I’ve hijacked far too many threads with my rantings over how great clipless pedals are. So, I’ve decided to finally start a thread, and compile all of my useful old posts into it. I apologize for how mind-bogglingly long this first post will be.
2007-05-12, 12:12 PM
Nope, never (as I stated before) only time I’ve ever used any clips at all was a couple spin classes. So, I don’t even know if I’d like them at all.
I have trouble with bumpy, steep downhills and log jumps while SingleTrak’n and trying to keep my feet firmly placed on the pedals. I have the gripiest combination that’s possible, and my feet still hop around. I’m sure that A LOT of this is down to technique. And could probably well be solved by just getting better. But until that happens, I really think that clipless, either eggbeater or the speedplay frog or those magnetic ones would work, and once you get the hang of it, I’m pretty sure that you could get your feet out without hurting yourself.
So, I’ve decided, that when my current pedals die, I’m going to replace them with clipless. I buy from REI, so if they don’t work, or I kill myself trying, I (or my next of kin) can return them and get normal pedals again. But I’m going to try, and I’m going to try on technical SingleTrak, and I’m not going to give up until I REALLY hurt myself and decide that they don’t work for me once and for all…but I gotta wait til my current pedals bite the dust.
2007-05-14, 09:51 AM
Well, there was a sale at REI, and I couldn’t help myself, so I’ve already taken the plunge and bought some pedals. They are these Pedals So they have a pretty decent platform on the other side so that I can just casually ride around without needing to be clipped in. I’ve only ridden around the neighborhood so far, but I’ve had a couple light upd’s and my feet just kinda twist out of them no problem. I’ve set the tension to almost the lightest it goes, so, we’ll see if my feet come out when I don’t want them to, but I don’t think that’ll be the case, I think they’re going to work.
I’m going out to my local trail today to see if I kill myself (and no, I still will NOT be wearing a helmet or any protective gear whatsoever).
I’ll letcha all know later on tonight how they work.
2007-05-14, 10:00 AM
I’ve now ridden clipless for about 30 minutes total, in my life. All of them last night on the uni, I never once had a problem unclipping in an upd…so…
2007-05-15, 09:34 AM
So, an update.
I rode my local trail, which is rated at intermediate/advanced. I don’t have much reference with which to rank it, but that’s what others say. Anywho…I had, I think, 3 falls in about 5 miles. One of them was down a farily largish hill, one was going up hill and the other was just a normal fall. I also dismounted twice. The ONLY ONE time that I had ANY trouble getting my feet free at all, was one of the dismounts. My left (second) foot staid stuck for a second as I didn’t get it out in the right angle. Other than that one time, the natural flail of my feet was more than enough to allow the correct angle and thrust to get my feet out of the clips.
It’s not, as others have said, something that needs to be learned and ingrained. It’s, at least for me and my particular pedals, just something that happens. As you fall, your feet flail to stop spinning and come out in front of you to catch yourself, and that flailing action, along with my multi-release cleats and my loose spring tension, just pops the hold no ifs-ands-or buts.
Also, during this time, only twice did one of my feet come out when I didn’t intend it to, upu (un-planned unclip). One of these was so minor, I didn’t even realize it had happened really, just heard the click as it re-engaged. The other time was nothing to worry about, I just clicked my foot back in, and no worries. Both happened to my right foot, and I think it’s cuz the angle of my dangle…err…cleat is slightly off and it doesn’t allow it to float in the right direction. I’d like to do something about that, but don’t want to mess with the cleats anymore now that they’re nice and tight. Anyways, this goes to show that for my quite agressive riding, the spring tension isn’t too light, and yet is quite light enough to allow my feet to come out, no matter what, during a fall.
Also, there were at least 3 times that I MAY have been saved from a fall by being clipLESSED in. I can’t say for sure that I would have fallen, but I felt a pulling motion of my foot against the pedal as it tried to come off, and by being clipped in, it was unable to.
And, though I didn’t expect this at all, my hill climbing ability SEEMS to have been improved with the pedals. I don’t know if it’s in my head, if it’s because the pedals stay put where I want them and allow me to muscle through the hills without a pedal slip, if it has anything to do with the upwards pulling ability of clips, or if it was a combination of any of the above. I assume it was in large part to number two.
And finally, the whole reason I decided to go clipless. I had no troubles at all in the normal areas of log jumps and rutted declines. I made a few jumps that I normally miss and didn’t fall from any ruts. That with the improved ability to climb deeply rutted and big rooted hills (which I didn’t even think about) have made me (barring any accident that kills or renders me unable to ride a unicycle) a convert to clipless.
I’ll post updates if anything major happens, if I make any new cool discoveries in how clipless helps, or if I kill myself using them (in which case my wife will have to make the update), and any of the like.
But for now, ride clipless on.
2007-05-23, 02:38 PM
I’ve gotten in a few 10 mile µニ rides after going clipless.
I can now verify that I have had ZERO problems unclipping when the need arose. No matter how slow or fast or gentle or scary my fall has been, my feet come unclipped without me even realizing that they were ever clipped in to begin with. There is no problem whatsoever.
The help that they offer is slightly difficult to quantify, however, I FAIRLY sure that they have saved me from falling a number of times. And they have saved me countless times having to waste time, effort, and annoyance (I suppose you don’t actually waste annoyance, but you catch what I’m throwin your way) to reposition my feet on the pedals.
When I ride on the platform side of the pedals (which isn’t quite as good as my bear trap pedals, but as good as pinned pedals) I am reminded how annoying it is to position my feet correctly and keep them there. And oddly (because things never work out for me the first time around) the best position I can usually find on the platform side is worse than the position that I have my cleats set to. So, they are actually more comfortable PERMANENTLY than the best I can get for however long until my foot bounces slightly up, and I have to reposition.
Also, I rode an off-road trail to get to the trailhead of the SingleTrak on the platform side, and I discovered something interesting. In the very short time that I’ve been using the clips, I’ve apparently become COMPLTELY one with them. This very easy off-road trail had me bouncing all over the place, with my uni wobbling under me like it was trying to free itself. The difference in control was just mind-boggling. I’m sure that in just a mile or so I would have become re-accustomed to riding unclipped, but it just goes to show how much more control the clips allow.
Oh, and free mounting to either clipped or platform is quite simple. The only difference to how I used to mount, is that I used to always do a walking mount, and now I have to do a standing mount (however with time, that might change back when I get better with pedals spinning). That aside, it’s a simple matter to just clip in my starting foot, mount (usually with my other foot going slightly too far), then move the other foot (usually back) to the correct place, and it just click in (with practice, hopefully I’ll clip in as soon as my foot hits the pedal, it’s just a matter of making contact further back). And using the platform side, I just place my first foot on the pedal, then mount if I miss the platform side of the other pedal, the rounded nature of the clip allows VERY simple pedal spinning to bring the platform around to the right side. So, slightly slower and slightly more of a process, but no problem at all, and with practice, it will probably become as second nature as mounting normally was.
So…again…I’m TOTALLY a convert, and can’t see why I’d go back. However…as an aside, I wanted these for µニ not road riding. When I finally get a 3footer I will most likely not go clipless. For one, the benefit to riding clipped in on the road, is much less than on the SingleTrak. And two, though I haven’t had one single problem unclipping on the trail, I’ve ridden clipped in on the road, and going fast is pretty scary. So…for those saying that they like the idea of clipless, but wouldn’t want to be clipped in for technical SingleTrak, I COMPLETELY disagree.