Going clipless *whimpers*

heeeresjohnny
heeeresjohnny Posts: 10
edited March 2016 in Road beginners
Hi all,

I'm relatively new to this cycling malarkey (bought my first roadie - a Giant Defy 3 - in October last year) and have so far been commuting and going on long-ish rides when I have time off.

I have decided to upgrade and so attached some Shimano PD-R540 SPD-SLs to it and got some R078 shoes, and attached the cleats aligning the ball of the foot with the pedal axle. After a bit of practice clipping in and out on a quiet road, I thought I'd sussed it and decided to brave the mean streets of London the very next morning. My over-enthusiasm was swiftly rewarded with my foot slipping when trying to clip my right foot (I keep my left clipped in) back in at a green light, my crown jewels smashing against the top tube, and a very red face with panicked expression. :oops: I also have a slight lower back pain on the left side.

I'm wondering if folks here would be able to advise me whether any other changes are generally required for the set up of the bike when going clipless? Saddle-height? Position? Handlebars? I may have jumped in at the deep end slightly, having come straight from stock toe-clips, and any thoughts would be much appreciated.

HJ

Comments

  • sheffsimon
    sheffsimon Posts: 1,282
    No other adjustments should be necessary.

    I would probably question what benefit you will get from clipless over clips and straps, given the type of riding you are doing.

    I might have recommended going down the SPD route rather than SPD-SL, if you are commuting and touring. I find SPD's much better for commuting, I can walk in my SPD shoes, whereas my road shoes with Look pedals (much the same as SPD-SL) are impractical for walking.

    Easier to get your feet clipped in to SPD's, which, if you have numerous traffic lights on your route, is a consideration.
  • Thanks for getting back to me.

    Well originally I just bought the bike for commuting, wanted something relatively quick and the Giant seemed a good place to start and was recommended by LBS. I've become more and more enthusiastic over time and I've gone for longer rides out of the city and thought that at some point this year I might join a club - so stepping up and getting used to clipless seemed like a good idea with all this in mind. I've already seen how awkward the shoes are for walking but given that when commuting it's pretty much door-to-door it's not that much of an issue.

    The odd mishap at first is to be expected so I'm not surprised at the difficulty I had clipping-in, but I've read contradictory info on the net about saddle height/position changes with clipless and don't want to injure myself unnecessarily so I thought I'd ask somewhere where the information might be a bit more reliable.
  • I've read contradictory info on the net about saddle height/position changes with clipless and don't want to injure myself unnecessarily so I thought I'd ask somewhere where the information might be a bit more reliable.

    I'd expect that a clipless pedal might well have a lower stack height than your platform pedal, and therefore that you might just find yourself wanting to lower your saddle a little (assuming it's at an appropriate height already), but you'll know if this is the case. It is possible to injure yourself but generally unless you've got preexisting trouble (dodgy knees etc), you need to get your setup pretty badly wrong to do yourself harm.
  • If you haven't already, loosen the spring tension of the pedals so it makes clipping in and out easier. As you become more confident with them, you can start tightening them up again until they feel 'right'.

    One small bit of advice I'd give is to not panic if you miss the pedal the first time when setting off. You've still got one foot clipped in, so you can keep the bike moving using that one leg. I've seen far too many people get too hooked up about getting that second foot clipped in, come to a dead stop and topple over sideways.
  • AK_jnr
    AK_jnr Posts: 717
    I mess up clipping in at least once a ride usually after years of using them. Like it was mentioned above, just dont panic and either pedal with one foot or rest the unclipped one on the pedal until you are out the way and can get it in. Oh and I toppled over the other day doing a tight U turn and changing to the little ring and it not engaging. Haha.
  • mrb123
    mrb123 Posts: 4,720
    I have to say that I never got to grips with SPD-SLs. Too much risk of missing the clip in and the foot slipping off. Not too bad on the flat but always a worry on uphill starts with traffic behind.

    Speedplay now for me on the summer bike and standard double sided SPDs on the winter bike.
  • N1TRO
    N1TRO Posts: 103
    I just started using SPDs a week or two ago. Had a try while leaning against a wall first, then loosened the bearings and started getting the hang of it. Everything's OK for now, though I do miss clipping in here and there.

    *Awaiting my maiden topple, hoping for the best*
  • Thanks all for the tips.

    No topples so far (touch wood): I've had no trouble unclipping so far, but I do slow down as much as I can when approaching a stop so I can try crawling along at a snail's pace without having to unclip and then just move off again when the way is clear/lights change. I've started unclipping on the other side at lights so I can lean the left foot on the kerb, but clipping back in is still a bit iffy, especially when wet, as the contact just seems to slip and as mentioned above, that's when you start looking down and panicking rather than just getting up to speed and clipping in when you have a chance.

    Left the saddle height as it was, the heel-to-pedal still applied with the new shoes, but lowered the handlebars a bit as the head tube is quite tall on the Giant so it feels bit racier than before.
  • N1TRO wrote:
    I just started using SPDs a week or two ago. Had a try while leaning against a wall first, then loosened the bearings and started getting the hang of it. Everything's OK for now, though I do miss clipping in here and there.

    *Awaiting my maiden topple, hoping for the best*

    Were you using SPD-SLs before? Why the change?
  • ForumNewbie
    ForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    N1TRO wrote:
    I just started using SPDs a week or two ago. Had a try while leaning against a wall first, then loosened the bearings and started getting the hang of it. Everything's OK for now, though I do miss clipping in here and there.

    *Awaiting my maiden topple, hoping for the best*

    Were you using SPD-SLs before? Why the change?
    I don't think N1TRO means he has gone from SPD-SLs to SPDs as looks like he has just started clipping-in using SPDs rather than SPD-SLs, which is sensible. I started clipping-in using SPDs about 5 years ago, and I still use them on all my road bikes, as very easy to clip-in without faffing about looking down, and if I do fail to clip-in first time my foot doesn't slip off the pedal, so much easier all round.
  • N1TRO
    N1TRO Posts: 103
    N1TRO wrote:
    I just started using SPDs a week or two ago. Had a try while leaning against a wall first, then loosened the bearings and started getting the hang of it. Everything's OK for now, though I do miss clipping in here and there.

    *Awaiting my maiden topple, hoping for the best*

    Were you using SPD-SLs before? Why the change?
    I don't think N1TRO means he has gone from SPD-SLs to SPDs as looks like he has just started clipping-in using SPDs rather than SPD-SLs, which is sensible. I started clipping-in using SPDs about 5 years ago, and I still use them on all my road bikes, as very easy to clip-in without faffing about looking down, and if I do fail to clip-in first time my foot doesn't slip off the pedal, so much easier all round.
    Correct. These are my first SPD pedal on my first road bike, I've ridden a hybrid before that with flat pedals and even now went for a combo option (Shimano PD-A530 something), so SPD on one side, then a flat surface on the other. I like the usability and having the chance of just going with normal sneakers if I have any other things to do wherever it is I'm going.

    Must say clipping in and out is getting easier and isn't that much of a hassle any more. Now I'll have to look into setting the cleat angle correctly. I also thought of raising the saddle just a bit as my right knee started hurting today while riding.
  • N1TRO wrote:
    Must say clipping in and out is getting easier and isn't that much of a hassle any more. Now I'll have to look into setting the cleat angle correctly. I also thought of raising the saddle just a bit as my right knee started hurting today while riding.

    Snap. I have been finding it easier to clip in and out but having raised the saddle today I've felt a slight twinge in my right knee too so I'll need to have a look at that. Definitely worth checking out a few guides on the cleat position too.
  • Magem
    Magem Posts: 29
    Just lots of practice required. Plus what somebody else said, wind off the tension on the pedals. Other than that, take your time at lights, don't panic.. people can wait for you to get clipped in.
  • relk
    relk Posts: 21
    Regarding position. If to assume that your position on your bike before was perfect, then you should not rise the saddle by about 5mm as the cleats rise your foot a bit compared to normal. But I guess for commuting the position was not perfect anyway.
  • relk wrote:
    the cleats rise your foot a bit compared to normal.

    Unlikely, if the OP is using typical platform pedals.