How To Set Up Clipless Pedals – MTB Pro Tips

How To Set Up Clipless Pedals – MTB Pro Tips

We’re going to look at how to set up
clipless pedals and shoes. First, set the cleat placement in the
shoe. The cleat is this little metal interface that actually clips into the
spring retention system on the pedal. Placement on the bottom of the shoe is
really important for pedaling efficiency but also affects how well you move your
weight around on the bike. In the bottom of your shoe, you have two
of these slots so you can move the cleat up and down and get a feel for where you
want to place that cleat . Something I see a lot of with coaching is
a lot of people have their cleat really far forward in the shoe and that will
make you ride slightly toe-down. It’s not always the best place to be,
especially if you’re riding technical trails. So actually sliding your cleat
further back in the shoe will make you stand a little bit flatter on the
pedal rather than being up and on your toes like that. There’s a slight argument in that if you
stand a little bit more toes-down, you’ll use your calves more for pedaling
but there’s nothing that really proves that that is a more powerful pedal stroke,
so something I definitely know is if you bring that cleat a little bit further back
it will flatten your foot out and that can really help with riding technical terrain. The ball part place start with your cleat,
is about on the ball of your foot. I actually run my cleat as far back in the
shoe as it will go and that slides my foot a little bit further forward on the
pedals. Makes me slightly more heels-down and that really suits my style of riding,
but something that’s well worth playing around with, that front-to-back
movement on the shoe. With your cleat you’ll get two bolts to
mount that cleat to the bottom of the shoe, but also you’ll get this
little plastic spacer. First thing you’ll do is mount that cleat
at the bottom of my shoe in that fore- to-aft position I feel is comfortable for
me. And then try and actually put the shoe on, and clip into your pedal. If you feel any of that rubber touching
that pedal and restricting you from clipping in or clipping out,
I would then try fitting the spacer. That’s going to bring your cleat a little
bit further away from the shoe and that might help so you don’t touch that shoe on
the pedal. Alternatively, you could just take a bit
of a Stanley blade to that rubber and get rid of some of that rubber so you can get
in and out nicely. Crank Brothers have this nifty little system with their
cleats, so one cleat has a dot on it, the other one doesn’t. If you put the
cleat with the dot on your right shoe, you’ll release at 15°. If you put it on
your left shoe, it will release at 20°. So you can actually choose when you want
your foot to come out of that pedal. Really nifty little system, I run the dot
on my right shoe so I’ve got the earlier release. So once we’ve got our fore-to-aft
position, next we’ll look at the side-to- side placement. You might find that that
if you have your cleat too far to the outside of your shoe, that’s going to put
your foot really close up to the cranks. So especially on your back foot you might
find that when you try and clip out you actually push your toe into the crank
before you can get out of your pedal. So in that case I would then slide this
cleat to the inside of the foot. That’s going to bring the pedal a bit
further away and the crank further away to give you a bit more space. But you might
also have to play around with that so that your rubber of the shoe doesn’t touch the
pedal before you clip in or clip out. Alternatively, you can actually fit
spacers to the pedal to bring that pedal a little bit further away from that crank.
So now to set the angle of this cleat in the shoe. You really want that to match
your natural stance on the pedal, so nice and square, in line with the length of the
shoe, is probably the best place to start. Try that out, see how that feels. You can
also play around with that a little bit, angling that cleat slightly so that it’s
already closer to the point of release of the pedal, so you toe it inside like that,
even when you’re stood normally, it’s really close to popping out. It
depends how you like it. Some people don’t like that you might come out of the pedal
when you’re not expecting to. Once you found that nice placement of this
cleat, make sure you tighten it down nice and tight. You don’t want these coming
loose or a bolt falling out. I have seen that happen . What then can
happen is that cleat will start spinning in the shoe and you’ll get stuck to that
pedal and then you have one of those embarrassing tip-overs where you can’t get
out. Now for the pedals. You can get different
styles of pedals. Here is a Crank Brothers Mallet DH, you can see there’s a big cage
on the outside of it, a downhill pedal. Here is a Crank Brothers Candy. This is
more of a cross-country pedal, as you can see it’s much
smaller, much lighter. So let’s start with the downhill pedals.
Obviously, this big cage is going to give you some support. So you can actually feel
that pedal on the bottom of your shoe. So you get a little bit of friction.
You’ve also got these little adjustable grub screws, so you can play around with
those. You can feel a little bit of the pedal on the bottom of the shoe.
Obviously, if you bring them out too much, you’ll get too much friction and that’s
going to make it much harder to get in and out of that pedal. I really like this style of pedal, and
it seems to work really nicely with a slightly softer-soled shoe. It feels
almost like a flat pedal. You can actually feel that pedal in the
bottom of your shoe. What you’ll find is with these smaller cross-country pedals,
they’re suited much better to these cross-country shoes. They’ll have a much
stiffer sole, so you don’t really need the extra support of a big platform pedal, you
just got that sole support on your foot. As you can see with this big downhill-
style pedal, the shoe is really touching the pedal, so there’s a lot of feel
there in the bottom of your foot. Also really good for maybe for not clipped
in on a technical section and you still got a big platform to stand on. Compare that to the cross-country-style
shoe and pedal, obviously much less platform there. So you’re not
going to get that same feeling at the bottom of your foot and it doesn’t matter
so much when you’re clipped in, but if for any reason you ride clipped
out, it’s not going to help quite so much. So this is the style of pedaling shoe I
like. Quite a big, slightly heavy, but soft shoe, with a big downhill pedal,
that really does suit my style of riding where I’ve got a good feel for the
pedal in the bottom of my foot, so it’s worth matching your shoe and your
pedal to the type of riding you do. Okay, so there’s how to set up clipless
pedals. If you’ve liked this video you can give us a big thumbs-up down here, or
for more videos from GMBN you can click our clips versus flats feature up
here, for our mechanical playlist, click down here. Or click on me to
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  1. Good simple video.
    I run my cleat all the way back and I still pedal with my toes down. I also have to rotate mine so my feet are a bit displayed. With the cleat in line with the shoe, my peddling rotation had my knees moving side to side and caused severe knee pain. Slight adjustment of the rotation and now my knees go strait up and down and without pain!
    Keep up the good work and enjoy your channel! !

  2. I want that Santa Cruz so bad,to bad I'm only 15 and dont have a lot of money :/ even though I was saving it for almost 5 years

  3. First time and only time i tried clipless, i fitted them way to tight went out for a blast clipped in fine couldn't get my feet out and ended up breaking my arm HaHa – flats for life!

  4. Clipless how to video sponsored by Crank Bros 😂 good vid, simple and straight to the point, would be good to cover pros and cons to different pedal manufactures and shoe makes, me personally….Shimano m545 on five tens but been riding clipless on road for a while so well use to it. DO NOT just straight in on clipless, practice first until your comfortable to use off road. 👌

  5. When you get the cleats onto the shoes in the right position i find that by dripping melted wax into the allen bolt head it is easier to remove in future as the wax, once hardened prevents stones and dirt getting jammed in

  6. Is there any way to make the springs tighter? My feet fell like they float and slide. Some times I unclip by accident. Ps keep up with the good work guys

  7. I strongly suggest green bolt lock on cleat bolts, having a bolt fall out in the middle of the day in horrible.

  8. I am at the stage of changing to cliped pedals, i am just trying to find out the right style of shoe. Wondering if you could help?

  9. I ride flats and have been forever, however I'm wondering what my advantages on the trail would be. Would it be a good idea to switch and what's your opinion on toeclips?

  10. I use Crankbrothers on my road bike because they are awesome pedals. Haters gonna hate, I just keep rolling lol.

  11. I'm confused there clip-LESS but you clip in 😕

    And what's the difference between

    Clipless, toeclips, flats, pedals and straps? I see people taking about 5 and I'm just confused or are there only three kinds clipless, pedals and straps?

  12. Hey Global Mountain Bike Network. I have the Giro Terraduro shoe in a size 46 and I am running the Crankbrothers Mallet 2 pedals. Even with my cleat moved all the way over if I am at the bottomstroke of my pedal I can't unclip because of my sole hitting against the crankarm. You mentioned getting some pedal extenders to move the pedal out away from the crankarm a bit more. Do you know of any you would recommend and that would work with the 8mm allen key that Crankbrothers pedals use?

  13. Hey Marc! Do you have to run the spacers with the chamber shoes and the dh mallet? Or does it fit right without? Please let me know, cheers

  14. Hi there 😉 I have a question about how much power you can get from riding in these SPD clip-less pedals vs regular platform pedals ?

    Thanks !

  15. Were those shoes the Giro Jackets? Ive wanted to get a pair, but it says that they are flat pedal shoes. I want to get a DH shoe with a clip. So, is the Giro Jacket a shoe that can clip into the pedals?

  16. Sorry I meant Shimanos, your video shows Crank Brothers. I have friends that live or die by one or the other.

  17. Hey GMBN! What is the difference between a shoe such as a fiveten or giro and a shimano SH-AM45? Thanks!

  18. Is it not better to use flat shoes for technical stuff and downhill ? normally use my clipless boots but it seems like a fail and fall more when I am using those.

  19. Grettings from Venezuela, I've been looking out to buy a DH style shoe like the chamber or a five ten my concern is clip in climbing does it climb well ??

  20. I have spd's.Can I loosen the tension of the springs all the way?I mean all the way down really so that I know that the tension of both pedals are equal when I tighten them back.

  21. I want to got some DH clipless shoes, but I don't know which ones are good. I would like a flat soled shoe that looks a little more casual. I'm trying to keep it under $110 USD

  22. Copper ease those screws if you ever want to get them out again! And remove and replace periodically to stop them seizing – otherwise it is a pain in the arse to replace the cleats if you need to in the future.

  23. my crank bro cleats don't quite look like that. I don't have side to side adjustment. they came with my brand new egg beater 3s. what's the deal? am I being stupid

  24. Great tips!! Personally I used the tip of pointing the cleat a bit towards the toe and this makes it easier for me to disconnect. Tested it yesterday and felt more prepared to unclip! Great channel keep up with the fantastic videos you post!

  25. I pretty much centered my cleats in a shimano shoe and set the pedal tension in the middle have had no problems unclipping but my climbing is heaps better than with flats [ mind you xtrainers and stock pedals with good pins ]

  26. i just run a large bolt all the way through the soles of an old pair of running sneakers and into the crank. works flawlessly and saved a ton of money. and oh, have my laces loose incase i gotta bail.

  27. I'm kind of new to biking in general, and I'm trying to dive right in to multi day rail trail tours. I would imagine the cross country style is more ideal for that, since the rail trails aren't that technically demanding. Is that right, or is there a third style option you'd recommend?

  28. Just got my first pair of shimano 8020s because of you guys! Thanks for all the help and this guide. Made the transition smooth as can be. I love this channel! Neil, we have the same exact shoes for both flats and clipless. You must have good taste.

  29. What you're saying doesn't make sense. Clip further forward actually drops your heal. Seat too high makes you pedal toe in.

  30. I couldn't find a clipless shoe wide enough to accommodate my feet so I swapped over to flats and FiveTen VXi Freerider shoes. Even FiveTen's clipless shoes were too narrow for me. I'm sticking with flats until I can find an appropriately wide enough shoe. I was running the XC-style Shimano style pedals and I think I'd benefit from having a clipless platform pedal as well. Those Giro Chamber shoes look nice though.

  31. Hi, what brand of shoes are you using with the downhill pedals? The one with a flat sole.?
    all the best 🙂

  32. dont get it, why would only one cleat have the dots on the bottom, why wouldn't they have them on both? Im having a hard time on my left coming out, but super easy on my right? Can't I have both come out with same degree or tension? thank you

  33. Have the 510 Maltese Falcon clipped w CB mallet E w shim underneath. I having a super hard time unclipping on both shoes to where I'm almost twisting my shoe off! Rare days they work fine but MOST days they are impossible to unclip and I have to fall down and twist my foot on the ground to take them off! Love the clip in and locked in feel but unclipping forget it, fell a few down 2-4' drops! HELP PLEASE or SPD Shimano xt I go!

  34. thank to you all' I push 20 35 miles night & day try to get more out my legs & my shoes' here to you all make a day to ride to Huntington beach pier hun back 2016 from El Monte took 5 1/2 hr today take less Hr I actually broke 7000 miles in Dec 15, 2017, I appreciate all Mr. V.

  35. Is there a reason to not use thread-locker 242 when attaching the cleats to the shoes? It will address the corrosion issue and decrease the likelihood of losing a bolt, which is very dangerous as you can't release from the pedal if the cleat rotates with the pedal.

  36. Any hacks on replacing the cleat in the exact same place as the previous cleat? Are the tiny bumps on the cleat for that purpose? Like do they dig into the shoe and make ridges so you can change them easier in the future?

  37. Hi! How do you install the pedals? Should the narrower part of clip be on the front side? Or to the back?

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