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Do You Learn to Like Clipless?

WuMysterWuMyster Posts: 60
edited January 2017 in Road beginners
So I recently got into road riding. Rode MTBs all my life (with flat pedals). I moved to a road bike and at the end of the first day I loved the drop bars.

About a month after, I pick up some SPD-SLs (today). I did about 20 miles and I wouldn't say I hate them, but I dislike them. I've got the cleats in the best position I can and will continue to play around with it but something doesn't feel right. Clipping in isn't that hard, will definitely get better. Had a fall which doesn't deter me at all, car slammed it's brakes at an intersection as I was turning; I broke on time but no way was I ready to get my feet out.

Have people been in the same boat as me but eventually grew to love clipless and wouldn't change back to flats?
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  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,944
    As you increase the miles the benefits become more distinct and outweigh any negatives a,though you haven't clarified why you dislike clipless.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • slowmart wrote:
    As you increase the miles the benefits become more distinct and outweigh any negatives a,though you haven't clarified why you dislike clipless.

    It's how close my feet are to the frame/crank. No matter what shoe, the cleat doesn't move far enough to get to my natural feet position which is JUST wider than the pedals. There isn't any pain or anything major, but it just doesn't feel comfortable but I'm hoping I may eventually find it comfortable.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,944
    what length of spindals are on the pedals as you can have alternative lengths according to your needs?
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • slowmart wrote:
    what length of spindals are on the pedals as you can have alternative lengths according to your needs?

    You're joking me. Did not know you could get different spindle lengths.

    I got these
    http://www.wiggle.co.uk/shimano-ultegra-6800-spd-sl-pedals/
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,918
    Speedplay give you a greater range of movement in your foot than SPD-SL do. The shape of the cleats also give you more options for positioning them on the sole of the shoe. You can move further left or right as well as forward or rearward.
  • Speedplay give you a greater range of movement in your foot than SPD-SL do. The shape of the cleats also give you more options for positioning them on the sole of the shoe. You can move further left or right as well as forward or rearward.

    A friend of mine who has been riding road for years recommended speedplay. Said since switching from SPD-SL he's never looked back.

    I ended up obviously going for SPD-SLs. Thought I may as well try them out. I guess if after a month I still don't like them, I'll try out speedplays.
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,918
    WuMyster wrote:
    Speedplay give you a greater range of movement in your foot than SPD-SL do. The shape of the cleats also give you more options for positioning them on the sole of the shoe. You can move further left or right as well as forward or rearward.

    A friend of mine who has been riding road for years recommended speedplay. Said since switching from SPD-SL he's never looked back.

    I ended up obviously going for SPD-SLs. Thought I may as well try them out. I guess if after a month I still don't like them, I'll try out speedplays.

    For me they are perfect. Plenty of adjustment. Double sided clipping in. They do need a bit of maintenance from time to time but its minimal and just a bit of greasing the axles. You can colour match them to your frame. Power transfer is excellent as there is very little stack height. I don't think I could go back to any other system and I have used pretty much all other at one time or another.
  • slowmartslowmart Posts: 3,944
    Just try 1-3mm of washers on the axel. It doesn't sound a lot but it may be a cheap fix.

    Online is a great place for cheap parts but most platforms don't share knowledge in a proactive way which is what you get from a good local bike shop.
    “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring”

    Desmond Tutu
  • Yes, eventually you should get used to it, it's just a different feel. Might not be the case but it sounds like what you are experiencing is the difference in Q factor (distance from outer edge of one crank to the other). In general this is narrower on a road bike and with a smaller clipless pedal will be reduced further. Will feel weird at first but your feet being closer to the cranks and your whole chain from hip to ankle being in a more fixed position it will stabilise your pedal stroke and is necessary if you want to spend long periods on a road bike and ensure you get maximise power output through the pedals.
  • Yes, eventually you should get used to it, it's just a different feel. Might not be the case but it sounds like what you are experiencing is the difference in Q factor (distance from outer edge of one crank to the other). In general this is narrower on a road bike and with a smaller clipless pedal will be reduced further. Will feel weird at first but your feet being closer to the cranks and your whole chain from hip to ankle being in a more fixed position it will stabilise your pedal stroke and is necessary if you want to spend long periods on a road bike and ensure you get maximise power output through the pedals.

    As I expected. I will stick with them for a month; hopefully I can nail the clip in soon as it is rather dangerous falling on London roads...
  • WuMyster wrote:
    Yes, eventually you should get used to it, it's just a different feel. Might not be the case but it sounds like what you are experiencing is the difference in Q factor (distance from outer edge of one crank to the other). In general this is narrower on a road bike and with a smaller clipless pedal will be reduced further. Will feel weird at first but your feet being closer to the cranks and your whole chain from hip to ankle being in a more fixed position it will stabilise your pedal stroke and is necessary if you want to spend long periods on a road bike and ensure you get maximise power output through the pedals.

    As I expected. I will stick with them for a month; hopefully I can nail the clip in soon as it is rather dangerous falling on London roads...

    That's where your are getting it a bit wrong. Don't try to learn clipless on busy roads, take your time on very quiet roads instead. Otherwise you are risking quite a lot.
  • grenwgrenw Posts: 785
    I did the same a couple of years ago. A long time riding mtbs on flat pedals. Made the move to spds on the road bike.

    Spent a little time on my wife's turbo clipping and unclipping so that I could do it without too much looking down and then spent my first 2 rides in the New Forest on some amazing and quiet roads. We had to drive an hour or so to get there but it was worth it
  • andy9964andy9964 Posts: 930
    Been using SPDs for about 3 years now. After fixing a mates MTB (with flats) I took it for a spin round the block, didn't feel right at all, feet moving too much, couldn't pull the pedal up when stopped...........I'll stick with the SPDs, thanks
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,689
    WuMyster wrote:
    As I expected. I will stick with them for a month; hopefully I can nail the clip in soon as it is rather dangerous falling on London roads...

    as above, don't practice on busy roads

    find a quite road, doesn't need to be long, even a 50m cul de sac will do

    ride along, clip/unclip non-stop, start with the left foot, do it a few dozen times, swap and do it with the right

    this'll get you a feel for things and help confidence, it takes longer for it to become instinctive so stay aware when approaching lights/junctions/crossings and plan to unclip a few seconds early
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • neil hneil h Posts: 499
    grenw wrote:
    I did the same a couple of years ago. A long time riding mtbs on flat pedals. Made the move to spds on the road bike.

    Spent a little time on my wife's turbo clipping and unclipping so that I could do it without too much looking down and then spent my first 2 rides in the New Forest on some amazing and quiet roads. We had to drive an hour or so to get there but it was worth it

    This seems to be one of the better ways to learn to ride clipless, you don't have to worry about falling off/hitting stuff. It's surprising how quickly it becomes natural that way.
  • I live in the middle of zone 1 with no car so it's impossible to find a quiet street.

    Had a ride today to the post office though and it did feel comfortable today, I did forget to mention my feet were freezing yesterday which could have meant my stiffer feet obviously would find it rather uncomfortable regardless.

    Clipping in slightly easier today. If I look at the pedals I can clip in no problems, just need the muscle memory down. Clipping out is hit and miss though. Finding it hard sometimes to clip out but sometimes it just slides out easily.
  • andy9964andy9964 Posts: 930
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments
  • andy9964 wrote:
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments

    This

    You also mention feet you only need get one foot out.

    what colour cleats do you have and have you loosened them off so that they float more - this will make it easier to unclip and adapt to the riding position.
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,918
    andy9964 wrote:
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments

    This

    You also mention feet you only need get one foot out.

    what colour cleats do you have and have you loosened them off so that they float more - this will make it easier to unclip and adapt to the riding position.

    I guess you mean the pedal spring tension with an allan and not the actual cleats. You start having the cleat moving about on the shoe its likely to come off. Not what you want when sprinting.
  • andy9964 wrote:
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments

    This

    You also mention feet you only need get one foot out.

    what colour cleats do you have and have you loosened them off so that they float more - this will make it easier to unclip and adapt to the riding position.

    I guess you mean the pedal spring tension with an allan and not the actual cleats. You start having the cleat moving about on the shoe its likely to come off. Not what you want when sprinting.

    It does seem I was a little sparing with words and punctuation- yes loosen off pedals and have yellow cleats. I am assuming the OP is some way off worrying about coming unclipped in a bunch sprint.
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,918
    andy9964 wrote:
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments

    This

    You also mention feet you only need get one foot out.

    what colour cleats do you have and have you loosened them off so that they float more - this will make it easier to unclip and adapt to the riding position.

    I guess you mean the pedal spring tension with an allan and not the actual cleats. You start having the cleat moving about on the shoe its likely to come off. Not what you want when sprinting.

    It does seem I was a little sparing with words and punctuation- yes loosen off pedals and have yellow cleats. I am assuming the OP is some way off worrying about coming unclipped in a bunch sprint.

    Getting out of the saddle at any point for a climb maybe or just to speed up a bit is still the same as a group sprint as you put it. If you are putting your weight on a pedal out of the saddle and you disconnect for any reason is a bit dangerous especially if in traffic.
  • andy9964 wrote:
    While you're still getting used to clipless, unclip early when approaching junctions, lights etc. That way, you;ll get used to it without any unnecessary panic moments

    This

    You also mention feet you only need get one foot out.

    what colour cleats do you have and have you loosened them off so that they float more - this will make it easier to unclip and adapt to the riding position.

    Yeah I'm only getting my left foot out but still practicing the right incase I lose balance or something.

    Yellow cleats but I want to switch to no float. Don't like float.

    And yes, pedal tension on lowest it can go.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    If you can't get used to SPD-SLs, I would suggest SPDs which are doubled-sided and much easier to clip into for a beginner quickly without looking down and fiddling about, especially on busy city roads. I use them on 2 road bikes and a hybrid and don't see the need to change to SPD-SLs.
  • I would also like to ask. Do people clip in while seated or standing?

    So would you push off while still out the saddle, clip in and sprint or would you push off, sit in saddle, clip and then get out and sprint?
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,918
    I generally clip / unclip my left foot. I unclip at the bottom of the stroke with my leg straight and clip in seated as pretty much as soon as I can get my cleat engaged. I have had to stand up from time to time to add extra force to the pedal if its being difficult but mainly its seated
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    WuMyster wrote:
    I would also like to ask. Do people clip in while seated or standing?

    So would you push off while still out the saddle, clip in and sprint or would you push off, sit in saddle, clip and then get out and sprint?
    I always unclip my right foot and only unclip my left when I actually get off the bike. So I push off out of the saddle with my left foot when astride the crossbar but immediately sit on the saddle as I push off and then while sitting engage my right foot. I don't know where sprinting comes into it?
  • WuMyster wrote:
    I would also like to ask. Do people clip in while seated or standing?

    So would you push off while still out the saddle, clip in and sprint or would you push off, sit in saddle, clip and then get out and sprint?
    I always unclip my right foot and only unclip my left when I actually get off the bike. So I push off out of the saddle with my left foot when astride the crossbar but immediately sit on the saddle as I push off and then while sitting engage my right foot. I don't know where sprinting comes into it?

    With flat pedals I would push off and sprint out the saddle immediately (I'm not on the saddle to begin with). I'm doing the same with clipless and it does feel weird clipping in out the saddle. Will probably have to change to clipping in seated and then getting out the saddle.
  • ForumNewbieForumNewbie Posts: 1,664
    WuMyster wrote:
    WuMyster wrote:
    I would also like to ask. Do people clip in while seated or standing?

    So would you push off while still out the saddle, clip in and sprint or would you push off, sit in saddle, clip and then get out and sprint?
    I always unclip my right foot and only unclip my left when I actually get off the bike. So I push off out of the saddle with my left foot when astride the crossbar but immediately sit on the saddle as I push off and then while sitting engage my right foot. I don't know where sprinting comes into it?

    With flat pedals I would push off and sprint out the saddle immediately (I'm not on the saddle to begin with). I'm doing the same with clipless and it does feel weird clipping in out the saddle. Will probably have to change to clipping in seated and then getting out the saddle.
    It sounds a bit dangerous trying to clip-in when out of the saddle and trying to sprint, especially with SPD-SLs if your foot slips off the pedal while you are unseated.
  • awaveyawavey Posts: 2,368
    well Im not out the saddle as such, but I only unclip my right foot to stand when I stop,the left stays clipped in,but remember to lean or shift your weight the right direction when you do that though. and I then move the left foot to the top of the pedal stroke and just push off left leg first when starting, but I might keep the right foot free till Im sure Im not about to need to stop again and have some speed.

    tbh it takes far longer to explain than it does to do in practice :)
  • ZMC888ZMC888 Posts: 292
    Personally I'd never ride anything but flats/5-10s on anything but the tamest XC MTB trail, but I love my R540s, and soon I'll upgrade them to 105 carbon. Different purpose, different product. You just gotta learn/adapt/evolve.
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