Clipless Pedals – Buying your first Mountain Bike for Beginners #4
Buying your first mountain bike part four. Clipless pedals.
Contrary to the name, clipless pedals allow you to connect your shoes directly to the bike pedal. An alternative to this is the toe clips or straps.
The benefits to the clipless pedal is simple, with your shoe attached to the pedal, you can use your hamstrings to lift through the back half of the pedal stroke and your quadriceps to push through the front half.
On platform pedals, nearly all of your power comes from pushing through the front half of the stroke. For toe clips to be as efficient, you’d have to tighten the straps considerably, and keep them tight to prevent your feet from moving as you ride.
There are several different clipless pedal options out there for mountain bikers. The most popular are
the standard spd (two sided clipless pedal)
the eggbeater (easiest to clip into)
and clipless flat (dual side pedals)
Since you are a beginner, the easiest and safest is the clipless flat dual side. This allows you to clip in when you want, and flip them to the flat side anytime you like. A set like this made by Wellgo ranges between 30 and 60 US dollars on ebay, and that includes shipping.
You can expect to pay between 50 and 100 for the shoes.
If you are like me, and sometimes you just want to hop on your bike for a short ride with the family in your flip flops, this is a great option. As your comfort level grows, or you get a second bike, you’ll then want to look into the eggbeaters.
One of the biggest concerns people have with being attached to their bikes is falling.
First of all, you will fall off your bike, clipless pedals or not. But you are likely to remember the fall more clearly if you are on clipless pedals. That being said, there are a few simple steps you can take to greatly reduce the risk of your fall being a direct result to not detaching your foot in the proper way.
The most effective method is to stand over your bike and clip your right foot in and out 15 times in a row. Then do the same on your left foot. Then repeat 10 times on your right foot and last ten more on the left.
This will build your muscle memory, much like testing the clutch on a manual transmission before starting the car.
Do this process before starting a trail section and at some point you notice you are using the foot detach motion unconsciously.
Nearly everyone that goes clipless sees improvement in their riding and rarely do clipless riders go back to flats.
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Thanks, and have fun out there.
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