Clipless pedals for Muni

I have glanced over this post and intend to read it all when I am not at work, but from what I see you say that you naturally flare your feet to disengage from the pedals when you UPD. I am interested in trying out clipless pedals, but in a controlled environment. I don’t think I would ever use them as a pedal for my geared 36 for general riding because I have had a high speed UPD once where my feet couldn’t get out of the pedals (shoelaces) and I never want to recreate that!

I’ve been meaning to put on my SPD pedals on the geared 36, so I will report back when I test it out.

It is interesting to note that of the serious injuries at RTL, the worst was Joe’s. He broke his leg over a rail road crossing. He was also the only person with clipless pedals at RTL. Supposedly the pedals were not to blame though, and the fact that he is now riding a geared 36 with the same pedals kind of proves his point that it wasn’t the pedals.

I don’t like the idea of even having a run out on cleats even if I disengage from the pedals, even with the MTB recessed shoes.

I think I have given spd’s a reasonable try and I think I will continue to work with them in hopes that they will become something like mtbing where I, like Rob, almost feel less safe when not clipped in.

That being said, I do not find them to be as safe as AscenXion and do not believe I ever will. While I agree that I have always kicked out in a fall (I should add that I have used clipless pedals on my mtbs since their origins in the late 80s) I have not been able to walk off a upd at anything close to the percentage of times I walk off platforms. Lesson: wrist guards are a must.

To be fair I should probably fully commit as AscenXion has, but I can’t say the benefits are as apparent as they are on a bike and the increase likelyhood of injury from not walking off a upd seems to me to be greater than the benefit.

I was the rider for our team over that RR crossing and it was quite a jolt, not your typical crossing. And it was perpendicular too, no angled nonsense or other variations, just a really big bump. In other words, I understand if he blames the bump and doesn’t fault the pedals.

Also I think mtnjeffe offered some sound advice for everyone who’s going to try clipless, especially in the beginning: “Wrist guards are a must.”

It’s cool to see them working for some people.

That is a great idea. I should probably do the same with all of my rants against the 2.35" Big Apple tyre (whilst praising the 2.0" Big Apple) although it’ll probably look like I just copy & paste the same stuff over and over again :slight_smile:

I was the the Goonies rider that got to experience that hidden delight too. I was surprised at my own ability to clear that crossing, so clipless or not, I wasn’t surprised to hear that it ruined someones race. I think a few riders managed to do well with a couple of cuts and grazes.

Whilst I wouldn’t consider myself brave enough to try clipless muni, I would like to build up to clipless road riding. Toe clips first though, then, maybe, SPDs. But even that will take a bit of courage to start with…


I’ve ridden both types of clips pretty extensively on those two-wheeled things. IMO it’s easier to get out of the SPD/clipless type than the classic toe clips, especially with mountain-bike types that are adjusted to release easily. Counterintuitive, but I believe true. I’d recommend trying both types on a two-wheeler to see what you’re more comfortable (i.e. really, really comfortable) with, before deciding what to put on a uni.

P.S., I just put a 2.0 Big Apple on my new 29, after reading your various rants, and am really enjoying it.

I have only got one two-wheeler thing, and it’s probably not wise to try clipless on that! I’ve recently sold my mountain bike as I’ve not ridden a bike for about 5 years, and would therefore have to go clipless strait on to a uni. I know people say that SPDs are as easy or easier than toe clips, but for me it would be a matter of confidence. Mentally, SPDs would be a huge barrier for me to get over, but toe clips (at least, the plastic half-clip things) would only be a small barrier. We’ll see…

Great! I’m glad someone reads my rants :smiley: Just a pity that you didn’t read about how even better the Marathon Supreme is :smiley:


I think one good way to advance the clipless MUni cause is to post a few videos showing moderate-advanced MUni, including drops etc being ridden clipless. Has anything like that ever been posted?

I use Shimano A520

I am a crazy clipless rider. My favorite pedals for the last several years are the Shimano A520 pedal. Funny that I’m not a good or talented unicycle rider but decided that for some of the events I try to do clipless would make the difference of a finish or not.

I have never ridden anything but unicycles and stationary trainers with clipless pedals. I practiced clipping in and out for a long while holding on to a saw horse and work bench. Then rode my 28 Sun out the long rocky driveway of the friends we had stopped to send a few days with. Made a couple of trips up and down the state hiway with them that day.

About two weeks or so later I received my 36 Big One from UDC. About the third or fourth day I had owned a 36 I went clipless. After owning a 36 for less than 2 weeks (and unable to free mount clipless) I rode the 36 for 100+ miles clipless on the first day of the STP (Seattle to Portland).

As a side note: I had so over exerted my body that I could not stand or walk at the end of the day and was passing blood in my urine (the toilet look like I had poured a couple of cups of black tea in it). I got up to try riding the next morning and decided I was in no shape to ride.

After a couple of weeks clipless riding I started to feel that standard pedals felt dangerous. In the first year after starting to ride clipless I rode more than six thousand miles clipless.

One of the primary reasons for deciding to ride clipless for me was the problems associated with riding in the rain. It rains a lot here in Bellingham, WA. I go for years at a time with out a car commute. My commute route has several hill climbs on it each way. When the pedals and shoes are drenched and I was trying to climb up the steep parts of the hills it was hard to keep my feet on the pedals unless the pedals were shin bitters.

The other primary reason for deciding to ride clipless is the wasted watts (effort) trying to keep my feet on the pedals for mile after mile after mile. When you have finished a century and know what wasted watts feel like at my age and ability you might start to understand.

I don’t think any one should feel pushed to try clipless. If you hurt yourself trying, it should only be because you wanted to go clipless no matter what any one else told you or warned you. Riding unicycles clipless is dangerous.

Do you understand what it is like to have the rest of your life changed by injury. I will probably never walk or stand pain free again for the rest of my life. I am never to run again for the rest of my life. I am not to ride unicycles ever again for the rest of my life.

I have decided to ride clipless. I like to say that clipless did not contribute to my injuries. But the fact remains that I will never be the same again. I think of myself a slow rider prior to injury. Now I am even slower.

I ride unicycles against the orders of my doctors. I have six screws and a plate to help hold me together.

I still ride uncycles clipless.

Unicycling clipless is dangerous.


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Jeez - I’m so transfixed by the clipless issue that when I logged on a few moments ago I felt sure the log-on window said, ‘Thank you for clipping in Monocyclism’ :astonished:

Bungeejoe I hope I haven’t misunderstood you or misquoted you by posting this.

It’s so tempting to just set up for clipless and then ‘ruin’ the rest of my life in a few seconds! Throughout my adventures with unicycling I promised myself to always be conscious about not doing things that could leave me bitter with a physical injury that scarred me for the rest of my life - whats left of it :roll_eyes: .

This is a great inspiring thread of info on clipless. I keep thinking ‘Go for it!’ then saying, 'Hang on a minute… :thinking:

I think I will let the idea bob around in my head whilst I continue to train for that 100-1-1 ride next Summer.

I guess it needs to be said that I am in quite decent physical shape (though not very good aerobic shape) and my physique is quite a bit more “beefed” up than the average joe’s. This may be the reason that I am not afraid of riding clipless in the slightest, because I know that if I do EVENTUALLY happen to take a bad fall, it won’t matter. I will almost assuredly walk away from it without any injury further than cuts and bruises. And the very slight chance that I might break something, or even worse, is just what goes with the sport in the first place. Its like my preference for not wearing pads or a helmet or any other safety gear. If I felt it necessary to use any of those things, I would just not ride. The inherent possibility of injury is just not a thought for me, but I’m also no longer a daredevil. I don’t intentionally do things that I think may hurt me, and I’m actually quite careful about most things that I do now-a-days…getting old sux, specially when I’m not even old yet. :slight_smile:

Now, with that said, I really don’t think that riding clipless is actually more dangerous than not. I feel much safer and more relaxed riding clipless than I do pinned, and I think that beartrap are probably the most dangerous all said and told. So for me, there is no “penalty for failure”, only penalty for fearfulness. :slight_smile:

And those times that you find yourself suddenly running, I certainly know what you’re speaking of. However, those times NEVER happen to me anymore. The clipless pedals completely solve this problem, and that is one of their primary functions and godsends, in my opinion.

You are probably falling to the issues that I had when I started using clipless the second time around. You are attempting to “walk” off of them, and that’s obviously not going to work. (btw I’m not necessarily speaking directly to you, as you seem to fully understand everything that I’m saying, but to others that may not understand) I don’t consider there to be such a thing as a upd anymore. Upd’s make you land on your face with clipless. When you “fall” you have to FALL. Clipless will save a good 90% of the falls that you would normally have, but those few times that you do fall, you have to make sure that you aren’t just lazily trying to upd, but that you are really falling.

And that’s why I say that clipless are really best for hard muni. If you can’t ride hard muni, then you might not want to try clipless. But if you do ride hard muni, you will ABSOLUTELY see MASSIVE benefits for them, and I posit that the benefits are actually quite a bit more pronounced on a uni than they are on a bike. You really have to realize that you NEVER need to use a handle of any kind anymore (other than to soothe the bum), you never need to waste anymore energy taking the wrong line because you need to for your balance, you never need to worry about keeping your power limited to less than half, and your power vector limited to nearly completely up and down, you never need to worry about your feet bouncing off the pedals as you are traversing bumps and ruts and jumps, and you don’t need to worry about muscling down hills anymore, you can actually rest as the trail was built for.

The benefits are much, much, much more astounding than I think many of you realize.

Yeah, I agree, and I’d like to get out there and try to take some videos, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. I’ve never done a video before, and I’m not quite sure the best way to go about showing off that my pedals are actually helping me at all. But, I’ll definitely put some thought into it.

The discussion of clipless pedals on a unicycle reminds me of the discussion of free solo climbing, with the difference that the upside and downside is much greater in free solo climbing.

Free solo climbing allows one to climb quickly and easily with a minimum of hassle and equipment. It is a much purer form of rock climbing than the normal lead climbing. :slight_smile:

The downside of free solo climbing is that if you make one mistake under difficult circumstances, then you die. :astonished:

It sounds like clipless gives one a clear advantage in unicycle riding, but if you have a problematic dismount you can break bones. (Face bones, leg bones, arm bones–all sorts of possibilities come to mind.) Perhaps the technology with clipless pedals is good enough to make that very unlikely. Having never ridden clipless pedals on anything, I am hesitant to try it on a unicycle.

Uhm…yeah…No. :slight_smile:

… risk takers …

“Most of us,” says International Stunt School founder David Boushey, “are calculated risk takers.”

I would like to add that some of us may also suffer as an “Adrenaline junkie” awaiting our next “rush”. Have you heard of any successful reform programs?

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With respect, I think any comparison between riding clipless and the type of free soloing that John Bachar pioneered is just not possible. Confidently clinging to an overhanging rock face 2000’ off the deck with hand and footholds that could be less than 1/8" deep without a rope is just a different universe entirely. The clipless rider can decide at any time if he/she wants to just stop, walk for awhile, maybe even call for a ride. But I like the idea of making comparisons of clipless uni riding to other activities. Open wheel racecar driving? Ferret legging? Playing golf without a helmet?

One could be conditioned to have certain phobias. It’s rather quick and effective from what I hear.

Has Kris Holm gone clipless? (You know, those pedals that you actually clip *INTO*) If not, why do you think he hasn’t? Does UDC-any of them-or bedford, sell clipless pedals, or promote the use of them for any type of unicycling?

Hahaha. I’ll condition you.

I’ll condition you GOOD.


hey, it’s all old pal “Uni-gum” Galloway! ^ (Or is that “Face-plant” Perrywinkle?..or maybe “Chicklet-teeth” Toby"?) :stuck_out_tongue:

Come on Terry, what kind of argument is that? Just because one top rider does not do it does not mean it would not work. And about unicycle distributers not promoting clipless? Is that really so hard to figure out?

This is one of those things that I would like to eventually try. My most common type of upd is where my foot comes off the back pedal and this would almost completely prevent that from happening. I am a bit reluctant to have my feet attached for those falls where I am not simply stepping off the pedals though. I will have to get used to them while using my training wheel first.

Haha, it wasn’t meant to be an argument; just a question. I find the whole idea of clipless pedals for any type of unicycling to be an intriguing one.

And I have no idea whether KH uses them or ever has. So I was mostly just trying to get some thoughts on why more people-or why most riders don’t use them. Kindof a “devil’s advocate” type of thing. I have no dog in the hunt either way. :slight_smile: