Pedals & shoes
What do you recommend for pedal & shoe combos? I'm currently riding clipless, but considering flats or SPDs. I like being able to use both sides of my legs while climbing, but feel as though the clipless are limiting my progression to more technical terrain. I'm a weekend warrior & spend most of my time on rolling singletrack, but would like to work my way to more difficult...
Yikes, big can of worms this thread could cause! :-) It is really gonna depend on what you want to do. If you feel the Clipins are limiting you on technical terrain, and might be more comfortable with flats, then you can get a good pair of flats like the Kona WaWa's and a pair of 5 10 riding sneakers. From some stuff I have read, you are really not supposed to pull up with your pedal stroke. The hamstring just isn't strong in that direction and you are risking injury. Not sure if others will agree because I have heard similar statements from others about being able to pull up. In any case I have flats, the Konas, with the 510 sneakers and love it great grip, feet don't slide, but you will want to wear shin pads until you get used to them. I rode the clipin pedals for about 3 years but I just didn't feel I could tackle the technical stuff with them so I switched and am much happier! Good luck with your search!
Run the SPD's but buy the SH-56 multi-release cleats. Using the multi-release cleats you will have complete confidence in the technical terrain.
I'm questioning the same thing.
I was wondering if anyone has opinions on a clip-in/cage combo like the crank brothers mallet 2 or 3 (the ones with studs).
Pedal Terminology crash course:
Pedal w/ CAGE (or TOE CLIP ) and STRAP
CLIPLESS pedal (which you actually CLIP IN to - go figure).
"SPDs" are any clipless pedals made by Shimano.
PLATFORM or FLAT pedal
CLIPLESS PLATFORM pedal (a combo of clipless and platform pedals, obviously)
Also, as long as we're at it, CLEATS are the component of a clipless pedal that attachs to the bottom of you shoe and interface with the pedal. The engage when you line them up and put downward pressue on them. They almost always release through swivelling your heel a certain amount in one or either direction to the side. The amount of swivel before release varies between manufactures, some are adjustable in different ways. Same goes for how tightly the pedals hold the cleats in position and how much feedback you get from the interface. Some pedals feel like you're on ice cubes and allow for a lot of free heel swivel, some hold tightly and don't allow a lot, some are adjustable. The amount of effort required to actually release also varies, from hardly any once you reach the right angle, to holy-crap-my-feet-won't-come-out-no-matter-what-I-do (usually do to poor adjustment of some sort). And then, there are the Shimano Multi-release cleats, that basically act like very worn-out regular cleats and allow you to just yank your cleat straight out of the pedal without swivelling your heel. Personally, I find these unpredictable - sometimes you come out when you don't want to, sometimes you don't come out when you want to.
Flat or platfrom pedals are usually best for learning tech stuff, but once comfortable on clipless pedals, they rule for the vast majority of trail riding. The clipless platforms give you a little more room to get your foot on and a bit more foot support, depending on the pedal/shoe combination.
Currently using shimano 520's and multi release cleats, works well for me. I think there is an advantage to be attached to the pedals. Great for rocky downhills, log up and overs , as well as steep uphill grades.
Go clipless and never look back. I've had a number of different setups but always end up back at a SPD pedal from shimano. Currently it happens to be the xt 785 trails. Never been a fan of multi release cleats. Like slappy I found the to be very unpredictable - IMHO a pedal with adjustable release tension is the best bet. Set them light at first so you can bail easily while learning to kick your heels out to release. Increase the tension as you get used to them.
Shoes are personal preference. It's going to depend on what fits you best.
I'm a fan of clipless for most XC/AM trail riding. Years ago I used a Speedplay Frog pedal + Sidi shoe combination. The Frogs have an enormous amount of float -- not the best for beginners IMO but supposedly good for those with knee problems. Now I ride Crank Brothers Candy 2 pedals + Mavic shoes. The Candys have a medium sized platform, a simple but effective spring design, and clear mud well, and the Mavics have a super stiff sole for power transfer. Like most good pedal/cleat combinations, the Crank Brothers cleats release at a reasonable tension and angle, and after you get used to them, you can pop out quickly if needed for more technical terrain or fast corners. If you want more platform, try the Crank Bros Mallet; if you want less platform, try their Egg Beaters.
been using clipless since the Shimano 747 first came out and 'progressed' to platform clipless but am now a convert to flats... as of this season - 1/2 dozen rides and I like them - yes all the technical Lynn and HP have to offer. But good platform pedals and Five Ten Shoes are needed- so much better than other shoe/flat pedal combos tried in the past.