keep your foot on the pedal, not the clip.

If she wants to become a stonger faster rider, get clipless. If that is not important then stay on the flats.

In the extreme cases notice that trials riders are on flats, racers are on clipless.
Thanks, for the advice. I found out the hard way, about getting wacked in the shin and the back of the leg by a steel pedal with pointy things sticking out. I have a solution for that, without using clipless or shin guards.

I cut down a pair of clips so they just cup the toes of my shoes.

These keep my feet postioned on the pedal like clipless, prevent my feet from slipping off the pedal like clipless, and they provide a greater range of power in the pedal stroke, although much less so than clipless. However, they make it very easy to get a foot down.

I find that they help give me some of the feel of using clipless, while building confidence. I consider them to be a good transition strategy, to move from platforms, to clipless.

It was when I offered to mount a pair on my wife's bike that she told me she wants clipless. I figured she might want to try these for a bit and do a tad more riding offroad, before jumping into clipless pedals.

I figured on getting CB Candy SL clipless pedals, when the time comes. They are light, good for mud, they are supposed to be easy to clip in, and clip out, and they have a bit of a platform.

Before starting this thread, I told my wife, that if she really wants to go clipless, to try on some clipless shoes, to find her size, and then I will see if I can find a deal on the WEB, for the shoes and pedals.

I would just prefer it, if she would proceed more cautiously and get more experience first.

old_dude
 

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JustDoIt said:
That was my reasoning when I bought my first pair of clipless pedals -- the red platform Shimano 636's. But, I found that whenever my shoe was anywhere NEAR that platform, the cleat got sucked in so that I was always clipped in!?
I've experienced that with shimano pedals, but not the Mallet C's. To me, it feels like there's more of a specific motion for clipping in, and the platform is big and grippy enough that I can pedal without being clipped in if I want. Shoes probably make a difference too - I have more of a hiking-style shoe so there's plenty of sole/tread to contact the pedal platform. If you had something more racing oriented with less tread, it might cause you to clip in earlier.
 

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old_dude said:
I would just prefer it, if she would proceed more cautiously and get more experience first.

old_dude
Truth is, she's gonna "tip" whether she's experienced or not. Another way to look at it is that she is not totally ingrained into here clips'n'straps pedals yet, so she may actually take to the clipless pedals better now than later on.

I've seen people start off mountain biking using clipless, and I've seen people who have been riding for years but are still nervous about switching. I agree with most of the sentiments here, which all seem to state, she should do whatever she feels like doing. I know you are concerned about her safety, but confidence directly corresponds to safety. If she feels more confident and capable in clipless, or in a purple bunny suit, go for it - It doesn't hurt (much) to try. If she changes her mind, she can always save the purple bunny suit for later when she feels ready.

Personally, I feel like there is no time like the present. Often, after getting used to clipless, people feel more in control of their bikes. Since she does a fair bit of road riding, she will benefit even more from the clipless.

Here's some tips, or more aptly, simple truths about making the "switch".

1. You will tip. Alot. Especially in crowded parking lots.

2. You've got to stay with it for 9 rides. This is my best approximation for how long it takes a rider to never look back at flats.

3. During the first ride you WILL tip at least once in the grass before riding, once on the pavement after riding, and a good 4 times on the trail. It WILL be frustrating, so don't be surprised when it is.

4. Switching back and forth between clipless and flats is a bad idea. They are two very different methods of riding and foot movement.

5. Sometimes getting a used pair of pedals is an easier way to start off as they are a little broken in already.

6. Did I mention that tipping will be a fact of life for the first few weeks of riding? The good news, is that it WILL go away.

TIPPING - the act of getting one foot out, only to realize that your bike is leaning towards the opposite side. Generally results in large ass cheek bruising and a general ego bruising. Both forms of bruising should be medicated promptly with beer.

Just buy her a mini skirt for the influx in bruising during the first 2 weeks.
 

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I recommed the doublesided clipless with a platform. something like the Shimano M545



Reasoning - Double sided clip in means no looking down or flipping to get the right side. Having the platform allows one to still keep their feet firmly and securely on the pedals with out being clipped in. Make sence? This is for the times when one feels sketchy and does NOTwant to be clipped in, the platform provides a stable place for the feet.

The smaller clipless pedals are hard, if not impossible, to stay on unclipped.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I got these for my beginner kids

I also have two beginner teenage boys. I asked them if they would like to try the half or mini clips, like the ones I use. They liked the idea.

When asked about clipless, they were reluctant, "Maybe later."

So, I went to the LBS and picked up two pair of these:

http://www.rei.com/online/store/Pro...color=&img=/largeimages/639584.jpg&view=large

They are a bit longer than the cut down clips that I use, but will still be easier to enter than full clips.

I can later cut these back to just cup the toes, if the kids find them too long.

I really think these make a good transition strategy to go from platform to clipless. It takes a while to get used to rotating the pedals to enter, but it gets easier over time.

Since, my boys want to wait before going clipless, these should save their shins and calves from pedal wacks, until they are ready.

I will see how the boys make out, and see if my wife warms to the idea.

As for my wife going clipless, many of you are saying "Go for it." Yet, just about everyone is saying, that she will fall for sure. That is easy to say, when you are not around to pick up the pieces. It sounds to me more like bravado, than common sense.

I am sure, even if we all wait and get more experience before going clipless, that we will all fall anyway. But, I would expect much fewer falls, which could make a significant difference in injuries.

BTW, I was thinking of eventually getting CB Candy SLs, but I read some reviews on the Eggbeaters and now have serious reservations about these pedals. People are complaining that if you hit something with the bottom of the pedal, it releases. I don't like the sound of that. I ride over logs, rocks, bumps, ridges, etc, that can knock the bottom of the pedals.

I am now warming to the idea of Time ATAC Alium pedals, which are about 60 grams more in weight, but are less expensive. They clear mud well, and also have good float. I have seen them for $60. I will need four sets eventually, so saving on cost is more important, than if I were just buying one set.

old_dude
 

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The problem is that those toe clips have no correllation whatsoever to transitioning to clipless pedals. The motion is different and you're just adding one more thing to learn, and then unlearn. What we're saying by "you're going to flop over a few times making the switch" applies whether it's your first week on a bike or you've been riding with toe clips for years. Why not get it over with? Ride in the grass to start with until you get used to clipless and then what pieces will there be to pick up? Falling doesn't hurt THAT much - if she's not worried about it, why are you?
 
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