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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I trying to decide which one of these pedals I should get. This will be my first time ever on clipless. I've been riding on platforms all my life and I've always been afraid of toe clips. Lately everyone (the trails I've been on) suggested I should go clipless. Is there an advantage of getting one over the other... besides the weight and color? Which one would you recommend for a newbie? I want something that I can easily get out of in case I panic... I have a friend (newbie also) who tried out a pair of Candy SL's and couldnt seem to unclip that fast... so he usually falls with the bike. I dont want that happening to me :) . Thanks for the help!
 

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Get your freak on!
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2002NRS said:
I trying to decide which one of these pedals I should get. This will be my first time ever on clipless. I've been riding on platforms all my life and I've always been afraid of toe clips. Lately everyone (the trails I've been on) suggested I should go clipless. Is there an advantage of getting one over the other... besides the weight and color? Which one would you recommend for a newbie? I want something that I can easily get out of in case I panic... I have a friend (newbie also) who tried out a pair of Candy SL's and couldnt seem to unclip that fast... so he usually falls with the bike. I dont want that happening to me :) . Thanks for the help!
Candys are veru easy to get out of.
With that being said, I would get the 540's as the weight and colour aren't the only upgrades. As far as I know you get better bearings and seals.
Remember to practice clipping in and out on a grassy field before going on the road or the trails!
Have fun and good luck!:)
 

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clipless

I bought the 520's as my 1st pair and I've had no complaints.

I set the tension very low (so easy to get out of). I also practiced doing track stands in a field and would try to unclip just before I fell...this really helped.

I got the 520's for 70 Canadian so I didn't even look at the higher-end.
 

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2002NRS said:
I trying to decide which one of these pedals I should get. This will be my first time ever on clipless. I've been riding on platforms all my life and I've always been afraid of toe clips. Lately everyone (the trails I've been on) suggested I should go clipless. Is there an advantage of getting one over the other... besides the weight and color? Which one would you recommend for a newbie? I want something that I can easily get out of in case I panic... I have a friend (newbie also) who tried out a pair of Candy SL's and couldnt seem to unclip that fast... so he usually falls with the bike. I dont want that happening to me :) . Thanks for the help!
Beside weight (I don't think color is an advantage), there also float or free float. Float is the amount free movement you have while you're clipped in (before engaging the retention system). This is measure in degrees. The more float you have, the more your knee is always to move around during the pedal stroke. For people like me with bad knees, this is a must have. Pedals with limited float like SPDs will lock the knees into a single position and can eventually be very painful during those epic rides (or even short rides if your knees are really bad).

Another thing to look at is release angle. This is the angle at which you will be release from the retention system. The greater the release angle the more unlikely you will have accidental unclip/release. The downside to high release angle is a high learning curve. Having done an endo because of an accidental unclip, I'll take the higher learning curve anytime. SPD does not use the term release angle; they actually call this angle float (they do not spec out free float for their pedals). Times and Eggs have two release angles and which is controlled by the placement of the cleats. Frogs don't have a release angle, it all free float. Once you pass float angle you're release on Frogs.

As for falling, you need to just get pass that learning curve, once you do that getting in and out of these thing will be automatic. I ride pedals with high release angles, Times on mtn bike and Eggs on my road bikes and I've never fallen because I was clipped in (pass the learning curve). I suggest before you even take your bike out on a grass field, practice clipping in and out your pedals using a doorway for support. Do this about 100 times for each leg. Then take the bike out on large grass field and ride around until you clipping in and out because second nature to you.
 

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Don't be shy of the bargin 520's. They work really well, much better than Shimano's past entry-level 515 SPD. The weight penalty over the 540's is in the neighborhood of 60g for the pair. Their finish leaves a little to be desired, as the chrome treatment on mine is flaking a bit after a year of use, and the springs have a light surface oxidation. But all-in-all, they continue to work well and should last me a good long time.

I've got kind of messed up knees, and as wraith indicated, you ought to pay attention to float range and release points during setup. SPD float and release isn't technically adjustable, but what I do is carefully angle my cleats to point in (towards my big toe) just a few degrees to set release where I want it, so I don't have to crank my heel too far out to unclip. Float is generous enough that I rarely experience knee discomfort, but some riders appreciate the greater float that some other brands of pedals offer.

My suggestion is that for learning clipless, ease of entry is the most important feature in a pedal, and price is important too since you're probably not fully committed to sticking with clipless at this point. The old 515's were cheap enough, but I felt they could be a little stickey at times, making them a second tier pedal for a beginner. The 520's I really like in this regard, because they have the price advantage, along with the ease and precision of entry of Shimano's higher end pedals.
 

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I went with the 520's on my old bike first, because all the new bikes I was looking at came with them. Thus, didn't have to worry about compatibility with the new one (or the majority of the demos I tried).
 

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i got the 520s. Fell a few times .. gonna happen. The thing is just to practice as much as you can. This past weekend i went to try a big log, didnt make it and uncliped fast as hell and landed on my feet. Been about a month with the pedals and i am doing well with them. Dont be scared of them just expect falls, most falls arent that bad anyway.

sho

edit .. i forgot -> i dont know about the 540s but the 520s have a tension screw that can adjust how tight your cliped in. At first it was really nice but now i have them on the tightest setting. Just a thought. If your really worried that tension screw is nice to have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Awesome! ya'll kinda re-assured me going clipless. I have a $20 gift certificate and a 20% off coupon that I can get the the 540 for about 34 bucks (the 520 would be around the same price because I can't use the 20% off with it... probably 10 bucks less than the 540). The 540's has tension screw also. Thanks for everyone's help.
 

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Quote: "i dont know about the 540s but the 520s have a tension screw that can adjust how tight your cliped in. At first it was really nice but now i have them on the tightest setting. Just a thought. If your really worried that tension screw is nice to have."

Just a question...I still have my 520's set to one of the loosest settings, is there a benefit to having them tighter? Sometimes I notice that with my pedal stroke my heel may rub the chain stay and I wonder if this is because of the float (or loose setting). I don't ride very technical terrain where my foot may inadvertantly pop out, so I don't bother tightening it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just picked up my 540's on tuesday... man its totally different from platforms. I've fallen once already. I tried a local trail on the same day I got my pedals... strangely I was able to stop and unclip on climbs but fall on flat surfaces. I'm afraid to go downhill at full speed though... scared of accidently unclipping. I guess it just takes practice.
 

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Why not go all out?

Hey if you got the money why not splurge for the 959's? Hey, that's what I got and they're really nice pedals, heavy, but nice. Then when you get your new ride, take em' with you!

Ride on,
 

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I fell maybe 6 times first week because I would forget to clip out or be unable to. Just keep practice and ride easy trails at first.

It'll be well worth it!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I set the tension in the middle on the pedals... it feels much nicer than the lowest tension. I fell a bunch of times on the tighest tension. I have to admit clipless are easier to ride on flats. I cant justify paying twice as much for the 959 pedals when its only 6 grams lighter than the 540's. I probably cant tell the difference between the two since i'm a beginner. I was planning to get the 520's but the 540's that I got was only 10 bucks more.
 
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