Ride Clipless, Use Good Old Platform or Choose Middle Way?
Find the Answers Here
Simple answer is – pedal with clips. Don’t ask me why we call them clipless. Let’s leave this question for mountain bikes historians.
Clipless pedals system offers you a firm connection between your shoe and pedal. Usually clipless pedals system used in mountain biking come with 2-hole SPD style pedals, lugged shoe sole and hard metal or plastic cleat installed into it.
By the way, SPD comes from Shimano Pedaling Dynamics name. Shimano was the first (no surprise) producer which developed 2-hole clipless pedals system.
How it works?
You simply put your shoe sole with clip on the pedal and your foot clips together with it. You release from the system by spinning your foot to the side.
Clipless system has the following benefits:
Pull-up benefit means you may not only push down your pedals. You can also pull them up for more pedal power.
Jump-control – being attached to your bike you have better control while jumping and flying over the obstacles on your road.
Safety – you are sure your feet won’t fly off the pedal causing you some serious problems. It also helps you cycling in wet weather conditions.
Everything looks great. But let me ask you the next question…
As usual, it depends on your trail. If you like cross-country, I would recommend you to ride clipless. This is because of Pull-up and Safety benefits. And small jumps, of course.
Why not for downhill and freeride?
Firstly, I do not say clipless is for cross-country only. You may surely use it on more aggressive rides if you accept higher injury risk.
It may happen if you fall with your feet still fixed to the pedals. Ouch… And in case you never fall, simply ignore this advice.
Anyway, you may prefer platform pedal system with a large shoe-attaching area for your DH or FR adventures. Why? Because this system doesn’t fix your feet so firm as the clipless does.
So, you have decided you need clipless mountain bike pedals. What’s next?
You need to choose shoes and pedals compatible with each other. As pedals and cleats come in one set (to ensure highest possible compatibility), don’t forget compatibility when buying your shoes for your clipless system.
As mentioned before, SPD is the most popular cleat installing system designed for mountain bike’s pedals and shoes. So, almost all clipless pedal systems will be usable with your SPD shoes.
What about “Clipless Fear”?
Actually, nothing what couldn’t be overcome with practice and even more practice. If you haven’t tried clipless before, you may be a little bit scared on your first-ever clipless ride.
“What if I won’t be able to detach my feet after I stop?...” Ouch, again…
But don’t worry.
Practice makes it perfect. Better choose “soft” conditions for your first clipless ride. Repeat detaching-attaching-detaching process again and again until you feel comfortable.
Once you’ve learned you will never forget.
Need information about other types of pedals? Continue here…
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