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I want to start XC racing, but I have never been to one before. It seems awfully difficult to get my feet in and out of the clipless, so what do most people do? Do they race with or without and what is the difference?
 

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Most people will tell you that going clipless is worth it. It lets you pedal more efficiently, and makes it easier for you to hop over things on your bike. If you haven't used them before, the best thing to do is to get them and ride around on the road for a while until you get used to clipping in and out.

Low-end Shimano pedals are a good place to start (i.e. PD-M520 or PD-M540) because they have adjustable tension. So you can set the tension to be really loose until you get used to it.
 

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disagree. strongly disagree.

dinger said:
Most people will tell you that going clipless is worth it. It lets you pedal more efficiently

NOT TRUE: If you're afraid of falling while clipped in on a technical section, you're gonna be hesitant. maybe even unclip to ride the section, which sacrifices your control. I ride nothing but PowerGrips on MTBs, and can ride anything securely attached to the pedals, because I know if I have to I can exit and dab in a nanosecond every time.
With properly adjusted PowerGrips (snug, but not constrictiing tight) you can pull up on the pedals and power thru the dead spots just as well as with any clipless system, only you're not depending on mechanical benevolence to let you out before you eat dirt.

, and makes it easier for you to hop over things on your bike (I can hop just fine with my PowerGrips, thank you.. If you haven't used them (PowerGrips) before, the best thing to do is to get them and ride around on (thegnarliest trail you know because with PowerGrips there is no learning curve, they are intuitive)
Low-end Shimano pedals are a good place to start (i.e. PD-M520 or PD-M540) because they have adjustable tension. So you can set the tension to be really loose until you get used to it.
Or buy a pair of PowerGrips for $20, adjust them correctly, and give them a fair test. You'll wonder what all the clipless hype is about, and you'll laugh every time you see a friend fall while clipped in.
 

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clipless all the way

I've only been riding clipless for a few months now, and have noticed a tremendous change in my riding. I'm stronger on hills and more confident on the downhills. I admit that I'm still a bit hesitant on technical sections, but every time I go out, my confidence builds. I wouldn't trade them for anything now. I started with Shimano PD-M424 with the resion platform, just so the step up was smaller, and I'd really like to get rid of the platforms already. The learning curve is steep and sometimes painful, but I wouldn't go back.....just my opinion.
 

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As a long time hold out...

Preacher-man said:
I want to start XC racing, but I have never been to one before. It seems awfully difficult to get my feet in and out of the clipless, so what do most people do? Do they race with or without and what is the difference?
I'm riding on Egg beaters, and been on 'em now for almost a season. They're working fine. I was afraid of getting dumped because I wouldn't be able to clip out. It's only happened twice - including the learning curve.

That's less than the cages I used to ride.

I'm noticing that it's easier to climb hills and put power down a little better. I don't race (yet) so can't comment on that part, but will probably start next year with the clipless pedals.

JmZ
 

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I occasionally use clippless for racing but prefer platform. I run only platform clipless so I can stay pedaling for a couple of strokes if my foot comes out. I'm not a fast cross country rider unless the course is ruff or muddy compared to others out there. The only place I notice they are a advantage are climbs. I haven't put the clipless on my bike in about a 1 1/2 years. Clipless do hurt true bike handling skills and act as a crutch for people. I ride with a guy that comes from a road back ground and he the fastest guy on trails I know. When we play around on the street and he runs platforms he is funny to watch. He slams into everything and can't move his bike around without being attached to it.
 

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First remember that bulC stands for bullchit and you'll be half way there. Racers use clipless because the power transfer is so much greater than anything else on the market. That includes Mr. Wonderfuls powergrips and fully rigid suspension. You'll have to excuse him/her. They have no tolerance for progress and only his/her opinions count.

Second thing is you have to practice with them. You can't be impatient. Like a lot of things in life the more you work at it the better you get and it will become second nature if you give it time. I haven't fallen in two years, but I'm probably more careful than some. If that doesn't convince you just go to an xc race and count the number of flats/toeclips people are using. It doesn't take a cray computer to figure they know something you don't know.

Lastly anyone who laughs at someone who falls no matter what the reason is a jerk. So that should tell you how much to pay attention to them.
 

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I come from a BMX background,
so I'm well adjusted to handling
a bike on some platform pedals.

I rode the MB for awhile on them,
then decided it was time to clip-in.

A great deal of my bike handling skills
were lost on this sudden change ..
.. It took me quite awhile to
adapt to the feel of clips.

The best thing to do is,
change your style
completely ..
 

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I used Power Grips for about six months and really liked them . . .

but they are not very sturdy, and I finally broke one of the straps clean off in a crash. After that, I switched to Shimano 540's.

I do have to agree that the Power Grips are instinctive. If they are adjusted correctly, you can get out of them in a flash without really thinking about it. With clipless pedals, I find myself anticipating the need to unclip, with the result that I unclip earlier than I really need to (too many bruised elbows and shoulders from falling over).

I'm hoping that I get completely accustomed to clipless, but right now I am in the category of tensing up and unclipping whenever I ride anything technical -- someting I didn't do with the Powergrips.
 

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Will said:
I occasionally use clippless for racing but prefer platform. I run only platform clipless so I can stay pedaling for a couple of strokes if my foot comes out. I'm not a fast cross country rider unless the course is ruff or muddy compared to others out there. The only place I notice they are a advantage are climbs. I haven't put the clipless on my bike in about a 1 1/2 years. Clipless do hurt true bike handling skills and act as a crutch for people. I ride with a guy that comes from a road back ground and he the fastest guy on trails I know. When we play around on the street and he runs platforms he is funny to watch. He slams into everything and can't move his bike around without being attached to it.
A Crutch? You must be out of your mind.
 

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Yes, Crutch
I ride with tons of guys with clipless and to watch them bunny hop, side hop and such is funny. I stated crutch and mean it. Jumping with your bike attached to your feet is not a bunny hop. With the circle I ride with its split up half and half between clipless and platform and when it comes to just riding and cleaning obstacles it is quit aparent what guys are better riders. We also stop often to just play on an obstacle or section we like. I stated I'm not a cross country rider nor am I a hip "free rider" . I'm a trail rider that has been known to ride on the street and try a sprocket grind with the local BMX kids or what ever else seems fun. If posting a reply just to be confrontational is what you feel is required in this instance good for you.
Good Day
DaveX said:
A Crutch? You must be out of your mind.
 

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After practicing enough with clipless you get to the point where clipping out is a no-brainer. Even when using platforms, you still instinctively make the clipout motion when stopping. Whether you attempt a technical spot is no longer related to your pedals, just your riding skill, those who make sweeping statements about clipless impairing riding ability despite the multitudes who don't have that problem notwithstanding.
 

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When racing you will not find many people, if any riding flats, except maybe among the more novice riders. No matter which way you go about it its not efficient. Winning and placing good in a race will require extreme strength climbing more than anything and you can't do that if your just trying to keep your foot on the pedal. Bunny hopping technique whether right or wrong is secondary in a XC race. Your wheels need to stay on the ground and the cranks turning. Its that simple. It will be one of the most gruelling experiences you will ever endure. You will need to pull up on the pedals in some parts to use other muscles and rest others. You will need to mash hard when your coordination is being lost due to sheer exhaustion. Using flats just adds another huge element to worry about since keeping your feet correctly placed on the flats becomes a burden (yes its one of the small details you REALLY don't want to worry about on a race). Clipping in takes only a few days if not hours to get used to. Release becomes completely instinctive and you will find that most of the time you are about to crash your foot has already released by instinct before you even thought about it. Much like any bike technique such as bunny hopping, turning, whatever, clipping in and out is something the body adapts to.

bulC said:
Or buy a pair of PowerGrips for $20, adjust them correctly, and give them a fair test. You'll wonder what all the clipless hype is about, and you'll laugh every time you see a friend fall while clipped in.
You're friends must be very unccordinated because out of the hundreds of people i see at races, dozens of training buddies and riders I usually ride with I can't even remember the last time I saw someone fall over clipped in the last three years. Yes I've see crashes, but seeing someone fall over because they forgot to clip out is something that you only tend to see on beginners. If you are worried about falling over a couple of times learning a SKILL on a bike, you are in the wrong sport.
 

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big time ouch on flats

this guy posted a while back on RideMonkey he was on flats..as he approched this 6' drop his foot slipped and he cracked his face bad...Its like skiing you get to the point where you crank your bindings down tight because loosing a ski in a mogel will hurt more.
 

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The more you ride with clipless, the better you'll get at clipping out. After a while it becomes totally natural. I was taking a sharp, gravelly switchback a couple days ago. Just when I thought I was through the danger zone, my wheels washed out. And I unclipped and caught myself before I went down. I wasn't anticipating the crash and prepared to clip out. My mind was totally on getting through the turn.

An hour of practicing clipping in and out on the lawn will work wonders. But if you like platforms better, go with 'em.
 

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crutch?

Will said:
I occasionally use clippless for racing but prefer platform. I run only platform clipless so I can stay pedaling for a couple of strokes if my foot comes out. I'm not a fast cross country rider unless the course is ruff or muddy compared to others out there. The only place I notice they are a advantage are climbs. I haven't put the clipless on my bike in about a 1 1/2 years. Clipless do hurt true bike handling skills and act as a crutch for people. I ride with a guy that comes from a road back ground and he the fastest guy on trails I know. When we play around on the street and he runs platforms he is funny to watch. He slams into everything and can't move his bike around without being attached to it.
wow... to each his/her own. to me platform non-coipless pedals reduce one's ability to get the maximum out of his/her bike...

the statement that clipless hurt true bike handling skills makes even less sense. you must have not discovered what your bike can do for you with clipless then... but this is just my guess, of course...
 

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I've heard that before. I've got a friend who races expert bmx, clipless, and he said the same thing. he and his friends will put platforms back on to work on their skills because clipped in make moving the bike around real easy, so riding on flats increases the difficulty and helps their skills. But, of course, when it's race time they go back to clipless.
 

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Sorry bulC

bulC said:
Or buy a pair of PowerGrips for $20, adjust them correctly, and give them a fair test. You'll wonder what all the clipless hype is about, and you'll laugh every time you see a friend fall while clipped in.
I have some power grips and clipless. two sided entry and not having to flip the pedal is a lot easier in the rough stuff after having to take a dab. i can clip in and out of mine as fast as a flat pedal with no powergrips. they are time atac alium. i would like to try some candy egg beaters.
 
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