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.
Last edited by Slappy; April 5th, 2013 at 11:39 AM.
Slapheadmofo Leisure Team
Sunday River Bike Park