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Clipless Pedals

Original Post
Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

Was curious how long it took people to get used to their clipless pedals? I am having a tough time with mine to the point where I am bailing a lot earlier than i should because I am sick of falling....

· · Unknown Hometown · Joined unknown · Points: 0

Hey Greg,

I'd say it usually takes ~1 month to get used to clipless pedals. Although a pain to adjust to, they're well worth the effort due the added control.

As a tip to help ease the process (if you have pedals that allow for this adjustment), I'd recommend loosening the tension screw until you start clearing tougher sections. If you're having to unclip at technical sections, you would have put a foot down regardless with flat pedals, so some of the adjustment just comes from riding experience and acumen. The more you ride with them, the more comfortable they should become!

Hopefully this helps...


Torin Browning · · Rathdrum, ID · Joined May 2014 · Points: 739

Hi Greg,
Yes, I totally agree with what Tom had to say. When I first started with my Shimano brand clipless pedals, I loosened the tension screws as far as they would go. This allows for a quick and easy release and helps with the learning curve. The clip-in and clip-out process will take a bit to get use to. The process will become easier as the pedals and cleats break in and you become more familiar with them. Falling is part of the process.... :) LOL! I fell over dozens of times, at a stop light, in front of a big audience :) . It sucks at first but hang in there. After about two months of use, I never went back to Platform pedals. You will be amazed at the control and security clipless pedals give you even though it feels and seems completely the contrary.

Hang it there and keep trying.

Best Regards!
Torin Browning

Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

I have Shimano's and am really struggling......I will try and loosen them up as much as I can for sure.

Thanks for the replies!

Tige Phillips · · Portland, OR · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 119

I don't have very good knees so I keep mine loose still after a few years of using them (road bike and Mt). Running flats is more scary now because my feet tend to come off way more from vibration, hits, jumps, etc. Mine are so loose that if I jump off the bike with any kind of angle they release and feel very sloppy while riding along (if I'm paying attention to them). Run that screw all the way out till the twisting bail action becomes natural, then tighten them a little bit to start gaining more control. I won't go back to flats due to the control i've gained.

Markk Knowles · · Las Vegas, NV · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 2,661

.....or throw your clipless pedals in a deep drawer that you never use and have fun riding your bike with a nice set of flat pedals. Clipless pedals have a purpose but will definitely hold you back from progressing in almost every aspect of MTBing. This statement will be unpopular to many but is the absolute truth.

.....let the hate replies begin!

Marc Upton · · Johnson City, TN · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 1,432

I agree with Markk on using flats with the right shoes. I have absolutely no problems staying on my pedals and can easily take my foot off anytime. That said you need a good set of flat pedals and a pair of shoes specifically designed to ride with flats. The cheap plastic pedals won't work.

I rode with clipless pedals for about 3-4 years and switched to flats last year and haven't looked back. Learning to bunny hop without being clipped in is what set me free from clips forever. Plus I can wear the same shoes before and after I ride.

All that said, you've probably spent good money on your pedals and shoes. My recommendation besides loosening the tension is also getting the multi release SPD cleat if you don't alreay have that type. When I first got mine, my buddy told me to clip-in and un-clip around 100 times per day on each foot every day for a week. Your brain and muscles will begin to create memory of this action and it will soon become second nature.

Adam Kagy · · Victor, ID · Joined Sep 2007 · Points: 2,924
Markk Knowles wrote:
.....or throw your clipless pedals in a deep drawer that you never use and have fun riding your bike with a nice set of flat pedals. Clipless pedals have a purpose but will definitely hold you back from progressing in almost every aspect of MTBing. This statement will be unpopular to many but is the absolute truth.

.....let the hate replies begin!

+1...My wife rides flats, just makes sure to get a nice flats shoe for them. It all comes down to personal preference though. Personally I love my clipless, but like Markk says clipless can hold you back unless you learn a lot of the fundamentals on flats first.
Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

don't think i will be ditching clipless just yet. i love them on the less technical terrain and can't imagine climbing without them.

this weather really stinks! haven't had a chance to loosen the pedals up and give it a go.

Shayne Holderby · · Elk Grove, CA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 1,556

Chalk one up for another flats rider. Clipless are for racing or street and have no business on a mountain bike. Can't even begin to imagine the number of riders who quit riding because some shop sold them on the idea they were supposed to learn to ride clipless, because hey look at those pros they use em so they must be good! Think about it, typically closed course where every root and rock is known vs open trail where literally anything could be around the next corner. OR just watch the number of riders you see crash in 6 months cause they didn't release in time....

Steve Walker · · Ashland · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 0

MARKK : Are Your crazy ( just kidding ) lol

GREG : Have a bike mechanic or experienced rider check Your shoe to peddle fit - tight/ loosness.

INMHO: I used clipless, I use Shimano SPD's and Shimano MTB shoes for my 1st two years of riding. I did that because I saw most the better riders & racers around me using a hybrid flat-clipless and I sorta wanted to fit in lol.

I thought this was a cool idea because I already had 1 year of being clipped into my road bike which in the 1st week on my roady I fell 3 times due to forgeting to get the hell out coming to a stop lol ( I never fell again ) .

On my MTB doing fast tecnical ST well that was NOT good for me, ya they made my feet stay attached in nasty terrain and stay attached as a NuB when I went over small jumps and when I peddled up hill I was more efficiant but the down side was WAY too down to justify them.

Looking back at it now as I would crash a lot and would end up stuck to the peddles going sideways down this or that ravine or I would crash in a rock garden and endo 'with' the bike.

For us amature's doing gravity and technical black diamond+ single track I would NOT recomend being clipped in. The better riders were riding bike in Van's on flats as kids and they learned foot and weight distribution long before they clipped in now I am back to flats most of the time

For XC ,and for climbing for workouts,aso for smooth flowing double track or fire roads with no real thechnical sections I really like to be clipped in.

I found hybrid flat - clipless to be a poor compromise because when I un-clip in a nasty section I am now dont have a trully stable peddle platfrom and my fot no longer has opomim peddle position so I have pure SPD and pure flats and use them according to my rding but if the terrain is mixed 90% of the time I am on flats, with flat shoes that stick like glue..... I hope that was helpfull

Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

thank's for the reply's. a couple issues I figured out.......I have a stripped bolt on my right pedal, plus my shoe attachment was sliding.

I have fixed the shoe, but the pedal is unfixable. I plan on riding this weekend with it. if the fixed shoe is not enough I will have to buy new pedals.......not a huge deal since mine are over 10 years old.

Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

Got out to and did Mt. Carbon Loop this weekend. The pedal situation was awesome! I am not quite where I want to be, but feel a lot better about the progress.

BlakeV Vanier · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 271

Hey Greg,

I'd recommend going to a grassy park and practice falling over. You'll body will panic and you'll try to rip your foot loose which probably won't work. If you do this enough, you'll start getting the hang of twisting your foot out in a panicked situation and your confidence will go up. Just remember to practice on both sides.


Greg Martin · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 13

slowly but surely gettng the hang of it. i am thinking i want to get a different pedal, one with more surface area. i was wondering if anyone knows the difference between these (2) shoes?

Tom Robson · · Boulder, CO · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5,931

Hey Greg,

Pedal #1 you list only has one clip-able side, which you don't want if you're going to be riding with shoes w/ cleats on them. Of the two, I would recommend getting the latter.


Don Brandner · · Reading, OH · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0

Using clipless pedals I fell over frequently due to not getting my foot out in time to step down.  My lowest setting always seem to tight.

After going back and forth with flats I  finally disabled one spring on each side of both pedals. A dremel grinder works great. I have never hit the ground due to not gething out in time. They are easier to get into and still hold enough for the trail.


trailridge · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 0

I had a terrible time with Shimano clipless when I was first learning.  I switched to crank brothers with their mallet design. I really like the egg beater design. Super easy to get out and very solid while clipped in. It gives you a platform when trying to quickly clip in while in technical terrain. I personal like being clipped in. It can be way more committing on technical terrain.  Skinny logs that are high off the ground can be pretty scary clipped in.

Andrew Travis · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2017 · Points: 0
  1. Eggbeaters are definately my favorite way to clip in but I have also tried the half and half by crank brothers and loved them also because you can go flats of be clipped in 
Joe Thompson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I've been riding road bikes with clips for 7 years, recently back into MTB with clips. I fall at least 1-2 times when out, just cause I can't get my feet unclipped in time. It happens!

Lynn Mattie · · Colorado Springs, CO · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

I don't see anybody mentioning the SH56 cleats with the Shimano clipless pedals. That combination is awesome for mountain bike riding. You can easily get out when you are in a panic situation, but they still help tremendously on the uphill and helping you feel one with your bike. Before I heard about the SH56 cleats, I was about ready to give up on the clipless pedals. After I got those cleats, I think they are the best way to go.
I'm debating now between the MD520 and MD530 pedals for my new Yeti. I would love to hear opinions from anybody that has tried both. Thanks!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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