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clipless.....why....and what

VC's picture

By VC - Posted on 09 April 2010

Someone says to me after a 30km ride at Ourimbah , "ya gotta go clipless.." the question is, do I ? and if so, what type do i go for.
I ride techo stuff and the occasional xc style stuff. I am also booked to do three races this year. Will i miss my flat pedals ?

Brian's picture

For me, once I got used to them I never looked back. Well, actually I went back to flats for a little while but it felt weird not being clipped in so I ditched them. In the end, try them, give it a while and see how you go.

Antsonline's picture

If you ride on anything other than a BMX track or skate park, you've gotta ride clipless.
its so much smoother and faster. Imagine skiing without being attached to your skis!

Shimano are the most popular choice, closely followed by Crank Brothers.
Both brands do a pedal that has a platform around the 'clippy bit' that makes it easier to find with your foot initially.

Shimano offer the added advantage of a tension adjuster on the pedal, so you can set them up loose for the first month or so and then as you get used to them you can tighten them up.

Bear in mind that you will need to buy shoes too (sorry if you already knew this) so factor that price in too. If you went online you could get fully set up with some good kit for 200bucks max.
Or, you could go to your local bike shop and pay 400......

Good luck, and remember, you will topple over every now and again on the first few rides. Do that in the garden or a carpark rather than in traffic!
Oh, and smile - everyone topples in the beginning..

daveh's picture

I got back into mtb at the start of the year, purchased a new bike and went flats. About a month ago I went for clipless and have found them good all around but especially going up big hills. Heartbreak Hill at Manly Dam still sucks but not nearly as much when you're getting more power out of every leg stroke. I went for a 50km ride around Terrey Hills last weekend (95% fire-trail) and my legs are definitely less tired with clipless than flats.

I have had a few stacks where the brain has been saying "twist" but the feet just want to pull up! These were all slow speed, if you crash at high speed it doesn't really matter if you're wearing clipless or not, you're going over. More embarrassing than anything else!

My bike initially came with clipless Shimano pedals so I just purchased some decent Shimano shoes although the cleats come with the pedals and screw in so it doesn't matter brand you buy. They have added advantage of basically being football boots so are pretty hardy and handle the wet very well. I purchased them from the LBS as I want to make sure they fit properly. Paid a little extra but this would have been cancelled out had I had to post them back and have them resent. Even if you order them online, definitely try them on at your LBS first.

BT's picture

Shimano M424 is a good budget model with a bit of a platform so it's easier to get used to.

I've got Time ATACs which use a different engagement system and allow for more float. They're also good in muddy conditions.

VC's picture

Great advise guys, i've been checkin out the M424's and look like a good entry level pedal...hmmm i'm pretty much convinced.thanks for your time guys. vc

Pants's picture

VC I would still recommend flats for Red Hill due to the numerous technical rocks waiting to bounce you off.

I too have been thinking about going clipless, it just seems a bit silly when my bike is 1x9, has 8" travel and weighs 20kg...

obmal's picture

After doing a dirtworks 100 flat peddle... never ever ever again will i do that!! I now ride clipped in and ride Red Hill with crank bros mallet, with these I can unclip and still have a decent flat peddle for the crazy stuff Smiling

Dicko's picture


I have some old shimano SPD entry level pedals in the garage.

You are welcome to them to see if you like it or not

will be home on the weekend. Give me a call if you want to pick them up


Trev's picture

Candy C's are what I went with when I asked the same Questions, I ride Red Hill and Terry Hills mostly. I've found I picked up around 1.5- 2kph on the flat with no apparent extra effort, hills are easier and the option to "rest" by using different muscles to either push or pull on the pedals. After clipping in you won't go back, although if you are mostly riding Red Hill and the like I would go with the Mallet. I also have a pair of slightly used (about 200ks) Carnak mtb shoes size 44 free to a good home(too small for me) If any one is interested.

Scottboy's picture

I have the shimano 424 on the Hybrid , but have the Candy X on theTrance ill never go back to shimano now on the mountainbike Crank Brothers are easy to get out of .

Noel's picture

I've ridden flats for what feels like a long time. Tried Crank Bros Candie C's, but had a few issues, especially with how they can spin in the platform while trying to clip in. If I went Crank Bros again. I'd go all the way to egg beaters (no platform). I got a set of XTR SPD's cheap on Ebay, the adjustable thing (20 clicks of choice) it excellent. I think I'm now ready to stay with clipless as these XTR SPD's are that good.

Take up Dicko's offer I recon.

philberesford's picture

Go straight for the Eggbeaters fella. I did. Best thing I ever did.

CookPassBartridge's picture

I went clipped in for the first time on Sat. Skimmed elbows, zero. Near offs due to being clipped in, zero.

To be fair, I didn't do anything off road (other than grass and a few ill advised wheelies... can you imagine if I'd leant too far back!). However, since spending a couple of hours clipped in, I am finding it hard going back to flats. I'm bouncing off the pedals more...

I don't want to rush clipped in... slowly slowly. My pedals are for people like me, sitting on the fence. One side is flats and the other clipped in. That way, if I get something too challenging off road (which is most things at the mo) I can unclip, swivel the pedal and resume. Also, if you lose a cleat screw (which happened to me first time out) you can still ride on the flats!

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