Using clipless or clip in pedals when mountain biking can be intimidating for those who haven’t used them before. But don’t let that put you off, they will soon become an intuitive part of your MTB rides, allowing you better pedalling efficiency and security. Neil shows you a few mistakes to avoid when using them, from unclipping to poor technique.
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If you’re starting out with cleats and pedals it’s important to practise twisting your ankle to unclip. Don’t worry about falling off, we’ve all done it.
Try and get pedals and shoes that work well together, with matching interfaces that allow you to clip in and out easily. The same goes for the type of riding that you do, lightweight narrow pedals are great for racing cross country, but won’t offer the same sort of stability and engagement that a larger downhill or enduro pedal does. Cleat placement for MTB shoes is a matter of personal preference but the general rule is to not have them too far forward on your shoe so that the ball of your foot is in line with the pedal axle.
Finally it can be easy to let your clip in pedals develop poor MTB technique, we’ve all done it. Learning the correct rear wheel lift technique will enable you to ride much more safely over jumps and drops, whilst also enabling you to lift the rear wheel much higher than you can otherwise by just lifting with your legs.