Clipless pedals for Muni

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:

I’m very intrigued with the IDEA of riding clipless for xc muni, and will definitely be giving it a go soon. I’m mostly concerned with mounting, especially on hilly trails. I’m wondering if learning to ride one-footed would be invaluable for this, along with rollback mounting and idling. Right now my mounting skills are limited to static and a rolling skipup.

I love how this sport is so young and evolving. We’re seeing lots of experimentation with handlebars, maybe clipless is the next frontier.

Mounting is not a problem

I’m not good at muni but my trips to the trail with spd pedals have been fun. With a little pratice, mounting a 24 or 28 is near 100% even on the trail. Single sided work best for static. Two sided work great both static or roll back. Just find the second pedal and slide in on the second or third time around if you don’t get it clipped in the first stab.

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Okay, I’m in. The next nice day I’ll swap pedals from an MTB and put on the clipless once again…

As a sidenote, I’m assuming this will be a hairy learning curve, but I do wear armor AND I have only ridden clipless on road and MTB since the mid 1980’s, so they are second nature for me.

Another thought for folks looking to take the plunge, but may have some fears due to lack of experience with clipless:

Easy Out SPD cleats:

My wife and kids ride these, so far no failures to release, though they have come out accidentally, so a bit fo a trade off there. You can crank down the tension, so maybe that would be a compromise. I’ll be using these cleats when I try SPD on my muni

Thanks for saying that first part for me, I didn’t feel like being argumentative at all. (Lest people stop listening to anything constructive that I happen to say :slight_smile: ) I really like that last comparison. I think that that’s almost exactly appropriate. There is a SMALL chance that you might get beaned by a ball, but the advantages of not wearing a helmet while golfing far outweigh that small chance.

See, I’m not sure, and I’ve not done any testing, but I actually think that it may be better to use spds on a unicycle first as a beginner. I think that you may learn things on a bike that don’t correlate to the uni and could possibly cause problems. Also, those falls where you don’t just step off, are the falls you don’t need to worry about, it’s the falls that you DO just step off, that COULD cause a fall. But really, anybody that’s fearful to try, all you need to do is set your pedals on the lightest release that they can provide, and then take a few “falls” in a nice soft grassy area. You’ll almost instantly see that there is no problem releasing.

I think that KH commented once about clipless, but it might be an issue of old dog, new tricks. And why I’d venture to guess that almost nobody uses them is exactly as we’re seeing. Everybody is just too scared to try them. And those few that do, seem to give up before they truly realize the benefits, and there are one or two that hurt themselves (there’s people that hurt themselves doing anything, though) and are then very vocal about how bad clipless are. It’s just the natural progression of the thing. Someone has an idea, they try it out, they find that it’s a game changer, and then years later the masses finally realize that they weren’t just crazy all along.

But for me at least, they truly are a game changer. Speed is now the ONLY difference between me riding my uni and riding a bike. (crotch pain aside) I can do everything just as efficiently, if not more so, on a uni as I can on a bike.

I can’t ride one footed, and I can’t even idle, I agree that those things would indeed be quite helpful, but they are definitely not needed. As I said, mounting on uphills is difficult for me, but I’ve never been very good at that clipless or not. I just clip in one foot, and them mount exactly like normal, if the terrain isn’t too hard, I can clip in on the first couple pedal revolutions. Every once in a while, I won’t get clipped in, and I’ll upd, and have to remount, but those are pretty rare. It seems really crazy and awkward at first, but it comes very quickly. And I firmly believe that clipless for hardcore muni is the next frontier.

Well, great, I hope it works as well for you as it has for me. And I personally went from never having ridden clipless pedals a day in my life, to riding technical muni in about an hour. There is virtually zero learning curve, from my perspective. Once you mount, and get over the feeling that things are a little wonky (which takes about 10 minutes) you’re good to go.

And yeah, I’m not sure if those are the cleats that I used first time around or not, I can’t remember. But either way, those would definitely make the release even easier (though I maintain that that’s not necessary). However, I have fallen a few times from an accidental unclip, and that actually is something to be slightly fearful of. Unless you can ride one footed, as I cannot, those falls can sometimes be quite painful. Though, not usually in the teeth smashing arena, usually of the leg bashing type.

Thinking about clipless muni:


  1. reduced foot slip upd’s
  2. improved pedaling efficiency from the ability to truly spin
  3. improved climbing ability from the ability to pull up with back foot
  4. probably easier to make rolling hops over obstacles

I think the big Negative is the fear and possibility of a UPD where you fail to unclip and do a nasty face plant into a rocky trail. This would be most likely on those “stealth” upds where you are riding a smooth spot of trail, concentrating on the challenge a few feet ahead, and boom you hit a rock you weren’t looking at and you are off the uni before you know what happened. I have ridden clipless MTB and found it to be quite safe after a few hairy sessions getting accustomed to clipping out. I believe the reaction time required for clipping out to avoid a bad fall on a uni is much shorter than on the bike.

ok, today i went for a ride with spd pedals. before i started unicycling i did a lot of mountainbiking with spd’s, so i’m used to them.
i tried once the spd’s on my v-frame, but got back to the toe clips (the ones without the straps), which works on the v-frame perfect: never had any problems on upds, the only thing is, it takes my sometimes a little bit (2-4 evolutions) to get into them, that’s also why i dont use them on the muni.

my ride today was a 800vertical meters uphill (most on asphalt, the last 200meters on gravel path), and then a flat or little bit up and down singletrail before it went a 1000 meters down (all singletrail, real narrow, rocky, roots and all that kind…). i was on my ungeared 29" with a brake.
protection gear: gloves, hardcover knee and shinguards, fullface helmet, ellbow guards…

here is how it was for my:
-never lost the pedal
-helps alot on uphills (pulling with the rear foot)
-very good control on rocky terrain or roots, you just stand up a little and you roll over all of it, no need to hold on to the handle: better balance
(but if you use a brake, you hav to hold on it anyway…)

how Tucson Uni said, sometimes it’s just to fast to get out of it… bad upd (the upd’s to the front, which you would just run out)
also on tricky section, where i wanna try something, but i’m not sure if i gonna make it, that’s no fun for my clipped in. also if you do muni with some serious hiking in it, the cleats makes it bad.

i can image to use them for uphill races ( if i would do them), or mayby for XC.
i wont use them on fast roadriding (i’ll stick on the toe clips) or muni where
the 10.5 and alien cambination works for my really well.

something other i find out: i need more uphill training, i’m in a bad shape for uphill riding… :stuck_out_tongue:

I have taken them off for good. I think I had a good set up with 626 platform clipless pedals and recessed cleats on downhill shoes. I left the pedals on one of my munis for about a month and have maybe 10 or more hours on them. There are benefits as others have stated and I would think hill climbers and XC riders would be happy with them.

BUT, for me there are two major drawbacks that I can’t or don’t want to live with. The first is a personal problem that others may not share. One of the things that I really enjoy about muni is that I don’t have to think while I am riding and even though I never think about being clipped in on a mtb I could never get it out of my head on the uni.

The second reason applies, I believe, to all riders, but is dependent on your willingness to accept injuries in exchange for control and efficiency. As Turtle and others besides myself have noted you will have more upds that you can’t walk off and landing with your arms, body and or head more often will obviously result in more injuries.

Maybe I am just too old and don’t repair as easily as I use to, but for me the benefits do not outway risk.

Speaking solely for myself, all the positives that have been mentioned are far out-weighed by that one upd that you didn’t expect; (hence the name, “UnPlanned Dismount”) the one that happened too fast to allow you to unclip in time. Imo, it simply is not worth what could result in a serious head/neck injury, broken jaw, arms, wrists, etc., for the positives mentioned.

Even if none of these accidents ever occurred-due to riding with clipless pedals-just the thought of it possibly happening would be enough to cause a dangerous distraction while riding, and impair my confidence. :o

Terry, you said it better than I.

Must be those extra few years of wisdom.

Haha, it just seems like the perfect scenario for Murphy’s Law. :o

All those positives and more. And the only negative is a “fear” that something will happen. I’m not arguing, just stating that when we are all doing something that other people (and even some of us) think is just plain ridiculous, it’s kinda silly to worry about a singular fear. And a fear that is, from my experience, no more likely to come to fruition than any other remote possibility of injury.

But, again, I’m not arguing, just stating my opinion. And obviously, nobody else needs to listen to it.

Yes, fear is a strong motivator. I, for one, hate that I can’t make myself do something I am 100% positive I can accomplish successfully, because of a stupid fear that I have. But thankfully, this particular fear is one that I don’t share.

Your second reason however, I do not share. I have never once been afraid of hurting myself because of being clipped in. So, for me, it is not a trade off, or a willingness to accept injuries at all. It’s a win/win situation. I actually feel much safer clipped in than not.

You do realize that you ride on mountain bike trails on something with only one wheel, right? These arguments just seem silly, that you’re willing to go 95% out on that limb just to stop 5% from your goal. But, maybe that’s just me. :slight_smile:

For me, it’s not a matter of timing or thinking or anything, I fall, I unclip. Period. I fall to my hands more now, but that’s because I try to hold on to every “almost fall” and ride it out. Most of the time I’m successful in this, and only sometimes am I not able to yank it back under control, and so my fall is closer to the ground, so I can’t run it out. But again, when I force myself to just let go, and stop trying to always maintain the seat, every single upd that I have, results in me landing on my feet exactly the same as being unclipped.

Maybe this is just me, maybe I am a freak of clipless nature, but I truly believe that when all of you get over the fear, you’ll realize that that’s all it was. Fear. It wasn’t anything real, just a fear of a fear that was holding you back, and making you think something was wrong. The fears that I talked about holding me back earlier, I fully acknowledge as being irrational. I think that’s how this fear should be looked at, as an irrational fear that should be overcome instead of given in to. But I guess, first, enough people (that are probably more trustworthy than myself) need to realize that it is indeed an “irrational” fear, and promote it as such.

Again, I’m glad that someone else is trying it out. I hope that you can get over the fear to truly realize the great potential of clipless.

And to the cleated shoes. I actually don’t find them bad. I only realize that I’m even wearing them when I crunch on something. Otherwise, they feel just like normal shoes to me.

btw, I completely realize that my grammar on this post is horrendous. I have no idea why my brain seems to be incapable of forming correct thoughts currently, but I’ve decided to just go with it.

fear is a strong motivator. I, for one, hate that I can’t make myself do something I am 100% positive I can accomplish successfully, because of a stupid fear that I have. But thankfully, this particular fear is one that I don’t share.

It is not fear it is just a thought and when I am not using clipless I ride along in mindless pleasure.

Your second reason however, I do not share. I have never once been afraid of hurting myself because of being clipped in. So, for me, it is not a trade off, or a willingness to accept injuries at all. It’s a win/win situation. I actually feel much safer clipped in than not.

You actually do share my second reason you just choose to ignore the increased possibility of injury. You state yourself that you fall to your arms more often. I think I am right in saying that you are far more likely to strain, break or bruse yourself falling to the ground than running out an upd.

I think there’s a big difference between “fear” and common sense. Again, I am speaking only for myself. If I let fear keep me down, I certainly would not be doing the many extreme things I’ve done, and continue to do on my unicycles, including the 6-7 foot drops, 8 stair jumps and all that stuff. Not to mention doing these things at my age!

I will admit to feeling a little nervous sometimes just before a big drop or whatever, but it’s a healthy and normal reaction, like the performer who feels a bit of “butterflies” just before hitting the stage. But when it comes time to do your thing, it’s all business and total focus and commitment for me.

There are many good riders less than half my age who have admitted they would not try some of the things I have. But I never did a single thing that I wasn’t confident and sure about. I simply do not/would not feel the same sense of confidence about riding clipless on a unicycle. The bottom line is, if it works out well for you, then great! I won’t try to talk you out of it. I will also stipulate that in the future I might change my mind; I’m not inflexible, like my cf base, lol. :slight_smile:

MTB clipless has been around for a long time, and it’s not as if guys have only just begun to ride MUni. They’ve been too afraid to ride clipless MUni all that time? hmm doubt it. Some of these guys have been masters of managing fear, which as Terry says is a natural part of pushing yourself.

Using MTB as an example, there are forms of MTB where clipless isn’t generally used. Nothing to do with fear, more to do with common sense and technique, what shoe/pedal connection is the most appropriate for the style of riding (personal preference and genre).

Anyone who has ridden clipless MTB would be aware of the positives. They would also be aware of negatives that similarly relate to having a mechanical connection between your foot and the pedal.

I can imagine clipless could appeal more to road speeding record breaking uni guys, to help spin more efficiently - there’s not much else to do on the road is there but spin, right? :wink:

Also crashing is not part of the culture of riding a uni on the road. Whether your clipped in or not your brain is programmed to do everything it can to prevent your face from scraping along the road. Chances are you ain’t gonna crash much regardless.

Can imagine clipless could also appeal to specific events like hillclimb and maybe XC. (AscenXion reading inbetween the lines, the skills etc you mentioned, it sounds like your riding is mainly XC/light MUni, no videos etc to suggest otherwise).

But clipless being the next religious sideshow coming MUni?

Dunno about other guys, but I move my feet around a lot when riding off road to suit whatever is going on e.g. a long moderate climb, different foot position to a steep rocky descent with a smattering of drops. After years of clipless MTB I really enjoy foot freedom on the MUni. With good shoes, pedals and probably most importantly technique, feeling and being connected to the uni isn’t a problem.

Being able to reposition feet during MUni rides is also about managing injury. I doubt you’ll see any MUni rider or downhill MTB racer for that matter taking a huge drop with their feet positioned on the pedal in the clipless position, with the ball of their feet over pedal spindle. Great way to injure yourself regardless of the shoe etc.

Muni includes doing a lot of silly things, pushing yourself, crashing often - the freedom to bail any which way absolutely instantly (planned or unplanned) can’t be underestimated either. Any type of mechanical connection that needs an amount of force to disengage isn’t going to come close to matching that freedom -that’s not fear, just common sense.

Like a lot of uni stuff, just personal preference. If the benefits of having your feet mechanically held to the pedals is your thing, go for it.

Some videos would still be good though AscenXion, only takes a little time and effort to throw something rough together.

ps. All the ‘fear’ psychobabble is funny, a future in ‘self help’ maybe? :stuck_out_tongue:

Very well said, and it echos some of what I touched on, but in greater detail. Especially the part about having the freedom to MOVE your feet to various pedal positions. That is PARAMOUNT to me. I agree 100% with everything you said. :slight_smile: