How to choose and Use Clipless pedals for beginners:
The benefit of clipless pedals is that they allow you to use your key leg muscles during the pedal stroke. You get more forward propulsion during the revolution, especially during the upstroke.
There are a variety of clipless pedals. Most pedals fit into 2 categories, on-road and off-road.
Make sure you pick the correct pedal based on the type of riding you will be doing.
How to begin using clipless pedals:
It is recommended to practice for 30- 40 min of clipping and unclipping from your pedals indoors on a trainer. Then you can move on and practice in a grass park, so if you fall, you will have a softer landing.
First, clip your dominant foot into the pedal. Then, pedal a couple of times before you engage the clip of your other foot. Make sure you prepare and unclip both pedals before you stop.
This video will show you some great tips on how to get started:
What Clipless Bike Pedals to choose:
The video has recommended the Shimano Spd-sl Pd-rs500 Road bike pedals with entry-level wide platform, lower spring tension, and a 3 bolt design. There are three options to choose from that determine the float or amount of angle and ease to release your foot. Red offers a fixed position, Blue is intermediate with 2 degrees of float, and yellow is for beginners with 6 degrees of float.
The specific model I found and recommend is the Shimano SPD-SL PD R-540 in Black. This clip has wide pedal platforms to improve your foot to pedal stability. The cartridge axle unit is low maintenance. The platform is a low profile and open design that is easy to access and adjust. The R-540 provides a stable fit for maximum power transfer and is easy to clip in and out. There is a broader precise binding mechanism for better contact with the pedal. These clipless pedals come with a SPD-SL cleat with a yellow float. This makes them perfect for beginners.
If you are looking for a clipless pedal for a mountain bike or off-road riding, I recommend the SHIMANO PD-ED500 Road Touring Light Action Pedal. This is the same pedal that is recommended in the video above. The PD-Ed500 are double-sided that are light and easy to use. They have adjustable entry and release tension settings. The PD-Ed500 is low maintenance and made with a chrome-moly spindle, and they come with a pair of the SM-SH56 cleats. These cleats fit with a 2-bolt designed shoe and are easy to use for beginners.
When you buy clipless cleats, you also want to buy cleat covers. The SHIMANO cleat covers are designed to protect the cleat while you are walking. The covers also have an additional grip to help you walk. Walking may not be easier, but they are worn specifically to protect your cleat. They are compatible with all SHIMANO SPD-SL cleats and standard 3 prong clip-ins. They stretch for a tight fit. The covers are also small enough to fit in your pocket or a cycling bag.
Tools you will need:
To remove or replace your pedals, you will need some tools before you get started.
The 8mm Allen Key is what you will see being used by professionals and in most maintenance videos. The Park Tool PH-1.2 P-Handled Hex 8pc Wrench Set Includes these 8 sizes: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10mm. They are made with industrial steel and perfect to get the torque you need. There is a straight hex on one side and a ball end on the long side. The wrench has a comfortable nylon handle and comes with a wall-mount tool holder.
You will need a Pedal wrench. The BikeHand pedal wrench is extra-long 13.8 inches with a comfortable handle. The length gives you the leverage you will need to remove pedals that are hard to take off. This bike wrench is heat-treated steel. The slots are constructed to match the pedal spindles perfectly. There are 2 slots, one on each side, and a 15mm spanner in the middle is used to remove wheel hub bolts.
You will need to put some grease on the bolt to help loosen it up. I recommend Park Tool PPL-1 PolyLube 1000 Bicycle Grease (Tube).
A cycling multi-tool is useful to have when you are out riding. The Crank Brother's M19 Multi-Tool + Case (Multi-Tool 19 Black Midnight Edition) has 19 tools for common repairs that come in a lightweight aluminum hard case. The tools included are 7 hex wrenches, 4 spoke wrenches, a Philips and flathead screwdriver, a T-25 driver, and a universal chain tool.
The Park Tool Allen HXS Wrench set is a must for all cyclists. This Allen wrench set comes with 9 wrenches in sizes: 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10 mm. They all come in a blue hinged plastic holder. The wrenches have a ball on the end of the long arm for difficult areas and a straight short arm tip for high torque applications. They are made with industrial quality chrome tool steel.
You may want to invest in a Bicycle repair stand, depending on how often you change your pedals or for travel. It will also help for easier regular bike maintenance.
The Park Tool PCS-10.2 Home Mechanic Bicycle Repair Stand is shown in the video. The stand has an adjustable clamp that fits 1”-3” diameter tubes and seat post of any bike. The height adjusts from 39” to 57” with a quick-release lever, so you don’t have to bend down during maintenance. It is made of steel for durability. According to the Park Tool website, the stand will hold up to 80 lbs. Ensure the bike is centered over the legs and secure before you start working on your bike. The stand folds easily for compact storage.
How to change and replace your pedals:
You will be removing and changing your pedals when you upgrade to clipless pedals. You will also need to know how to remove and replace your pedals if you plan on traveling with your bike. You will need to take your pedals off for your bike fit into a travel case.
Watch this video for specific tips on how to change your pedals:
Removing your pedals can be confusing because both pedals are not threaded the same way. The non-drive side should be turned clockwise, and the drive side should turn counterclockwise.
Put some grease on the tread of the pedal to replace and remove the pedals.
What cycling shoes should you buy:
You will also need new cycling shoes for your clipless pedals and cleats.
SHIMANO Cycling Shoes for women and Men:
The video shows the SHIMANO Women's RP501W Performance Cycling Shoe. These cycling shoes are built to be agile and robust, which are perfect for beginner female cyclists. They are a seamless one-piece shoe that has an ideal fit for all-day comfort. The soles are made with light carbon fiber reinforced nylon for great power transfer while riding. The durable wide heal pad is stable and comfortable for walking. They also provide airflow throughout the upper insole and outsole of the shoe.
I recommend the SHIMANO SH-XC501 Cycling Shoe for men. These cycling shoes are low stack midsole height for maximum power transfer and stability. The upper structure of the shoe wraps around and overlaps to give a glove-like fit. The combination of mesh and synthetic leather provides breathability and comfort. It has a Boa L6 dial for precise micro-adjustments. The midsole is made from fiberglass to reinforce the power transfer.
When choosing cycling shoes, make sure you check that are compatible with the cleat and clipless pedal. Also, purchase your shoes and clip-less pedals based on the type of riding you will be doing.
Everything I recommend in this article are suggestions on how to get started. You will need to try things out for yourself because it is also personal preferance.
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