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View Full Version : Clip less pedals - unclipping



StopMeansStop
06-17-2011, 11:05 PM
Got a set installed today. I fell 3 times :eek:

What's the proper way to snap out of these things? My legs look like the electoral map. Spots of blue with vast areas of red.

JimF22003
06-17-2011, 11:33 PM
Rotate heel outwards. That's about all there is to it. What kind of pedals did you get? Mtn bike style (SPD) pedals are usually a bit easier to clip in and out of, and they can be adjusted so they're easier or harder to get into and out of. The shoes are easier to walk around in too. I use those on my cross bike. For the road bike I use Look-style cleats.

Are you physically having trouble getting out? Or do you just forget? That was my main issue for the first couple of weeks. If you physically have trouble getting out that's an adjustment issue hopefully.

eminva
06-18-2011, 05:44 AM
You can bring your bike inside and practice in a doorway a few times until you get the hang of it. They say you should start off on grass to cushion your fall, but not all styles of bikes are conducive to that.

Good luck.

Liz

SerialCarpins
06-18-2011, 07:14 AM
As someone stated above, I don't know the exact trouble you're having, but to chime in, like Jim, my pedals have adjustments that can be made to them to be able to unclip a little easier. Yours might have the same thing, and you can maybe adjust them down a little to make twisting out of them a bit easier until you get used to it. Good luck....I had a couple days of trouble with mine, but now I can't live without them...and haven't had any trouble since. I even got clipped by a cab, fell off the bike, and my shoes unclipped instantly when I fell...

acc
06-18-2011, 12:15 PM
Only three? I'm jealous. On the bright side, I fell so often I stopped worrying about falling. Being a big baby I decided to ease myself into the system by staying clipped in on my non-dominant leg first. I kept my other leg free. Once I was comfortable with that arrangement I clipped in my other side when I had plenty of room to ride and not a lot of starting and stopping (intersections or small children). That cut down on most accidental rest stops on the pavement. Finally I got tough and forced myself to deal with it. That may have been last week. :cool:But in all seriousness I had to work out a plan to get used to the system. Being able to anticipate a stop well before it happened was key. Your mileage may vary.

Happy tails,
ann

StopMeansStop
06-18-2011, 09:19 PM
I loosened them up, but Im having a problem with the twisting motion. It feels unnatural. This video suggests pushing the heel down before twisting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLZbijqcjtw&feature=youtube_gdata_player

CCrew
06-19-2011, 05:44 PM
I just do a quick snap outward of the heel. I know it feels odd at first, but it does become second nature.

StopMeansStop
06-19-2011, 07:25 PM
I just do a quick snap outward of the heel. I know it feels odd at first, but it does become second nature.

How much slack should there be between the cleat and pedal? When I do a twist, I feel some wobble sometimes before it snaps out.

CCrew
06-19-2011, 08:07 PM
How much slack should there be between the cleat and pedal? When I do a twist, I feel some wobble sometimes before it snaps out.

The standard is 6 degrees of float. Some pedals run more few run less. There needs to be a certain amount of slack in the pedal/cleat interface or there's no give for your knees.

If we're talking Shimano SPD cleats here there are also several versions There's the SH-51 and the SH-56. The SH-51 is black and is a single release cleat. The SH-56 is gold and is a multi-release. the 56's release in multiple directions and are a bit easier to get to release. The 51's are twist heel out only and can take some getting used to for a person unfamiliar with them.

I rarely unclip my left foot. I pretty much always use my right, and have found that the easiest release comes with the crank arm in the 6'oclock or 9'oclock position, it's where your heel has the most leverage and the crank arm is least likely to spin. Your (and others) experience may vary, but it works for me.. I've been doing it so long I'd honestly have to go look any more to see what it is I still do most frequently since it's become such second nature.

I also do not wait until full stop to unclip.

Greenbelt
06-19-2011, 08:29 PM
I loosened mine up as far as possible on my commuter bike, and then squirt chain lube on them for additional slipperyness. (I'm not sure if they're supposed to be lubed, but so far I haven't had any trouble. I've never accidentally popped out of them while riding, but have been really grateful a few times when I needed to put a foot down fast that it came out so easily.)

Also, new pedals just sometimes are very stiff. I got some new ones for my weekend bike a couple weeks ago and had a lot of trouble at first (didn't have a screwdriver with me to loosen them). But after a while, they seemed to loosen up a little on their own.

Dirt
06-20-2011, 07:49 AM
Eventually this motion becomes second nature. I went through this in the mid 1980s. It brings back fond memories. Hang in there.

Which pedals did you get?

PotomacCyclist
06-20-2011, 09:13 AM
View it as a rite of passage. The only way to get comfortable with clipless pedals is practice. The doorway tip is a good recommendation.

Many beginners forget to lean to the correct side. If you unclip your right shoe as you approach a stop, you have to lean your body to the right as well. If you lean to the left, then you'll do the slow tip-over. (This is based on what I've heard from others. I never had this problem myself. Well, maybe once. Or twice. Or three times...)

The good news is that once you get used to the pedals, you shouldn't have many more problems. I had a lot of issues during the first 2 or 3 weeks with clipless pedals. But none since fall 2009. Fortunately, even when you do have issues with the pedals, it only happens when you are stopped or almost stopped at an intersection. It's unusual to have a problem with the pedal when riding at faster speeds. Normally you wouldn't be trying to unclip in those situations.

DaveK
06-20-2011, 09:17 AM
View it as a rite of passage. The only way to get comfortable with clipless pedals is practice. The doorway tip is a good recommendation.

Many beginners forget to lean to the correct side. If you unclip your right shoe as you approach a stop, you have to lean your body to the right as well. If you lean to the left, then you'll do the slow tip-over. (This is based on what I've heard from others. I never had this problem myself. Well, maybe once. Or twice. Or three times...)

The good news is that once you get used to the pedals, you shouldn't have many more problems. I had a lot of issues during the first 2 or 3 weeks with clipless pedals. But none since fall 2009. Fortunately, even when you do have issues with the pedals, it only happens when you are stopped or almost stopped at an intersection. It's unusual to have a problem with the pedal when riding at faster speeds. Normally you wouldn't be trying to unclip in those situations.

I've fallen exactly once in clipless pedals, several thousand miles after I first started using them. I thought I was immune. Then I pulled up to a stop sign outside one of the largest bars in Tampa, FL (and that's saying something), unclipped on the right, and leaned left. About a thousand people yelling "Nice one, Lance!" really helped encourage better pedal discipline. Haven't done it since.

eminva
06-20-2011, 09:38 AM
Thanks -- this has been a really informative thread. I knew I needed an adjustment because my knee was yelling at me recently on a long ride. Prompted by these posts, I checked the cleats this morning and one of them must have slipped -- it was in a completely different position than I remember putting it. So I guess you should turn your shoes over once in a while to make sure they are okay.

So, how do you avoid cleats slipping? Put them on tighter?

Thanks.

Liz

OneEighth
06-20-2011, 10:36 AM
Over-tighten the bolts holding the cleat in place and you may end up shearing them. Like everything else on a bike (or motorcycle, or car, chainsaw, etc.) you just have to perform regular checks. Things just tend to work themselves loose over time.

Dirt
06-20-2011, 02:04 PM
I also mark the cleat placement on the soles of the shoes so it is easy to see if they've slipped.

brendan
06-20-2011, 02:27 PM
On the big dummy, the lower speeds and BB7 brakes (that can stop a train on a dime) allow me to shift-down, unclip and brake correctly all the time. I only fall over if I manage to lean the wrong way, which becomes rarer and rarer over time. On the road bike, however, I prioritize the unclipping and braking over down shifting since the brakes can sometimes require a lot more attention (earlier application/longer engagement/more strength) when coming to a stop. Plus brifters make it difficult to actuate both down-shift and braking in parallel. I learned the hard ways it's better to be stuck in a high gear at the stop light than to overshoot the stop line and/or fall over.

Brendan

StopMeansStop
06-20-2011, 09:09 PM
Eventually this motion becomes second nature. I went through this in the mid 1980s. It brings back fond memories. Hang in there.

Which pedals did you get?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0014UG3WE

Dirt
06-21-2011, 08:02 AM
Great comment Brendan. I notice a lot of people unclip ahead of time as they approach a stop light. That doesn't help with unplanned stops, but it does help make it so you're doing fewer things all at once. By the time you're scoping traffic and getting ready to put your foot down, you've already been unclipped for 5 seconds.

The Big Dummy presents other issues.... especially if it is loaded. I use road pedals and shoes on my dummy... which probably isn't the best choice. The road shoes are a bit slippery on pavement. When the bike is fully loaded that can make waiting at stop lights a bit of an adventure. I might have to put the MTB pedals on the dummy the next time I take it out and see how that works.

brendan
06-21-2011, 10:38 AM
Great comment Brendan. I notice a lot of people unclip ahead of time as they approach a stop light. That doesn't help with unplanned stops, but it does help make it so you're doing fewer things all at once. By the time you're scoping traffic and getting ready to put your foot down, you've already been unclipped for 5 seconds.

The Big Dummy presents other issues.... especially if it is loaded. I use road pedals and shoes on my dummy... which probably isn't the best choice. The road shoes are a bit slippery on pavement. When the bike is fully loaded that can make waiting at stop lights a bit of an adventure. I might have to put the MTB pedals on the dummy the next time I take it out and see how that works.

Yeah. My clipless shoes are Lake winter shoes (SPD), a pair of shimano mountain biking sandals (SPD) and some standard bontrager shoes (SPD) - I'm new to clipless pedals since October 2010. Only the bontragers have an issue of the cleat sticking out enough (or the lack of surrounding tread) to skid sometimes when I put my foot down and I'm not at a full stop. Presumably the issue isn't quite as bad road shoes/cleats, which I have never tried. SPD seems like a good compromise.

baiskeli
06-21-2011, 11:03 AM
If they're clipless, why do you have to unclip them?

Mark Blacknell
06-21-2011, 11:47 AM
If they're clipless, why do you have to unclip them?

http://instantrimshot.com/

baiskeli
06-22-2011, 12:16 PM
http://instantrimshot.com/

Thank you. Be sure to tip your waiter!

You gotta admit, it's a weird term. Regular old pedals are "clipless" too.

Mark Blacknell
06-22-2011, 12:22 PM
You gotta admit, it's a weird term. Regular old pedals are "clipless" too.

Yep, but less weird when you think back to these being the standard road pedals:

http://www.aspirevelotech.com/images/White/WhitePedals-BrooksClipsAndStrapsCombo3.jpg

creadinger
06-22-2011, 01:31 PM
Great topic. My wife began using them a couple of weeks ago so this is very good timing. She's slowly working up the courage to go on a real ride with them. Otherwise, she has been sticking to the less traveled trails to get used to them and she thinks the whole idea is crazy.

What we did was go to a barren stretch of road near Crystal City and she practiced for an hour clipping in and out, riding with one foot clipped in, and then both, practicing stopping etc... it's going pretty well. No falls yet.

I remember two of my 0 mph falls pretty vividly. One time was as I was pulling up to the bike rack in the garage at work. I was feeling good about myself and extra cool for riding in and I just forgot. Tiiimmmmbbbeeerrrr... The cool feeling instantly vanished.

The other time was in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the eastern shore with my wife. We stopped to wait for a car to clear a high-tide flooded section of road and I just leaned the wrong way. The driver gave me a nice thumbs up as he passed. It was pretty funny.

baiskeli
06-22-2011, 02:43 PM
Yep, but less weird when you think back to these being the standard road pedals:

Nah, kid, that was years after the REAL standard:

http://luxlow.com/wp-content/uploads/wpsc/product_images/pedalclathumb.jpg

See, no clips.

baiskeli
06-22-2011, 02:44 PM
The other time was in Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on the eastern shore with my wife. We stopped to wait for a car to clear a high-tide flooded section of road and I just leaned the wrong way. The driver gave me a nice thumbs up as he passed. It was pretty funny.

Did this with the wife years ago. Nice ride.

OneEighth
06-22-2011, 03:43 PM
Honestly, I think modern clipless pedals are much easier to use. I am assuming, of course, that the cleats and pedals are clean, well-maintained, etc.
No comparison to when road shoes had wooden soles, cleats that fit over the lip at the trailing edge of the pedal, and you had to cinch down the strap to keep your foot locked in. Now those were a lot more interesting to get out of in a hurry.

baiskeli
06-24-2011, 08:49 AM
Honestly, I think modern clipless pedals are much easier to use. I am assuming, of course, that the cleats and pedals are clean, well-maintained, etc.
No comparison to when road shoes had wooden soles, cleats that fit over the lip at the trailing edge of the pedal, and you had to cinch down the strap to keep your foot locked in. Now those were a lot more interesting to get out of in a hurry.

Actually, I use these as a compromise:

http://www.xxcycle.com/marques/zefal/images/large/MT_zefal45.jpeg

They work with any shoe too.

acc
06-24-2011, 06:33 PM
Tried out my new shoes tonight and had to acclimate to new cleats. Immediately remembered how hard it is to learn to clip in and clip out, the unclipping motion is not subtle. It's just plain hard.
But once again I discovered upgrading to a higher quality makes a big difference. I still think my shoes are ugly but a step up means better fit, more power, less tweaking of my knees. So far, I've never been sorry about spending more money on equipment.

Happy trails,
ann